Letter: Request for Funding for Final Adopted Budget

Circulate San Diego and BikeSD submitted a letter urging the City of San Diego to include funding for bus lanes, the Downtown Mobility Plan, Vision Zero outreach, and a mode shift incentive program in the FY 2022 Final Adopted Budget. The letter also urged the City to research and consider an unarmed civilian transportation enforcement division responsible for nonviolent traffic and transportation-related infractions. In addition, the letter requested that all "Sexy Streets" projects include dedicated pedestrian and bicycle right-of-way.

The Mayor’s May Budget Revise includes significant investments in Vision Zero and Complete Streets. These investments will bring us towards a safer and more equitable San Diego that provides real transportation options to a significant portion of its residents. They will also bring us closer to the mode shift goals contained in San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which are essential for meeting our greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets.

While the Revised Proposed Budget makes many good investments, the City can and should make it better. By implementing the letter's recommendations in the Final Adopted Budget, the City will make even more progress towards its Vision Zero and Climate Action Plan goals. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Coalition Letter: Support for Congress to Invest in Public Transit

Circulate San Diego joined 38 other California organizations in signing a letter urging Congress to invest in public transit. While Congressional funding for public transit in the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan averted disaster, public transit deserves continuing investment by the federal government. Every dollar invested in transit offers a five-to-one economic return and every $1 billion invested produces 49,700 jobs. Moreover, investing in public transit is also an investment in racial justice because it is essential to the economic well-being of communities of color. Investments in public transit are also critical to averting a climate disaster.

For these reasons, the coalition requested $20 billion in annual funding for transit operations. Federal funding for transit is generally reserved for capital investments like new buses, trains, and rail lines. However, riders' ability to rely on transit ultimately depends on the level of service offered by their local transit system. Federal investment in public transit service will serve communities better, saving existing riders' time and bringing new riders into the system. 

The coalition also requested an expansion in over-subcribed capital funding, funding for zero-emissions fleets, funding for safe streets and transit-friendly communities, and fair treatment for transit workers. Read the full letter here. [pdf]


Coalition Letter: Protect Funding for Climate Justice

Circulate San Diego joined a coalition letter urging key California legislators to ensure funding for the Transformative Climate Communities and Regional Climate Collaboratives programs. Both programs would help ensure climate resilience for California's most impacted and least resourced communities. Both programs were funded in the Governors May Budget Revise, but were zeroed out in the Senate's May 25 Budget proposal. 

The Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program would deliver $500 Million for emissions reducing strategies, including housing with access to public transportation and active transportation. TCC would connect investments to residents impacted by multiple sources of pollution and vulnerable to the anticipated impacts of climate change, and requires robust community engagement in all phases of project development and implementation.

The Regional Climate Collaborative (RCC) program would establish capacity and technical assistance for impacted and low resource communities. RCC would convene local stakeholders, foster partnerships, and support the development of community plans and projects to advance local climate action. The program would select collaboratives to build community-driven leadership, knowledge, skills, experience, and resources to identify and access public funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

In order to advance its greenhouse gas emissions goals, mitigate climate impacts, and advance social equity, the legislature must ensure that these programs are funded. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Letter: Central Mobility Hub Draft EIR – Analyzing for Airline Passenger and Airport Workers

Circulate submitted a letter to request that SANDAG consider the geometric inefficiency of its proposed airport connector when it creates its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Central Mobility Hub at the NAVWAR site. The currently proposed Airport Connector begins at San Diego International Airport and travels east along Harbor Drive before turning North and connecting to the Central Mobility Hub.

As shown in the graphic below, this orientation would force travelers coming from the south and the east to travel an extra 1.5 miles north to reach the Central Mobility Hub, and then double back on the Airport Connector. This creates an extra 3 miles for every trip coming from that direction.

Circulate’s request requires SANDAG to consider this inefficiency and alternative routing when doing its transportation analysis for the Central Mobility Hub. Circulate also requested that the EIR consider employee access to the airport, pedestrian access to the Central Mobility Hub, and Airport Connector integration with the Airport terminal. Read the full letter here. [pdf]

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Letter: Support for AB 43 - Speed Limit Safety

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter of support for AB 43, which will save lives by giving cities greater flexibility to set lower speed limits based on safety. Current law requires speed limits to be set in relation to the 85th percentile rule - that is, at a speed such that 85 percent of drivers travel slower than the speed limit. This requirement does not adequately take safety into account.

AB 43 enhances safety by requiring traffic engineers to take into account the presence of vulnerable groups, including children, seniors, the unhoused, and people with disabilities when setting speed limits. It also permits cities to lower speed limits below the 85th percentile on streets with high injuries and fatalities. It further provides greater flexibility in setting school speed limits to protect children.

