Complete Streets Bill Introduced in California Legislature

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is excited to announce that we are sponsoring a bill in the California legislature this session that would require complete streets improvements to be made on state highways within California. The full press release is below and linked to here.

Senator Wiener Introduces Complete Streets Bill to Ensure State Highways that Run Through Local Communities Are Safe and Usable by Transit Riders, Pedestrians, and Cyclists

Sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, California Walks, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, SB 760 will require Caltrans to make roads safer for people walking and bicycling

February 22, 2017

Today Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) joined a coalition of transportation and health advocates to announce the introduction of SB 760, which will prioritize the creation of ‘complete streets,’ including safer sidewalks, bikeways, and crosswalks, on roads owned and managed by Caltrans in cities, towns, and neighborhoods. The bill sets new policies and allocates funding to help Caltrans implement the agency’s already adopted Strategic Management Plan goals to make streets safer and more accessible for everyone, including children, seniors, and families, and to accommodate all transportation modes, including walking, biking, and public transit.  SB 760 is sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, California Walks, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

“State-owned highways that run through local communities should be designed for safe use by everyone, not just cars,” said Senator Wiener. “For too long, Caltrans has talked about complete streets as a policy, but hasn’t actually delivered these improvements in its projects. SB 760 will ensure that as we rehabilitate roads that run through the centers of our towns and cities, we are prioritizing active transportation uses like walking, bicycling, and riding public transportation. Streets designed for all residents create safer and healthier communities.”

Caltrans owns and maintains 50,000 lane-miles of state roads, investing $2.4 billion annually. State-owned roadways include city and neighborhood surface streets and small-town main streets that carry local traffic as well as people on foot, bike, and transit. Examples of state-owned roads in urbanized areas include:

  • San Francisco: Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Avenue (Highway 101), 19th Avenue (Highway 1), and Sloat Boulevard (Highway 35)
  • Berkeley: San Pablo Ave (Hwy 123) and Ashby Ave (Hwy 13)
  • Los Angeles County: Santa Monica Blvd (Hwy 2), Hawthorne Blvd (Hwy 107), and Alameda St (Hwy 47)
  • San Bernardino: Foothill Blvd (Hwy 66)
  • Bakersfield: 23rd and 24th Streets (Hwy 178)
  • West Sacramento: Jefferson Blvd (Hwy 84)

“Caltrans has a long history of working to make California a better place to drive,” Jeanie Ward-Waller, Policy Director for the California Bicycle Coalition. “We’ve been pushing the agency to make our state roads better for people biking and walking for years, and while we’ve seen progress in planning and goal-setting, that progress hasn’t been realized yet in better projects on the ground. SB 760 will push Caltrans to follow through in project implementation and to be a leader in designing safe streets.”

Caltrans adopted a complete streets policy in 2008 providing that the agency would ‘consider’ safer road design for people walking and bicycling in all projects. More recently, in 2015, the agency adopted goals to triple bicycling and double walking statewide by the year 2020. However, Caltrans has not made a serious effort to implement these goals as part of all road rehabilitation and maintenance work. Instead, Caltrans continues to prioritize the movement of car and truck traffic through cities and towns, increasing congestion and air pollution in neighborhoods rather than creating streets that are safe, convenient, and inviting places to walk, bike, and use public transit. For example, El Camino Real (SR-82) in the Bay Area cuts through Peninsula communities and inexplicably lacks sidewalks in numerous locations, let alone much-needed bicycle lanes and improved crossings for pedestrians and transit users.

“With pedestans and cyclists comprising over a quarter of all traffic fatalities in the state, we need Caltrans to do its part and to take action to make our streets safer for all road users,” said Tony Dang, Executive Director, California Walks.

SB 760 allocates 3% of state road maintenance funds over the next two years to be used for walking and biking improvements until Caltrans can demonstrate that it is meeting its own complete streets goals.

“SB 760 will make our streets safer for children walking and bicycling to school and in daily life,” said Bill Sadler, California Senior Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “Many schools, parks and other community destinations are located along state highways and busy roads, and children and their families face unsafe conditions trying to access them. This bill will help address these challenges by creating safer crossings, sidewalks and bicycle facilities along state highways that benefit children across the state who walk and bike to school every day, and encourage many more to do so.”

SB 760 changes the guidelines dictating how State Highway funds are spent to ensure that improving accessibility, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and promoting public health are top considerations. The current primary priority for Caltrans is the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of state highways. The bill also establishes a Division of Active Transportation within Caltrans, which will be charged with adhering to complete streets performance measures.

“Government leaders can help people live healthier lives by implementing policies that support healthy behaviors like walking,” said Joe Aviance, aka “Papa Joe,” an American Heart Association volunteer who took to the streets and walked as a first step to losing 250 pounds. “I was 450 pounds when I decided to make a change for the better and started walking. Fortunately for me, I live in a neighborhood that has sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly streets so I feel comfortable going out to walk, sometimes for miles at a time, and the sidewalks became my treadmill. Access to safe, walkable streets is not an available option for most people, especially for most communities of color where investment is sorely needed. Creating more complete streets in all neighborhoods will help encourage people to take the first step to living a longer, healthier life.”

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2017 Transportation Equity Summit

Come together with advocates, experts, state leaders, students, and community groups from across the state at the 2017 Transportation Equity Summit. This year’s summit will focus on connecting state transportation funding to concrete goals that both fight climate change and promote social equity. The Summit is April 24 in Sacramento, with an advocacy day in the capitol the following day. Register today!

Provide Feedback for Development of CalTrans District 4 (Bay Area) Bicycle Plan

Caltrans is developing a Bicycle Plan for the Bay Area district to improve bicycling on and across the State-owned transportation network. Take a moment to complete a brief survey for the Caltrans District 4 Bicycle Plan. This survey is one of the opportunities to help shape the bicycle network in your local community and the Bay Area region. The District 4 Bicycle Plan builds on the goals and objectives being developed in the policy-level California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, with specific projects and strategies for the State transportation network in District 4.

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!

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