Category: News

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

September 5, 2019

The final report of a University of Washington pilot study on Curb Allocation Change indicates that creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts. Geofencing is used to increase driver compliance by setting a GPS or RFID boundary around an area, thus triggering a response when a mobile device enters or leaves the area. Data was collected in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, an area with considerable congestion and TNC use. A second phase study has been proposed to test geofence and PLZ strategies in a high traffic, transit corridor.

Read the press release here.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return.

The votes were 67-8 in the Assembly and 30-4 in the state Senate.

The paragraphs below explain the thrust of the new law and are excepted from an August 30 Op-Ed by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), author of the bill and the California Senate majority whip.

The successful approach of “city and county officials [in] the aftermath of the Tubbs fire to expedite the rebuilding of thousands of homes,” wrote Skinner, … inspired me to introduce Senate Bill 330

“The bill accelerates housing construction in the state during the next half-decade by slashing the time it takes for developers to get building permits, limiting fees on housing, and barring local governments from reducing the number of homes that can be built…

“SB 330 is based on the premise that much of the housing we need has already been planned for by our local communities. California cities and counties have approved zoning for 2.8 million new housing units, according to a 2019 report by UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies…

“Recent studies have also pointed out [that] cities and counties often levy burdensome fees that can reach $50,000 per unit on housing projects, and developers can face delays of up to four years after they submit their applications to build housing…

“SB 330 is designed to help California communities swiftly build much of the housing the state needs without altering local zoning rules. Until 2025, cities and counties [will] have to slash the time it takes to process housing applications to no more than 90 days for most market-rate housing projects and to 60 days for affordable ones after a project application is deemed complete and it complies with local zoning rules. The bill also limits the number of public hearings on a project to five. In addition, cities and counties would be barred from hiking fees after the project applicant has submitted all preliminary required information.

“For five years from the time the bill becomes law, urban areas throughout California [will] be prohibited from changing design standards for how housing should look, reducing the number of housing units allowed, establishing a cap on the number of people who can live in a community, or implementing a moratorium on new housing construction.

“The bill also includes anti-displacement measures, including a ban on the demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless developers replace all of them and pay to rehouse tenants and offer them first right of return at the same rent.”

You can read the text of the bill here. 

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

Excerpts from an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab (with 8 large color photos, September 3, 2019)

“Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.

Image: Exhibit Columbus 2019, Miller Prize, Frida Escobedo Studio

“For the next three months, I.M. Pei’s plaza [at the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library] is even more inviting than usual. It’s the temporary home for Untitled, an elevated garden terrace designed by Mexico City’s Frida Escobedo Studio. Next to the 1969 library, Escobedo’s platform is a complement in elegance and a contrast in materials (and ideas).

“More than a dozen other additions and pairings across town make Columbus an ideal destination for lovers of high design. ‘Exhibit Columbus’ has turned the lens around on architecture, and on itself. Social factors are as key to contemporary design as glass was to the Modernist era, and this biennial reflects that trend.”

How did Columbus become what it is today, with “One map of Columbus listing 97 projects of architectural significance, dating from 1942 to the present day”?

“J. Irwin Miller was executive and chairman of Cummins, a diesel-engine [and now Fortune 500] company headquartered in Columbus. After World War II, prospects for the business were strong, but Miller saw that teeny Bartholomew County was struggling to attract the world-class engineering talent that the growing company needed.

“So in 1954, under Miller’s stewardship, the Cummins Foundation offered to subsidize any new, public, Modernist building in this Bible Belt town by paying for the architectural fees. Miller generated (confidential) lists of preferred architects for each project, which he offered like a menu to institutions such as the school board. From the 1950s on, the program furnished exceptional buildings with the goal of putting Columbus on the map. The Saturday Evening Post dubbed the city “Athens on the Prairie.”

READ MORE in the CityLab article: “Exhibit Columbus looked to architects who focus on community — and designs that would provoke as much as they delight — to elevate the city’s historic architecture. Mostly missing is the high-strung academic bafflegab that attends events in New York or Paris or Dubai. The language of design is accessible here.”