Circulate San Diego is particularly familiar with the dangers of high speed drivers. Each year, Circulate gathers data on the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on San Diego streets as part of our Vision Zero efforts. In 2020, 56 people were killed and 127 were seriously injured on San Diego surface streets. That amount of death and serious injury is unacceptable. AB 43 gives cities the ability to set speed limits that reflect the value of human life. Read the full letter here [pdf]


Letter: Support for AB 550 – Speed Safety Systems

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter of support for AB 550, which would give the cities of Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and one additional southern California city the option of piloting speed safety systems on sensitive or dangerous local streets.

Every year, hundreds of Californians die in speed-related crashes. Speeding is a major contributor to fatalities and serious injuries in crashes­—if a driver traveling at 20 miles per hour hits a pedestrian, there is a 90 percent chance that pedestrian will survive. At 40 mph, the chance of survival drops to 20 percent. Nationwide, 112,580 people were killed in speeding-related incidents from 2005 to 2014.

Speed safety systems are an effective tool for reducing speeding, crashes, injuries and fatalities, but California law currently prohibits their use. Speed safety systems are automated systems that use cameras and radar to detect and identify speeding vehicles. These automated systems reduce the potential for racial bias in traffic enforcement. In addition, AB 550 includes clear guardrails to protect people’s privacy, including a ban on facial recognition technology. Citations under any pilot program will be civil in nature—not criminal—and will not result in a point on a driver’s record. The intent of the systems is to reduce speeding and increase safety, not to punish.

Speed safety systems can be a significant step in reducing traffic fatalities, protecting pedestrians and bicyclists, and shifting transportation mode share towards climate-friendly modes. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Coalition Letter: Support for AB 1238 - Freedom to Walk Act

Circulate San Diego joined a coalition letter supporting AB 1238, the Freedom to Walk Act, which would repeal California's "jaywalking" laws by legalizing certain common and safe street crossings that currently qualify as traffic infractions. The Freedom to Walk Act does not change existing law that requires pedestrians to avoid potentially hazardous situations on the roadway.

Jaywalking laws criminalize pedestrians who make safe and logical choices in crossing the street mid-block. This discourages walking and transit use, which runs counter to California's mode shift goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, given that people of color can be disproportionately targeted for traffic stops, legalizing jaywalking also removes a potential for bias in traffic enforcement. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Coalition Letter: Comments and Recommended Changes to the Proposed MUTCD Amendment

Circulate San Diego and coalition partners submitted a letter with comments and recommended changes to the Proposed MUTCD Amendment. The MUTCD is a document of federal regulations governing the design of every roadway in the United States, requiring that all traffic signs, surface markings, and signals legally conform to national standards. The current iteration bestows serious barriers for our members and the greater bicycling community.

Our Coalition partners are joining a national effort to improve road safety by calling on the Federal Highway Administration to rewrite the technical standards of roadway design. We respectfully request that the FHWA rewrite the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) in a manner that supports safe systems design, so advocates and jurisdictions alike can help build safer streets for all roadway users.

 

Read the full letter here [pdf].


Letter: Support for Assembly Bill 571 – Density Bonuses

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter supporting AB 571, which would disallow cities from charging development impact fees for affordable units constructed pursuant to California’s Density Bonus Law. This change would incentivize affordable housing production by reducing the cost of its construction.

Local governments frequently charge development impact fees (DIFs) to offset the costs associated with accommodating more development. Growing criticism from housing advocates argue that high fees have the consequence of deterring more production of both market-rate and deed-restricted homes. In response to these concerns, some California jurisdictions have already chosen to limit their fee collections on deed-restricted affordable homes. Those jurisdictions include at least the cities of San Diego, Sacramento and La Mesa.

AB 571 is an incremental positive step towards increasing housing production and solving California’s housing crisis. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Memorandum: Permissible Expenditures by Community Parking Districts

Circulate San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership sent a letter to Mayor Gloria and the City Council requesting that the City update its rules on how parking revenues can be spent. The full letter and its attached memorandum are available here. Current rules from the City of San Diego restrict how parking revenues can be spent by Community Parking Districts. The rules largely limit expenditures to projects that create new parking. As a result, the City’s Parking Districts have more than $9 million in unspent revenues.

Circulate San Diego created a memorandum, which was attached to the letter, analyzing the legal landscape regarding parking meter revenues. Recent caselaw, and the adoption by California voters of Proposition 26 in 2010, clarify that parking revenues are not governed by rules that limit the uses of either fees or taxes. The City of San Diego therefore has the ability to update its policies to allow parking revenues to be spent on a wider variety of activities than only parking.

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