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Posts by: "Jaime Fearer"

Jeanie Ward-Waller, Cal Walks Board President

Jessica Meaney, Cal Walks Board Secretary

 

As members of the Board, we are so excited about the future for California Walks! The Legislature just passed a huge funding bill, SB 1, that will nearly double the state’s ability to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, and multi-use paths with $100 million more through the Active Transportation Program. California Walks received nearly $1 million this year from the Office of Traffic Safety to add three new staff and provide invaluable planning resources to 20 local communities to improve walking. We’re poised for huge growth for walking in California!

We’re particularly thrilled for the future under the leadership of our great friend, Executive Director Tony Dang. We have both worked closely with Tony for the last five years, and have collaborated with him on some incredible work. Tony is a hard-working, smart, and visionary leader, and needs the support of a strong board to keep pushing for change.

That’s why we are asking YOU to join us on the board! We need your help now more than ever, to take advantage of all the new opportunities to make California a truly walkable state.

Please fill out an application today to join the California Walks Board, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

Thanks!
Jeanie Ward-Waller and Jessica Meaney
President and Secretary, California Walks Board of Directors

**UPDATED: Applications are due no later than Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 5:00 pm PT.**

Apply to join a diverse group of ten youth aged 16-23 in Sacramento to learn how to advocate for state policies that promote safer streets and better public transportation. The youth in the Walk and Bike Youth Leaders Program will expand their knowledge of advocacy strategies, complete a PhotoVoice project documenting their neighborhood’s current biking and walking conditions, and present at the California Bicycle Summit in Sacramento in October 2017.

As a youth leader, you will learn how to make your community and state a better, safer place to walk and bike and gain experience that will boost your education and career opportunities. You will build relationships among youth leaders across the state, and help shape the program for future youth leaders as part of the very first cohort. You will earn a $200 stipend and the opportunity to tie your experience in the program to the broader pedestrian and bike safety movement.

Applications are due no later than Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 5:00 pm PT.

We seek youth with unique experiences and a strong desire to make their communities better, safer places to live. Persons of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, persons with disabilities, persons who have lived in poverty, ex-offenders, and people fluent in more than one language are strongly encouraged to apply.

This is a joint statement from California Walks and WALKSacramento.

Last Monday a uniformed Sacramento police officer violently arrested Nandi Cain, Jr., after stopping Mr. Cain for “crossing the street unlawfully near the intersection of Cypress Street and Grand Avenue in North Sacramento.”

Dashcam video of Nandi Cain, Jr., “jaywalking” from Systemic Failure

From the police dashcam video, it is clear that Mr. Cain was crossing lawfully at an unmarked crosswalk. According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC)—which comprises the state’s traffic laws—and Sacramento City Code, pedestrians are legally permitted to cross at marked and unmarked crosswalks, meaning all intersections unless otherwise prohibited.

Unfortunately, this incident highlights a greater issue in Del Paso Heights and across Sacramento’s underserved communities. According to the Sacramento Bee, the Del Paso Heights police district has been responsible for more than two-thirds of jaywalking citations issued, with half going to African-Americans who only make up 15% of the city’s population. According to a statement by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, this is an all-too-familiar reality for people of color, especially African-Americans, in Sacramento’s communities.

Through the city’s Vision Zero process to eliminate roadway fatalities, we know that in Sacramento, 60% of fatalities occur on roads marked 40 mph and above. Nearly one-half of fatalities occur in underserved communities, although they only account for one-fourth of total roadway miles. Thus, people of color are not only more likely to be cited for crossing unsafely, but they are also at a disproportionately higher risk of being killed while walking or biking in their neighborhoods. Taken together, these facts make walking a far more dangerous activity in the communities where people rely most often on walking for transportation. Though we absolutely must reform the way we police the most vulnerable users of our roads, it is imperative that our streets are redesigned now to eliminate these fatalities and the need to cross high-speed arterials unsafely—like Arden Way, El Camino Avenue, Norwood Avenue, and Rio Linda Boulevard.

We invite the City of Sacramento, including the City Council, the Police Department, and the Public Works Department to work with our respective organizations and with affected communities to ensure that civil servants and civic leaders truly understand the challenges faced by people—particularly people of color, immigrants, low-income people, and people with limited English proficiency—simply trying to get around their neighborhoods. The city’s Vision Zero process affords us an opportunity to take immediate and collective action to stem and reverse the disproportionate risk of death and serious injuries from traffic violence in communities of color and in low-income communities that are too often targeted by biased and punitive enforcement. We must act now.

