Orange County Sustainable Community Strategy

photo credit: HiperOranz on Flickr

The recently released Orange County Sustainable Community Strategy proposal by the Orange County Transportation Authority and Council of Governments is an in-depth document which discusses the current regional population, housing, and employment environment as well as projections for the future of these elements. Using this information, strategies were developed in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and therefore fit the county’s needs towards the requirements of SB 375. Some strategies include supporting transit oriented development, supporting mixed-use development and community walkability, and applying Complete Streets practices to many roadways.

The proposal should be a beneficial step in the right direction towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the area. Many of the current elements discussed and strategies proposed will benefit the region and its population, such as increasing bicycle lanes and sidewalks and requiring Complete Streets elements into most of their new arterials. However, there are a few modifications or subjects which need to be developed further which Safe Routes to School would like to see, such as:
– Providing more information on pedestrian programs, possibly including how the construction of walkways near schools increases the walkability and safety of the neighborhood.
– Providing data and numbers to back up the Complete Streets information. Are all newly constructed roadways intended to be built to these guidelines?

It will be interesting to see if and how these proposals are implemented into the city plans of each community. Are other counties in California also taking a progressive stance in making their communities more walkable, technologically oriented, and environmentally self-conscious?  We can hope so!

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