Advocacy Alert

Morro Bay Bike Plan Moves Forward

Last week, the Morro Bay Planning Commission unanimously approved the latest draft of the Bike and Pedestrian Plan. Next week, Tuesday February 28th, the plan heads to the City Council for a final vote!

We’ll be there on Tuesday night to show our support for the plan, and hope to see you there too! It’s been a great process for you bicycle & pedestrian supporters in Morro Bay, and we’re almost done in getting the plan approved. We hope to see you there as we ask for final approval from the City Council, it’ll be fun!

When: Tuesday, February 28, 6:00 pm
Where: Veteran’s Memorial Building, 209 Surf St, Morro Bay (map)

A Bike and Pedestrian Plan is essential for a community to be eligible for federal funding for future projects. Not only does the plan provide guidelines for bike and pedestrian projects, but it also opens the door for more diverse funding sources to make them a reality.

Advocacy Alert

Save Our Streets: Act TODAY!

We need you to ask both chambers of Congress to save our streets.

The current Senate transportation bill is a serious threat to biking and walking programs. To improve it, we’re asking our senators to vote for the Cardin-Cochran amendment, this will give local governments the freedom to build sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that keep people safe.

In the House, we are asking representatives to oppose the House transportation bill. Despite the fact that walking and bicycling infrastructure is a low-cost investment that creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending, the House bill eliminates dedicated funding for walking and biking.

Contact our leaders TODAY and tell them how important dedicated funding for biking and walking is to you and our future.

Let our Senators know:

  • Safety matters. Bicycle and pedestrian deaths make up 14% of all traffic fatalities, but only 1.5% of federal funds go towards making walking and biking safer. These programs provide funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways that make streets safe for all users.
  • Local governments deserve a voice in transportation. The Cardin-Cochran amendment ensures that cities and counties have a voice in making transportation decisions for safer streets in their communities.
  • Active transportation is a smart investment. Walking and biking infrastructure is low-cost, creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway spending, and is critical to economic development for our communities.

On the other side of Congress, the House is considering a transportation bill (HR 7) that reverses 20 years of progress in making streets safer for people. Despite the fact that walking and biking make up 12% of trips but receive only 1.5% of federal funding, the House bill eliminates dedicated funding for walking and biking. It’s time to defeat this bill.

Tell your representative:

  • HR 7 takes us back to the 1950s by eliminating dedicated funding for biking and walking AND eliminating transit out of the highway trust fund. We need a transportation bill to meet our multi-modal 2012 needs, not auto-centric 1950 needs.
  • HR 7 doesn’t invest wisely. Federal transportation laws should invest our finite resources in cost-effective, efficient infrastructure solutions that create jobs and keep the economy moving. The House bill eliminates walking and biking, despite the fact that walking and bicycling infrastructure is low-cost, creates more jobs per dollar than any other kind of highway funding, and is good for our healthy future.
  • HR 7 makes streets more dangerous for kids. By repealing the effective Safe Routes to School program, the House bill makes the streets more dangerous for kids on their walks and bike rides to school.

Congress needs to know that that finding effective, efficient transportation solutions to keep people safe on the streets should be a national priority. 

Please contact your representative and senators today.

For more information and great updates, visit America Bikes.

Advocacy Alert

New Bill Eliminates Bike/Ped Programs!

New House Bill Reverses Decades of Progress

It’s so much worse than we thought… Today, the House released its transportation bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Act.

Last week, we knew the bill would be bad news for biking and walking. But we didn’t think it would go so far as to completely remove every reference to bicycling and walking in the federal transportation policy. Despite making up about 1% of federal funding and over 13% of fatalities, it’s on the chopping block…

House leadership is pressing to eliminate bicycling and walking in the transportation bill:

  • Transportation Enhancements is gone, the primary source for bike-ped programs
  • Safe Routes to School is gone, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and bike to school
  • Allows states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles
  • The Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program (CMAQ) is less likely to support pedestrian, bicycle, and transit improvements because air quality is no longer the operative measure.
  • Eliminates bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs
  • Eliminates language that insures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled”
  • Eliminates language that specifically includes traffic calming and bike-ped safety improvements as eligible for HSIP funding

But we can still save biking and walking in this bill!

The benefits of biking and walking extend into all aspects of everyone’s life:

  • We save money on commuting costs, which we spend elsewhere
  • We improve our health with every trip we take
  • We reduce congestion on our roads by driving less
  • We reduce our impact on the environment by not creating pollution
  • We connect with our communities by being outside and ringing our bells at our friends as we pass by
  • WE HAVE FUN!

After the bill is out of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee this week, hopefully with some amendments to reinstate bike-ped programs, we will need everyone to contact your Representative before it goes to the House floor for a vote!

If we lose here, we risk losing decades of progress. We know we are asking a lot of you and we thank you for all you’re doing to preserve biking and walking. Tell your friends!

Read more about the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act via AmericaBikes.org

Contact your Representative to ask them to support biking & walking via BikeLeague.org

Find your Representative to contact via AmericaBikes.org

Advocacy Alert

AG Bike Plan Public Workshop

This is your opportunity to affect the future of bicycle and pedestrian travel in and around Arroyo Grande! The Coalition will be there to share our ideas, and encourage you to share your voice too!

When: Thursday February 9th, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Where: City Council Chambers, 215 East Branch St, Arroyo Grande (map)

Why: Your voice matters! Help us shape a better future for bicycles as AG updates the bicycle and pedestrian plan, your ideas are our future!