THIS ISSUE

THIS ISSUE

Why is CaRLA suing California cities? • WHERE IN THE WORLD, two photos • NORTHERN SECTION NEWS: CPF needs your help in supporting planning students • Northern Section’s David Early gets PEN Honor Award • AICP-certified planners earn more than non-certified planners • Northern News seeks Associate Editor • CPF’s Northern Section 2019-2020 scholarship recipients • New Emerging Planners Group • Director’s note • New Webcast Series on Planning Ethics and Law • Letters • Who’s where • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, 15 articles excerpted and linked.
ABOUT NORTHERN NEWS

ABOUT NORTHERN NEWS

The American Planning Association, California Chapter – Northern, offers membership to city and regional planners and associated professionals primarily living or working in California, from and through Monterey County to the Oregon border, including the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and Lake and San Benito Counties. APA California Northern promotes planning-related continuing education and social functions in order to:

  • Provide a forum for communication and exchange of information about planning related activities;
  • Raise member awareness and involvement in APA affairs;
  • Increase public awareness of the importance of planning;
  • Encourage professionalism in the conduct of its members; and
  • Foster a sense of community among the members.

APA California Northern publishes Northern News 10 times each year for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Current and back issues are available for download here. Entirely the effort of volunteers, the News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California. Circulation (downloads per issue): 4,000.

To update your email address or other information, go to planning.org/myapa/ and login.

Northern News welcomes comments. Go here to contact the editors. Letters to the editor require the author’s first and last name, home or work street address and phone number (neither of which will be published), and professional affiliation or title (which will be published only with the author’s permission). All letters are subject to editing. Letters over 250 words are not considered.

Deadlines for submitting materials for inclusion in Northern News range from the 10th to the 23rd of the month prior to publication.

You can download the latest publication schedule here.

You may republish our articles, but please credit “Northern News, APA California – Northern.”

Homeless housing developer aims to bring back bungalow court

By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA, July 23, 2019

“A Los Angeles nonprofit organization aims to bring back the bungalow court as ‘a good way to house people.’

“John Perfitt, director of Restore Neighborhoods LA, earlier this year won a $500,000 grant from Los Angeles County for its Bungalow Gardens proposal in South Los Angeles.  The complex would likely be LA’s first new bungalow court in more than seven decades.

Bungalow court proposed for South LA. The complex would include four Spanish-style duplexes arranged on a single lot. Rendering courtesy RNLA.

“Perfitt calls the bungalow court — at one time the most common form of multifamily housing in Southern California — a ‘functional but elegant’ form of architecture.

“Built mainly from the early 1900s to the 1930s, Los Angeles’s bungalow courts generally consist of a cluster of individual cottages arranged around a courtyard or a strip of shared open space. The courts have been impractical to build since Los Angeles officials adopted minimum parking requirements for new developments in the 1930s.

“RNLA’s project, planned between two existing court-style complexes, is set to include four studios and four one-bedrooms — spread between four buildings surrounded by shared space and sandwiched between two existing court-type complexes.

The project would be sandwiched between two existing court-type complexes. Rendering courtesy RNLA.

“Building this type of project is now possible because of LA’s Transit Oriented Communities program, established after voters approved an affordable housing ballot measure in 2016.

“Projects like Bungalow Gardens, which are accessible to major train or bus stops and contain affordable housing, are eligible for certain incentives — including more allowable density and fewer required parking spaces. Because all of the units in RNLA’s court will be affordable, the project isn’t required to have parking at all.

“With partial grant funding from the county secured, RNLA is now opening the project up to investors from the general public in order to raise additional funds needed to complete the project.

“Tenants will be selected through the county’s Coordinated Entry System, which connects homeless residents with available housing. Rents will be subsidized through housing vouchers provided by the county.

Read the full article here. 

