When is a highway not a highway? Plenty of roads in California that are designated highways are also local thoroughfares; Lincoln Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard Highway 1 and Highway 2, respectively. Sepulveda Boulevard is also Pacific Coast Highway. Caltrans owns and maintains 50,000 lane-miles of state roads and invests at least $4.2 billion annually in repairs and updates. State-owned roadways include city and neighborhood surface streets and small-town main streets that carry local traffic as well as people on foot, bike, and transit. As we focus on the culture shift that must accompany climate shift, there is legislation looking to make California’s roads less auto-centric.
When California State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 127, “Complete Streets” bill in January of 2019, his goal was a more walkable and bike-able California. SB 127 changes the guidelines dictating how State Highway funds are spent to ensure that improving accessibility by all road users (not just cars), reducing vehicle miles traveled, and promoting public health are top considerations.
The bill is now out of committee, and while it has lost some of the original focus, the core of the bill requiring that stretches of the State Highway Network that function as urban arterials or rural/small town main streets are equipped with sufficient infrastructure for walking and biking when they are programmed for rehabilitation, remains intact.
Read the complete revised text of the bill here – leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB127&firstNav=tracking