Housing under construction in Hillcrest. Photo courtesy Circulate San Diego

Today’s housing and climate crises are pushing local governments and neighborhoods to rethink our mobility and land uses.

More homes are needed to relieve our affordability challenges. If people are to drive less and generate less greenhouse gasses, we need more transit and safer streets. Unfortunately, new ideas are often met with resistance. Too often we see fierce opposition to new homes, new neighbors, and new transportation choices.

Of course, the solution to this dilemma is not to ignore community input. Citizen voices are a cornerstone of good planning.

Fortunately, the City of San Diego is one of many cities around the country that has formal neighborhood groups to inform decisions about land uses and transportation. San Diego’s Community Planning Groups, known as CPGs, are made up of individuals elected by their neighbors to provide a hyper-local voice in municipal decision-making.

For San Diego to meet its climate and affordability challenges, CPG members need to embrace being part of the solution. The Sustainable Growth Community Planners, or SGCP, is a new group that is forming to engage and empower CPG members who believe in addressing climate change, supporting good land use decisions, and implementing equitable transportation policies. We are CPG members from across the City of San Diego who want to make sure our voice as representatives of our communities is heard.

Too often, CPG votes oppose actions that San Diego must take to implement its Climate Action Plan and build homes for everyone. Our advisory votes involve important issues like housing, bike lanes, and community plan updates as well as citywide policies and plans that are heard at the Community Planners Committee, an umbrella group of the chairs of every CPG.

Many CPG members who got involved in their planning group also support similar projects to promote safety and address climate change, but unfortunately find themselves in the minority when their CPG votes. The SGCP will empower and organize CPG members to make sure that their voices are heard through supporting projects, policies, and plans of citywide importance.

The SGCP will accept CPG members from all neighborhoods in the of San Diego who stand for increased active and shared transportation options and who prioritize safe streets and people over storage for cars. We support the building of homes that are sustainable and maximize the building capacity near transit and jobs. We support public investments in underserved communities. The SGCP wants to do its part so that all San Diegans live in neighborhoods where they can live, work, and play.

We plan on making sure our voice is heard when difficult issues go through our CPGs to make sure that San Diego’s future is sustainable. And we will be working closely with Circulate San Diego to get the SGCP started.

Tim Briggs is member of the Greater Golden Hill CPG, Gail Friedt is a member of the Uptown Planners CPG, Rita Mahoney is a member of the Otay Mesa CPG and Eduardo Velasquez is a member of the Greater North Park CPG.

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