Archives for category: Bicycling
Image taken from the L.A. Times (without permission).

Image taken from the L.A. Times (without permission).

65th District Assemblymember Young Kim has introduced a bill that would prohibit a controversial plan to add toll lanes to Interstate 405 without direct approval by voters. The move would prevent the addition of a toll lane to the freeway as part of Measure M2-funded improvements, which already include extra lanes in both directions on one of the most congested highways in the state. Arguing that Caltrans “does not have the legislative authority to own or operate toll lanes anywhere in the state,” and that no mention of tolls appeared in the ballot language for Measure M2, the half cent sales to fund transportation improvements, Ms. Kim introduced AB 1459, to require a two-thirds majority approval by voters before any “toll facility” could be built in Orange County.

The OC Register, who endorsed Young Kim for her seat last year, disagrees with her, contending that by transforming the existing carpool lane into one that still allows carpools but also allows single driver vehicles to use it for a fee, freeway traffic will move faster. The Register even acknowledges that the scheme smacks of double taxation, except that “use of these lanes would be entirely voluntary.”

Like her predecessor, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Young Kim sits on the Assembly Transportation Committee. Sharon Quirk-Silva supporter Vern Nelson over at the Orange Juice blog recently recalled that last year Ms. Quirk-Silva and fellow Democrat Tom Daly both allowed a similar bill penned by Allan Monsoor to “quietly die in committee last year by boldly abstaining (so as not to piss off the dread Teamsters and Building Trades who see toll lanes as a makework slush fund.)”

What’s a Republican to do when a left-wing blog supports her bill but the right-wing county newspaper doesn’t?

Here is one suggestion: Instead of rearranging the deck chairs on our Titanically dysfunctional freeway system, why not focus on long term solutions that include mass transit? If we can devote $15.8 billion to widening freeways, why can’t we upgrade our bus system to optimum functionality, and add bike infrastructure to get more drivers off of the road in the first place?

Sharon Quirk-Silva will host a fundraiser next week to kick off her bid to reclaim the 65th Assembly seat in 2016. The Rag challenges both candidates to identify ways to fund mass transit for commuters, instead of arguing over how to spend money to alleviate perennially congested automobile traffic.

Measure-M-2-Mailer

A mailer supporting the renewal of Measure M in 2006 promises a bridge across SR-57 near CSUF. Perhaps they meant to put it at the bottom of the list?

 

Eight years ago Fullerton residents received this mailer urging them to renew Measure M, the county-wide half cent sales tax adopted by voters in 1990. Funds from Measure M, and M2, as the renewal became known after voters passed it in 2006, have been mostly used for widening streets. But some funding was steered toward mass transit and at least one project was supposed to have been built to benefit cyclists and pedestrians.

Measure-M-2-Mailer-low-res-crop

Voters a approved “Measure M-2,” but we never got our bridge.

At the bottom of the lengthy list of promised projects to benefit Fullerton residents is a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the 57 Freeway next to Cal State Fullerton. The bridge would provide a direct transportation path to the school for numerous students and others living to the east on the other side of the busy freeway. Bicycle paths at the school currently run north and south, but riding east or west on Nutwood Ave on the south side of CSUF or Yorba Linda Blvd. on the north side can be dangerous because of the onramps and off ramps of the freeway itself on both streets.

57-Bridge-Map

Imagine all of the students who could walk or bike to school from the other side of the freeway instead of having to drive the short distance.

While many of the other projects promised on the mailer have either been completed or are in process, the bridge over the 57 Freeway seems to have been all but forgotten. Supervisor Shawn Nelson discussed the bridge two years ago during a Bicycle Summit meeting, but nothing concrete seems to yet be in the works.

Anaheim-Bike-Map-Hand-copy

Anaheim has plans for three bridges across freeways. Where is Fullerton’s promised Measure M funded bridge?

Meanwhile, the City of Anaheim recently hosted a visioning session with a hired consultant where cyclists had the opportunity to provide feedback about various street modifications and other measures planned to make the streets of our neighboring city safer for bicycle riders. Their plans include no fewer than three freeway bridges. These funds will come from grants. But what happened to Fullerton’s bridge over the 57 Freeway that was supposed to have been paid for by Measure M 2 funding? It’s a good question to ask Orange County Transportation Authority representatives who will on hand Wednesday, August 27 at 6:00 pm. at the Fullerton Community Center for a public meeting about the OC Bike Loop project.

The Fullerton Community Center is located at  340 W. Commonwealth Ave.

3-foot-sign-full-BW

A 3 foot passing sign from Georgia, which is somehow ahead of California on this issue.

Earlier this week the California State Senate approved SB 1371, a bill that would require drivers to maintain at least three feet of space between their vehicles and a bicyclist they are passing in the same direction on the road. Twenty-one other states in the country have already passed similar laws. The California State Assembly approved the three foot passing law in late August.

The bill’s passage in both the Senate and Assembly is good news for advocates of safe bicycling across the state because it defines an easily recognizable distance between bikes and cars for both drivers and cyclists who might not otherwise be aware of how to safely share the roads. According the California Bicycle Coalition “Passing-from-behind collisions are the leading cause of bicyclist fatalities in California.”

SB 1371 acknowledges that unfavorable road conditions may make three feet unavailable to drivers, in which case vehicles would be required to slow to a reasonable speed to pass safely. But State Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, whose district includes Fullerton, doesn’t think drivers can accurately estimate a distance of three feet. In the video link below Senator Huff argues that “Estimating distance even from a static location is difficult at best, it’s impossible when you’re in motion,” as if drivers of motor vehicles would somehow be unable to reliably gauge the familiar measurement of a yard while passing a bicyclist on the road.

Bob-Huff-3-Foot-Law

Click this image to hear Sen. Bob Huff explain why he does’t think drivers can judge whether or not their car is three feet away from anything else on the road (20 seconds into the video).

The purpose of the bill, of course, is to provide drivers with the understanding of a safe distance for passing a cyclist, and to cite those who neglect to allow enough room, or worse, deliberaly speed by cyclists to intimidate them.

Assemblywoman Sharon-Quirk Silva should be commended for her support of AB1371, unlike her predecessor Chris Norby, who voted against an almost identical bill in 2011.

%d bloggers like this: