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Late Late Show’s James Corden Opens Fire on Coronado Bike NIMBYs


Mocking people who fight safe streets improvements and bike lanes is hardly a new sport. From the subtle humor of the bicyclist crashing into Stephen Colbert’s desk to Jon Stewart’s rant about Dorothy Rabinowitz and the freakout about Citibike.

If you don’t already know him, meet James Corden, host of the Late Late Show. Corden focuses on America’s Most Famous NIMBYs, the white-haired residents of Coronado who took to City Hall to stop the influx of safe street projects graffiti-ing the streets.

I’ve been a fan of Corden since he appeared in Dr. Who a couple of years ago, so I highly recommend watching the entire clip. If you can’t here are some highlights.

“The problem of too many bike lanes ranks somewhere between, ‘my new BMW’s air conditioner works a little too well,’ and ‘The Starbucks near my house doesn’t take $100 bills,'” Corden exclaims near the start of the clip.

Later, after a woman compares a plan to increase the number of bike lanes to taking her daughters to a tattoo parlor for full-body-tattoos, Corden snarks, “If you are going to town hall to complain about bike lanes, you’re kids are definitely going to get tattoos.”

But he save the best for last. After a thirty-second call to arms where he promises a ride to Coronado to paint our own bike lanes if the NIMBYs win the day, Corden channels his inner-Braveheart when he declares, “You may take our bike lanes, but you will never take our freedom…to ride in those bike lanes.”

Incidentally, if someone from the Late Late Show is reading this, and you are planning to do more on Coronado, drop me a line on Twitter @damientypes or leave a note in the comments. Let’s talk…and ride…

Via Streetsblog California
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#DamienTalks Episode 19: CicLAvia’s Romel Pascual and the Rise of Open Streets

Today, Damien talks with Romel Pascual, the new executive director of CicLAvia, the non-profit that programs arguably the most popular Open Streets program in America.

Pascual comes to the new position with a strong background in Los Angeles’ Open Streets Movement. He served as Deputy Mayor to Antonio Villaraigosa when the first CicLAvia was planned five years ago and has served on its Board of Directors.

For people that believe in the power of Ciclovía-style events to bring change, this is the interview for you.Pascual discusses how CicLAvia helped change the complexion of the streets in Downtown Los Angeles and other communities  from both the perspective of an advocate and the perspective of a former high-ranking city official.

Pascual also answers the growing urban legend that “we got CicLAvia because Mayor Villaraigosa got bike religion after he was forced off his bike.”

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Via Streetsblog California
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Governor Brown Signs Law Allowing Bicycle Ticket Diversion Programs

Sgt. David Krumer of the LAPD at a Critical Mass ride in 2010. Image: Damien Newton/Streetsblog

Sgt. David Krumer of the LAPD at a Critical Mass ride in 2010. Image: Damien Newton/Streetsblog

A new law just signed by Governor Jerry Brown will make it possible for bicyclists who are ticketed for certain infractions to attend a class on safe bicycle riding and thus reduce their fines.

The bill, A.B. 902, has been tracked by Streetsblog since it was introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) in February. It was amended a few times, but survived the process of squeezing through the legislature with mostly minor changes.

“When a bicyclist is ticketed for a moving violation in California, they by default receive the same monetary fine as when driving a motor vehicle. This means that with court fees added a stop sign violation can cost around $200, and running a red light around $400,” explained Bloom.

“The penalty should be determined so as to encourage safe behavior and not so punitive that it discourages bicycling altogether, especially for low-income individuals who rely the most on bicycling for everyday transportation.”

One of the changes clarified that any class taken in lieu of a fine would have to be “sanctioned by law enforcement.” Robert Prinz, Education Coordinator at Bike East Bay, who worked on putting the bill forward, said this was an important clarification.

“That means there would have to be a certain level of standard for the information provided in the class,” he pointed out. Also, he said, “for the most part law enforcement has a pretty good idea of what’s important for bicycle safety, but some police departments would benefit from attending some of these classes themselves.”

The other change to the bill removed a requirement that classes be offered free of charge. This was originally included because it created more of an incentive for people to take safety classes, and also because it’s the way Bike East Bay handles its education programs. But other advocacy organizations didn’t want to restrict their own, not-yet-in-existence programs in this way.

