In November 2016, Santa Clara County voters approved Measure B, a one-half cent sales tax to fund transportation projects, collected over a 30-year period. SVBC worked with other advocacy groups, the business community, agency staff, and elected leaders to help craft a measure that not only includes dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, but also contains a requirement that Local Streets and Roads (pavement) projects funded by the measure implement Complete Streets (CS) practices to maintain and improve access and safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users on the roadway network.

Since Measure B was passed, SVBC has been working on multiple fronts to ensure the CS requirement is adhered to. To that effect, we have been working with VTA staff to develop policies that will be more impactful than existing CS directives, resolutions, and policy goals. We have met individually with VTA staff and have reached out to members of VTA’s Policy Advisory Committee (made up of elected officials from local jurisdictions) and Technical Advisory Committee (made up of technical staff from local jurisdictions) to talk through opportunities and concerns. SVBC is promoting a policy approach with three elements:

  1. Transparency: Require agencies receiving Measure B funding to identify the steps they have taken to evaluate projects for CS compatibility. If a corridor or roadway segment is deemed “not appropriate” for CS treatment, justify why. Explain public outreach and how the jurisdiction’s internal policies have been applied.
  2. Technical assistance: VTA can play a leadership role by sharing best practices, collaborating on policy creation and assessment, providing technical expertise, and coordinating neighboring jurisdictions’ efforts.
  3. Follow-up and accountability: Provide reporting to show that promised CS elements were delivered in the final project.

On January 17, SVBC staff attended a CS Workshop hosted by VTA. Members of the TAC were invited, as were select stakeholder organizations. Key topics of discussion included:

  • Definition of Complete Streets – what is and isn’t a Complete Street?
  • Integrating public input into Complete Streets.
  • Best practices for pavement programs and Complete Streets – self-certification versus using project checklists for multiple repaving projects.
  • “Midpoint” check-in for standalone capital projects – what is the “midpoint”? Are there better times in the project lifespan for VTA to check in with city staff?
  • General thoughts and concerns about proposed policy elements.

Next steps

Based on the input from the 1/17 workshop, VTA staff will update and refine the proposed policy framework. If SVBC is in agreement with the proposal, staff will begin reaching out to key city staff and policymakers (both VTA Board of Directors and Policy Advisory Committee) in support of the policy in preparation for a May/June Board action item.

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