Tag: 2020-05-nn-norcal

Who’s where

Who’s where

Assembled by Richard L. Davis, associate editor, Northern News


Shannon Hake, AICP, is now the Livable Streets Team Leader for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Previously, she worked as supervising mobility planner with WSP and as a station access consultant and senior planner for BART. Before coming to the Bay Area in 2015, Hake was a downtown transportation planner for Washington DC’s District Department of Transportation and an urban planner for WSP in DC. While in DC, she served for six years on APA’s National Capital Chapter Board of Directors, where she was also chapter president. Since 2018, Hake has been the distance education coordinator for Northern Section. She holds both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia.



Michael Hart, who had been a planner with Contra Costa County, is now an Assistant Planner for the City of Concord. He holds a BS in sustainable built environments with an emphasis in sustainable communities from the University of Arizona.



Greg Holisko, AICP, pre­vious­ly a senior land plan­ner with Pacific Gas and Electric Com­pa­ny, is now Ex­pert Reg­ula­tory Case Man­ager there. Be­fore com­ing to the Bay Area in 2016, Holisko was a senior technical director with AFRF, Inc., in New York City. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Holisko holds a master of urban planning from New York University and a BA in English from the University of British Columbia. He has been Northern Section’s Communications Director since September 2018.



The City of San Car­los pro­moted An­drea Mar­de­sich from sen­ior plan­ner to Prin­ci­pal Plan­ner. A con­tract city plan­ner with Neal Martin & Associates before joining San Carlos in 2014, Mardesich holds a master of business administration from Kaplan University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University. She is a Northern News associate editor and is completing a master of urban planning at San Jose State University. Mardesich lives in San Carlos with her husband and two children.



Ralph B. Mc­Laugh­lin has joined Haus as Chief Econ­o­mist and Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of An­a­lyt­ics. He also is Ad­junct Assistant Professor at USC, teaching “Economics for a Productive City” in the executive master’s program in Urban Planning. McLaughlin was previously on the San Jose State University planning faculty, where he taught regional planning, private development, and urban planning from 2012 to 2014. He holds a PhD in planning, policy, and design from UC Irvine, and a BS in geography and regional development from the University of Arizona. McLaughlin is a native of Mountain View and San José.



Lisa Porras, AICP, is now the Advance Planning Manager of the City of San Carlos’ newly created Advance Planning Division, where she will lead policy planning and focus on City Council strategic objectives. Porras has 20 years’ experience in the public sector, extensively in land use and policy planning. She has been with San Carlos since 2013, initially as principal planner overseeing the Planning Division, and later as planning manager. Prior to San Carlos, Porras worked for the cities of Benicia and San Buenaventura, and the County of Santa Barbara. She holds a BA in geography from UC Santa Barbara and has completed graduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.



Destiny Preston is now an Associate Trans­por­ta­tion Plan­ner for Cal­trans Dis­trict 1. She had been coast­al plan­ner for the North Coast District Office of the California Coastal Commission, and before that, worked on sea level rise adaptation planning for the County of Marin. She is Northern Section’s advertising director, and treasurer for the Environmental Protection Information Center, based in Arcata. Preston has a master of urban and regional planning degree from UCLA. She also holds a BS in society and environment, a BA in peace and conflict studies (minor in music) from UC Berkeley, and a professional certificate in municipal finance from the University of Chicago.



Kevin Riley is now Transit Area Specific Plan (TASP) Manager for the City of Milpitas, where he manages the consultant contract and work plan for 2020 TASP, an update of the 2008 TASP. Riley had been with the City of Santa Clara for 31 years, serving as director of planning and inspection from 2005-2015 and principal planner prior to that. He holds a master of urban and regional planning from San Jose State University. Riley is an avid racing sailor and runner.



