News

Overview

News & Guest Blog Posts

Everyday, our region’s counties and cities are taking actions to make this to best place to work, live, and play. We will share our member city and county milestones here, along with our own regional news and blog posts.

News
An Accessory Dwelling Unit in a Sacramento back yard.

Big Boost for Small Solutions to Housing Crisis
Governor Newsom signs three bills that make it easier to build ADUs

October 10, 2019: As we pointed out in June, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to boost housing. 

The small secondary units on residential lots, also known as granny flats, carriage houses, in-law units, or backyard cabins, provide more affordable housing in existing communities without changing the existing fabric of residential neighborhoods. They can meet the needs of low- to moderate-income families without the need for public subsidy.  

Given that about three-fourths of the SACOG region’s homes are single family houses, ADUs could provide a viable avenue to increase the naturally affordable housing stock in the region.

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Overhead view of I-5

Paving the Way for Better Commutes
Biggest freeway project in the region since 1975 will bring faster travel times and smoother rides to I-5

September 30, 2019: Look out, I-5 is getting some major work done, all to improve commutes and make carpooling a lot easier.  

The SAC 5 Corridor Enhancement Project, which began in July, is the biggest freeway construction/expansion project in the region since 1975. The work will occur one mile south of Elk Grove Boulevard to the American River viaduct and will include 67 miles of new and rehabilitated lanes and 23 miles of carpool lanes, or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.  

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Planning Begins For Sunrise Mall’s New Future
City of Citrus Heights steps in to lead a reimagination of dated mall

September 30, 2019: After 13 years of falling sales at Sunrise Mall the City of Citrus Heights has begun a “visioning process” to reimagine the future of what was once the region’s dominant mall. 

Since 1996, sales at the mall have declined by 50 percent and about a quarter of its retail space is vacant. The 25 acre mall building is surrounded by another 75 acres of vastly underused parking. 

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A $56 Million Investment in Regional Transportation
2019 Regional Funding Round grants awarded

August 15, 2019: Twenty-four transportation projects across the Sacramento region received nearly $56.2 million in funding from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) today. The $56 million in awards helps bring multiple regional-serving projects closer to being fully funded, brings existing infrastructure into a state of good repair, and supports new planning and project development efforts.

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Victoria Robertson, the first Clean Cars 4 All participant.

Clearing the Air and Boosting Opportunity
Clean Cars 4 All program offers up to $9,500 to replace dirty clunkers with electric vehicles

August 27, 2019: A program that replaces polluting older cars with electric vehicles will increase economic opportunity as it helps clean up our air. 

Clean Cars 4 All had its media launch on August 7 and will be fully operational in 2020. The program, being run by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SacAQMD) using cap and trade funds through California Climate Investments, is aimed at low-income participants who own a car that is at least 15 years old. 

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An autonomous Olli shuttle at the White Rock Corporate Campus in Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova Ups its Innovation Game
Autonomous shuttle pilot an example of suburban city’s envelope-pushing moves

August 27, 2019: The Olli autonomous shuttle that circles the parking lot at White Rock Corporate Campus moves at a stately pace but it is a symbol of a city that is trying to move fast. 

“In Rancho Cordova, we like being first … and this is the first city in the country to test a business use for Olli,” said Vice Mayor David Sander before he hopped on the Olli for the shuttle’s first lap around the large office park.  

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New Davis Third Street creates gateway between town and gown
Attractive streetscape supports retail access and growth

August 26, 2019: The City of Davis boasts both the nation’s highest percentage of commuters by bike (20 percent) and the first bike lane in the country (1967) and now it has a monument to that two-wheeled legacy. 

The Davis Needle is a 25-foot-tall obelisk created with reclaimed bicycle parts and customizable LED lighting that was installed in the middle of the intersection of Third and University streets, the centrepiece of the freshly redesigned street. 

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Vehicle weight does not equal safety. When Ford removed 700 pounds from its F-150 trucks, their safety rating went up.

EPA’s SAFE Rule Could Paralyze Transportation Projects
Almost $11 billion worth of projects in SACOG region are at risk

July 24, 2019: The EPA’s proposed rule to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles at 2020 levels will be a disaster for air quality.  

