Thursday, May 12, 2016

California's First State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Gains Speed

Several participants at the May 10 forum in Los Angeles prepare to start a small group discussion on the plan.
May is National Bike Month, celebrated in communities throughout California and across America. The national observance began in 1956 and promotes the benefits of bicycling.

Fittingly during National Bike Month, on May 10 Caltrans hosted local and regional officials from cities and agencies in Southern California who gathered in downtown Los Angeles to help support development of a visionary plan to promote safe bicycling and walking.


The regional forum and open house were sponsored by Caltrans, which envisions the first California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (CSBPP) as an important way to promote a multi-modal transportation system that supports active modes of transportation and creates a framework to increase safe bicycling and walking.

The Los Angeles gathering was part of a series of regional forums and open houses held across the state to support the CSBPP. The state plan is expected to complement and support city and county policies that promote safe bicycling and walking.


California has set a target to triple bicycling and double walking by 2020 by improving these options for all Californians.


Leaders say better bicycle and pedestrian facilities that safely connect people with where they need to go will also promote healthy and active lifestyles and improve the environment by reducing automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions.


Policies that stem from the CSBPP will guide Caltrans’ decisions about future bicycle and pedestrian investments in safe facilities and programs that encourage walking and bicycling.


Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty launched the outreach effort for the CSBPP at the 2015 California Bicycle Summit, hosted by the California Bicycle Coalition.


“More Californians are choosing alternatives to driving that have health benefits and cut greenhouse gases,” Dougherty said. “Caltrans will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders who have a stake in safe and accessible transportation in California.”


CSBPP is part of Caltrans’ mission to “provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.”


At the CSBPP website, www.cabikepedplan.org, visitors may take an online survey and sign up for email updates about new project information and outreach activities. People also may follow the hashtag #CSBPP on Twitter for more information.


When completed in 2017, the CSBPP will help guide future investments such as Caltrans’ Active Transportation Program (ATP), which funds projects that take cars off the road, helping to clean the air, conserve natural resources and promote healthier, sustainable communities. The plan will not replace existing policies and implementation plans at the regional and local levels.