Bay Area Transportation/Land-Use Plan Being Developed

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are reaching out to minority and low-income communities for assistance in the development of Plan Bay Area, a 25-year transportation investment and land-use strategy for the nine-county region from 2015 through 2040.

The agencies are working with 14 community-based organizations to help ensure that people living in communities of concern have opportunities to make their voices heard about how the region should grow. The community-based outreach is happening concurrently with Plan Bay Area public workshops being held this spring in each of the nine Bay Area counties.

MTC and ABAG used a competitive process to select the community-based organizations to make the outreach possible. Partnerships with community-based organizations also helped spur development of the Bay Area’s two most recent regional transportation plans.. By contracting with more community-based organizations, and scheduling more events, MTC has stepped up its outreach effort for the Plan Bay Area process, which is scheduled to conclude in the spring of 2013. Plan Bay Area will be the region’s first transportation and land-use plan to incorporate the Sustainable Communities Strategy mandated by state Senate Bill 375, which was signed into law in 2008.

“We’re looking to get direct input from people about what they think will work best in their communities,” said MTC Chair and San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. “A critical part of this effort is hearing from people who live in underserved communities. That’s the only way to build a long-term transportation and land-use plan that meets the needs of the entire region.”

“The community-based meetings are designed to accommodate the needs of people who may not have the income, transportation options or time off from work to attend one of the county workshops,” explained MTC Public Information Officer Pam Grove. “In some communities there may also be language barriers that make participation in the county workshops more difficult. We make it easier by going to where low-income residents live and by providing translation services.”

Grove cited MTC staff’s participation in last week’s Roseland Cinco de Mayo Festival in Sonoma County as an example. “We had a great time. Not only did the volunteers from KBBF Radio Bilingual collect about 400 surveys printed in Spanish asking festival-goers about their regional growth priorities, but the food was fantastic, and they even baked a cake for us!”

Earlier this week, Grove and MTC Planner Brenda Dix drove to San Jose for a lunchtime presentation at a community meeting of the Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation, or VIVO. More than 150 people turned out to learn more about Plan Bay Area’s goal of sustaining the region’s economic vitality, environmental quality and social equity while accommodating some 2 million additional residents by 2040. A Vietnamese translator, on hand to make sure everyone could understand the presentation, facilitated dialogue by translating back and forth when audience members had questions for the staff members.

Other community-based organizations with which MTC and ABAG are working include Causa Justa/Just Cause, South Hayward Parish and Youth Radio in Alameda County; Monument Community Partnership and Opportunity West in Contra Costa County; the Grassroots Leadership Network of Marin; Asian Inc. and People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) in San Francisco; Housing Leadership Council and Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center in San Mateo County; the San Jose Downtown Association in Santa Clara County; and Dixon Family Services in Solano County.

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

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