In our last blog post, we shared that the Northern San Joaquin Valley faces unique challenges. While it has some of the most productive agricultural land in the world, it is under pressure from sprawl development, increased traffic as super-commuters drive to and from Sacramento and the Bay Area, and the air quality is some of the worst in the country. The recent wildfire have only exacerbated the poor air quality.
But both San Joaquin and Stanislaus County have updated their regional transportation plans / sustainable communities strategies. If implemented, these plans include policies, projects, and programs can start to tackle some of the challenges the region faces including: air pollution and more transportation and housing choices.
Working with local and regional advocates to implement the plans
Translating these plans to actual change on the ground is essential if we want to start tackling the challenges the region faces.
In October, ClimatePlan and Catholic Charities Diocese of Stockton hosted two workshops in Stockton and Modesto. These workshops focused on the RTP/SCS and models of implementation from other regional coalitions. Community leaders and residents heard from the California Air Resources Board, staff at San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG), and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, just to name a few. Hearing about the policy opportunities in the RTP/SCS and how the Community Equity Coalition in Fresno and the Six Wins Coalition in the Bay Area have secured significant policy wins has whetted the appetite of advocates in Northern San Joaquin Valley to work closely with local and regional agencies to promote the most promising policies and projects for their communities.
Attendees at the workshops ranged in age from children to seniors, reflected the diversity of the northern Valley, and included members of neighborhood associations, regional agencies, church parishes, local chapters of national organizations, and entrepreneurial ventures. This is the type of diversity needed to address the challenges the region faces, and create a healthier, more vital San Joaquin Valley.
What comes next?
We are excited to continue to partner with community organizations like Catholic Charities Diocese of Stockton to host workshops and convene a space where advocates and residents can work together to implement these plans. This week, ClimatePlan and Catholic Charities Diocese of Stockton are hosting another round of workshops in Modesto and Stockton to support residents and advocates’ ongoing efforts to elevate communities’ priorities as RTP/SCS implementation gets moving.