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Thread: Senate Bill 375 in California

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    Cyburbian
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    Senate Bill 375 in California

    S.B. 375 is the landmark legislation that ties land-use planning, transportation policy, and transportation investment in order to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (V.M.T.) and related greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Does anyone have any opinions about the law or about the ways it is now being implemented? I'm specifically interested in the SCAG (Greater Los Angeles/Greater San Bernardino) region and in the force of the law to direct new development and new transportation dollars to the Inland Empire.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ah....yeah.....

    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    S.B. 375 is the landmark legislation that ties land-use planning, transportation policy, and transportation investment in order to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (V.M.T.) and related greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Does anyone have any opinions about the law or about the ways it is now being implemented? I'm specifically interested in the SCAG (Greater Los Angeles/Greater San Bernardino) region and in the force of the law to direct new development and new transportation dollars to the Inland Empire.
    The term "too little...way the hell too late" comes to mind

    Also, can an anti-sprawl law really be effective after 50 years of sprawl?

    I'd like to read it.
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    It's an unfunded mandate without enough teeth. This law requires "regional" blue printing to create a target density for cities and outlying areas. The problem: a muni will participate in the blue printing process, however when it comes down to it, a council can simply so no and there are no repercussions. Sure it will tangle some carrots by "claiming" that transportation dollars will be in jeopardy, but if your city or county is a "self help" city/county, then really there are no transportation dollars are at risk.
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    Cyburbian jswanek's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    The term "too little...way the hell too late" comes to mind

    Also, can an anti-sprawl law really be effective after 50 years of sprawl?

    I'd like to read it.
    .

    Text at: http://www.calapa.org/attachments/wy...SB375final.pdf

    http://www.calapa.org/attachments/wy...SB375final.pdf

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    It's an unfunded mandate without enough teeth. This law requires "regional" blue printing to create a target density for cities and outlying areas. The problem: a muni will participate in the blue printing process, however when it comes down to it, a council can simply so no and there are no repercussions. Sure it will tangle some carrots by "claiming" that transportation dollars will be in jeopardy, but if your city or county is a "self help" city/county, then really there are no transportation dollars are at risk.
    This is why I think that legislation to curtail sprawl needs to come from the state levels. Otherwise, you spend a lot of time on "recommendations" which, if not all munis participate, won't do much good. If one muni participates, its neighbor may not, resulting in leapfrog development and the perpetuation of the problem. We have the same issue here. The regional planning body only has so much authority in relation to regulating development patterns and the best they can really do is make recommendations and encourage adoption of legislation. There is a lot of time and money wasted on many of these "suggestive" plans, IMO.

    Oregon requires cities to establish Urban Growth Boundaries and, regardless of what you feel the net impact has been, it has done what it set out to do in terms of creating more dense, compact development. Personally, I think it is because adoption of UGBs was not an option or a suggestion, but a state mandate.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    It's an unfunded mandate without enough teeth. This law requires "regional" blue printing to create a target density for cities and outlying areas. The problem: a muni will participate in the blue printing process, however when it comes down to it, a council can simply so no and there are no repercussions. Sure it will tangle some carrots by "claiming" that transportation dollars will be in jeopardy, but if your city or county is a "self help" city/county, then really there are no transportation dollars are at risk.
    If you happened to see the San Bernardino thread, which I need to update, you found that the city is embracing S.B. 375 and is densifying around a raft of new transportation infrastructure.

    While the kneejerk reaction of many cities to higher densities is revolt, San Bernardino was, historically, much more metropolitan and transit-oriented. And, the residents largely see the advantages, which would come in the form of: greater walkability and more amenities; co-location of jobs with housing; shorter commutes; stronger demographics with a more balanced mix of incomes and education levels; potentially-reduced air and noise pollution from cars and trucks; potentially-reduced traffic congestion; and, high-end new construction, especially in redevelopment areas. So, ultimately, the law may not really need much teeth if development and transportation investments are concentrated in the "Compass Blueprint" Strategic-Opportunity Areas, which represent 2% of SCAG's land mass and which are defined by the blue lines on this map. The purple lines show SCAG's preferences for high-speed rail and magnetic-levitation corridors.


