Yorba Linda Visioning Festival

The City of Yorba Linda announces a 3 day Visioning Festival to update their General Plan, and their Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Starting 6/21 and ending 6/23, the Festival will provide walk-about tours of two parks, and workshops to present planning information, and to solicit your input to the general plan process.

Click here for the event flyer, (pdf) and more detailed information about the Visioning Festival.

Yorba Linda is ranked 7th  for cyclist fatalities.  Actually, it is tied for 7th with the cities of  Dana Point, La Habra, Laguna Beach, and Lake Forest with 3 cyclist fatalities in each city for the years 2001-2012.

In terms of cyclist injury, Yorba Linda ranks 23rd, with 87 cyclist injuries over the same time frame.

The major cyclist violations were: right of way, and riding on the wrong side of the road (?). Cyclists were also cited for traffic signals and signs, and improper turning infractions.

Would having a bike plan have made any difference in cyclist fatalities and injury? We may not know the answer to that, but we do know that if there is to be a healthy, vibrant community in the future, a Bike Plan is certainly a needed component to the General Plan.

Help Yorba Linda incorporate the best of all possible worlds with a Bike Plan.  This is your chance to have a say, and directly influence your children’s future, and the future for those to come.

At the workshops ask about Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, and how the generation of tomorrow will be made better by your actions in advancing a Bike Plan today.

HB Bike Plan Public Workshop

Title: HB Bike Plan Public Workshop
Location: Central Library – Talbert Room, 7111 Talbert Avenue
Description: Join us at our first public meeting and give us your thoughts
on how to make Huntington Beach a more bike-friendly place.
The bike planning consultants and City staff will be on hand to
answer your questions and record your comments.
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2012-6-20
End Time: 20:00

Yeah, it’s a week night and for the early risers it may be a bit late, but try and be represented at this meeting because the future cycle-ability of your city lies in the balance. Despite what most developers tell you, there IS a national shift towards more sustainable modes of transportation and community.

Responsible developers are responding to this shift, so don’t believe your voice doesn’t matter.  “If you care, be there!”

Don’t forget to complete the on-line survey before you go!

Update: Here is our scorecard for the city of Huntington Beach. Surf City is ranked #3 behind Santa Ana and Anaheim for the most cyclist injuries in the county. It is tied for #4 with Garden Grove for cyclist deaths behind the cities of Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Newport Beach.

The scorecard also lists the number of traffic violations by count, type, and specific CVC violation  for each year from 2001-2012.

This scorecard is compiled from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) and is subject to revision by the administrating authority, the California Highway Patrol.

Transportation Policy2: opinion

In our previous post about Transportation Policy, Sprocket presented a table to illustrate the potential drastic reduction in funds due to an apparent trend in decreasing miles driven by 16-34 year olds as brought forth by a report issued by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund & Frontier Group.

Here’s an update to the analysis and what it means to you, me, and anyone who uses funding from taxes collected from the sale of gasoline and diesel fuels.

The net takeaway: Buy a mountain bike now – bumpy roads lie ahead.

Background: The Federal gasoline tax currently stands at 18.4 cents per gallon and is not indexed to inflation. What that means is that the tax has remained at a constant 18.4 cents over time while its value has decreased due to an increased supply of money in “the system” which dilutes what those cents can buy today.

As an illustration:
Let’s say a piece of bubblegum sells for 1 penny, and having 2 pennies, you walk away with 2 pieces of bubblegum – yum!
Time goes by (maybe a year or two), and you again wish for a piece of bubblegum. You approach the counter with 2 pennies and 2 pieces of bubblegum, and are stunned by the revelation that 1 piece of bubblegum now sells for 2 pennies. What happened?
Obviously your penny will now buy half of what it used to, and the term used to explain that phenomena is improperly called inflation.

Inflation is something your tires need when they are flat. As you fill them with air, notice how they expand and seat snugly against the constraint of the rim. What happens when the tire is over inflated beyond its design? If you’re laughing, you already know, but suffice it to say that the tire (or tube if you use those) will overcome the restraint of the rim, usually with a very loud “bang!” and the tire is rapidly deflated. If you’re riding your bike and this happens, the tire could actually roll off the rim, usually leaving the rider with stories of legend if they manage to control the blowout and are able to come to a safe stop.
So that’s inflation in a nutshell, and yes, you could say that over inflation leads to a depression as in the tire is now depressed on de-floor.