Matt (Van­Oosten) Van­Hua, AICP, is now a Prin­cipal Planner for the City of Santa Cruz, leading the Advance Planning Division. His positions over the previous eight years include senior planner, City of Mountain View; planning associate, Alta Planning + Design; and planner III, City of San Jose Department of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement, where he worked on the urban village program. VanHua holds a master of city planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

COVID-19 planning roundup

COVID-19 planning roundup

By Richard L. Davis, associate editor, April 14, 2020

Mobility justice and COVID-19, by Untokening Collective in collaboration with Pueblo Planning, April 8, 2020

“The most marginalized find themselves on the frontlines [as essential service providers] … It is critical to center their lives and ask how we can make their movement safer, whether on public transit or at their jobs … Those of us with the privilege to choose physical immobility must protect and uplift those in our communities who are continuing to be mobile.” Go here to read Untokening’s mobility justice statement, their advocacy principles for mobility planning staff, and perspectives from transportation planners in the Untokening network.

Time outdoors is crucial to your health, even during the coronavirus pandemic, by Jack Wang, UChicago News, April 6, 2020

Measures being taken to shut down beaches, parks, and trails underscore a widespread urban problem. “If a city lacks enough green space for the people who live there, that’s a public health issue. Nature is not an amenity — it’s a necessity to be taken seriously. The ongoing crisis only underscores the psychological benefits of nature — as well as the need for urban infrastructure and policies that maximize those benefits. Research has also highlighted nature access as an issue of environmental justice in low-income neighborhoods.” Read the full article here.

Housing development likely to crash because of COVID, by Josh Stephens, CP&DR, April 6, 2020

“ ‘There’s a demand problem: you have 15 percent unemployment; you have a supply problem: you can’t build,’ said David Shulman, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. He added that exact numbers have yet to be forecast, but he estimated that ‘single-family starts probably will be down anywhere between one-third and 50 percent.’ ” Developer advocates suggest an antidote: promote certainty in housing entitlement timelines and reassess certain restrictions in the California Environmental Quality Act. Read more here (paywall).

Coronavirus has potential to reshape government technology, by Alan Greenblatt, Governing, April 2, 2020

“Agencies long hampered by endless procurement processes have suddenly become nimble. Rules are being waived to move swiftly and buy, for example, licenses for Zoom and other teleconferencing platforms. ‘We’re in crisis and bureaucracy is suspended,’ says Meghan Cook, program director at the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany [SUNY]… It’s likely that the shutdowns triggered by the novel coronavirus will mark a turning point in the way governments use technology.” Go here to read to read how shutdowns will affect management, legacy systems, remote working, and technology investments.

Development permit processing and post-approval considerations in the wake of COVID-19, by Frank Petrilli, Steve Atkinson, Shahiedah Palmer, and Matthew S. Stone, Arent Fox LLP, April 1, 2020

This article alerts developers to potentials disruptions in entitlement processing caused by the pandemic. Go here for examples of extensions for discretionary approvals in several Bay Area jurisdictions and possible actions that the State and local governments might take to grant blanket extensions to sustain various approvals through the crisis.

How will public transit survive the COVID-19 crisis?, by Larry Buhl, Capital & Main, April 1, 2020

“The $2 trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill [as] signed into law … contained the largest aid package ever for U.S. transit agencies: $25 billion… Experts say the money, which has basically no strings attached, should be more than enough to keep workers employed, at least through the year.” However, there is still uncertainty over how soon the public will return to mass transit and whether smaller transit agencies will receive the aid they need. Read more here.

Primed for deliveries, by Lisa Nisenson, APA Planning Magazine, April 2020

Nisenson, vice president for new mobility and connected communities at design firm WGI, describes the potential impact of COVID-19 on retail trends and e-commerce in an interview with APA Planning Magazine. The article details 12 key technologies and trends in e-commerce poised to transform package delivery in cities, suburbs, universities, and rural areas.

Database documents cities that are repurposing car space during the pandemic, by Steven Vance, StreetsBlog Chicago, March 29 2020

“Dr. Tabitha Combs, a transportation researcher at the University of North Carolina, has started a crowdsourced database of what cities are doing to create safer, people-friendly streets during the ‘shelter at home’ era.” Go here to read about the ways that street space has been repurposed in cities around the world. The ‘database’ is a shared Google Spreadsheet, so anyone can contribute what their city is doing.

Why infrastructure is the only way to fight a COVID-19 recession in the US, by Shai Kivity, World Economic Forum, March 27, 2020

“When monetary policy isn’t enough, a country must turn towards fiscal policy. Right now, reviving the lagging US infrastructure sector may be the best approach: infrastructure creates economic growth, 5G cellular infrastructure will allow for faster data rates, a better electric grid allows us to drive electric cars, and new roads reduce congestion and commute times.” Read more here.

