Complete Streets Act Becomes California Law

From the California Bicycle Coalition:

Complete Streets Act Becomes California Law

California has become the first state in the nation to adopt a statewide Complete Streets policy for all local roadways. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Complete Streets Act into law on Sept. 30.

The legislation requires cities and counties to ensure that local roads and streets adequately accommodate the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders, as well as motorists. The legislation was authored by Assembly Member Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), co-authored by Assembly Member Lloyd Levine (D-Thousand Oaks), and co-sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and AARP, California Chapter.

“This law makes California one of the nation’s leaders in supporting clean, affordable, healthful modes of transportation,” said CBC Executive Director K.C. Butler. “As California’s population continues to grow, we can no longer afford the economic or environmental costs of streets and roads designed solely for cars. We need to be smarter as we plan our communities and this new law provides an important way to do that.”

The law applies to periodic updates to city and county general plans related to traffic circulation. During the update process, cities and counties must determine how well local streets and roads accommodate the needs of all users, and then adopt plans for making improvements where they are indicated.

California joins a national movement that has seen Complete Streets policies adopted by dozens of cities across the U.S., as well as a handful of state transportation agencies, including the California Department of Transportation. Caltrans is currently strengthening its internal Complete Streets policy, which affects state highways.

The Complete Streets Act will be implemented through general plan update guidelines developed by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. CBC will work closely with OPR to ensure that update guidelines adequately reflect Complete Streets principles.

“About one-quarter of the nation’s bicycles are sold and ridden in California, and those numbers have been growing this year in response to rising gas prices,” said Butler. “Designing roadways to enable more Californians to use bicycles for everyday transportation can help contain gas prices, relieve traffic congestion, improve personal health, and begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. There has never been a more crucial time for California to enact this law.”

4 Responses to “Complete Streets Act Becomes California Law”

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Great news, Alan! Thanks so much for posting this. I don’t know when we’ll see real changes in my neck of the woods, but this is a real step in the right direction.



  • Righteous Metal Broad says:

    OMG this is GREAT news!

    I’ve attended some local meetings with the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles MTA and city officials hoping to get some improvements in our area and this validates our efforts much more. Once again, just great news.


    (San Fernando Valley, CA)

  • Thomas Barone says:

    Hmmm—I wonder IF the trickel down from the left coast to the right coast will ever happen? –It usually takes 2-3 years for style and ideas like this to reach us here in New York State.
    As usual California sets the standard–i hope it’s inovative thinking comes here in my lifetime.

    Tom Barone

  • Alan says:


    Transportation Alternatives is already doing great work in NYC:

    I think it’s only a matter of time..


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