California to extend eviction ban, pay back rent for tenants
Associated Press – June 25
California will ban evictions for unpaid rent through the end of September and pay off all back rent for eligible tenants under a deal announced Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. California banned evictions after Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide shutdown in March 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Those protections are scheduled to expire on Wednesday. The new agreement will extend the eviction moratorium through Sept. 30. To be eligible for $5.2 billion provided by the federal government to California for this effort, tenants must pay at least 25% of what they owe by September 30, sign a declaration that they have had economic hardship because of COVID-19, and must earn 80% or less of the area median income.
You will soon be able to take the train to LAX. Is it enough to jump-start rail in L.A.?
Los Angeles Times – June 22
On Monday, officials gathered on the outskirts of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to break ground on a $900-million Airport Metro Connector project that by 2024 will link the county’s fast-growing rail network to a people mover system being built at LAX. The project is designed to be up and running in time for the 2028 Olympics. But more important, some officials see it as a potential turning point in L.A.'s ambitious, expensive efforts to make mass transit a serious alternative in a city known for its cars.
SANDAG’s proposed ‘road charge’ would piggyback on California’s plans for a per-mile driver fee
The San Diego Union-Tribune – June 19
San Diego’s more than $160-billion proposal to expand rail, bus, and other transportation services throughout the region relies heavily on California’s still nascent plans for a so-called road charge. The fee being explored would charge drivers a set price for every mile traveled within the state. The proposed Regional Transportation Plan, drafted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), anticipates collecting more than $34 billion in these per-mile fees through 2050. How to collect those road charges — currently the single largest source of revenue in SANDAG’s draft blueprint — is still being explored under a state pilot program that could run through 2026. Options include everything from transponders to smart phones to routine odometer readings as a way to monitor the driving distances of the roughly 26 million vehicles registered in California.
Proposed regulations to spur more affordable housing in Long Beach take a step forward
Press-Telegram – June 17
A set of proposed new regulations intended to spur the development of more affordable housing throughout Long Beach has taken a step forward. The Planning Commission voted at its June 17 meeting to recommend the City Council approve changes to the zoning code that would offer a wide array of incentives to developers to build more affordable housing units in the city. The incentives include city fee waivers, allowing added height, and reducing — or, in the case of projects that are 100% affordable housing, fully eliminating — parking requirements.
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco
San Francisco Examiner – June 18
Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline, meandering its way inland and providing a natural border between the city’s Bayview and Dogpatch neighborhoods. By 2050, the area surrounding the artificial creek is expected to be more than five feet underwater during major storms. Flooding will increase significantly thanks to rising sea levels caused by climate change. And that could cause industrial contaminants to seep into the ground and flow out to the Bay. Valuable public assets like industrial facilities that sit atop city piers, the Third Street bridge crossing, and a nearby Muni yard are also at risk. To help prepare for what looks to be inevitable, San Francisco officials are finalizing a strategic plan this month to minimize the impacts. Solutions could include constructing raised or rebuilt pier edges, creating wetlands and tidal marshes, and replacing bridge crossings.