Beware of Draconian Urbanization Plan

While you were busy celebrating the holidays and the Antioch City Council was taking a break from their usual biweekly meetings, a lot was happening elsewhere.

At year’s end Governor Jerry Brown announced he signed 745 new bills passed by the Legislature this year, many of which he deemed “useless” but commenting that for many lawmakers it’s the only thing they have to show for their time at the Capitol!

Regional planners also announced they would soon be holding public workshops to present alternatives to a new plan they call One Bay Area” – a state-mandated plan to promote “smart growth” policies, purported to be the solution to urban sprawl, highway congestion, air pollution, blight and social inequity by encouraging high-density, mixed-use housing adjacent to transit corridors.

The plan being developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments, which would further deteriorate local control, is similar to a $750,000 plan entitled Shaping Our Future (SOF) adopted the County Board of Supervisors back in 2006 and similar to a regional plan “Focusing Our Vision, adopted by ABAG, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District shortly after the county adopted SOF.

The One Bay Plan, which would apply to all transportation and development planning in the nine Bay Area Counties through 2035, however, is more draconian as it could deny cities and counties that fail to follow the mandates millions of dollars in grants and incentives from the regional agencies.

Ironically, the first “transit village” built in Contra Costa County at the Pleasant Hill BART area didn’t increase ridership on public transit. A survey showed that 69% of the people who worked in the Pleasant Hill BART transit development area drove to work in single occupancy vehicles, 12% carpooled, 14% took public transit and 2% walked.

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