‘Driving miles’ is best measure of new development

Opinion By Curt Johansen and Jeremy Madsen : sfgate – excerpt
For more than 40 years, California’s signature environmental law — the California Environmental Quality Act — has helped safeguard our natural lands and protect community health. Now it’s time to modernize some elements of the law to strengthen its effectiveness and make our communities even better places to live. Fortunately, the Brown administration is following through with some long-overdue fixes that deserve broad support.

Critics of CEQA have protested that the environmental review the law requires for major projects often adds unnecessary costs, time and uncertainty, while unfairly empowering project opponents. As representatives of nonprofit organizations committed to responsible, sustainable infill growth in our cities and downtowns, we see the continuing value of CEQA for giving the public a voice in project analysis, requiring more careful decision making, and encouraging project developers to mitigate avoidable impacts where feasible.

But we also recognize that CEQA can unduly penalize urban-oriented projects over outlying, auto-centric projects when it comes to evaluating impacts on traffic — an analysis that too often provides project opponents with leverage to defeat projects or scale back their environmentally friendly elements. Currently, an infill project in downtown San Francisco, for example, might be subjected to protracted litigation and concessions to widen streets and accommodate even more traffic, despite its optimal location in a walkable, bikeable area with transit close by. Meanwhile, a new subdivision on open space or farmland that generates long-distance car trips, air pollution and crushing regional traffic can get a free pass, all because traffic in the immediate area isn’t affected.

This perverse result has to change, and the Brown administration is taking action…

As leading developers and advocates of infill projects throughout California, we recognize that this proposed reform will remove one of the most common roadblocks used to stop smart city-centered development, while requiring outlying projects to account for the regional traffic they cause… (more)

This plan was developed by lobbyists working for big developers, banks, and the pubic transportation industry, and the anti-car non-profits, and sold to the legislators as a method to “encourage” people to move into stack and pack housing in densely populated cites by penalizing people who don’t.

Nato Green explained how this works in a recent article:  What on earth does an assemblyman do? 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s