New Transformative Climate Communities Program Will Fund Active Transportation Projects!

screenshot-2017-02-09-16-41-42The Strategic Growth Council has released revised Scoping Guidelines for the brand-new Transformative Climate Communities program, which is funded with $140 million in cap-and-trade revenue (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund). The program will fund large-scale community planning and implementation projects in disadvantaged communities, and can include investments in walking and bicycle infrastructure and programming. This initial round will focus on three communities: Fresno, Los Angeles and a third location that has yet to be determined (though likely in the San Bernardino area). Planning grants are also available for up to ten communities. The final guidelines will be released in late April after another round of feedback on these Scoping Guidelines.

Workshops: There will be three regional workshops. Additional details are available in this flyer:

  • Wednesday, February 15, 6-8pm: Fresno
  • Wednesday, February 22, 6-8pm: Los Angeles
  • Thursday, February 23, 6-8pm: San Bernardino

SGC also held an all-day Summit in Sacramento on Friday, February 10 to gather feedback on the program and what stakeholders want to see funded in their communities.

Key Highlights of the Draft Scoping Guidelines:

  • The program objectives include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving public health and environmental benefits, and expanding economic opportunity. Applicants must identify goals related to these objectives, as well as indicators for how to achieve them.
  • Project thresholds include preventing displacement, ensuring community engagement, leveraging funding (a 50% match is required), and tracking of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Active transportation infrastructure is eligible to be funded with the program.
  • Other eligible projects include those that are eligible under other GGRF program including the AHSC, TICRP, Urban Greening and Low Carbon Transportation programs.
  • Collaboration is encouraged: local governments, nonprofits, community-based organizations and other groups should work together on the proposal and implementation of the project.
  • Even though the cities have been chosen, the selection process will still be competitive, with each city putting forth multiple proposals for different neighborhoods.
  • The project must focus on a particular neighborhood within the city, defined by political or social boundaries.
  • The program will focus on disadvantaged communities. Only Census tracts within the top 5% of CalEnviroScreen are eligible for funding.

For more details, read the draft Scoping Guidelines. For more information on the TCC program in general, visit SGC’s TCC program webpage. We are excited to see another state grant program include funding for active transportation projects!

 

New Statewide Active Transportation Plan Released

screenshot-2017-02-09-13-24-52Caltrans has just released a draft of its State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and is taking comments until March 10. There will also be several public workshops and a webinar in the coming weeks to receive feedback (dates and times here). The final plan is expected to be released in April 2017.

Public Workshops and Webinar: There will be three in-person workshops around the state. Additional details on these workshops including location information are available here.

  • San Jose: Thursday, February 23, 10am-12pm
  • Fresno: Monday, February 27, 1-3pm
  • Santa Ana: Monday, March 6, 10am-12pm
  • Webinar: Wednesday, March 1 , 3-5pm

Comments: There is an online comment tool that allows you to comment on specific provisions of the document. Comments are due March 10.

Plan Features: The plan is entitled Toward an Active California and identifies tools, policies and strategies that Caltrans and other state agencies can take to increase safe walking and bicycling in the State. The Plan is meant as a complement to local and regional plans and efforts already underway, and identifies the State’s role in making it safer and more convenient to walk and bike. It is aligned with other state transportation plans, including the Caltrans Strategic Management Plan (2015) that calls for doubling the rates of walking and bicycling by 2020, and the recently-updated California Transportation Plan 2040.

The plan’s Vision is: “By 2040, people in California of all ages, abilities, and incomes can safely, conveniently, and comfortably walk and bicycle for their transportation needs.”

The Plan has four objectives: Safety, Mobility, Preservation and Social Equity. Each objective has several strategies associated with it to implement the Plan. There are also best practices interwoven throughout the Plan from California communities and other places around the world.

  • Safety: Reduce the number, rate, and severity of bicycle and pedestrian involved collisions
  • Mobility: Increase walking and bicycling in California
  • Preservation: Maintain a high quality active transportation system
  • Social Equity: Invest resources in communities that are most dependent on active transportation and transit

Key Highlights: From our quick read of the Plan, there are a few highlighting related to Safe Routes to School:

