By Melanie Curry, September 12, 2014
Here is Streetsblog’s weekly highlight of California legislation and activities related to sustainable transportation.
With the legislature in recess, Sacramento waits for Governor Brown
to decide on hundreds of bills passed by lawmakers before they left
town. His deadline is the end of this month, and he has begun signing
small groups of bills.
A Win for Bikes on Buses: The governor signed A.B. 2707,
from Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia), allowing 40-foot buses (not
longer) to carry mounted bike racks that can carry three bikes. L.A.
Metro, the bill’s sponsor, will be able to add half again as much
bike-carrying capacity to more than half of its fleet, including new
buses on order, and the new regulation applies to transit agencies
throughout the state. See Streetsblog’s coverage here.
Climate Change Conversation: State leaders held a
symposium in Sacramento this week to pat themselves on the back for
state efforts on climate change. Both former Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and current Governor Jerry Brown spoke at the gathering,
which also featured talks by climate change researchers and business
leaders who are finding ways to thrive under California’s regulations.
The overall themes were: California
leads the world; California needs to do more, and soon; the economy
will not wither and die if we try to fix climate change; and individuals
still do not understand the impact of their individual choices. See Ethan Elkind’s recap of the symposium here.
Bicycling was mentioned twice in the course of the morning. It’s hard
to say whether that’s progress: a life-long bicycle activist I spoke to
afterwards told me there’s a sense that bikes will never be able to
replace long driving commutes and therefore a focus on bikes seems too
small and too slow in the face of the enormity of the climate change
challenge. But Jim Brown of Sacramento Bicycle Advocates had a different
reaction: he was inspired, he said, to focus on what individuals can do
now, and on helping them overcome obstacles to doing it.
I think my colleague Joe Linton has it right:
put a map on your fridge, draw a two-mile (or one-mile) circle around
your home, and commit to walking or biking every trip you make within
that circle. You won’t convince me that enough people taking that one
individual action won’t make a big difference.
High-Speed Rail Foes Prolong Litigation: The Howard
Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the Pacific Legal Foundation, and other
opponents of California’s high-speed rail program announced they will
take their case against the project to the California Supreme Court.
They are appealing the recent Court of Appeals reversal of a lower court’s ruling against the sale of bonds to build the train.