Redwood City passes transportation plan with 50% nondrivealone goal

Last night, Redwood City City Council approved the “Redwood City Moves” citywide transportation plan, with a powerful goal to end the dominance of solo driving, reaching 50% non-drivealone transportation across the city by 2040.

To reach this goal citywide, the city will focus on substantial reductions in driving from new developments. Developments downtown, where 50% of residents and workers already choose alternatives to solo driving, will be required to show a drivealone rate of 33% or less.  Even in more suburban areas, offices and residential multi-family developments will need to reach targets of 44% and 52% respectively.

rwc-tdm-goals

These targets come from the newest element of the plan to be published, the Transportation Demand Management program, for which the details were first published this month, though city council had already given support to the policy direction.   The details catapult Redwood City into the top tier of cities in the region setting high expectations and strong requirements for sustainable and space-efficient mobility.

Some of the powerful features in the plan include:

* Perpetual requirements for reduced car trips, that apply for the life of a development project and are binding on initial and future tenants.  By contrast, some cities require trip reduction policies only for the first 5 years, or even the first few months – while requiring buildings to provide car parking in perpetuity.
* Annual reporting, as is done in the City of San Mateo, providing accountability
* Creating Transportation Management Association programs that provide transportation benefits, that today are provided at the region’s biggest employers, to a much broader diversity of workers and residents
* Accountability requirements that require a property owner first to invest to correct a deficiency, and if the problem isn’t corrected after a year, requiring fines that would go to reducing car trips in the area
* A long and flexible set of options for given sites and areas to reduce car trips (unlike than the well-meaning but inflexible policy proposal focusing only on mandating work hours)

Hopefully Redwood City’s strong new policies can continue a trend toward a “race to the top”, where expectations, policies, investments, and requirements lead to more sustainable transportation and better mobility in the area.