It may seem like SANDAG approved its contested regional transportation plan months ago, but the planning agency is already beginning work on a brand new one, and it’s making some changes to address complaints that pegged the last one as too highway-happy.
The state sued SANDAG for the last plan because it failed to reduce car pollution fast enough. Local opponents said the real problem was a plan that favored suburbanites – people transportation wonks call “choice riders” – over the people who use buses and trolleys in the city’s urban core.
Now, SANDAG is taking a look at how it will prioritize highway and transit projects in its regional comprehensive plan, which will guide both land-use and transportation decisions. For the first time, SANDAG is adding weight to projects that improve public health by increasing walking and biking, according to SANDAG spokeswoman Elisa Arias. It’s also looking at how to increase social equity among neighborhoods and regions.
The new grading system is in its early stages but already City Heights residents say it could use some work. Randy Van Vleck, active transportation manager for the City Heights Community Development Corporation, said it might actually encourage disinvestment in the neighborhood.