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Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study (Draft)

February 9, 2009


Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study (Draft)

Prepared For:

Planning & Development Dept. 559 621-8003 Prepared By:

559 271-1200 In association with:

February 9, 2009


Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno

Table of Contents 1.

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INTRODUCTION Collaborating to Avert Economic and Environmental Disaster on a Wounded Planet Concept A Global Perspective A National Perspective A California Perspective Regional Leadership to Address Global, National and State Issues Study Development Study Purpose Corridor Description/Definition Relationship to Other Planning Efforts Metro Rural Loop Benefits Report Contents Contacts for Further Information

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CHAPTER 1 – REGIONAL COOPERATION CHAPTER 2 – DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL DEMOGRAPHIC PROJECTIONS CHAPTER 3 – LAND USE MODELING PROCESS CHAPTER 4 – TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS ANALYSIS CHAPTER 5 – ECONOMIC BENEFITS ASSESSMENT CHAPTER 6 – PRESERVATION OF AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES CHAPTER 7 – PRESERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES CHAPTER 8 – NEXT STEPS CONTACTS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno

Metro Rural Loop Connecting a Region and Preserving the Resources that Feed a Nation

Concept graphics prepared by Spline Motion

INTRODUCTION

Collaborating to Avert Economic and Environmental Disaster on a Wounded Planet The evidence is mounting: if the future we genuinely desire for our children and coming generations of the San Joaquin Valley includes a sustainable and growing economy, then we must make some radical changes soon or for go the real prospect of continuing health and prosperity. We will need to increase our collective understanding and form a consensus about threats to and opportunities for sustainability and growth in the Valley. Each of us will need to accept new individual and institutional responsibilities for working across boundaries and for holding multiple cities and counties accountable for working together as well. We will need to change the way we relate to and care for each other, and the ways we govern, do business, use irreplaceable resources, make, consume, and dispose of products, develop land, transport ourselves, and save and invest for the future. We will need to focus immediately on the demands of the next economy, which will rise from the ashes of the last, and unsparingly require that we skillfully translate environmental quality and resource stewardship into economic sustainability and growth. We will need to think critically, think big, and act together to develop new organizational relationships, funding mechanisms,

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno and physical infrastructure systems, like the Metro Rural Loop, that have the potential to help us achieve our shared goals. To quote Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." We live in a treasured Valley buffeted by a dynamic, increasingly troubled, and interconnected global context. Comfortable conceptions of an American influenced world order and benign natural environment have been strongly challenged by events and findings of the last few years. Layers of misperceptions and/or just plain denial of reality have been pealed away. We can no longer make sound assumptions or base achievable projections upon what has worked for us before. The relatively easy decades of the recent past in America and in the San Joaquin Valley are not likely to be prologue for the future. The world has turned very hostile economically and the natural environment unforgiving of our accumulating exhaust and ongoing extractions. The next economy, the one that will eventually emerge out of our multiple current crises, will favor those who acknowledge, seek to understand, and learn from the economic and environmental turns that are occurring and are willing to invest themselves, their relationships, and their precious resources accordingly. We are now experiencing financial and economic crises, of unprecedented breadth and depth since the 1930s, that continue to ravage the entire global economy and financial system. What appears to be a longterm process of de-leveraging of excessive credit and debt creation has been launched by world markets, companies and households. De-leveraging is deflating a diversity of asset values built up over decades and is destroying millions of American jobs. Global warming is now scientifically documented and broadly recognized as a serious threat to international economic, environmental, and social stability. American energy and food security are mandatory goals that can no longer be taken for granted or assumed. Long-term water supplies, agricultural production, and even whole cities in the San Joaquin Valley are at risk because of increasing aridity related to global warming and our poor records of water resource stewardship. Our society is relentlessly headed toward a demographic tsunami that will severely constrain our ability to produce economic growth as a country because a dramatically aging national population will logically divert its massive private savings and public entitlements to cover its own retirement and health care needs and away from much needed new education, research, innovation, and infrastructure investments. Increasingly uncompetitive and indebted U.S. and California businesses and government will not be healed and made perpetually healthy by short-term stimulus packages. Washington, Sacramento, and big global corporations will not be the source of solutions to our many problems in California or in the San Joaquin Valley. We will have to help ourselves. We must help ourselves. We must see and understand our shared potential as contingent upon building regional identity, regional strategies, regional capacities, and regional critical mass to compete globally and survive locally. We must bridge artificial political and obsolete ideological boundaries. We must plan, work, and achieve together to prosper in a changed and very challenging world. Only thoughtful and bold regional plans, devised and implemented through collaborative actions can preserve the basis for long-term health and prosperity in the San Joaquin Valley. Innovative and efficient land use, transportation, and resource management systems are essential to overcome existing, emerging and likely air quality, global warming, energy, water, economic, and fiscal crises. New regional scale human

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno and physical infrastructure investments must be made to ensure quality-of-life, business opportunities and economic growth, conservation and efficient use of finite natural resources, and to sustain fiscal and civic capacities. New inter-jurisdictional institutions, new public-private partnerships, and new formal revenue raising and revenue sharing agreements are required to develop and manage new multi-county initiatives and operations, shared budgets and regional infrastructure systems. In the next economy we are mutually obligated to translate all threats to our environment and resource base into new regional economic growth possibilities and platforms. Extreme times require bold initiatives – initiatives like the Metro Rural Loop.

Concept A Network of Green Cities and Agriculture Connected by the Metro Rural Loop Our proposed approach to meet and overcome our regional challenges and to positively contribute to national and global sustainability solutions is to plan for the future transportation and land use relationships in the San Joaquin Valley to the years 2050 and 2110 consistent with the recommended Regional Blueprint policies and the global warming solutions as prescribed by Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375. The Metro Rural Loop (Loop) fulfills this approach as an innovative regional land use, transportation, resource management and economic development strategy by envisioning a multimodal, multicity and multicounty, transit-oriented transportation corridor system. It would directly and efficiently link the development of the majority of the 30 incorporated cities (and their activity centers) in Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings Counties (reference Figure 1). The Metro Rural Loop would enable a networked pattern of cities within and surrounded by sustainable world class agriculture, open space, and environmental habitat to become one of the most significant, efficient, effective and green compact and transit-oriented regional metropolitan areas in the State of California. The Metro Rural Loop is conceived as a high capacity and efficient system of region-connecting, multimodal transportation corridors governed collaboratively by a new inter-jurisdictional organization. It would be supported by regional and local land use and green development policies that preserve agriculture, resource lands and natural resources, and shape the development and revitalization of partner cities. Metro Rural Loop would connect activity centers (new compact, walkable, bikable, New Urbanist town centers and villages) of partner cities committed to transit-oriented and green development that contain high quality and higher intensity industry, commerce, residential, public, cultural and recreational open spaces. Metro Rural Loop transportation corridors would cross long-term farmlands to connect cities and activity centers, but discourage and in many cases prohibit development outside those cities that is inconsistent with Regional Blueprint policies and long-term agriculture and resource land preservation policies. Metro Rural Loop transportation corridors would offer a transit-focused combination of light-rail transit (LRT), goods movement rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), dedicated truck lanes, and other modes based upon clean energy and new transportation technologies that enhance and sustain regional and local mobility. Compact urban areas, activity centers, and transit corridors should be bounded and interconnected by urban woodlands, drainage swales, conservation easements, wildlife corridors, and regional open space and multi-purpose trails designed to permanently protect, integrate, and transition between urban uses, strategic and community agriculture, environmental and habitat lands, and historic landscapes. VRPA Technologies, Inc.

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno Figure 1

All neighborhoods, buildings, and urban landscapes within activity centers and along corridors within cities should be designed and/or retrofitted to conserve and more efficiently use water and energy, and to promote clean energy development to reduce carbon emissions and increase air quality. All Metro Rural Loop systems should be managed collaboratively through a new inter-jurisdictional organization composed of a network of joint powers, interagency agreements and public-private partnerships dedicated to sustainable, high-quality, urban and regional development, cooperation, and support for long-term regional competitiveness. High Speed Rail, Regional Blueprint, SEGA, and Emerging Green Plans for Valley The Metro Rural Loop will support the proposed California High Speed Rail system by creating a convenient and efficient regional passenger feeder and distribution network. Stations stops now planned for California High Speed Rail in Tulare and Fresno Counties are on proposed Metro Rural Loop corridors. The Regional Blueprint and the Metro Rural Loop have been conceived as inseparable and integral to each other, as is the case with the proposed Fresno County Model Farmland Conservation Program and the Metro Rural Loop, all of which aim for greater urban efficiencies, resource conservation, and advanced transit systems to provide the basis for sustainable economy and regional competitiveness. The City of Fresno, in partnership with the City of Clovis, has initiated a metropolitan scale Activity Center and Corridor Intensification Study shaped by the principles and policies of the Regional Blueprint and Metro Rural Loop. This study is identifying primary activity centers and corridors within the Fresno-Clovis Metro Area for bus rapid transit (BRT) system infrastructure and land use intensification to support BRT. The

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno Activity Center and Corridor Intensification Study builds off Metro Rural Loop modeling of land use and transportation relationships and intensities completed in support of the Fresno COG Blueprint, and is also strongly inspired by the proposed City of Fresno Southeast Growth Area (SEGA) Specific Plan. The City of Fresno is exploring a unique opportunity to plan the Southeast Growth Area from the ground up and to engage new and innovative ideas to create a healthy, livable, and prosperous community that has measurable economic and resource efficiencies, is fiscally sound, and environmentally sustainable. Proposed SEGA design and development standards have applications and utility beyond the SEGA geography to all major activity centers, corridors, and districts in the Fresno-Clovis Metro Area and throughout the Valley and the state. SEGA links, integrates with and positively extends the purpose of other efforts such as the City of Fresno 2025 General Plan, the Urban Water Management Plan, California global warming solutions laws such as AB 32 and SB 375, the Regional Blueprint and the Metro Rural Loop, the Public Transportation Infrastructure and Bus Rapid Transit Studies, the Activity Center and Corridor Intensification Study, the Model Farmland Conservation Program, and more. Some of the estimated and proposed SEGA Plan per household green metrics versus the Fresno’s current growth trends that will be further assessed in the SEGA EIR include: GHGs from 14.5 metric tons to 5.7 tons = 60% Annual Reduction Air Pollution from 1,600 lbs to 800 lbs = 50% Annual Reduction Zero Net Clean Energy/Efficiencies = 50% Annual Lower Use & Costs Water (Pending DPU Studies) = SEGA Site Goals are 50% Daily Use Reduction by 2025 and 75% Daily Use Reduction by 2050 ¾ Affordability as Measured by Reduced Annual Transportation and Household Maintenance Costs for Energy and Water = 50% Reduction ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

Visalia and Clovis, like Fresno, are advancing green strategies, infill, urban village and new compact and transit-oriented development plans. Tulare, Kings and Madera Counties have Blueprint strategies that preserve agriculture and address urban efficiencies that are all being woven into an eight county Blueprint along with Fresno and other Valley counties. The Metro Rural Loop will likely serve as a key to the connectivity of these multiple efforts. The urgency for our region to consider and move on something as big and bold and green as the Metro Rural Loop – to encourage us to help ourselves and not hold our destiny hostage to global, national and state contingencies - to achieve competitive economic advantage and sustainability for our part of the Valley - is strongly bolstered by the following perspectives.

A Global Perspective First to reinforce the global picture which contextualizes our Nation and Valley – the world is networked, highly-interconnected, and changing very rapidly as the speed and magnitude of the current international economic crisis attests. Some highlights from the Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World report, which is prepared every four (4) years by the 16 federal and military intelligence agencies that represent the National Intelligence Council (NIC) are valuable here as a good third party, non-fiction, non-ideological source of trends and implications Americans and valley residents should be conscious of: VRPA Technologies, Inc.