Elected officials have visionary responsibilities to ensure that today’s plans consider tomorrow’s needs

From The Planning Report, Los Angeles, August 14, 2019

TPR interviewed Michael Woo, a former LA City Council member (1985-93) who recently retired after 10 years as Dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design — the first urban planner to hold that position. (Woo holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in politics and urban studies from UC Santa Cruz.) The interview starts with the loaded observation that “city planning seems disrespected by all interests,” and later asks, “what should schools of planning and architecture be inculcating in their students?” and “who should planners be planning for?” Among Woo’s responses were these morsels:

Michael Woo. Image: Zocalo Public Square, an ASU Knowledge Enterprise

“… the best graduates we produce will be more than just technicians, because the software will be constantly changing. The best graduates will be generalists whom the employer can move around to different assignments and different teams that may not be predictable at the time the graduate is originally hired. Oral and written communication skills are very important because if you can’t communicate your good idea, what good are you?

“… planners should be planning for the future.

“… in a democratic society, the elected leadership has the primary responsibility for defining a vision of the future. Of course, the leaders may need to be responsive to the senior citizens among us, or the people who are registered voters among us. But, beyond the short-term responsibility of representing the people who elect the officeholders, the elected officials and the politicians have a higher responsibility to think about the future, including people who aren’t here yet, haven’t been born yet, and who can’t vote.

“… the public sector needs to step up and define what the future is going to be about. The private sector definitely deserves to have a large voice, but it’s not the private sector that should decide. By definition, the private sector cannot define what is in the best interest of the public.”

You can read the full interview here.

Who’s where

Who’s where

Michael P. Cass recently joined the City of Dublin as Principal Planner. Before Dublin, Cass was principal planner of Long-Range & Sustainability Policy with the City of Concord (2016-2019) and a planner with the City of Lafayette (2004-2016). He holds a B.A. in communication from St. Mary’s College of California and a certificate in land use and environmental planning from UC Davis Extension. Cass serves as an Advisory Board Member for Sustainable Contra Costa and is Northern Section’s Treasurer.

Matt Kawashima is now Project Manager at OpenCounter, a firm that builds online permitting software that lets applicants calculate the permit requirements for their projects and apply for permits online. Over the previous eight years, Kawashima was an environmental analyst with Contra Costa County, a transportation research assistant at USF’s School of Management, a planner/assistant project manager at LSA, and an assistant planner with Denise Duffy & Associates. He holds a master of public administration from the USF School of Management and a B.S. in city and regional planning from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Kawashima is Northern Section’s Social Media Coordinator.

Northern News September 2019
Above photo of Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park in Monterey, CA, is by Libby Tyler, FAICP. Colleagues, our feature article is from NextCity, republished with permission. We need locally authored articles, from you, and you, and you.

Northern News September 2019

Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

September 2019

What is CaRLA, and why is it suing California cities?

By Jared Brey, Next City, August 15, 2017. The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, or CaRLA, is ready to pounce. ‘I think everybody’s starting to get the message that these laws [like the Housing Accountability Act] are out there and that the state is serious — and people are serious,’ says Sonja Trauss, a co-executive director of CaRLA. Adds Matt Lewis, director of communications for California YIMBY, ‘If you look at the model of how the environmental movement evolved, they passed a bunch of clean air and clean water laws and then they would go around and make sure they were enforced. [Suing the suburbs] is literally the same model.’

THIS ISSUE

Why is CaRLA suing California cities? • WHERE IN THE WORLD, two photos • NORTHERN SECTION NEWS: CPF needs your help in supporting planning students • Northern Section’s David Early gets PEN Honor Award • AICP-certified planners earn more than non-certified planners • Northern News seeks Associate Editor • CPF’s Northern Section 2019-2020 scholarship recipients • New Emerging Planners Group • Director’s note • New Webcast Series on Planning Ethics and Law • Letters • Who’s where • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, 15 articles excerpted and linked

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Norcal APA news

CPF NEEDS YOUR HELP in supporting planning students

The California Planning Foundation is now accepting items for the annual CPF auction and raffle to be held at the APA California Conference in Santa Barbara, September 15-18. To donate items for the auction and raffle, please fill out the donation form linked in this article and email it to Aaron Pfannenstiel, or call him at (951) 444-9379 if you have questions.