Assemblymember David Chiu Announces Automated Speed Enforcement Legislation Alongside San Francisco and San Jose Colleagues and Advocates

California Assemblymember David Chiu joined San Francisco Mayor Lee, San Jose Mayor Liccardo, and state and local advocates yesterday to introduce important state legislation needed to achieve Vision Zero. Assembly Bill (AB) 342—also known as the Safe Streets Act of 2017—amends the California Vehicle Code (CVC) to authorize the use of Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) systems to enforce excessive speeding violations over the posted limit in the City and County of San Francisco and the City of San Jose for a five-year pilot period.

California Walks, Walk San Francisco, and the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets support this legislation and stand with the family members, loved ones, and friends of those who have suffered from preventable traffic crashes. Unsafe speed is the single highest factor of fatal and severe injury collisions in both cities, and it is a fundamental predictor of crash severity. In particular, seniors, youth, and people walking and bicycling, bear disproportionately greater risks of injury or death in speed-related crashes.

“Too many people are losing their lives or living with life-altering injuries from traffic collisions,” said Tony Dang, Executive Director of California Walks. “This safety legislation would enable cities to adopt a proven technology that will make our streets safe for everyone.”

“Automated Speed Enforcement can play a key role in helping make our cities safer, particularly for our pedestrians and bicyclists, seniors and children,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We need to explore all opportunities to protect the most vulnerable users of our streets, and I’d like to thank Assemblymember Chiu, Mayor Lee and our many other partners for their support of piloting this proven technology in our two cities.”

California Walks and its partners, locally and across the state, are committed to working toward zero traffic deaths and serious injuries through safety initiatives which build better and safer streets, enforce the most dangerous traffic violations, educate the public on traffic safety, and adopt policy changes in order to eliminate traffic deaths and reduce severe injury collisions. Assemblymember Chiu’s introduction of AB 342 is a bold declaration in support of safe streets in California.

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Download and share this Media Advisory.

“We are walking boldly into a new future,” announced David Grant, California Walks’ Board President. “Our long-time Executive Director Wendy Alfsen, 67, is retiring, effective June 30, 2017, and Tony Dang takes up the reins as new Executive Director, effective January 1, 2017, continuing his leadership in California’s movement toward a sustainable, just, and equitable transportation system.”

Tony at the PedsCount! 2016 Summit

To prepare for Wendy’s retirement, our Board established a Transition Team to guide and prepare our organization for this leadership transition, and at its November 2016 meeting, our Board unanimously approved Tony’s hire as Executive Director. But Wendy won’t be leaving Cal Walks quite yet! She’ll take on an updated role as Senior Director and will play a pivotal advisor role during the upcoming six-month transition period. In addition to these role changes, Jaime Fearer, our current Planning & Policy Manager, will assume the position of Deputy Director and will be the point person for our communications and local advocacy work going forward, while state advocacy will remain with Tony. And, as you may have seen in our latest newsletter, Caro Jauregui has been promoted to Senior Manager, Policy & Programs in recognition of her hard work and leadership of our Southern California staff.

Wendy at the PedsCount! 2016 Summit

Under Wendy’s leadership, California Walks has emerged as the statewide voice for safe, healthy, and walkable communities for everyone. “We have grown from a handful of local walking advocacy efforts to a strong alliance of organizations working to lift up the critical role walking plays in our transportation system. Our work to establish the state Active Transportation Program as a trailblazing program to advance walking and biking in a fair and equitable manner is just one example of how our influence has grown and has already resulted in millions of transportation dollars invested in communities too often left behind,” explained Wendy Alfsen.

Wendy walking alongside Greenfield Walking Group youth and residents to raise pedestrian safety awareness in Bakersfield, Summer 2013

“I am proud of my legacy and grateful to have been able to begin bridging communities’ local priorities with state level advocacy. Even more, I am grateful that Tony, our staff, and Board are continuing to grow our movement to reach its full potential. Walking is a deceptively simple solution for so many of our challenges—from community health to climate change to building vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods—and yet the simple act of walking and crossing the street remains a dangerous endeavor. So as California Walks and all our partners continue to elevate walking as the most—instead of the least—valuable form of transportation, we can save lives and create a California where every resident can lead a healthy, joyful, and prosperous life,” concluded Wendy Alfsen.

“I’m looking forward to shepherding California Walks in the next stages of its journey. Especially as we enter potentially challenging and uncertain times ahead, I refuse to allow our state to settle when it comes to active transportation. Over the years the status quo has created a transportation system that has scarred and divided communities for decades, where walking receives no investment and places our residents in danger. With your support, we will push California to be a leader in advancing a sustainable and just transportation system for all,” said Tony Dang.

P.S. Your support helps us advocate for healthy, safe, and walkable communities across the state! Please donate today!