Another active Bike Month pedals to a close

CalSTA celebrated another successful bike month with the adoption of the first statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan, Toward an Active California. The plan lays out lays out policies and actions to support active modes of transportation in order to achieve Caltrans’ ambitious goals to double walking and triple bicycling trips by 2020, and reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities by ten percent each year.

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The Bike and Ped Plan made its debut at the Capitol Bike Fest

Released just weeks after the Road Repair and Accountability Act provided an additional $1 billion for Active Transportation Project grants, the plan aims to fulfill the six goals outlined in the California Transportation Plan 2040, and introduces 15 strategies and 60 actions that are specific to active transportation. At the core of the plan are four objectives: safety, mobility, preservation, and social equity. bike ped plan For more details about the plan, please visit www.cabikepedplan.org.

In addition to the plan, Caltrans districts across the state participated in local Bike to Work week activities and discussed active transportation planning in their region.

Caltrans District 4 was out in Oakland to talk about bicycle-focused infrastructure.
Caltrans District 6 participated in National Bike to Work Day
CHP and Caltrans District 11 staff participated in a Bike to Work ride in Old Town San Diego
Caltrans District 12 staff participated in a Bike to Work ride in Santa Ana

Chipper even got in on the fun during Bike to Work Week!

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Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty also went on his annual Director’s bike ride where staff from the state, county, and cities toured bike infrastructure in the Sacramento region and discussed more bicycle-focused transportation planning.

The Director also participated in a multimodal field trip with Streetsblog CA to talk about the new bike and pedestrian plan, taking the Capitol Corridor from Sacramento to Emeryville and then riding across the Bay Bridge. For more on their adventure: http://cal.streetsblog.org/2017/05/26/a-multimodal-field-trip-in-honor-of-cas-new-bike-and-pedestrian-plan/

California continues to advance its goals for a more active transportation landscape across the state.

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New Sustainable Transportation System Envisioned

For generations, people have come to California to live and work in one of the most vibrant and diverse places on Earth.  Our transportation system supports our quality of life by providing residents access to opportunities and delivers goods to market.  However, the livability and economy of California faces new challenges in the era of climate change — and the transportation system must do our part to reduce these threats to our environment and health.  Per the requirements of Senate Bill 391 (2009), this is the first California Transportation Plan (CTP) published that provides a pathway for our sector to help meet our State climate goals.  Fortunately, climate goals can be achieved while providing Californians with what they most seek from the transportation system—quality mobility choices to reliably get them to their destinations.

With approved Sustainable Communities Strategies, our regional partners are already leading the way towards transportation and land use patterns that will provide cost-effective transportation solutions and also improve livability in our communities.  Such regional plans value efficient land use by locating more housing closer to job centers and recognize consumer demand by proposing to invest in multiple modes.  This CTP 2040 builds upon these regional efforts and articulates how the State will reinforce them and take further state-level action to build a more sustainable future.  The CTP 2040 has six overarching goals:

  • Improve Multimodal Mobility and Accessibility for All People
  • Preserve the Multimodal Transportation System
  • Support a Vibrant Economy
  • Improve Public Safety and Security
  • Foster Livable and Healthy Communities and Promote Social Equity
  • Practice Environmental Stewardship

Each goal has a series of related implementation strategies to reach the goals over the next twenty-five years. By 2040, California will have completed an integrated rail system linking every major region in the State, with seamless one-ticket transfers to local transit.  Responding to the desires of millennials and aging baby-boomers alike, we will further invest in complete, safe pedestrian and bicycle networks.  Through the CTP 2040, we reiterate a “fix-it first” approach that will improve operations and lower maintenance costs for our highways, roads, and bridges.  In partnership with sister agencies, we are advancing a California Sustainable Freight Action Plan to support the freight economy and meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.  We will continue to support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and other technology innovations.

Achieving the goals of the CTP 2040 will take significant effort and deep partnerships with regional, local and tribal governments. However, the plan and associated modeling demonstrates California can achieve a low carbon transportation system that meets State policy objectives of livable communities, economic growth and emission reductions.   We encourage all our partners to review the plan, and find opportunities to align their own actions to support a sustainable transportation system.

The CTP 2040 is available at http://www.californiatransportationplan2040.org

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Wes Lum with his fold-up bicycle. Showing how fold-up bikes are used during mass transit.

