Regional Plan Launches to Put Brakes on Driving

Regional planning regulations are being developed to reduce cars and trucks.

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) staff today unveiled an Initial Vision Scenario for the Sustainable Communities Strategy mandated by the 2008 passage of state Senate Bill 375, which requires the Bay Area and other California metro areas to develop integrated regional land-use and transportation plans to meet state targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.

The release of the Initial Vision Scenario provides a starting point for conversations with local governments and Bay Area residents about where new development should occur, and how new long-term transportation investments can serve this new growth. This effort will culminate in 2013 with the adoption of a new long-range plan for the nine-county region. The plan, to be known as Plan Bay Area, will detail a 25-year transportation investment and land-use strategy for 2015-2040, and will be the region’s first such plan to incorporate a Sustainable Communities Strategy.

The Initial Vision Scenario focuses on the location of growth areas around the Bay Area and outlines a future development pattern. It assumes a strong economy in which the region will add some 1.2 million jobs by 2035 and will need 903,000 more housing units than currently are available.  The scenario assumes sufficient funding for affordable housing and supportive public infrastructure investments, but is not a forecast for the region.

“The Initial Vision Scenario makes the most of the Bay Area’s existing infrastructure,” explained MTC Planning Director Doug Kimsey. “It projects that 97 percent of all new households will be accommodated in already urbanized areas, and particularly in cities where residents have access to frequent public transit service. Under this scenario, 70 percent of the growth, or 632,100 new households, will go into places that have been designated ‘close to transit’ by local jurisdictions. And the Bay Area’s biggest cities get even bigger, with San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland together accounting for nearly one-third of all new housing units.”

“The Initial Vision Scenario is a tool to advance dialogue among the Bay Area’s regional agencies, together with our local government partners, nonprofit organizations, business and community groups, and interested Bay Area residents,” said ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport. “Through this collaborative planning effort to strengthen the character and qualities of our neighborhoods and communities, we can tackle the region’s population growth with a mix of housing, while preserving open spaces, protecting our economy, and getting residents where they need to go.”

MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area, and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

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