BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 417
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 417 (Frazier)
          As Amended June 13, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |70-2 |(April 25,      |SENATE: |39-0 |(September 11, |
          |           |     |2013)           |        |     |2013)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:    NAT. RES.

          SUMMARY  :  Establishes a California Environmental Quality Act  
          (CEQA) exemption for the approval of a bicycle transportation  
          plan, as defined, until 2018.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Establishes an exemption from CEQA for a bicycle  
            transportation plan for an urbanized area for restriping of  
            streets and highways, bicycle parking and storage, signal  
            timing, and related signage.

          2)Requires a lead agency, prior to determining a plan is exempt,  
            to hold noticed public hearings, assess any traffic and safety  
            impacts, and include measures to mitigate those impacts.

          3)Requires a lead agency to file a notice of any bicycle plan  
            exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and the  
            county clerk in the county in which the project is located.

          4)Sunsets the bill's provisions on January 1, 2018.

           The Senate amendments  revise requirements applicable to a  
          separate exemption for bicycle lanes to provide that the lead  
          agency is not required to prepare an assessment of any traffic  
          or safety impacts of the project if those impacts have been  
          identified in specified CEQA reviews within the past five years  
          and any mitigation measures identified in the prior review are  
          incorporated into the bicycle lane project.  

          EXISTING LAW  requires lead agencies with the principal  
          responsibility for carrying out or approving a proposed project  
          to prepare a negative declaration, mitigated negative  
          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  








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          in the CEQA guidelines).

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.

           COMMENTS  :  CEQA provides a process for evaluating the  
          environmental effects of applicable projects undertaken or  
          approved by public agencies.  If a project is not exempt from  
          CEQA, an initial study is prepared to determine whether the  
          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.

          In June 2005, San Francisco adopted its 2005 Bicycle Plan,  
          determining that the plan was exempt from CEQA based upon their  
          finding that there was no possibility that the bicycle plan  
          would have significant impacts on the environment.  San  
          Francisco also adopted the bicycle plan's Network Improvement  
          Document, a five-year plan for funding and implementing the  
          bicycle plan.  Petitioners challenged adoption of the 2005  
          Bicycle Plan and Network Improvement Document under CEQA and the  
          court granted the petition, finding that the plan and document  
          should have been reviewed under CEQA together as one project,  
          and that the two actions could have a significant impact on the  
          environment.  The court issued a Preemptory Writ of Mandate in  
          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.

          After reviewing the revised plan, the court indicated that  








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          "(t)he 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), or modifying roadway  
          striping (changing shared lanes to exclusive turn lanes,  
          narrowing travel lanes, or eliminating or restricting on-street  
          parking).  Subsequent to ruling against another appeal by the  
          plaintiffs, the court determined in 2010 that the report met the  
          requirements of CEQA.

          AB 2245 (Smyth), Chapter 680, Statutes of 2012, established a  
          CEQA exemption for Class II bikeways (bike lanes) undertaken by  
          a city or county within an existing road right-of-way until  
          2017.  
           

           Analysis Prepared by :    Lawrence Lingbloom / NAT. RES. / (916)  
          319-2092 


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