SVBC Bike Summit: Interview with Keynote Speaker Kate White

In case you missed it, Silicon Valley Bike Summit’s Emma Shlaes interviewed Kate White, the Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination here at the California State Transportation Agency, on her thoughts about her role at CalSTA, the agency’s top priorities and her bike riding habits. Kate will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 Silicon Valley Bike Summit on August 11 in Mountain View, CA.  Read Shlaes full interview with Kate below:


 

To provide a safe, sustainable, integrated, and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.

Sound familiar? No, it’s not SVBC’s mission, but Caltrans’. The agency recently underwent reorganization and a call for change via the State Smart Transportation Initiative report on Caltrans. Since then, the Governor and other leaders have been pushing California’s major transportation agencies to lead the way to safe and healthy transportation networks. This includes goals to triple bicycling rates and double walking and transit rates by 2020.

In July 2013, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) was created. Before that, transportation was one of the forty-six departments under the California Business, Transportation, and Housing agency. Many of those departments have now gone away or been consolidated. The new-ish CalSTA is now one of ten agencies in the Governor’s cabinet and has the key transportation, safety, and mobility departments underneath it: Caltrans (with the largest budget and number of employees), Department of Motor Vehicles, California Highway Patrol, High Speed Rail, the California Transportation Commission, Office of Traffic Safety, and a few smaller offices. CalSTA still liaises with the housing department, because housing and transportation are inextricably linked.

That’s where Kate White comes in. We are excited to have Kate, the Deputy Secretary of Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination for CalSTA, as our keynote speaker for the 2016 Silicon Valley Bike Summit. We sat down with Kate recently to understand her role, the various agencies’ involvement in transportation planning, and how they impact our region.

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Kate White (right front), CalSTA Secretary Brian P. Kelly (left front) and other members of the CalSTA staff ride their bicycles to work during May is Bike Month.

Question: What is your role as the Deputy Secretary of Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination at CalSTA?

KW: My charge is to align the environmental policies of California with our transportation sector, including planning priorities for infill instead of sprawl, natural resource conservation, and reducing emissions. About 60-70% of my job is working with Caltrans: how can Caltrans contribute toward those environmental goals in everything they do? For housing coordination, I work with housing departments and convene a monthly transportation and housing workgroup, which is a forum for policy leads at the various agencies to meet and go through plans every month.

Question: What are the top priorities and projects for CalSTA and Caltrans? 

KW: One priority is to do everything we can from the transportation sector side of the world to support the sustainable communities strategies that all the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) adopted after SB 375 passed in 2008. We are looking at all the policies and practices across our departments, whether that’s CHP enforcement of traffic laws, to DMV’s driver handbook, to Caltrans’ design manuals, to high speed rail’s business plan: what can all of these transportation efforts do to help reinforce the sustainable communities strategies? The new regional transportation plans incorporating the new strategies are a major shift from how regional transportation plans had been done for decades. Now with SB375, land use and greenhouse gas reduction targets have to be part of the equation. There are summaries of this in the California Transportation Plan 2040 [released last week]. Sales tax measures are also changing too, to better support biking and walking safety infrastructure projects. [The Bay Area’s regional transportation plan is Plan Bay Area.] The state is here to support and reinforce your plans, not to come in and tell you what to do. We gave the Air Resources Board the authority to set targets in coordination with MPOs. Strategies have a lot of flexibility in how you get there, whether transit-focused or emphasizing new shared mobility or focused more on land use/bike/ped/shorter trips, etc.

Another one of CalSTA’s major priorities is advancing high speed rail (HSR) per the new business plan, which is very exciting for Silicon Valley because we are going north first to Diridon from the Central Valley (“Valley to Valley”). The Caltrain electrification will help double capacity on Caltrain corridor in the short term and in the long term HSR will be able to run on the same tracks. This serves dual goals: rail modernization in California as well as the seamless integration with regional and local transit and biking and walking connections. Our objective is to have a mode shift in California and provide viable alternatives to long or short car trips.

Caltrans has a new Strategic Management Plan 2015-2020 with some very ambitious and realistic goals in there. We have a new mission: To provide a safe, sustainable, integrated, and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability. We want to be much more sustainable, integrated with local transportation systems and bike/ped networks, more efficient with dollars spent, and be part of enhancing livability of California. There are five overarching goals, number one goal is safety and health and active transportation is part of that.

