electrical bike Invoice to Streamline Transit, Bike, Pedestrian Initiatives Sails By way of to the Governor – Streetsblog California
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At the moment, on the final day of a loopy busy legislative session, a bill from Senator Scott Wiener that aims at making planning and building clean, sustainable transportation projects handed its closing vote within the Senate and is headed to the governor for his signature.
Governor Newsom has till the tip of September to signal or veto it.
S.B. 288 mainly acknowledges that sure sorts of transportation tasks – that assist make transit extra dependable and quicker, for instance – don’t trigger detrimental environmental impacts. The invoice would exempt sure transportation tasks from having to endure a time-consuming, costly course of simply to show this, when on the face of it their final impact could be to decrease emissions.
“S.B. 288 will leap begin and pace up sustainable transportation tasks like gentle rail and bus lanes, protected streets infrastructure like protected bike lanes and pedestrian security tasks, and EV charging stations for buses,” wrote Senator Wiener in an announcement. “It is going to try this by including these tasks to the listing of CEQA statutory exemptions to speed up most of California’s sustainable transportation tasks and make their approval and building processes extra streamlined and cost-effective. It’s also an financial restoration invoice that might make it simpler to construct necessary infrastructure tasks and create jobs.”
The invoice’s provisions would solely be in impact for just a few years, till 2023, which imposes a fairly strict deadline. Most such tasks take a really very long time to plan, so this invoice could also be most helpful to tasks which are already within the works, or already embarking on the lengthy California Environmental High quality Act evaluation course of.
Gwen Litvak, of the Bay Space Council, one of many invoice’s sponsors, referred to as S.B. 288 a “no-cost stimulus” invoice, saying “there are tasks able to go, and a must get these tasks going.”
“We want to have the ability to transfer safely exterior,” she mentioned, “and we have to get extra folks biking and make it possible for bus service is extra reliable, extra dependable, and quicker.”
S.B. 288’s CEQA exemptions would apply to pedestrian and bicycle amenities like lanes and sidewalks, buyer data and wayfinding tasks (for transit riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians), and transit prioritization tasks. They might additionally apply to changing current freeway lanes to bus-only lanes, creating bus fast transit and light-weight rail tasks together with stations, and zero-emission charging infrastructure.
Additionally: tasks that cut back minimal parking necessities, which have been shown to encourage driving, could be exempt.
To earn the exemption, tasks need to be in urbanized areas, inside current rights of manner, and can’t embrace any enhance in capability for automobiles. They usually can not contain demolishing any reasonably priced housing items.
The invoice would lengthen an identical current exemption for bicycle plans till 2030, and exempt these plans from having to mitigate impacts they’ve on automotive site visitors.
An early model of the invoice – which is relative, because it was solely launched in June – included an exemption for changing freeway lanes for use for carpool or toll lanes. That was eliminated on the suggestion of the Meeting Pure Sources Committee, and it was a vital deletion. Now the invoice focuses solely on transit, bike, and pedestrian tasks, giving no exemption for automotive journey.
It’s a tiny starting in the direction of balancing the scales.