The streets we travel on make up over 20% of our city, and are one of our biggest assets. Our streets move people, goods, and services and are essential infrastructure for our economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial how we manage and use this public asset, at the core of economic resilience, social equity, health and environmental sustainability.
Read our full letter HERE #TransportationMatters #SafeStreets
How we manage our streets – or ignore them – will move us either toward environmental justice, economic recovery and climate resiliency or away from those vital community and city goals. Our goals must be prioritized, clearly, in all plans and efforts to create solutions appropriate to equitably resolve the budget crisis caused by Covid-19.
Please join us and share your support with Santa Monica City Council. Information, email addresses and template can be foundHERE.
While the City suffers catastrophic shortfalls, we should not use a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed to balance new budgets. Let’s be strategic and thoughtful with “restructuring” that reduces costs and bureaucracy while retaining essential capacity that builds confidently on the foundation and programs that our public roadways and investments afford us as they advance us to a vibrant and full recovery.
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We are pleased to support the appointment of Interim City Manager Lane Dilg last Saturday, April 18th, and her Plan for a Bright Future. We sent her a warm supportive welcome, along with this critical input on the budget recovery crisis being faced by the City of Santa Monica.
Santa Monica’s economy depends on a functioning transportation network that safely moves people, goods and services. Current proposed budget cuts will be destructive to transportation work, will disable basic functions, and slow our safe recovery from this pandemic. Transportation staff, infrastructure and services are classified as essential government functions* and perform vital functions that literally keep our community running safely. These cuts will damage safety and the very fabric of services and programs that we depend on living in Santa Monica.
Do you know all the vital services the Transportation and Mobility Division continues to provide on a daily basis, including now during this time of crisis? Learn here
Please join us and share your support with Santa Monica City Council. Information, email addresses and templatecan be foundHERE.
Our Santa Monica streets are our largest public space, over 20% of our landmass, and one of our biggest assets. Our streets move people, goods, and services and are essential infrastructure for our economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial how we manage and use this public asset, an essential public safety function at the core of economic resilience, social equity, and environmental sustainability. The critical function of managing our streets is confirmed by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 that classified transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions.*
Movement of goods and services, customers or clients is critical to economic recovery. In the near-term, accommodating the movement of people and goods will need to be extremely dynamic to adapt to “the realities” of the post COVID-19 emergency. Efforts to rebound and support our local economy (businesses, employers, restaurants, retail shops, etc.) depend on maintaining and adjusting critical transportation infrastructure and services in real time, not on a delay of days or weeks due to insufficient staff.
Santa Monica’s Transportation Department pays for itself in revenue generation (grants, programs, plan check and permit fees). It operates signals and roads on which we all depend. Transportation work assures public safety and economic activity– providing essential fiber optic network infrastructure, signal timing with regular adjustments, and Opticom first-responder systems. Proactive maintenance of these systems ensures faster response to emergencies and responsive, timely data-driven decision-making.
These essential life saving functions are under threat with extreme plans to cut over half of the City Transportation and Mobility Division compared to 20-40% across other departments. While we can only imagine the stress and burden of decisions weighing on City Council, this level of cuts would severely impact basic public safety and infrastructure operation functions, wounding our city’s ability to rebound fiscally from the COVID-19 crisis. It is imperative to be strategic. We must consider the holistic dynamic relationships, dependencies and functions that contribute to safety, economic stability and regrowth. While the City suffers catastrophic shortfalls, we should not use a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed to balance new budgets. Council needs to take time to cut costs strategically, while maintaining essential staff that would facilitate a safe and secure path to economic recovery and resilience.
Transportation – Mobility – facilitates access to jobs, particularly for a local green economy, and access to education, childcare, culture, healthcare, food and services. Access is essential to all of Santa Monica’s residents, businesses, schools and visitors. Access is essential to our economic recovery. Santa Monica must have sufficient transportation staff capacity in order to maintain essential cost recovery services and retain competitiveness to identify new revenue opportunities. Mobility staff are crucial in the implementation of plans and permits to get the City back open for business.If we don’t take care of our transportation needs as we recover, we will quickly run into roadblocks to financial recovery. Multi-modal transportation infrastructure facilitates our community’s safety goals and environmentally sustainable mobility, and also creates revenue streams that ensure resources to manage this invaluable public asset necessary for a true economic recovery.
