The legislature may be on summer break, but CalBike is hard at work preparing for the next round of opportunities to advocate for a better California for all. Read on for an update on key legislation we're sponsoring or tracking, and keep up with our blog for opportunities to get involved.
Get State Employees Rolling: SB 702 (Stern)
This CalBike-sponsored bill expands California’s state employee bike share program, currently limited to just under 100 bikes; SB 702 passed the Senate Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review and is headed to the Appropriations Committee. While the bill was amended to say the state is required to expand bikeshare wherever it’s both feasible and “reasonable” rather than just feasible, we’re excited about the potential expansion of this program.
CalBike is sponsoring this bill because we know that expanding access to bicycles for California's hundreds of thousands of state employees means getting more cars off the road, promoting bicycling, and helping our neighbors to make healthier choices. Increasing bicycling and reducing fossil fuel use and traffic congestion are critical priorities for our state and bike shares can help to meet those needs. This is an opportunity to help our state's employees to be part of the transportation system of the future, and CalBike is ready to keep up the fight for a sustainable state vehicle fleet.
Require Qualified Representation: AB 179 (Cervantes)
AB 179 is part of a series of efforts to reform the powerful California Transportation Commission, an executive body with far-reaching impact. Transportation investments affect all Californians, and they often disproportionately burden our lowest-income communities-but the CTC currently has no requirements that it’s appointed commissioners have any experience with important issues like pollution impacts, sustainable and active transportation, or public health. Legislation like AB 179 aims to change that.
This particular bill has evolved from a mandate that the CTC must include representation from experts that live and work in underserved and environmental justice communities to a guideline suggesting that the governor should “use every effort” to ensure diverse and experienced appointments, but CalBike still sees AB 179, now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, as a step in the right direction. The fact that Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Senator Beall (D-Campbell) forcefully acknowledged that “We need to have a more diverse state transportation commission” is representative of an encouraging shift away from the status quo in transportation decision-making. CalBike agrees and we plan to hold him to ensuring the state follows through on that statement when the next opportunity to appoint diverse representation to the commission comes up.
Free Transit for Students: AB 17 (Holden)
AB 17 creates a free transit pass program for low-income students in middle school through university, enabling students all over the state to get to and stay in school. Investing in student transit programs is an investment in our future. Besides elevating the lifelong potential of our students, these programs can help to improve our transit systems, create lifelong transit users, reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, and reduce strain on low-income families.
The bill passed the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee and is headed into the Committee on Appropriations, where it faces a tough fight for funding. The concept of a free transit program is extremely popular but finding a consistent funding source for it is the real challenge.
Hold Cities Accountable: SB 150 (Allen)
The state’s regional planning authorities are required to set climate goals for reducing carbon emissions largely through more efficient transportation and land use development that reduces miles traveled in personal vehicles—but as of right now there is no mechanism for holding our regional agencies accountable to these requirements. SB 150 challenges metropolitan regions to set regional targets that align with the state’s climate change targets, by reducing driving and making it easier to walk, bike, and take transit.
SB 150 passed out of the Transportation and Natural Resources Committees of the Assembly and is headed to Appropriations-but not without being amended to remove references to specific targets for reducing driving. There is still much work to be done in holding regional authorities and their member local jurisdictions accountable to the goals we set as a state.
Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) will boost the Active Transportation Program (ATP) by $100 million per year. That means $100 million more for walking and bicycling projects across the state to help make our cities, towns, and neighborhoods comfortable, attractive, and convenient places to get around on foot and on bike.
The first two years and $200 million of this new funding is being awarded to projects as quickly as possible this summer. Projects that had already applied for funds last year in the third cycle of ATP grant applications are first in line for this funding, and only in a few metro regions will there be opportunities for agencies to submit new applications for planning or education and encouragement program grants (for example, in the Southern California region). CalBike and our allies support this approach to getting more funding to shovel-ready projects right away, since demand for these funds has far exceeded the amount available every round by as much as four to one, leaving many great projects unfunded.
The rush to get the first $200 million out the door and into projects on the ground is spurred by urgency from our state leaders to start demonstrating the benefits of SB 1 funding to taxpayers as soon as the gas tax goes up in November. The billions in new transportation revenue raised through SB 1 come primarily from increases to gas and diesel fuel taxes, which early polling reveals to be very unpopular with voters. Just a small fraction of this funding is guaranteed to walking and biking projects through the ATP, but we know those projects are very popular. In fact, polling commissioned by CalBike in May showed that 8 in 10 California voters want transportation agencies to change the way they design our streets to make them complete streets that are safe and attractive for walking and bicycling.
Looking beyond the rush to get some ATP funding out to projects quickly, CalBike and our allies are pushing for this funding to be used to build more transformational projects in future rounds. We are working with the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans on criteria for the fourth grant cycle, which will be awarded in 2018, to incentivize projects like connected networks of protected bike lanes and safe walking and bicycling routes to transit. We envision large grants that could be the catalytic investment for communities to spur a big jump in walking and bicycling.
