BILL ANALYSIS SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE BILL NO: SB 993 SENATOR ALAN LOWENTHAL, CHAIRMAN AUTHOR: huff VERSION: 2/9/10 Analysis by: Art Bauer FISCAL: Yes Hearing date: March 23, 2010 SUBJECT: State highway relinquishment DESCRIPTION: This bill authorizes the relinquishment of a segment of State Route (SR) 66, locally know as Foothill Boulevard, to the City of Claremont. ANALYSIS: Existing law: Identifies the California state highway system through a description of segments of the state's regional and interregional roads that are owned and operated by the Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Defines a "state highway" as any roadway that is acquired, laid out, constructed, improved, or maintained as a state highway according to legislative authorization. Specifies that it is the intent of the Legislature for the routes of the state highway system to connect the communities and regions of the state and that they serve the state's economy by connecting centers of commerce, industry, agriculture, mineral wealth, and recreation. Provides that any expansion or deletion of the state highway system occurs through a statutory process requiring the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to make findings that it is in the best interest of the state to SB 993 (HUFF) Page 2 include or delete a specified portion of roadway from the system. This bill : 1. Authorizes the CTC to relinquish to the City of Claremont the segment of SR 66 located in the city, upon terms and conditions the CTC finds to be in the best interest of the state. 2. Requires the City of Claremont to provide signage indicating the continuation of SR 66 through the city. 3. Requires the City of Claremont to ensure that traffic flows are maintained on the relinquished segment through the use of traffic signal synchronization and other means. 4. Provides that the relinquishment will become effective immediately following the county recordation of the relinquishment resolutions containing the CTC's approval of the specified terms and conditions. 5. Specifies that following the effective date of relinquishment, the relinquished segment will no longer be a state highway and may not be considered for future adoption as a state highway. COMMENTS: 1. Purpose . SR 66, known locally as Foothill Boulevard, traverses the City of Claremont from its boundary on the east with Fontana to its boundary on the west with Pomona. The road is within the City of Claremont's redevelopment area and relinquishment of SR 66 to the city will ensure that it is redevelopment plans for SR 66 will incorporate the city's desires for landscaping, street furniture, and other design elements involving the road. The City of Claremont has been in negotiations with the Caltrans for nearly a decade, relating to the relinquishment of SR 66. According to the author, Caltrans and the City of Claremont now agree that relinquishment is beneficial to both the state and the city. Caltrans concurs with that conclusion. The relinquishment authorized by this bill is a SB 993 (HUFF) Page 3 continuation of the earlier relinquishments. For example, SB 1366 (Negrete Mcloud), Chapter 717, Statutes of 2008 authorized the relinquishment to the City of Rialto a segment of SR 66 in that city. Similarly, SB 857 (Soto) Chapter 251, Statutes of 2002 authorized the CTC to relinquish a segment of SR 66 to the City of Fontana. 2. Background . Before the Interstate highway system, SR 66 was one of the country's main transcontinental highways. It began in Chicago went on to St. Louis and then crossed the Southwest, ending at the Santa Monica Pier. SR 66 first entered the American consciousness when John Steinbeck, writing in Grapes of Wrath, called it "The Mother Road, the road of flight." Later, Nat King Cole recorded a song with the memorable verse: If you ever plan to motor west Travel my way, the highway that's the best. Get your kicks on Route 66! A television series aired between 1960 and 1964 entitled Route 66 that used the highway to established weekly adventures experienced by two young sojourners driving a Corvette. All the episodes were shot on location, but very few actually along SR 66 in California or elsewhere. One can only hope that the City of Claremont's redevelopment plans will honor the iconic nature of SR 66. POSITIONS: (Communicated to the Committee before noon on Wednesday, March 17, 2010) SUPPORT: City of Claremont OPPOSED: None received.