Whichever way a program is set up, the hoped-for result is a reduced fine and a more educated and knowledgeable bike rider.

Prinz points out that it will take some work to set up education programs where none exist now, and that it’s up to local bicycle advocacy groups to get the ball rolling. To that end, Bike East Bay has been working with other advocacy groups to formulate the best programs for local needs. Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the city of Long Beach, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition have all expressed interest in creating diversion programs. Davis already has an on-campus diversion program and is interested in expanding it citywide. The cities of Huntington Beach and Alameda both used to have programs but suspended them because of a legal prohibition against them in the existing vehicle code. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition already has a diversion program, which it has been able to run because of strong local support from the police and courts.

“For sure it’s going to be easier to get these programs going in areas with established advocacy organizations,” said Prinz. “In rural or less populated areas there is going to be a need for outreach and education.”

Bike East Bay currently incorporates a diversion program into its regular educational offerings. Like Davis, UC Berkeley has its own police department that issues citations on campus. For on-campus infractions, ticketed bicyclists can attend a class, bring proof of attendance to the police, pay a fee, and have the ticket destroyed. The fee, around $50, is much less than what they would have to pay for a ticket if it went through the court system.

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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CalBike: Support Active Transportation Funding Now

Last Friday afternoon, Melanie Curry broke the news of the introduction of Assembly Bill X1-23, a bill that would double state funding for active transportation projects, better known as bicycling and pedestrian projects.


To see CalBike’s Action Alert in support of SBX 1-1 and ABX1-23, click on the image

Immediately upon the bill’s introduction, the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) began urging members and interested parties to contact their legislators to get the bill heard and passed. The legislative session is set to expire on Friday night, so AB X1-23 needs to move, and move quickly. At the start of the session, CalBike had listed increasing state funding for bicycle projects, especially bicycle safety projects, at the top of its legislative agenda.

“We’ll never meet our goals one bike lane at a time,” writes Dave Snyder, the executive director of CalBike.

“We need to start building networks to connect people to all the destinations in our community. This bill will provide the incentive and the funding to do that, appropriately focused on the communities who need it the most.”

CalBike is urging interested parties to sign an online Action Alert that will be sent directly to their local representatives. The Action Alert urges support for the active transportation principles outlined in Senator Jim Beall’s funding legislation and ABX1-23. Beall’s legislation would ensure that “maintenance and rehabilitation” funded by state dollars includes projects that advance “bicycle and pedestrian safety, access, and mobility improvements.”

You can find CalBike’s Action Alert here.

Via Streetsblog California
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First Cap-and-Trade Funds Awarded for Transit Projects

Sacramento's light rail will buy new vehicles with money from cap-and-trade proceeds. Image: Wikipedia

The Sacramento Regional Transit District will buy new light rail vehicles with money from cap-and-trade proceeds. Image: Wikipedia

The California Transportation Commission began the process of allocating funds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund at its monthly meeting on Friday. The first official allocations for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program went to Sacramento, LA’s MetroLink, and San Diego for projects that will allow them to offer better transit service, thus encouraging transit ridership and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, the program is moving into its second round of considering projects to receive the cap-and-trade funds. It was created last year as one of the programs charged with using cap-and-trade funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, along with high speed rail and the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program. Fourteen projects were awarded a total of $224 million in the first round.

Two workshops will be held this week—one tomorrow in Los Angeles, and one in Sacramento on Thursday–to talk about current program guidelines and “help shape the future of the program.” [PDF]

  • Tuesday, September 1, 3 to 5 p.m.
    Metro Board Room
    One Gateway Plaza, 3rd floor
    Los Angeles
  • Thursday, September 3, 10 am to noon
    915 Capitol Mall, Conference Room 587, 5th floor

The three agencies that were awarded funds on Friday are the first of fourteen that won funding approval by the California State Transportation Agency in June. They are:

  • Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sac RT) will receive $6 million to refurbish seven light rail vehicles. This will allow the agency provide fifteen-minute peak-hour service, and enable future limited-stop service on the Gold and Blue lines.
  • Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) will receive $41 million to buy nine new clean locomotives, to improve and increase service on the Ventura and Antelope Valley lines.
  • San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will receive $4 million to complete the last eleven miles of the South Bay Bus Rapid Transit project between downtown and the international border, with new natural-gas-powered buses and increased service. The project will also include a new intermodal transportation center at the border connecting to trolleys and Amtrak.

