Executive Director’s Monthly Report, October 2022
REGIONAL EARLY ACTION PROGRAM (REAP) 2.0 PROGRAM UPDATE
Since the approval of the REAP 2.0 Program Framework by the Regional Council (RC) in July, staff has continued outreach efforts to develop specific programs using the framework as a guiding document. This has included targeted outreach to the Subregional Councils of Governments to inform the development of the Subregional Partnership Program 2.0 Guidelines, engagement with the County Transportation Commissions (CTC) to better understand opportunities and define project concepts to be incorporated into CTC Partnership Program, and soliciting feedback on the program guidelines for the Connect SoCal Sustainable Communities Program (SCP) Call 4: Civic Engagement, Equity and Environmental Justice. Most recently, SCAG held a series of 20 engagement activities to refine the development of the Programs to Accelerate Transformative Housing (PATH) program through one-on-one meetings, listening sessions and presentations. These engagements allowed SCAG staff to solicit stakeholder input on the proposed focus areas and prioritization of projects.
As SCAG continues to shape the program, staff will engage stakeholders through various outreach efforts that target disadvantaged communities. Program guidelines will be brought to policy committees and the RC for approval. Key program updates to highlight include: the CTC Partnership Program guidelines are currently available for public comment and will be recommended for approval at the Transportation Committee (TC) and RC in November 2022, after being presented to TC on Oct. 6. The PATH program is also currently available for public comment, and after being presented to the Community, Economic and Human Development (CEHD) Policy Committee on Oct. 6, will be recommended for approval at CEHD and RC on Nov. 3. The SCP Call 4 guidelines are planned to be approved by the RC in January 2023. Staff will seek authorization from the Executive Administration Committee (EAC) to submit the final REAP 2.0 program application to the state before the Dec. 31 deadline.
REGISTRATION OPEN FOR 2022 ECONOMIC SUMMIT
On Thursday, Dec. 1, SCAG will host the 13th annual Southern California Economic Summit at the Sheraton Grand in downtown Los Angeles. The theme of this year’s summit is “Resourcing the Region.” Southern California is uniquely rich in both natural and economic resources. We are also leading the way financially, with a major influx of federal and state funding slated to come to the region. Still, there is a growing need for improvement in workforce development and education.
Join us, along with Southern California’s business and civic leaders, to assess the status of the region’s economy and define strategies for keeping Southern California a national and international economic powerhouse. Don’t wait to register – early bird registration ends Oct. 28. Elected officials and city managers may attend for free. Learn more and register to attend at scag.ca.gov/economicsummit.
REGIONAL ADVANCED MITIGATION PLANNING ADVISORY TASK GROUP (RAMP-ATG) UPDATE
The RAMP-ATG has continued work toward the policy framework that they were tasked with by the Regional Council. RAMP is a proven process for expediting project delivery by planning for required mitigation to reduce environmental impacts earlier in the planning process and at a wider scale. After five meetings of the RAMP-ATG, staff released a white paper on the concept of RAMP and the draft policy framework last April. Since then, staff has conducted outreach with key stakeholders on the draft policy framework.
Next week’s public sector stakeholder meeting is one of the final outreach milestones to incorporate feedback into this draft policy framework. We will ask public sector stakeholders for input on the composition and role of the technical advisory committee, which will consult with SCAG staff to ensure the SoCal Greenprint tool – which has data and scenario visualizations primarily intended to support lead agencies in pursuing mitigations – can become a useful resource for RAMP and is aligned with local priorities and opportunities, as outlined in the draft policy framework.
DEMOGRAPHIC WORKSHOP OUTLINED CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE “NEW NORMAL”
Last month, SCAG and the USC Price School of Public Policy co-hosted the 33rd annual Demographic Workshop, which was attended virtually by over 250 people and brought together 18 topic area experts around the theme of “Forecasting the New Normal.”
While some key post-pandemic data are still missing, California’s population in the middle of this century is likely to be over a million people less than we thought three years ago due to fewer births, more deaths and a steep drop in immigration. However, the state is still growing in the age groups that need more housing—undersupply risks inequality, displacement, delayed life ambitions, and losing workers and taxpayers to other places. While Southern California and other large regions lost more migrants during the peak of the pandemic, this trend has generally subsided in the last twelve months. Our region’s economy and natural amenities do continue to attract talented, educated workers. While most out-migrants cite housing cost, price appreciation is now faster in states Californians are moving to. Regional housing production trends are encouraging, but the nationwide increase of institutionally-owned single-family rental properties is concerning, especially for communities of color.
The pandemic-driven trend toward remote work shows promise but most implications are still unclear. Unbundling housing from work travel can yield welfare gains, and competition for footloose workers between cities may stimulate innovation. Service sector growth in new places could yield benefits even for in-person industry workers. Understanding the sustainability implications of remote work includes assessing both environmental and behavioral outcomes. The racialized consequences also vary – remote work can provide opportunities, but policymakers must be mindful of heterogeneous impacts by race and class.
Presentations and videos for the 2-day event can be found at scag.ca.gov/demographics alongside a report on newly-available Census Bureau data for the region.
