MTC proposes strong regional Complete Streets Policy

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has proposed one of the strongest Complete Streets policies we are aware of in the nation. They are proposing that every project include a bicycle and pedestrian component, that every project applying for funding to MTC complete a “routine accommodation” checklist at the time the grant application is filed, and that bicycle and pedestrian advisory committees review these checklists. Previously, MTC only required projects to ‘consider’ bike/ped accommodation and that only projects awarded funding fill out the checklist, which was too late in the process to make changes and add back bike and pedestrian components. This is awesome news! The East Bay Bicycle Coalition fully supports this new policy and is going to contact all of our MTC Commissioners to ensure their support.

The news is not all good from MTC, though. MTC is proposing to eliminate the Regional Bicycle Program and significantly cut the regional Safe Routes to School program and combine them into Local Streets & Roads funding. We are fighting to keep monies in the Regional Bicycle Program and to increase the funding amount for Safe Routes to School. Your help is needed to defend the Regional Bicycle Program and Safe Routes to Schools, at the March 9 meeting of the Planning Committee of the MTC, 9am at 101 8th St at Oak St at Lake Merritt BART Station. What you can do:

January 13 Update MTC is proposing to eliminate the Regional Bicycle Program and significantly cut the regional Safe Routes to School program and combine them into Local Streets & Roads funds while requiring that these monies be spent in transit-oriented developments (TOD) around BART stations (in the East Bay) and in compliance with Complete Streets Policies. EBBC supports TOD developments and has succeeded in getting 4% of the Measure B Reauthorization dedicated to TOD projects, and we fully support strong Complete Streets Policies. However, we are very concerned that this Plan is taking the Bay Area backwards. In 2005, $1B was allocated to the Regional Bike Network. In 2009, this was significantly reduced by over half. Now, the MTC is eliminating the Program and offering up a new Plan with no guarantees that funding will be used for bike/ped transportation projects. MTC’s December staff report showed that increased funding for the Regional Bicycle Program and Safe Routes to School would reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and help MTC to meet long term climate goals under State law. We need to push the MTC to commit to the Regional Bicycle Program and Safe Routes to School and keep these programs in tact. Overall • The proposals are a big step backward for the health and climate goals for the region’s transportation plan. • The proposals may result in less walking, biking, and more driving, and will hurt our efforts to meet the Bay Area’s goal of a 15 percent per capita reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2035. Safe Routes to School • We oppose the proposed reduction in SRTS funding from $17 million to $10 million. • Safe Routes to School is getting more children walking and bicycling. Increases range from 20 to 200 percent. Children who walk or bicycle to school are more physically active, have better cardiovascular fitness, and lower BMIs. Ensure strong bike/pedestrian projects • Don’t open the door to funding all projects that “provide proximate access” to Priority Development Areas (PDAs). • MTC already removed dedicated bike/ped programs by moving it into block grants targeted at PDAs in the initial proposal. The update further compromises the effectiveness of the OBAG program by allowing road projects outside of a PDA to be funded. • The PDA serving option is too broad and weakens the intent of the PDA, which is to encourage in-fill development and to reach the SCS GHG reduction goals. We want MTC to develop criteria for what “proximate access” to a PDA would mean, to ensure that this “flexible” policy will enable MTC to meet climate goals. Ensure Complete Streets • We appreciate MTC working to ensure that local jurisdictions adopt Complete Streets policies, but the guidance as written is insufficient to ensure we meet our climate change goals. • MTC should provide more specificity to local jurisdictions on how to meet Complete Streets requirements, and ensure checklist elements are specific and completed in advance of receiving applications to ensure project sponsors address the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in their projects.

File attachment: Image icon charlotte.gif complete streets