Gov. Brown signs bills promoting bike paths

Gov. Brown signs measures aimed at helping cities and counties expand and improve bike paths and trails

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law two measures aimed at helping cities and counties expand and improve bike paths and trails, including one allowing voters to consider whether to increase some fees to pay for the work.

Local agencies, including cities and park districts, could place proposals on the ballot that, with a two-thirds vote from local residents, would impose a motor vehicle registration surcharge of up to $5 in those districts, with the proceeds going to developing and maintaining bikeway networks.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) said his bill will allow communities to provide a transportation alternative to driving cars on congested streets. He cited a study that found the more bike lanes provided per square mile in a city, the more commuters took bikes rather than cars.

"Upgrading bike infrastructure will help public safety, the environment and the quality of life in cities across California," DeSaulnier said of SB 1183.

Brown also agreed to give local governments more flexibility in designing bikeways.

Under existing law, bike lanes must fit precise standards set by the state's transportation department. AB 1193 by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) allows cities to plan such lanes that may not meet the state's standards, as long as the designs meet the guidelines set by a national association of public transportation officials.

It also allows local governments to build cycle tracks — bike lanes separated from the road by posts or other physical barriers.

The bike measures were among 29 bills signed by the governor Saturday, including one drafted in response to oil refinery accidents in California.

Brown approved a measure that requires petroleum refineries to annually report scheduled shutdowns, as well as infrastructure and maintenance information, to state inspectors starting in September 2015.

"This measure will significantly enhance public safety and oversight," Brown wrote in a rare signing message.

However, the governor called for the bill's author, Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley, to provide additional legislation to address opposition by the California Newspaper Publishers Assn.

The group objected that the measure requires the state to notify refineries when the public seeks information and allows the refineries to go to court to block such disclosure, citing trade secrets.

Brown said the new bill should address that objection and make sure refineries are not allowed to collect attorney's fees from individuals and organizations that request information from the new reports.

Other bills signed by the governor will:

•Require all community care facilities, including child care establishments and residential care homes for the elderly, to have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed on the premises. The measure, AB 2386, is by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco).

•Require state boards and agencies to publicly report actions taken at their meetings, including the disclosure of each vote or abstention made by individual members. Ting introduced the bill, AB 2720.

•Increase the maximum fine from $1,000 to $2,000 for using a badge to impersonate a peace officer. Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) introduced SB 702.

patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com
Twitter: @mcgreevy99

melanie.mason@latimes.com
Twitter: @melmason

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