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno

¾ The NIC is concerned about an unprecedented shift in relative wealth and economic power from

West to East - America and Europe to Asia

¾ The NIC is concerned about extreme pressure on energy, food and water resources and the

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resulting costs and distribution of these resources with the addition of 1.2 billion more people on the planet by 2025, with well over 5 million of these people projected to settle in the San Joaquin Valley The NIC is concerned about the timing and seriousness of possible economic and social disruptions that an energy transition away from oil and gas to clean and sustainable energy sources will create if not begun in earnest and completed as soon as possible The NIC is concerned about how quickly climate change occurs and the locations where its impacts will be most pronounced The NIC is concerned about an increase in world resource nationalism – a receding global market place – and the potential risks of great power confrontations over resources And, the NIC is concerned about – all manner of fears and consequences related to potential conflicts, realignments, and a changed geopolitical landscape

A National Perspective The last U.S. economy is transitioning away from us – in fits and starts – and we are moving toward the next economy – one that more likely will be based upon: ¾ Limitations to U.S. economic and military hegemony – moving from a uni-polar to a multi-polar

world order– with less predictable abilities for achieving significant economic growth

¾ Potential loss of World Reserve currency status for the U.S. dollar and of the relatively low-cost of

capital that has gone with it An aging and less productive workforce More expensive and less abundantly available fossil fuel energy Increased economic consequences of global warming Lowered availability and restricted consumption of all natural resource and commodity categories Low household savings rates (nearly 0% in 2008 vs. 10% in the 1950s) Excessive household borrowing and credit – (135% of household income in 2008 vs. 23% in the 1950s) ¾ Household debt service at its highest since the Great Depression – Now nearly 15% of disposable income versus 2 % in 1945 ¾ Decreasing productivity because of declining relative investments in education, research, and infrastructure ¾ Prospects for resurging “inflation” – and rising prices for all goods and services ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno

A California Perspective The Next California Economy will emerge in the context of successful short-term solutions to the unprecedented financial, economic, and fiscal emergencies now facing our entire country and the world. Long-term economic solutions for our state will be contingent on how we address the sustainability issues identified below: ¾ The Next California Economy will continue to be negatively impacted by more than 30 years of

significant accumulating deficits in education and infrastructure investments which lead some thoughtful observers to suggest that “our Golden State appears headed, if not for imminent disaster, then toward an unanticipated, maddening, and largely unnecessary mediocrity” 1 ¾ The Next California Economy will also be strongly challenged by the necessity for adaptation to an aging population, severe energy and water constraints, worries about climate change, and massive shifts in relative wealth and global economic power away from the U.S. to Asian and other fast growing economies in a rapidly changing international system that threatens to limit and diminish our potential prosperity 2 ¾ The Next California Economy will either provide a regenerative economic model for an innovative, entrepreneurial, and increasingly urban and green society, conceived and implemented with the cooperative relationships, understandings, goals, strategies, investments, accountability and longterm transitional time frame required for achievement of sustainable energy, resource management, health, and prosperity, 3 or represent another serial failure of recent California politics-as-usual

Regional Leadership to Address Global, National and State Issues Keeping the Global, National and State perspectives in mind, this region must understand that: ¾ We cannot afford to deny what is happening globally or at the National and State level – and how

certain trends and their implications may ultimately impact our valley, the 4-County region, our families, and our children’s future ¾ Our land use, built environment and transportation systems can be part of the solution to a number of threats and weaknesses, or be part of the problem, and at the same time, these systems can provide a framework and the possibility of regional success ¾ We must have a shared analysis of reality and its implications – a shared sense of threats, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths ¾ With regard to certain economic and environmental concerns, we actually still have a chance to implement a shared vision and strategies for sustainable health and economic prosperity if we can agree and begin work together now. We must pool our talents and strengths; address and counter negative trends; and establish new ways of doing business, farming, building our cities, and providing mobility, governing together, among other things . . . Sundown for California, Joel Kotkin, The American Magazine, November 12, 2008 Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, National Intelligence Council, November 2008 3 Energy at the Crossroads, Vaclav Smil, Background Notes for a Presentation at the Global Science Forum on Challenges for Energy Research, May 2006 1 2

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno The 4-County region will not escape many of the negative consequences of the state, national and global trends noted above. However, the region is uniquely situated as the major urban area in the San Joaquin Valley to use advanced planning tools successfully used elsewhere – as well as breaking new ground – to focus on wisely managing costly and precious natural, human, and financial resources to counter many of these negative trends. We have the choice to rethink our urban form, growth patterns, intensity of development and transportation systems to create competitive advantage in our economy, our environment, and our neighborhoods. We can explore the new international emphasis on efficient land use and transportation relationships represented by compact development in general and transit-oriented (compact) development (TOD) in particular, and connect these ideas with the clean energy, water stewardship, and farmland preservation policies necessary in the Valley to support the permanent synergistic coexistence of cities and agriculture. The Metro Rural Loop, along with other major studies underway (Blueprint, Fresno Activity Center and Corridor Intensification Study, Southeast Growth Area, Fresno County Public Transportation Infrastructure Study, and others) together provide concepts that can help meet these global and State challenges. The Metro Rural Loop study provides concepts that rely on us working together to overcome our challenges and implement new systems to achieve positive outcomes in this region.

Study Development The California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley awarded a grant to the City of Fresno, acting as a fiscal agent, to study the feasibility of the Metro Rural Loop network. The Metro Rural Loop is an innovative regional development approach envisioning a Multi-Modal, Multi-City, and Multi-County Transit-Oriented Transportation Corridor Network, and as noted above, it would directly and efficiently link the majority of the 30 incorporated cities (and their activity centers) in Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings Counties (reference Figure 1). The Metro Rural Loop would enable a networked pattern of cities within and surrounded by sustainable world class agriculture, open space, and environmental habitat to become one of the most significant, efficient, effective, and green compact and transit-oriented regional metropolitan areas in the State of California. The Metro Rural Loop has and can continue to definitively achieve immediate and measurable regional collaboration involving all levels of government, foster greater public-private collaboration, engage citizenry and mobilize volunteers by bringing together cities, counties, COGs and county transportation authorities and commissions, state agencies, regional districts, and numerous business, agricultural, environmental, community and civic association leaders to share in regional planning and feasibility tasks, while laying a solid foundation for high priority goal implementation.

Study Purpose The Central Valley of California is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decades. The region faces significant challenges in accommodating the expected growth, while maintaining and enhancing its quality of life. Concerns over the conflicts between urbanization and agriculture; over mobility and access, air quality, water quality and availability, and greenhouse gas emissions; and over economic development, economic and social equity, and the overall quality of life exist today and are likely to intensify in the future. VRPA Technologies, Inc.

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno The Metro Rural Loop Corridor Preservation Feasibility Study represents the necessary and urgent work of preserving the wide multi-modal transportation corridor network, needed to serve the millions who will reside and work here in the next 40 to 100 years, and which corridors are currently threatened by uncoordinated planning and development policies. Transportation corridor preservation for Metro Rural Loop has several forms: ¾ Establishing and preserving new alignments and sufficient rights-of way widths along the proposed

SR 65, along other existing and realigned state routes, and new routes along or near other alignments ¾ Preserving and expanding the ability to utilize existing rights-of-way along State Routes for railbased mass transit

The Study has identified transportation options for the future of this region focusing the potential for compact and higher intensity and density development along certain network segments and primarily within activity centers of existing cities, while generally using corridors as design boundaries for permanently protecting farmland, habitat, and natural resources.

Corridor Description/Definition Consistent with the preferred Blueprint land use and transportation concept for Fresno County, the Metro Rural Loop promotes moderate growth and higher density increases, occurring in highly connected “city centers”. Referencing Figure 2, the transportation system includes new transportation corridors connecting to urban centers such as Downtown Fresno, Clovis, and the Southeast Growth Area (SEGA), systems being planned as part of the Fresno County Public Transportation Infrastructure Study (PTIS), plans for light rail in Tulare County, and plans for High Speed Rail through the San Joaquin Valley connecting the 4county region with the rest of the state. Growth would be distributed within the county at designated nodes (city centers) which could expand existing city centers or in new city centers at key transportation hubs. Growth priority is to existing cities and planned development areas. It would involve infill development, revitalization, and greenfield development. This scenario allows for growth to meet regional housing needs and existing general plan growth areas, consistent with the “city centers” principles of Diversity, Density, Design and Destination (4D’s). The growth needs of smaller communities are recognized, and accounted for in the regional growth allocations. Spheres of influence would be adjusted accordingly. Principle objectives of the preferred Blueprint scenario are competitive economic development and environmental sustainability consistent with Senate Bill (SB) 375. Job growth would be integrated with housing growth to reduce vehicle miles traveled. Growth would also be balanced with the plan’s objective to reduce greenhouse gases consistent with Assembly Bill 32 and other unhealthy emissions, and preserve strategic farmlands and resource conservation/open space lands. The Metro Rural Loop provides a framework for improved and sustainable economics and energy and water efficiency, conservation, and innovation. Positive elements of the Metro Rural Loop include the following:

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno

Figure 2

¾ Development of a high capacity, multi-modal transportation network that provides connectivity and ¾ ¾ ¾

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transportation choice throughout the region Growth priority to existing cities and planned development areas (recognizing the growth needs of smaller communities) Infill development, greenfield development and revitalization Growth to meet regional housing needs and general plan growth areas; consistent with the smart growth principles of Diversity, Density, Design and Destination (4Ds). This does not preclude expansion of spheres of influence under certain circumstances that include smart growth principles Discouragement, and in many cases prohibition, of growth on strategic farmland and resource conservation/open space land Employment centers to serve the four-County region Collaborative planning to ensure that policies are in place for planned, orderly, and equitable growth within planned growth areas while allowing flexibility in meeting the performance goals Some flexibility in allocating growth, but in a manner that will ensure acceptable performance outcomes

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno A principal objective of the Metro Rural Loop is competitive economic development. Job growth should be balanced with housing growth, and located to provide transportation choices in order to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The goal is to position the 4-County region as an economically competitive area with a diversified economic base. The region needs to remain business friendly and make the right choices for enhancing quality of life through predictable and sustainable development. The Metro Rural Loop Study focused on the use of land use and transportation modeling tools applied to allocate future growth and development consistent with Smart Growth goals and objectives. Highlights of the Metro Rural Loop Modeling process include: ¾ State Route (SR) 65 Extension, SR 99 By-Pass, and South County sub-loop ¾ Mass transportation system improvements (High Speed Rail, Light Rail, Bus Rapid Transit, ¾

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Commuter Rail, Express Bus, New Transit Technology Modes, Etc.) Higher residential densities supportive of, and supported by, mass transit and more intensive employment in mixed-use districts; and balanced with provision of a range of urban and rural protected open spaces and parks Growth attracted to revitalization and infill areas was allocated using UPLAN (the same tool used in the Blueprint process) and considered the location of planned mass transit lines Mass transit and Metro Rural Loop/Sub Loops and Spokes were given higher preference for growth allocation Vertical vs. horizontal mixed use allocation Intentional land use mapping - Finer grain in terms of mapping – identified mixed-use at transit stations, immediately adjacent to the station, and along the transit corridors Identified intensity areas – actually changed the land uses at stations and along corridors to reflect uses supportive of planned mass transit improvements

Relationship to Other Planning Efforts The Metro Rural Loop Study builds upon the work of a range of city and regional studies, including: ¾ The individual 4-County Blueprint efforts and the related Strategic Farmland Study, which together

define a set of regional growth pattern and allocation goals, a multi-modal transportation network, growth assumptions, and which utilized a set of allocation and evaluation tools ¾ The San Joaquin Valley Blueprint effort, which has identified four alternative Blueprint scenarios for the Valley, including Scenarios B and C, which include the Metro Rural Loop network and concepts ¾ The Fresno Activity Center Study and the Fresno South East Growth Area (SEGA) Plan, which defines an approach for defining activity centers, neighborhoods, and work places in terms of land use diversity, density, and urban form, as well as an approach for assessing a broad range of sustainability measures ¾ The Fresno County Public Transportation Infrastructure Study (PTIS) and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Studies, which provide further definition in terms of the future transit network that will provide transit options for those working and living in the activity areas

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DRAFT Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study City of Fresno The Metro Rural Loop Study and these other recent or on-going efforts are interdependent and contingent on one another. Each has taken a different perspective on creating a more sustainable 4-County Region in terms of ecology, economy, and equity; a region that will be economically competitive well into the future. The goal of these efforts is to take on the challenges that face cities and regions throughout the United States such as water and air quality, a healthy and well-educated workforce, the fiscal condition of public agencies, the need to reduce energy demand and green house gas emissions, and improving overall civic life while growing the regional population.

