In California’s Central Valley region, the Safe Routes Partnership is working in the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Fresno. Housing and transportation costs in Central Valley often exceed 70 percent of income for moderate income households. The lack of affordable transportation options puts stress on families. In addition, the region struggles with poor air quality.
This year, each of the three county metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are developing Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs). Regional transportation plans are developed by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and set the region’s priorities for transportation for the next thirty years. RTPs come up for consideration every five years, and so engagement in the development of these plans is a critical way to try and shape the region’s approach to healthy and safe transportation options.
In partnership with a number of strong Central Valley allies who have been engaged in these efforts for some time, including Climate Plan, Catholic Charities, and Leadership Counsel, we are collectively pushing the MPOs in all three counties to more aggressively meet climate change goals, invest in active transportation, adopt strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), develop grants programs to help local jurisdictions meet regional goals, and better address equity and disadvantaged communities. Comments submitted by coalitions in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Fresno counties detail these requests.
Adoption of all three county RTPs are expected by the end of the summer. We and our partners are hopeful that progress can be made towards creating more affordable transportation options for Central Valley residents.