BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE BILL NO: AB 707 SENATOR MARK DESAULNIER, CHAIRMAN AUTHOR: Ting VERSION: 5/1/13 Analysis by: Erin Riches FISCAL: yes Hearing date: June 25, 2013 SUBJECT: Vehicles: pedestrian signage DESCRIPTION: This bill deletes conditions that must be met before a local agency may post "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs. ANALYSIS: Existing law: Establishes a prima facie speed limit of 25 miles per hour when passing a senior center or facility that is next to a street other than a state highway and where standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs are posted. Provides that a local agency is not required to post a standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning sign until: o The local agency has received private donations sufficient to cover the cost of posting the sign; and o The local agency makes a determination that there is need for the sign. Authorizes a local agency to utilize any other funds available to pay for posting standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs if it chooses to post a "SENIOR" pedestrian warning sign. Establishes a Pedestrian Safety Account in the State Transportation Fund to fund grants to be awarded by the state Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for pedestrian safety projects. This bill : AB 707 (TING) Page 2 Authorizes a local agency to post a standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning sign when it makes a determination that there is need for the sign, but does not require that private donations pay for the cost of posting the sign. Authorizes a local agency to request Pedestrian Safety Account grant funding, or any other grant funding for which it is eligible, to pay for the sign. Authorizes a local agency to use grant funding, or any other funds available including private donations, to post standard "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs. COMMENTS: 1.Purpose . The author notes that existing law, which does not require a local agency to post "SENIOR" pedestrian warning signs until private sources can cover the costs, has made it difficult for senior facilities to obtain these signs. The sponsor states that "senior slow zones" are not widely used because of questions about how local governments might fund the required signage. This bill would simplify the process of obtaining the signs and help protect seniors by making drivers aware of areas that may have large numbers of senior pedestrians. 2.Senior pedestrian safety . The California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that pedestrian fatalities for individuals age 65 years and older increased 14.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, and 4.6 percent from 2009 to 2010. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that individuals 65 years and older accounted for 19 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and 8 percent of pedestrian injuries in 2009. In 2009, the fatality rate for senior pedestrians was 1.96 per 100,000 population - higher than the rate for all other age groups. 3.Questionable funding source . This bill authorizes local agencies to seek grant funding specifically from the California Pedestrian Safety Account. This account, which was created by AB 2522 (Shelley), Chapter 833, Statutes of 2000, has received minimal or no funding during its existence. The author expresses hope that when the account is eventually funded, it can provide grants for this purpose. AB 707 (TING) Page 3 Assembly Votes: Floor: 69-0 Appr: 13-4 Trans: 16-0 POSITIONS: (Communicated to the committee before noon on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.) SUPPORT: California Alliance for Retired Americans (co-sponsor) California Walks (co-sponsor) California State Retirees OPPOSED: None received.