Metro Rural Loop Benefits The specific benefits to the Central Valley will depend on the final plan for the Metro Rural Loop and the specifics of its implementation. As part of the investment in the Metro Rural Loop, additional investments would be made in the “spokes” of the Loop, enhancing transit options from the Loop to locations within it. In addition to the investment in transportation infrastructure, the Metro Rural Loop proposal encourages a land use pattern that focuses continued investment and growth in existing communities and discourages the spread of growth into the most valuable of agricultural or habitat lands; moving away from an unsustainable pattern of growth that has had much to do with the current economic crisis. The potential economic benefits of the Metro Rural Loop are similar to those of major transportation/ transit investments in other regions. The potential benefits of concentrated growth in existing communities are also similar to those of other regions, with particular benefits associated with the agricultural industry in the Central Valley. The Metro Rural Loop has the potential to provide the following benefits to the Central Valley: ¾ Economic Benefits. Increased mobility and connectivity will allow for the efficient movements of

goods and people as the region’s population and economy grow. Potential elements of the Metro Rural Loop, a new regional airport and a new truck tollway, would also improve the regions accessibility from state, national and international perspectives. Also, the California high-speed rail project with its stations in the four counties would be better connected to communities in the region by the Metro Rural Loop improvements. The concentration of growth in existing communities that may be associated with the Metro Rural Loop will support concentrated economic development efforts in these communities. It will also reduce the overall rate of farmland conversion and reduce the future extent of this conversion, supporting the ongoing vitality of the agricultural industry, a critical Central Valley industry ¾ Environmental Benefits. Increased transit ridership would help the region grapple with two significant challenges, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. Air quality is a regional quality of life issue that affects residents and workers in the region. Existing and future regulation of air quality and greenhouse gases is also likely to require a number of actions by local governments ¾ Overall Quality of Life Benefits. The potential benefits from the Metro Rural Loop, including increased transportation and housing choice, and access to a broader range of employment, would combine to improve the quality of life of existing and future residents of the four counties. The economic and environmental benefits could build off each other to create a more vital and economically diversified region, attractive to existing and new businesses and existing and future residents VRPA Technologies, Inc.

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Report Contents The remainder of the Study Report is in presentation format and attached to this Introduction. The presentation contains the following chapters: ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

Chapter 1 - Regional Cooperation Chapter 2 – Development of Regional Demographic Projections Chapter 3 – Land Use Modeling Process Chapter 4 – Transportation Systems Analysis Chapter 5 – Economic Benefits Assessment Chapter 6 – Preservation of Agricultural Resources Chapter 7 – Preservation of Natural Resources Chapter 8 – Next Steps

Contacts For Further Information Appendix and the PowerPoint Presentation are available at the following website. http://www.fresno.gov/Government/DepartmentDirectory/PlanningandDevelopment/Planning/Ongoing+Planning+Stu dies.htm

            Keith Bergthold, City of Fresno  (559) 621‐8049  Keith.Bergthold@fresno.gov     Trai Her, City of Fresno  (559) 621‐8003  Trai.Her@fresno.gov    

    Georgiena Vivian, VRPA Technologies  (559) 259‐9257  gvivian@vrpatechnologies.com

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METRO RURAL LOOP Feasibility Study Report (Draft) Click to edit Master subtitle style

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PREPARED FOR:

PREPARED BY:

In Association With:

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Study Overview ƒ Study Development ƒ Chapter 1 - Regional Cooperation ƒ Chapter 2 - Development of Regional Demographic Projections ƒ Chapter 3 - Land Use Modeling Process ƒ Chapter 4 - Transportation Systems Analysis ƒ Chapter 5 - Economic Benefits Assessment ƒ Chapter 6 - Preservation of Agricultural Resources ƒ Chapter 7 - Preservation of Natural Resources ƒ Chapter 8 - Next Steps ƒ Contacts for Further Information 3

The Metro Rural Loop (MRL) Study was developed considering seven major issues or components. These components are further graphically displayed and described in the remainder of this presentation. In addition, the final slides provide an overview of study findings and next steps toward implementation of the Metro Rural Loop.

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Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study ƒ Funded by the City of Fresno & a Grant from the Partnership of the San Joaquin Valley ƒ Team Members: à à à à

City of Fresno Development Department VRPA Technologies, Inc. – Lead Consultant Community Design + Architecture Economic & Planning Systems

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The California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley awarded a grant to the City of Fresno, acting as a fiscal agent, to study the feasibility of the Metro Rural Loop Corridor. The City of Fresno also contributed financially to Study development. The Study was originally funded to develop the Metro Rural Loop Corridor within Fresno County focusing on the Year 2110 or 100 years into the future. However, the Study was expanded to include the Counties of Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare and also addresses growth and development in the Year 2050 consistent with the Blueprint planning process. The City of Fresno managed Study development and was responsible for bringing each of the counties, cities within the counties, and stakeholders together to develop regional cooperation. VRPA Technologies, Inc. was the lead consultant responsible for Study development, outreach, and consultant team management. Community Design + Architecture was responsible for land use modeling and Economic & Planning Systems responsible for population and employment projections, as well as the economic feasibility assessment.

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Metro Rural Loop Study Focus Study Components Regional Cooperation

Land Use / Economic Feasibility

Habitat / Resource Conservation

Regional Planning Efforts & Studies Transportation

Ag Preservation

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Each of the following chapters in this report address the components identified above. Each of these study components was identified as a specific task in the Study scope approved by the Partnership of the San Joaquin Valley and City of Fresno.

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Study Purpose ƒ Plan for the future of transportation & land use in the Central San Joaquin Valley to the Year 2050 & 2110 ƒ Fulfill the desire for an innovative regional land use, resource management, & economic development approach envisioning a multimodal, multicity & multicounty, transit-oriented transportation corridor system 7

Our desire is to plan for the future of transportation and land use in the San Joaquin Valley to the Year 2050 and 2110. The Metro Rural Loop (MRL) fulfills that desire as an innovative regional land use, resource management and economic development approach envisioning a multimodal, multicity and multicounty, transitoriented transportation corridor system.

7


Study Purpose (Cont.) ƒ Directly & efficiently link a majority of 30 incorporated cities in Fresno, Kings, Madera, & Tulare Counties ƒ Define one of the most significant, efficient, effective and green, compact and transit-oriented regional metropolitan in California

8

The Metro Rural Loop (MRL) would directly and efficiently link the development of the majority of 30 incorporated cities in Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare counties. The MRL defines one of the most significant, sustainable efficient, effective  and  green  compact  and  transit‐oriented  regional  metropolitan  areas in the State of California. It  would  be  supported  by  regional  and  local  land  use  and  green  development policies that preserve agriculture, resource lands and natural resources, and  shape the development and revitalization of partner cities. 

8


Corridor Description/Definition ƒ Conceived as a system of regionconnecting, high-capacity, multimodal transportation corridors ƒ Supported by regional land use policies that would connect activity centers of partner cities committed to transit-oriented and green development that contain high quality and higher intensity industry, commerce, residential, public, cultural, and recreational open spaces 9

The Metro Rural Loop provides a framework for improved and sustainable economics, energy and water efficiency, conservation, and innovation. Positive elements of the Metro Rural Loop include the following: ƒ Development of a high capacity, multi-modal transportation network that provides connectivity throughout the region ƒ Growth priority to existing cities and planned development areas (recognizing the growth needs of smaller communities) ƒ Infill development, greenfield development and redevelopment ƒ Growth to meet regional housing needs and general plan growth areas; consistent with the smart growth principles of Diversity, Density, Design and Destination (4D’s). This does not preclude expansion of spheres of influence under certain circumstances that include smart growth principles ƒ Discouragement and in some cases prohibit the growth on strategic farmland and resource conservation/open space land ƒ Employment-focused mixed use centers to serve the four-County region ƒ Collaborative planning to ensure that policies are in place for planned, orderly growth within planned growth areas while allowing flexibility in meeting the performance goals ƒ Some flexibility in allocating growth, but in a manner that will ensure desired acceptable performance outcomes

9


Conceptual Metro Rural Loop – Year 2110

10

This topographic map provides a 3D-type image of the conceptual Metro Rural Loop and Sub-loops traversing through the Valley floor and each of the 4 counties.

10


Study Goals ƒ Establish & preserve new alignments & sufficient rights-of way widths along proposed SR 65, along other existing & realigned state routes, & new routes along or near other alignments ƒ Preserve & expand the ability to utilize existing along State Routes for rail-based mass transit & bus rapid transit 11

The Central Valley of California is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decades. The region faces significant challenges in accommodating the expected growth, while maintaining and enhancing its quality of life. Concerns over the conflicts between urbanization and agriculture; over availability of water, mobility, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions; and over economic development and the overall quality of life exist today and are likely to intensify in the future. The Metro Rural Loop Corridor Preservation Feasibility Study represents the necessary and urgent work of preserving the wide multi-modal transportation corridors, needed to serve the millions who will reside and work here in the next 40 and 100 years, and which corridors are currently threatened by uncoordinated planning and development policies. Transportation corridor preservation for Metro Rural Loop has several forms: ƒEstablishing and preserving new alignments and sufficient rights-of way widths on proposed SR 65, and existing and realigned SR 145, and new routes along or near other alignments in the other counties. ƒPreserving and expanding the ability to utilize existing rights-of-way on State Routes 99, 41, 168, 180, and other major routes for rail-based mass transit, that has developed in the SF Bay Area, that is now in jeopardy of being lost. We must act quickly to preserve transportation options for the future of this region ƒFocusing and containing compact and transit oriented development along certain corridor segments, while generally using corridors as design boundaries for permanently protecting farmland, habitat, and natural resources

11


Study Goals (Cont.) ƒ Metro Rural Loop would connect activity centers of partner cities committed to transitoriented and green development that contain high quality and higher intensity industry, commerce, residential, public, cultural, and recreational open spaces ƒ Use corridors as design boundaries for permanently protecting farmland, habitat, & natural resources 12

The Metro  Rural  Loop  is  conceived  as  a  high  capacity  and  efficient  system  of  region‐ connecting, multimodal transportation corridors governed collaboratively by  a  new  inter‐ jurisdictional organization. It would be supported by regional and local land use and green  development policies that preserve agriculture, resource lands and natural resources, and  shape  the  development  and  revitalization  of  partner  cities.  Metro  Rural  Loop  would  connect activity centers (new compact, walkable, bikable, New Urbanist town centers and  villages)  of  partner  cities  committed  to  transit‐oriented  and  green  development  that  contain high quality and higher intensity industry, commerce,  residential,  public,  cultural,  and recreational open spaces. Metro Rural Loop transportation corridors would cross long‐ term  farmlands  to  connect  cities  and  activity  centers,  but  discourage  and  in  many  cases  prohibit  development  outside  those  cities  that  is  inconsistent  with  Regional  Blueprint  policies  and  long‐term  agriculture  and  resource  land  preservation  policies.  Metro  Rural  Loop would offer a transit‐focused combination of light‐rail transit (LRT), goods movement  rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), dedicated truck lanes, and/or other modes based upon clean  energy  and  new  transportation  technologies  that  enhance  and  sustain  regional  and  local  mobility. 

