APA Speaker Series

Presented by Sacramento Valley Section APA (American Planning Association) and Caltrans

DO THE RIGHT THING

As planning, design, and community development professionals, most of us chose our professions because we want to “Do the Right Thing.” But when you’re working to solve complicated, multi-faceted challenges like climate change, the housing crisis, and structural inequities, with many stakeholders and limited resources and power, determining what that right thing is can be hard to define. And once defined, it can be even harder to implement. By bringing together diverse perspectives from various disciplines, industries, and backgrounds, this Speaker Series will explore this notion of what it means to “do the right thing,” how there isn’t one right answer, and how we can use these ideas to connect to a sense of purpose, challenge the norm, and collectively work towards a common goal.

All sessions will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Please check in prior to 9:30 a.m.
Join us for networking after each session from 11:30 to Noon
West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue, West Sacramento
Free parking at 1271 West Capitol Avenue (behind Walgreens)
A Live Streaming option is available for all sessions at the same price as attending in person.

Click here to view the speaker series flyer.

The widening of I-80 works against California’s climate goals 

By Stephen M. Wheeler and Barbara Leary, Special to the Bee | October 17, 2023 | The Sacramento Bee

If we want to know why our state’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions have risen since the early 2010s, a good place to look is Caltrans. The agency has long been fixated on widening roads and creating “induced demand” which has led to more driving. Currently, this cycle continues through the agency’s questionable efforts to create additional lanes on the I-80 Yolo Bypass causeway leading into Sacramento. And recently, a high-level administrator was demoted after attempting to stop such actions.

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article280482349.html#storylink=cpy

Controversy engulfs Causeway project

Monica Stark, The Davis Enterprise, October 15, 2023

“‘It’s been pretty obvious to me just from observing the ‘rehabilitation’ project that it was doing the sort of deep roadbed work needed for widening,’ Stephen Wheeler, UC Davis professor of human ecology, said…”

Click here to read the article.

ECOS Climate Committee Meeting 10/19/23

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 at 6:00 pm

LINK to join: ECOS ZOOM 6656164155
or call: 1 669 900 6833, Mtg ID: 665 616 4155

Please note that this meeting will not be recorded.

Jeanie Ward-Waller, former Caltrans’ Deputy Director of Planning and Modal Programs

6:00 Welcome and Introductions

6:10 Presentation:
Jeanie Ward-Waller was demoted last month, after she notified Caltrans officials that she would file a whistleblower complaint about Sacramento-area highway expansion projects allegedly circumventing environmental rules.

Here are some of the latest updates on the situation:

Coalition letter calling on Gov. Newsom to hold Caltrans accountable to his climate vision, October 17, 2023

The widening of I-80 works against California’s climate goals | Opinion, By Stephen M. Wheeler and Barbara Leary, Special to the Bee, The Sacramento Bee, October 17, 2023

A Caltrans executive questioned a freeway expansion. Then she was demoted, Rachel Uranga, LA Times, October 13, 2023

Editorial: California’s transportation spending doesn’t match its climate promises, LA Times, October 10, 2023

Breaking: California Transportation Official Demoted for Opposing Highway Expansion, Asia Mieleszko, Strong Towns, October 10, 2023

6:30 Discussion/Q&A

7:00 Updates and Announcements

This meeting is open to everyone interested in addressing some of our region’s most pressing challenges.

Click here for the agenda in PDF.

ECOS Settles Lawsuit v. Caltrans

Caltrans’ Capital City Bridge Project

State Route 51 Bridge Deck Replacement Project, https://ceqanet.opr.ca.gov/2020100388/6

Good news! On July 18, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and Caltrans settled the lawsuit over Caltrans’ plan to widen the Capital City Freeway bridge over the American River. Caltrans agreed to do these as part of the project:

• Include a bike-ped facility as part of the bridge widening, with access to both river levees.
• Provide enhanced bat habitat in the vicinity of the bridge.
• Mitigate loss of salmonid habitat, such as adding shade trees along the river.

And, in the design and environmental review of the subsequent and larger Cap City Corridor project from Midtown Sacramento to El Camino Avenue, Caltrans agreed to address induced demand, and assess the structural capacity of the bridge to accommodate potential future light rail trains.

Here’s the background:

Caltrans issued a “notice of preparation” five years ago for an environmental impact report (EIR) for plans to widen from three to five lanes each way the Capital City Freeway (SR 51) over the American River from Midtown Sacramento to El Camino Avenue (3.4 miles). Caltrans never produced the EIR. Instead, last year, it released a “mitigated negative declaration” for widening the east side of the CapCity bridge as part of a “deck replacement” project.

From the start, the plans for widening caused us concern for the increased traffic this would induce, along with the related increases in air pollution and greenhouse gases. When we realized Caltrans intended to proceed with the east side widening with no true environmental analysis, ECOS sued. Attorney Don Mooney of Davis, CA represented ECOS in the suit. ECOS thanks those who contributed to fund the lawsuit.