  • The Plan calls for a universal elementary school curriculum for pedestrian and bicycle safety. It pegs the cost of such a program at between $20,000 to $300,000 per school per year, depending on the size of the school. Statewide it would cost around $20 million to $300 million (estimating there are 100,000 schools in the State). (S1.4)
  • There is a strong focus on equity throughout the report, emphasizing the State’s most vulnerable pedestrians and bicyclists include children, especially in disadvantaged communities where there are typically more children walking and bicycling to school out of necessity (see Social Equity objective).
  • There is a call for greater data collection and standardizing existing methods, so that we can get a better sense of who is walking and bicycling, when/where collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists are occurring, and what types of improvements will increase level of comfort with using pedestrian and bicycle facilities the most (S3.1, S3.2, M4.1, M4.2, M4.4).
  • The Plan recommends greater education and training for law enforcement officers on walking and bicycling (S3.3 and S4.1).
  • There is a strategy addressing first and last mile issues with walking and bicycling to and from transit (M2.1).
  • There is a recommendation related to school siting and promoting more efficient land use and development (M3.1)
  • There are several strategies related to encouragement, including Safe Routes to School, developing model programs and conducting behavior change research (M6).
  • The Preservation strategies include a recommendation for pedestrian and bicycle accommodation in construction projects (P1.2)
  • The Equity objective includes multiple strategies recommending greater community engagement, technical assistance, model programs and materials, and plans to identifying needed active transportation improvements (E1-E3).

Streetsblog has also posted a detailed analysis of the Plan that is worth reading to gain a better understanding of the Plan.

The full report is available here. Visit the Plan website at www.cabikepedplan.org for updates on public outreach and other information.

 

 

SCAG approves Sustainable Planning Grants and State Active Transportation Program funding recommendations

Sustainability Planning Grants

On Thursday, February 2, SCAG Regional Council approved recommendations for its Sustainability Planning Grants Program (SPG) to fund 54 projects with $9.6 million (see full list of recommended projects on page 5 here). In total, SCAG received 139 project proposals, requesting nearly $35.5 million across all project categories, from which it identified top ranked projects.

Selected SPG projects include:

  • Active Transportation Projects
    • 25 projects, totaling over $4.9 million
    • 14 non-infrastructure, 9 active transportation plans, and 2 mini-grants
    • 7 SRTS projects (including both non-infrastructure and active transportation plans)
  • Integrated Land-Use/Green Region Initiative
    • 29 projects, totaling over $4.7 million
    • 6 shared vision plans, 19 focused purpose plans, and 4 mini-grants

Below is a breakdown of SPG distribution throughout the SCAG region:

spg-outcomes

As we reported on in October, the SPG includes funding from the Regional Active Transportation Program (ATP) to allow for planning and non-infrastructure projects to access ATP funding through a more streamlined process. A total of 11 SPG projects were approved to receive nearly $2.8 million in Regional ATP funds (see overview of Regional ATP below).

SCAG may also be able to fund an additional $2 million in awards for proposals that can make modifications to receive money from non-ATP funding sources (Mobile Source Review Committee). SCAG staff intends to work with some cities to make their projects MSRC eligible and return to the Regional Council in April with recommendations.

To streamline and support more efficient project delivery, SCAG is offering to administer ATP funds on behalf of SPG applicants, should they request assistance.

State Active Transportation Grants

On the same day, SCAG Regional Council also approved its 2017 Regional ATP recommended project list (see full list of recommended projects on page 14 here). A total of 32 projects were recommended, totaling over $56 million funding. The 32 projects are among those that were not selected in the statewide ATP competition and identified through input from the six county transportation commissions.

Selected Regional ATP projects include:

  • Implementation Projects
    • 21 projects, totaling $53.2 million
    • 6 SRTS projects, totaling nearly $9.3 million
  • Planning and Capacity Building Projects, totaling nearly $2.8 million
    • 3 planning projects, totaling $645k
    • 8 capacity building project, totaling nearly $2.1 million
    • 4 SRTS projects, totaling nearly $1.1 million

Implementation Projects were selected to ensure that each county received its population-based share of available funding. A breakdown of projects within this category by county includes:

  • Imperial: 2 projects
  • Los Angeles: 8 projects
  • Orange: 3 projects
  • Riverside: 3 projects
  • San Bernardino: 3 projects
  • Ventura: 2 projects

Planning and Capacity Building Projects were selected and ranked based on scores received through the SPG application process. A breakdown of projects within this category by county includes:

  • Imperial: 1 project
  • Los Angeles: 7 projects
  • Orange: 1 project
  • Riverside: 1 project
  • San Bernardino: 1 project
  • Ventura: —

The Regional Council approved recommended projects list will now be submitted to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) for approval during their March 2017 meeting. As part of the recommendation process, SCAG Regional Council also approved and will submit to the CTC a Contingency List of projects to fund should a recommended project fail (see full contingency list of projects on page 15 here).

VTA to Discuss Measure B Funding

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will hold meetings next week to discuss funding plans for Measure B, the half-cent sales tax measure that was passed by voters last November. Collection of the tax begins April 1 and  is anticipated to generate over $6 billion.