12


13

13


Public Outreach ƒ Multi-city & county tour à Multi-city & county tour over approximately 4 months à Visited all 4 Council of Governments (COGs), each of the 4 counties, 24 of the 30 incorporated cities à Briefed the agencies on the Metro Rural Loop project & solicited feedback

14

MULTI-CITY AND COUNTY TOUR Keith Bergthold with the City of Fresno went on a multi-city and county tour over approximately 4 months during which time he visited all 4 Council of Governments (COGs), each of the 4 county Board of Supervisors, and 24 of the 30 incorporated cities to brief them on the Metro Rural Loop project and solicit their feedback. This initial outreach was key to the success of the Study. The effort solidified support for Study preparation and need for an innovative approach to future transportation and land use planning in the region.

14


Public Outreach ƒ Community Workshop Ă Held Friday, February 29, 2008 at Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall Ă  Purpose: Bring stakeholders together to discuss the proposed corridor alignment & to gather input on the future of transportation & land use

15

The Community Workshop On Friday, February 29, 2008, the City of Fresno Planning & Development Department hosted a community workshop with key stakeholders of the Metro Rural Loop Project. The event took place from 12:00 to 4:30 PM in the new Exhibit Hall at the Fresno Convention Center. The purpose of the workshop was to bring stakeholders together to discuss the proposed Metro Rural Loop alignment and gather data on the future of transportation and land use in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare Counties. The workshop agenda consisted of setting parameters for regional cooperation, establishing base demographic and land-use projections, and preparing a preferred land-use and multi-modal network alternative. Over 150 people attended the workshop, including representatives from 24 of the 30 incorporated cities, all 4 counties and COGs, elected officials at the city, county and state levels, representatives from public and private entities, local media, and the mayor of Fresno. In addition to the Metro Rural Loop Workshop, other related outreach efforts provided the public opportunity to express their opinions regarding the Metro Rural Loop and to provide vital input, which was used to develop this Study report. Other venues included the Blueprint outreach workshops conducted over the past year and the Fresno General Plan Activity Center Workshop held on December 9, 2008.

15


Multi-County Issues/Comments ƒ Agreed with Metro Rural Loop concept ƒ Believed that regional cooperation and planning is essential to continued economic development within the region ƒ Recommended further development of the Study including implementation strategies

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Workshop Issues/Comments ƒ Workshop participants mapped preferences for land use & transportation concepts ƒ Major break-out group comments: à Create defined, beautiful, desirable communities à Define growth boundaries & hold them à Need local flexibility during implementation

17

WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS IDENTIFY CONCEPTUAL CORRIDOR PRIORITIES The workshop included an interactive exercise where participants were able to roll up their sleeves and use the maps to identify their preferences for land use and transportation. Summaries of their comments were transcribed and appear below. Summary of Participant Comments Table 1 • SR 65 so it does not divide Little Dry Creek in the Lost Lake area • Need ,ore spokes going out to Metro Rural Loop • Concentrate development along the corridor and/or at the nodes • Extend the SR 99 western bypass south of Hanford and connect back to SR 99 at Pixley • Create defined, beautiful, desirable communities, not just density • Southwest Fresno area should be expanded • The proposed new location of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport needs thought. Good concept, but maybe not the right location • Define growth boundaries and hold them • Combine all open space into a single category. Clearly identify areas that need to be protected and consider how wildlife will traverse the Metro Rural Loop Table 2 • Transit issues exist with regard to technologies not yet available today. Will light rail and buses exist in 2110? Over the long term, monorail or maglev may be better options. Will aircraft be the same? New technologies may allow the airport to remain where it is • Define Academy Avenue as a sub-loop • SR 99 western bypass should be closer to SR 99 and extend further in each direction. • Not in favor of new airport location • Consider new sites for higher education facilities • Too few connections to recreational areas, lakes, mountains, etc Table 3 • Good job identifying transit corridors. Some of these will be growth inducing, want the growth to occur where it is planned. • Consider expanding to a larger region for the airport. Merced might be a good choice. • Regional revenue sharing – overcome competition for developments • Do we have water storage to accommodate growth? • Ensure local flexibility and buyoff – regional planning sometimes inhibits local support • Need local flexibility for implementation • Make sure Metro Rural Loop will accommodate market conditions

17


Workshop Issues/Comments ƒ Major break-out group comments: à Establish buffers to maintain sense of community identity à Focus on increased densities, preservation & protection of beautiful, sensitive areas

18

Summary of Participant Comments Table 4 • Are communities planning for 2110? Are they planning to be larger or smaller? Is everyone interested in growing the same amount? • Is the loop going to take people where they really want to go? Does it make sense? • Establish buffers to enable each community to maintain its sense of community identity Table 5 • Keep connectivity in core areas • Extend passenger rail to more communities, especially Lemoore • Airport location concept is good • Focus on increased densities and preservation/protection of beautiful, sensitive areas • Collaboration with other counties is the most difficult and the most important part of this process Table 6 • Add more connectivity between Visalia and Lemoore • Extend the SR 99 bypass further north and south • Alignment is a concern • East side commuter rail may not be viable • Need increased north-south capacity in rail links • Airport relocation outside the metro area is a good idea. encroachment • Need to identify agricultural land preservation spaces • Maintain momentum!

Need conservation easements around the airport to prevent development

Table 7 • Put sub-loops on existing corridors • SR 99 bypass should follow HSR corridor • Proposed items do not match community identities – slow growth and growth communities vary • Don’t move the airport • Mapping doesn’t show retail, job centers, etc. Transportation, especially mass transit must be convenient to these places • Need a regional industrial park/employment center • Key issues: growth limitations and revenue sharing; and water availability and air quality Table 8 • Preservation of agriculture and wildlife • Move SR 99 bypass west and out of wildlife areas. Shift further west of Madera and coordinate with Merced •T he area proposed for the airport is foggier that where it is now. Why not move it to the industrial area south of Fresno along SR 99 • Dry farming area to the east • Preserve open space and avoid growth inducement: create urban villages to keep urban development from creeping down loops, create wild life easements • Grow toward SR 65

18


Workshop Issues/Comments ƒ Major break-out group comments: à Focus on infill & redevelopment à Support relocation of FYI à Rights of way should include bicycle & transit

19

Summary of Participant Comments Table 9 • Regarding High Speed Rail, where could the loop be shifted? • The proposed new airport location could make sense. Connections to downtown Hanford • Western SR 99 bypass – Make connection to the north and south. Opportunities exist to involve Kern. Table 10 • Proposed new airport location is generally okay but very close to wastewater treatment plant. Need to be sure we pay attention to wild life in that area. Need transit connections to airport. Need to consider whether Lemoore NAS and FYI can coexist. • Expand the loop out between Dinuba and Orosi • High Speed Rail hub should be on SR 152 east of Chowchilla • Support mixed-use/increased density concepts Table 11 • Concerned with growth – focus on infill and redevelopment • Support transit • Support relocation of FYI with passenger and freight linkages. compatibility with Lemoore Naval Air Station • Rights of way should include bicycle & transit transportation modes • Academy Avenue should be a spoke of sub-loop • Keep development out of the foothills

Need to identify airport’s

Table 12 • Move SR 99 western bypass further west to avoid agricultural land • Provide loop access to the City of Lemoore • Need to identify types of transportation corridors to avoid encouraging more growth in the eastern communities

19


Workshop Results/Outcomes

20

Workshop Polling Results The final workshop exercise was an interactive polling, or “clicker”, exercise using Turning Point software. Each workshop participant was given a “clicker” similar to those used on television game shows, such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and America’s Funniest Home Videos for the purpose of voting on questions prepared by the Metro Rural Loop Team. Major results of the polling are provided. Other polling results are included in Appendix A.

20


Workshop Results/Outcomes

21

Further survey results.

21


22

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Demographic Projections 2050 – 2110 ƒ No official projections available: à Baseline projection based on

Year 2000 to Year 2050 trends from Department of Finance/ County Blueprint Projects à Also developed Low & High Projections

23

23


Projections Years 2000 & 2050 ƒ Consistent with Blueprint Planning in all four counties: à Uses California Department of Finance Projections for 2000 to 2050 à Ties household & employment projections to population projections

County

2000

2050

Fresn o

804,508

1,928,411

Madera

124,696

413,569

Tulare

369,873

1,026,755

Kings

130,202

352,750

Total

1,429,279

3,721,485

24

24


Three Growth Scenarios ƒ Growth rates between 2050 & 2110 for: à Low Scenario based on

absolute annual change between 2000 & 2010 à Baseline Scenario based on average percent growth by decade between 2000 & 2050 à High Scenario based on average annual growth rate between 2040 & 2050

25

25


Baseline Projections, 2000-2050 4,500,000 4,000,000 3,500,000

Population

3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 2000

2010

2020

2030

2040

2050

2060

2070

2080

2090

2100

2110

Year Fresno

Madera

Tulare

Kings 26

26


Baseline Projections, 2000-2110 4,500,000 4,000,000 3,500,000

Population

3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 2000

2010 2020 2030

2040

2050

2060

2070

2080

2090

2100

2110

Year Fresno

Madera

Tulare

Kings 27

27


Baseline Projections Year 20502110 County

2050

2110

Fresno

1,928,411 3,837,659

Madera

413,569 1,042,881

Tulare Kings Total

1,026,755 2,035,464 352,750

795,654

3,721,485 7,711,659

28

28


Scenarios Comparison 2000

2050

2110

Change 2050-2110

Low

1,429,279

3,721,485

6,472,132

2,750,647

Baseline

1,429,279

3,721,485

7,711,659

3,990,174

High

1,429,279

3,721,485

11,911,360

8,189,875

Scenario

29

29


Population Projections 14,000,000

12,000,000

Population

10,000,000

8,000,000

6,000,000

4,000,000

2,000,000

0 2000 2010 2020

2030

2040

2050

2060

2070

2080

2090

2100 2110

Year

Baseline

Low

High 30

30


Growth Scenario Selection ƒ The Baseline Scenario was selected as the best scenario for use in the Metro Rural Loop land use modeling

31

31


32

32


Modeling Process ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

Modeling process similar to the Blueprint Process MRL utilized new version of UPLAN modeling tool Blueprint base datasets used Using similar process allows for comparison with Blueprint results

33

The Metro Rural Loop (MRL) Study land use modeling effort was conducted utilizing tools similar to the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Process. This was done primarily to augment the Fresno County Blueprint Process, of which a 2050 Growth version of the MRL Study became an alternative. The MRL Study utilized the UPLAN modeling software created by UC Davis. The software has been the tool used by Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties in their Blueprint processes. The MRL Process however, utilized a newer version that allowed for greater choices and flexibility in allocation. Using UPLAN was also considered prudent since the datasets required were readily available from the individual county Blueprint efforts.

33


Modeling Process ƒ Model run separately for each county ƒ Fresno split into two phases à 2000-2050 – evaluated as a Blueprint scenario à 2050-2110 –2050 result used as a starting point

ƒ Madera, Tulare & Kings run as a single phase 2006-2110

34

The UPLAN software was run for the four counties separately wherein the Fresno run was split into two phases to accommodate the desire to have the MRL Study as a ‘Blueprint’ scenario. The first phase of the Fresno run was up to the year 2050. The resulting run for this phase was transferred to the Blueprint team for evaluation as a scenario in that planning process. The second phase of the Fresno model run utilized the 2050 results as the starting point of the modeling process projecting growth up to 2110. Splitting the Fresno run into two phases allowed for the modification of the growth trend assumptions for the 2050-2110 run. The share of households in higher density residential categories was increased from the 20062050 growth projection. The model runs for Madera, Tulare and Kings Counties were run in a single phase from 2006 to 2110.