The other  eleven already-approved TIRC projects will be allocated funds at future CTC meetings, as agencies request funds.

Via Streetsblog California
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Opaque Process Leaves Californians in the Dark about Transportation Funding

bikeatCapitollabel2Amid the swirling madness that is the final few weeks of the California legislative session—all bills must be voted on by September 11, or wait until next year—the question of how to raise, and spend, money on transportation is still very much up in the air. Increasingly, it looks like major decisions will be made behind closed doors and out of the public eye.

Governor Brown called for two “special sessions” to force agreements on major issues the state must confront, or face serious consequences in the near future: transportation and health care. But learning what “special session” means has been a quixotic exercise, as they are rare, and few capitol staffers have a clear understanding of exactly what one entails. This is what Streetsblog has been able to find out:

  • The rules for a special, also known as “extraordinary,” session follow the rules of a regular legislative session, except when they don’t.
  • Special Session committees are formed for each subject in each house, apart from the regular session committees. Members are appointed by the Senate Pro-Tem or the Assembly Speaker.
  • Those committees are a Rules Committee, an Appropriations Committee, and a subject committee—for example, the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
  • The committees are set up to consider bills on their subjects, which can be introduced by any legislator, just like in the regular session.
  • But the usual legislative deadlines don’t apply. That is, a bill doesn’t have to be “in print” for thirty days before it gets a hearing, so it can be introduced up until the last minute. Also, it can go directly from a committee to be voted on the floor of the legislature. It’s not even clear that anything must be decided before September 11, when the regular session ends—except that the lawmakers will be heading back to their districts then, and not likely to willingly stick around in Sacramento for more hearings.
  • Information about the special session committee hearings is hidden deep within the respective legislative websites, harder to find and follow even than the traditionally obtuse regular session information.

So far each subject committee has held only two hearings, and only one of those was for the purpose of discussing legislation. The Assembly committee held a sparsely attended informational hearing this week about improving freight movement, but the only legislator who stayed to listen to testimony was committee chair Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley).

It looks increasingly like there may be no more hearings on any of the proposed bills, although there are quite a few of them pending [PDF]. There are two “spot” bills waiting to be considered by each house right now, each containing only a few vague words about “legislative intent,” signifying nothing. At some point before mid September those bills will be amended after private negotiations between the power players, and involving who-knows-what compromises between the two houses, between the two parties, and among legislator’s pet projects. And then they may be voted on immediately in both houses.

So much for the process. The outcome, at this point, is far from certain. Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Senate Leader Dismisses Idea of Using Cap-and-Trade Funds for Road Repairs

"Kevin de Léon 2012" by Neon Tommy - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

Kevin de Léon in 2012. Image by Neon Tommy – Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

At a press conference in Sacramento yesterday, Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de Leon dismissed the idea, floated by Republican legislators and anti-tax advocates, that revenue in the state’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction fund could be used for road maintenance and repair.

“That is not a serious proposal,” said de Leon. “There is no nexus between greenhouse gas emissions and potholes.”

The proposal is part of a package of recommendations [PDF] from Assembly Republicans, who say they will refuse to support raising taxes to pay for what is generally agreed to be a crisis in funding for transportation in California. The Republican package includes finding ways to use existing revenue, including, they say, applying $2 billion in cap-and-trade revenue towards road repair.

“I admit I’m not a lawyer,” said de Leon, “but the thesis behind cap-and-trade is to use the revenue for carbon reduction. Repairing roads contradicts what cap-and-trade funds are for.”

His remarks came on the same day that the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a Special Session committee formed by Governor Jerry Brown to tackle the problem of transportation funding, rejected a bill that would have defunded high speed rail and used any remaining funds for highway and road repair and new construction.

“We do have to repair our crumbling infrastructure,” said de Leon, “and we can grow our economy [at the same time]. We need serious proposals.”

