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.

rank transportation projects by accessibility?

Just in time to serve as an alternate method for ranking transportation projects in Sacramento, which I criticized a few days ago in my Sacramento Transportation Programming Guide post, comes A Better Way to Grade City Transportation Systems (Streetsblog, 2013-04-16). The new method uses a measure of accessibility, how far things are from each other, rather than mobility, which equates to level of service or lack of congestion. The Access Across America study, from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, uses accessibility to jobs by car. Of course accessibility by foot and bike would yield even better results, but even just focusing on distance rather than congestion yields interesting results. It is jobs, not roadway miles, that create economic health.

Sacramento overall ranks 32 out of 51 metro areas studied, not great but not horrible either. The example maps and the geographic mapping utility seem to only be available for Minneapolis/St. Paul, but the concept is usable for any metro area.

The top three accessible metro areas are Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. People associate these cities with congestion, but since they also have a high density of jobs in a small area, they rate as highly accessible. What if we see congestion as not something to be solved but as a sign of economic vitality? What kind of transportation system would we build?