Northern Section’s David Early to get PEN Honor Award

PEN, the Planner Emeritus Network, is an auxiliary of and resource support group for APA California. Each year, a select few APA California members receive a PEN Honor Award for an outstanding contribution to the profession or for a significant accomplishment that enhanced the recognition and value of planning. This article names the four PEN members honored this year and also lists the 35 honored since 1998.

‘On average, AICP-certified planners earn $16,000 more annually than non-certified planners’ —APA

By Don Bradley, PhD, AICP. If you wish to pass the semi-annual AICP exam, it’s a good idea to start early and take the valuable classes Northern Section offers each spring and Fall. This September and October, expert guest speakers and recent course grads will cover all domains of the AICP exam during five Saturday sessions at UC Berkeley.

Become Northern News’ Associate Editor

Northern News — published 10 times each year — is seeking an Associate Editor. Are you a member of APA working or living in northern California? Would you like to help determine our newsmagazine content and solicit articles relevant to the planning profession, current planning issues, or proposed development in northern California and elsewhere? Then please read this short announcement and contact us.

CPF names Northern Section’s 2019-2020 scholarship recipients

The California Planning Foundation congratulates all of Northern Section’s 2019 CPF Scholarship winners, and we thank all of our Northern Section members who have supported CPF through past conference and section fundraising events with generous donations. Your support has made a difference in the lives of these students!

What’s new? The Emerging Planners Group

By Danae Hall and Veronica Flores. Being on the Steering Committee allows members to network “up” with the more senior planners and professionals who speak at our events. Active members also to get to know each other better and build a strong network of peers in the Bay Area. We hope you are interested in joining our Steering Committee, but you still get the chance to meet other professionals simply by attending future EPG events.

Director’s note

By James A. Castañeda, AICP. Working at the planning counter can be tedious, or it can be one of the more important and rewarding parts of being a planner — where we learn how to listen and how to empathize. And while we usually don’t see the results of our work for years, we can in a few short hours at the counter resolve several problems, provide direction, or offer advice. These small victories add up and help you appreciate what you do and for whom.

New Webcast Series on Planning Ethics and Law

Get your “AICP CM” credits on Planning Ethics and Law here. Northern Section’s Webcast Training Program will present APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” in a panel discussion on Oct. 25, 2019, followed by a Planning Law session on cannabis on Nov. 15.

LETTERS

Love the layout and links! Nicely done.
—Marnie Waffle, Monterey

Who’s where

Northern Section’s Treasurer and Social Media Coordinator recently changed their day jobs.

ABOUT NORTHERN NEWS

We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Planning news roundup

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return.

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

Excerpts from an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab (with 8 large color photos, September 3, 2019) “Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism,

Homeless housing developer aims to bring back bungalow court

By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA. A Los Angeles nonprofit sees the bungalow court of the early 20th century as a good way to house the homeless. The bungalow court was at one time the most common form of multifamily housing in Southern California. Building this type of project is now possible because of LA’s Transit Oriented Communities program, established after voters approved an affordable housing ballot measure in 2016.

Elected officials have visionary responsibilities to ensure that today’s plans consider tomorrow’s needs

Michael Woo recently retired after 10 years as Dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design — the first urban planner to hold that position. (Woo holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in politics and urban studies from UC Santa Cruz.) In this TPR interview he responds to a statement that “city planning seems disrespected by all interests,” and to questions such as “what should schools of planning and architecture be inculcating in their students?” and “who should planners be planning for?”

SB 35 watch: Latest in Cupertino vs Vallco redevelopment battle

From a Mercury News article by Thy Vo, August 22, 2019: Under state law, Sand Hill Property Co., the owner and developer of Vallco Shopping Mall, has the right to build 2,402 apartment units — half of them below market rate — plus 1.8 million square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail, and a 30-acre rooftop park, all as approved by the Cupertino City Council. But if the current plan gets tossed, whatever project replaces it won’t feature any office space. The City Council on Aug. 21 approved a general plan amendment that eliminates a 2-million-square-foot allocation for office space [on the site] and imposes a 60-foot height limit on buildings at the vacant shopping mall.