34


Modeling Process ƒ Results compared on indicators utilized by Madera & Kern County Blueprint process ƒ Preferred & Base Case Blueprint scenarios of 4 counties extrapolated from 2050 to 2110 for MRL comparison

35

The Metro Rural Loop study had a horizon of the year 2110. Since no other studies exist for the four counties which have projected growth that far into the future, the best comparisons stem from the Blueprint scenarios. The most viable indicator for comparison is the land area consumed by the projected growth. The Blueprint process base cases and preferred scenarios were extrapolated from 2050 to 2110 by calculating the acres per capita growth consumed from 2006 to 2050 and applying the same growth rate up to 2110. See table on slide 38.

35


Model Inputs ƒ Four required components: à Demographic Projections à GIS-based (general plan) land use à MRL transportation network

36

The modeling process required four main components; demographic projections, GIS based land use for existing development in 2006 and for future land use based on General Plans and modifications to reflect utilization of the future multi-modal transportation system, and the Metro Rural Loop transportation network. These were developed and collected by the Metro Rural Loop team.

36


Model Inputs ƒ Demographic Projections à Data for 2110 inferred from

2000-2050 Department of Finance demographic projections à Three scenarios developed: à Low à Moderate à High à Moderate scenario selected for

modeling

37

The demographic growth scenarios were developed by using 2000 to 2050 Department of Finance projections to infer 2110 growth scenarios. Three scenarios were developed that represented ‘Low’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘High’ alternatives. The ‘Moderate’ alternative was selected for the demographic projection to be modeled.

37


Model Inputs Moderate Demographic Projections County

Base Population

2110 Population

Growth Rate (per year)

Fresno

917,515

3,837,659

1.39 %

Madera

144,386

1,042,881

1.92 %

Tulare

408,965

2,035,464

1.56 %

Kings

147,729

795,654

1.63 %

38

38


Model Inputs ƒ Allocation Categories à Demographic projections broken into

household & employment categories à Public & agricultural jobs excluded from allocation à Land use categories from various general plans standardized to Allocation Land Use categories

39

The demographic projections were broken down into household and employment categories developed for the land use allocation for the different counties. The households were divided into six residential categories and 3 mixed use categories while the jobs were divided into six employment categories and 3 mixed uses categories. Public jobs and Agricultural jobs were excluded from the allocation as they vary drastically in land consumed or cannot be tied to a specific location. The share of households and jobs assigned to the different allocation categories were initially defined in the same proportions for all counties. Then minor adjustments were made to account for the different characteristics of the counties and the amount of land available for the different use categories. The land use categories from the different General Plans of cities and counties were standardized to the Allocation Land Use categories. Non-allocation uses in the different General Plans were also standardized for display purposes.

39


Model Inputs ƒ Creating “General Plan” Map for 2110 à Built around multi-modal MRL network à Existing factors - Cities’ General Plan

maps, road network, prime agricultural lands overlaid à Existing City General Plan land uses reclassified around urban centers, corridors & transit nodes 40

The multi-modal Metro Rural Loop network provided the framework upon which existing factors such as existing general plan land uses, existing transit, road networks and other aspects such as critical habitat, prime agricultural lands were overlaid to prepare a ‘General Plan’ for the year 2110. The development of the ‘General Plan’ layer included standardizing and reclassifying existing General Plan categories in urban centers and urban corridors as higher density mixed use, and locating new growth areas organized around Metro Rural Loop transit nodes. The location of new growth areas were selected to minimize impacts to prime farmlands and other environmental considerations that are in proximity to Metro Rural Loop’s transportation corridors.

40


Model Inputs ƒ Environmental Data Ă Utilized statewide data on water bodies, vernal

pools, critical habitat, agricultural soils Ă For Fresno County utilized Strategic Farmland trust prime agricultural lands mapping

41

The GIS databases collected for the modeling process were coordinated with the data collection done for the Blueprint process by the four counties. In addition to the Blueprint data, additional data such as prime farmlands was collected from other sources such as the Strategic Farmland Trust, UC Davis and the State GIS data clearing houses. Some datasets were limited to specific counties and were utilized exclusively for the specific county; such as the Strategic Farmland Trust information for Fresno County.

41


GIS Database Development ƒ MRL GIS datasets standardized with Blueprint datasets ƒ High growth areas identified by overlaying all datasets & identified redevelopment areas

42

The collected data was then standardized across the four counties. Some of the General Plan categories were modified to provide for higher intensity uses and transit-oriented mixed uses. New growth areas were added to the general plan areas based upon the Metro Rural Loop transit networks, underlying environmental constraints and prime agricultural soils. New datasets were generated from the collected data to identify areas that were more attractive for growth. Some of the attractive areas were informed by the different City General Plans such as the City of Fresno’s plan identifying Activity Centers and Intensification Corridors within the City of Fresno as redevelopment and intensification areas. These areas were carefully studied and non-residential areas were identified for intensification. Similarly, datasets were also created to discourage growth in certain undesired locations.

42


Model Results

43

The Metro Rural Loop study had a horizon of the year 2110. Since no other studies exist for the four counties which have projected growth that far into the future, the best comparisons stem from the Blueprint scenarios. The most viable indicator for comparison is the land area consumed by the projected growth. The Blueprint process base cases and preferred scenarios were extrapolated from 2050 to 2110 by calculating the acres per capita growth consumed from 2006 to 2050 and extrapolating the growth up to 2110. The extrapolation provided the comparison to evaluate the Metro Rural Loop results. The table on slide 17 provides a comparison of the Blueprint Scenarios if they continued till 2110 with the Metro Rural Loop runs.

43


Model Results – Fresno

44

The Fresno Metropolitan area will have the highest increase in density with the redevelopment of the Downtown, the Blackstone Corridor and the old Airport as high density mixed use, served by an extensive multi-modal public transit system. The lower density growth is primarily east of the Metro area, preserving prime agricultural land to the south and west.

44


Model Results - Madera

45

The growth in Madera county is primarily focused in Southwest area adjoining the Fresno Metro area, along the transit corridor into the City of Fresno. New growth areas along Highway 65 and Avenue 15 will also see growth but will not build out. The City of Madera and Chowchilla will build out their spheres of influence and include redevelopment of their city centers.

45


Model Results - Tulare

46

The growth in Tulare County is focused along Highway 198 and Highway 63 around the Cities of Visalia and Tulare. The growth occurs towards the eastern side of the valley, preserving prime agriculture land west of Highway 99 and southeast area of the county.

46


Model Results - Kings

47

Kings County has the growth focus around the Cities of Hanford and Lemoore cities, creating a new city along SR 198 between the two cities. All three will be connected by a BRT transit line and commuter rail.

47


Model Results ƒ MRL model results compared with projected Blueprint Base Case & Preferred Scenarios à MRL conserves 307 sq. miles when compared to the

Blueprint Preferred Scenario à 1207 sq. miles conserved vs. Blueprint Base Case Population Growth by 2050

Acres Consumed by 2050

Fresno Base Case

988,776

223,639

0.226

2,920,144

660,471

99,615

560,857

876

Fresno Preferred Case

988,776

47,783

0.048

2,920,144

141,117

99,615

41,503

65

Madera Base Case

266,161

32,858

0.123

895,479

110,548

33,833

76,715

120

Madera Preferred Case

266,161

30,517

0.115

895,479

102,672

33,833

68,839

108

Kings Base Case

205,021

19,346

0.094

647,925

61,139

22,922

38,217

60

Kings Preferred Case

205,021

10,981

0.054

647,925

34,703

22,922

11,781

18

Tulare Base Case

617,790

56,763

0.092

1,626,499

149,444

55,125

94,319

147

Tulare Preferred Case

617,790

48,075

0.078

1,626,499

126,570

55,125

71,445

112

2050 Blueprint Alternative

Acres/ Population Growth

2110 Population Growth

2110 Growth extrapolation (Acres)

MRL Acres Consumed

Acres Saved

Sq miles saved

48

The total land consumed by the Metro Rural Loop growth scenario would be 307 square miles less than the preferred scenarios of the four counties and a phenomenal 1207 square miles less than the base case scenarios. Spatially, the Metro Rural Loop model restricts growth from sprawling uncontrolled into prime agricultural lands and open spaces. Some loss of prime agricultural land and open space was necessary in order to maintain connectivity and proximity to urban centers. Overall, if the Metro Rural Loop network materializes as envisioned in this study, these four counties in the San Joaquin Valley would be able to save vast amounts of natural and agricultural lands, improving the environmental quality of life factors.

48


Model Results ƒ Results compared on indicators utilized by Madera & Kern County Blueprint process

49

MRL Water consumption is 1,573 million Acre-feet (19.6%) less than the Base Case and 1,112 million Acre-feet (14.7%) less than the Preferred Blueprint Scenario. MRL CO2 Emission is 1.29 million tons (19.3%) less than the Base Case and 942,000 tons(14.8%) less than the Preferred Blueprint Scenario. MRL Electricity Consumption is 2.93 million MWhrs (19.3%) less than the Base Case and 2.14 million MWhrs (14.8%) less than the Preferred Blueprint Scenario. The indicators were developed by the Kern County COG Blueprint team and were utilized By the Madera MCTC to evaluate their Blueprint Scenarios. The emission and consumption standards were classified into four housing density types: High (>8 du/ac), Medium (<= 8du/ac), Low (<=3du/), Very Low (<1 du/ac) by Kern County Blueprint team.

49


Illustrative Concept

50

Illustrative concept of Metro Rural Loop development pattern showing smaller, high value farming bordering city boundaries within the multi-modal loop, creating a symbiotic relationship with urban areas, providing locally grown produce and utilizing recycled treated urban waste water for irrigation.

50


51

51


Methodology ƒ Assumed increase in transit use & walk/bike modes would be similar to Fresno Blueprint 4D analysis à A 4-County traffic model is not

available to determine mobility benefits for MRL directly

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When the scope of the Metro Rural Loop Study was originally developed, the Study was to focus on one County – Fresno County. However, it became important to include a larger region -- planning does not stop at the boundaries of Fresno County. As a result, three additional counties were added to the Study – Kings, Madera, and Tulare. As a result of this significant scope change, the scope and magnitude of the land use and transportation modeling process also changed. In addition, the Metro Rural Loop Study was expanded to evaluate two horizon years (Years 2050 and 2110) rather than the original 2110. An implication of these scope changes is that a 4-County traffic model is not available to study the benefits or impacts of the Metro Rural Loop. However, during development of the Fresno County Blueprint, five alternative land use and transportation scenarios were evaluated by Fresno COG. Fresno COG’s Preferred Blueprint Concept is referred to as the “Hybrid” concept, which was primarily based upon the Metro Rural Loop Scenario (Scenario E) together with important elements of three other alternative scenarios. The Fresno County Hybrid scenario is consistent with the smart growth principles of the Metro Rural Loop and the “4D’s” (Diversity, Density, Design and Destination). The 4D’s analysis adjusts the travel model results by considering the benefits of a diverse transportation system including enhancements to transit, walking and biking, the positive mobility impacts associated with higher density development, the improved design and character of the development including benefits of mixing uses on the same parcel or within closer proximity of each other in order to reduce vehicle trips and increase walking and biking, and the proximity of various types of land uses to destinations. The heart of the 4D’s methodology lies in the elasticity's that are used to adjust the vehicle trip and vehicle miles traveled forecasts. These are computed based on data replicating actual travel behavior obtained from household surveys. Regression analysis is used to determine the effect that each of the 4Ds (residential and job density, neighborhood design, diversity of land uses, and proximity to destinations) has on the number of vehicle trips and vehicle miles traveled while holding other factors (household size, income, etc.) constant. Fresno COG applied the 4D’s process to the Year 2050 Hybrid Scenario traffic model forecast to determine the potential adjustments to vehicle trips, vehicle miles traveled, and the potential for a “shift” from vehicle trips to transit and walk/bike trips.


PE1

Metro Rural Loop Transportation System

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Corridor Description/Definition Consistent with the preferred Blueprint land use and transportation concept for Fresno County, the Metro Rural Loop promotes moderate growth and higher density increases, occurring in highly connected â&#x20AC;&#x153;city centersâ&#x20AC;?. Referencing Figure 2, the transportation system includes new transportation corridors connecting to urban centers such as the Southeast Growth Area (SEGA), systems being planned as part of the Fresno County Public Transportation Infrastructure Study (PTIS), plans for light rail in Tulare County, and plans for High Speed Rail through the San Joaquin Valley connecting the 4-county region with the rest of the State.

