UPDATE 3/27:The bill hearing is being postponed until the next Privacy Committee meeting on 4/18 in order to work on a few amendments.

Please mark your calendars for the following hearing dates; these will NOT be rescheduled:
  1. Assembly Privacy: Tues. 4/18 at 1:30 pm, Room 126, State Capitol
  2. Assembly Transportation: Mon. 4/24 at 2:30 pm, location tbd.

UPDATE 3/23: We are now asking you to either call Assemblymembers Berman and Kalra or email all members of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee to express your support for AB 342:

Ed Chau (Chair) – LA Area
(916) 319-2049
Assemblymember.Chau@assembly.ca.gov

Kevin Kiley (Vice Chair) – Rocklin/Auburn Area
(916) 319-2006
Assemblymember.Kiley@assembly.ca.gov

Catharine B. Baker – San Ramon
(916) 319-2016
Assemblymember.Baker@assembly.ca.gov

Marc Berman – Mountain View/Palo Alto/Menlo Park
(916) 319-2024
Assemblymember.Berman@assembly.ca.gov

Ian C. Calderon – LA Area
(916) 319-2057
Assemblymember.Calderon@assembly.ca.gov

Matthew Dababneh – LA
(916) 319-2045
Assemblymember.Dababneh@assembly.ca.gov

Jacqui Irwin – Oxnard
(916) 319-2044
Assemblymember.Irwin@assembly.ca.gov

Ash Kalra – San Jose
(916) 319-2027
Assemblymember.Kalra@assembly.ca.gov

Jay Obernolte – Hesperia
(916) 319-2033
Assemblymember.Obernolte@assembly.ca.gov

Eloise Gómez Reyes – San Bernardino
(916) 319-2047
Assemblymember.Reyes@assembly.ca.gov

 

SVBC doesn’t usually get involved in State legislation. We have a statewide organization – CalBike – to do that and there’s plenty of work for us at the local level. However, this year we’re prioritizing an important bill that helps advance our Vision Zero work, because the bill is directly related to San Jose, one of many cities covered by SVBC.

Assembly Bill 342: the Safe Streets Act of 2017, authored by David Chiu, would enact a five-year pilot program allowing the cities of San Francisco and San Jose to use speed safety cameras in select areas.

Who is the author, Assemblymember David Chiu? I met him seven years ago on a trip to the Netherlands organized by SVBC and People for Bikes to study bike policy in four cities. Then Supervisor David Chiu was on that trip, as was newly elected then Councilmember, now Mayor, Sam Liccardo. Both were chosen to participate because they were viewed as up-and-comers in the bike advocacy world, leaders who could become champions of measures to help advance a pro-bike agenda.

Fast forward to today and we have Assemblymember Chiu leading the charge on this bill and Mayor Liccardo enlisting his city to be included in the pilot. Yay for investing in the bike education of our leaders and thank you to both of them!

We’re in the beginning of this bill’s journey and while it has a powerful co-sponsor, Senator Jim Beall, head of the Transportation and Housing Committee, it will still be difficult due to the concerns of law enforcement unions.

Because it’s early in the process, many of our own delegation in Silicon Valley have not committed to supporting the bill. So last Tuesday, the City of San Jose’s Department of Transportation staff organized a group of us to meet with Assemblymembers Berman, Chu, Kalra and Low.

Assemblymember Kalra (Assemblymember.Kalra@assembly.ca.gov) is particularly important because he represents San Jose AND sits on the very first committee this bill is being routed through, the Assembly Privacy Committee. Our meeting with him went well and we are hopeful that he will get up to speed on the issue and work through any concerns he may have with the author of the bill. Assemblymember Berman (Assemblymember.Berman@assembly.ca.gov) is the other Silicon Valley policymaker on this committee, representing the nearby communities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale.

The delegation on Tuesday also included families who participate in an organization called San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets. These are families and individuals who have been affected firsthand by traffic collisions as many have either been hurt themselves or have lost a loved one. Several legislators commented on how humbled they were to see these families turn their grief into action.

One component of the bill that is particularly important to the bike advocacy world is in figuring out how to fairly and equitably apply this pilot program. In San Jose, for example, we know from Vision Zero data that 50% of the major trouble spots are mostly in lower income and ethnically diverse communities. Advocates are working hard to find that balance between enacting measures that will increase safety while not creating a financial burden for those most impacted by traffic violence. The author is currently in conversations with a coalition of social justice groups that includes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Western Center for Law and Poverty, and others, to find that balance. Some of the provisions that are being talked about include:

  • Decriminalization of the ticket so that it’s treated like a parking ticket and isn’t a point on one’s record.
  • Creation of a diversion program so that offenders can do public service in lieu of a fine.
  • Education about the program 30 days in advance of implementation.
  • A 90-day warning period during which those who are caught on camera only receive a warning, not a ticket.
  • Payment plans where needed.

At this point, it is important to nudge the Silicon Valley delegation to support this legislation. The bill will be heard by the Privacy Committee next Tuesday, March 28, so act now to be heard! Below are some easy to cut-and-paste talking points to use to let them know, along with their email addresses. You can also learn more about the bill in this fact sheet (PDF) Please let our delegation know that they should support this legislation!

Here are some message points you might consider including in your email:

  • Safety is important to me because ______. I want to bike and walk safely in my community.
  • Speeding is the top factor in severe injuries and fatality collisions in San Jose.
  • Speed safety cameras are proven to reduce speeding and severe injuries and fatalities in 142 communities in the United States.
  • We need the chance to pilot this technology in CA.
  • Please support AB 342 (Chiu).