So far proposals considered by the Senate committee have included the one to scuttle high speed rail and another that would have forced Caltrans to reduce its payroll by contracting out an increasing percentage of its work. Those were both defeated yesterday, but the committee did pass a bill that would create the position of Transportation Inspector General to oversee all transportation funding in the state. It also passed a bill from the committee chair, Senator Jim Beall (D-Campbell), that would raise taxes on gasoline and diesel, create a “road access charge” for all vehicles, and require Caltrans to tighten its belt and increase its efficiency by a third.

Because it raises taxes, Beall’s bill needs to be approved by two-thirds of the legislature. Although it sailed through this committee, its fate on the Senate floor and in the Assembly is unclear. Senate Republican leader Bob Huff had said a few days earlier that Republican legislators will not support any tax increases.

De Leon expressed surprised at Huff’s comments. “He is keenly aware of the need for funds,” he said. “Simply saying ‘no taxes’ stymies the discussion” before it can get started.

“All solutions are on the table,” said de Leon, “and I hope my colleague Mr. Huff will see the wisdom” of being open to discussing them.

Look for more coverage of the transportation funding discussions at Streetsblog California over the next few weeks.

Via Streetsblog California
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New Website Quantifies Benefits of California Climate Change Policies


A screenshot of TransForm’s Climate Change website, showing all of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities projects in the San Joaquin Valley. It shows no GHG reductions because some state data is slow in coming.

Each time California legislators consider its climate change policies, questions arise about what benefits the state is receiving for its current investments. Until today, there has been no centralized source of data on the state’s investments from its cap-and-trade program nor on resulting greenhouse gas emissions or other benefits.

Now there is. TransForm, a nonprofit that advocates for rational transportation and land use policies, just unveiled a searchable online map to track investments from California’s cap-and-trade program. The Climate Benefits Map, currently in beta form, will eventually collect all the data available about the various programs and projects funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and make it available for the public to peruse.

TransForm’s aim is to highlight the benefits of California’s climate change policies, including environmental, economic, and community benefits. With this map they have begun the process of quantifying those benefits in consistent terms across various programs funded by the GGRF. “We really believe that California is benefiting from its climate change policies,” said Shannon Tracey, TransForm’s communications director, and they want to make that information public. “With legislation like S.B. 32 and S.B. 350 advancing” in the legislature, “it’s important for people to see what we’re getting from these investments.”

The data will be available to guide future decisions about climate change legislation, as well as ongoing discussions of investment plans. “This tool will help people evaluate whether we’re doing the right kinds of investments,” said Tracey.

It might also serve to light a fire under the California Air Resources Board, which is developing its own online tracking tool for climate change policies but is not anywhere close to having it available for use.

California’s GGRF currently funds a wide range of programs, administered by different state agencies:

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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California Legislative Update

bikeatCapitollabel2In Sacramento, bills are beginning to move more quickly through the committee process as this week’s policy committee deadline approaches. Below are highlights on some of the bills pertaining to sustainable streets issues.

Cap-and-Trade Funds for Transit: After Streetsblog wrote about its focus on large projects, author Jim Beall (D-Santa Clara) amended S.B. 9 to allow projects of any size to compete for funds in this program. TransForm says the bill still includes a provision that would make it hard for disadvantaged communities to access the grant funds, by giving priority to projects with non-state funding. The main benefit of the bill is that it allows a commitment to funding larger projects over time, making it easier to secure financing and leverage other funding. S.B. 9 still eliminates operations funding from this program in future cycles, but that change has caused no ripples. Operations were nominally eligible during the first round, but none of the first year’s recipients won operations funding–perhaps because the grants are one-time-only, and operations are an ongoing expense.  The bill goes next to the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

Parking Requirements: It wasn’t as exciting as the tiff in the Labor Committee hearing, but the conversation in the Transportation and Housing Committee last week about A.B. 744 did get strange. The bill, authored by Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), would lower parking requirements to make developing affordable housing easier. Ultimately it passed the committee this week and moves next to Governance and Finance. See Streetsblog’s coverage here.