What are some ways your agencies promote bicycling and walking throughout California? 

KW: We take part in the Health in All Policies Taskforce (HiAP), which falls under the Strategic Growth Council. It’s a cross agency task force that has initiatives to integrate health into state policies and practices. One of the focus areas is active transportation, which has been really helpful in bringing some of the departments together to prioritize this work. For example, the DMV is making changes to the handbook and training to better incorporate considerations of biking. HiAP has also helped to inform the California Transportation Commission on active transportation and making sure that disadvantaged communities, health, and equity are incorporated into the Active Transportation Program.

The Active Transportation Program funds biking and walking projects and programs around the state and is one of the largest pots of money for this work in the country.

Caltrans’ traffic operations division has a new bike and pedestrian safety initiative. We’ve seen reductions in car crashes on the state highway system, but an increase in bike and pedestrian collisions on highways. This project is putting together maps of all the hotspots across the state and then working with the local jurisdictions to see what improvements can be made. [Note:Rachel Carpenter from Caltrans will be speaking on this topic at the Summit!]

Tell us about your bike and where you like to ride.

KW: I’ve ridden a bike since I was eight. Now I mostly use a bike for transportation, riding in suits and dresses around the capital. I have a step-through frame bike so my dress doesn’t get caught up in the wheel. I’ve been biking a lot more since I moved to Sacramento three years ago. The biking in Sacramento is really quite pleasant: there’s good existing infrastructure and Sacramento is working on the Grid 2.0 project, making one-way streets two-way and adding bike lanes. It is also great having the American River bike trail nearby – it’s thirty miles of uninterrupted trails; you don’t pass a car once. The trail starts in downtown Sacramento and goes all along the river then all the way to Folsom to the foothills. An adopt-a-trail program keeps up the trails with different sponsors contributing. On the weekends, you’ll see tons of families and kids. Incredible amenity. I go out there about once a month.

To read this post on the SVBC website, click here.

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California Transportation Agency Gears Up for Bike Month; State Continues Push to Expand Active Transportation Options

Sacramento – California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly and members of his staff kicked off the “May is Bike Month” statewide employer challenge with a group ride into work this morning.  The Agency is committed to encouraging alternative modes of transportation and hopes other Departments and Agencies will join the Bike Month challenge.

“May is Bike Month” is an annual competition that promotes bicycling in California by allowing employers and individuals to log commute, errand and recreational bike miles during the month of May. In 2014, state agencies and departments recorded more than 550,000 miles of cycling during the month.

According to a recent survey by the League of American Bicyclists, Californians are increasingly embracing bicycling as a healthy and environmentally-friendly transportation mode.

California recently moved from the nineteenth to the eighth most bike-friendly state. As of 2014, the state ranked fourth nationally for the percentage of travelers who commute by bike. Since 2005, Californian commuter cyclists have increased by 64 percent.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is committed to pushing the state’s biking numbers even higher. The most recent Caltrans Strategic Management Plan – a five-year document that acts as a roadmap for innovation and modernization in the department – lays out ambitious targets for increasing active transportation in the state. By 2020, the plan would see statewide bicycle usage triple and pedestrian and transit usage double.

A number of programs are underway to help the state meet those goals.

Significant funding support is provided through the Active Transportation Program.  Created in September 2013 with the signing of Senate Bill 99 (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2013) and Assembly Bill 101 (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2013) by Governor Brown,  the ATP consolidated a number of federal and state programs with a focus on making California a leader in active transportation.

In 2015, the ATP provided approximately $215 million in funds for 114 Statewide and Small Urban and Rural program projects. An estimated 88 percent of the funding directly benefits disadvantaged communities. An additional $143 million in ATP funds went to 93 Metropolitan Planning Organization projects.

Project applications for the next round of funding are being accepted through June 15. Approximately $240 million in state and federal funding is available. For more information, including guidelines to apply and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/cycle-3.html.

In addition to the ATP, the state is also exploring opportunities to integrate complete street design– making streets accessible and safe for all modes of transportation, not just cars – into regular road rehabilitation programs. In 2014, Caltrans released the Complete Streets Implementation Plan 2.0, which included 109 action items to enhance the state’s multi-modal transportation network to meet the needs of all users. Caltrans’ Main Street California is one example of an informational toolbox for designing State Highway main streets in a manner that promotes multimodal access, livability and invigorates the vitality of local communities.

