Finally — the Complete Streets Act (AB 1358), first introduced in February 2007 and then later held in the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been reintroduced and will go before the full California State Senate next week (week of August 4, 2008). The bill was authored by San Francisco Assemblymember and presumptive 3rd District Senator Mark Leno, and its passage will be an important step toward reducing the automotive bias of streets, so that streets throughout California will be safer and more welcoming to all users. AB 1358 defines street users as “motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation.” In particular, AB 1358 requires that the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) set forth guidelines for streets that safely accommodate the movement of all users — this is similar to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Routine Accommodations, but would apply statewide — and it authorizes OPR to consult air quality management districts and transportation planners. In turn, when cities and counties revise the circulation element of their General Plans, they would do so in accordance with the updated OPR guidelines. Passage of AB 1358 will help California fulfill AB 32’s mandates for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which General Plan updates must now take into account — and it will lead to the creation of more livable streets throughout California.
An idyllic complete street; courtesy AARP.
If you live in California, contact your State Senator to express support for this bill, and pass the word onto others so that they can do the same. Mailed or faxed messages are preferred instead of telephone or email if possible, but communicate the message however you can before next week. Let’s get this bill through the Senate, onto the Governor’s desk, and signed into law. You can write a personalized message, or you could just adapt this template, conveniently provided by the California Bicycle Coalition:
Honorable [your State Senator’s full name]
State Capitol, Room [your State Senator’s room number]
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: [your State Senator’s fax number, if sent via fax]
Senate Floor Alert
Re: Support AB 1358 (Leno)
I join the California Bicycle Coalition in urging you to vote YES for AB 1358, the Complete Streets Act, because it will require cities and counties to design roadways that make bicycling and walking safer, more feasible modes of transportation. As non-motorized transportation modes, bicycling and walking can help solve a variety of the problems California faces: traffic congestion, poor air quality, the threats from climate change, and worsening public health. It is imperative that roadway design enables motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to travel safely. AB 1358 will result in roads that serve all users, not just motorists, as is now too often the case.
Thank you for supporting this landmark legislation to help make California cities more livable.
[signature, followed by your printed full name and address]