Earlier this week, I participated in a meeting of advocates to discuss the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), which seeks to align transportation, land use, and housing policies to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals set forth by California's S.B. 375. The Bay Area's GHG reduction goals are seven percent per capita by 2020 and 15 percent per capita by 2035.
The SCS involves numerous public agencies and can be quite confusing. Still, it is important that we as advocates do our best to keep up and get involved. Decisions made in the SCS will affect many aspects of life in the Bay Area and the results will have a big impact on the future of bicycling as a mode of transportation in our area. As this process moves forward, SVBC will keep our readers informed of the progress. For now, let's examine a few key points of the SCS:
- -S.B. 375 directs metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in 18 regions in California to develop an integrated transportation, land use, and housing plan known as a Sustainable Communities Strategy. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the MPO is the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
- -SCS synchronizes housing needs with transportation planning by aligning the regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) process with the regional transportation plan (RTP) process.
- -The SCS will be included as an element of MTC's RTP, the next of which will be submitted in 2013 and will be the first Bay Area RTP subject to S.B. 375.
- -MTC is required to conduct extensive outreach with local government officials and adopt a public participation plan for the SCS that includes a minimum number of workshops in each county as well as three public hearings on the draft SCS prior to adoption of a final RTP. (Hint: This is a great way for you to get involved!)
That's enough wonk talk for now. For more information on SCS, visit One Bay Area for a general overview and links to several related documents.
Keep the SCS and S.B. 375 in mind. The next time you're talking to your city councilperson, county commissioner, or board member for your congestion management agency (VTA in Santa Clara County or C/CAG in San Mateo County), ask them what's new with the SCS and how are they planning for increasing bicycle use as a means to reduce GHGs. I'm sure they would love to talk with an informed constituent about this very important planning process!