This originally appeared on TransForm's blog, TransForum.
With two days left in the legislative session, Governor Jerry Brown and leaders of the Legislature announced Wednesday night that they would remove the provision from SB 350 that would have set a goal for the state to cut petroleum use by 50% by 2030.
Oil industry front groups had been fighting hard against SB 350 to protect their profits, spreading lies through expensive advertising campaigns and lobbying around the state. We're extremely disappointed that not enough of our state leaders stood up to pressure from the oil industry.
Yet even as the Sacramento Bee calls this "a major setback for Governor Brown's climate agenda," there are two significant silver linings to note.
First of all, we know that TransForm's efforts made an impact in the debate about SB 350. Thanks to emails from people like you, state leaders had recently strengthened SB 350 to include investing in ways that make it easier and safer to get around without a car (like bike lanes, safe sidewalks, and reliable buses and trains).
Senator De Leon made SB 350 better as a result of our involvement. We will continue to press for better public transportation, safer walking and biking, and more affordable homes near transit to be a focus of California's climate protection initiatives.
Recently, we’ve discussed the importance of complete streets and how safe transportation options can improve population health. As it turns out, promoting active transportation also makes great financial sense for our communities as well.
As this helpful infographic shows, those who commuted primarily by car were much less likely to stop along the way for goods and services than are those who walk or take public transportation. This benefits local businesses near transit shops because increased foot traffic generally results in increased sales. Further, those who commuted by foot or bike spent far less on transportation than those who drove.
After analyzing the results, the researchers settled on this takeaway:
“Given the promising movement toward active transportation and use of transit, implications for policy and practice include giving strong consideration, support, and funding to programs that feature mode shift and safety, rather than automobile-dominant commute and travel patterns.”