Transportation’s self-supporting, even revenue-producing function must retain capacity to be nimble to identify new and expanded revenue streams and other emerging opportunities for grant funds, as well as repackaging of projects to capture the stimulus funds that will certainly be coming for infrastructure post shelter in place orders. Budget concepts currently under consideration threaten Transportation staff’s capacity in two main ways and jeopardize years of future economic and environmental progress. First, excessive budget cuts would severely impact the City’s ability to maintain current essential operations that support short- and long-term economic recovery, and second, hasty cuts deteriorate the ability to capture new and emerging opportunities for revenue streams necessary to manage our roads, an important and valuable public asset. Unfortunately, ironically, the use of most of our valuable public land is given away for free! That is a mistake sabotaging our recovery. With staff capacity there are proven 21st-century solutions to get us to a speedy recovery.
In Santa Monica we get thousands of personal and business deliveries each day. Delivery services make no fiscal contribution to defray the cost to us of their impact on roadways, curbsides, sidewalks, or other infrastructure that they use to do business. With increasing market share, e-commerce, rideshare and delivery services are receiving an ever-increasing subsidy with the free use of this public asset. Simultaneously, they divert revenue from our local brick-and-mortar businesses. Council should direct staff to pursue tools, even a tax if needed, to have the biggest users pay their fair share, and to help manage control over local impacts.
Passenger and courier services are adding convenience at the cost of increased GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and traffic congestion with more VMT (vehicle miles traveled) and local trips — often with erratic driving behavior and dangerous maneuvering that adversely impact safety in our community. These services make money using our streets while diminishing our community’s safety. Council should strengthen our efforts to invest in strategic regional partnerships with LA to enable local fees that provide revenue to enhance safety and our ability to manage our assets locally.
Since California’s stay-at-home orders went into effect, Santa Monica’s streets have become increasingly deadly. Drivers are responding to open roads with increased speeding that endangers not only our physical safety but also our community’s wellbeing. With resources, Mobility staff can pull from a toolbox of approved mitigations and strategies to temper safety impacts as we rebound from shelter in place orders. As we emerge from this COVID-19 crisis, experts project increased traffic congestion, which has proven to have negative economic impacts and negative safety impacts. Such impacts are already being experienced in cities beginning their own recoveries. Reduced access to less frequent public transportation will temporarily remain due to the continuing need to maintain safe physical distance during recovery. Access to mobility options is crucial to our essential workforce and to our rebounding economically. Without mobility options, there will be increased single-car trips and traffic congestion choking off our economic recovery.
Giving up on our goals to reduce gridlock would harm our economy, our safety, and our environment. As we recover our economy, we need Council to fulfill its commitment to public safety with Vision Zero. We cannot abandon our City’s adopted goals even when facing catastrophic budget pressures. We must remain vigilant and committed to the ethos of Santa Monica, maintain staff capacity, and put into action creative solutions to curb unsafe behavior and to reinvest in programs vital in our path to economic recovery.
Santa Monica competes with other cities for regional, state and federal transportation dollars. Post crisis stimulus funds are anticipated for infrastructure. Applications will be increasingly competitive in the post crisis arena: staff must have capacity to be ready to capture funding opportunities. Cities that are prepared and well-positioned to receive these funds will, without doubt, perform better in economic recovery. Being ready means having shovel ready projects with continued investment in multi-modal street projects. Being ready means being competitive for securing these funds.
How we manage our streets – or ignore them – will move us either toward environmental justice, economic recovery and climate resiliency or away from those vital goals. A sophisticated multi-modal system of people, goods and services moving throughout the city contributes to growing a healthy economy while reducing the 64% of Santa Monica’s GHG emitted by fossil-fuel travel. We are at a momentous time to shift old habits and capitalize on previous fiscal, sustainability and climate investments and the momentum of productive programs underway. Programs that contribute to our economic resilience are integral to improving safety, community wellbeing, and meeting our local and state climate commitments. A community that is vibrant, safe and supporting environmental sustainability is one with a strong economic recovery.
Commitment to supporting equitable access is essential to Santa Monica’s recovery. Santa Monica’s staff manages critical transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions, which directly contribute capacity to healthy economic growth. Transportation infrastructure and planning services combined with multi-modal mobility are the very foundation of a thriving, resilient economy based on public safety, equity, and sustainability.
