The state’s push to end car-first street planning could ripple across the country.
the 700+ page EIR for the two-mile long BRT project on Van Ness Avenue in SF. excluding the second volume or the thousands of pages of technical supplements.
rendering of the Van Ness BRT line, scheduled to begin operation by 2018.
The only area where the Van Ness BRT project had an unavoidable negative impact that couldn’t be offset under CEQA was traffic. “So this whole document was prepared because of the traffic impact,” says Schwartz, nodding at the enormous report. And here’s the really sad thing about CEQA traffic impacts: They’re determined using a car-friendly metric known as “level of service” that bases a project’s transportation performance on driver delay. In other words, Van Ness BRT required all the trouble of preparing this massive report because, in the twisted eyes of California law, public transit is considered a greater enemy to the environment than car travel.
That’s the bad news. The encouraging news is that this law is about to change. California will soon reform traffic analysis under CEQA by replacing “level of service” with another metric more in line with its environmental and urban mobility goals. So transit projects and transit-friendly development are about to get much, much easier in California cities—and some think the shift in mindset will spread across the country.
read more: citylab, 08.07.14.