ALIGN: CEQA Reform
California and the City of San Francisco set out to establish a modernized environmental planning process that takes a more universal approach to how we calculate the effects of transportation. This will ensure that when we assess the impacts of projects, we are better equipped to recognize the effects they have on the transportation system and associated outcomes, such as whether a project encourages more people to travel long distances in a car, or if it provides safe and effective alternatives to driving.
On March 3, 2016, the San Francisco Planning Commission adopted a resolution to replace LOS with a vehicle miles traveled threshold for all CEQA environmental determinations. The resolution allows San Francisco to immediately implement changes to how it analyzes environmental impacts of development and transportation projects rather than wait for state adoption.
On Sept. 27, 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 743. SB 743 directed the California Office of Planning and Research (OPR), the state’s long-range planning and research agency, to prepare revisions to the CEQA Guidelines to establish criteria for determining the significance of transportation impacts that “promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses.”
OPR began to engage the public in developing its recommended changes to the CEQA Guidelines as soon as Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743 into law. Their first preliminary discussion draft of changes to the CEQA Guidelines was released in August 2014 for public review. A Revised Proposal on Updates to the CEQA Guidelines on Evaluating Transportation Impacts in CEQA was released in January 2016. It was the product of many months of thorough engagement with the public, public agencies, environmental organizations, development advocates, industry experts and many other stakeholders after the original proposal was released.
In March 2016, San Francisco became the first county to adopt the proposed SB 743 guidelines rather than wait for state adoption.
Resources and Press
- Background on CEQA Transportation Analysis
- Office of Planning and Research: Updating the Analysis of Transportation Impacts Under CEQA (SB 743)
- Op-Ed: Adopt ‘miles traveled’ measure to discourage harmful sprawl (SF Chronicle)
- Development Rules: new state guidelines that would change traffic studies required for projects (SF Gate)
- Transit Projects Are About to Get Much, Much Easier in California (The Atlantic - CityLab)
- TSP Rebooted: Bureaucratic Revamp Could Boost Transit and Livable Streets (Streetsblog)
- Press Release: San Francisco Planning Takes Lead in Modernizing Environmental Review for New Development Projects
- March 3, 2016 Planning Commission Staff Report regarding Align