MTC Begins Final Phase for Plan Bay Area 2050

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) released its draft Bay Area 2050 Plan on July 8, 2020. Following that milestone, public review and comment over the summer led to modifi­cations and additions that are now being incorporated. These modifications escalated the Plan’s price tag by $668 billion, demon­strating the challenge of building support among the 100 government entities around the Bay. The final Plan Bay Area 2050 is expected to be adopted by the fall of 2021.

The Plan anticipates that the nine-county Bay Area will add 2.5 million new residents and 1.33 million new jobs between 2020 and 2050. The Plan envisions that by 2050 the Bay Area will be affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant. These aspirations are expressed through thirty-five strategies defined as policies or bundles of investments, clustered under eleven categories:

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COVID’s Long Term Impact on Transportation

We’ve taken a hit. COVID is obviously no joke…not something to be taken lightly. While it’s too soon to predict exactly how COVID and its aftermath will affect society, there are a few observations that can safely be made.

The Problem:

Vaccine:  Yes, there could soon be a highly effective vaccine and/or other curative. If so, great….the sooner the better. But what if it takes longer than expected to make these curatives available? Or, what if there are troublesome side effects or if the vaccines and treatments aren’t fully effective? What if another vicious virus comes along, requiring us to go through the whole agonizing process all over again? Even if an effective, early vaccine does become available it will take many months to inoculate a large share of our population.

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Sacramento’s Housing Juggernaut

Livable California is a Statewide group that has sprung up to counter a State Senate juggernaut intent upon jamming in high density housing virtually everywhere in total disregard of what neighborhoods want, affected towns and cities want and affected counties want. Thanks to a significant degree on the hard work and organizing of Livable California, last year’s SB50 went down to a well deserved defeat, in large part because of the State’s one-size-fits-all, meat ax approach to a problem that should be addressed with discretion and flexibility, taking varying locations, densities and neighborhood conditions into account.

The ever-active State Senator Scott Wiener has now, Phoenix-like, re-assembled the tenants of his defeated bill, as embodied in at least nine separate replacement measures, each taking its own bite of the apple. These replacements are not well coordinated. They feature overlapping and sometimes contradictory standards and varying ways of handling such critically important terms as “CEQA Exempt,” “transit-oriented,” “percent affordable housing,” “density bonuses,” and “Opportunity Area.”

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Cause: Dysfunctional Public Institutions / Effect: Regional Transportation in Shambles

For the last 8 years BATWG volunteers have worked to improve Bay Area transportation. In the process we’ve come to realize that in the Nine County Greater Bay Area, many of the region’s jurisdictions and large public agencies are failing to deliver effective transportation solutions and that without significant governmental change there is little chance of their doing so in the future.

Here are a few examples of how and where things have gone awry:

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