Release: Group that successfully sued SANDAG over 2011 RTP says 2015 Plan has same flaws

October 5, 2015

Nina Erlich-Williams,

Group that successfully sued SANDAG over 2011 RTP says
2015 Plan has same flaws

SANDAG’s data show City of San Diego’s CAP is realistic and achievable

San Diego – The Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF) today announced that its attorneys submitted a critical letter to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) on its behalf over SANDAG’s proposed 2015 update to its Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. The letter, which is posted to the CNFF website, makes a strong argument that SANDAG’s 2015 plan is not meaningfully closer to meeting state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction goals than the deeply flawed 2011 plan.

SANDAG is set to vote on whether to adopt its proposed 2015 plan on Friday, October 9. There has been significant controversy in recent weeks regarding the impact SANDAG’s car-centric plan could have on other regional efforts to curb climate change, including the City of San Diego’s ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP).

“SANDAG has been aggressively spreading misleading information in recent weeks making the case that the City of San Diego’s CAP is not achievable,” said Jana Clark, board member of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation. “The people of San Diego can no longer enable a system that is more interested in propping up developers than protecting public health.”

CNFF developed a transit-based alternative to SANDAG’s car-centric transportation plan in 2011. The 50-10 Transit Plan, which links the region’s cities with the metropolitan center, outlines a realistic approach to making San Diego’s urban areas bike and pedestrian friendly through robust investments in transit over the next ten years. The 50-10 Transit Plan echoes the types of investments that have been made in Los Angeles, where a rapidly expanding light rail system is moving Angelenos out of their cars.

CNFF has worked with Norm Marshall of Smart Mobility Inc., an expert in developing advanced tools and techniques for travel demand modeling and analyzing land use and transportation systems, to conduct its own independent analysis of future transportation patterns in the region based on data published by SANDAG. The results of the analysis show that SANDAG is making choices that limit its ability to invest in transit, which serves mixed-use density, to the detriment of public health and mobility for future generations.

SANDAG is relying on a flawed model for future transportation planning that underestimates transit ridership potential and overestimates the degree to which San Diego County residents will rely on personal car travel in the coming decades. SANDAG’s own Urban Area Transit Strategy has a goal of 30% transit use in the downtown area and 20-25% transit use in the urban core. The City of San Diego’s CAP is in line with these projections.

“SANDAG’s data show that more and more San Diegans are getting out of their cars and finding other ways to get around. We’re seeing these kinds of patterns in urban areas throughout the country,” said Norm Marshall.

Mr. Marshall’s analysis also shows that the City of San Diego’s CAP includes realistic goals that will set the region up for long-term success as mandates to curb greenhouse gases inevitably increase in the coming decades.

A number of other conservation and good-government groups in the region have also signaled their strong support of the CAP and their concerns about SANDAG’s 2015 RTP/SCS. Supporters of CNFF’s position include Bike SD; League of Conservation Voters, San Diego; League of Women Voters San Diego; and Preserve Wild Santee.

Jeanne Brown, President of League of Women Voters San Diego, added, “Climate change is now. Heat records are being broken, glaciers are melting, and the seas are rising. And the choices are quickly becoming limited. We must act now to prevent truly catastrophic consequences. Inadequate measures are inexcusable.”

“San Diego can only be a world-class region if it has the foundation built on a strong, connected and sustainable transit system that facilitates walking and bicycling within its SANDAG’s Urban Area Transit Strategy,” noted Samantha Ollinger, Executive Director of BikeSD.

Livia Borak, President of League of Conservation Voters, San Diego said, “San Diegans understand that climate change is a serious threat to our quality of life. We urge our local leaders to listen to their constituents and confirm their commitment to addressing climate change by demanding revisions to the Regional Plan.”

For more information about the 50-10 plan and Mr. Marshall’s analysis, or to speak with representatives from the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, contact Nina Erlich-Williams at or 415-577-1153.


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