BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 707
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 29, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                       AB 707 (Ting) - As Amended:  May 1, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :  Vehicle: pedestrian signage

           SUMMARY  :  Deletes conditions that must be met before a local  
          authority can be required to post "SENIOR" pedestrian warning  
          signs.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Deletes the condition that a local authority cannot be held  
            responsible for posting "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs  
            unless it has received private funding to cover the costs of  
            the sign.  

          2)Permits a local jurisdiction to erect a SENIOR pedestrian  
            warning sign after making a determination that the proposed  
            signing should be implemented. 

          3)Specifies that a local jurisdiction may request grant funding  
            from the Pedestrian Safety Account to cover the costs of  
            "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs.  

          4)Authorizes local authorities to utilize any other grant funds,  
            including private donations, to pay for SENIOR pedestrian  
            warning signs.

          5)Makes related, conforming changes.  

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Specifies a prima facie speed limit of 25 miles per hour (mph)  
            when passing a senior center or other facility primarily used  
            by senior citizens that is next to a street other than a state  
            highway and when standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs  
            are posted.  

          2)Provides that a local authority is not required to erect the  
            standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning sign until:  1) it  
            receives donations from a private source to cover the cost of  
            the signage; and, 2) until the local authority determines the  
            sign should be erected.  









                                                                  AB 707
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          3)Authorizes a local authority to pay for the costs of erecting  
            the "SENIOR" pedestrian warning sign utilizing other funds.  

          4)Establishes the Pedestrian Safety Account in the State  
            Transportation Fund for expenditure by the California  
            Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for competitive grants  
            to address pedestrian needs.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  The author has introduced this bill to improve  
          pedestrian safety near senior centers and senior facilities.   
          The need to make improvements is, unfortunately, supported by a  
          report from the Office of Traffic Safety that indicates  
          pedestrian fatalities for persons age 65 and older increased 4.6  
          percent from 2010.  

          By specifically stating that local authorities are not required  
          to place signs until two conditions are met (i.e., receipt of  
          private funds for the signs and a determination that signs  
          should be implemented), existing law effectively shields local  
          authorities from tort claims arising from the lack of "SENIOR"  
          pedestrian warning signs.  Consequently, local authorities who  
          do not place the signs (with or without private funding sources)  
          remain protected.  By removing the condition that local  
          jurisdictions receive private funding and instead making the use  
          of private funds one of several funding options available to  
          local jurisdictions, the bill effectively removes the tort claim  
          "shield" and increases pressure on local jurisdictions to erect  
          more SENIOR pedestrian warning signs.  

          Additionally, this bill also specifically authorizes local  
          authorities to utilize other grant funds, private funds, and  
          specifically calls for the use of Pedestrian Safety Account  
          funds as a potential means of financial relief from resultant  
          costs.  It is important to note, however, that the Pedestrian  
          Safety Account is not currently in use because it has not been  
          funded for over a decade.  

          Increasing the number of "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs that  
          are placed will have additional safety implications.  Once the  
          signs are placed, existing law provides that the prima facie  
          speed limit in areas near senior centers and senior facilities  
          will be 25 mph.  Consequently, the bill will provide two-fold  
          benefits to pedestrian safety:  an increased proliferation of  








                                                                  AB 707
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          visual warnings to drivers of nearby senior pedestrian crossings  
          and potentially lower speeds limits to slow traffic down in  
          these areas.  

           Previous legislation  :  AB 2522 (Shelly) Chapter 833, Statutes of  
          2000, enacted the Pedestrian Safety Act of 2000 which, among  
          other things, established the Pedestrian Safety Account in the  
          State Transportation Fund to be available, upon appropriation,  
          for allocation by Caltrans to local governmental agencies  
          approved for grants to undertake pedestrian safety improvement  
          projects, including projects designed to improve facilities for  
          pedestrians and bicyclists in areas where need has been  
          demonstrated by high pedestrian injuries or fatalities.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Alliance for Retired Americans (co-sponsor)
          California Walks (co-sponsor)
          United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           

          Analysis Prepared by :   Victoria Alvarez / TRANS. / (916) 319-  
          2093