Slow Vehicles Ahead: A.B. 208 from Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) was originally an attempt to clarify the three-foot rule on rural roads and has undergone a number of changes, reflecting legal semantics more than anything. For example, one amendment would have changed the word “roadway” to “highway,” but that was an awkward change that would have left no legal place for slow vehicles to pull out and let others pass. In its latest iteration the bill settles for language making it clear that bicycles are included in the definition of “slow-moving vehicle” and must pull aside if there are five or more vehicles piled up behind them. The bill is now on the Senate consent calendar, which means it could be passed without further discussion.

Bus Cameras to Catch Parking Violators: A.B. 1287 from David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would allow San Francisco Muni to keep using cameras on its vehicles to catch people parking in transit lanes. Muni did a study that found that the program could help reduce delays. There was no opposition to the bill, which passed the Transportation Committee and now goes to the Judiciary Committee. The bill applies only to S.F. Muni, but it could open the door to other transit agencies; L.A. Metro experiences similar issues.

Temporary Vehicle Plates: A.B. 516 from Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo) would require new cars to have temporary plates affixed to them at the point of sale. This was a retry of a bill that died in the Appropriations Committee last year (A.B. 2197). A temporary license plate could make it easier to enforce existing law that makes it illegal to drive without a permanent plate for more than ninety days, which caused complaints that a driver may not be to blame if plates don’t arrive on time. The bill has support from toll-collecting agencies and hit-and-run reform advocates. It passed the Transportation and Housing Committee and will be modified slightly to address concerns, then go to Public Safety.

Are Uber Cars Commercial Vehicles? A.B. 828 from Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) would exempt private cars used for “transportation network companies” (such as Uber or Lyft) from designation as commercial vehicles under DMV rules. Impassioned testimony from many people pointed out over and over that Uber drivers provide the same service as taxis but without the same regulations. The authors promised to amend the bill to add a two-year sunset date and call for a study on the impact of new regulations. The bill squeaked by the Transportation Committee and goes back to the Rules Committee.

Via Streetsblog California
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Bill to Reform Parking Minimums Passes CA Senate Transportation Committee

Screen shot 2015-07-08 at 1.38.34 PM

Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) presents his bill

After some delay and a surreal debate, a bill that could help create affordable housing by easing parking requirements passed the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Tuesday on a 5-4 vote. Now it goes to the Committee on Governance and Finance, where it will be heard as soon as next week.

The bill, A.B. 744, would reduce parking requirements for affordable housing developments, making it less expensive to build affordable housing and using federal tax credits to build housing rather than unnecessary parking.

Some of the senators on the transportation committee showed a deep misunderstanding of the effects of parking policies, as well as of the larger purpose of the bill. They told anecdotes about spillover parking, asked about what happens after the entitlements run out after fifty years, and complained that the bill would take away local decision-making power and give it to profit-seeking developers. “There will be many unintended consequences of this bill if it passes the way it’s presented,” concluded Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) with disapproval before voting no.

But the purpose of the bill is to fix existing unintended consequences of current parking requirements. Those consequences include unnecessarily high construction costs that make affordable housing infeasible to build, thus exacerbating an already dire shortage of housing for low-income people.

The bill’s author, Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), had to repeat several times that A.B. 744 is targeted at a very specific type of housing: for people who either cannot afford a car or are not likely to drive. It would reduce the number of required parking spaces in new housing developments that provide 100 percent affordable units and either:

  • have unobstructed access to a major transit stop within a half mile
  • are for seniors
  • are for developmentally disabled adults

Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) may have had the most difficulty understanding what the bill was about. “I’m having trouble with the idea that as a senior, I could only have half a car,” she said, hopefully with tongue firmly in cheek. Chau explained that the number of spaces required by the bill—0.5 parking spaces per unit—was an average based on an estimate of how many low-income senior residents would need a parking space. That is, some wouldn’t.

Finally Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), who had been squirming in his seat during much of the discussion, spoke up. “I applaud you for bringing this bill,” he said to Chau, “because there are dozens of tone-deaf, bitter city councils that are using parking requirements to not allow affordable housing to be built in their communities, and somebody needs to say that.” City councils throughout the state of California, he said, need to “get the message that we need to move forward and stop playing games with parking requirements.”

The bill had already gone through the mill in the same committee last week.

Read more…