Holiday reading: Southern California region releases draft regional plan – Comments due Feb 1

This post is re-posted by ClimatePlan from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership site and author Bill Sadler, with our thanks. You can find the original post here.

Reposted December 11, 2015
By Bill Sadler, Southern California Regional Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership

And… it’s out!

On December 3, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) officially released the draft 2016 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) for public comment.

Public comments due Feb 1

The 60-day public comment period began December 3; it ends on February 1. The Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) is also now available and has the same 60-day comment period. In January, there will also be public hearings in all six counties: more on this at the end of this post.

Several improvements in the new plan

We have been actively participating in the RTP/SCS update process over the past few years, and we are excited to see an increased emphasis on active transportation, public health, social equity and environmental justice in this plan update.

Specifically, the plan calls for:

 – Active transportation funding: Doubling the amount of investment in active transportation compared to the 2012 plan, from $6.7 billion to $12.9 billion. The total dollar amount of the RTP/SCS is $555.6 billion, so this represents about 2% of the overall budget, up from 1.3% in the 2012 RTP/SCS.
Greenways: Creating regional bikeway and greenway networks to connect the region with bicycle trails and facilities.
Complete streets & first/last mile: Recognizing that our transportation system is multimodal and integrating active transportation investments into the highways element through a complete streets approach and the transit element through a first and last mile approach.
Short trips strategy: Adding a short trips strategy to encourage more trips under three miles by walking and bicycling. Approximately 38% of all trips in the six-county SCAG region are under 3 miles, yet 78% are made by driving.
Safe routes to school: Committing to a goal of 50% of communities having Safe Routes to School plans by 2040.
Public health: Adding a Public Health Appendix to the RTP/SCS for the first time which analyzes how physical activity, chronic disease rates, air quality and other public health outcomes would fare under different land use and transportation scenarios. Also creating a list of Guiding Principles and Strategies for Public Health.
Performance measures: Identifying performance measures related to both active transportation and public health that seek to improve safety and increase mode share of walking and bicycling.
Environmental justice: Enhancing the Environmental Justice Appendix with new data and deeper analysis on affordable housing, gentrification, displacement, active transportation safety and air quality in low income and communities of color.

Big data

In addition to outlining transportation investments and strategies for the next 25 years, the RTP/SCS also contains a wealth of data on walking and bicycling, population and demographics, housing and land use, jobs and many other issues related to the built environment. The active transportation appendix is an 80-page document containing data and strategies for increasing walking and bicycling in all six counties of the SCAG region, and is well worth reading for those looking for data or information on active transportation in Southern California.

Read all about it

The links to the RTP/SCS, PEIR and appendices that may be of interest to our partners are below (the full appendix list is on the RTP/SCS page in the first link):

– Draft 2016 RTP/SCS

Draft 2016 PEIR

– Active Transportation Appendix

– Environmental Justice Appendix

– Public Health Appendix

You can speak up

Public comments on the RTP/SCS are due on Monday, February 1, 2016. We will be working with our partners to submit comments and will share them. There will also be public hearings in all six counties in January where comments will be requested from the general public: see this blog post for dates, times, and locations or see the SCAG meeting webpage.

Stay tuned for more updates on the SCAG RTP/SCS!

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