LOCAL DATA EXCHANGE (LDX) PROCESS FOR CONNECT SOCAL 2024 UPDATES
SCAG’s Local Information Services Team (LIST) has set a goal of holding one-on-one meetings with every jurisdiction in the region over the course of 2022. These meetings, approximately 90 minutes each, allow staff to discuss the maps in their local context, provide background on the development of Connect SoCal 2024, and provide training on available tools in the Regional Data Platform to local jurisdictions. To date, LIST members have held one-on-one LDX meetings with more than 100 cities and counties in the region – over 50 percent of the region’s jurisdictions! Detailed information about the LDX process can be found in a letter that was sent via email to all city managers and Planning Directors in May 2022 from SCAG Planning Director Sarah Jepson. To schedule your own meeting with the LDX team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOOLBOX TUESDAY: OTHER-TO-RESIDENTIAL (OTR) LAND USE TOOLKIT
On Sept. 27, SCAG held a live demonstration of the OTR Land Use Toolkit, which is a toolkit developed in collaboration with Studio One Eleven, South Bay Cities Council of Governments, and the USC Price School of Public Policy. The mounting housing shortage in the SCAG region has created the need for finding innovative ways to increase the housing supply. The OTR Toolkit provides an actionable guide to envisioning the reuse and conversion of underutilized sites in the SCAG region that fit the retail commercial, brownfield, gas station and underutilized golf course typologies.
A recording and materials for the sessions are available on the Toolbox Tuesday website where you can also register for the upcoming Oct. 18 training on CEQA 101 and the Connect SoCal Program Environmental Impact Report.
GO HUMAN PROGRAM UPDATES
Go Human Mini Grants
The Go Human Mini-Grants projects wrapped up in September 2022. In this fourth funding round of the program, SCAG awarded over $350,000 to 24 organizations to implement 26 projects. Awardees shared and built local knowledge, activated streets with temporary safety improvements and art installations, and hosted community events to drive momentum and support for essential safety improvements. This program reached over 300,000 people across each of the six counties of the region. Additionally, 20 awardees distributed over 600 bicycle helmets with helmet fitting guides.
SCAG has produced videos on projects led by Public Matters (Los Angeles County), Community Intelligence (Los Angeles County), Highlanders Boxing Club (San Bernardino County), and Arts Council for Long Beach (Los Angeles County)—with more to come!
SCAG’s Go Human program makes its Kit of Parts lending library of materials available to partners across the region to temporarily demonstrate safety improvements and street redesigns. In September, the City of Laguna Niguel and the Century Villages at Cabrillo, a 27-acre affordable housing complex in Long Beach, deployed the artistic crosswalk from the Kit of Parts to demonstrate pedestrian safety improvements. In Laguna Niguel, the artistic crosswalk demonstration was held at Niguel Hills Middle School and promoted the start of an artistic crosswalk design contest, which will be used to select the artwork that will be permanently installed at the intersection. At the Century Villages at Cabrillo, the crosswalk was used as an education and feedback opportunity in conjunction with the End of Summer Block Party, where activities included community resource tables, a BBQ, live music and games.
Celebrating Pedestrian Safety Month by Committing to Safety
To recognize California Pedestrian Safety Month in September, SCAG implemented a Safety Storytelling Campaign in partnership with local jurisdictions and community organizations. The campaign called on jurisdictions to take action and commit to safety. New pledge signatories were provided with traffic safety messaging resources to carry out commitments, including multilingual paid social media campaigns, printed banners, lawn signs and photobooths for outreach events. Congratulations to the following eight agencies and offices that signed the Safety Pledge this September and made a commitment to traffic safety:
- City of Alhambra
- City of Indio
- City of San Bernardino
- City of South El Monte
- City of Yorba Linda
- Santa Ana Department of Public Works
- Orange County Healthcare Association
- California State Assembly District, 47th District
Take action today and sign the Go Human Safety Pledge: scag.ca.gov/scag-safety-pledge
SCAG LEADERSHIP ATTENDS VIENNA SOCIAL HOUSING FIELD STUDY
From Sept. 11 to 17, SCAG leadership including immediate past President Clint Lorimore, Deputy Director of Planning for Land Use Jenna Hornstock and Housing Program Manager Jacob Noonan, attended a field study program in Vienna, Austria. The SCAG team joined a delegation of 50 elected officials, developers, philanthropy, land use and finance experts as well as community-based organizations to learn about Vienna’s social housing model. Nearly 60 percent of Vienna’s 1.9 million population lives in some form of social housing, which is driven by development of publicly owned land. This includes households at a range of income levels from extremely low up through moderate income. The delegation learned from the city’s staff that manage and drive programs, toured various social housing sites, and participated in interactive discussions about lessons learned. Staff will provide a presentation to the EAC at the Nov. 2 meeting and will identify additional opportunities to share learnings and support member cities and counties interested in adapting these innovative models to serve the housing needs of the SCAG region.
SCAG SHARES KNOWLEDGE AT INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY CONVENTION
ITS World Congress was held in Los Angeles from Sept. 18 to 22. SCAG staff, including Executive Director Kome Ajise, spoke on various event panels including: “How Technology and Driving Behavior Data are Transforming Road Management for Safe, Equitable, and Sustainable Mobility” and “Achieving Environmental Justice Through Innovative Freight Logistics and Decarbonization.” SCAG staff also spoke on a panel about a recent System Dynamics pilot project with WSP to ITS World Congress attendees.