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Safety and access on CBC's 2011 legislative agenda
"We plan to make California the most bike-friendly country in North America," announced Dave Snyder, the CBC's Relaunch Director/CEO, tongue in cheek, in describing the organization's agenda for 2011. An important step toward that goal is the CBC's ambitious legislative program for the coming year.
California would become the nation's largest state to require motorists to pass bicyclists by at least three feet under a bill co-sponsored by the CBC and the City of Los Angeles. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed the bill after he was injured last summer in a fall from his bike that involved a passing taxicab.
"We're very fortunate to be working with a high-profile big-city mayor and former Assembly Speaker who can speak from personal experience about the need for safer roads," said Snyder. Sixteen states have 3-foot passing laws.
Traffic signs, signals and pavement markings govern all roadway users, yet only motorists are guaranteed a seat on the Caltrans committee that sets standards for them. Working with Assemblymember Toni Atkins, the CBC proposes reforms to the operation of Caltrans and its standards committee, known as the California Traffic Control Devices Committee. "Motorists aren't the only ones who use the public roads, and the committee that sets standards for roads should understand that," said Snyder.
This summer could see the end of court-approved diversion programs that send bicyclists cited for certain traffic offenses to bike safety classes in lieu of paying a fine. As of July 1, a new law will limit traffic diversion programs in California to those provided by DMV-licensed traffic schools. The Marin County and Sonoma County bicycle coalitions would have to cancel their programs, and other groups around the state considering such programs would miss out on the opportunity to reach their constituents with important safety education.
The CBC will work with San Francisco Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and the DMV to make sure this problem is fixed before these programs have to be discontinued.
The CBC recently contracted with Sacramento lobbyist Will Gonzalez to handle its legislative agenda during this year's legislative session. Gonzalez's other clients include Facebook, which hired him last year as its first state lobbyist.
|2011 National Bike Summit|
|Carrying the message to Washington|
As leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to make substantial cuts to federal transportation spending, the CBC is recruiting the biggest California delegation yet to attend the 2011 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., on Mar. 8-10.
With the election of a new Republican House majority last fall, which included the defeat of Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, the bicycling movement's leading champion in Congress, the political landscape in Washington is dramatically altered. House Republicans want to redirect federal transportation spending toward highway construction, eliminate federal subsidies for Amtrak, and end the leading federal funding program for public transit, among other major cuts.
"We need California bike advocates, especially those from Republican House districts, to join us in Washington and tell their elected representatives why federal funding for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, passenger rail and public transit continues to promote job creation, improve the public's health and safeguard the environment," said CBC Relaunch Director/CEO Dave Snyder.
To register for the National Bike Summit, visit the League of American Bicyclists website. The CBC is scheduling Capitol Hill visits and offering a limited number of free homestays in Washington, D.C., for Bike Summit delegates. For information about visiting congressional representatives, contact the CBC at 916-446-7558 or email@example.com. For information about homestays, contact Dave Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Complete Streets Act takes effect|
California's Complete Streets Act, sponsored by the CBC, took effect Jan. 1, just days after the Governor's Office of Planning & Research issued implementation guidelines for the new law in late December.
Signed into law in October 2008, the act calls on cities and counties, when updating those portions of their general plans relating to streets and traffic, to ensure that all roadway users are being accommodated.
"Issuance of these guidelines marks another big victory for the CBC and its efforts to make the public roadways safer for everyone," said CBC President Chris Morfas. "This is a 'long-tail' victory whose impacts will be felt for decades to come."
The guidelines urge consideration of such things as bike lanes, bike boulevards, improved traffic signal timing, lower motor vehicle speed limits and improved transportation system planning so that the needs of people on bikes or on foot aren't an afterthought in the planning process. The CBC worked closely with OPR in developing the guidelines.
"The initial version of the guidance is a good start," said Morfas. "In the future the CBC and its allies will apply emerging research and best practices to ensure that the guidance reaches its full potential to help communities improve the quality of the cycling environment."
To date more than 200 state, regional and local government jurisdictions, including three counties, seven cities and one metropolitan planning organization in California, have adopted Complete Streets policies, ordinances or guidelines.
|Around the state|
|Glendale bike-ped plan moves forward: City transportation, parking and planning commissioners have recommended approval of a plan for increasing bicycling and walking in Glendale. The city's draft "Safe and Healthy Streets Plan," developed under contract by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, calls for improving bicycling and pedestrian facilities, adopting a Complete Streets policy, working more closely with schools, and establishing a bike co-op. Next month the city's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission will review the plan.
New North State coalition: California's newest bike advocacy organization is the Shasta Cascade Bicycle Coalition. Advocates in Shasta County last month approved the name and mission for the new organization. In a part of the state known primarily for recreational cycling, bicycling as everyday transportation is on the rise.
Ciclovia proposed for Sacramento: Bike advocates in Sacramento want to hold a ciclovia this May, during the annual regionwide May is Bike Month campaign to promote bike commuting. Plans by the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates would make the state capital California's fourth large city to host an event where traffic along a designated route is temporarily limited to those not traveling in a motor vehicle. Los Angeles held a ciclovia last October along a 7.5-mile route that attracted 100,000 people.
Funding OK'd for rail line purchase: Last week the California Transportation Commission approved $14.2 million in funding to enable Santa Cruz County to buy a 34-mile rail line for a rail-and-trail system to be shared by passenger trains, bicycles and pedestrians. The culmination of a 10-year campaign, the vote followed a dramatic price and funding compromise reached by the county and the Union Pacific Railroad during the meeting.
Gratitude: New CBC database
Many thanks to San Francisco database consultant Nancy Botkin for helping the wheels of statewide bike advocacy turn a little faster and more smoothly. Nancy designed a new FileMaker database for the CBC and helped move our data over from various Excel spreadsheets. The new system lets us to keep track of donor and contact information much more efficiently. You're great, Nancy!
Web design: Do you have talent and experience as a web designer and some time and energy to help us communicate more effectively? We need help moving our website to WordPressa project that includes designing WordPress page templates. Click here for a full project description. For more information, contact CBC Communication Director Jim Brown at 916-446-7588 or email@example.com.
Database clean-up: We're looking for one or more detail-oriented volunteers to help with the critically important task of cleaning up our data. We recently combined data from many Excel spreadsheets into FileMaker and now we want to make sure it's as complete and organized as possible. What you get: a CBC membership valued at $75. This work can be done remotely. To learn more, contact CBC Relaunch Director/CEO Dave Snyder at 916-251-9433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 5, 12, 19 & 26: Spoke Folk Cyclery Film Festival
Feb. 6-11: Solvang Winter Break 2011
Feb 11: Post-Car Adventuring Book Launch Party
Feb. 12: Tour de Palm Springs
Feb. 13: Rice Valley Tandem Rally
Sponsored by Chico Velo Cycling Club
Feb. 24: Bridge the Bay Benefit
A benefit for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition
Feb. 25: Complete Streets for Los Angeles Conference