In reality, what took 1 penny to buy but now costs 2 is properly referred to as purchasing power (or loss thereof). If you bought 1 piece of gum for a penny in the past, and still can receive that now, your penny’s purchasing power has remained constant over time. If you now receive 2 pieces of bubblegum, your purchasing power has increased or doubled. So obviously, if it takes 2 pennies to receive 1 piece of bubblegum, your purchasing power has decreased by half.

Last raised in 1993, the purchasing power of the gas tax (and the money in your wallet or account), has decreased by 33% which means instead of buying 18.4 pieces of bubblegum in 1993, you now receive 12.3. If you want to buy 18.4 pieces of gum but only have 12.3 pennies, you must get a loan for the full amount needed and thus you need an intermediary to supply the loan. The intermediary might be a friend, your dad, or even a banker, who might accept your bike as collateral for the amount they will loan you and for this service, will charge interest in addition to any additional charges for loan origination, insurance, etc. You can see that things become complicated quickly and it is better left to another post as to where (and how) the bank gets the money for its loans.
Bottom line; by going into debt, more money is created thus diluting the purchasing power of the existing money supply.

By the way, there is also a federal tax on diesel fuel which stands at 24.4 cents per gallon.
Thankfully we will limit our discussion to gasoline only in this post.

State Gasoline Tax

Gas Tax
(State + Federal)

Diesel Tax
(State + Federal)

US average






In July 2009 the average state gasoline tax was 28.6 cents per gallon in addition to the 18.4 federal tax for an average tax of 47 cents per gallon. California of course is different and its tax for gasoline is 46.1 cents per gallon, however the tax is less for diesel which stands at 44.6 cents per gallon.

So What?
Intuitively a decline in miles driven results in less fuel being bought, less taxes collected, thus less funds for transportation issues; of which if we (as a nation) rely on to build and maintain our national, regional, and local transportation infrastructure.

Every year the purchasing power of our currency is slowly eroded causing the cost of anything, including transportation projects to increase. If the increase in costs were matched by the taxes collected there would be no problem. With an increase in costs and a decrease in taxes collected, a gap is created between what is desired and what is available to buy it with. Much like the desire to have 18.4 pieces of gum but only having 12.3 cents to pay for it. The question now becomes: “Where will the money to fill the gap come from?”.

Will the money be borrowed, or will something be sold to raise the difference needed? Should we (as a nation) auction the Grand Canyon, or a another national treasure to the highest bidder?

In this country. a rough average estimate for a paved bike path is $1 million per mile.
The dollars used to build these things come from transportation projects. Are you with me now?

What’s the number?
We don’t have a single number because the study didn’t provide the crucial ingredient; the number of “capita” in their “per capita” figures, thus we provide an updated range of possible numbers. It turns out our previous hypothetical, while correctly pointing to the escalating problem of a funding gap, was way shy of the possible population of drivers used in the study. Also, we updated the table to provide clarity into Federal and State funding gaps. Here is the big picture:

The blue arrow is pointing to the data area expanded in the table below. Since the number of drivers and miles driven in California covered by the report are not known (by us), we used the national average state tax rate of 28.6 cents per gallon to derive:

From the report it’s clear that just a 2400 mile reduction per capita made a huge difference in available funds (taxes) when multiplied by the number of capitas! While the report covered the 8 years from 2001 to 2009, the fact that they chose to study the 16-34 year olds is meaningful for 2 reasons:

  • 16-34 aged drivers are the most mobile, we would expect to see a decrease
    in miles driven by drivers 50+ over 8 years
  • habits formed in this age range are likely to become ingrained into their
    future lifestyle and their offspring’s

Obviously if there were more than 30 million drivers in the age range of 16 to 34 during the period of the study the red ink would be dripping from your monitor onto the floor. While there may have been more, the point has been made, and we aren’t auditors!

Well Then What’s the Point?
What the study dances around, and we present clearly, is that for the 8 years from 2001 to 2009 there’s been a funding gap and now we have an approximate scale to the size of the gap.
The gap has been filled somehow, but at what future cost?

The point is that initial future funding for transportation infrastructure will not only be sharply curtailed, but whatever percentage previously devoted to cycling improvement will come under direct attack or diverted to fill other funding gaps.

That $5 million you thought would build a connecting spur to an existing trail for a commuter link to the bike station at the Metrolink or Amtrak station might vanish into paying interest on loans made, or bonds issued to cover the previous year’s gap.

