More bike bills for California in 2013: Dedicated Safe Routes funding, Sustainable Communities vehicle registration fee, the highway shoulder as a bus lane, and flexibility in bikeways design.
On Monday, I posted on four bills under consideration by the California legislature that directly affect cyclists. A few more bills snuck under the wire of last Friday’s legislative deadline after I wrote that overview.
Allow buses to drive in the shoulder. Mark Stone from my hometown of Scotts Valley introduced AB 946, which allows buses from Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) and the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (Santa Cruz Metro) to drive on the shoulders of certain state highways. I don’t believe this affects cyclists in Santa Cruz County, where busy state highways with bus routes and substantial shoulders are mostly limited access, but I can see how this can possibly endanger cyclists in Monterey County. With passage of this law, the bus can overtake congested traffic, which is a common occurrence on many state highways through Monterey County. Cyclists commonly ride in the shoulder of State Routes 1, 156, 183, and 68.
$6 vehicle registration fee for sustainable communities. Existing law stipulates the creation of a Sustainable Communities Plan by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). Richard Bloom from Santa Monica submitted AB 1002 to increase the vehicle registration fee by $6 and to fund the Sustainable Communities process “to prepare and adopt a regional transportation plan directed at achieving a coordinated and balanced regional transportation system, including, but not limited to, mass transportation and highway, railroad, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities and services.”
Sustainable communities and school siting. Raul Bocanega from Los Angeles tacks on school siting requirements to the Sustainable Communities Strategy through AB 1179. His bill amends the Sustainable Community Strategy law by adding a requirement that local planners identify future school facilities sites, with an emphasis on sites that enable pupils to walk to school.
Safe Routes to School Funding. Under the Federal MAP-21 transportation funding law and California’s Active Transportation Fund proposed for the 2014 state budget, the Safe Routes to School program lost all dedicated funding. Tom Ammaniano proposes a budget of “not less than” $46 million with AB 1194
Industry standard bikeways design. Nobody seems to know what to make of Phil Ting’s AB 1193. Here’s the text of the bill:
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Statutory provisions impose on local agencies a mandate to follow obsolete standards for the design of bikeways, while they permit the application of industry standards for the design of local streets, roads, and highways.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would authorize all city, county, regional, and other local agencies responsible for the development or operation of bikeways or roadways to exercise the same discretion in the design of their bikeways that they exercise in the design of local streets, roads, and highways.
Last year, AB 819 gave transportation planners the same leeway on bike designs that they have for road design. I think AB 1193 might be an attempt to approve the NACTO Urban Bikeways Guide for use in California.
That girl needs her saddle raised!
AB 819 did not give transportation planners the leeway to design modern facilities. Rather, it set up a procedure for experimentation while retaining Caltrans control of all bikeway design. I agree that the language seems fuzzy, but it may be an attempt to terminate Caltrans control over bikeways. Regions, counties and cities can design roadways using planning and engineering judgement and best practices, but cannot do the same with bikeways.
Thanks for bringing AB 946 to my attention, Richard.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no reason for people on bikes in Monterey County to be concerned about AB 946. My understanding is that MST buses would only use this on the freeway portion of Highway 1 between Marina and Seaside through Fort Ord. As you know, there is a parallel bike/multi-use path adjacent to the freeway in this area.
I believe there are also signs posted on the freeway in this area that bicycles are not permitted. This is as good op to remind folks to watch for “no bikes” signs on freeways, as VC 21960 allows for. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21960.htm When people need alternate routes, see the Bicycle Maps section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.
As with Santa Cruz bicyclists and the Santa Cruz Metro, Monterey County bicyclists are partners with MST in working together to get more people out of private vehicles more often, by making use of bike racks on buses. People can find tips on using the MST buses in the Bike-and-Ride section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.
Thanks again, Richard.
Thanks for the follow up, Mari. I agree that this bill makes sense for the limited access parts of state highways.