Sustainable Communities Grants in Sacramento region

The California Strategic Growth Council just announced Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentives Program, detailed in “SGC Awards Grants to Boost Smarter Urban Planning in CA Cities” on Streetsblog LA.

The Sacramento region received:

  1. Accelerating Local Implementation of Sacramento Region Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, $885K (Sacramento Area Council of Governments)
  2. Downtown/University Gateway District Plan, $591K (City of Davis)
  3. Sacramento Intermodal Phase 3, $492K (City of Sacramento)
  4. Pioneer Bluff Redevelopment Master Plan, $378K (City of West Sacramento)

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?

Blogs I read

I read one transportation blog religiously: StreetsBlog. The four sub-blogs, for New York, where it originated, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Capitol Hill, generate their own blog posts, but also serve as an aggregator for transportation blog over North America, and to a small degree the world. The news is of very local issues, as specific as neighborhoods and streets, city, state, regional, and national issues. Some are serious, some irreverent. Some are offered by advocacy organizations, some by professional planners, some with academic expertise, and some by interested individuals.

Among the blogs linked from StreetsBlog that I often click through to are Kaid Benfeld on NRDC’s Switchboard, The Transport Politic, Grist, and How We Drive. Kaid, as well as some other bloggers on Switchboard, cover the political, environmental, and livability aspects of transportation, and the Transport Politic covers similar ground but is written by a planner, Yonah Freemark. Grist addresses environmental issues through several bloggers, including a former editor at StreetsBlog, Ellie Blue. How We Drive is by Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), probably the best book I’ve read on the culture of driving. I’m sure you’ll find something interesting on StreetsBlog.

And while you are there, click on over to StreetFilms, a wonderful collection of short and entertaining spots on improving transportation system and livability.

Let me know what blogs interest you!