ECOS to RT re Fare Increases

In response to Sacramento Regional Transit District’s proposal to increase ticket fares ECOS has released the following statement:

For many years, ECOS has supported transit (Sacramento Regional Transit in particular) as an essential alternative to the over reliance on automobiles for transportation in the Sacramento region. We are therefore very concerned about the proposed fare increase that was presented at the January 25, 2016 RT Board meeting, since increased fares will invariably decrease ridership. The current fare increase disproportionately impacts transit dependent riders — including seniors, the disabled, and people on low income — many of whom live in already underserved areas.

Occasional fare increases are probably inevitable just to stay in step with general cost inflation. But it would be wise to proceed in small steps, at roughly five percent increments. At the same time, RT must strive to implement reforms already under discussion, such as reinstituting transfers, better enforcing fare payment, and restoring as much service as possible, in order to restore ridership to prerecession levels. To provide a minimally acceptable level of transit service in Sacramento County will require increased public funding. Transit got shortchanged in the last Measure A, and future transportation measures will need to provide a much higher level of financial support for transit.

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Feb 11 Update from Trees Sacramento

February 11, 2016

Dear Tree Advocates

Trees Sacramento continues to promote a strong tree ordinance with City Staff and Council members. Our letter was signed by six regional environmental organizations, supported by 10 neighborhood associations, and an additional 11 individual community leaders.  Staff has indicated that they hoped to take another version of the tree ordinance to the Law and Legislation Committee in March and to City Council in April 2016.  This version may include some of our recommendations but not others.

In a recent meeting with Council Member Jeff Harris, we were encouraged that some of our recommendations are being considered and some may be incorporated into the next revision of the Staff’s proposed ordinance.  There appears to be support at the City that  trees on city-owned properties would be treated equally with the same protections as city street trees.  Staff is reexamining the issue of requiring replacement and mitigation in the ordinance for removal of protected trees (rather than leaving this to the discretion of the director).

However, staff is still opposed to other important recommendations such as a notification of tree removals, requiring trees in all development projects, and making tree removal factors (criteria) objective and quantifiable.

Upper Land Park Neighbors, Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association,  Trees4Sacramento and ECOS also attended the Parks and Recreation Commission hearing when staff presented the tree ordinance changes they seek.  Most commissioners were strongly in favor of better notification of tree removals to community.  In addition, some members indicated they did not want to hear tree appeals because they lack expertise to make informed decisions.

We are making progress,  but we will have to wait and review the new draft ordinance and prepare a response when it is available.  

In particular we want to ensure that the ordinance revises support and are consistent with our General Plan policies and Climate Action Plan.  Our General Plan policies in question are underlined below:

ER 3.1.2 Manage and Enhance the City’s Tree Canopy

The City shall continue to plant new trees, ensure new developments have sufficient right-of-way width for tree plantings, manage and care for all publicly owned trees, and work to retain healthy trees. The City shall monitor, evaluate and report, by community plan area and citywide, on the entire tree canopy in order to maintain and enhance trees throughout the City and to identify opportunities for new plantings. (RDR/MPSP/SO)

ER 3.1.3 Trees of Significance

The City shall require the retention of City trees and Heritage Trees by promoting stewardship of such trees and ensuring that the design of development projects provides for the retention of these trees wherever possible. Where tree removal cannot be avoided, the City shall require tree replacement or appropriate remediation. (RDR/MPSP)

ER 3.1.4 Visibility of Commercial Corridors

The City shall balance the tree canopy of the urban forest with the need for visibility along commercial corridors, including the selection of tree species with elevated canopies. (RDR)

ER 3.1.6 Urban Heat Island Effects.

The City shall continue to promote planting shade trees with substantial canopies, and require, where feasible, site design that uses trees to shade rooftops, parking facilities, streets, and other facilities to minimize heat island effects. (RDR/PI)

ER 3.1.9 Funding

The City shall provide adequate funding to manage and maintain the city’s urban forest on City property, including tree planting, training, maintenance, removal, and replacement. (SO/FB)

 THANK YOU  for all your help in getting the improvements to the current staff ordinance.  BE AWARE — we will need your help for the upcoming two meetings  – to  get people to send support letters and attend these important meetings.

Trees Sacramento

trees4sacto [at] sbcglobal [dot] net

Please visit our Trees Sacramento page for more information about this issue.

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