Save AB 390 from Death by Bad Referral

Please call and email Senator Ricardo Lara today! (Thursday, August 31, 2017)

Image courtesy of Samuel Chu

Already good to go? Call: (916) 651-4033

AB 390 - the bill that would make it legal to cross the street during the countdown phase of the pedestrian signal - was put on suspense on Monday, August 28th due to a misunderstanding by the State Department of Finance.  

If AB 390 does not come off suspense at Friday morning's Senate Appropriations hearing (tomorrow), it will be over for California's crosswalk law update.

>> Please contact Senate Appropriations Chair Ricardo Lara to ask that AB 390 come off suspense.


PHONE: (916) 651-4033

EMAIL: [email protected] (find sample email text below)

Twitter: @SenRicardoLara  

What went wrong? The Dept. of Finance recommended the bill be reviewed by the California Traffic Control Device Committee (CTCDC). The CTCDC is not appropriate here because 1) this is not new device (it has been in service since 2001) and 2) this bill is about enforcement, which is determined by California Vehicle Code (CVC). The California Traffic Control Device Committee does not advise on enforcement, and only the state legislature can make changes to the CVC.

Summary: AB 390 has come a long way, and Los Angeles Walks has been a strong supporter from the start. Let's not allow a referral error to be the death of this important update to our law and to enforcement procedures. 

Please call, email, and tag Senator Lara today so he gets the message and removes AB 390 from suspense. 


August 31, 2017

The Honorable Ricardo Lara, Chair

Senate Appropriations Committee

State Capitol, Room 5050

Sacramento, CA 95814

via email: [email protected] 




Dear Senator Lara,

AB 390 (Santiago) was placed in suspense at the Senate Appropriations hearing on Monday, August 28, 2017, however I would like you to reconsider that action, as it is based upon a crucial misunderstanding of a Caltrans committee role.  Department of Finance staff indicated that the item should be reviewed by the California Traffic Control Device Committee (CTCDC) in order to determine the efficacy the proposed change, prior to the passage of the bill. That recommendation is neither fiscal in nature nor does it align with the role and purview of the CTCDC.  I am hopeful that with clarification of the role of the CTCDC that this bill can move to the Senate floor. 

The CTCDC is an advisory body managed by Caltrans to allow for local agencies to provide input on standards for the use of new traffic devices.  The committee helps to craft the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device (CaMUTCD).  This bill is not about a new device or nor is it changing how it is used.  Instead it just updates the California Vehicle Code (CVC), which pertains to enforcement.   This distinction is important because the CVC and enforcement are outside the purview of the CTCDC and Caltrans.  Only the legislature can amend the CVC.

Second, this bill is not considering a new device, nor does it seek to change how the device is presently used.  These devices first appeared on streets of California in 2001.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Register (Volume 74, Number 240 from December 16, 2009) clearly indicate that these devices are intended to give pedestrians information so that they can make sound decisions on their movements and that enforcement should reflect that:

Many pedestrians walk faster than the walking speeds used to calculate the length of the pedestrian change interval; therefore, many pedestrians are easily able to begin their crossing after the flashing UPRAISED HAND and countdown period has started and complete their crossing during the displayed countdown period … Pedestrians should be permitted to make their own determination of whether or not they have sufficient time to begin and complete their crossing during the remaining pedestrian clearance time.

Research indicated these devices promoted better decision making and have been widely deployed throughout the state over the last two decades. Unfortunately, the CVC was never updated to reflect the deployment of these devices.  This has resulted in an outdated enforcement policy that diverges from common sense, the device’s intended use, and creates confusion for pedestrians.  Clearing up this confusion is the sole action of this legislation.

AB 390 seeks only to bring the CVC up to date and into alignment with how the device is intended to be used.  This is a decision that only the state legislature can make and is not an area of CTCDC advisement, therefore the recommendation to send this legislation for their consideration is not appropriate. 

I hope that with this clarification you will remove AB 390 from suspense and allow for this change to enforcement to move forward.



c:  Senate Appropriations Committee

     California Department of Finance

     Mark Makenzie, Staff Director Senate Appropriations Committee

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