Creating Sustainable Communities and Landscapes

Recommended practices and tools for local collaboration on climate-smart growth

Published: October 8, 2018

By the Strategic Growth Council

The State of California has a rich history of environmental leadership. With some of the most beautiful landscapes and fertile soils in the country, we have much to protect and conserve. As the State’s population grows towards fifty million people, infrastructure demands place intensified levels of stress on California’s agricultural and natural wealth. In order to address these challenges, California has led the charge nationally to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, because we recognize that this battle is not only about the environment – it is also about protecting the well-being of our families and communities. To ensure the prosperous future of our State, we must shift to a more conscientious approach to land use planning in California – one that balances the needs of conservation and development. In order to balance these priorities, the State has put new laws in place for new housing and infill development, community resilience, economic growth in urban and rural areas, and set an ambitious target for carbon neutrality by 2045 that relies upon efficient and orderly growth across California.

Developed through a collaboration among the Strategic Growth Council, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions (CALAFCO), this paper is intended to help support coordination among local entities to advance efficient growth and conservation of natural resources. The document highlights case studies in which LAFCos, cities, counties and special districts successfully partnered to reduce suburban sprawl and increase the conservation of natural and working lands, while also considering how to improve community resilience. It also aims to raise awareness of available tools and resources that can be used to create more environmentally and economically sustainable communities throughout California.

California, State of. “AnnouncementCreating Sustainable Communities and Landscapes: Recommended Practices and Tools for Local Collaboration on Climate-Smart Growth.” CA.gov, Strategic Growth Council, 8 Oct. 2018, www.sgc.ca.gov/news/2018/10-08.html.

Read the paper by clicking here.

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Evening Hours on Light Rail Gold Line Extended!

June 14, 2018

A win for the Sacramento region! 

While light rail trains on the Gold Line previously stopped running before 7:00 pm, they will now run until 11:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday!

How did this come to be?

Ten years ago, ECOS brought a lawsuit against Caltrans when it proposed adding lanes to Highway 50 to create High Occupancy Vehicle (“HOV”) lanes. Since these lanes are only restricted to High Occupancy Vehicles during certain hours, adding new lanes for this purpose is essentially just a widening of the freeway.

Freeway-widening induces urban sprawl, increases Vehicle Miles Traveled, increase greenhouse gas emissions and does not reduce traffic congestion after all.

That lawsuit was settled in 2008 when Caltrans agreed to pay $7.5 million to SacRT for improved light rail service between Folsom and Sacramento, along the Highway 50 corridor.

In 2017, Caltrans again proposed to create HOV lanes by adding more lanes to Highway 50 without adequately dealing with induced demand for sprawl development and additional miles traveled. Again, ECOS sued.

ECOS met with SacRT to determine what funding from settlement of this lawsuit would help public transit the most along this section of Highway 50, and it was determined that expanding light rail service past 7:00pm would be best, so Caltrans settled by agreeing to provide funding for that purpose.

At ECOS, reducing vehicle trips is an essential part of our work, and new service like this goes a long way toward helping us reach our goals. This project will open up car-free options to many people, as trips that were only possible in a vehicle are now possible via public transit. We are proud to be a part of this effort.

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VW’s polluting cars could cause sickness, death. What can California do about that?

By Dale Kasler

May 14, 2018

The Sacramento Bee

Californians spent six years breathing dangerous exhaust fumes from illegal diesel cars produced by Volkswagen. Now the state’s air pollution cops are crafting a remedy for that damage that has been done.

The California Air Resources Board is finalizing a plan to spend $423 million of Volkswagen’s money on financial incentives to persuade trucking companies, mass-transit agencies, tugboat operators and other major polluters to upgrade their fleets and buy greener vehicles.

The goal, officials say, is to boost rail ridership at 23 light-rail stations around the city and give more residents the chance of living a car-free lifestyle by paving the way for higher-density housing, job-rich offices and pedestrian-oriented retail in those areas.

Click here to read the full article.

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