  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    If you happened to see the San Bernardino thread, which I need to update, you found that the city is embracing S.B. 375 and is densifying around a raft of new transportation infrastructure.
    That's great that San Bernardino and other cities in the bay area and some other cities in Socal are embracing this, but seriously, what about the Selma, Fresno, Madera, and all the other cities up and down the Valley that are not "embracing" sb 375, but rather look at it as a vaccum for wasting tax dollars?

    Like i said, you can't force a change without any real reprecussions from the state.
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    Cyburbian
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    Why isn't the Central Valley more progressive? Don't many people there consider high-speed rail, at least, to be a savior? Aren't more residents concerned with air pollution, traffic congestion, and all the other attendant problems of sprawl?

    I don't understand the reason more areas that were historically urban wouldn't be embracing the legislation after freeways had the effect of suburbanizing so many cities that were originally self-contained. The decline of trains and trolleys has wreaked havoc in California over the last half-century.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 02 Jun 2010 at 10:49 AM.

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Why isn't the Central Valley more progressive? Don't many people there consider high-speed rail, at least, to be a savior? Aren't more residents concerned with air pollution, traffic congestion, and all the other attendant problems of sprawl?
    No. Most people up and down the state, and one would argue in this country really don't give a hoot about sprawl until some project springs up in their backyard. This article pretty much sums up why the valley is not the beacon of progessiveness:

    http://chriswestergaard.posterous.co...-appalachia-of

    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I don't understand the reason more areas that were historically urban wouldn't be embracing the legislation after freeways had the effect of suburbanizing so many cities that were originally self-contained. The decline of trains and trolleys has wreaked havoc in California over the last half-century.
    I guess that is why your an idealist, which is good, but you will always be let down by the general public.
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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    No. Most people up and down the state, and one would argue in this country really don't give a hoot about sprawl until some project springs up in their backyard. This article pretty much sums up why the valley is not the beacon of progessiveness:

    ...

    I guess that is why your an idealist, which is good, but you will always be let down by the general public.
    CS sounds like they are channeling me...hmmm...better check my alter E-gos...nonetheless, that is one of the reasons why I left CA - too many people spread out all over the place and no one had any clue how to fix it. When I saw some kids in the backcountry Yosemite with walkmans, I knew that was pretty much it.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jswanek's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    If you happened to see the San Bernardino thread, which I need to update, you found that the city is embracing S.B. 375 and is densifying around a raft of new transportation infrastructure.

    While the kneejerk reaction of many cities to higher densities is revolt, San Bernardino was, historically, much more metropolitan and transit-oriented. And, the residents largely see the advantages, which would come in the form of: greater walkability and more amenities; co-location of jobs with housing; shorter commutes; stronger demographics with a more balanced mix of incomes and education levels; potentially-reduced air and noise pollution from cars and trucks; potentially-reduced traffic congestion; and, high-end new construction, especially in redevelopment areas. So, ultimately, the law may not really need much teeth if development and transportation investments are concentrated in the "Compass Blueprint" Strategic-Opportunity Areas, which represent 2% of SCAG's land mass and which are defined by the blue lines on this map. The purple lines show SCAG's preferences for high-speed rail and magnetic-levitation corridors.

    .

    And tell us again why anyone would rather live in a dense San Bernardino than an un-dense Redlands?

    .

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    The best person to answer that question is Jack Dangermond of Redlands-based E.S.R.I.

    He says that his biggest challenge for E.S.R.I. is attracting young and well-educated employees who want an urban lifestyle but who find Redlands and the Inland Empire, in general, lacking in that regard, especially since the southern California freeway system has, over the last half-century, had the effect of suburbanizing what were once real cities with diverse economies and jobs-housing co-location.

    He's so committed to making the San Bernardino Valley competitive with the Bay Area for tech. talent that E.S.R.I. will be paying the full costs of a light-rail station serving the company's campus when the line is expected to be completed in 2016.

    The San Bernardino Valley is expected to add one million residents to the four million who already live in the Inland Empire over the next 10-20 years. As you may be aware, the entire SCAG region will add the equivalent of two Chicagos in that time. So, the opportunities for infill development, T.O.D., and densification, in general, are quite significant. And, re-establishing San Bernardino as an urban core with parity to Los Angeles and San Diego is the strategy that an EDAW-AECOM team led by Vaughn Davies developed in order to respond to this growth.