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Potential Corridor Cross-Sections

Rural & Urban village conditions with transit at side 54

A series of potential or conceptual cross-sections have been prepared to graphically show how various modes of transportation can be accommodated along the Metro Rural Loop. Not all segments of the Loop would include each of the modes depicted in the graphics. The modes accommodated along various segments of the Loop would depend on the segment location (urban vs. rural area), the size of the community served (large city vs. smaller cities vs. unincorporated communities, and other considerations.

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Potential Corridor Cross-Sections

Rural conditions with transit in the middle 55

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Potential Corridor Cross-Sections

Rural conditions with transit at side 56

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Potential Corridor Cross-Sections

Urban Center conditions with transit in the middle 57

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Potential Corridor Cross-Sections

Urban Center conditions with transit on the side 58

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Mobility Benefits Â&#x192; Comparing trip results of the Fresno Blueprint Year 2050 Hybrid Scenario (primarily based on the Fresno Blueprint Metro Rural Loop Scenario) to the Status Quo Scenario (continued growth patterns) resulted in significant mobility benefits Transportation Benefits of Fresno Blueprint "Hybrid" Scenario (Primarily Based Upon the Metro Rural Loop Scenario) Vehicle Miles Traveled Daily Vehicle Trips Vehicle Miles Traveled in Congestion Minutes of Delay Per Household Per Day Total Daily Transit Trips Share of Automobile Trips Share of Transit Trips Share of Walk/Bike Trips

Percent Change Compared to the Status Quo Scenario -31% -31% -181% -104% +385% -9% +483% +174%

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The table above shows that the Fresno County Blueprint Hybrid Scenario, which is primarily based upon the Metro Rural Loop concept, resulted in significant reductions in vehicle trips, vehicle miles traveled, and delay, and increased transit and walk/bike trips. Because Fresno County has a larger number and concentrations of employment and population than the other three counties included in this Metro Rural Loop Study, the reductions and increases shown in the table above would likely be lower in the three other counties. However, even if the reductions/increases were less than shown, the benefits compared to the Status Quo and various other scenarios studied in each of the counties would still result in the highest reductions in vehicle trips, vehicle miles traveled and travel delay and highest increases in transit and walk/bike trips. This is due to the densities, types of land uses, and the availability of a wide range of mobility options associated with the Metro Rural Loop concept.


Findings Â&#x192; Metro Rural Loop provides the network that links the counties & their communities with the State & the nation Â&#x192; Travel options are achieved with the Metro Rural Loop reducing reliance on the automobile Â&#x192; Compact urban centers will result in shorter trips & reduced congestion

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The Metro Rural Loop will provide the network that links the counties and each of the communities within those counties to each other, as well as to the rest of the State and nation. A wide range of travel options will be available to residents and businesses in the 4-County region. People in the compact urban centers will be able to walk, bicycle or take a bus to school, to work or to shop, thus reducing reliance on the automobile. People moving between centers will be able to drive or use transit or passenger rail systems. Greater choices and shorter trips will help reduce congestion, save time and money, and alleviate the stress of waiting in traffic.


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Potential Economic Benefits ƒ Economic Benefits – increased efficiency in the movement of goods & people will support economic development efforts ƒ Environmental Benefits – improved air quality & reduced greenhouse gas emissions ƒ Overall Quality of Life Benefits – economic & environmental benefits could combine to increase the regional quality of life for current & future residents & workers 62

The Central Valley of California is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decades. The Metro Rural Loop region faces significant challenges in accommodating the expected growth, while maintaining and enhancing its quality of life. Concerns over the conflicts between urbanization and agriculture; over mobility, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions; and over economic development and the overall quality of life exist today and are likely to intensify in the future. The potential economic benefits of the Metro Rural Loop are similar to those of major transportation/ transit investments in other regions. The potential benefits of concentrated growth in existing communities are also similar to those of other regions, with particular benefits associated with the agricultural industry in the Central Valley. Economic Benefits. Increased mobility and connectivity will allow for the efficient movements of goods and people as the region’s population and economy grow. Potential elements of the Metro Rural Loop, a new regional airport and a new truck tollway, could also improve the regions accessibility from a national and international perspective. Also, the California high-speed rail project with its stations in the four counties would also be better connected to communities in the region by the Metro Rural Loop improvements. The concentration of growth in existing communities that may be associated with the Metro Rural Loop will support concentrated economic development efforts in these communities. It will also reduce the overall rate of farmland conversion and reduce the future extent of this conversion, supporting the ongoing vitality of the agricultural industry, a critical Central Valley industry.


MRL-Induced Drivers of Economic Benefits ƒ Mobility/connectivity ƒ Transit use ƒ Patterns of urban growth ƒ Agriculture/environmental

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The potential benefits of the Metro Rural Loop are associated with changes in (1) mobility, (2) transit use, (3) patterns of urban growth, and (4) agriculture/environmental. Each of these benefit areas is discussed below. The specific benefits to the Central Valley will depend on the final plan for the Metro Rural Loop and the specifics of its implementation.


Mobility/Connectivity ƒ Efficient transportation between population & job centers supports economic development à Supports more efficient vehicular &

commercial traffic as well as increased transit ridership à Reduced travel times facilitate efficient mobility of people & goods in the region à Multi-modal transportation networks improve the region’s competitiveness in attracting, retaining, & creating employment 64 base The Metro Rural Loop is a proposal to connect four Central Valley counties —Fresno, Madera, Kern, and Tulare—and their existing communities with a major new investment in transportation infrastructure. The Metro Rural Loop is envisioned as a multi-modal transportation network loop, providing new transit and automobile travel alternatives between Central Valley communities. As part of the investment in the Metro Rural Loop, additional investments would be made in the “spokes” of the Loop, enhancing transit options from the Loop to locations within it. MOBILITY/ CONNECTIVITY Significant population and job growth typically lead to increasing congestion on existing transportation infrastructure within and between regions. Convenient and fast transportation connections between population and job centers within a region are important to economic development, as are the increased mode choices that will result from Metro Rural Loop. Strategic transportation investments that enhance capacity across a range of transportation modes can support the efficient movement of people and goods even as significant growth occurs. Potential benefits of the Metro Rural Loop include: Increased Travel Capacity. The Metro Rural Loop would support an increased level of vehicular and commercial traffic as well as transit ridership in the region. The I-405 corridor in Washington State, for example, currently accommodates about 900,000 trips. Under full buildout of its Master Plan, the corridor will be able to accommodate over 1.5 million trips by expanding public transit by 50 percent, adding 1,700 new vanpools, 5,000 new park-n-ride spaces, and expanding the capacity of the existing highway infrastructure. Improved Travel Times. Reduction in average travel times, in the short to medium term, could be achieved through the cumulative positive impacts that the Metro Rural Loop could provide. First, increased capacity in limited access highways has shown to reduce travel times, at least in the short run until growth catches up. Second, enhanced access to public transit will reduce vehicle trips, further reducing automobile congestion. Third, concentrated land use patterns in the region are more likely to facilitate the convenient, timely, and efficient mobility of people and goods throughout the region. The I-405 corridor plan in Washington State is anticipated to reduce the time stuck in traffic by over 13 million hours per year—approximately 40 hours per year per regular user—and produce time savings valued at $569 million per year. A proposal to establish a multi-modal transportation corridor between Boulder and Denver could result in a reduction in travel time of up to 20 minutes. In addition, the Greater Toronto Area estimates that driving times will increase by over 45 percent because of congestion if current growth trends continue, and, as such, the region is pursuing the creation of an integrated multi-modal transit corridor to limit these increases. Improved Competitiveness of Existing Communities. Multi-modal transportation networks establish physical connectivity between several localities and provide a significant competitive advantage when seeking to attract, retain, and create the job base that is envisioned. Given that “exurbs” or “boomburbs” are anticipated to experience significant job growth in the future, providing a sophisticated, multi-modal link will place the region in position to maximize its economic development potential by removing barriers that might have previously been obstacles. Citations: The I-405 Corridor Program; http://www.wadot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/00EF1E58-404B-4725-87911973E5285A8B/0/MasterPlan 052808.pdf

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Transit Use ƒ Benefits of increased transit use include: à Improvements in air quality à Reduction in greenhouse gas

emissions with reductions in vehicular miles & travel times à Potential increases in “productive” time on Wi-Fi enabled modern transit

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TRANSIT USE Significant growth in the Central Valley will lead to more cars on the road and continued challenges in meeting air quality and emerging greenhouse gas regulatory standards. Increased transit ridership has the potential to not only increase mobility, but also to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The success of transit investments is dependent on the quality of service, the routes selected, and the pattern of growth in the region. Potential benefits of the Metro Rural Loop include: Improvements in Air Quality. Vehicular trips on Central Valley roads have contributed to air quality challenges in the region. An increase in transit ridership reduces the per person emissions and, by extension, the air quality impacts of travel within the region. Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Multi-modal transit corridors can potentially provide the opportunity for regions to limit the production of green-house gases. The reduction in travel times and vehicular miles is anticipated to decrease the carbon emissions from vehicles in the region. Additionally, the presence of public transit and increase in ridership has also been shown to reduce green-house auto emissions through a reduction in vehicular trips.

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Patterns of Growth ƒ The benefits of concentrated patterns of urban growth include: à Reduced farmland conversion à Reduced infrastructure investment

costs à Improved urban form & community definition à Creation of active urban places that are attractive to a broader range of high-value employees & businesses

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PATTERNS OF GROWTH A more concentrated pattern of urban growth focused around existing communities and linked by the Metro Rural Loop could provide a number of benefits. In addition to supporting higher levels of transit ridership, it could also provide focused opportunities for compact development and as a result provide the following benefits. Reduced Farmland Conversion. The concentration of new growth in existing communities and in existing urbanized areas can reduce the level of land consumption required to accommodate new growth. To the extent that the Metro Rural Loop encourages a concentration of new development in existing communities and supports some level of compact development, there are likely to be lower levels of farmland and open space conversion. Reduced Infrastructure Investment Costs. The Metro Rural Loop will itself represent a significant new investment in public infrastructure. Once established, to the extent that growth is centered around existing communities and is less dispersed than otherwise, cities and developers may experience infrastructure cost savings by limiting the need to expand water, wastewater, local road, and other infrastructure systems. Urban Form and Community Definition. The Metro Rural Loop could enhance the vitality of existing communities, and could also result in the creation of agricultural and open space buffers between communities. This physical differentiation of communities can, in some cases, provide a strengthened urban form and sense of community. This in turn can strengthen the region’s attractiveness to family households with walkable neighborhoods, close by recreational opportunities, and other elements of urban form that support a healthier family lifestyle. At the same time, focused investment in downtowns, both the more urban character of Downtown Fresno and the small town character of the downtowns in other communities can make the area more attractive to a broader range of high-value employees and businesses. Increasing the diversity of high-quality communities will encourage residents to stay within the region through all the stages of their life.

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Agricultural Industry/Habitat Lands ƒ Agriculture is a principal industry in the Central Valley’s economy ƒ The preservation of productive farmland is critical to the success of the region’s economy ƒ The Metro Rural Loop project could discourage the spread of growth into agricultural land & environmentally sensitive habitat lands 67

In addition to the investment in transportation infrastructure, the Metro Rural Loop proposal encourages a land use pattern that focuses continued investment and growth in existing communities and discourages the spread of growth into the most valuable of agricultural or habitat lands. AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY The Metro Rural Loop is planned for one of the most agriculturally productive and valuable areas in the United States. The Metro Rural Loop traverses four counties that combined account for a significant percent of California’s gross agricultural production value. Agriculture is a driving industry in the Central Valley directly employing a significant proportion of the workforce and indirectly accounting for significant additional economic activity. A potential benefit of the Metro Rural Loop is: Support of Agricultural Industry. Thousands of acres of farmland in California are lost to other uses each year. The preservation of a critical mass of highly productive agricultural land is critical to the continued success of Central Valley agriculture which directly accounts for a significant proportion of the region’s economic output and income. To the extent the Metro Rural Loop helps reduce farmland conversion, the Metro Rural Loop could contribute to the ongoing scale and strength of the agricultural industry in the Central Valley. In addition, compact patterns of development can also create improved opportunities to utilize treated effluent for irrigation and ground water recharge which could support more intensive and higher-value crop agriculture within the region.

