Plans to build a $5 billion, 6.3-mile tunnel to close the "gap" of the 710 freeway are gaining headway as both the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments recommended that project as the best option. The tunnel, which would have two lanes in either direction and would be completely underground for 4.2 miles. >>read more
Two environmental groups have sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of the Interior for opening up 400,000 acres of public land in Southern California for fracking, which they claim violates the National Environmental Policy Act. >>read more
For the moment, equilibrium has been more or less restored in rivalry between Northern California and Southern California - at least as far as urban planning goes.
Recommended awards have been announced in the competition for $120 million in planning assistance monies from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities grant program, the state's largest funding program for planning. Of the 28 projects selected, 11 are from the Bay Area and 10 are from Southern California. That's a big shift from the semifinal count, when the 54 finalistsincluded twice as many from the Bay Area as from Southern California. >>read more
With the year's legislative session in full gear, attempts to reform - or end-run - the California Environmental Quality Act don't seem to be doing so well. But Sen. Fran Pavley's effort to codify an 80% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2050 - which would moot some major legal challenges - appears to be sailing through. >>read more
As almost any transportation planner in Los Angeles County will attest, the car capital of the world is well on its way to becoming a transit capital as well. With tens of billions of dollars invested in recently opened and anticipated mass transit lines, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has transformed the county. Even so, Metro can't be everywhere.
As California's drought continues to worsen, the state's 500-plus local governments face a twofold challenge: complying with state-mandated reductions in urban water use while at the same time planning for long-term development. While the state's housing needs are manifest – 220,000 units per year just to keep up with latent demand – the long-term water supplies required to supply new development and redevelopment have become less certain thanks to the drought.
In the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown's recent executive order, many districts are imposing cutbacks on institutional users, such as park and school districts, and on homeowners collectively. But unlike the 1990s, only a few communities appear to be placing moratoria on new development as result of the drought. But experts predict that further water conservation measures – including more water-efficient new residences – could take the pressure off of development moratoria in the future.
The San Jose Water Company is one of the largest water providers at the high end of the reduction scale. It must cut 30 percent. That district is allocating thirteen 780-gallon units of water per home – as compared to the 2013 average of 19 units – regardless of a home's size. Homeowners will pay penalties for usage above their allocated units. Bakersfield is restricting outdoor water use to three days a week.