SacCity draft 2040 General Plan: Mobility and Land Use

As mentioned earlier, the draft City of Sacramento 2040 General Plan has been released. For transportation advocates, the two most important chapters are Chapter 3: Land Use and Placemaking and Chapter 8: Mobility. Land use and transportation are so closely tied that I’m a little confused at to why the city separated them into separate chapters. Though the text which introduces each chapter (element), and each Goal and Policy section within the chapter, often refers to other parts of the plan, it seems to me that they were written independently and linked after the fact.

Element 3, Land Use and Placemaking, has the following sections:

  • Land Use Framework
  • Integrating Infill Development
  • Thriving Commercial Mixed-Use Centers
  • Complete and Inclusive Neighborhoods
  • Industrial Areas
  • Placemaking, Green Building, and the Arts

Element 8, Mobility, has the following sections:

  • A Multimodal System
  • Reduced Reliance on Single-Occupant Vehicles
  • Safety
  • Regional Connectivity
  • Supporting Goals through Data, Technology, and Innovation

There are a number of organizations taking deeper dives into the General Plan draft, and I encourage you to join one of them:

Or, if you have the time, do your own deep dive. Of maybe transportation and land use are not your focus, there are seven other areas that may interested you.

Though the General Plan is not really a legally binding document, it is a tool that advocates can use when asking the city ‘why aren’t you doing this?’ or ‘why are you doing this?’. So it is important that the final plan reflect the desires of the citizens, and the reality of climate change and lack of equity.

You can expect more posts on the General Plan, as I have time to look into the details.

SacCity backs off parking reform

There are a number of things the City of Sacramento could be doing to better manage parking: Parking reform for Sacramento. But perhaps the most important is removing parking mandates, those city regulations that require developers to put in parking whether it is needed or will be used, or not.

The city council in January 2021 adopted the Proposed Roadway Changes document that had been recommended by staff working on the 2040 General Plan update. This is a very large document, so the relevant section on parking is excerpted. It states, in unequivocal terms:

10. Eliminate City-mandated parking minimums citywide and introduce parking maximums.

City of Sacramento, Council Report 15, 2021-01-19, 2040 General Plan Update – Draft Land Use Map, Proposed Roadway Changes, and other Key Strategies

Here we are, about two years later, and the staff is recommending considerably less in the draft plan, that action ‘could include’. Not will include, not studied on a timeline, not implemented, but maybe we will think about it, if we get around to that. Could that city have come up with any more vague and unserious language?

Parking Management Strategy. The City shall continue to deploy a parking management strategy that optimizes the use of existing supply, minimizes the need for the construction of new parking facilities, and promotes the use of active modes of transportation, public transit, and highoccupancy vehicles. Program components could include the following:

  • Adjusting parking management strategies based on goals and needs;
  • Adjusting parking meter hours and pricing for effective management;
  • Eliminating City-mandated parking minimums;
  • Implementing parking maximums along established transit corridors;
  • Allowing unbundled parking in conjunction with strategies to reduce the need for private automobiles;
  • Incorporating or facilitating technology such as smart-phone apps and wayfinding signage that direct drivers to open parking spaces in real-time, automated and/ or stacked parking systems, or parking technologies that improve parking efficiency in mixed-use centers and corridors;
  • Supporting the use of alternative modes by providing alternative programs in lieu of monthly parking passes and discounts; and
  • Improving branding, communications, and wayfinding signage.
City of Sacramento, draft 2040 General Plan

It should be noted that the General Plan language implies that the city has a parking management strategy, or a parking management plan. So far as the public knows, it does not. So the city is referencing something that either does not exist or has never been shared with the public. The first thing that the General Plan must include is a commitment to developing a parking management plan, with public engagement, and then sharing the plan with the public. The plan does not even mention this.