SANDAG Approves Flawed Regional Plan, But Hope Remains
Unfortunately, today the SANDAG Board voted to approve a flawed Regional Plan, the work continues. SANDAG is currently preparing a regional "Quality of Life" measure that may give voters an opportunity to fund acceleration of transit and active transportation projects.
SANDAG’s Regional Plan assumes a Quality of Life measure that generates a 1/4 cent sales tax over a 30 year period. Yet, SANDAG is currently contemplating a 1/2 cent sales tax over a 40 year period–more than twice the Quality of Life revenue contemplated by the Draft 2015 Regional Plan.
With additional resources, SANDAG will have substantially more funding flexibility to advance transit and active transportation projects into earlier periods of the region’s transportation plan. If the Regional Plan represents what SANDAG is willing to do today, Quality of Life should represent our aspirations for tomorrow.
Check out our Op-Ed in the Voice of San Diego to learn more about our position on the Regional Plan.
Testimony: Comments from Circulate San Diego on 2015 Draft Regional Plan at 10/9/2015 SANDAG Meeting
Below is the text of comments from Circulate San Diego on 2015 Draft Regional Plan at the October 9, 2015 SANDAG Board Meeting.
My name is Colin Parent, I'm policy counsel with Circulate San Diego.
Thank you to the SANDAG Board members, all but a hand full of who agreed to meet with Circulate over the last few months. And thanks to the SANDAG staff who have managed a very complex process, while helping answer questions from Circulate as this progressed.
Nonetheless, I am here to repeat what we have said consistently since the draft regional plan was released. The plan is flawed, and you should vote against it in its current form.Read more
Final comments from Circulate San Diego on SANDAG's Draft TOD Strategy.
Circulate San Diego wrote earlier to express our concern that the initial draft of SANDAG’s TOD Strategy presented by SANDAG staff. In response, SANDAG staff prepared an updated document which included “Key Early Actions,”to be completed this year or in upcoming years.
Overall, the Key Early Actions represent an improvement to the original draft strategy. Circulate San Diego is committed to working with SANDAG and other agencies in the San Diego region to help implement these early actions.
San Diego (October 7, 2015) – Elected leaders in the cities of San Diego and National City will gather Thursday to urge SANDAG to accelerate transit improvements for the region’s trolley lines.
WHEN: Thursday, October 8, 12:00 noon
WHERE: 12th and Imperial Transit Center, at the clock tower, 12th Street and Imperial Avenue, San Diego
WHAT: San Diego and National City leaders to urge SANDAG to accelerate transit improvements as part of Regional Plan
San Diego Councilman, David Alvarez
National City Councilwoman, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis
Circulate San Diego Policy Counsel, Colin Parent
Climate Action Campaign, Executive Director, Nicole Capretz
WHY: SANDAG will consider adoption of its Regional Plan this Friday investing $204 Billion in transportation projects over the next 35 years. Leaders in San Diego and National City are asking SANDAG to accelerate funding for the Blue Line Trolley project improvements and to fund the Blue Line Express.
SANDAG leaders have promoted elements of the draft Regional Plan in recent weeks arguing that the Plan balances funding for transportation modes such as freeways, transit, and bicycling. SANDAG’s own evaluation of the Plan shows that over the next 35 years, transit ridership in the region will increase a meager four percent, and transit travel times will still be double those of driving trips.
Many transit projects are not funded until 2035. Leaders in San Diego and National City are joining with Circulate San Diego, a regional non-profit that advocates for excellent mobility choices, to urge SANDAG to accelerate funding for the Blue Line Trolley projects from 2035 to an earlier time frame and to include funding for the Blue Line Express as part of the adopted plan. Proposed improvements such as increasing the frequency of trolley operations and undergrounding the tracks to separate movement from downtown traffic are tangible upgrades that can substantially increase ridership and reduce congestion on our region’s roads.
Says Councilman David Alvarez, “I continue to be in strong support of essential transportation projects that assist transit passengers, such as the Blue Trolley Line. Investment in transit benefits our region.”
Unfortunately, we must recommend that SANDAG Board members vote against adoption of the 2015 Draft Regional Plan in its current form because it does not adequately advance transit and active transportation projects.
