Presentation on theme: "Navigating SB 375: CEQA Streamlining and SB 743 Transportation Analysis 2014 San Joaquin Valley Fall Policy Conference."— Presentation transcript:
Navigating SB 375: CEQA Streamlining and SB 743 Transportation Analysis 2014 San Joaquin Valley Fall Policy Conference
Eliminates Level of Service (LOS)/Delay as a CEQA Impact Proposes use of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Metric for CEQA Transportation Analysis Continued Analysis of Impacts Resulting from Transportation, such as Noise, Air Quality and Safety Requires Assessment of Growth Inducing Impacts of Roadway Expansion Applies to CEQA Only and Does Not Preclude Addressing Traffic Congestion in Local General Plan Policies, Zoning Codes, Conditions of Approval, Thresholds, or Fee Programs Addresses Phase-in of New Guidelines SB 743 Proposed CEQA Guidelines Amendments
New Section 15064.3 (a) – Purpose (b) – Criteria for Analyzing Transportation Impacts: (1) Vehicle Miles Traveled and Land Use Projects (2) Induced Travel and Transportation Projects (3) Local Safety (4) Methodology (c) – Mitigation and Alternatives (d) – Applicability Amendments to Appendix F: Energy Impacts Amendments to Appendix G: Transportation Outline of Proposed Amendments
Primary Consideration Amount and distance of automobile travel associated with the project Other Considerations Impacts on transit Impacts on non-motorized travel Impacts on safety of all travelers Indirect effects (Air Quality, Noise) Analyzed in other portions of the Environmental Document A project’s effect on automobile delay does not constitute a significant environmental impact. New Section 15064.3(a) Purpose
Punishes “last-in” infill development Focuses on relatively small area, ignores regional impacts Leads to problematic mitigation approaches Precision issues: trip distribution difficult to predict Biased against transit, ped, and bike improvements that may decrease LOS but improve person-throughput Level of Service: What’s the Problem?
Intended to shift away from driver delay and promote several goals: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses VMT connected to environmental impacts, health, cost Loads full extent of VMT onto roadway network Transit, active transportation presumed to reduce VMT unless demonstrated otherwise Less complex to model Proposed Solution: Vehicle Miles Traveled Metric
(4) Methodology The lead agency’s evaluation of the vehicle miles traveled associated with a project is subject to a rule of reason; however, a lead agency generally should not confine its evaluation to its own political boundary. A lead agency may use models to estimate a project’s vehicle miles traveled, and may revise those estimates to reflect professional judgment based on substantial evidence. Any assumptions used to estimate vehicle miles traveled and any revisions to model outputs should be documented and explained in the environmental document prepared for the project. New Section 15064.3(B) Criteria for Analyzing Transportation Impacts
Describes factors that might indicate whether the amount of a project’s VMT may be significant: “A development project that is not exempt and that results in VMT greater than regional average for the land use type (e.g. residential, employment, commercial) may indicate a significant impact.” “Development projects that result in net decreases in VMT, compared to existing conditions, may be considered to have a less than significant transportation impact.” “Land use plans that are either consistent with an SCS, or that achieve at least an equivalent reduction in VMT as projected to result from implementation of an SCS, generally may be considered to have a less than significant impact.” Use of “May” signals that agencies may apply more stringent and/or refined thresholds. Guidelines, Not Thresholds
Left to local discretion Previously adopted measures to mitigate congestion impacts may continue to be enforced, or modified, at the discretion of the lead agency List of recommended measures provided in Guidelines Appendix F: Energy Conservation Mitigating VMT Impacts Improving or increasing access to transit. Increasing access to common goods and services, such as groceries, schools, and daycare. Incorporating affordable housing into the project. Improving the jobs/housing fit of a community. Incorporating neighborhood electric vehicle network. Traffic calming Providing bicycle parking. Limiting parking supply. Unbundling parking costs. Parking or roadway pricing or cash-out programs. Implementing a commute reduction program. And more….
New Appendix F examples of project alternatives that may reduce vehicle miles traveled include, but are not limited to: Locating the project in an area of the region that already exhibits below average vehicle miles traveled. Locating the project near transit. Increasing project density. Increasing the mix of uses within the project, or within the project’s surroundings. Increasing connectivity and/or intersection density on the project site. Deploying management (e.g. pricing, vehicle occupancy requirements) on roadways or roadway lanes. Project Alternatives to Reduce VMT
Local Traffic Safety remains an appropriate topic for evaluation Increased exposure of cyclists and pedestrians (e.g., removing facilities, increasing crossing distances) Queues extending into the mainline Speed differentials >15 mph between adjacent travel lanes Increased motor vehicle speeds Increased distance between bike or ped crossings Must continue to address environmental impacts from transportation: air quality, noise, etc. New requirement to evaluate growth inducing impacts from adding roadway capacity in congested areas. Other CEQA Impact Considerations
Phase-in of New Standards Implementation Timeline
How will lead agencies establish VMT thresholds and methodologies, and reconcile them with LOS standards contained in general plans, zoning, fee programs, etc.? How will local and regional agencies interact to provide a consistent set of data and assumptions? How will lead agencies mitigate and develop alternatives for identified VMT impacts? What types of tools will lead agencies develop to implement SB 743? Implementation Questions