In September the Governor signed AB1358, the "Complete Streets" bill sponsored by Assemblyperson Leno. To quote a summary from the VTA "This bill requires, commencing January 1, 2011, that the legislative body of a city or county, upon any substantive revision of the circulation element of the general plan, modify the circulation element to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan."
A few months ago in this forum, Joanna claimed that "roads are built for cars" and that bicyclists should stay off certain roads. Clearly that attitude has been sent to the scrap heap of history. The message is now that roads are built for people, regardless of how they choose to use them, and cities and counties must generate plans that make our streets safe for everybody.
This bill will not have any immediate impact, but over the course of the next few decades it will have tremendous impact on all of our cities and counties. There is a national Complete Streets bill under consideration now, also. What exactly will this bill mean to local communities? How will Menlo Park generate a plan that meets the needs of children and seniors? How will Woodside design a plan that (gasp!) meets the needs of bicyclists? What happens to cities if they fail to meet the requirements?