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.

CA Bike Summit

This weekend has been full of inspiring ideas from the movers & shakers in the bicycle world, on local, state, and national levels.

We’re on the right track in SLO County, and couldn’t do it without your love & support! Bikes are on the edge of a BIG renaissance, and we all benefit from it.

As today’s the last day, we’ll be giving you an recap of what went down in the next couple days. In the meantime, here are some pics:
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Advocacy Alert

Take Action, Save Bike Funding!

Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding under Attack AGAIN, Contact your Senators to Save Transportation Enhancements Funding

It’s happening again… Just one month ago, Sen. Coburn (R-OK) failed in his efforts to strip funding for Transportation Enhancements from the six-month transportation extension.

Now, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is taking the lead to destroy Transportation Enhancements. On November 1, the Senate will finalize the transportation appropriations bill. Sen. Paul has proposed an amendment to redirect all funding for Transportation Enhancements to bridge repair.

Send an email to your Senators now to ask them to vote against the Paul amendment that would eliminate Transportation Enhancements. We agree on the need to keep our bridges safe, but the lives of pedestrians and cyclists are important too.

If Sen. Paul’s amendment succeeds, it would eliminate $700 million in federal funding in 2012 that is used to construct sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, trails and other infrastructure that makes our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Even if every penny of these funds is actually diverted to bridge repairs, Senator Paul’s plan will still take 80 years to fix the backlog of bridge repairs we have today. Keep in mind that:

  • The TE program represents less than two percent of federal transportation fund. These projects help alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety, get people active, and create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects.
  • Last year, states gave more than $530 million dollars of bridge repair money back to the federal government last year.
  • Thirteen people died when the Minneapolis bridge collapsed in 2007: since then, close to 20,000 pedestrians and 2,800 cyclists have died on our nation’s highways, largely as a result of poor highway design and a lack of safe non-motorized infrastructure – exactly what TE program was created to fix.

If the Paul amendment succeeds, it will make it much more challenging to sustain funding for TE, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails in the long-term transportation bill that the Environment and Public Works Committee starts debating just 8 days later on November 9.

We must turn back any amendment to strip Transportation Enhancements.  Last month, more than 75,000 messages were sent to Senators to ask them to stand strong for TE. That was an amazing turnout, but we must do better this time. Every time someone in Congress attacks bicycling and walking, we must push back even stronger. And, we will keep doing it until bicycle and pedestrian funding is protected.

This is the third time in a month that a few Senators have targeted Transportation Enhancements, using a different angle each time. It is a waste of the Senate’s time and taxpayer dollars to focus on this small and valuable program when we are in dire need of real and viable solutions to fix our failing transportation system.

Please contact your Senators today to ask them to vote against the Paul amendment (SA-821) to eliminate Transportation Enhancements.

And then forward this message to five others who care about the safety of people walking and bicycling on our streets. Thanks for your help, and for passing this along.

Morro Bay Bike Ed, October 12th

We’ll be hosting a free Bike Ed Workshop in Morro Bay in support of the upcoming Morro Bay Bike Plan! There will be snacks from 5:00 – 5:30 before the workshop from 5:30 – 7:00. No registration is required, families welcome, and we hope to see everyone there.

When: Wednesday, October 12th, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Where: Morro Bay Teen Center, 231 Atascadero Rd, Morro Bay (map)

Why: Learn some basic rules and techniques for riding on the road, it will make your riding experience easier and more comfortable! Plus, it’s FREE.

Advocacy Alert

SLO Named Silver Bike Friendly Community

The League of American Bicyclists recently gave San Luis Obispo the distinction of being a SILVER Bicycle Friendly Community!

The BFC award recognizes City of San Luis Obispo’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. The BFC judges were particularly impressed with San Luis Obispo’s partnership with the Coalition, free bicycle education workshops, increases in the mileage of bicycle facilities, offerings of bicycle parking, a strong community bicycle culture, and many more.

“We are proud of the roadmap that the Bicycle Friendly Community program provides and how San Luis Obispo is using it to build a Silver Level BFC,” said Bill Nesper, Director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program. “We are inspired by the tireless efforts of individuals and groups, from everyday cyclists to city leaders to build great communities for bicycling.”

The application to become a BFC is rigorous and an educational tool in itself; only 190 of the 490 total applicants received a BFC four-year designation.

Special thanks to everyone in the City staff and residents who help make San Luis Obispo a great place to bike. Next step: another SLO County city on the BFC list!

You can read a little bit more about the announcement from KSBY here.

Advocacy Alert

Bicycle & Pedestrian Funding Under Attack

This year, around $700 million of Federal transportation funds, (less than 2 percent of total transportation dollars) will be spent on bicycling and walking.  In 2012 that figure could be A BIG FAT ZERO. Show our leaders that bicyclists are voters too!

Join the Coalition, our state and national partners and call your Senator to let them know you support CONTINUED FUNDING FOR BIKING AND WALKING. The League of American Bicyclists has a simple site to find out who your Senator is, and allows you to easily contact them. We ask that you take just a moment and contact your Senator TODAY.

We have created a simple infographic to outline the importance of this issue, feel free to share with your friends and family: