SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — California governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday vetoed legislation that would’ve required Caltrans to prioritize pedestrian and bike safety.
State Senator Scott Wiener’s “Complete Streets” bill, or SB 127, would have required Caltrans to create safer and better sidewalks, bike lanes and cross walks on state highways that run through communities when the agency is already doing work on those streets.
In his veto message, Governor Gavin Newsom said, “I fully support improving facilities to increase walking, biking and accessing public transit. However, this bill creates a prescriptive and costly approach to achieve these objectives.”
The bill would have applied to state highways that function as city streets, such as Van Ness Street in San Francisco. Senator Wiener said he was extremely disappointed by Newsom’s decision. He believes his bill would have saved lives.
“It’s a major setback for our efforts to improve pedestrian safety and safety for cyclists,” said Wiener.
Wiener estimates that each mile of roadwork would cost anywhere between $20,000 and $600,000. Caltrans estimates that it would cost $4.5 million for each mile.
“The cost was exaggerated by Caltrans,” said Wiener. “Caltrans came up with a completely bogus, frankly false cost estimate to try and sabotage the bill, it’s disappointing that the governor accepted that cost estimate.”
Dave Campbell is the Advocacy Director of Bike East Bay, which has about 4,000 members and he described his experience riding his bike on San Pablo Avenue.
“I’m looking over my shoulder constantly and I’m not having a good time and I’m not enjoying, and I’m an experienced bicyclist,” said Campbell.
He said the majority of East Bay cyclists surveyed would like to ride their bicycles more if the streets were safe to bike on.
Wiener says he will work with the governor to make another attempt at passing a similar bill.
KPIX 5 reached out to Caltrans Sunday evening but we have not yet heard back.