SACRAMENTO, CA – Last week, AB 529 authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) passed the Assembly Floor by a unanimous bipartisan vote of 71-0. The bill, which addresses speeding problems on local roads, now heads to the Senate.
Several prior efforts by local representatives to pass similar legislation had failed to make it even past the first committee vote. But since his election in June 2010, Gatto has worked with stakeholders, including the traditional opposition of the bill, to reinforce the importance of the legislation. Despite this being a controversial issue in the past, in the end, the Assembly apparently heard the cries of their cities and residents and unanimously supported the bill.
“I promised residents that I would do something about those who speed through our streets,” says Gatto, “and I will continue to work hard to address this problem.”
The speeding problem in Glendale and other local cities had been exacerbated by a 2004 change in state law. Before that, cities could set speed limits within a range of the speed at which traffic traveled on a street. After the 2004 change in law however, cities have been forced to round up their speed limits, which some drivers treat as permission to drive even faster. AB 529 gives local governments the option to round speed limits down after a traffic survey, which will slow the process of escalating limits on roads unsuited to higher speeds.
The current rules also have proven to be a financial burden on cities. According to Wayne Ko, traffic engineer for the City of Glendale, 44% of Glendale’s locally-set speed limits would have been forced upward without Gatto’s bill, resulting in the city having to replace 44% of their metallic signs.
Captain Carl Povilaitis of the Glendale Police Department flew to Sacramento to testify in support of the bill in committee. “AB 529 will improve traffic and community safety by giving communities more flexibility in setting speed limits,” says Povilaitis. “That’s good for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. This is a huge win for Glendale residents and for people who care about public safety statewide.”
Mike Gatto is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and parts of Los Angeles, including Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, and Van Nuys. He has served in the Assembly since June 2010.
There’s also the question of whether or not this bill will affect any speeding tickets.