Stay tuned for more details about how next year’s program will create transformational walk and bike investments.
With tomorrow’s deadline looming for state bills to clear their first house in the California Legislature, several of CalBike’s top priority bills passed this week with landslide support:
Get State Employees Rolling: SB 702 (Stern)
Expands the bikeshare system for state employees—currently limited to just a few dozen bikes at department headquarters in Sacramento—and received a unanimous vote in the Senate 40-0! CalBike is sponsoring this bill, and we’re hopeful that this popular program will garner the same level of support in the Assembly.
Require Qualified Representation: AB 179 (Cervantes)
Requires one appointed member of the California Transportation Commission, the board that awards and oversees most of our state and federal transportation dollars, to be someone that works with environmental justice communities and understands the public health impacts of transportation. This bill cleared the Assembly floor 52-24 with all but one lone Democrat in dissent: Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier.
Free Transit for Students: AB 17 (Holden)
Creates a free transit pass program for low-income students in middle school through university, another popular bill that easily passed the Assembly 71-4. It will have a tougher fight in the Senate, however, over the source of funding, and will need even more grassroots support.
Hold Cities Accountable: SB 150 (Allen)
Requires the major metro regions in the state to update their greenhouse gas emissions targets in their long-range transportation plans to collectively meet state climate change targets established in law last year. Every city will be challenged to help meet the new state target—to reduce emissions 40% by 2030—and will need to make it much safer and easier to walk and bike rather than drive for most trips. SB 150 passed the Senate 26-13, but will also face a tough battle in the Assembly.
Thank you to all our members, supporters, and partners that responded to our call to action to urge state representatives to pass these these bills out of their first house! Your voice really matters in getting good policies passed in Sacramento that make our communities healthier and safer places to bike.
Students should spend their time and energy focusing on school—not worrying about the cost of getting there.
Help California's students get to and stay in school by showing your support for a Statewide Student Transit Pass Program.
Low-income students across California need your help to get to school! Giving free or reduced-fare transit passes to middle, high school, and college students all over the state helps everyone to share in the advantages of an education—and investing in student transit programs is an investment in our future.
Besides elevating the lifelong potential of our students, these programs can help to improve our transit systems, create lifelong transit users, reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, and reduce strain on low-income families.
Legislation Update: Despite Governor Brown's veto of the statewide student transit pass program bill last year, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) isn't giving up on getting all of California's students to school. His persistence is paying off; his new bill crafted to analyze and report back on the state of local student transit pass programs passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and CalBike will be keeping you up to date and working behind the scenes to ensure all of our students have affordable, accessible, safe, and sustainable ways to get to school.
Here's the latest from our partners at MoveLA Transit:
"Asm. Holden, our longtime student transit pass champion, has asked Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting to adopt budget language providing $50 million from the FY 2018-2019 budget to fund the program described in last year’s AB 17 (read the bill language HERE). The budget talks are beginning now, in advance of the “May revise” that alters the Governor’s budget based on the most recent economic forecasts. The ask will be made in Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3 chaired by Asm. Richard Bloom—a good friend to students and to transit passes!
We described this “budget play” in earlier emails: Holden’s 2018 student pass bill, AB 2304, is being held on suspense in Assembly Appropriations and will hopefully secure funding for a study by the UC-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. This bill was in response to the Governor’s AB 17 veto message—which stated the Governor wanted “a fuller discussion of how local transit discount programs work and how any new ones should be paid for.”
The budget play is one way to fund a statewide transit pass program next year without waiting for the study to be completed. This is our third attempt to win funding, but the bill has won such broad and bipartisan support, and we’re obviously so determined, that we believe this is a path that could get us all the way to victory this year!"
We'll update this space as the legislation hopefully moves forward, so sign up for our advocacy updates below to stay in the loop and stand up for students.
Take action to support healthy, safe, and accessible routes to school.
Yesterday, Caltrans announced the adoption of the state’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
Theoretically, it’s a great document. Its recommendations thoroughly cover the key changes the state will have to make to accomplish the goal to triple bike mode share.
Practically, however, the document doesn’t provide a roadmap to implementing those recommendations. A more serious commitment to achieving the plan’s recommendations would have generated controversy and opposition from stakeholders who have to change their practices.Read more
Nearly one hundred transportation equity advocates and practitioners across the state gathered on April 24th and 25th in Sacramento at our co-sponsored 2017 Transportation Equity Summit and Advocacy Day.Read more
The deadline for introducing bills for the 2017 Legislative Session was mid February, and the CalBike Policy Team is busy in the Capitol working on a full legislative slate. For a complete list of bills that we’re sponsoring, supporting, and tracking this year, check out our 2017 Legislative Tracker.
