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Overview

News and Media

Everyday, our region’s counties and cities are taking actions to make this the 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.

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Streetscape improvements made on Taylor Road in Loomis in 2018.

Balancing Small-Town Identity with Growth
Loomis offers lessons in how to revive a commercial corridor

March 31, 2021: Despite the pandemic, Loomis’ downtown is thriving. Last April, a month into the Covid-19 lockdown, new bistro Reds’ opened in a space on Taylor Road that had been vacant for eight years and it is now a hot ticket. In the fall, a pair of 1988 grads from the local Del Oro High School opened an Ace Hardware in a former fitness studio that is now booming and bringing more foot traffic to Taylor Road. Loomis town manager Sean Rabé said that Ace’s corporate headquarters had predicted December revenue would be $45,000 but that actual revenue had been five times that at about $220,000. March is on track to beat even that number, Rabé said. 

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Bike Lanes? ✅ Sidewalks? ✅ Access to Transit? ✅
Auburn improves Nevada Street, aiding all types of travel

February 26, 2021: What is at the core of a safe and inviting community? It begins with how it’s built and its infrastructure. Sidewalks, bike lanes, and new asphalt may not be the most exciting development, but these details can make a place thrive by allowing residents to move more freely and acting as the catalyst for future growth and development.

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A rendering of one of Citrus heights' pre-approved Accessory Dwelling Units.

Helping Hand for More Compact Housing
Citrus Heights is giving away plans for pre-approved Additional Dwelling Units

February 26, 2021: Citrus Heights is one of the most land-locked cities in the SACOG region. The city of 83,000 residents is surrounded by other developed communities, including Roseville to the north, Orangevale, Fair Oaks, and Antelope. But just like the rest of the region, it is facing a housing crisis. How to expand when you can’t go out?  

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Woodland Corporate Center is home to AgStart and its new suite of wet labs.

Growing Food Entrepreneurs in the Sacramento Region
Woodland’s AgStart incubator scales up and helps to implement the Prosperity Strategy recipe

February 26, 2021: Woodland’s AgStart startup incubator is on the verge of having more wet labs than anywhere else in the Sacramento region. In April, the Raley’s Food Lab will join the Yocha Dehe Lab in the Lab@AgStart, making it the largest wet-lab incubator facility in the state of California with an agriculture and food focus. 

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Harvesting tomatoes in Yolo County.

Forging Farmland’s Future
The key to preserving agricultural land is to understand its value

February 26, 2021: The Sacramento region is home to some of the most productive farmland in the world. About 40 percent of the six-county SACOG region is farmland, and it supports approximately $2 billion worth of agriculture. From almonds to rice to peaches, the Sacramento region is the cradle of some of California’s most valuable crops. Yet the region also faces an extreme housing shortage. The SACOG region needs to build more than twice as much housing as it has averaged since 2009 to keep up with population growth, let alone make up for prior shortfalls in housing production. This leads to pressure to convert valuable farmland to housing. 

Of course, it is possible to both house more people and preserve the backbone of the regional economy: by implementing a more compact development pattern. Historically in the Sacramento region, 242 acres of farmland have been developed for every 1,000 new residents but SACOG’s long-range transportation and land-use plan for the region, the MTP/SCS, lays out a plan that would see just 18 acres of farmland developed for every 1,000 new residents.

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Big Data In, Travel Insights Out
Big Data–powered machine learning reveals where people go and why

January 27, 2021: The SACOG travel-modeling team has a powerful new source of data that enables even more fine-tuned analysis of travel trends in the Sacramento region.

In a Big Data pilot project partnership with Caltrans and the California Air Resources Board, the team has access to the software-as-a-service platform Replica for 2021. Replica uses machine learning to turn many streams of inputs — raw data from GPS to cell phone apps to credit card purchases, and many more — into valuable insights useful for transportation modelers, planners, and policy-makers.

