SCS Implementation – Keeping Local Governments Honest

Since its inception, ClimatePlan has been a part of a sea change in which sustainability has overtaken our long-standing approach to growth of promoting highway expansion and greenfield development. State policy, administrative actions, and regional collaboration have enabled Sacramento (SACOG), the Bay Area (MTC), Southern California (SCAG), and San Diego (SANDAG) to adopt SCSes that prioritize sustainability by meeting their GHG reduction targets while emphasizing co-benefits such as increased transit, infrastructure for biking and walking, better public health metrics, and greater social equity for all.

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Air (e)quality for all

The American Lung Association in California (ALAC) released its annual State of the Air report today. Not surprisingly, the report notes that the top 5 worst metro regions for ozone pollution are all in California, including Los Angeles, Hanford-Visalia, Bakersfield, Fresno-Madera, and Sacramento. No less than 77% of Californians live in counties that have high numbers of unhealthy air days.

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Advocates experience a windfall

As the economy comes back to life and we move towards a (likely) prompt passage of a budget this June, it is heartening to see the Governor and our legislators focus their attention on the effort to build sustainable communities. In the last few days, we’ve seen two exciting events. First, late Thursday night, we learned that Caltrans would endorse the National Association of City Transportation Officials design guidelines, which many complete streets advocates have been waiting for the permission to implement for some time. Caltrans also indicated that it will refer to these guidelines for future updates to its Highway Design Guidelines. This is the first step Caltrans has taken to implement the recommendations from the Smart State Transportation Institute review, released in January. Many active transportation advocates took to twitter and facebook to rejoice the adoption of these guidelines, and we are excited to watch these guidelines play out across California, as cities experiment with new ways of promoting biking and walking.

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State Transportation (Needs) Improvement Plan

We last heard from our steering committee member, NRDC’s Amanda Eaken, regarding the Caltrans review commissioned by Jerry Brown – a review that suggested a wholesale overhaul and realignment of Caltrans to better support California’s environmental goals.

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Caltrans: Get with the times

Yesterday, the Brown administration released an eagerly anticipated organizational assessment of Caltrans. Major news outlets had a field day with the report; the Sacramento Bee focused on the report’s attention to poor performance management and a culture of fear and risk aversion. Many news outlets noted the report’s omission of the major issue du jour, the ongoing debacle regarding construction delays, cost overruns, and poor quality control associated with the Bay Bridge.

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