A showdown is coming between the auto-centric, “Business As Usual” (BAU) crowd who haven’t known anything but constant growth for the last 30 years, and people who see that model as unsustainable and seek out sustainable alternatives such as more class1 and 2 cycle trails, only to find that the funds that were supposed to be available have been diverted into a privatized venture or some other adventure to prop up the decaying status quo.

What About Tomorrow?
Since we only have a greasy rag to clean our shiny Phil Wood hub, the future is not real clear, but we’ll give it a shot anyway.
While we used a generous 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in calculating tax / funding loss in our 1st hypothetical, that is unrealistic going forward, so we will raise it to 30mpg as acknowledgement to the increasing gain in mileage by newer vehicles. Obviously if the average mpg is higher even less gas will be used, creating a bleaker picture for funding. Since we provided a ridiculous range number for drivers 16-34 in our previous table, we’ll stick with it, and while gas taxes will probably rise in the near future, and forever, for comparison’s sake we’ll leave them as is.
With all other things remaining equal, we change the model thusly:

  • Increase average mile / gallon from 25 to 30
  • The base year becomes 2009
  • Roll the 2001-2009 trend-line forward to 2016

Presenting Tomorrow
One of our possible futures look like this:

This is a rough (ok, very rough) outlook towards the future in which we are
sounding the alarm now in order to better prepare to create a better sustainable future that we can be proud to leave to our children.

Current trends of driving less while cycling more places an increasing demand for additional cycling infrastructure that might not even exist in some places.  How will it be funded?  More to come later.

We in Orange County have been fortunate to have had forward looking leaders and advocates leading us to where we are today.

We ride in the shadows of those that have made it possible to enjoy where we live and ride today.

It is up to each of us to create the best of all possible futures to carry forward for those that follow us tomorrow.

Probably the best reward would be to have a grand-kid look up and say, “Thanks”.

Transportation Policy: opinion

Browsing the innerwebs, our intrepid reporter found an article in the OC register that headlined: “Study finds young people driving less”.  Intrigued, the reporter read the article, and not satisfied with that, submitted the following informative about the study and its ramifications which we present part1 for your perusal.

Young People Are Driving Less – So what?
According to a study released this month by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund & Frontier Group called Transportation and the New Generation, young driving habits in this country are changing and transportation policies need to accommodate that change for present and future transportation plans.

Business as Usual? – Not so much.
Driven by powerful lobbyists representing oil, auto, and infrastructure industries, previous national and regional transportation plans called for much of the same “massive investments in new highway capacity on the assumption that driving will continue to increase at a rapid and steady pace” over the last 30 years.  However, the study notes 8 years (2001-2009) of  decreasing annual miles driven by 16 to 34 year olds thus reflecting a need to change the perspective of policy makers regarding transportation infrastructure decisions and funding practices.

The Threat to the Status Quo
Unfortunately in examining the report there is no mention of the actual or averaged population of 16 to 34 year olds. By omitting this number, the authors deprive us of accurate interpretation, so we are forced to conjecture the further implications and ramifications that were either missed by the authors, or not written about in the report.  While our research team tries to validate the actual population, we selected an extremely conservative range of numbers to illustrate the threat and impact to the status quo.

While deceasing annual miles driven sounds like a good thing (and it is), it is – in fact – a shot across to the bow to those that would prefer to continue “business as usual”.  Decreasing annual miles driven is a direct threat to the core of established interests because it removes a prime source of funding for those interests; and that is where the battle lies.

Consider the following hypothetical table:


From our hypothetical bar napkin analysis we offer a range of $360,000 to 2.8 million direct dollar loss from the 23% decrease in annual miles driven.  Please note that this is an imaginary illustration to drive home the point of the severity of working capital loss as a result of decreased miles driven.  Variables in our imaginary scenario are the actual gallons per mile (25), tax range per gallon of fuel, and the population range of drivers in the study.  The take home message is clear, transportation funding is taking a hit, and if current trends continue, even less money will be available for transportation infrastructure projects in the near and foreseeable future even as greater demands are placed on them.

