New CEQA law exempts sustainable transit projects

By Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner, September 28, 2020

“A bill (SB 288) designed to prevent sustainable transportation projects from getting bogged down in laborious, time-intensive environmental review was signed into state law Monday by Governor Gavin Newsom.

“Supporters of SB 288 believe it will make projects such as pedestrian safety tools, protected bike lanes, light rail, and bus lanes easier and cheaper to implement as well as help the state fight climate change and promote economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus.

“Guardrails exist within the bill to make sure only truly sustainable projects are exempted from CEQA. They include requirements that they be publicly owned, within an existing public right of way and urbanized area, and can’t result in the demolition of affordable housing.

“Gwen Litvak, senior vice president of the Bay Area Council, an economic development association that co-sponsored the bill, said examples of San Francisco projects that her organization hopes to see expedited with the signing of SB 288 include the Fulton Street Safety & Transit Project, the Embarcadero Enhancement Project, the Excelsior Neighborhood Traffic Calming Project, and the Leavenworth Quick-Build Project, among others.”

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