In preparing the new edition of Guide to California Planning, it became more clear to me than ever that there's tension between the urban California we live in and the suburban California the planning system is designed to create.
The former Seattle and Boulder planning director returns to California after a 20-year absence to run Gov. Gavin Newsom's Office of Planning & Research. What's his take on California's planning issues? What did he learn in California that he took elsewhere -- and what has he learned elsewhere that he can bring home to California?
Newly appointed Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Research Kate Gordon spoke with CP&DR’s Josh Stephens about her transition into the public sector as California’s de facto chief planner. >>read more
If NIMBYs are, proverbially, planners' worst enemies, then planners are sometimes their own second-worst enemies.
Monday morning I attended one of a dozen or so workshops and listening sessions, this one in Los Angeles, put on by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research to publicize and solicit input into the new draft General Plan Guidelines. It's a momentous occasion for planners in California. Legislative, demographic, and cultural forces have forged a different world in the 12 years since OPR last updated the guidelines.
Cities that update their general plans, usually to the tune of hundreds of pages, need all the help they can get. That's why it's so important for OPR to clearly explain what it has in mind and to hear what planners and citizens need to make the magic happen.
Some citizens, though, see nothing magical about, well, anything that planners do. >>read more
It can sound like a simple step, to end Level of Service (LOS) metrics in CEQA transportation analysis. The more conceptually elegant Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) metric is easy to welcome in the abstract, with its incentives for shared and active transportation, its arguably simpler calculation methods, its potential to realign CEQA analysis with state climate protection law – and most of all, its escape from the addictive spiral of induced demand for broad, free-flowing highways that, under the logic of LOS analysis, always need widening again.
But in early August the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) published a detailed discussion draft setting out an alternative transportation impacts metric in compliance with last year's SB 743 mandate. And alongside the big-picture discussions of environmentally conscious innovation, the technical arguments began.
The Governor's Office of Planning & Research is a month late in issuing its final recommendation on whether to replace "level of service" as the measurement of significant transportation impacts in transit priority areas under the California Environmental Quality Act. But there's not much mystery: OPR has sent clear signals that it is going to propose replacing LOS with vehicle miles traveled, or VMT.