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Staying Vigilant on Level of Service Reform

The Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Switchboard blog chimes in on the potential benefits of California's ongoing reform of Level of Service (LOS) review.
September 6, 2014, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Those in the know about the consequences of the LOS requirement in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) won't be surprised to hear that the NRDC is overjoyed that the Governor's Office of Planning and Research has announced Vehicle Miles Traveled as a more appropriate metric to evaluate the environmental impacts of development projects.

"We love OPR’s proposed new metric because it just makes sense," writes Amanda Eaken. "It’s worth pointing out that California is the first state in the nation to try to tackle the insidious LOS problem and OPR should be praised for setting the precedent. Comments are due October 10th, and we feel that certain elements of their draft guidelines need revision—such as the proposed threshold and which types of projects are presumed to be less than significant—and we will blog again with more information on these details."

The article also includes a podcast, in which Jeff Tumlin of Nelson Nygaard (and author of Sustainable Transportation Planning), Chris Ganson of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and Amanda Eaken "connect the dots between California’s climate change laws AB32, SB375, and the possibility that one fix could change transportation and land use planning around the country."

An particularly strongly worded soundbite from Tumlin occurs early in the podcast, when he calls LOS the "single most harmful, wonkish tool to the urban environment and to natural systems…it has done more to harm cities and foster sprawl than any other tool..."

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Published on Friday, September 5, 2014 in NRDC Switchboard
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