Letter: Request for SANDAG to perform a fair apples-to-apples comparison of Airport connection alternatives

Circulate San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership sent a letter requesting that SANDAG further evaluate the connection to the San Diego International Airport (Airport) through a Central Mobility Hub located Downtown. SANDAG is currently evaluating three alternatives to connect rail transit to the airport. These alternatives will not allow the SANDAG board, nor the public, to evaluate a fair apples-to-apples comparison. Instead, the choice of alternatives could allow SANDAG staff to recommend that the board dismiss a southern connection to the airport, because it does not offer the same Central Mobility Hub included in Alternative 1 and Alternative 2. SANDAG should instead evaluate a Central Mobility Hub located downtown. Read the full letter here. [pdf]

Circulate previously raised concerns about requiring transit riders from Downtown and south of the Airport to travel north, only to double-back to access the Airport. That letter is available here.


Coalition Letter: Recommendations for Reform for SANDAG’s Bicycle Safety Projects

Circulate San Diego, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and Climate Action Campaign sent a joint letter with recommendations for reform for SANDAG's bicycle safety projects. SANDAG has a strong record of leadership among regional planning agencies for funding bicycle projects. Safe bicycle infrastructure is crucial to achieving climate and mode-share goals, and to save lives. Unfortunately, the process of taking projects from planning through approval and construction has been unacceptably slow and expensive.

Read the full letter here [pdf]

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Letter: San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s FTA Areas of Persistent Poverty Program Grant Application

Circulate San Diego wrote a letter in support of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) application submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the Areas of Persistent Poverty Program.

Read the entire letter here [PDF]


Letter: Recommendations for "Spaces as Places" Program

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter offering support and suggestions for the forthcoming "Spaces as Places" program. This new and innovative program is an opportunity to transform San Diego's streets into vibrant community spaces. The draft “Spaces as Places” plan includes streateries, social curbs, promenades, and private outdoor dining. In order to ensure the best possible outcomes for our communities, the City should:

I. Prioritize Existing and Planned Transit, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Improvements;
II. Ensure that Uses of the Right-of-Way are Safe;
III. Create a Streamlined, Efficient Process; and
IV. Allow a Broad Spectrum of Placemaking Projects that are Open to the Public.
V. Ensure that Design Restrictions are Minimal

Read the full letter here. [pdf]


Letter: AB 1401 Does Not Undermine California's Density Bonus Law

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter of support for AB 1401. Specifically, the letter counters the argument that the bill would undermine California's density bonus law. San Diego’s experience shows that density bonus usage continued to rise even after eliminating some residential parking minimums.

In 2019, the City of San Diego eliminated minimum parking requirements for residential developments within transit priority areas. In 2020, San Diego’s density bonus program produced more affordable and market rate homes than it ever had before. Many of these projects are located within transit priority areas. While a number of other factors could have caused this increase, it is safe to say that parking reform did not reduce density bonus usage.

Moreover, the data shows that San Diego's density bonus program has been highly successful in generating both market rate and affordable housing. Read the full letter here. [pdf]


Letter: Support for City of San Diego’s 6th Cycle Housing Element

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter in support of the City of San Diego's 6th Cycle Housing Element. San Diego’s proposed Housing Element includes more than enough zoning capacity in its Adequate Sites Inventory to meet State guidelines, and contains ample city-wide programs that increase development capacity. San Diego’s housing policies have become a model for California. Last year, the most significant housing production bill signed by Governor Newsom was Assembly Bill 2345, which was modeled after San Diego’s extremely successful Affordable Homes Bonus Program.

Failure to certify the Housing Element would remove key funding sources for affordable homes. Moreover, it would punish a jurisdiction that has been a leader in the State for adopting pro-homes policies, which would be counter to the purpose of Housing Element Law. Read the full letter here. [pdf]


Letter: NAVWAR Site Redevelopment EIS

Circulate San Diego submitted a comment letter in response to the Navy’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Navy Old Town Campus Revitalization. The proposal is a bold and welcome contribution to the future of the built environment in San Diego. The Navy’s preferred proposal will bring thousands of new homes, large amounts of office space, and secure a permanent home for an important piece of our national security infrastructure. 