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Methodology

ƒ Results of the Strategic Farmland Study dataset, UC Davis, & the State GIS data clearinghouse were incorporated into the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping for the Metro Rural Loop Study

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The Metro Rural Loop land use model (described previously) utilizes Geographic Information System (GIS) data describing the region’s land use, environmental, and demographic conditions to perform a land suitability analysis, project future land use demand based on user-defined demographic growth projections, allocate this demand to suitable locations, and evaluate the likely impacts of alternative land use and infrastructure policy choices and assumptions. The model’s minimum base data requirement is the community’s existing land use data, although for this Study other data was acquired such as slopes, important farmland, and protected resource lands.

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Concepts Â&#x192; Agricultural lands between the transportation network & surrounding communities within the Metro Rural Loop will be provided with buffers & transitions from urban development to allow agricultural operations to thrive Â&#x192; The reuse of treated storm water runoff & sewage for ground water recharge & direct irrigation can be provided 70 Although regulations address the relationship between urban and agricultural land uses, conflicts still occur between them. The Metro Rural Loop envisions a buffering strategy that minimizes these conflicts, to the benefit of farming operations and urban developments. Stormwater recycling has the potential to deliver water to agriculture. Stormwater can be stored for reuse by methods including Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), underground tanks and existing drainage and sewerage pipe infrastructure, as well as ponds, lakes, wetlands, inflatable storages, tanks, barrages across waterways and natural and man-made canals. The potential for use of this water for agricultural purposes is significant. The possibility of increasing the amount of groundwater available to agriculture in the region through the use of recycled water and stormwater is a key consideration as the Metro Rural Loop moves toward reality. Recycled water, stormwater, groundwater and surface water interactions in the region can be improved under the Metro Rural Loop concept with a view to improving and sustaining the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agricultural productivity.

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Concepts Â&#x192; Composting of portions of solid waste would be available Â&#x192; The potential for use of green houses, drip irrigation, organic farming techniques, & other strategies could be pursued to maximize the potential for highquality local food sources

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Composted municipal solid waste has been used successfully to improve the physical and chemical properties of soils and increase the growth of various plant species. Studies also indicate that composted landfill waste has many potential uses in producing various agricultural crops. Within the Metro Rural Loop there will be open spaces preserved for agriculture; especially organic farming. These lands can support and maximize the potential for high-quality locally-grown food sources, while at the same time continuing to be the top food production region in the nation.

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Benefits Â&#x192; A more comprehensive system of community gardens can bring agriculture into the community & serve as transitions from commercial agriculture into urban development Â&#x192; The Metro Rural Loop transportation network would provide for improved access of value-added commercial produce to regional & international markets 72

Community gardens can transform vacant lots and bring diversity to public open space and other areas, making them a useful tool for urban improvement by diversifying the use of open space and creating the opportunity for passive and active recreation. Community gardens will also enhance the urban environment through serving as transitions between the urban and rural environments, and the diversity of plant types found in community gardens provides habitat for urban wildlife, increasing their value for improving the natural environment. One of the most important benefits of the Metro Rural Loop is its ability to provide for improved goods movement and access within the 4-County region and enhanced access for value-added commercial produce to other regional and international markets. Our most important resource is agriculture. He Metro Rural Loop would ensure that the transport of agricultural commodities is sustainable well into the future.

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Recommendations Â&#x192; The preservation of productive farmland is critical to the success of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agriculture Â&#x192; The Metro Rural Loop project could discourage the spread of growth into agricultural land & environmentally sensitive habitat lands 73

We must continue to explore the new international emphasis on efficient land use and transportation relationships represented by compact development in general and transit-oriented (compact) development (TOD) in particular, and connect these ideas with the clean energy, water stewardship, and farmland preservation policies necessary in the 4-County region to support the permanent synergistic coexistence of cities and agriculture. The Metro Rural Loop provides the opportunity to work together (land use policy, agriculture, transportation, and the environment) to help meet these regional, State, national and global challenges.

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Methodology Â&#x192; Local agency Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping was applied during the land use modeling process to identify sensitive resource lands within the 4-County Study Area

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Geographic Information System (GIS) data describing the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s environmental and resource lands was prepared and utilized in the land use modeling process (described previously).

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Concepts

ƒ The greening of streets, both in terms of street trees & stormwater management systems, can: à Provide & protect habitat àReduce urban heat island effects àReduce the impacts of impervious area on the open spaces within & adjacent to communities

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Our region’s streets and highways are more than thoroughfares for vehicles; they serve as public spaces where people walk, meet, shop, dine and enjoy the range of activities that are part of urban living. Transportation corridors can also perform important recreational and ecological functions by forming linear parks, managing stormwater runoff, cooling paved surfaces and creating corridors for urban wildlife like birds and butterflies. The Metro Rural Loop provides the opportunity to implement context sensitive designs that incorporate these additional services, while efficiently accommodating the various modes of travel.

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Concepts ƒ Stream corridors can be enhanced with riparian areas & oak woodlands between the communities ƒ The Metro Rural Loop network & urban streams can be daylighted & protected within urban development to become a community asset

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In urban design and urban planning, daylighting is the redirection of a stream into an above-ground channel. Typically, the goal is to restore a stream of water to a more natural state. Daylighting is intended to improve riparian environment for a stream which had been previously diverted into a culvert, pipe, or a drainage system. The term also refers to the public process toward such projects. A general consensus has developed that protecting and restoring natural creeks' functions is achievable over time in an urban environment while recognizing the importance of property rights. The Metro Rural Loop is envisioned to protect and restore natural areas within the urban and rural environment through daylighting to enhance the quality of the urban environs and to protect rural area resources from further encroachment and degradation. Notes and references 1. "Joint Creeks Task Force Planning Commission Public Hearing: March 22, 2006” (PDF). Creeks Task Force. Planning and Development, City of Berkeley. 2006-0322. http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/planning/landuse/creeks/2006/EPackets/20060322/200 60322CTFPCPH.pdf. Retrieved on 2006-06-06.

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Benefits ƒ Regional parks & trail corridors can be designed to balance the recreational needs of the residents of the four counties while also providing wildlife corridors that will allow the region’s resources to thrive

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A regional framework is needed to preserve open spaces such as regional parks and wildlife corridors. These spaces require that open space preservation take place at the regional, multi-county scale. The forces influencing development patterns occur at the regional scale—a regional economy, housing market and transportation network. And the resources we want to protect also occur at the regional scale—regional parks, rivers, and wildlife corridors. Thus, the priorities for conservation should be set within a regional framework.

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Recommendations Â&#x192; Preserving natural resource lands can be achieved with implementation of the Metro Rural Loop, which will foster higher densities in cities & communities

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Development guided by the Metro Rural Loop concept can minimize air and water pollution, encourage brownfields clean-up and reuse, and preserve natural lands. Where and how we grow directly affects our natural areas and wildlife habitat. Development patterns and practices. Implementation of the Metro Rural Loop can lessen the environmental impacts of development by providing for compact development, reduced impervious surfaces, preserving environmentally sensitive areas, mixing land uses (e.g., homes, offices, and retail development), increasing transit accessibility, and providing for improved pedestrian and bicycle systems and amenities. The Metro Rural Loop envisions a pattern of land development that uses land efficiently, reinforces community vitality and protects natural resources. The Metro Rural Loop is all about promoting development that is good for the economy, community and the environment. Key environmental benefits of the Metro Rural Loop include the protection of farm and forest land; preservation of important natural and historic features of the region, including natural areas, water resources, air quality, scenic resources, and historic sites and districts, providing public access to formal and informal open spaces, including parks, playgrounds, public greens, water bodies, forests and mountains, and encouraging and strengthening agricultural and forest enterprises.

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NEXT STEPS Â&#x192; Develop a formal regional collaboration process & structure inclusive of the four counties of Fresno, Madera, Tulare & Kings & their 30 incorporated cities related to the Metro Rural Loop & regional land use policies 81

The City of Fresno in partnership with the Fresno COG applied for and received a Caltrans Partnership Planning Grant to develop a formal regional collaboration process and structure inclusive of the four counties (Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare) and their 30 incorporated cities related to the Metro Rural Loop and regional land use policies required to implement its proposed high capacity multi-modal corridor system adopted in the Fresno Blueprint Process.

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Keith Bergthold (559) 621-8049 -orTrai Her (559) 621-8003

Georgiena Vivian (559) 259-9257

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Appendix A Metro Rural Loop Multi-Jurisdictional Workshop February 29, 2008 INTRODUCTION

The Multi-Jurisdictional Workshop On Friday, February 29, 2008, the City of Fresno Planning Department hosted a multi-jurisdictional workshop with key stakeholders regarding the Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study. The event took place from 12:00 to 4:30 PM in the new Exhibit Hall at the Fresno Convention Center. The purpose of the workshop was to bring stakeholders together to discuss the proposed Metro Rural Loop alignment alternatives and gather data on the future (Year 2110) of transportation and land use in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare Counties. The Metro Rural Loop The Metro Rural Loop (Loop) is an innovative regional land use and economic development approach envisioning a multimodal, multicity and multicounty, transit-oriented transportation corridor system. It would directly and efficiently link the development of the majority of 30 incorporated cities in Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare counties. The Loop would define one of the most significant, sustainable and effective smart-growth-oriented regional metropolitan areas in the State of California. Metro Rural Loop is conceived as a system of region-connecting, high-capacity, multimodal transportation corridors supported by regional land use policies that lead the development of transit-oriented bands and nodes of global quality industry, commerce, residential, public, and recreational open spaces along corridors, while protecting significant amounts of farmland for long-term food production. Metro Rural Loop transportation corridors would offer a transit-focused


combination of light-rail transit (LRT), goods movement rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), dedicated truck lanes, and other modes that sustain regional mobility, and connect SMART, compact, walkable New Urbanist Town centers and villages. These areas would be bounded and interconnected by urban forests and regional trails designed to permanently protect and integrate strategic and community agriculture, environmental and habitat lands, historic landscapes, neighborhoods, and buildings, and conserve water and energy while reducing carbon emissions and increasing air quality. All would be managed collaboratively through a network of public-private partnerships dedicated to sustainable, high-quality, urban and regional development, cooperation, and competitiveness.

Development Department) to ensure that every county and each City within the four county area were represented at the workshop. Members of the Metro Rural Loop Regional Land Use and Corridor Preservation Feasibility Study Committee called the meeting "an historic milestone workshop" because of the unusual collaboration between jurisdictions and the interest exhibited by all who attended.

WORKSHOP OVERVIEW The workshop was advertised through email, phone calls and letters sent by regular mail. The following stakeholders were invited to the workshop: ♦ Planning Commissioners, Planning and Economic Development Staff from the Cities and Counties of Fresno, Madera, Tulare, and Kings County ♦ Councils of Government Associations from Counties, (Fresno COG, MCTC, TCAG, KCAG) ♦ Federal, State, County and City Elected Officials and Staff ♦ Leaders and Representatives from Transportation, Community Health, Air Quality, Ag Land Preservation, Schools, Development Community, Business and Non-Profit Associations. ♦ All local media

The workshop agenda focused on how staff has set parameters for regional cooperation, established base demographic and land-use projections, and the preparation of preferred land-use and multi-modal network alternatives.

