Los Angeles is one of a dozen cities worldwide, including Mexico City, London, Cape Town, and Paris, that are vowing to buy only zero-emission buses starting in 2025 and make entire neighborhoods fuel-free by promoting walking, cycling, and public transportation. The C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration includes 12 cities from around the world. Seattle is the only other city in the group from the United States. The goals are aimed at localized air pollution as well as climate change. The plan echoes one released by the city of Madrid, which envisions a “zero-emissions zone” in the city center where residents, public transportation and zero-emission vehicles can go. The group of cities are committed to eliminating emissions in designated areas of the cities by 2030 and have policies to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life, and help tackle the global threat of climate change.
Humbolt County Adopts New General Plan
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors approved, 3-1, a new general plan and general plan EIR after 18 years. A decade ago a General Plan Update draft had more housing and less environmental impact but with new supervisors the policies in the GPU changed, as did the ideological makeup of the county Planning Commission, and the guiding principles underpinning the whole process. One of the major changes in the newly adopted General Plan is that new homes will be permitted on resource lands in the county. The county must still modify and update the Local Coastal Plan, which can take six months to two years to receive certification by the California Coastal Commission.
Fresno Restores Fulton Street
The City of Fresno recently celebrated the re-opening of Fulton Street in the heart of downtown Fresno. The project to transform Fulton Mall, which opened as a a pedestrian-only street in 1964 and had fallen on hard times in recent years, into a traditional two-way street began in March 2016. The goal is to make it easier for business to open downtown to bring both vehicular and pedestrian traffic to the area. The city received federal and state grants totaling $20 million to help pay for the revitalization. Construction was supposed to take 14 months but took 19 months, causing businesses in the area to leave or close up for a hiatus until construction was completed. Approximately $5 million was spent to restore 18 pieces of artwork, which are an important part of the historic character of Fulton Street. Mayor Ashley Swearengin called it a signal of the “rebirth” of downtown Fresno.
Fire Watch: 8,400 Homes Burned; 100,000 Residents Displaced in N. Calif.
Tenants Rights Advocates Seek Repeal Costa-Hawkins Act in 2018
Quick Hits & Updates
The City of Los Angeles has nearly doubled the number of hotel rooms within walking distance of the LA Convention Center to 4,637 rooms but still needs many more, according to a city study. However, the study concludes LA ranks 18th in the nation when it comes to hotel rooms within walking distance- three-quarters of a mile- of a convention center.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Helen E. Williams sided with the City of San Jose in a dispute over replacement of the Willow Glen Trestle, which the city had permitted for demolition. Friends of the Willow Glen Trestle claimed it is a historical resource. The court acknowledge “practical challenges” of establishing historical status and the analytical gaps when it comes to CEQA protection and transparency to agency decisions on a discretionary historical resource. The trestle was placed on the California Register of Historic Resources list last year, but Judge Williams said that was irrelevant to judicial review of the original demolition approval.
Ed Pope, an army veteran and Irvine resident, has started a petition to overturn the City Council’s decision to swap land at Irvine’s Great Park for a veterans cemetery. In a press release Pope said, “I am outraged by this land-swap scheme that dishonors our veterans and enables FivePoint Communities to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in windfall profits.” The original site would have taken at least $70 million to clean up but funds from the state, Federal government, and the City of Irvine were secured.
Orange County Supervisors unanimously picked a team of developers, operating under Dana Point Harbor Partners, to manage an overhaul of Dana Point Harbor with new shops, restaurants, boat slops, and hotels. The group is seeking $20 million subsidy from the county for the project. The proposed project is estimated to bring in $1.2 billion in revenue over a half-century.
Leading Democratic candidates for California governor assembled at the City Club in San Francisco to discuss housing and climate change, among other topics. Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin Eastin both brought up Prop. 13 and how the 1978 measure must be reformed.
A road diet pilot program in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Playa del Rey has ended abruptly, with lanes removed from three roads will be restored, after vehement public outcry. Councilmember Mike Bonin said while road diets worked in other cities, not enough community outreach and public education campaigns over public safety were done to make it an acceptable project to the community. The road diet was part of Los Angeles’s efforts to implement Vision Zero. (See prior CP&DR coverage.)