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    Cyburbian
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    My continual references to creating Europe in southern California are particularly apropos in this situation.

    Even though the municipality has large amounts of vacant and underutilized land, San Bernardino is currently the densest southern California city East of Los Angeles and North of San Diego, and the impressive Mormon-initiated street grid, which dates back to the 1840's, is the most extensive in the Inland Empire. However, the 600 x 600-foot blocks in the currently-moribund city center will need new pedestrian-focused mid-block streets. Misguided efforts at adding parking lots to the old downtown during the 1950's, however, have provided a great land bank from which to do so. And, the need for draining the topmost underground aquifer there to reduce the dangers of liquefaction during an earthquake offers the potential to use these new streets as canals for circulatory waterborne transit, especially around the new multimodal terminal and throughout the surrounding 6- (24-) block transit village.

    Density is not inherently bad. It just needs to be designed well.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 06 Jun 2010 at 10:23 AM.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post

    The San Bernardino Valley is expected to add one million residents to the four million who already live in the Inland Empire over the next 10-20 years.
    I don't see the ecosystems out there being able to support that kind of human population growth. I wonder what miracle will happen in order to make that human growth occur without collapsing several ecosystems?

    [/ex-Californian who moved away from the teeming hordes trampling the fragile and degrading ecosystems]

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    Cyburbian
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    These are transit-oriented development opportunities at 53 existing and planned train and tram stations:


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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I don't see the ecosystems out there being able to support that kind of human population growth. I wonder what miracle will happen in order to make that human growth occur without collapsing several ecosystems?

    [/ex-Californian who moved away from the teeming hordes trampling the fragile and degrading ecosystems]
    Well, hopefully, S.B. 375 will be able to protect the wilderness and the countryside, as well as California's vitally-important agricultural lands. Western Riverside County currently has urban-growth boundaries, which San Bernardino County and the rest of the SCAG region need as well.

    Water may be more problematic. However, San Bernardino, with its vast hydrological resources, can support huge new increases to its population.

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post

    Water may be more problematic. However, San Bernardino, with its vast hydrological resources, can support huge new increases to its population.
    And where exactly are these vasts hydrological resources? Have you been boning up on your SB 610 studies?
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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    The best person to answer that question is Jack Dangermond of Redlands-based E.S.R.I.

    He says that his biggest challenge for E.S.R.I. is attracting young and well-educated employees who want an urban lifestyle but who find Redlands and the Inland Empire, in general, lacking in that regard, especially since the southern California freeway system has, over the last half-century, had the effect of suburbanizing what were once real cities with diverse economies and jobs-housing co-location.
    Reality check: not all "young and well-educated employees" want "an urban lifestyle". I would venture to say that most 'young and well-educated employees" with children prefer to live a suburban life-style like the ones in which they were raised.

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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Why isn't the Central Valley more progressive? Don't many people there consider high-speed rail, at least, to be a savior? Aren't more residents concerned with air pollution, traffic congestion, and all the other attendant problems of sprawl?

    I don't understand the reason more areas that were historically urban wouldn't be embracing the legislation after freeways had the effect of suburbanizing so many cities that were originally self-contained. The decline of trains and trolleys has wreaked havoc in California over the last half-century.
    It's on the northern edge of the Central Valley, but the Sacramento area has been ahead of the SB 375 curve for a while, with the creation of the SACOG Blueprint that predates SB 375 while shooting for the same basic goals. We're starting to see the results in Sacramento with TOD projects and reinvestment in the old city core, expansion of light rail and Capitol Corridor regional rail (obviously, brought to a screeching halt by state cuts to public transit) etcetera. As to HSR, we don't consider it a savior, but many were very unhappy about not being part of the initial main line. I understand the reasons why--but if the folks on the peninsula succeed in blocking it, heck, we'll take it.

