Earlier this month, California Assembly Bill 2245 took one more step toward simplifying the process of adding bike lanes to existing streets. The bill, officially entitled “Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): exemption: bikeways,” passed through the California State Environmental Quality Committee in unanimous fashion (7 ayes, 0 noes). The next step for this piece of legislation is to be introduced on the Senate floor once the State Legislature reconvenes after its summer recess. According to the office of the aforementioned committee, the bill will likely be put to a vote in late August.
Currently, CEQA requires cities and counties to file an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) if the construction and operation of proposed projects are deemed to significantly effect the surrounding environment, both natural and human-made. The bill in consideration would permit local agencies to forgo such rigorous review for Class II bikeway (bike lane) projects. Under the current guidelines, some bike lane projects in the City of L.A. need an EIR if their traffic impacts go over specified thresholds. If AB 2245 is passed, cities and counties would instead have to prepare traffic and safety impact assessments; and then hold public hearings to discuss such impacts. This exemption would allow decision makers to still consider the traffic impacts of bike lanes, but without wasting the time and resources that an EIR process requires, allowing more effort to be placed on planning and public outreach. Click here to view the bill text and the bill analysis.
Show your support of this piece of legislation to make sure we can expedite the installation of bike lanes throughout California! Contact your state senator to encourage her/him to approve the passage of this bill. Don’t know your state senator? Click here.