Let’s be strategic and lean on staff expertise for thoughtful “restructuring” that reduces costs and bureaucracy while retaining essential capacity that builds confidently on the foundation and programs that our public roadways and investments afford us as they advance us to a vibrant and full recovery.
SB 127: Gov. Gavin Newsom VETOES “COMPLETE STREETS” BILL
SACRAMENTO, Calif.– Late this evening, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the Complete Streets for Active Living Bill (Senate Bill 127) championed by Sen. Scott Wiener.
The bill would have required the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to consider bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements when it repairs or repaves state routes that serve as local streets. This bill aimed to ensure state roads that run through local communities (e.g. 19th Avenue in San Francisco, Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, San Pablo Avenue in the East Bay, Santa Rosa Street in San Luis Obispo) are safe for people to walk, bike and use wheelchairs along those routes.
The Complete Streets for Active Living Bill had strong and widespread support. A recent poll found that 78% of California voters support a policy requiring safety improvements when improving a road. They want children to be able to safely walk or bike to school. Hundreds of schools exist within a half-mile of a California State Route and these streets remain some of the deadliest in the state.
Linda Khamoushian, Senior Policy Advocate, California Bicycle Coalition,: “Gov. Newsom’s decision blatantly ignores the immense support for this critical policy change. People risk their lives everyday just to walk or bike along dangerous state-owned streets. Without more aggressive complete streets policies, our transportation system will continue to operate business as usual. SB 127 was a rare opportunity to create livable streets for everyone. This decision was ill-informed by the faulty cost estimates from Caltrans that were proven illogical based on actual practice, and unfortunately will only perpetuate distrust without resolution. Communities demanded better from the Governor, but now are left in the dust.”
Jamie Morgan, Government Relations Regional Lead, American Heart Association: “Californians want safer, more livable streets that support local businesses and local jobs. They want the ability to walk and bike safely. By vetoing SB 127, Gov. Newsom missed out on the opportunity to create more livable streets for our children, our residents and our communities.”
Tony Dang, Executive Director, California Walks: “We are appalled by Governor Newsom’s decision to derail SB 127 despite overwhelming support by the public and the Legislature. Families and children deserve to be able to walk, bike, and cross their community’s local and main streets without fear–the veto of SB127 lets Caltrans off the hook and leaves the safety of our vulnerable residents to chance.”
Margo Pedroso, Deputy Director, Safe Routes Partnership: “The Safe Routes Partnership is so disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed the Complete Streets for Active Living Bill into law. As SB 127 made its way through the legislative process, it became clear that legislators understood this bill would create safe routes for everyone when Caltrans repaired state highways in populated areas. This legislation was a common-sense and cost-effective way to get more kids and families walking and biking to school safely when those schools are located next to state highways.”
COMPLETE STREETS BACKGROUND
In California from 2007-2013, nearly 1.7 million people were injured in traffic incidents, including 95,758 while walking along or across the street. In those crashes, 22,117 people were killed, with pedestrians accounting for one-fifth of the total persons killed. The problem is often concentrated around Caltrans roads that go through low-income neighborhoods where more people get around via transit, biking and walking.
Caltrans often claims to make streets safer when they repair them. But in practice, they prioritize fast traffic over the communities demanding more livable streets almost every single time. The Complete Streets for Active Living Bill would have brought safety improvements necessary to stop the killing and maiming on state-owned roads.