One of our biggest efforts this session is to pass a transportation funding package that truly reflects balanced investments in bicycling, walking, and transit. Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Bill 1, the transportation package legislation pieces, need to be revised in order to reflect what is needed most out of a robust transportation system. CalBike continues to lead a broad coalition that is pushing the envelop to expand the funding package to include a sound investment in affordable and sustainable transportation, especially in low-income communities and for people of color.Read more
California's delegation to the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. visited each of the state's 53 Representatives and both Senators on Bicycle Lobby Day, March 8, 2017. Coordinated by the League of American Bicyclists, we asked our elected representatives to be sure that the new administration's infrastructure plan included bicycles and bicycle safety. And we pushed for the Vision Zero Act, a bipartisan call for innovation and commitment to reduce traffic fatalities to zero.
The most dangerous place on the road for a person on a bike? The intersection.
Almost all street intersections in California pose as a safety threat to people on bikes. The longer it takes for a person on a bike to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle.
Assemblymembers Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced AB 1103 to allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs whenever it is safe to do so. Modeled after the "Idaho Stop" law of 1982, AB 1103 has the potential to reduce car-on-bike collisions, eliminate unnecessary enforcement, and allow people on bikes to keep their momentum moving forward. When people on bikes cross more safely at intersections and traffic flows more smoothly, it is a win-win for everyone.
Legislation Update: The authors of our common sense bill to require bicycle riders to yield and stop if necessary at stop sign-controlled intersections have pulled their bill from consideration for now. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Carl Obernolte (R-Barstow) said that opposition from the California chapters of the American Automobile Association and the Police Chiefs Association, among others, could not be overcome.
This bill would have made California third among U.S. states, behind Idaho and Delaware, to recognize that people on bikes have different vulnerabilities and capabilities when they approach an intersection and deserve different treatment than people in cars. It would have legalized a common practice and made riding a bike safer and more convenient, and it would have reduced unfair and capricious enforcement.
The arguments against the bill made no logical sense but were powerful nevertheless. When this bill comes back we’ll be better equipped to address the arguments with equally powerful appeals.
In the meantime we're building momentum and support for stop-as-yield legislation in our state, and we need to hear from you.
Add your name below in support of the California "Stop As Yield" policy and make biking safer and more accessible for all.
This common-sense policy change has grown in popularity around our state because of the work of advocates like Walt Seifert; his wheels-to-the-road passion for advocacy continues to advance our list of supporting organizations.
Supporters of Stop-As-Yield Reform Legislation in California:
California Delivery Association
Public Health Advocates
Two Rivers Cider
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District
Coalition for Clean Air
Bicycle Commuter Coalition Inland Empire
Bike Santa Cruz County
California Bicycle Coalition
Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance
Motherlode Bicycle Coalition
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
Sylvia Bingham Fund
Walk Bike Mendocino
Davis Bike Club
Desert Bicycle Club
Different Spokes of Southern California
Fresno Cycling Club
High Desert Cycling
Lompoc Valley Bicycle Club
Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club
Imperial Valley Velo Club
Recumbent Riders of Sacramento
San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club
San Jose Bicycle Club
Santa Rosa Cycling Club
Solano Cycling Club
Fo Sho Inc. (Carmichael, East Sac, Elk Grove, and Greenhaven bike shops and Folsom Cyclery)
City Bicycle Works-Sacramento
On Monday, 82 organizations endorsed a set of recommendations, developed by CalBike and our allies, to call for changes in a deal to increase revenue for transportation system maintenance. The deal, two years in the making, invests too much in the old transportation paradigm of roads, including expansion. It will keep people stuck in their cars instead of giving Californians real, sustainable and affordable options.
A letter delivered to Senate Transportation Committee Chair Jim Beall of San Jose, Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier of Oakley, and Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly, expresses support for the main goal of the funding deal -- new revenue to maintain roads -- and some specific aspects of the deal, including its increased investment in the Active Transportation Program to provide more grants to local jurisdictions for trails, bikeways, and sidewalks, Open Streets events and Safe Routes to School programs. However, in order to make real progress in reforming our transportation system for the future, the 82 organizations signed on to the letter are asking for the following key reforms to be included in the package:
- Prioritize the funding toward vulnerable, low-income communities that who are disproportionately in need of alternative transportation options, greater mobility, and bear the brunt of the health and safety impacts of our transportation system.
- Dramatically increase funding to provide high-quality, efficient transit service especially for low-income individuals and families.
- Ensure we can meet our state climate change and air quality standards by carefully tracking any investment spent on expanding roads and freeways.
- Require expertise in climate change, environmental justice, walk, bike, and transit for future appointments to the California Transportation Commission, which oversees state and federal transportation funding and advises the Legislature.
- Protect the integrity of the California Environmental Quality Act, which reduces environmental impacts and improves transportation project outcomes.