BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING
                              Senator Jim Beall, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          SB 1051           Hearing Date:    4/19/2016
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          |Author:   |Hancock                                               |
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          |Version:  |4/6/2016                                              |
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          |Urgency:  |No                     |Fiscal:      |No              |
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          |Consultant|Randy Chinn                                           |
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          SUBJECT:  Vehicles:  parking enforcement:  video image evidence


            DIGEST:  This bill allows the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit  
          District to enforce parking violations in transit-only traffic  
          lanes and bus stops using video cameras.

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law:
          
          1)Authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to enforce  
            parking violations in specified transit-only traffic lanes  
            using video cameras.  A designated employee shall review the  
            video image recordings to determine whether a parking  
            violation occurred.  Violations are civil penalties and do not  
            impact a driver's record.  These video images are confidential  
            and available only to public agencies to enforce parking  
            violations.

          2)Creates the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit)  
            which is the third-largest public bus system in California,  
            serving 13 cities and adjacent unincorporated areas in Alameda  
            and Contra Costa counties.

          This bill extends these provisions to the AC Transit and  
          broadens the use of video enforcement from transit-only traffic  
          lanes to also include bus stops for both AC Transit and the City  
          and County of San Francisco.








          SB 1051 (Hancock)                                  Page 2 of ?
          
          
          COMMENTS:

          1)Purpose.  According to the author, AC Transit is currently  
            building a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor that will utilize  
            dedicated bus-only lanes to improve service reliability and  
            frequency.  Given the issues experienced in San Francisco with  
            vehicles illegally stopped in bus-only lanes, AC Transit is  
            sponsoring this bill to have this authority in place before  
            service begins.  San Francisco's transit-only lane enforcement  
            program, according to the author, has reduced parking  
            violations and transit delays.  

            The author states that blocking access to bus stops is a  
            growing problem, raising significant safety issues for  
            passengers, particularly the disabled, who have to board or  
            exit without the bus pulling up to the curb.  This also  
            creates unnecessary congestion as the bus cannot pull out of  
            the traffic lane when an illegally parked vehicle prevents  
            access to the bus stop.  By allowing video enforcement, the  
            author intends to reduce illegal parking in bus stops.

          2)San Francisco experience.  In removing the sunset from San  
            Francisco's pilot program last year, the Legislature took note  
            of the general success of that program:  Bus reliability was  
            marginally improved, motorists were parking illegally less  
            frequently, privacy concerns did not emerge, and the program  
            did not function as a revenue raiser.

          3)Phase-in period.  Like San Francisco, AC Transit is required  
            to make a public announcement of this program at least 30 days  
            prior to commencement.  For the first 30 days only warning  
            notices may be issued.  

          4)Fines.  Current law specifies that violations are infractions  
            subject to a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000.   
            Fine revenues will go to AC Transit.  Violations can be  
            appealed to Superior Court.  Car registration cannot be  
            renewed if there is an outstanding fine.  As an infraction,  
            additional surcharges, penalties and assessments are added,  
            which are adopted by the state Judicial Council.  With those  
            additions, the $250 base fine will really be $1,156.

            This bill specifies that violations are civil penalties, not  
            infractions.  That means that there are no additions to the  
            fine.  However, this also means that the penalty for parking  








          SB 1051 (Hancock)                                  Page 3 of ?
          
          
            in a bus stop if caught by video will cost $250 and if caught  
            by a peace officer will cost $1,156. 

            By way of comparison, in this hearing the committee will  
            consider SB 998 (Wieckowski), which creates an infraction for  
            driving in a BRT corridor of $100.  After the adders the $100  
            fine will really be $541.

          5)Expanded bus stop parking enforcement.  This bill allows video  
            enforcement for stopping or parking at a bus stop, a practice  
            already prohibited under existing law.  Before a ticket is  
            issued, the violation must first be reviewed by a designated  
            employee of the City and County of San Francisco or a  
            contracted law enforcement agency for AC Transit.  

            This is a significant expansion of the video enforcement  
            program.  Depending on how the program is administered, it  
            could lead to unreasonably inflexible enforcement.  For  
            example, should a $250 ticket be issued if a car pulled away  
            from the bus stop before the bus was impaired, or the car was  
            stopped at a bus stop in a way which did not endanger the bus  
            or its passengers?  In theory, the review by a law enforcement  
            agency should mitigate unreasonable enforcement, but the video  
            evidence with its limited field of view cannot capture all the  
            relevant factors that a peace officer would consider.  This  
            committee passed legislation last year which would have  
            stopped automated enforcement by stop-sign cameras, in part  
            because of evidence that unjustified tickets were issued even  
            though the video evidence was reviewed by park rangers (SB  
            218, Huff).  Moreover, recent legislative efforts have tried  
            to mitigate the potentially harsh impact of fines on lower  
            income individuals for minor offenses.  

          6)Double-referral.  This bill has also been referred to the  
            Senate Judiciary Committee.

          Related Legislation:
          
          SB 998 (Wieckowski) - creates an infraction for parking in a  
          transit-only traffic lane.  This bill will also be heard today  
          in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

          AB 218 (Huff) - would have prohibited the use of stop-sign  
          cameras by the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority.   
          This bill passed the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee  








          SB 1051 (Hancock)                                  Page 4 of ?
          
          
          but failed in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

          AB 1287 (Chiu, Chapter 485, Statutes of 2015) - removed the  
          sunset on the authority of the City and County of San  
          Francisco's pilot program for video enforcement of parking  
          violations in transit-only traffic lanes.

          AB 1041 (Ma, Chapter 325, Statutes of 2011) - extended the  
          sunset on the authority of the City and County of San  
          Francisco's pilot program for video enforcement of parking  
          violations in transit-only traffic lanes to January 1, 2016.

          AB 101 (Ma, Chapter 377, Statutes of 2007) - authorized the City  
          and County of San Francisco to establish a pilot program for  
          video enforcement of parking violations in transit-only traffic  
          lanes which expired January 1, 2012.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Appropriation:  No    Fiscal Com.:  No    Local:  
           No


            POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the committee before noon on  
          Wednesday,
                          April 13, 2016.)
          
            SUPPORT:  

          Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (sponsor)

          OPPOSITION:

          None received

          
                                      -- END --