California WALKS was founded to help organize and train local pedestrian advocacy groups to broadcast a unified voice for pedestrian issues at the state level. Highway, crosswalk and intersection designs are developed at the state level but ultimately impact the health and safety of local communities. We organized to elevate and broadcast local community voices to state policymakers. Our mission is to advance local community-driven concerns and priorities for pedestrian safety and walkable communities across the state. In advancing a unified vision and platform with our Network Affiliates (local walk advocacy groups), California WALKS pursues policy and environmental changes that support healthy, safe & walkable communities-particularly for communities disparately impacted by pedestrian injury/fatality or infrastructural inequities. California WALKS advances health equity across the state through policy advocacy, community engagement, and a growing unified statewide network of local community organizations and affiliates.
Over the past several years, the California WALKS Network, in collaboration with local and regional partners, have successfully: 1. Increased Investments in Active Transportation, including: the new Caltrans ADA Infrastructure Program with dedicated pedestrian safety funding of $1.1 billion over 30 years-the largest single increase in statewide pedestrian investment in Caltrans history; 200% increase in SANDAG's uncommitted funds allocated to its 2011 RTP/SCS (2.1% of adopted RTP/SCS), and a 6.5% increase per capita in SACOG's RTP/SCS bicycle and pedestrian investments); 2. Elevated Community Resident Voices in Transportation Policymaking: by partnering with the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and its 900,000 members to advance pedestrian safety as a priority statewide; increasing public transparency and accountability of Caltrans' transportation accounting and tracking of active transportation investments; and fostering youth leadership and advocacy with the California WALKS Youth Leaders VideoVoice Mapping Team); and 3. Advanced State, Regional, & Local Policies to Increase Walking, including: the Caltrans Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan; adoption of Active Transportation as a primary strategy to promote healthy communities by the Strategic Growth Council‘s Health in All Policies Task Force; inclusion of sidewalk, curb extension, pedestrian safety island and crossing standards and guidelines in the Caltrans’ Complete Streets update to the Highway Design Manual (HDM), in collaboration with CARA; approval of rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) as a proven safety countermeasure in the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; creation of and appointment of two new public member seats to the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC)—which advises Caltrans on standards for traffic signs, signals and pavement markings—in order to represent all roadway users’ perspectives (in collaboration with the California Bicycle Coalition); state prioritization of safer street crossings through the Caltrans Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) (Challenge Area 8); and equitable implementation of Safe Routes to School)
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