Southern California Passes Visionary Smart Growth Plan

Rick Cole, City Manager of Ventura, California wrote this editorial for the LA Times. This is an abstract.

Car loving Southern California has released the "the strongest transportation plan" in its history, says Amanda Eaken of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) about the region’s new Smart Growth plan.

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) unanimously passed a visionary Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy that will guide the region through 2035. And the $524 billion plan exceeds even the tough new state standards for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan, which is centered around public transit and walkable communities, shows how much the region has changed from its suburban sprawl roots – it ranks #1 as the densest urban area in the US, according to the Census Bureau.

It focuses housing expansion near public transit, gives a big 350% funding boost for biking and pedestrian improvements, and projects 4 million new jobs, mostly within a half mile from public transit. It will also preserve over 400 square miles of open space.

The plan has widespread support from both liberals and conservatives, and from business, labor, public health and environmental leaders.

SCAG is the largest metropolitan planning organization in the US, covering six counties and almost 200 cities.

"The devastating real estate meltdown ended the myth of endless expansion. SCAG’s new plan is born of the realization that as a region, we have to grow up, not out, said the late economist Herbert Stein. 

Read the full editorial:

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