Air Quality Element

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Executive Summary, 1994

Please Note: This Executive Summary of the Air Quality Element of the General Plan, published by the City of Glendale, Planning Department in February, 1994, is provided only as a a reference for the citizens of Glendale and the Internet community. For a complete copy of the General Plan or the Air Quality Element, please contact the Community Development Department at (818) 548-2140.

The Air Quality Element of the City's General Plan is created to recognize and consider the relationship between land use and air quality in Glendale's planning efforts, to identify ways in which Glendale can reduce its emissions of air pollutants through various policies and programs, and to comply with the regions' Air Quality Management Plan.

The overall goal of this element is for Glendale, as a city within a four-county air basin, to assist other governmental agencies in the attainment of healthful air for Glendale and other air basin residents, including those sensitive to air pollution. The Air Quality Element is an optional element of the General Plan as authorized by Section 65303 of the Government Code.

This element begins by identifying the need for, and contents of an air quality element. Pollutants and their sources are identified to provide a better understanding of effective methods to reduce pollution. For example, since 96% of carbon monoxide emissions come from mobile sources, stationary source control would not provide much benefit in reducing carbon monoxide emissions. In contrast, particulate emissions come from a wide variety of sources, including natural windblown dust. These emissions are more difficult to control. Air toxics are also addressed, since recent information has demonstrated their control to be of great importance to human health and the environment.

After the development of goals and policy objectives, the Air Quality Element identifies existing; new or expanded programs by which the City can reduce air pollution. The element then evaluates these goals, policies, and programs. First, their relationship to other plans, including other general plan elements is addressed. The element then evaluates their compliance with other regulations. The development of a local air quality element is promoted as a means to comprehensively address local air quality programs required by the 1991 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP), prepared jointly by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

The AQMP is the method by which the Southern California region demonstrates compliance with the Federal Clean Air Act, an act that has established maximum allowable pollutant concentrations. The AQMP identifies air pollution control measures to be undertaken by the Air Resources Board, SCAQMD, and other governmental agencies. It also sets air pollution reduction targets to be achieved by local governments. Without all localities in Southern California reducing emissions above and beyond those reduced by other governmental agencies, federal clean air standards could not be achieved. In addition to the continued health, property, and quality of life costs associated with polluted air, non-compliance with the Federal Clean Air Act could result in a loss of federal funds to the region, along with other possible federal sanctions.

The method called for in the AQMP to achieve emission reductions locally is through the elimination of vehicle trips and vehicle miles traveled. Vehicle trips are responsible for the majority of pollutants in Southern California, and can be reduced through appropriate land-use planning at the local level. The SCAQMD has calculated regional vehicle trip reductions needed to achieve clean air. These trip reductions were then distributed among the four counties regulated by the SCAQMD. The SCAQMD gave the responsibility to determine vehicle trip reduction targets for each locality to the County transportation authorities. Glendale is required by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) to eliminate 5,235 daily vehicle trips, (about one percent of its daily vehicle trips) by 1994. This element identifies existing programs by the City which attempts to meet this target and new or expanded programs to meet this and future trip reduction targets. While the City's existing programs do not quite meet the target, the programs demonstrate the reduction of over 90% of the trips in this target. Future programs identified in this element would bring Glendale above the target trip reduction.

The preparation of this element began with the West San Gabriel Valley Air Quality Plan. Funded through a demonstration grant by the Air Quality Management District, sixteen member cities of the West San Gabriel Valley Planning Council (Alhambra, Arcadia, Duarte, El Monte, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, South Pasadena and Temple City) agreed in January, 1992 to participate in the development of an area wide air quality plan that could be adopted in some form by each local jurisdiction. Gruen Associates was hired to prepare the plan.

The first step in the West San Gabriel Valley Air Quality Plan process was to conduct a series of 20 interviews with staff members and elected officials of the participating jurisdictions. The purpose of the interviews was to determine local concerns and ideas, as well as to better understand the local policy and technical issues of the participating jurisdictions.

The consultant team then prepared an Issues and Opportunities Report, which analyzed the technical and policy issues in the study area. The intent of this report was to provide both local and regional perspectives on the air quality problems and issues of the West San Gabriel Valley. The Issues and Opportunities Report constituted a basis for identifying a menu of strategies that was suited to the West San Gabriel Valley and its cities. A draft menu of measures was developed in June, 1992 for public and jurisdictional discussion and review.

A series of public workshops were held in July, 1992 to elicit public comment on the draft menu of air quality improvement measures. The public was informed of the workshops via mailings, articles, and notices in the local papers. The mailing list included citizens, community groups, and business groups from each of the 16 municipalities, as well as environmental organizations and applicable agencies through the region. The workshops afforded community representatives, business groups, the SCAQMD and individuals the opportunity to express their ideas and concerns regarding the menu of strategies prior to development of the Draft Air Quality Plan. This was followed by a meeting with the SCAQMD to gain the agency’s input on the document. District comments have been included in the plan, which was accepted by participating cities, as a guidance document for the development of individual plans, regulations, or general plan elements.

A local Glendale task force representing builders, major employers, homeowners, the Chamber of Commerce, the Transportation and Parking Commission, the Planning Commission, and City staff met in September and October, 1993 to develop goals, policies and programs for the Air Quality Element. The group identified five goals which were considered to be a desirable future of air quality in Glendale. Policy objectives to achieve these goals were then recommended. The task force used the West San Gabriel Valley Air Quality Plan, as a starting point to discuss existing programs and new or expanded programs which should be included in the element. The task force recommendations proceeded to a joint study session of the City Council, Transportation and Parking Commission, and Planning Commission on October 12, 1993.

The Transportation and Parking Commission was given a draft of the Air Quality Element for review and comment in October,1993. This draft contained the first twelve proposed programs of this element. The Commission, at a public hearing on October 25, 1993, voted unanimously to recommend incorporation of the Air Quality Element into the City’s General Plan with two additional programs as follows:


  • (1) The bicycle master plan to be prepared by the City (Program No. 9) should include consideration of areas where electric “golf-cart” type vehicles may be appropriate; and 
  • (2) A new program (No. 13) should be added which involves assessing the possibility of an electric trolley system (bus or rail) to serve downtown Glendale, and to implement such system as appropriate.
With the above changes, the Planning Commission also recommended inclusion of the element in the City’s General Plan. Recommendations received from SCAG on December 30, 1994 included minor changes to the text and an additional program to encourage alteration or rerouting of truck trips during peak-hour travel periods. These have also been included in the Air Quality Element.

This element has been prepared primarily with emission forecasting and regulations contained in the 1991 AQMP and 1993 Trip Reduction Ordinance Handbook. The Air Quality Element, as a policy and program document, is subject to change due to changing technology, knowledge, or regulations from other governmental levels. Nonetheless, the element demonstrates a long-term commitment on the part of the City of Glendale to achieve healthful air.