After midnight at the end of a marathon joint meeting, beginning on July 18th, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments approved Plan Bay Area, an integrated transportation and land-use strategy through 2040. This marks the nine-county region’s first regional plan that consolidates policies for transportation, housing and open space into one document. The Plan also meets the target of a 15 percent per-capita reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within the Bay Area by 2030, as required under SB375.
For decades, the LWV of the Bay Area has supported comprehensive planning of this sort for the region. The Plan focuses future regional growth within priority development areas (PDAs), which are neighborhoods within walking distance of frequent transit service. These areas are expected to accommodate 79 percent of new housing and 63 percent of new jobs by 2040. Because we particularly supported a plan that provided incentives for affordable housing and funding for transit, we were pleased that final amendments required a stronger emphasis for provision of local transit service, and linked local grant funding to performance in providing affordable housing together with anti-displacement measures. Some grant funding is also provided for open space protection.
This round of planning, which began three years ago, included varied opportunities for public participation, but also was marked by vocal opposition by Tea Party members and others who showed up en masse at hearings. (See also discussion of public participation in the latest Bay Area Monitor, http://www.bayareamonitor.org)
Letters of support for Plan Bay Area from the LWV Bay Area and from eight of the twenty local Leagues in the Bay Area may be viewed athttp://lwvbayarea.org/advocacy.htm#letters.
Linda Craig, LWVBA
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