Learn more about the Drive Less Sonoma County Campaign
The Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy, adopted by the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) in 2021, maps out an ambitious set of initiatives to achieve a goal of carbon neutrality in Sonoma County by 2030.
How are we tracking towards our 2030 goal? RPCA’s most recent greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for 2018 showed that GHG emissions in Sonoma County were 13 percent below 1990 levels. To achieve our 2030 goal, we need to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels and increase the amount of carbon absorbed by our urban and rural green spaces.
The largest source of emissions in Sonoma County is transportation, roughly 60 percent of our total emissions. Reducing our transportation emissions is difficult because of the spread-out nature of development in Sonoma County. Our land use patterns combined with the lack of safe, connected, low-stress bike and pedestrian routes make it more challenging to travel to work, school, and other destinations without a car.
To reduce emissions from transportation, we need to make it easier to get around without a car and, for trips not possible by biking or walking, accelerate the transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles.
One of the critical strategies in RCPA’s Sonoma Climate Mobilization is the Drive Less Sonoma County Campaign. This strategy has two objectives designed to make it easier to get around Sonoma County by biking and walking:
- Implement low-stress bike and pedestrian facilities (e.g., pathways, bike lanes, sidewalks) connecting major transit hubs, schools, parks, employment centers, medical facilities, and other vital destinations.
- Implement the Sonoma County Vision Zero Action Plan recommendations to make walking and biking safer.
In addition, the Drive Less campaign aims to improve transit services and implement policies that reduce driving, such as bike share and employer commute programs.
The bicycle and pedestrian pathways planned for the Southeast Greenway are an excellent example of the infrastructure envisioned in the Drive Less campaign. When completed, the Greenway pathways will provide a safe and enjoyable way to travel from Montgomery High School to Spring Lake Regional Park without a car.
With sufficient funding and community support, the Drive Less campaign will connect the Greenway pathways into a much more extensive network of low-stress routes. These routes will allow more people to get where they want to go without a car and move us closer to our 2030 emissions reduction goal.
By Tanya Narath, Southeast Greenway Volunteer and Director of Climate Programs, RCPA