A Strike Against Walkers and Riders
California Governor Gavin Newsom took a major step back for safer streets this week. He rejected a bill that supported CalTrans prioritizing safety measures for pedestrians and bike riders. Instead, the Governor vetoed the legislation when it came to his desk. This was a grave mistake.
In fact, the action is likely to create severe problems for walkers and bike riders at a time when California’s roads are already unfriendly for them. The state’s system of transport is heavily weighed towards cars already. Furthermore, the motorist-centric approach already inhibits pedestrian traffic in major cities like Los Angeles.
KPIX reported on the stunning news. Pedestrian and bicyclist advocates hoped that the Governor would sign the bill.
May Survive Veto
State Senator Scott Weiner introduced the Complete Streets Bill, or SB 127. Among the many elements of the bill, CalTrans would be obligated to ensure better crosswalks and buildings to support walking, biking, and public transit.
The Governor said, “I fully support improving facilities to increase walking, biking and accessing public transit. However, this bill creates a prescriptive and costly approach to achieve these objectives.”
There was a major disagreement on the issue of cost. Weiner said that his bill may increase the cost of road miles by between $20,000 to $600,000. CalTrans’ estimate was much higher. Weiner believes that the CalTrans estimate was inaccurate. He called it “bogus.”
It is not clear whether the legislature has enough votes to override the Governor’s veto. However, this marks a negative day for California roads. The Governor took an oath to support the safety of all citizens. Supporting better facilities for pedestrians would be a good first step in that process. Furthermore, he did not complete the research needed for such a decision.
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