Despite these differences, Circulate San Diego believes that the SANDAG Board can and should move forward with a region-wide Quality of Life revenue measure in 2016 that includes provisions and funding to advance transit and active transportation projects. [PDF]
Last week, Circulate San Diego and Climate Action Campaign released a report titled “New Climate for Transportation,” detailing how the City of San Diego’s groundbreaking Climate Action Plan will result in transportation improvements.
The report explains that to achieve the greenhouse gas goals of the plan, policies at the City and SANDAG must change, to prioritize more transit, bicycle infrastructure, crosswalks, complete streets, and to encourage more transit oriented development.Read more
Comment letter from Circulate San Diego on the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). [PDF]
Contact: Kathleen Ferrier
619-544-9255, x. 301
SAN DIEGO (September 28, 2015) --- After a record breaking year, traffic violence in San Diego is not slowing down. Four pedestrians were hit by cars in the City just in the last five days leaving three of the walkers dead. The week prior, three pedestrians were seriously injured. That same week, a beloved P.E. teacher at Birney Elementary was hit while bicycling on Clairemont Mesa Drive. In many of these crashes, the walker was hit while in the crosswalk. The crash involving the bicyclist was a hit and run. In just two weeks, that’s a total of eight serious deaths and injuries for people walking and biking in the City.
Even for an organization like Circulate San Diego who has been monitoring the rise in traffic injuries and death in recent months, these numbers are alarming. Three of the seven pedestrian crashes involved older adults, folks over the age of 60, some of our most vulnerable members of society. One involved two boys ages 14 and 16.
Circulate San Diego has asked City leaders to support a strategy called Vision Zero, to set a goal to eliminate all traffic deaths in San Diego by 2025. On September 16, Circulate San Diego presented its Vision Zero initiative to the City’s Infrastructure Committee and received unanimous approval of a Vision Zero resolution. Adoption of the resolution recognizes the scale of traffic violence in the City of San Diego and will launch a Citywide Vision Zero Task Force whose mission is to create a Vision Zero strategy. The resolution will go to the larger City Council in October.
Vision Zero is a departure from previous strategies to address traffic safety in that it one, assumes traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable and two, that collaboration among a variety of disciplines such as traffic engineering, police, public health, and advocacy organizations can work to reduce and eliminate deaths over time. Speed reduction, education and enforcement are key components to the strategy. It’s a systems approach to rethinking safety on our streets, especially as our population continues to grow.
Jim Stone, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego, said: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to these victims’ families. We are distressed at the alarming increase of these incidents, especially as they occur time and time again on the same corridors, like El Cajon Boulevard. This cannot go on. No loss of life is acceptable.”
Last year motor vehicles claimed the life of at least 22 pedestrians and another 500 were seriously injured in the City of San Diego.
Vision Zero in San Diego is supported by a coalition of leading transportation, business and community based organizations and the thousands of members they represent. A similar strategy has been implemented in cities around the country, including New York City, where officials reported a 13 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities in the one year since the program began.
Circulate San Diego is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to move, work, learn, and play. Our work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and land uses that promote sustainable growth.
Vision Zero is headed to full Council after the Infrastructure Committee voted unanimously last week to support a resolution that will create an action plan outlining how to reduce traffic related deaths and serious injuries in San Diego to zero by 2025. Committee Chair and Councilman Mark Kersey said, “Implementing the Vision Zero framework, in coordination with the City’s Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan, is essential to ensuring our streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes are as safe as possible”. Read more
This approval comes on the heels of San Diego Unified School District’s unanimous approval of a similar resolution, to support safe streets in the City and especially around schools.
Circulate San Diego and the Climate Action Campaign published a report "New Climate for Transportation," detailing the transportation outcomes compelled by the City of San Diego's Climate Action Plan.
Read the report online here.
The City of San Diego’s proposed Climate Action Plan commits the City to change the way people get to work. Not only is transportation important for economic development, lifestyle, and social equity, it is a crucial component to reducing the risks from climate change.
The purpose of the CAP is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the City of San Diego and to protect our quality of life.
Some of the mobility strategies outlined in the CAP must be implemented at the regional level by SANDAG—not by the City alone. However, San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, SANDAG's long range transportation plan, projects transit, walking, and bicycling levels far smaller in the City of San Diego than what is called for by the CAP.Read more