The Bicycle & Pedestrian Program will be discussed at:

  • VTA’s Technical Advisory Committee (2/8, 1:30 pm,  VTA River Oaks Campus, 3331 North First Street, Conference Room B-106),
  • VTA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (2/8, 6:30 pm at VTA Conference Room B-106, 3331 North First Street, San Jose, CA),
  • VTA’s Policy Advisory Committee (2/9, 4:00 pm, VTA River Oaks Campus, 3331 North First Street, Conference Room B-104).

Information on the Bicycle & Pedestrian Program can be found here.

 

City of Los Angeles releases Vision Zero Action Plan and Safety Study.

On January 26, 2017, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation announced the release of the city’s first Vision Zero Action Plan and Safety Study. The plan outlines goals to reduce fatalities by 20 percent by the end of 2017 leading to the ultimate goal of zero traffic deaths by 2025 (hence the name of the campaign ‘Vision Zero’). In order to accomplish the goal of fatality reduction, the Action Plan identifies the areas with the highest fatal and severe injury collisions, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations such as areas with high concentrations of children and seniors.

Since the Mayor’s Executive Directive for Vision Zero was announced in August 2015, LADOT has completed 31 safety-focused traffic signal projects along the 40 priority corridors. These important spot improvements are part of the department’s ongoing commitment to traffic safety. While LADOT will continue to identify solutions at individual intersections throughout the City of Los Angeles, the Vision Zero Action Plan has identified 40 priority corridors along the High-Injury Network that have a higher concentration of deaths and serious injuries, and demand corridor-wide approaches to achieve Vision Zero goals.

The Partnership has been involved in the LA Vision Zero Alliance, which a collaborative of community based organizations who have worked with LADOT on certain developments of the plan and its outreach. The LA Vision Zero Alliance will continue to work with LADOT on the implementation of the Action Plan. You can access more details of the LA Vision Zero Alliance here.

Read the Action Plan and more details here. You can also view an Online interactive version of the plan here.

 

Announcing an ATP Technical Assistance Opportunity!

ca-atp

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, February 27, 2017 at 5pm PT.

Application form available here

If you are working to make streets safer or to increase access to schools and parks so that children and families in your community can have more opportunities for physical activity – we can help!

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership can assist your efforts to make your community a place where kids can easily be active and healthy. We are offering long-term, free technical assistance to disadvantaged communities in California that are working to obtain funding to support of walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School. We are specifically interested in helping communities seeking funding from the State’s Active Transportation Program or other regional and state funding sources that fund Safe Routes to School projects, including both infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities.

If your community is selected, you will receive technical assistance over several months valued at more than $20,000 to help you achieve your goals, including:

  • Regular one-on-one consultation with your project lead
  • An in-person one-day workshop
  • An action plan specific to your project
  • Help navigating the application process for the Active Transportation Program and other funding sources for active transportation and Safe Routes to School

Eligibility is limited to those who are eligible to apply to the State of California’s Active Transportation Program, but who have not previously received ATP funding for this project. At the current time, eligible applicants include local government agencies, school districts and other government entities. Nonprofits and community-based organizations are ineligible to apply, but can partner with a government agency on this application. Please see the 2017 ATP Guidelines for information on eligibility and the type of projects available for funding. Applicants must also be willing and able to commit staff time and availability to the project during the technical assistance period.

To apply, simply describe your community need in detail on the application form available here. Our staff of experts will review and score the applications and select five communities for this opportunity. Applications are due Monday, February 27, 2017, by 5pm PT. If you have any questions during the application process, please contact Bill Sadler, California Senior Policy Manager: bill@saferoutespartnership.org.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership improves the quality of life for all kids, families and communities by advancing policies that support physical activity, healthy community design, active transportation initiatives, and infrastructure improvements, especially in underserved communities. With a diverse staff spread across the country, we share our expertise and knowledge to inspire and encourage action in local communities. In California, we have four policy staff that work at the regional and state level to advance policies that improve active transportation and increase funding for walking and bicycling. We have been actively involved in the development of the Active Transportation Program and other regional and state funding program and policies that advance Safe Routes to School for many years and are excited to offer this technical assistance opportunity with generous support from The California Endowment.

Apply today!

Webinar Materials From Our January 17 AHSC Resources Webinar

 

On January 17, the National Partnership’s California team hosted a webinar with LA Thrives, Enterprise Community Partners, LA County Bicycle Coalition, Housing California, California Bicycle Coalition and Southern California Association of Nonprofit Public Housing. The webinar provided tips and information on how to integrate active transportation infrastructure and programs with affordable housing developments for AHSC projects in LA County. The webinar slides and recording are now available. Thank you to the 119 people who attended the webinar!

