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New Portantino Legislation Would Force Better Transportation Planning in California Cities

Earlier this week, Senator Anthony Portantino (D-San Gabriel Valley) introduced legislation that would require cities to begin planning to create safe streets and passageways for bicyclists and pedestrians if they aren't already doing so.

S.B. 932 would require a county or city to map its high injury network in its General Plan and to identify and prioritize safety improvements within fifteen years that would address serious traffic collisions. It would also create an annual grant program to award funding to jurisdictions that implement timely and effective short-term efforts to mitigate bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities.

The legislation is supported by a handful of advocacy groups, including Streets For All, ActiveSGV, Calbike, and Streets Are For Everyone.

“In California, the General Plans of cities have often been very car-centric when it comes to their street network,” said Michael Schneider, Founder of Streets For All, in a statement. “That all changes today, with Senator Portantino’s critical bill that would integrate multimodal thinking into the planning process, helping make our streets safer for all modes and fight climate change."

The legislation has already passed two procedural votes and is likely to be assigned to the transportation committee.

“There is no denying it: California needs safer streets. And, despite efforts during the last several decades to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, many of our streets have grown more dangerous in recent years,” stated Senator Portantino. “Data-driven plans to remedy this serious problem are necessary to save lives and encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations."

While Portantino has been a reliable supporter for green initiatives, he has more recently become a champion for safe streets after bicycling for exercise during the pandemic. In just the past six months Portantino has led a community bike ride as part of the 'No Gas SoPas' campaign, showed off his thirty-mile New Year's Bike Ride on Twitter, and introduced this legislation.

Too many safety plans on paper never make it to the street, which is why the grant program is critical to this legislation's success. "An annual grant program to cities for implementing effective ways to mitigate injuries and fatalities is a good step forward and will yield positive change for our communities,” Portantino promised.

SBLA San Gabriel Valley coverage, including this article and SGV Connect, is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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