Los Molinos
State Route 99 runs through Los Molinos as a main street and connects two major population centers in the area, Chico and Redding. Caltrans initiated a successful traffic calming project on the busy roadway. The addition of bold markings, colored and textured concrete and flashing lights now allows cyclists and pedestrians to more safely cross the busy street.

Another important piece of the complete streets effort, is Caltrans’ development of a State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. This comprehensive plan would be the first-ever state plan dedicated to supporting active modes of transportation and safe bicycling and walking in California. The document will serve as a guide for connecting intercity rail to public transportation, accommodating bicycles and pedestrians on the State Highway System, and supporting local government efforts to develop save active transportation networks.

For more information on “May Is Bike Month,” including the latest mileage data, visit: http://www.mayisbikemonth.com

Active Transportation Program Call for Projects Now Open

SACRAMENTO – The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) is excited to announce that project applications for the Active Transportation Program (ATP) Cycle 3 are now being accepted. Approximately $240 million in state and federal funding is available for projects that encourage the use of active modes of transportation, like biking and walking.

In March, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved the final 2017 ATP guidelines. Applicants can apply for the funding through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The application period closes June 15.

The ATP was created in September 2013 with the signing of Senate Bill 99 (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2013) and Assembly Bill 101 (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2013) by Governor Brown. The ATP consolidated a number of federal and state transportation programs into a single program with a focus on making California a leader in active transportation.

In 2015, the ATP provided approximately $215 million in funds for 114 Statewide and Small Urban and Rural program projects. An estimated 88 percent of the funding directly benefits disadvantaged communities. An additional $143 million in ATP funds went to 93 Metropolitan Planning Organization projects.

A few of the projects selected during the last cycle include:

• Approx. $1.5 million for Safe Routes to Schools safety improvements and a community outreach program for kindergarten through eighth grade in Humboldt County, California.
• Approx. $600,000 for a pedestrian connection project at Rio Vista Elementary School in Contra Costa County.
• Approx. $400,000 for the development of an Active Transportation Plan in the greater downtown district of the city of Stockton.
• Approx. $400,000 for the Pico Rivera Regional Bikeway Project in L.A.

For more information, including guidelines to apply and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/cycle-3.html. For more information on projects funded in Cycle 2, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/cycle-2.html.

Governor Brown is Funding ‘Active Transportation’

The Sacramento Bee published the following piece by California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. It is included in full below:


The Brown administration created the nation’s largest Active Transportation Program in 2013, dedicated to providing about $120 million each year to develop safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities in communities throughout California. The program was designed to move such investment from the periphery of the state’s transportation funding strategy toward the center, assuring that the state is meeting mobility, health, safety and environmental objectives.

That’s why it’s so puzzling that Daniel Weintraub (“Brown’s roads budget is bad for environment and heath,” Viewpoints, Jan. 19) says that Gov. Jerry Brown “proposes almost nothing to promote ‘active transportation’ – human-powered movement through neighborhoods and cities on bikes and on foot that are better not only for the environment, but also for our health.”

This assertion bears no resemblance to the reality of the Brown administration’s transportation strategy.

Our program has been a major success. Since its inception, the California Transportation Commission has approved funding for 472 bicycle and pedestrian projects throughout the state, including the 19th Street BART to Lake Merritt Urban Greenway project in Oakland, the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Hub in Los Angeles and the Edinger Protected Bike Lanes project in Santa Ana.

In addition, the Brown administration continues to invest hundreds of millions in cap-and-trade dollars in public transit and sustainable community development projects that include transit and pedestrian safety.

California is leading the nation in bicycle and pedestrian facility investment. The governor’s proposed budget for active transportation projects brings the total programmed since 2013 to about $720 million. Moreover, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research just issued proposed changes to CEQA guidelines designed to make bicycle and pedestrian projects easier to permit and construct.

Contrary to Weintraub’s suggestion, a hallmark of the governor’s transportation investment strategy is good environmental stewardship and smart climate change policy. Since 2012, the administration’s investment priorities have been in clean vehicles, public transit, high-speed rail, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and “Fix-it-First” projects to repair existing streets, roads and bridges.

These investments are not antithetical to smart climate change policy, but are necessary to implement it.

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