Planning for Smart Growth
Encouraging Smart Growth
I announced my campaign for Mayor at Fifth and Broadway, the construction site of a housing project, The Mill. I chose this site because it embodies what I want to see for the future of Sacramento. It is a neighborhood and business area that has had its struggles. But what is happening there represents the kind of planning and development we need to foster-affordable quality homes in the urban core connected to a beautiful park-to-be, a farmers market, a project built with recycled materials, urban infill, and revitalization. And it’s connected physically to Health Professions High School, an original career pathways high school, a cause I championed at the Legislature. This is the kind of energy I want for our city.
Planning and Implementing Smart Growth While Improving Air Quality
I strongly support a smart growth approach as we continue to build within our city and region. This means mixed-use, compact, walkable infill development with pedestrian, bike, and transportation infrastructure and a range of housing choices that are affordable and provide a sense of place and community. This approach will help maximize our local resources, conserve agriculture lands and sensitive habitat, improve air quality, and create civic connections and economic opportunities for all of our residents.
During my time in the legislature, I championed policies that provide an urban planning framework to create access to financial resources for sustainable community development. After the state set standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I authored the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) to ensure regional transportation planning and create a sustainable community strategy that links long-range transportation planning processes with activities that help achieve greenhouse gas reductions. SB 375 creates incentives for communities to build according to the smart growth principles, which in turn helps accelerate transit investments, housing development near transportation corridors, access to high-quality jobs, and infrastructure that supports the physical and economic health of the community.
Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities
In addition to the planning and streamlining tools provided to communities like Sacramento under SB 375, I worked in the Senate to set up a new source of funding for affordable housing and sustainable communities. These funds, derived from the state’s Cap and Trade Program, are set aside annually to help pay for comprehensive new investments in housing for sustainable communities. So far there have been several hundred million dollars made available statewide for the AHSC program. This year’s allocation is over $300 million statewide.
So far, the City of Sacramento has not received any money from the AHSC program. As Mayor, I will work to ensure Sacramento receives its fair share of these funds.
Improving Public Transportation
Regional Transit in Sacramento needs a dramatic overhaul. Our bus and light rail system should be clean, safe and modern. Not only is a quality transit system an economic driver for our city and region, it also is a lifeline for many people. It’s time to take the necessary steps to make Regional Transit a top-notch and modern system that gets back to focusing on customer service.
Let’s start by finding ways to increase ridership on RT. Our bus and light rail lines need to be convenient and on-time with good inter-city connections to job centers, business hubs, local schools, community colleges and universities. As Senate leader, I authored a law that requires 10 percent of the state’s Cap and Trade funding to go to transit. As Mayor, I will aggressively pursue this funding as well as other state and federal funds for Sacramento.
Bike and Pedestrian Improvements
While certain parts of Sacramento are bike and pedestrian friendly, we need to expand into the areas that aren’t, providing corridors for neighborhoods off the grid to connect in. This means providing safe bicycle and pedestrian pathways and lanes that are protected from cars, lit for safety at night and maintained. It also means installing bike racks, ensuring education around cycling safety and partnering with other public entities, non-profits and private organizations to promote and encourage active transportation within the city.
Sacramento has been working on its bike master plan for 10 years. There’s no excuse for not completing this important work. We need a city staff person who serves as the bike and pedestrian coordinator. We cannot make meaningful progress if we do not provide the necessary staff and resources. Bicycle and pedestrian walkways should be part of any new development. We also should incorporate them whenever we do street maintenance and repair. It’s time to make Sacramento a truly walkable and bikeable city.