Tuesday: Mountain View, Redwood City advance policies reducing car trips, greenhouse gas emissions

On Tuesday December 4, Mountain View has a report to City Council on its updated greenhouse gas inventory.  The report shows that city has been making progress – including, notably, on transportation, where California and the region have been lagging.  While Mountain View has been seeing growth in residents and jobs, GHG emissions have been declining overall, and even more strongly per person.

Of note, the staff report comments that the City is expecting that continued development of infill housing near jobs and services will continue to reduce driving miles for further emissions reduction.  These housing strategies, along with improved bicycle/pedestrian and local transit service infrastructure are being promoted as improving health and quality of life in addition to their climate benefits. 

Meanwhile, Redwood City is starting to review a new transportation demand management ordinance, with policies to reduce car trips and driving miles, building on the city’s policies in its Citywide Transportation Plan and Climate Plan.  The plan is being presented to the Planning Commission on December 4, and to the Transportation Advisory Committee on December 10th.

All new developments except for the smallest ones are proposed to be required to provide programs to reduce car trips. In the downtown area, where the driving rate is now about 50%, new developments will be expected to reduce solo driving to no more than a third, while outside the downtown new commercial developments will need to achieve the 50% nondriving mode share that’s currently achieved by large employers with effective trip reduction programs.

Residential 
* 5 to 24 units – none required
* Downtown (Precise Plan Area), 25+ units – 33%
* Outside of Downtown (unless subject to a Transportation Management Association), 25+ units – 44% 

Office, Commercial, or Industrial
* 10 to 49 employees – none required 
* Downtown, 50+ employees – 33%
* Outside of Downtown, 50+ employees – 52%

The City is considering establishing in the TDM ordinance an annual TDM fee that projects will pay when they submit their annual report to the City, to provide funding for car trip reduction programs in the city, similar to Santa Monica or San Francisco. For projects located in the area of a Transportation Management Association (TMA), any fees collected will go toward supporting the area TMA and the TDM measure that they choose to provide. As an incentive for projects to achieve their TDM plan goal, staff are considering to allow this fee to be waived for all projects achieving their plan goal.

Projects will be required to report results in an online portal. Projects that are not achieving their goal would have a two-year grace period before they are required to make adjustments to their TDM plan should they not be meeting their plan goal. Following a third year of not achieving the goal, the project is required to adjust their TDM plan and provide additional measures to hit their target goal.