San Francisco – Communities across California will have an easier time making their local streets and roads safer for senior citizens under a bill signed into law Friday by Governor Jerry Brown. AB 707 by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) allows local governments to access funding from the Pedestrian Safety Account in the State Transportation Fund for placement of “SENIOR” pedestrian warning signs near senior centers and other areas primarily used by seniors.
“Inexplicably, state law made local governments find private sources of funding before senior pedestrian warning signs could be required near intersections frequented by seniors,” Ting said. “In the past, it was easier to place wildlife crossing signs than proper warnings to protect older Californians. My bill is a modest change to state law that will encourage more cities and counties to take advantage of their ability to limit speed to 25 mph near places where seniors are seeking medical, recreational and other services.”
Ting said AB 707 simply removes the private funding contingency on requiring placement of senior pedestrian warning signs and allows local governments to apply for grant funding from the state to secure the resources necessary for additional warning signs.
Supporters of the bill applauded Governor Brown’s approval of Ting’s legislation.
“AB 707 empowers community advocates to work with local governments to make use of this flexible, optional provision to protect seniors from injury and death,” said Hene Kelly, Legislative Director of California Alliance for Retired Americans.
A study by the University of California San Francisco indicated that 40% of injuries to pedestrians involved senior citizens over the age of 65; and nearly one in five died from their injuries. The study further found that 40% of senior injured had to be discharged from the hospital to a facility for more care. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that pedestrians over 75 are twice as likely to die when involved in a collision than other pedestrians.
Assemblymember Ting is the Chair of Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, and he serves on the Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.