In an attempt to make the roads less congested, jobs more available and air in the Valley much cleaner, the Stanislaus Council of Governments has created a plan of action.
On Thursday night, members of the Turlock Planning Commission were presented with the "Valley Vision Plan" as a possible alternative to the city’s general plan that was implemented last year.
The plan itself is a long-range planning document that provides the framework for investment in roads, freeways, public transit, bike trails and other ways people move around the county. It also includes a plan to accommodate the region's future housing needs and help the county comply with new State-mandated legislation to reduce greenhouse gases.
“The goal is to reduce traffic congestion, improve mobility for people and goods, improve air quality and provide more housing and transportation choices,” said StanCOG associate planner Jaylen French. “StanCOG wants to ensure we receive dedicated transportation funding for the region.”
Representatives from StanCOG presented commissioners with four tentative options for the long-term plan. The options ranged from a scenario that would take into consideration the expansion of smaller cities, all the way to an option that considers cities that decide to further increase their urban areas.
According to StanCOG Executive Director Carlos Yamzon, all four of these options took into account the needs of the county.
“These four alternatives represent different investment options tied to land use patterns to address our country's future transportation needs,” said Yamzon.
The presentation of the plan however, did stir up some confusion.
Planning Commission Chair Mike Brem inquired why a plan was being presented when the city had just passed a working general plan last year. He also asked how the plan would pertain to the Turlock region rather than the county as a whole.
“I'm more concerned about how do we get a regional transportation in this area,” said Brem. “Is that what the end product is going to look like?”
Debbie Whitmore, director of development services for Turlock, stated that although adoption of the plan was “not a real possibility” it did provide insight into options that city had not looked at previously.
For example, prior to the Thursday night meeting the city was unsure whether or not it would achieve the greenhouse gas emission goals set by the state. The presented options, however, showed that the city did indeed meet that goal.
“The presumption going into the process was that we were not going to meet the greenhouse targets,” said Whitmore. “Now that we know we are, the question becomes, is there any other overriding goal that the region would like to accomplish?”