Transportation-Land Use Integration
Alameda CTC oversees and develops a variety of initiatives and planning activities that strengthen connections between transportation and land use:
- Senate Bill 375 and the Sustainable Communities Strategy: SB 375 is a state law designed to reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. It requires regions in California to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy that documents how it will house its population over the long term and is integrated with the region’s long range transportation plan. Alameda CTC has undertaken numerous activities to support the region’s efforts to comply with SB 375. Alameda CTC worked with local jurisdictions, regional agencies and transit operators to identify Priority Development Areas, Priority Conservation Areas and Growth Opportunity Areas through the region’s FOCUS program and is currently implementing the One Bay Area Grant program in Alameda County, a funding approach that directs transportation investments to locally nominated PDAs and PCAs.
- Priority Development Area Investment and Growth Strategy: PDAs and PCAs are locally nominated areas targeted for development or environmental protection. In addition to implementing the first round of the OBAG program, Alameda CTC has documented its strategy to support long-term development of PDAs into vibrant, livable communities through its PDA Investment and Growth Strategy.
- Support of infill development: Promoting infill development is a long-standing state and regional policy objective. However, infill developments, in spite of their perceived environmental benefits, do not usually fare well under prevailing traffic impact analysis methodologies. Alameda CTC commissioned a white paper on strategies to reform its CMP activities to reduce barriers to infill development and is implementing these as appropriate. Senate Bill 743, which passed in September 2013, will reform the way transportation analysis under CEQA is conducted in a way that should incentivize infill development, and Alameda CTC is participating in rulemaking regarding this law.
- Areawide Transportation Impact Mitigation Fees Feasibility Study: Under an areawide transportation impact mitigation fee, developers would pay into a fund that would be used to plan and implement transportation mitigation measures related to land development. This fee could augment or replace mitigations currently negotiated on a project-by-project basis and could potentially simplify development approvals. In many cases, systemwide mitigations are more feasible or consistent with adopted goals than project-by-project mitigations. An areawide traffic impact fee already exists in the Tri-Valley area. Alameda CTC will study the feasibility of a fee program, pending available resources.
- Community Design and Transportation Program: Alameda CTC is exploring a program to provide grants for planning and capital costs related to coordinated transportation land use projects, similar to the Community Design and Transportation Program (CDT) adopted by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
- Complete Streets policy development and implementation: Complete streets are streets designed to accommodate all modes and all users, and provision of complete streets is generally synergistic with transportation-land use coordination goals. Alameda CTC has required all of its jurisdictions to adopt Complete Streets Policies as a condition of receiving local direct distribution funds. Alameda CTC develops technical resources to support implementation of complete streets policies and administers the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s complete streets checklists for projects that receive federal funds programmed by Alameda CTC.
- Corridor planning: Alameda CTC periodically commissions studies that coordinate planning and action on key corridors or areas that span multiple jurisdictions. These studies bring together stakeholders including local governments, the California Department of Transportation, transit operators and MTC and focus on addressing local and long-distance travel for the efficient, reliable and cost-effective movement of people and goods. The studies identify improvements that will ultimately serve as mitigations for development impacts and ensure these improvements are contained in the Countywide Transportation Plan and the Regional Transportation Plan.
- State-level CEQA modernization advocacy: Alameda CTC monitors state legislative proposals to modernize the California Environmental Quality Act to streamline delivery of infill development and transportation projects without compromising environmental preservation goals.
- Parking standards and policies: With the support of local jurisdictions, Alameda CTC plans to explore and review parking policies and standards as a way to develop parking management strategies, as a land use tool for local jurisdictions to promote alternative modes and reduce greenhouse gases.
- Regional Transit Expansion Program: MTC’s Regional Transit Expansion Program includes a transit oriented development policy that conditions transit expansion on supportive land-use policies. Alameda CTC is working with local jurisdictions, transit providers, congestion management agencies in adjoining counties, ABAG and MTC to address the policy.
- Sustainable Communities Technical Advisory Program: Alameda CTC makes funds available to cities to hire planning assistance for transit oriented development and other livability-promoting projects. These funds are made available on a grant-basis and help cities advance projects through the environmental review phase. This program was formerly known as the Transit Oriented Development Technical Assistance Program (TOD-TAP).