California WALKS is a statewide organization of affiliated nonprofit and volunteer groups dedicated to creating healthy, safe, and walkable communities. Our mission is to provide a statewide voice for pedestrian safety and walkable communities through policy advocacy, community empowerment, and a growing unified statewide network of local community organizations and affiliates—with particular focus on healthy equity and communities disparately impacted by pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
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While the Active Transportation Program commits $129.5 million for walking, biking, Safe Routes to School, and trail projects in California, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has been charged with developing guidleines for the program–including project selection criteria and performance measures–before any of the money can go out the door.
That’s where you come in! The CTC will be hosting several meetings in October to inform the development of the program guidelines. While Cal WALKS and our partners will be present and providing input at the meetings, we strongly encourage city or county agency staff as well as community-based organizations to participate in these meetings–either in person or via conference call–to provide your perspective on how the Program will best suit your local needs. Now is your chance to make your community’s voice heard!
- Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 1 PM, Modesto, CA, Stanislaus County Administration Building
- Thursday, October 17, 2013, 10 AM, Sacramento, CA, Caltrans Headquarters
- Thursday, October 24, 2013, 1 PM, Santa Rosa, CA, Sonoma County Transportation Authority
- Monday, October 28, 2013, 1 PM, Caltrans District 7 Office, Conference Room A
- Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 1PM, Oracle 488 Almaden Blvd., Room 8094 San Jose, CA
Call-in number and code for all meetings: (636) 651-3128, Participant code: 254585
Walking and bicycling infrastructure will receive a 35 percent boost in dedicated state funding through legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown today. The measure (Senate Bill 99) restructures existing pedestrian, bicycle, trails, and Safe Routes to School programs into a comprehensive $129.5 million Active Transportation Program (ATP), to be administered by the California Transportation Commission.
“California’s new active transportation program demonstrates our strong commitment to bicycling, walking and other human-powered transit,” said Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly. “When Californians have more options for active transportation—including new and safer trails and pedestrian routes—it helps the state achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals while enhancing public health and safety.”
The milestone measure is a product of extensive negotiations between the Brown Administration, the Legislature, and a coalition of statewide non-profits—including California WALKS, California Bicycle Coalition, California ReLeaf, PolicyLink, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy,Safe Routes to School National Partnership, TransForm, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, The Nature Conservancy, Prevention Institute and Public Health Institute. We worked in unison to ensure that the legislation maintained California’s commitment to Safe Routes to School, prioritized disadvantaged communities, and addressed other critical issues. Please read our joint statement on the adoption of the Active Transportation Program here.
What does the new Active Transportation Program mean for walking in California?
Even though walking accounts for 13.5% of all trips taken in California, in the past, there have been limited standalone state and federal funding streams for making improvements to the walking environment. Cal WALKS, working with our active transportation partners, successfully championed changes throughout the ATP legislation to ensure that walking is treated with parity to biking projects. Wendy Alfsen, Executive Director of Cal WALKS, says, “The Active Transportation Program is a gamechanger for improving walkability across California. It presents a tremendous opportunity for communities to pursue long-overdue and much needed investments to make it safer and more enjoyable for all Californians to walk.”
Key Features of the Active Transportation Program
The Active Transportation Program will be divided as follows: 40% distributed on a population basis to and administered by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs); 10% administered by the state to small urban and rural regions on a competitive basis; and 50% administered by the state on a competitive basis open to eligible applicants statewide.
Our coalition successfully advocated for the state to maintain a minimum of $24 million per year, for the first three years of the program—cementing California’s continued national leadership in Safe Routes to School. This minimum funding floor will come from the state share of the ATP and effectively maintains level state funding for Safe Routes compared to prior years of the state Safe Routes to School program. Of this $24 million, $7.2 million will fund non-infrastructure programs—including the state Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC)—that support education, community engagement, evaluation, and traffic enforcement. Safe Routes to Schools projects will also be eligible under the regional share of ATP funds, as well as for funds beyond the $24 million floor in the state share—presenting a key opportunity for Safe Routes advocates to secure an unprecedented amount of investment in making it safer and more enjoyable for California’s children to walk and bike to school.
Cal WALKS also worked closely with PolicyLink, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, California Convergence, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and many other health equity advocates to ensure that disadvantaged communities—the communities most at-risk for pedestrian injury/death and transportation-related pollution and other impacts—are not left out in the cold. The ATP guarantees that a minimum of 25% of all ATP funds must benefit or be located within a disadvantaged community.
What’s next for the Active Transportation Program?
The California Transportation Commission is charged with developing new guidelines for the new Program in collaboration with non-profit organizations, local and regional governments, and the public within 6 months of enactment. Cal WALKS and our statewide partners will be closely monitoring and providing input and recommendations to the guidelines development as part of the Active Transportation Program Workgroup. The Program guidelines must tackle some difficult issues left unanswered in the legislation, including: determining project selection criteria and scoring for different project types; ensuring a wide array of varied project types are selected; defining “disadvantaged community”; addressing barriers to successful applications from disadvantaged communities; and providing Program guidance to regional MPOs and other agencies that is not overly restrictive but advances the goals of the overall Program among many others. Please stay tuned for updates on the guidelines process and for opportunities where YOU can weigh in!
Lace up your shoes ’cause it’s time for WALKtober! As the leaves change and temperatures cool down, October is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy your community on your own two feet. Our partners all across the state are hosting some awesome walk events, so check out californiawaks.org/walktober for all the details. And if we’re missing your event, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list. Get out, get active, and enjoy!
Cal WALKS Twitter Feed
- Make Your Voice Heard on Active Transportation Program Guidelines!
- Active Transportation Program Signed by Governor Brown!
- WALKtober Events Across California!
- Walking Principles for the Active Transportation Program
- Bay Area Walk/Bike Advocates Win Reforms to MTC’s Transportation Development Act, Article 3 Guidelines to Include Pedestrians!