The location is prime for new development, with regional transit access via the Old Town Transit Center, including access to both UTC and the Downtown jobs centers. The site is located within the Midway-Pacific Highway planning area, where the City of San Diego’s voters approved an elimination of a longstanding height limit, and the community plan calls for infill growth.

Circulate San Diego supports Alternative 4, the most dense development and the Navy's preferred alternatives. Circulate also gave detailed recommendations that the Navy establish requirements for affordability, parking, and transportation that reflect the region’s goals. Read the full letter here. [pdf]


Letter: Support for AB 1401 Residential and commercial development: parking requirements

Circulate San Diego submitted a letter of support for AB 1401, which would eliminate local minimum parking requirements for both residential and commercial buildings in transit priority areas. By reducing the over-building of parking, this bill would reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, reduce the cost of housing to renters and homeowners, and improve the prospects of small neighborhood businesses fighting to survive during the pandemic.

On-site parking reduces the housing supply by taking up space that could otherwise be used for additional apartments. Providing on-site parking is also very expensive, costing $30,000 to $75,000 per space to build. This cost is passed on to renters and home buyers, regardless of whether they own a car. In fact, a recent study by Santa Clara University, researchers found that the cost of garage parking to renter households is approximately $1,700 per year, or an additional 17% of a housing unit’s rent.

This bill does not prohibit property owners from building on-site parking. Rather, it gives them the flexibility to decide on their own how much on-site parking to provide, instead of requiring compliance with a one-size-fits-all mandate. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Letter: Request for Funding for Final Adopted Budget

Circulate San Diego and BikeSD submitted a letter urging the City of San Diego to include funding for bus lanes, the Downtown Mobility Plan, Vision Zero outreach, and a mode shift incentive program in the FY 2022 Final Adopted Budget. The letter also urged the City to research and consider an unarmed civilian transportation enforcement division responsible for nonviolent traffic and transportation-related infractions. In addition, the letter requested that all "Sexy Streets" projects include dedicated pedestrian and bicycle right-of-way.

The Mayor’s May Budget Revise includes significant investments in Vision Zero and Complete Streets. These investments will bring us towards a safer and more equitable San Diego that provides real transportation options to a significant portion of its residents. They will also bring us closer to the mode shift goals contained in San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which are essential for meeting our greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets.

While the Revised Proposed Budget makes many good investments, the City can and should make it better. By implementing the letter's recommendations in the Final Adopted Budget, the City will make even more progress towards its Vision Zero and Climate Action Plan goals. Read the full letter here [pdf].


Coalition Letter: Support for Congress to Invest in Public Transit

Circulate San Diego joined 38 other California organizations in signing a letter urging Congress to invest in public transit. While Congressional funding for public transit in the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan averted disaster, public transit deserves continuing investment by the federal government. Every dollar invested in transit offers a five-to-one economic return and every $1 billion invested produces 49,700 jobs. Moreover, investing in public transit is also an investment in racial justice because it is essential to the economic well-being of communities of color. Investments in public transit are also critical to averting a climate disaster.

For these reasons, the coalition requested $20 billion in annual funding for transit operations. Federal funding for transit is generally reserved for capital investments like new buses, trains, and rail lines. However, riders' ability to rely on transit ultimately depends on the level of service offered by their local transit system. Federal investment in public transit service will serve communities better, saving existing riders' time and bringing new riders into the system. 

The coalition also requested an expansion in over-subcribed capital funding, funding for zero-emissions fleets, funding for safe streets and transit-friendly communities, and fair treatment for transit workers. Read the full letter here. [pdf]



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