These insights are displayed in two different forms on the Replica platform: Nationwide Trends and Local Places. The Nationwide Trends is a weekly snapshot of activities across the United States such as numbers of daily trips, vehicle miles traveled, trip start times, trips to work and school, as well as spending across sectors such as gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and bars. Users can view the trends at the state, county, and census tract levels.

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New board chair Bonnie Gore and vice chair Rick Jennings

SACOG Swears in New Board Leadership
Placer County Supervisor Bonnie Gore new chair; City of Sacramento Councilmember Rick Jennings vice chair

January 21, 2021: The SACOG Board of Directors has elected Placer County Supervisor Bonnie Gore as the 2021 board chair and City of Sacramento Councilmember Rick Jennings as board vice chair. 

Chair Gore joined the SACOG board in 2019 and served as chair of the Policy and Innovation subcommittee in 2020. She has served on the Placer County Board of Supervisors since 2019. Prior to serving on the Board of Supervisors, she served on the Roseville City Council from 2012 to 2018, including time as vice mayor and mayor. Gore has more than two decades of local public policy and business experience. She is active in the Roseville business community, having managed government and community relations for a healthcare system in the Greater Sacramento area for 17 years. 

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A rendering of the planned mixed-use development at 15th and S in Sacramento, one of the projects that is using SACOG's Sustainable Communities Strategy as an environmental document under CEQA.

Sustainable Communities Strategy Approved by CARB
Approval crucial for $145 million in SB 1 grants and housing-boosting CEQA streamlining

November 29, 2020: When the California Air Resources Board certified SACOG’s Sustainable Communities Strategy recently, it was more than a formality. The painstaking review of the data modeling that underpins the 2020 MTP/SCS makes sure that its findings are valid and therefore can be used to support grant applications as well as for the environmental review streamlining provisions of SB 375.  

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The killing of George Floyd sparked a reckoning with racism across the United States.

Resolving to Do Better
Local governments throughout the Sacramento region are confronting the impacts of racism

November 29, 2020: The recent publicity surrounding the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors’ passing of a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis overshadowed the reality at the heart of the resolution. Ten years ago the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Social Determinants of Health Framework recognized that racial health disparities are a result of inequalities in education, employment, health care, housing, and law enforcement. Data shows that your ZIP code is a better predictor of health than your genetic code, and as urban planners, we know that where you live is often determined by your race. 

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An aerial view shows sidewalk and curb improvements on Woodland's West Main Street.

21st Century Makeover for a 19th Century Main Street
Woodland’s West Main Street gets safer for walkers and cyclists

November 29, 2020: Next year Woodland will celebrate 150 years since being incorporated and it all started on Main Street. Since then the thoroughfare has stretched both west and east, adding West and East Main Streets. Now West Main Street gets a lot of traffic “dumped” on it because of a lack of connectors between Highway 113 and Main Street from the south, said Tom Stallard, Woodland’s mayor pro tempore. The combination of heavy traffic and some missing sidewalks and no bike lanes had made the busy street unwelcoming for people not in cars. 

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Jacob Weiss tends to a crop. Now he is growing his Sacramento Valley Food Hub concept.

Farm to Food Hub to Fork
A new agribusiness entrepreneur found his roadmap in a SACOG report

November 29, 2020: Sacramento may hang its hat on being America’s Farm to Fork Capital but how much of the food we eat in the region is local? Of the almost 1.9 million tons of food consumed within the region, only 2 percent comes from local sources, according to a 2014 SACOG report on the feasibility of food hubs. 

One person well-positioned to boost that number is Jacob Weiss, whose plan to set up the Sacramento Valley Food Hub recently won him and his team $25,000 at Tufts University’s Friedman School’s Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship Competition, winning both first place and the audience prize for their pitch to launch the food hub. 

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Open Call for Projects in SACOG’s competitive transportation funding round
Over $180 million in funding available for transportation projects in four-county region

SACOG has released a call for projects in the core Regional and Community Design funding programs. Offering over $180 million in transportation funding between them, these two programs are the largest components of SACOG’s 2021 Regional Funding Round.

