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How should SJ County transit grow in future?

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POSTED September 3, 2013 1:24 a.m.

In less than 30 years, San Joaquin County will have more than 110,000 additional households.

So how do you accommodate all of those people?

If you’re the San Joaquin Council of Governments, you come up with a long-range transportation investment plan that will not only help plan for the residents of the future, but also help shape the way that transportation services are delivered to current residents.

That means soliciting input from the public – like they did last week in Manteca and in Ripon – about what it is that they’d like to see as part of a 20-year infrastructure master plan that will help provide a template for growth.

It means charts. Graphs. Statistics. But it also means finding out whether people want to see an Altamont Commuter Express station in Modesto or in the new development at River Islands, or if they’d rather invest Federal transportation money into congestion relief and street overhaul efforts or new bus route that connects San Joaquin County’s core communities.

The fact-finding has been going on for months. Planners from SJCOG first started meeting with residents in each of the communities they serve back in July. They have used the most recent round of meetings as a way to hone the message they’ll deliver to the organization’s board of directors as early as next month.

And just because you couldn’t make it out to one of the meetings that the organization held in Manteca or Ripon doesn’t mean that your voice won’t be heard. According to planner Aaron Hoyt, the organization is currently working on an online reporting form that will allow people who don’t have mid-week flexibility – and those in the under-35 demographic that might prefer technology over traditional face-to-face meetings – to submit their input before a final report is delivered.

Thus far the bulk of the comments seem to revolve around having the county develop in a fashion that is in-line with what the individual cities already have laid out in their own respective general plans. The individual facets of the proposal could change – like whether those 110,000 households be predominantly single-family homes, or a mixture of apartments, condominiums and other housing options that provide greater flexibility.

One of the anchor points of the transportation plan is the fact that each of the proposals currently coincides with the mandated greenhouse gas reductions – a five-percent reduction of 2005 levels by 2020 and a 10-percent reduction of 2005 levels by 2035. They also must comply with Federal air pollution standards that — if not met — could threaten transportation funding for projects in the eight counties that span the length of the San Joaquin Valley.

Additional information can be found at www.sjcog.org.

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