The brief presentation will begin promptly at 6:00, with the public workshop immediately after. For more information, contact project planner Ryan Foster at (805) 473-5420.

Tools for Schools Meeting

Rideshare is hosting a free Safe Routes to School Resource meeting for anyone who wants to know the Tools for Schools.  The workshop is ideal for current School Champions and new volunteers who want to bring programs to their school. At the meeting you will:

  • Receive information on free local resources to boost your Safe Routes to School Program, including mini-grants, support and more!
  • Learn about other programs in SLO County
  • Get your specific questions answered

When: Tuesday, February 7 2012, 3:30 – 5:30 pm

Where: Community Room at the SLO Library, 995 Palm St, SLO (map)

This is a great chance to bring Safe Routes to Schools programs to your school, allowing our kids a safer, healthier way to get to school.

Advocacy Alert

Do You Have Bicycle & Transit Requests?

Each year, the SLO Council of Governments (SLOCOG)  solicits requests for new and/or expanded bicycle, pedestrian and transit services. This is your chance to have your voice heard as SLO County continues to plan for future projects and programs.

WHO: YOU! (or any resident of SLO County)

HOW:

  • Submit a request online, due by February 8th
  • Submit your request by mail:
    • Attn: Tim Gillham
    • 1114 Marsh St
    • San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
  • Join us at the public hearing, February 1st at 8:30am at the Board of Supervisor’s Chambers at 1055 Monterey St in SLO (map)

We encourage your to share your ideas, in person or online! This is a great opportunity to let our local decision makers know what projects/ideas are important to you, so we can all help make SLO County a better place to live.

More information can be found on the SLOCOG website.

Advocacy Alert

Take Action, Support Complete Streets!

Now is our chance… support Complete Streets nationwide!

While we continue to work to preserve federal funding for bicycling and walking, there is an opportunity this week to ensure that federally funded transportation projects accommodate the needs and safety of all users—including pedestrians and bicyclists. This would be a real chance to see Complete Streets policies enacted in every state.

On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will consider an amendment offered by Alaska Senator Mark Begich to provide safe and adequate accommodations for all users in all federally-funded street projects. This means safer roads for everyone, including those who walk, bicycle, ride transit, and drive cars.

According to the National Complete Streets Coalition: “This important amendment would ensure that future transportation investments made by state Departments of Transportation improve safety for everyone… More than 300 communities — including states, MPOs, counties, and towns of all sizes — have already said they will plan their streets in this manner. With additional guidance and support for Complete Streets from the federal level, these localities will have an easier time building the roads they want – roads that make their communities healthier and wealthier.” (Click here for additional details on the amendment.)

We need you to voice your support TODAY. Please visit the Safe Routes to School’s online action center and have your voice heard! Senator Boxer is on the Commerce Committee, so you will see a letter asking her to vote for the Begich amendment. Senator Feinstein is not a member of the Commerce Committee, so you will see a different letter asking her to co-sponsor Complete Streets legislation.

This is the first time in more than six years that our federal representatives will take a vote on Complete Streets language — please, take action TODAY!

Advocacy Alert

Draft Transportation Bill Ignores Biking & Walking

This past week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer, released draft language for legislation to replace the Transportation Enhancements portion of the federal transportation bill. This is one of the main federal funding sources for bicycling and pedestrian projects and programs.

Biking & walking make up almost 10% of all trips in our country, but are only given 1.2% of federal funding, making it difficult to promote these modes and further increase the health of our communities. As you can see, Transportation Enhancements (TE) accounts for almost 50% of all funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects:

The draft federal bill is disappointing, as we had expected a continuation of dedicated bicycle and pedestrian funding, as promised repeatedly by Sen. Boxer. Current funding has never amounted to more than 1.5% of total federal transportation dollars, but it has produced many improvements in communities nationwide, including many in our own backyard:

  • Bob Jones Trail (Connecting SLO to Avila Beach)
  • Highway 1 Bike Lanes
  • Bike Lanes along Quintana Rd in Morro Bay
  • Bike Lanes along El Camino Real in Atascadero
  • Railroad Safety Trail in San Luis Obispo
  • …and many, many more
These projects are just a few that have been made possible thanks to TE funding, without it, the future of bicycle and pedestrian projects are at risk. In a time where active transportation options are vital for the health of our local economies, populations and communities, we cannot afford to strip their funding.

The draft bill delivers a triple whammy to bicycling and walking:

  1. Competition with highway funding: Bicycle and pedestrian programs (which currently receive their own dedicated funding) would be lumped together into an “Additional Activities” pot of funding, along with expensive highway projects, wetlands mitigation and environmental mitigation.
  2. Less funding available: The funding level for the entire “Additional Activities” pot is equal to less than 1% of the entire bill.
  3. Opt-out provision: The bill provides an incentive for states to not spend the “Additional Activities” funding. If states do not spend this funding for 18 months, they can redirect the funds elsewhere.

As chair of the Environment & Public Works Committee, our own Senator Boxer must fix these problems and support amendments to restore dedicated, committed funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, so we can improve safety and mobility for people who choose to walk and bike.

We thought we would let you know what’s happening on Capitol Hill, and will be sure to keep you updated on any actions you can take to help make sure biking and walking get dedicated funding in the next bill. In the meantime, spread the word to others, keep biking and walking, and we’ll see you in the bike lane!

For a side-by-side comparison of the current and the proposed bills, click here.

To read the official statement from our National partners at America Bikes, click here.