Moses Trujillo said it best when testifying in support of SB127. "My mom won't let me walk to school alone, even though I'm in the 6th grade, because it's too dangerous." Moses has to cross a very busy throughfare called Ashby Avenue to get to school, an avenue which runs right near a freeway. Too dangerous to walk is a common view by most parents and individuals who would like to reach their destination by this alternative mode.
His testimony was among many in front of the hearing for SB127, which received a resounding "YES" from the Assembly Transportation Committee.
This bill will require CalTrans when working on highways to include infrastructure for people walking and biking and taking transit along them. While the bill passed, there were many concerns brought up by the committee. Some of the concerns voiced by the committee, including the Chair, were:
Senator Weiner, who sponsors SB127, reminded those on the committee that the bill does not introduce anything new. CalTrans already includes pedestrian and bicycle projects but the problem is that implementation is not consistent or structured. It sometimes happens and sometimes doesn't.
- whether the bill would take away from the maintenance of the California State Highway projects to do this.
- whether SB127 is just a sneaky way to augment the existing Active Transportation Program.
- whether it would change the way highway funding works now by prioritizing walking and biking over widening freeways.
SB127 will force the implementation to be more consistent, but only applies to certain highways -- not limited access freeways -- that run through populated areas (places where people live, work and go to school). Bottom line: it addresses the areas where people want to walk and bike safely.
The bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee with 8 yes votes with the rest abstaining or saying "no."
This is a positive step for safety in populated areas and for those who choose to walk or bike to work.
The assembly is on recess until August, so stay tuned for the next step...