"I'm going to Sacramento and I need your help!"
On Monday, May 11th, Enci and I will be in Sacramento to testify in support of Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian's AB766 "Safe Streets" bill which will give local communities more control over the establishment of speed limits in their neighborhoods. We'd like your help.
This past year I have attended LA's Transportation Commission meetings, Transportation Committee meetings and City Council meetings, all in an attempt to stop the increase in speed limits throughout our city. Time after time, our city's leadership has explained that their hands are tied, that they are simply complying with State law and that it's the same standard for those in the High Sierras to those in Los Angeles.
I happen to disagree with that scenario and I'm going to fight to make sure that local communities have control over the speed limits in our neighborhoods.
At issue is our desire to use radar and laser for speed limit enforcement. This requires the City of LA to perform speed zone surveys and to certify the speed limit using a formula that establishes the speed limit at the 85% mark of the prevailing speed of traffic. In other words, motorists vote on the speed limit with the gas pedal and in many cases, the speed limit gets increased, all as we simply attempt to control speeding.
With Krekorian's bill, neighborhood councils will be able to address the dangerous trend of rising speed limits, which have unfortunately led to accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists and, in a few tragic cases, fatalities. These engineering studies – under which the speed limits have been creeping up - fail to take into account the human element of traffic and end up endangering our neighbors.
Quite simply, the Safe Streets Bill aims to provide local governments with an additional tool to keep the speeds traveled on local roads at a safe level for drivers, pedestrians, and communities as a whole. The legislation balances the ability of drivers to safely drive on city streets at a reasonable speed with the needs of bicyclists, residents and pedestrians to be able to access those same streets without an undue risk of a collision, thus enhancing both community safety and traffic flow.
There are several ways you can join us in this fight to make our streets safe for everybody and to return control over our streets to the local community.
1) Join us in our journey to Sacramento. We'd love to have your company and to have you join us in speaking up for local authority and community control.
2) Give us a letter of support that we can carry with us and introduce into the record. Tell the State Assembly who you are, where you live, your experiences with speeding traffic on the streets of your community. Join us in endorsing Krekorian's AB766 "Safe Safe Streets" bill. Email your support to SafeStreets@BikeWritersCollective.com.
3) Pass this letter on, or forward this email to your friends and family and neighbors and ask them to support our efforts to make our neighborhoods safe for everybody.
4) Call or email your City Councilperson and ask them to support this endeavor, after all they're the ones who have long been complaining about not having their hands tied when it comes to setting speed limits. Now's the time to speak up!
5) Follow our journey on Twitter, on Facebook, on our blogs at illuminateLA and at SoapBoxLA.
Thanks for your help!
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 766, as introduced, Krekorian. Vehicles: speed limits. Existing law permits a local authority to decrease or increase a prima facie speed limit on any street, other than a state highway, based on an engineering and traffic survey, and for enforcement purposes requires that survey to be redone after a certain number of years.
This bill would allow a local authority retain a prima facie speed limit on any street, other than a state highway, if the local authority makes a finding, after a public hearing, that a higher speed limit is not the most appropriate for the orderly movement of traffic upon the street and does not promote a safe environment for the neighborhood or pedestrians.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 22358.2 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
22358.2. (a) Notwithstanding Section, 40802, a local authority may retain a prima facie speed limit that is provided by this code or by local ordinance under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 22352, or established under Section 22354, 22357, 22358, or 22358.3 on any street other than a state highway, if the local authority makes a finding, after a public hearing, that a higher speed limit is not the most appropriate for the orderly movement of traffic upon the street and does not promote a safe environment for the neighborhood or pedestrians. (b) If a local authority makes a finding pursuant to subdivision (a), the prima facie speed limit does not have to be rejustified by an engineering and traffic survey as provided in Section 40802.