Enter the Dragon
The reduction in tax revenue for funding transportation infrastructure means that the difference of projected revenue streams and actual realized revenue will have to come from “somewhere”.  The state will receive less from the feds, the county will receive less from the state, and cities will receive less from the county.
Where that “somewhere” is, is anyone’s guess.
According to the study: “From 2001 to 2009, young people (16-34 years old) who lived in households with incomes of over $70,000 per year increased their use of public transit by 100 percent, biking by 122 percent, and walking by 37 percent.”
Will the day come where people are equipped with federally mandated (but not paid for) gps locators and taxed according to distance traveled regardless (or in addition to) of the method employed?

A Glimmer of Hope

A recent review of the proposed final 2012-2035 Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Executive Summary opens with the words: “Our Vision – Towards a Sustainable Future”.
Sustainable will (if it hasn’t already) become the “new” buzzword in local, regional, and national politics.  The opening continues with: “While mobility is a vital component of the quality of life that this region deserves, it is by no means the only component. SCAG has placed a greater emphasis than ever before on sustainability and integrated planning in the 2012–2035 Regional  Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), whose vision encompasses three principles that collectively work as the key to our region’s future: mobility, economy, and sustainability.”   Wow, it’s almost official and in a good way!

With almost half of California’s population located in the area covered by the SCAG association (Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial counties), it is encouraging to see an acknowledgement that growth must be moderated through intelligent planning with an eye towards reducing the negative impacts while promoting the positive.

What transportation method is most sustainable than a bike?
With raw materials used to make them at about 1/100th of a typical car (even less with bamboo), the ability to park 10-20 bikes in the space of 1 car’s parking spot in a bike corral, and with next to zero emissions (depending on rider and fuel ingested), there must be some mention of bikes in this report somewhere.

Indeed, clicking on “find” and entering “bike” in the search function reveals 2 hits in the report.

  1. Active Transportation $6.7 billion – Various Active Transportation Strategies
    Increase our bikeways from 4,315 miles to 10,122
    , bring significant amount of sidewalks into compliance with the
    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), safety improvements, and various other strategies $6.7 billion
  2. Transportation Demand Management (TDM) $4.5 billion
    Other “first mile/last mile” strategies to allow travelers to easily connect to and from transit service at  their origin and destination. These strategies include the development of mobility hubs around major
    transit stations, the integration of bicycling and transit through folding-bikes-on-buses programs, triple  bike racks on buses, and dedicated racks on light and heavy rail vehicles.

This would be great if it applied only to the county of Orange, but it doesn’t – meaning that the OC has to compete for funding that may or may not exist in the future. While it is encouraging to see funding estimates for these two transportation methods, the first is comprised of 4 items of which two nebulously defined “safety improvements”, and “various other strategies” could suck funds away from the well defined bikeway increase and ADA compliance.  Parts of the second TDM strategy are already taking place here in the OC.  Metrolink has added the bike cars, OCTA has installed bike lockers, and some buses are proto-typing the triple rack designs as final standards are awaited from  Sacramento. Fullerton and the OCTA will be testing a bike share program starting with an initial 2 square mile area, while another was introduced in Los Angeles at the start of their 4th CicLAvia this past 15th by Mayor Villaraigosa who announced a $16 million bike sharing program for downtown L.A., Hollywood, Playa Del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach. These bike share programs are part of the TDM strategy to resolve the first/ last mile commuter nightmare from transit endpoints to their destination.

OC developers take heed

As you seek to profit by removing the last remaining “undeveloped” or “renovating under served” areas of the county, the word sustainable must enter your lexicon and design plans.  Encourage alternate transportation use by locating near a train, bus line, or even better; a bikeway!  Instead of “iconic” empty structures whose function hides the landscape beyond, increase your ROI by  minimizing demands on municipal services by incorporating solar power and heat, site water reclamation, and the latest building technology and materials such as “percolating” asphalt to pave the parking lots of our decreasing autocentric (with the most disposable income) society.

And finally, please consider installing bike corrals and functional bike racks close to business entrances to attract the “new” demographic.  Your development will thrive and be in positive resonance with the zeitgeist of the current trends.  With reduced operating costs, (against probable increases over time from municipal services), your profit margins will widen as time marches on into the sustainable future.

To pull it all together, the study states: “The time has come for transportation policy to reflect the needs and desires of today’s Americans – not the worn-out conventional wisdom from days gone by.”

Personally I couldn’t agree more; I’m still waiting for my Jetson’s car with a bike-rack for my star scooter!

Don’t let the autocentric paradigm rob funding for a multi modal sustainable future!