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Where Could the OC Streetcar Go Beyond Garden Grove?

April 27, 2017

PacificElectricMapCurrently, the OC Streetcar is designed to transport people from the Santa Ana Train Depot to Downtown Santa Ana and then head northwest along the Pacific Electric right-of-way up to Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove.

The Pacific Electric right-of-way is the historic path that the Red Car interurban streetcars utilized to travel between Downtown Santa Ana and Downtown Los Angeles until 1950. From Santa Ana Boulevard and Raitt Street in Santa Ana to the Coyote Creek in La Palma, the path of the Pacific Electric right-of-way remains unobstructed in Orange County.

Recently in neighboring Los Angeles County, the Planning and Programming Committee of Metro (LA’s version of OCTA) approved Read more…

OCTA To Host Open Houses To Consider Transit Options For Harbor Boulevard

March 28, 2017

CentralHarborBlvdOCTAProjectStudyAreaOrange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has begun to study options to improve transit on Harbor Boulevard from the OC Streetcar western terminus at Westminster Boulevard in Santa Ana, through Garden Grove and Anaheim, to Chapman Avenue in Fullerton.

OCTA will look at various transit options, including bus rapid transit (BRT) and streetcar options. OCTA will also evaluate potential improvements to parallel streets. OCTA will ultimately identify transit options for further study to determine the appropriate solution to enhance or expand upon current transit services in the area.

OCTA is hosting two open house meetings in Read more…

Portland Addresses Environmental Justice In City’s Climate Action Plan Update

March 27, 2017

PortlandClimateActionPlanEnvironmental justice is not just a lofty goal of the environmentally conscious.  Take for example the different responses to environmental contamination in two different areas in Los Angeles. Residents in Porter Ranch were almost immediately evacuated and local schools were closed as a precautionary measure when a natural gas leak occurred at the underground storage facility in nearby Aliso Canyon. Meanwhile, in Boyle Heights, people were never evacuated from their homes and remediation is slowly happening to mitigate the pollution to air, soil, and water caused by the Exide Battery Plan in Vernon for 30 years.

Portland is updating their Climate Action Plan to address environmental justice issues.  Those issues include mitigating potential negative impacts to lower socio-economic communities that could occur in the process of trying to accomplish previously established environmental goals.  For example, the City of Portland seeks to reduce the use of coal and natural gas sources used to generate electricity for the City.  In order to minimize the potential cost burdens that could impact lower socio-economic households in Portland, the City is proposing to implement efficiency measures that reduce energy use and cost in lower socio-economic households.

Ignoring environmental justice issues will end up limiting or negating the ability to accomplish a truly clean and protected environment.

From Governing – Environmental justice is a big issue in government. Studies have repeatedly shown that communities of color are Read more…

OC Streetcar Technical Detail Alignment Map – As of March 2017

March 23, 2017

OC-Streetcar-Alignment-Map-2017-MarchPlease click on the above image to see the detailed proposed OC Streetcar alignment map – as of March 2017.  According to the OC Streetcar project team, the map shows the locations for four additional Read more…

City of San Diego May Shift Responsibility of Repairing Sidewalks Almost Entirely to the City

March 22, 2017

From the San Diego Union-Tribune – In the wake of a nearly $5 million city payout to a bicyclist injured by damaged sidewalk, San Diego Councilman David Alvarez wants a new policy shifting the responsibility of repairing sidewalks almost entirely to the city.

Alvarez says the existing policy, which makes adjacent property owners responsible for repairs in all but a small number of circumstances, has resulted in too many damaged sidewalks and large injury payouts by the city.

Making property owners responsible leads to inaction because they are reluctant to incur the costs and go through the complex process of hiring a contractor and obtaining city permits.

The city’s existing policy, adopted in 1975, makes the city responsible only when Read more…

Almost 50 years ago, the City of Davis gave the U.S. its first bike lanes.

March 15, 2017

DavisBikeMapFrom Outside – One morning in late July 1967, a Davis, California, public works employee loaded a marking machine, letter stencils, and big containers of white paint into a city truck and drove over to 8th Street. It didn’t take long to stripe both sides of 8th between A Street and Sycamore Lane—a distance a little less than a mile long. After the paint dried and stenciled lettering was applied, the 10.5-square-mile city had the first bike lane in U.S. history.

This early project integrated concepts that still qualify as progressive. San Francisco got its first protected bike lane—where cyclists are separated from auto traffic by cement barriers and parked cars—in 2010. Chicago didn’t have one until 2016. Davis had one five decades earlier—not to mention a two-way bike lane and a so-called contra flow lane—where riders can travel against traffic on a one-way street. This early building set in motion Read more…

If You Want More Affordable Housing, Build More Market-Rate Housing

August 12, 2016

The following is a letter that I wrote and was published in the Orange County Register – At a recent Santa Ana Planning Commission hearing on a proposed revision to the city’s Housing Opportunity Ordinance, a resident told my Planning Commission colleagues and I that the need for affordable housing units outweighed the need for new market-rate housing units. What that resident may not be aware of is that it is new market-rate housing developments that are largely responsible for the construction of affordable housing units.

In adopting the Housing Opportunity Ordinance in 2011, the city required that housing units for very low-income and low-income households be Read more…