The world of transportation planning and delivery could be thrown into chaos as soon as the rule to replace the existing CAFE standards is finalized, which would also neuter California’s longstanding ability to have tougher fuel efficiency standards and undo its zero-emission vehicle programs. The California Association of Councils of Governments (CALCOG) estimates that just under 2,000 projects throughout the state, totaling over $130 billion, may face project delivery delays or loss of funding, casualties of a rule change that not only impacts air quality, but also has rippling effects into other sectors.  

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Budget Brings New Money for Housing
Newsom’ first budget mixes the stick with carrots for housing production

July 25, 2019: The Sacramento region is set to receive over $14 million in new funding to plan for housing based on a budget deal reached by the governor and legislature.   

Governor Gavin Newsom signed his first state budget late last month, totaling over $214 billion in state spending. The legislature passed the budget by the June 15 constitutional deadline, however the governor held his signature back as he and the legislature continued to negotiate a number of unresolved issues, including a funding plan to address homelessness and housing.

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The RUCS forestry management tour group.

“Manage the Land or it Will Manage you”
Combating wildfires with good forest management and policy

July 17, 2019: “Manage the land or it will manage you.” El Dorado County Supervisor Brian Veerkamp shared his grandfather’s wise words with the House Committee on Natural Resources in May 2019 while speaking on the importance of wildfire resilient communities.  

The last several years have brought California many devastating wildfires that have destroyed acres upon acres of land, people’s homes, and taken many lives. To an extent, there are certain factors that we can not control, such as climate conditions. But as Veerkamp shared, there are many things that we can take control of to reduce the chance of such catastrophic events, which include land and forest management, supported by policy. 

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Youth Leadership participant Abby Fenton addresses the crowd at SACOG's reception for California Transportation Commissioners.

A Jolt of Youth Energy for the CTC
The California Transportation Commission gets a youthful welcome to the Sacramento region

June 27, 2019: When the California Transportation Commission rolled into Sacramento this week, SACOG greeted them with a youth quake.

The commission rotates its monthly meetings around California and SACOG executive director James Corless was asked to present the Welcome to the Region address that kicks off each meeting. He brought along Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) participant Kale Almeida, an incoming high school senior. The YLA is SACOG’s civic engagement program for emerging high school leaders. 

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An aerial image of the Railyards site  in downtown Sacramento.

Jumpstart for Catalyst River District Projects
$34 million for housing, light rail stations, and clean transportation

June 26, 2019: Two projects in Sacramento’s downtown field of dreams got a big boost on Friday. 

When the California Strategic Growth Council board approved both of the Sacramento region projects that had applied for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program funding, they pumped more than $34 million into the downtown Railyards/River District.  

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A Gotcha share bike.

Bringing E-Bike Joy to the Burbs
Can the urban enthusiasm for bike share spread to the suburbs?

June 24, 2019: Getting around Elk Grove, Folsom, and Rancho Cordova is about to get a little more electric and a little more fun.  

The three cities, SACOG, and Gotcha, a bike share company, have come together to launch a pilot program that will bring electric bikes to the cities (and a few scooters in Elk Grove). This new pilot program is the first opportunity for the Sacramento region to test the concept of suburban bike share. The pilot will test the bikes in a suburban environment and shed light on how a system not primarily focused in an urban core could provide residents new mobility options.  

To date, bike share and scooter systems across the country have focused their efforts on city downtowns and urban cores, due to the density of human activity, including housing, jobs, and entertainment. As these mobility systems become more ingrained into everyday travel behavior for urban residents, residents in suburban areas should also have more travel options. 

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Happy Days’ “The Fonz” lived in an Accessory Dwelling Unit over the Cunninghams’ garage in 1950s-era Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Green Light for Granny Flats
Sutter County makes it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units

June 19, 2019: Whether it is called a granny flat, a carriage house, an in-law unit, a backyard cabin, or even a Fonzie flat, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) offer an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to boost housing. 

California effectively made ADUs legal throughout the state in 2017 but legal does not always mean easy. Local regulations such as mandating parking spaces, large set-backs, or lot coverage requirements can, intentionally or not, make it difficult for ADUs to be built or approved.