What can the coronavirus teach us about healthy cities? An Interview with Billie Giles-Corti, Foreground Magazine, March 24, 2020

Professor Billie Giles-Corey of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) argues that dense cities are “where there are shops, businesses and services nearby, where people can get around, they can walk and cycle” and “regional cities of villages, where there’s amenity nearby” provide the most in public health and disaster-resilience benefits.

APA names AICP Fellows for 2020

APA names AICP Fellows for 2020

From APA, March 25, 2020

APA is “looking into ways to celebrate the 2020 College of Fellows inductees in lieu of the FAICP induction ceremony and reception” that was to have been held at NPC20.

“Even with the current state of uncertainty in our lives and our profession, we would be remiss not to celebrate the career achievements of 53 AICP-certified members who were inducted into the College of Fellows as the Class of 2020. Please join us in celebrating these individuals who demonstrate excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, and community service and leadership.”

One member from APA Northern Section was inducted with this year’s class: David C. Early, FAICP. Early founded Design, Community & Environment in Berkeley in 1995. The consulting firm later merged with PlaceWorks, where he is now Senior Advisor.

Early is the author of “The General Plan in California,” Solano Press Books, 2015.

The body of his work, in its excellence and clarity, has done much to help the public understand planning, its purpose, and its value, from evaluating current conditions, to setting goals, to implementing action programs.

Director’s note: What will our future look like?
Facebook (left of the rail line, to the left of the engine cowling) has made its mark on this small city of 34,000.

Director’s note: What will our future look like?

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP

Things are getting better; keep doing what you’re doing

As we’ve all started to find our groove with a new normal, we’ve also seen positive results from our collective response to flatten the curve. Traffic is down; air quality has dramatically improved. Our ability to work, learn, and connect with friends and family has been tested, and we’ve learned to collaborate remotely across various platforms.

And recently, we’ve seen the curve start to bend. This is great news, and proof that our actions (and sacrifices) are paying off. But don’t start celebrating quite yet. New COVID-19 cases are still being reported, we don’t have a vaccine, and many people are without work or have had their pay reduced, with no immediate signs of improvement.

While the shelter-in-place and related restrictions seemed like a switch had been flipped, lifting these restrictions will be more like adjusting a dimmer switch. And even though some restrictions will be lifted, depending on indicators that Governor Newsom recently announced, life won’t resume to pre-COVID-19 standards for some time.

We’ll have guidance from the State, but implementation will largely be at the local level. This emphasizes the need for local leaders in government, public health and safety, planning, and other fields to plan and collaborate on measured steps to get through this pandemic. We planners should continue to lead by example, learn from others, and adapt as needed.

When will this be over, and what will the future look like?

We might not know the answers yet, but neither did our predecessors as they grappled with the sustainability of various city designs, emerging technologies, and philosophies. We know that the next phase (“safe mode,” I like to call it) will not look like the recent past, nor will it look exactly like it does today. Our physical spaces will change, our social norms will be modified, and our thoughtful and coordinated planning efforts will be even more critical.

Workplaces, schools, parks, public transportation, restaurants — nearly every place where we interact — might see reduced capacities for people, reduced intensities. We might still be wearing masks in public spaces and be subject to temperature checks before entering enclosed spaces.

Implementing change won’t be easy, just as it wasn’t easy to transition to remote operations and to outfit employees and students with the technology and resources they needed to continue working and learning.

“Furlough Friday” was instituted during the Great Recession to help reduce financial burdens, yet still maintain operations. It became common afterward for many offices to close (or be closed to the public) on all or alternate Fridays. Will our current way of life have similar fallout? Will planning counters continue to have a virtual component? Will there be continued or greater flexibility for people to work from home? Will commuters return to public transit?

And what might your life look like? What can you do to help plan, lead, and implement the coming changes? What professional skills and life lessons can you apply?

I urge all of us to think inwardly, but to work collaboratively as we plan for and experience the coming social reintegration. Be flexible, be there for each other, and be creative. And please continue to wash your hands, practice physical distancing, and wear a smile behind your fashionable mask.