California Streetsies: Richard Bloom for Legislator of the Year

streetsie_2015Welcome to the California-wide Streetsie awards! SBCA did things a little differently from our sister Streetsblog sites for this first-ever round of California Streetsies. Instead of inviting our informed readers to weigh in, SBCA editors are selecting a few noteworthy recipients. Let us know if you agree, or who else you think deserves a California Streetsie award.

The first-ever CA Streetsie award is for statewide legislative support of bicycling, walking, and sustainable streets in general. It goes to Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Not only has he actively supported sustainable transportation in his district, including the expansion of Metro transit into the westside and the implementation of Santa Monica’s new bike-share system, he is a champion of bicycling legislative efforts at the state level.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom, left, with Santa Monica Spokes’ Cynthia Rose, when he was Mayor of Santa Monica. Photo: Richard McKinnon

His successful bill, A.B. 902, co-authored with David Chiu, allows cities to create diversion programs for people who are ticketed for some bicycle infractions. The bill looks simple but could have big impacts on bicycling and bicycling education as more people take to the streets on their bikes. It allows cities and police departments to set up education programs allowing bicyclists to lower fines by taking bike safety classes, something that car drivers have long been able to do. Lower fines will likely be helpful for low-income bike riders, who make up the majority of people riding bikes for transportation. Developing bike safety classes can also give advocates one more set of tools to encourage bicycling in the state.

As chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation, Bloom has been a champion for smart, sustainable development, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and focusing congestion relief investments on transit, walking, and bicycling. He is also a proponent for the sensible solution of investing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds into the Active Transportation Program, which remains one of the main sources of funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure locally and statewide.

Congratulations, Assemblymember Bloom!