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|Around the State|
|LA City Council adds 3-foot passing bill to its legislative agenda|
The Los Angeles City Council has approved a state legislative agenda for 2011 that includes a bill to require motorists to stay at least 3 feet away from bicyclists when passing. The city asked the CBC for help with drafting the bill last summer. The bill was suggested at the bike summit hosted by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa after he broke his elbow in a fall while riding his bike to work. This summer the city also unveiled a public information campaign to encourage safe passing.
The CBC introduced legislation to enact a 3-foot passing distance in 2006, but opposition from the California Highway Patrol and the trucking lobby killed the proposal during legislative hearings. The backing of Villaraigosa, a former speaker of the California Assembly, could improve chances of passage for a bill this time around. Sixteen other states have enacted 3-foot passing laws.
Meanwhile, the city has released a revised draft of its bicycle master plan to kudos from local bike advocates. The positive reception is welcome news for the city, which took considerable heat from advocates about an earlier draft unveiled last year.
An update of a 1996 bike plan that has been readopted twice since then, the draft plan calls for installing nearly 200 miles of new bike lanes over the next 5 years, increasing the city's total bike route mileage to 1,680 miles over the life of the plan. The plan also contains proposals for educational programs and bike support activities like parking and maintenance as well as law enforcement.
Bicycling up 58% in SF
A count of bicycles passing 33 locations throughout San Francisco in August showed a 58% increase in bike ridership since 2006. Ridership increased annually by between 3 and 25 percent during that period.
The gains are particularly noteworthy because they occurred during the 3-year period when San Francisco's updated bike plan was suspended under a court injunction. The injunction was lifted in August, freeing the city to move ahead with plans to add 34 miles of bike lanes to its 45-mile network.
Caltrans installs its first bike box
This month Caltrans District 5 and the City of San Luis Obispo unveiled a bike box at the intersection of Madonna Road and Higuera Street on State Route 227 on the south edge of downtown San Luis Obispo. It's the first bike box installed on a state highway in California.
The California Traffic Control Devices Committee OK'd installation of the bike box last spring as an experimental facility. City and Caltrans planners will monitor the intersection to see what proportion of motorists obey the new lane markings. Bike boxes are already in use on city streets in Long Beach and San Francisco.
More officers to receive training on bike laws
Starting next June, all police academies in California will begin training future officers on the portions of the California Vehicle Code that define the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists. The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, also known as POST, announced the new curriculum early this month. All bicycle patrol officers in California receive extensive training through POST, but other officers are not routinely trained specifically on bike-related traffic laws.
Bike co-op to open in Chico
Chico may soon have its own community bike shop, the city's first. Community bike shops, also sometimes called bike bike co-ops or bike kitchens, are nonprofit organizations or collectives that enable cyclists to perform their own bike repairs.
The shop's founder, Ron Toppi, who also works at the Chico Natural Foods Co-op, is soliciting donations of money, bike parts and tools for the shop, which will be located on the south edge of downtown Chico. California is home to more than 25 community bike shops.
Shasta County towns to get more bike racks
Local businesses, the city of Redding, Caltrans and a local public health program are partners in a project to install bike racks throughout central Shasta County. The locally designed and manufactured racks are being placed near businesses in Redding, Anderson and Shasta Lake. Bicycle traffic counts conducted last September showed an 80% ridership increase at key intersections in Redding since last year.
Is bike licensing becoming a thing of the past?
The San Jose City Council has repealed that city's bike registration requirement in place since 1974. The city concluded that the ordinance wasn't being observed. During 2008-09, when some 22,000 bikes were purchased in San Jose, the city collected just $636 from bike licenses.
In Long Beach, City Councilman Ron Garcia has proposed making the city's bike registration requirement voluntary. The proposal is meant to ease tensions between cyclists and police, who cited participants in a recent Critical Mass ride for registration violations, among other alleged offenses. Garcia has asked the city to report on whether the registration requirement is serving the city's cyclists.
Appeals Court upholds mitigation rule that could lead to more bicycling
Developers in the San Joaquin Valley must mitigate the air quality impacts of new large development projects. Last week the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Ninth District upheld a lower court ruling that found the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's mitigation rule is legal. Builders filed a federal district court challenge to the rule in 2007.
The rule gives developers the option of minimizing a project's construction and traffic-related emissions by paying a mitigation fee or by adding bicycle lanes, building walkable shopping into the project and building near public transit, among other steps.
|First nationwide parking space count shows high environmental costs|
UC Berkeley researchers estimate there could be 800 million parking spaces in the U.S. - three for every car and truck on the road - and that energy and materials used to build them have significant impacts on air and water quality. The study grew out of research aimed at measuring the environmental impact of America's transportation infrastructure. Existing data only accounted for 100 million metered parking places, excluding free spaces on streets, driveways, and parking lots.
"Ninety-nine percent of automobile trips end in free parking," wrote lead author Mikhail Chester, "and this has a major effect on people's choice of what means of transportation to take."
|CBC hires full-time executive|
The California Bicycle Coalition has hired Dave Snyder as its first full-time executive in more than 4 years. Snyder will lead efforts to secure substantial long-term funding, strengthen relationships with bike industry allies and the local bike advocacy community, and increase California's influence in national bike advocacy.
The founding executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Snyder took the CBC position early this month after stepping down as CBC president in November. In addition to having formed two other advocacy organizations since leaving SFBC, Snyder previously worked for the Thunderhead Alliance (now called the Alliance for Biking & Walking) as an executive and organizational development trainer for bike advocacy organizations.
"The recent midterm elections signaled a sea-change for the national transportation agenda," said CBC president Chris Morfas. "Fifteen years of gains for bicycling nationwide are now under serious threat. This couldn't be a better time for us to have someone with Dave's skills."
"As an experienced and enthusiastic advocate with a successful track record of promoting bicycling for nearly 2 decades, Dave is a great pick to lead the CBC," said Deb Hubsmith, director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
The CBC received more than $30,000 in large donations this year and a $30,000 Alliance for Biking & Walking grant to help cover the initial cost of hiring an executive director. The CBC has an office and one other full-time staff member in Sacramento.
Local advocates attend 'mini-summit'
Early last month CBC board members and staff met with representatives from local bicycle coalitions serving Los Angeles, Marin, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, San Francisco, the East Bay and Silicon Valley to explore ways to strengthen bike advocacy in California and plan for the 2011 legislative session.
The local advocates made it clear they look to the CBC to provide technical assistance for local advocacy efforts and take the lead on a statewide legislative agenda that reflects issues important to local advocates. Increasing the number of California advocates who attend the 2011 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., was one of the near-term priorities identified by the group.
CBC and local advocates hope to convene a larger statewide bicycle summit later next year in Los Angeles.
|Rides & Events|
|Borrego Springs |
Jan. 1: Borrego Springs Century
Contra Costa County
Jan. 1: Mt. Diablo New Year's Day Ride to the Top
Sponsored by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition
Jan. 7: RIDE-Arc
Jan. 13: Going Dutch: Creating a bicycle-dependent city
Sponsored by the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association
Jan. 15: 2011 Stagecoach Century
Jan. 15: Architecture Ride: The Reid Brothers in SF
Sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Jan. 16: California State Cyclocross Championships