On June 10, the California legislature’s Budget Conference Committee unexpectedly voted to approve Governor Brown’s proposed Active Transportation Program (ATP)–freezing funding for the ATP, including Safe Routes to School, the Bicycle Transportation Account, and other programs that support walking and biking, until two conditions are met: 1) the Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency convenes a working group regarding active transportation by August 31st, 2013, and 2) Legislation is enacted that creates a new program to promote active transportation.

While many in our active transportation coalition—including California WALKS, California Bicycle Coalition, Rails-Trails-Conservancy, PolicyLink, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership—have been invited to participate in the stakeholder group for the ATP, the starting point for negotiations has effectively been reset to the February 2013 trailer bill language. Responding to this development, the California WALKS Network–our coalition of local walk, blind, and disability advocacy organizations across the state–have outlined key principles to Transportation Agency Secretary Kelly for ensuring that walking is a key component of the ATP, including provisions that:

  • Ensure the Eligibility of Walking & Pedestrian Projects in Statute;
  • Prioritize Safety & Address Inequities in Traffic Fatalities & Serious Injuries;
  • Focus Investment on Mode Shift for Short Trips;
  • Reward Localities for Pedestrian Planning & Assist Disadvantaged Communities without Resources to Conduct Pedestrian Planning;
  • Establish State & Regional Advisory Committees for ATP Guideline Development & Project Selection; and
  • Ensure Adequate Staffing for the ATP in the Caltrans Division of Local Assistance, Office of Community Planning, and the California Transportation Commission.

Without these modifications, we believe that the proposed ATP is “active transportation” in name only, and we will continue to work with the Administration to ensure that the final ATP fully integrates, supports, and advances walking in California. Read the full letter here.

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