California Legislation Watch: Weekly Update

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 4.34.24 PMHere is Streetsblog’s weekly highlight of California legislation related to sustainable transportation.

The legislature is in recess until August.

Light rail no longer illegal in LA’s San Fernando Valley: A.B. 577 from Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last week. The bill repealed a 1990 law that prohibited construction of light rail along a section of the Orange Line, and thus opens up the possibility of replacing the Orange Line BRT with rail. Whether that’s good or bad is up for debate, and Streetsblog has presented arguments both for and against the line’s conversion.

Replacing the car-centric LOS planning metric: Those who’ve been waiting with bated breath to find out what will replace Level of Service (LOS) as a transportation planning metric in California Environmental Quality Act requirements were disappointed when the July 1 deadline came and went without any pronouncements from the Office of Planning and Research (OPR). However, it looks likely that some version of Vehicle Miles Traveled will replace LOS, which has given rise to sprawling development patterns and wide streets unsuitable for walking and bicycling. When OPR does publish its recommendations, there will be a 45-day public comment period, and Streetsblog will provide the details.

Funds for bike and pedestrian projects: The Active Transportation Program, which provides funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects, has logged all the proposals received as of its May 21 deadline. A total of 770 projects applied for the $124.2 million that is available for fiscal year 2014-15. The projects include bicycle and pedestrian plans, bridges, sidewalk and signal improvements, Safe Routes to Schools programs, traffic calming and speed reduction efforts, and a host of large and small infrastructure improvements throughout the state.

Active Transportation Project applications pile up at Caltrans headquarters on May 21.Photo: California Bicycle Coalition
Active Transportation Project applications pile up at Caltrans headquarters on May 21.
Photo: California Bicycle Coalition

Email tips, alerts, press releases, ideas, etc. to melanie@streetsblog.org.

For social media coverage focused on statewide issues, follow Melanie @currymel on Twitter or like our Facebook page here.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Report: In Cutting Emissions, CAHSR Expensive Compared to Local Upgrades

|
Streetfilms featured Los Angeles’ Orange Line BRT and bike path in 2009. A new UCLA report says infrastructure projects like the Orange Line are a better way to invest cap-and-trade funds than CA High-Speed Rail. UCLA’s Lewis Center published a report yesterday finding that California’s High-Speed Rail project is a relatively expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) […]

Guest Editorial: Don’t Destroy the Orange Line, Improve It

|
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a high-quality bus based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities, has enjoyed rapid growth over the past few decades in major cities internationally, and is gaining momentum in the United States. Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle are set to join L.A. and the handful of U.S. cities with […]

What a Vermont Avenue BRT Line Could Look Like

|
At this month’s board meeting, Metro staff reported that they are hiring consultants to shepherd two Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects. Today, SBLA previews one of those: Vermont Avenue BRT. For the uninitiated, what is BRT? Bus Rapid Transit is high-quality bus service running in its own dedicated right-of-way. It comes in a lot of flavors, […]

The Myth of the Magic Bus: The Weird Politics and Persistently Strange Logic Behind the Orange Line

|
The other day I was reading about New York City’s proposal to build a north-south busway on Woodhaven Blvd., starting in my old ‘hood of Jackson Heights. It’s a great plan—by making the center lanes bus-only and providing train-like amenities, such as pre-paid, multi-door boarding, New York will have an improved north-south bus route. It’ll take a predicted 45 minutes […]

Guest Opinion: The Future of Los Angeles is Bus Rapid Transit

|
Los Angeles is finally on its way toward realizing the dream of a regional rapid transit system. Five rail lines are simultaneously under construction, and there is renewed momentum to fund another round of transit expansion on the 2016 ballot. Move L.A. recently unveiled a Strawman Proposal for “Measure R2” to accelerate the completion of the remaining Measure […]