SB 127 Co-Sponsors: California Bicycle Coalition, California Walks, American Heart Association, AARP, Safe Routes Partnership
Contact: Linda Khamoushian, California Bicycle Coalition, 916-668-9401, firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Dang, California Walks, 510-464-8052, email@example.com Jamie Morgan, American Heart Association, 916-431-2359, Jamie.Morgan@heart.org David Azevedo, AARP, 626-616-9539, firstname.lastname@example.org Margo Pedroso, Safe Routes Partnership, 301-292-1043, email@example.com
Supporting Organizations: 350 Bay Area Action, 350 Silicon Valley, Active SGV, American Lung Association in California , Alameda County Transportation Commission, Berkeley Climate Hub, Bicycling Monterey, Bike Bakersfield, Bike Concord, Bike East Bay, Bike San Diego, Bike Santa Cruz County, Bike SLO County, BikeVentura, California Alliance for Retired Americans, California City Transportation Initiative/NACTO, California Democratic Party, California Interfaith Power & Light, California Park and Recreation Society, California ReLeaf, CALSTART Inc., CALPIRG, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton, Cedars, Center for Climate Change and Health, Central California Asthma Collaborative, City Heights Community Development Corp., City of Encinitas, City of Half Moon Bay, City of Long Beach, City of Los Angeles, City of Oakland, City of Sacramento, City and County of San Francisco, City of Santa Monica, City of San Luis Obispo, Climate Action Campaign, ClimatePlan, Climate Resolve, Coalition for Clean Air, Coalition for Sustainable Transportation-Santa Barbara, Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, Costa Mesa Alliance for Better Streets, Compton Unified School District, Cultiva La Salud, Davis Bike Club, Day One, East Bay Recreational Park District, Elders Climate Action (NorCal), Environment California, Fossil Free California, Inland Empire Biking Alliance, Investing in Place, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, La Verne Bicycle Coalition, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Local Government Commission, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Lyft Inc., Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Move LA, Napa County Bicycle Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Office of Mayor London Breed – San Francisco, Orange County Bicycle Coalition, Office of the Mayor, San Francisco, Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition, Planning and Conservation League, PeopleforBikes, PolicyLink, Public Advocates, Redwood Community Action Agency, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Rural Counties Representative of California, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Transportation Municipal Agency, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Planning Department, SFBA Families for Safe Streets, Santa Monica Spoke, Save The Bay, Seamless Bay Area, Shasta Living Streets, Sierra Club California, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, Sunflower Alliance, Transform, Transportation Agency for Monterey County, Trust for Public Land, Vision Zero Network, Walk Bike Berkeley, Walk & Bike Mendocino, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, Walk Sacramento, Walk San Francisco, and Walk Long Beach.
Santa Monica Spoke joined CalBike and 80+ organizations in support in support of Complete Streets Bill SB 127. Collectively we believe that local streets should include safe space for people who walk, bike or scoot, not just fast-moving cars. We have support from major cities as well as rural/suburban, along with endorsements from elected officials. Many of you have been posting, retweeting, blogging, and putting out action alerts. This has resulted in hundreds of calls and nearly 2500 emails to the Governor’s office.
If you agree, please email Governor Newsom and ask him to sign the Complete Streets Bill, SB 127. This bill will require Caltrans to serve the interests of all road users when it repairs or repaves local streets it controls.
Caltrans has resisted this bill. Governor Newsom needs to hear from you that you want Complete Streets today!
SB 127 has been sitting on the Governor’s desk waiting for a signature (and attention among all the rest of the headliners) – at this point we know he is hearing about the issue and may be briefed as early as tomorrow. But the Caltrans fiscal impact issue still looms. While Calbike and Coalition partners have provided information to counter the Caltrans inflated estimate and the Dept of Finance flawed analysis, we still have convincing to do, especially pointing to the degree of need.
Time for a big push directed at the Governor. There are multiple posts on the CalBike twitter page you can retweet, or create your own as some partners have done (thanks, Transform!). Please tag @CAgovernor @GavinNewsom and @ScottWiener, and #SB127 and #completestreets.
Tell Governor Newsom to sign SB 127, the Complete Streets Bill.
The more people who email Newsom, the more he’ll know that the people of California are holding him to account when he says “If anyone is wondering if climate change is real, come to California.”
(Feel free to customize the email with your own experience of riding and walking on Caltrans streets!)
Thank you to all of you who emailed Governor Newsom and asked him to sign the Complete Streets Bill! Now, we’re joining California Bicycle Coalition and safe streets partners in ramping up the pressure to pass this bill for safer biking and walking on local streets that Caltrans controls.
Caltrans is too often an obstacle when local communities try to create livable streets. Please call Gov. Newsom and ask him to sign SB 127, the Complete Streets for Active Living Bill. Call (916) 445-2841 right now!
State your name, zip code, and that you are calling to urge the governor to support SB 127. Here are some additional talking points: • SB 127 is the most-cost effective way to make our streets safer. • SB 127 is a sensible law that will require Caltrans to follow its own Complete Streets policies. • If you are serious about tackling climate change, we have to make it easier and safer to bike, walk, and take transit. SB 127 will do all that.
Caltrans is too often an obstacle when local communities try to create livable streets. Tell Governor Newsom to sign SB 127 for safer streets. Call him at (916) 445-2841 now.
P.S. Every call makes a difference. Please call Governor Newsom now at (916) 445-2841.