BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 417
          Author:   Frazier (D)
          Amended:  6/13/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21


           SENATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COMMITTEE  :  9-0, 6/26/13
          AYES:  Hill, Gaines, Calderon, Corbett, Fuller, Hancock,  
            Jackson, Leno, Pavley

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  70-2, 4/25/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Environmental Quality:  California Environmental  
          Quality Act:  bicycle transportation plan

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill exempts from the California Environmental  
          Quality Act (CEQA), until January 1, 2018, a bicycle  
          transportation plan prepared for an urbanized area for  
          restriping of streets and highways, bicycle parking and storage,  
          signal timing to improve street and highway intersection  
          operations, and related signage for bicycles, pedestrians, and  
          vehicles.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

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          1.Under CEQA:

             A.   Requires lead agencies with the principal responsibility  
               for carrying out or approving a proposed discretionary  
               project to prepare a negative declaration, mitigated  
               declaration, or environmental impact report (EIR) for this  
               action, unless the project is exempt from CEQA (CEQA  
               includes various statutory exemptions, as well as  
               categorical exemptions in the CEQA guidelines).  If there  
               is substantial evidence, in light of the whole record  
               before a lead agency, that a project may have a significant  
               effect on the environment, the lead agency must prepare a  
               draft EIR.

             B.   Contains specified exemptions relating to bicycle  
               facilities.

          1.Under the California Bicycle Transportation Act, authorizes a  
            city or county to prepare a bicycle transportation plan, which  
            must include certain elements (e.g., proposed land use and  
            settlement patterns, existing proposed bikeways and bicycle  
            facilities, bicycle safety and education facilities, project  
            priorities for implementation, past expenditures and future  
            financial needs).

          This bill:

          1.Requires, prior to determining that a project is exempt  
            pursuant to this bill, the lead agency to do the following:

             A.   Hold public hearings in affected areas; and

             B.   Prepare an assessment of any traffic and safety impacts  
               of the project and include measures in the bicycle  
               transportation plan to mitigate potential vehicular, and  
               bicycle and pedestrian safety impacts.

          1.Requires a local agency, which determines that a project is  
            exempt pursuant to this bill and determines to approve the  
            project, to file notice of the determination with the Office  
            of Planning and Research and with the county in which the  
            project is located.

          2.Sunsets the exemption for a bicycle transportation plan on  

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            January 1, 2018.

          3.Provides that for an exempted project that consists of the  
            restriping of streets and highways for bicycle lanes in an  
            urbanized area pursuant to existing law, the lead agency is  
            not required to prepare an assessment of any traffic or safety  
            impacts of the project if either of the following conditions  
            are met:

             A.   Mitigation measures are identified in the CEQA  
               environmental review document for the bicycle  
               transportation plan that is certified or approved within  
               the past five years and those measures are incorporated  
               into the project; or
             B.   An assessment was prepared pursuant to this bill within  
               the past five years, mitigation measures are included in  
               the plan, and those measures are incorporated into the  
               project.

           Background
           
          CEQA provides a process for evaluating the environmental effects  
          of a project, and includes statutory exemptions, as well as  
          categorical exemptions in the CEQA guidelines.  If a project is  
          not exempt from CEQA, an initial study is prepared to determine  
          whether a project may have a significant effect on the  
          environment.  If the initial study shows that there would not be  
          a significant effect on the environment, the lead agency must  
          prepare a negative declaration.  If the initial study shows that  
          the project may have a significant effect on the environment,  
          the lead agency must prepare an EIR.

          Generally, an EIR must accurately describe the proposed project,  
          identify and analyze each significant environmental impact  
          expected to result from the proposed project, identify  
          mitigation measures to reduce those impacts to the extent  
          feasible, and evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives to the  
          proposed project.  Prior to approving any project that has  
          received environmental review, an agency must make certain  
          findings.  If mitigation measures are required or incorporated  
          into a project, the agency must adopt a reporting or monitoring  
          program to ensure compliance with those measures.