The flexible Regional Program funds cost-effective transportation projects that realize the performance benefits of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. The SACOG board has adopted a program target of roughly $164 million for the 2021 Regional Program.

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A Taxing Time for Transportation Taxes
With the country in a recession, many plans for sales taxes to fund transportation projects have stalled

October 28, 2020: This was to have been the year for Measure A, Sacramento County’s half-cent sales tax to fund transportation. Over its 40-year life, the sales tax was projected to raise $8 billion for transportation projects in the county, including a good chunk for transit. Instead the Covid-19 pandemic dimmed its chances of success, the measure was pulled in July, and the title “Measure A” now refers to the strong mayor proposal on the ballot for City of Sacramento voters. 

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The City of Elk Grove's online tool to let residents create their own housing plan for the City.

If Not There, Then Where?
If you think participatory budgeting is the hot new thing, wait till you hear about participatory housing elements

October 28, 2020: California local governments are caught in a vise, squeezed between the need to house future residents as required by state law and having to answer to residents who don’t want more housing on a site in their neighborhood. As Elk Grove’s Director of Strategic Planning and Innovation Christopher Jordan put it in a recent SACOG housing series webinar, “We’re not seeing the forest for the trees because people tend to focus on sites they know.” 

The solution hit upon by the City of Elk Grove is to transform residents into housing planners. “We wanted our residents involved in the sites we will use to count towards RHNA in a more dynamic way than we usually do,” said Jordan. The tool that helped them achieve that is an online budgeting simulation called Balancing Act, which has mostly been used by cities in public engagement around city budgets. Elk Grove was the first city to adapt the tool for housing elements, said Brenda Morrison, a partner at Engaged Public, the firm behind Balancing Act, who joined Jordan’s webinar demonstration of the tool. The city “pushed us to use the platform in different ways,” she said, and that required some custom coding. She said the innovation was driven by ”Covid and the strain on city governments having staff thinking of new ways to communicate changes to the public.” 

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A rendering of The Stages at Northstar, scheduled to open in 2024.

Challenging the Drive-and-Park Model for Tourism
An arts organization confronts its own — and Tahoe’s — congestion problems

October 28, 2020: A large performing arts facility coming to Northstar at Tahoe plans to ban cars with fewer than three occupants. That is just one of the bold proposals that emerged from the Tahoe Mobility Forum, a one-day virtual discussion between academics, consultants, and public agency officials hosted by the Tahoe Regional Arts Foundation in September. 

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A Half Century of Environmental Progress but Much More to Be Done
Local leaders mark California Clean Air Day and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act

October 7, 2020: Today is California Clean Air Day and it is especially timely this year. With a record 4 million acres of California burned already this year and wildfires still out of control, air quality has become a topic of daily conversation.

“Every day that we see smoke in our air and witness the terrible pollution impacts from wildfires we are starkly reminded of the importance of clean air for public health. Clean Air Day is recognizing that we all must continue the fight against air and climate pollution from all sources, including fires,” said Dr. Alberto Ayala, executive director of the Sacramento Metroplitan Air Quality Management District at a press event to mark the day.

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Building Better Cooperation for “Megapolitan America”
Megaregion Working Group tackles issues for more than 11 million people

September 29, 2020: This year has brought powerful reminders that many key issues that affect the greater Sacramento region are not confined to our borders. Viruses, wildfires and their smoke, and global recessions have no regard for lines on a map and require well-coordinated responses.  

Some of these same forces are also accelerating long-standing connections and growth trends that tie Northern California metropolitan areas together. So this was the right year to relaunch the Megaregion Working Group, which brings together board members and staff from three adjacent Metropolitan Planning Organizations: SACOG, San Joaquin Council of Governments, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Together, these MPOs serve more than 11 million residents of 16 contiguous counties, stretching from Santa Clara in the southwest to Placer in the northeast.