Earlier this week, Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-San Gabriel Valley) introduced legislation that would require cities to start planning for safe streets and walkways for cyclists and pedestrians if they aren’t already doing so.
SB 932 would require a county or city to map its serious injury network in its master plan and identify and prioritize safety improvements within fifteen years that would address serious traffic accidents. It would also create an annual grant program to award funds to jurisdictions that implement timely and effective short-term efforts to mitigate bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities.
The legislation is backed by a handful of advocacy groups, including Streets For All, ActiveSGV, Calbike and Streets Are For Everyone.
“Overall city plans in California have often been very car-centric when it comes to their road network,” said Michael Schneider, founder of Streets For All, in a report. “That all changes today, with Senator Portantino’s landmark bill that would integrate multimodal thinking into the planning process, helping to make our streets safer for all modes and combat climate change.”
The bill has already passed two procedural votes and should be referred to the transportation committee.
“It’s undeniable: California needs safer streets. And, despite efforts over the past few decades to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, many of our streets have become more dangerous over the years,” said Senator Portantino. “Data-driven plans to address this serious issue are needed to save lives and encourage more people to walk and cycle to their destinations.”
While Portantino has been a reliable supporter of green initiatives, he has more recently become a champion of street safety after cycling for exercise during the pandemic. In the past six months alone, Portantino has led a community bike ride as part of the “No Gas SoPas” campaign, showed off his thirty-mile New Year’s bike ride on Twitterand introduced this legislation.
Too many safety plans on paper never end up on the street, which is why the grant program is essential to the success of this legislation. “An annual grant program to cities for implementing effective ways to mitigate injuries and deaths is a good step forward and will bring about positive change for our communities,” Portantino pledged.
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