A considerable amount of time and effort was expended by Keith Bergthold and Trai Her (both with the City if Fresno Planning and

Over 150 people attended the workshop, including representatives from 24 of the 30 incorporated cities, each of the four counties and

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COGs, elected officials at the city, county and state levels, representatives from public and private entities or stakeholder groups, local media, and Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, who welcomed the participants. Every participant received a folder containing a set of workshop questions, 11/17 mapping of the Metro Rural Loop alternatives, and agenda. Large (24 X 36) display maps of two Metro Rural Loop alternatives were provided to each table, as well as transparencies and markers to graphically identify break-out session comments regarding the preferred alternative. REGIONAL COOPERATION â&#x20AC;&#x201C; MULTI-CITY AND COUNTY TOUR Keith Bergthold, Assistant Director of Planning and Development with the City of Fresno provided an overview of how regional cooperation was secured for the Study. He explained how he and County Blueprint staff conducted a multi-city/multi-county tour over a period of approximately 4 months. During the tour, he and Blueprint staff visited all 4 COGs, each of the County Board of Supervisors, and a majority of the 30 incorporated cities to brief them on the Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study and to solicit their feedback regarding the Study, corridor concepts, and alternative alignments. Considering input and comments received from the COGs and local jurisdictions, as well as input from the Metro Rural Loop Regional Land Use and Corridor Preservation Feasibility Study Committee representatives, the following preferred alignment map was developed.

INTRODUCTIONS, METRO RURAL LOOP HISTORY AND WORKSHOP OVERVIEW The workshop commenced with welcome remarks from Mayor Alan Autry of the City of Fresno. The Mayor focused his remarks on regional cooperation and realizing a vision for the future of the Central San Joaquin Valley to address air quality issues and our ability to compete globally. Keith Bergthold and John Wright, Community Development Director with the City of Clovis provided a brief overview of the purpose and goals of the workshop and the dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agenda.

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Georgiena Vivian with VRPA Technologies, Inc., the lead Study consultant and Phil Erickson, President of Community, Design + Architecture, provided an explanation of the various study tasks to be completed in accordance with the Partnership seed grant. . PROJECT STATUS Reports were then given by Keith Bergthold, Georgiena Vivian, and Phil Erickson regarding the parameters for regional cooperation, establishment of base demographic and land use projections, and preparation of land use and transportation network alternatives. Demographic projections developed by Economic Planning Systems (EPS), set the stage for development of the alternative land use and transportation alternatives. Referencing the chart below, approximately 3.7 million people will reside in the Central San Joaquin Introductions of all workshop participants we followed by comments from Blueprint staff members in the audience to relate the significance of the Metro Rural Loop to the Blueprint planning process and how the two studies are tied together as we move forward toward the Year 2050 and beyond. Keith Bergthold then presented highlights of the California Partnership seed grant, which is funding a portion of the Feasibility Study together with planning funds from the City of Fresno. .

Metro Rural Loop â&#x20AC;˘ STUDY COMPONENTS

Land Use / Economic Feasibility

Regional Cooperation

Regional Planning Efforts & Studies Transportation

Habitat / Resource Conservation

Baseline Projections 2050-2110 County

2050

2110

Fresno

1,928,411 3,837,659

Madera

413,569 1,042,881

Tulare Kings Total

1,026,755 2,035,464 352,750

795,654

3,721,485 7,711,659

Ag Preservation

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Valley by the Year 2050 and over 7.7 million will make the Central Valley their home by the Year 2110. LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION NETWORK ALTERNATIVES This portion of the workshop included an interactive exercise where participants were able to roll up their sleeves and use the maps to identify their preferences for land use and transportation where the Metro Rural Loop is concerned. Summaries of their comments were transcribed and appear in the next section. The group was divided into 12 subgroups and given 1 hour and 30 minutes to develop answers to the prepared questions. Groups were assigned at random with table leaders designated by workshop facilitators. Display mapping around the room provided participants with a â&#x20AC;&#x153;first cutâ&#x20AC;? at lining out how the Metro Rural Loop would be implemented during 20 Year phases (Years 2030, 2050, 2070, 2090, and 2110). Each of the displays is provided to the right. The maps are conceptual, but provide a graphic overview of how the Metro Rural Loop may emerge over time.

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IDENTIFY CONCEPTUAL CORRIDOR PRIORITIES In an effort to engage the workshop participants and receive feedback from their local and regional perspectives, seven break-out groups were formed to review and comment on the Metro Rural Loop land use and transportation alternatives (Alternatives A and B). At the end of the prescribed exercise timeframe, each table leader gave a synopsis of his tableâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s priorities, comments, concerns and praises for the work presented. Alternative A below focused on expanded spheres of influence, new communities, will infill and revitalization of cores and corridors.

Alternative B (above) focused on holding growth tighter to the existing spheres of influence, providing fewer new communities, more focus on infill and revitalization of cores and corridors, refined agriculture and resource protection areas, and the relocation of Fresno Yosemite International (FYI) airport.

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Summary of Participant Comments Table 1

♦ Combine all open space into a single category. Clearly identify

areas that need to be protected and consider how wildlife will traverse the Metro Rural Loop

Table 2 • Transit issues exist with regard to technologies not yet available today. Will light rail and buses exist in 2110? Over the long-term, monorail or magnetic levitation systems may be better options.

♦ Shift SR 65 so it does not divide Little Dry Creek in the Lost Lake ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

area Provide more spokes going out to Metro Rural Loop Concentrate development along the MRL corridor and/or at the nodes Extend the SR 99 western bypass south of Hanford and connect back to SR 99 at Pixley Create defined, beautiful, desirable communities, not just density SW Fresno area should be expanded Proposed new location of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport needs further assessment. Good concept, but maybe not the right location Define growth boundaries and hold them

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Will aircraft be the same? New technologies may allow the airport to remain where it is Define Academy Avenue as a subloop The SR 99 western bypass should be closer to SR 99 and extend further in each direction Not in favor of new airport location Consider new sites for higher education facilities Too few connections to recreational areas, lakes, mountains, etc.

7


Table 3 ♦ Good job identifying transit corridors. Some of these will be growth inducing, so we need to be careful. We want the growth to occur where it is planned and makes the most sense

Table 4

♦ Concerned about what venue will exist for further discussion ♦ Are communities planning for 2110? Are they planning to be

♦ Consider expanding to a larger region for the airport. Merced

might be a good choice

♦ Regional revenue sharing – overcome competition for new growth ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

and development Do we have water storage to accommodate growth? Ensure local flexibility and buyoff – regional planning sometimes inhibits local support Need local flexibility for implementation The Metro Rural Loop should accommodate market conditions

larger or smaller? Is everyone interested in growing the same amount? ♦ Is the loop going to take people where they really want to go? Does it make sense? ♦ Establish buffers to enable each community to maintain its sense of community identity

8


Table 5 ♦ Keep connectivity in core areas ♦ Extend passenger rail to more communities, especially Lemoore ♦ Airport location concept is good

Table 6 ♦ Add more connectivity between Visalia and Lemoore ♦ Extend the SR 99 bypass further north and south ♦ The Loop alignment is a concern ♦ East side commuter rail may not be viable ♦ Need increased north-south capacity in rail links ♦ Airport relocation outside the metro area is a good idea. Need conservation easements around the airport to prevent development encroachment ♦ Need to identify agricultural land preservation spaces ♦ Maintain momentum!

♦ Focus on increased densities and preservation/protection of

beautiful, sensitive areas

♦ Collaboration with other counties is the most difficult and the most

important part of this process ♦ Would like to see multi-layers, easier to read maps

9


Table 7

Table 8 • Preserve agriculture and wildlife • Move SR 99 bypass west and out of wildlife areas. Shift further west of Madera and coordinate with Merced County • The area proposed for the airport is foggier than where it is now. Consider moving it to the industrial area south of Fresno along SR 99 • Designate a “dry farming” area to the east • Preserve open space and avoid growth inducement • Create urban villages to keep urban development from creeping down loops • Create wild life easements • Grow toward SR 65

♦ Locate subloops along existing corridors ♦ The SR 99 bypass should follow High Speed Rail corridor ♦ Proposed growth does not match community identities, slow

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

growth in unincorporated communities verses higher growth the cities. Don’t move the airport Mapping doesn’t show retail, job centers, etc. Transportation, especially mass transit, must be convenient to retail and jobs Need a regional industrial park/employment center Need to establish growth limitations and revenue sharing Water availability and air quality are key concerns

10


Table 9

Table 10 ♦ Proposed new airport location is generally okay but very close to wastewater treatment plant. Need to be sure we pay attention to wild life in that area. ♦ Need transit connections to airport. Need to consider whether Lemoore NAS and FYI can coexist west of SR 99 ♦ Expand the loop out between Dinuba and Orosi ♦ The High Speed Rail hub should be located along SR 152 east of

♦ Consider the High Speed Rail alignment and its relationship to the

Metro Rural Loop ♦ The proposed new airport location could make sense. It provides good connection to Hanford ♦ Western SR 99 bypass – Make connection to the north and south. Opportunities exist to involve Kern County in the Metro Rural Loop planning process

Chowchilla ♦ Support mixed-use/increased density concepts

11


Table 11 Table 12 • • •

Move the SR 99 western bypass further west to avoid agricultural land Provide loop access to the City of Lemoore Need to identify types of transportation corridors to avoid encouraging more growth in the eastern communities

♦ Concerned with growth – focus on infill and redevelopment ♦ Supportive of enhanced transit ♦ Support relocation of FYI with passenger and freight linkages.

Need to identify airport’s compatibility with Lemoore Naval Air Station ♦ Rights-of-way should accommodate bicycle usage ♦ Academy Avenue should be a spoke of subloop • Keep development out of the foothills

12


Polling (“Clicker”) Exercise The final exercise of the afternoon was an interactive polling, or “clicker”, exercise using Turning Point software and clickers loaned by Fresno COG and TCAG. Each workshop participant was given a “clicker” similar to those used on television game shows, such as “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for the purpose of voting on questions prepared by the Metro Rural Loop Team. Results of the polling are provided below.

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13


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of

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14


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16


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18


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. .. . .. r .. .. al . e tr ro . tr e me q u o v n n h i i b e C nv Ce hig pr he e a e e t e th ce th ate rve ve f th o w u w lit se ro llo red allo aci pre mp All a f l i l l li l il ill l l l i il i w It w t w w w It I It It It w

19


mapping has been finalized to reflect the input and comment received, the Study Team will begin the process of analyzing the transportation system benefits and feasibility; the economic benefits and feasibility, and prepare a draft report for review and comment by all interested parties. The Partnership Grant requires that the final report be made available by June 30, 2008, so the draft report should be available for review and comment in May or early June. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION The mapping, PowerPoint presentation slides, and other graphics provided in this report and at the workshop can be found at: http://www.fresno.gov/Government/DepartmentDirectory/Plannin gandDevelopment/Planning/Ongoing+Planning+Studies.htm For other available Study materials and documents, please contact: NEXT STEPS Keith Bergthold and Georgiena Vivian provided an overview of the “next steps” of the Feasibility Study and how the “momentum” would be maintained over the next few months. The next step in this challenging planning process will be to meet with each of the COGs and the local agency planning staff in each of their counties to gather additional input on the suggested changes to the land use and transportation mapping. Based upon comment received at the workshop, it appears that Alternative B is the “favored” alternative that should be the focus of further study. Once the

♦ Trai

Her, City Trai.Her@fresno.gov

of

Fresno,

(559)

621-8003,

To discuss the Metro Rural Loop Feasibility Study with the Study Team, please contact: ♦ Keith

Bergthold, City of Keith.Bergthold@fresno.gov

Fresno,

(559)

621-8049,

- OR ♦ Georgiena Vivian, VRPA Technologies, Inc., (559) 259-9257,

gvivian@vrpatechnologies.com

20

Metro Loop Fesability Study (draft)  

A Network of Green Cities and Agriculture Connected by the Metro Rural Loop

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