California bicycle legislation update 2013

$44.5M for Safe Routes (kinda sorta); larger bike racks for Sacramento buses approved. Environmental review exemption for bike plans and three feet passing on today’s Senate agenda.

The California Senate returned from their summer recess this week and they’re busy plowing through the hundreds of bills on their agenda. Among them are a number of bills that can have a direct impact on California cyclists. I’ve also thrown a couple of transit-related bills in this update.


San Jose Bike Party No Pants Ride July 2013

CEQA exemptions for urban bike plans. AB 417 (Frazier) exempts bikes plans from California environmental review requirements and comes about directly in response to Rob Anderson’s lawsuit and the court’s injunction against San Francisco’s bike plan in 2006. This bill is different from Senator Darrell Steinber’s effort to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act. AB 417 passed the Assembly in spite of opposition from the Sierra Club (and a “no” vote from my representative, Mark Stone). A Senate vote is scheduled; it’s item number 206 on today’s agenda.

Three Feet For Safety Act. A vote for Stephen Bradford’s AB 1371 — our state’s third attempt at a three foot passing law — is item number 225 on today’s agenda in the Senate. This bill easily passed the Assembly and Committee hearings, so what excuse will Jerry Brown find this time to veto what 22 states and the District of Columbia have already enacted?

Green bike lane Hedding Street San Jose

California Transportation Commission changes. AB 1290 (John Perez) expands membership in the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which establishes state transportation policy. The expanded membership is intended to ensure a broader range of expertise in the Commission to ensure state mandates regarding sustainability, clean air and land use are followed. The California Bicycle Coalition supports AB 1290. Other supporters include Breathe California , California League of Conservation Voters , California WALKS , Catholic Charities Diocese of Stockton , Coalition for Clean Air , Coalition for Sustainable Transportation , National Parks Conservation Association , Natural Resources Defense Council , Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Sacramento Housing Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Transform, and WALK San Diego. The Orange County ransportation Authority opposes AB 1290 because they don’t believe land use decisions have any bearing on transportation planning (ha!). This bill passed the Assembly on May 29, passed the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee on July 9, and today sits as one of the 150 bills awaiting a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

I-710 planning requirements. SB 811 is Ricardo Lara’s audacious poison pill to derail the I-710 project by imposing Complete Streets requirements, including bicycle and transit facilities alongside the project corridor, as well as significant mandates for job training, workforce development, and targeted hiring activities. SB 811 passed the Senate on May 29. It’s currently in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

San Jose Bike Party No Pants Ride July 2013

A “BIKING IS DANGEROUS!” resolution. Senators Noreen Evans from Santa Rosa and Mark DeSaulnier of Concord introduced Senate Resolution 17 to “encourage the State of California to promote a comprehensive and sustainable program … for pedestrian and bicycle safety; and … encourages parents and teachers to ensure that children learn defensive walking, bike riding, and skateboarding in traffic, including wearing a helmet when bike riding or skateboarding, and learning the dangers of using any electronic devise or headphones when walking, bike riding, or skateboarding; and … encourages the State Department of Education to require all teachers to be trained to teach bicycle and pedestrian safety.” The resolution was introduced Monday and awaits a spot on the Senate agenda.

Transit

More bikes on Sacramento buses. AB 206 (Dickinson) to allow bike racks that can carry up to three bicycles on Sacramento buses passed both chambers and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on August 13.

Bus On Shoulder Program. AB 946 (Stone) would allow transit buses to use the shoulders along certain, limited-access portions of Highway 1 in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties as bus-only lanes, allowing riders to bypass persistent traffic congestion on this highway. AB 946 passed the Assembly on May 23 and will be scheduled for a Senate vote before the 2013 session ends.

Tabled for now

Safe Routes Funding. Bill author Tom Ammianio tabled AB 1194. Ammiano’s bill would have allocated $46M to the state Safe Routes to School program. Instead, the state budget approved last June 27, 2013 allocates $44.5M to California’s Safe Routes to School program. This funding, however, is on hold until a stakeholder group decides how to spend the active transportation funds in the state budget.

Flexible design standard for bike facilities. Phil Ting’s AB 1193 languishes in the Assembly Local Government Committee, where it will likely die a slow death.

$6 fee for sustainable communities. Bill author Bloom tabled AB 1006.

Sustainable community school sites. AB 1179 (Bocanegra) was tabled by the Assembly Committee on Local Government.

Immunity for bike lane design. Diane Harkey withdrew AB 738, which would have conferred absolute design immunity on public employees and agencies if an injury or fatality occurs in a bikeway after cyclists statewide objected vociferously.

Drivers license requirements. AB 840 (Ammianio), which once would have required bicycle questions on California drivers license test, was already gutted with amendments anyway before the bill died in committee. DMV policy currently is to include two bicycle questions on the drivers license test already.

Greenway Initiative. AB 745 (Gomez) died in committee.