A Hard-Fought Win at MTC for Bicycling and Walking
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) on Wednesday, June 26 voted to keep a requirement that cities and towns maintain Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees (BPACs) to receive certain state funds. They also voted to strengthen this requirement to ensure that from now on pedestrian projects, as well as bicycle projects, will be reviewed by the committees.
This vote was a follow-up to a Programming and Allocations Committee vote earlier in the month to roll back a proposal to eliminate the BPAC requirement. This strong show of support by MTC for advisory committee review of bicycle and pedestrian projects will help us increase active transportation and create a healthier Bay Area!
We applaud the commissioners who voted to support bicycling and walking in the Bay Area in a very close vote! The Commissioners who supported the requirements were San Francisco Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener, San Jose Council Member Sam Liccardo, Rohnert Park Council Member Jake Mackenzie, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd, and Anne Halsted representing the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
Seventeen organizations came together to write a letter to the Commissioners expressing our opposition to any attempt to weaken the BPAC requirement, and our strong support of including pedestrian projects in the review process. You can see the letter here!
In a time when MTC and the region are struggling to reach our goals for safety, physical activity, and climate protection, now more than ever we need a real commitment from MTC to push to support active transportation. In 2011, MTC set a goal of increasing daily bicycling and walking to an average of 15 minutes per person per day. But under any of the planning scenarios studied as part of the Plan Bay Area process, the region will fall far short of that goal.
The proposal MTC voted on this week was part of a revision of the TDA-3 program guidelines. In addition to voting to maintain advisory committees and provide pedestrian project review, MTC also voted to change the procedures for cities to receive an exemption from the requirements. The pre-existing exemption has been that cities under 10,000 population who have difficulty in locating a sufficient number of qualified members may apply to MTC for exemption from these requirements, and cities over 10,000 population may also apply to MTC for exemption from the requirements if they can demonstrate that the countywide BPAC, as opposed to a local one, provides for expanded city representation.
The new exemption language provides that city agencies of cities of any size can apply to MTC staff for an exemption if they can demonstrate that the countywide BPAC provides for expanded city representation. The practical effect of this change and how MTC staff will be providing exemptions is not clear at this time. We look forward to working with MTC commissioners and staff on appropriate enforcement of the requirement and to ensure active transportation is supported throughout the Bay Area!