    SACOG Blueprint
    SACOG Metropolitan Transportation Plan

    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D
    Reality check: not all "young and well-educated employees" want "an urban lifestyle". I would venture to say that most 'young and well-educated employees" with children prefer to live a suburban life-style like the ones in which they were raised.
    Just as many who were raised in that suburban environment found it depressingly soul-deadening, and are quite resentful of the suggestion that they should have to move back to the blandscape of their youth just because they have kids. They're looking for something more like what their grandparents or great-grandparents had.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Reality check: not all "young and well-educated employees" want "an urban lifestyle". I would venture to say that most 'young and well-educated employees" with children prefer to live a suburban life-style like the ones in which they were raised.
    Reality check: The existing supply of "Leave It to Beaver" suburbs is virtually-inexhaustible, and the demographic shifts over the next 10-20 years will dramatically increase the number of households without children.

    A surplus of 40% in the single-family housing market is expected by 2035. So, we can either face this reality and give people the walkable and transit-oriented communities so many demand, or we can persist in making assumptions based on our own prejudices and biases.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    And where exactly are these vasts hydrological resources?
    San Bernardino is sitting on three underground Lake Tahoe-sized aquifers that are the result of the orographic effect produced by the San Bernardino Mountains and the transverse ranges, in general.

    Clouds from the coast hit the mountains and dump water into the San Bernardino Valley. Swamps, creeks, and artesian wells characterize the historic natural environment of the city, and daylighting projects are now underway to better manage both groundwater and stormwater.

    Researchers at the Water Resources Institute at San Bernardino State University have told me that, regardless of the municipality's eventual population numbers, the city will remain self-sustaining.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post

    Water may be more problematic. However, San Bernardino, with its vast hydrological resources, can support huge new increases to its population.
    This is neither pragmatism nor idealism.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Reality check: The existing supply of "Leave It to Beaver" suburbs is virtually-inexhaustible, and the demographic shifts over the next 10-20 years will dramatically increase the number of households without children.

    A surplus of 40% in the single-family housing market is expected by 2035. So, we can either face this reality and give people the walkable and transit-oriented communities so many demand, or we can persist in making assumptions based on our own prejudices and biases.
    According to whom? Typical textbooks. Again, I am not one to shy away from density if design properly. But over the last 8 years I have been in the biz, I have manily processes SFR with a spattering of mixed use/urban "high density" projects in the central valley and at my new gig all new applications are all for SFR. I simply do not believe that folks from the ex-urbs will up and leave for the urban core. If anything a downsize may happen to a first ring suburb or similar more than likely would happen.
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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    According to whom? Typical textbooks. Again, I am not one to shy away from density if design properly. But over the last 8 years I have been in the biz, I have manily processes SFR with a spattering of mixed use/urban "high density" projects in the central valley and at my new gig all new applications are all for SFR. I simply do not believe that folks from the ex-urbs will up and leave for the urban core. If anything a downsize may happen to a first ring suburb or similar more than likely would happen.
    I agree with the general demographic scenario projections. And I'm not sure how 25-50% of the population will migrate out of their McSuburbs to more efficient housing, but I suspect that such changes will occur.

    I don't pretend to know what it will look like, but I'm pretty sure there is a large segment of the population that will be able to adapt to higher prices, change their behaviors, and eschew the societal influences and pressures for shiny McBoxes to live in, and shiny big boxes to drive in.

    Sure, we all process large bleak swaths of single-use SFR right now. I don't understand how this current processing is evidence for it always being this way in the future, or that this is an unchanging facet of our society.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    So many people, especially in southern California, are longing for New Urbanism, and it just isn't available, except in a handful of places at exorbitant prices.

    Many people would certainly move if they could find spacious and affordable high-quality homes in unique and walkable places with good transit. The total suburban experience is not very appealing, and it's often blamed for driving many people, especially the young and well-educated and the middle class, from the state.

    The Inland Empire does better than the coast in providing more bang for the buck in terms of housing standards, but the compromise is, of course, the often-ridiculous commutes. However, this situation has changed in some major ways.

    The western side of the Inland Empire (Ontario, Corona, etc.) is now more job-rich than even Orange County. And, newer suburban-model cities are also competitive with the coast as is evidenced by places, like San Bernardino County's Chino Hills, which has a median income higher than Beverly Hills. The problem is that the Inland Empire is still a laggard when it comes to attracting urbanites.

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