          If a mitigation measure would cause one or more significant  

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          effects in addition to those that would be caused by the  
          proposed project, the effects of the mitigation measure must be  
          discussed but in less detail than the significant effects of the  
          proposed project.
           
          San Francisco bicycle plan litigation  .  The San Francisco Board  
          of Supervisors adopted the 2005 Bicycle Plan (Plan) on June 7,  
          2005, and determined that the plan was exempt from CEQA because  
          there was no possibility that it would have significant impacts  
          on the environment.  The San Francisco County Transportation  
          Authority Commission (composed exclusively of members of the  
          board of supervisors) adopted the bicycle plan's "Network  
          Improvement Document" (Document), a five-year plan for funding  
          and implementing the Bicycle Plan on June 21, 2005.

          Petitioners challenged the adoption of the Document under CEQA  
          and the Court granted the petitioner's petition finding the Plan  
          and Document should have been reviewed pursuant to CEQA together  
          as one project - and that considered as a whole could have a  
          significant impact on the environment.  The Court issued a  
          Preemptory Writ of Mandate on June 18, 2007, requiring San  
          Francisco to conduct adequate environmental review of the Plan  
          and Document, and enjoined the city from implementing any  
          individual improvement projects until the review was completed.

          The San Francisco Planning Department published a draft EIR on  
          November 26, 2008.  According to the Court, "The bulk of the  
          Draft EIR's analysis concerned impacts on transportation,  
          particularly impacts from the 60 near-term improvements on 63  
          different intersections located throughout San Francisco, as  
          well as impacts on 12 'transit corridors,' 10 transit 'spot  
          studies,' and 13 parking and loading corridors."  The Court also  
          noted that the EIR identified mitigation measures to minimize or  
          eliminate many of the significant environmental impacts  
          identified in the EIR, including measures such as adding or  
          modifying traffic signals at intersections (lengthening green  
          light time or adding a green arrow), modifying roadway striping  
          (changing shared lanes to exclusive turn lanes, narrowing  
          traffic lanes, or eliminating or restricting on-street parking).

          The Planning Commission certified the EIR on June 25, 2009; the  
          Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors adopted the  
          2009 Bicycle Plan and approved the traffic changes necessary to  
          implement 45 of the 60 improvements, and made the required CEQA  

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          findings.  The petitioners appealed the Planning Commissioner's  
          certification of the EIR to the Board of Supervisors on July 15,  
          2009; and the Board of Supervisors heard the appeals on August  
          4, 2009, and denied the appeals.  The city filed a Notice of  
          Determination on August 14, 2009, and filed a return to the Writ  
          of Mandate on September 18, 2009, to which the petitioners  
          objected.  The Court found that the city complied with CEQA and  
          the court's order to conduct environmental review of the Bicycle  
          Plan, including its policies and goals and individual  
          improvement projects on August 6, 2010.  The main criticism  
          heard about the San Francisco case is that one petitioner had  
          the power to delay something good from happening for several  
          years.  
           
           Prior Legislation  

          SB 1380 (Rubio, 2012) would have exempted from CEQA bicycle  
          transportation plans developed for urbanized areas.  The bill  
          was approved by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee April  
          30, 2012 (6-0) but died on the Assembly Floor Inactive File.
          AB 2245 (Smyth, Chapter 680, Statutes of 2012) exempts from CEQA  
          a project that consists of restriping of streets and highways  
          for bicycle lanes in an urbanized area that is consistent with a  
          city or county bicycle transportation plan.  
           
           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/9/13)

          California Bicycle Coalition
          Civil Justice Association of California
          Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
          Orange County Transportation Authority

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/9/13)

          Sierra Club California

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  70-2, 4/25/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian  
            Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway, Cooley,  
            Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fox, Frazier, Beth  

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            Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell, Gray, Grove,  
            Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Holden, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Maienschein, Mansoor,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel Pérez,  
            Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Torres, Wagner, Waldron,  
            Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Stone, Yamada
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Ammiano, Blumenfield, Fong, Lowenthal,  
            Nazarian, Quirk, Ting, Vacancy


          RM:ej  9/5/13   Senate Floor Analyses 




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