Kern County Adopts Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy

Amanda Eaken details Kern County's new Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). The new plan implements California's SB 375, which serves as the land use component of California's carbon emissions reductions goals.

"With the third most polluted air in the country in 2013, the 5th fastest growth rate of all California counties in 2012, and now a steady state-wide stream of funding to support sustainable communities from cap and trade proceeds, Kern County has much to gain from sustainable planning."

Eaken's coverage of the new plan breaks the plans into list of "good news" and "bad news" about what the plan achieves and where it falls short.

Among the positives, according to Eaken:

  • The plan "contains seven times more funding both for transit (exclusive of high speed rail) and for bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure compared with their last long range transportation plan adopted in 2011."
  • The plan anticipates future changes in housing demand: "the adopted plan’s land use scenario accommodates 21% of new development in infill areas as opposed to only 1% in the 2011 plan, and it places more emphasis on multi-family and small-lot single family homes in an effort to create more walkable communities."

And then some of the plan's shortcomings, according to Eaken:

  • The plan did not adopt the Balanced Growth Scenario supported by the National Resources Defense Council and will pursue the Centennial Corridor highway plan, "slated to demolish over 200 homes in an historic neighborhood."
  • The plan still targets greenfield development: "the RTP/SCS is projected to consume over 91 square miles of farmland, working landscapes and other open space, an area more than half the size of Bakersfield."
Full Story: 'Cause how many of you that sit and judge me, ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

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