MTC & Fresno COG Announce Regional ATP Awards

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) announced its regional ATP award list. MTC received 61 applications totaling about $166 million in response to the Regional ATP Call for Projects. Staff recommends fully funding 13 projects and partially funding one project for a total of $22.2 million. Of the 14 projects, 7 are Safe Routes to School-related, and 9 are under $1 million. 94% of funds benefit communities of concern. 79% of funds benefit SRTS-related projects. MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee approved the recommendations, with full Commission approval expected on January 25. Between the Statewide and Regional ATP, every Bay Area county received at least one project from Cycle 3.

Fresno COG also released their Regional draft project list. Fresno COG also released their Regional draft project list. It is slated for $2.7 million total – 5 projects were proposed to be funded, 2 of them SRTS-related.

CalEnviroScreen 3.0 finalized with important updates

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and OEHHA (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)’s statewide screening tool, CalEnviroScreen has been updated to a 3.0 version. CalEPA and OEHHA conducted several workshops and webinars over the course of Summer and Fall 2016 throughout the state in order gather input from stakeholders. A press release was published this month to announce the draft had been finalized. Among major changes to the update, most notable include the addition of two new indicators which measure housing costs and cardiovascular health. The housing indicator, as a social economic indicator, measures census tract’s low-income households that pay over half of their income for housing. The cardiovascular health indicator collects data on emergency room department visits for heart related attacks.  The 3.0 version is also set to have refined data including new information on census tracts. The newest version of CalEnviroScreen will also examine pollution data along the Unites States and Mexico border, in order to better understand how border communities are affected from outside pollutants.  Stakeholder feedback also resulted in the addition of an age indicator as opposed to the entire removal of children and elders as an age indicator. During the public comment period, the Partnership submitted a comment letter to CalEPA and OEHHA supporting an update, opposing an age indicator removal as well as asking the agencies to provide additional resources for local jurisdictions that help identity the best ways utilize CalEnviroScreen for their communities. CalEnviroScreen is an important tool that helps identify environmental justice communities and helps advocate access data that is critical to understanding hazards within the built environment.  CalEnviroScreen is also a tool that is used to qualify for disadvantage community designation within statewide grant programs like the Active Transportation Program. To read more about the finalized draft, please visit the OEHHA website for press release information here.

Governor’s Budget Released: $100 Million for ATP!

california_state_capitol_front_1999California Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year on January 10, and it includes $100 million in new funding for the Active Transportation Program (ATP)! The additional money would come from cap-and-trade revenue (a.k.a. the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund) and least half of the funding must benefit disadvantaged communities. The National Partnership has been pushing for many years to increase the amount of ATP funding in the Governor’s annual budget, so we are pleased to see such a significant expansion proposed, especially since the program is heavily oversubscribed.

To give you a history of the past few budgets:

  • In 2013, the ATP was created by consolidating the Safe Routes to School program with other sources of federal and state active transportation funding (Bicycle Transportation Account, Pedestrian Safety Account, etc.).
  • In 2014, the Governor’s budget includes no new money for active transportation, except for a small $9 million boost from repayment of old loans from the Bicycle Transportation Account and Pedestrian Safety Account programs. It only had a mention that ATP could receive funding from the GGRF, which was set up later in the year.
  • In 2015, funding for ATP was actually reduced by $14 million. We circulated a petition asking for $100M from cap-and-trade revenue (GGRF) to go to ATP Cycle 2 but we were unsuccessful in our efforts.
  • In 2016, the Governor proposed $100 million for a new Low Carbon Roads program that would have funded active transportation projects but also many other types of road projects. Ultimately the Governor and legislature negotiated a deal that provided $10 million from cap-and-trade to ATP and no Low Carbon Roads program. We are happy to see that the latter program has not been resurrected and instead the Governor sees the benefit of investing in the existing ATP.

Other highlights of this year’s budget include:

  • $300 million for the Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program
  • $142 million for the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program
  • $25 million for a new Sustainable Transportation Grant grant program to help communities implement their region’s Sustainable Communities Strategies required by Senate Bill 375 (2008).
  • $400 million for transit capital (Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Program)
  • $2.7 billion for multimodal corridor mobility improvements

The Governor’s budget release is just the first step in a long road to a budget. The next few months will be filled with negotiations, and a revised budget will be released in May. The legislature must pass a final version by June 15, though some pieces are often delayed until the fall, as was the case last year with cap-and-trade revenue. The Governor is also tying this new investment to the legislature voting to reauthorize the cap-and-trade program past 2020, which requires a two-thirds vote that may be difficult to reach.

We have released a statement along with our state transportation policy partners, which you can view here. Other partners including TransForm and CalBike have also issued statements, and Streetsblog has an article covering the budget release. We will be closely watching the budget to make sure this critical investment remains a part of the final version.

The full version of the Governor’s budget is available here.

Budget tables for transportation and GGRF are provided below:

screenshot-2017-01-10-17-59-50

screenshot-2017-01-10-18-04-35

 

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