New legislation is prompting the Stanislaus Council of Governments to take a greener view in its Regional Transportation Plan.
Senate Bill 375 requires planners to consider how land use and transportation can be coordinated to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. StanCOG is embracing this new law with Valley Vision Stanislaus, a long range regional plan that includes framework for roads, freeways, public transit, bike trails and other public modes of travel for the next 28 years.
"This is an exciting project for the region as it brings together the County and all nine cities to plan for our future growth and development," said StanCOG Executive Director Carlos Yamzon. "The plan intends to link land use and transportation planning to improve air quality, reduce congestion and improve our communities by offering more transportation and housing choices."
Turlock's representative to StanCOG is City Council member Forrest White. This is White's first year with StanCOG as he took over for former Councilwoman Mary Jackson, who was the city's representative for the past four years.
"The realistic side, it has to do with growing up and getting cities as compact as possible, redeveloping when possible ...and hopefully, growing the core," White said.
The City Council broke with tradition in September when it approved a growth plan which will see Turlock remain compact, house fewer citizens than previously projected, and preserve farmland.
"It all revolves around planning," White said about sustainable growth.
As Stan COG moves forward with development of its Valley Vision Stanislaus, planners are seeking public input. A project website was launched, www.ValleyVisionStanislaus.com, for easier access to information about the process and upcoming public meetings.
There is a meeting to receive public input on the scope of the project's Environmental Impact Report scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at 1111 I St., Suite 308, in Modesto.
"StanCOG wants this to be collaborative, open, transparent, and inclusive process engaging residents, businesses, community organizations, and elected officials throughout Stanislaus County," said Yamzon. "We will hold meetings, workshops and provide various other engagement opportunities throughout the process to get as much public input as possible."
The Valley Vision Stanislaus Plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.