The Plan for the Future Bill Is the Climate Boost California Needs

SB 932 will require cities and counties to add safe streets for biking and walking to their general plans — and then build them.

Governor signs SB 932 to accelerate green cities

California is hurtling toward a changed climate with increasing velocity. In a state plagued by drought and wildfires, it’s essential that we do everything we can to mitigate the crisis. The Plan for the Future Bill (SB 932) is a critical step in the right direction. The bill will accelerate the transition to green cities that not only reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions but also create safer and healthier communities.

The Plan for the Future Bill will:

  • Require cities and counties to update the circulation element of their general plans by 2024 to include “a balanced, multimodal transportation network … and to ensure that the plan includes bicycle and pedestrian plans and traffic calming plans for any urbanized area[.]”
  • Mandate that cities and counties begin to implement those plans within two years after the adoption of the new circulation element.
  • Establish a grant program to help cities build Complete Streets.

SB 932 is an ambitious piece of legislation — and that’s exactly what we need in the face of a crisis as dire as our warming planet.

CalBike thanks Governor Newsom for signing this critical bill, and we applaud our allies, Senator Anthony Portantino and Streets for All.

Complete Streets
City DOT leaders - can they pave the way to a greener future?

What is a general plan?

California requires local government bodies to create a general plan outlining long-term planning goals and tactics. 

What entities create general plans? 

Every California city and county must create a general plan.

How often are general plans updated?

Typically, local governments must update their general plans every 10 to 15 years. In practice, cities and counties don’t always update their plans within the specified time frame, and the California Office of Planning and Research may grant extensions. Local governments must give a yearly progress report to the state on the housing element of their plans. 

The Plan for the Future Bill would require every California city and county to update the circulation element of its general plan by June 30, 2024, to include a “balanced, multi-modal network” that facilitates active transportation.

How long do cities have to implement a general plan?

The OPR website calls general plans a “blueprint” for the future. In many cases, general plans don’t dictate specific future projects but outline a community’s priorities and goals, which will guide future planning.

The Plan for the Future Bill adds teeth to the circulation element of general plans by requiring that cities begin construction of the Complete Streets envisioned in their revised plans within two years.