Northern California’s Karuk Tribe builds its first LIHTC project

From HUD USER, PD&R Edge, August 2019. “Opened in the fall of 2017, Karuk Homes 1 is a 30-unit affordable housing project of single-family homes in rural Yreka. The project represents the first use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority (KTHA), and the Karuk Tribe was one of the first Native American tribes in California to obtain a tax credit award under the state’s Native American Apportionment Pilot.”

‘The state is now targeting cities over housing. It’s about time’

By San Francisco Business Times, August 16, 2019. “If cities that aren’t taking California’s housing crisis seriously begin to feel the heat, will they finally see the light? At least a few encouraging signs suggest they might — signs that the state needs to pressure communities, mainly suburban, that continue to deny, derail, or downsize housing projects within their borders.”

“Uber and Lyft admit they cause more city-center congestion than predicted”

By Ben Lovejoy, 9to5mac.com, August 6, 2019. “A report jointly commissioned by Uber and Lyft has revealed that ride-sharing companies create significantly more city-center congestion than they’d predicted. The study looked at the impact of what are formally known as ‘transportation network companies’ (TNCs) in six cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.”

Mobility and Equity: Oakland gets scooter regulation right

By Diego Aguilar-Canabal, July 17, 2019. “Oakland’s permit application expressly forbids scooter companies from restricting their operations to ‘certain geographical areas of the city’ without written permission. Additionally, the city requires that 50 percent of all scooters be allocated to ‘communities of concern’ — a regionwide measure of racial and economic disparities outlined by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. That stands in stark contrast to San Francisco, where scooters are allowed in less than a third of the city. For instance, the city’s Bayview and Mission Districts feature three times as many bicycle commuters as the rest of the city overall, but scooters are still not available to rent in those areas.”

Lawsuit alleges Los Altos blocked mixed-use project eligible for SB 35

By Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice, July 28, 2019. The civil suit by the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), challenges the city’s denial of a proposed mixed-use building at 40 Main St. with 15 housing units. The City Council concluded the project didn’t meet the criteria needed to skip the normal planning process. CaRLA alleges city leaders violated SB 35 by failing to cite an ‘objective’ rationale for blocking the project. The suit seeks to void Los Altos’ denial of the project and compel the city to approve the application.

ADU watch: Redwood City tightens what was a less restrictive ordinance

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, July 27, 2019. Redwood City had one of the least restrictive ADU ordinances on the Peninsula — allowing units to reach 28 feet above the ground and 700 square feet of space above a garage. But the city council voted 6-1 to limit the size and height of second-story granny flats while providing incentives for construction of single-story units. The new ordinance is expected to go into effect at the end of September.

Bakersfield is booming, as are many other inland California cities

By Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, July 22, 2019. In recent years, California’s traditional north-south rivalry has given way to an east-west divide over government policy and resources. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Bay Area liberal, pledged during last year’s campaign to make closing that gap a priority.

To reduce homelessness, San Francisco aims to find and fill vacant housing units

By Kate Wolffe, KQED News, July 26, 2019. The ‘All In’ campaign, which launched July 25th, aims to mobilize a broad coalition of community members to develop immediate housing solutions for the city’s chronically homeless population. The primary objective is to secure a total of 1,100 housing units for homeless people across all 11 supervisorial districts of the city.

The future of the city doesn’t have to be childless

Brookings Senior Research Analyst Hanna Love and Senior Fellow Jennifer S. Vey write that the childless city is not inescapable, but “We must look to innovative, place-based strategies aimed at creating cities where families of all means not only can afford to live, but where they can thrive.” They offer a list of recommendations.

‘The future of the city is childless’

By Derek Thompson, excerpted from The Atlantic, July 18, 2019. “In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children. By contrast, families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places. It turns out that America’s urban rebirth is a coast-to-coast trend: In Washington, D.C., the overall population has grown more than 20 percent this century, but the number of children under age 18 has declined. Meanwhile, San Francisco has the lowest share of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the U.S.”