Wins for Safe Routes to School & Complete Streets in San Francisco Bay Area

Marty MartinezOn Thursday, May 17, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to approve the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) as part of the overall approval of their Regional Transportation Plan. OBAG provides roughly $800 million over four years to cities and counties in the region for transportation projects.

The vote marks a huge win for Safe Routes to School funding and Complete Streets policies in the Bay Area.

 - MTC will allocate $20 million in regional Safe Routes to School funding over the next four years.

 - MTC will also require that all cities and counties in the Bay Area seeking OBAG funding will have to pass a strong Complete Streets policy resolution by January 31, 2013, or amend their general plan to comply with the Complete Streets Act of 2008. Jurisdictions will be expected to have a general plan that complies with the Complete Streets Act of 2008 to be eligible for the next round of funding in four years. 

Commissioners listened to testimony from parents, non-profit organizations and health officials that Safe Routes to School and active transportation would help improve the safety, health and educational achievement of children across the Bay Area. This vote ensures the Bay Area will continue to serve as a model of regional funding for Safe Routes to School, and will become a hotbed of new Complete Streets policies.

California’s Completes Streets Act of 2008, authored by State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, requires Complete Streets language in general plan updates to make sure roads will be accessible to all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages, creating a network of facilities that connect to transit, homes, schools and businesses. The Commission’s vote will help the region move into rapid compliance with the Act.

The Safe Routes Partnership's Bay Area Regional Network, funded by Kaiser Permanente, will continue to provide tools and education as we move toward the effective use of Safe Routes to School funds and the implementation of Complete Streets policies regionally.