Bay Area Agencies Approve Preferred Land Use Scenario and Transportation Investment Strategy

Plan Bay Area Links Local Aspirations with Goals for a Strong Economy, Healthy Environment and Social Equity

OAKLAND, CA, May 18, 2012... At a packed joint meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), officials voted last night to approve a draft long-range guide to the Bay Areas transportation, jobs and housing. The Preferred Land Use and Transportation Investment Strategy is a key milestone in developing the final Plan Bay Area, which is due for adoption in April 2013. MTC also voted to approve the One Bay Area Grants (OBAG) program, and ABAG approved a draft housing allocation methodology for Bay Area cities.

We’ve heard over and over that the publics top priorities are preserving the Bay Areas high quality of life and each community’s unique characteristics, said Ken Kirkey, ABAG planning director. Plan Bay Area will achieve these goals by strengthening the connection between housing, jobs and transportation, by growing jobs and the economy, and by ensuring stewardship of our regions spectacular scenic and natural resources. ABAG President and Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce added that these actions signify the strides we are making toward adopting a long range plan that links local aspirations with goals for a strong economy, healthy environment, and social equity.

The Preferred Land Use and Transportation Investment Strategy approved last night by MTC and ABAG steers Plan Bay Area to promote compact, mixed-use development that combines both residential and commercial uses and is located close to public transit, jobs, schools, shopping, parks, recreation and other amenities.

The approved One Bay Area Grants initiative is an incentive-based program designed to stimulate the production of housing in areas well-served by transportation, particularly public transit. It uses federal transportation dollars to reward jurisdictions that accept housing allocations through the states Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) process and that actually produce housing.

When completed, Plan Bay Area will be the regions 25-year blueprint for transportation, housing and land use policies and investments. California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375, Steinberg) requires that each of the states 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations and in the Bay Area specifically MTC and ABAG develop a long-range plan to reduce per-capita greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. The Bay Area is required to reduce emissions by 7 percent by 2020 and by 15 percent by 2035. SB 375 also requires Plan Bay Area to include a strategy to house by 2035 all of the Bay Areas projected 25-year population growth, without displacing current low-income residents.

The Preferred Land Use and Transportation Investment Strategy will comprise the Plan Bay Area project alternative to be evaluated as part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In December 2012, the agencies expect to release the draft Plan Bay Area and EIR, which will be followed by public hearings throughout the region. MTC and ABAG are due to adopt the final Plan Bay Area and certify the final EIR in April 2013.

In a separate action, ABAG voted last night to approve a draft Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) methodology. The methodology will be used to meet state requirements to include sufficient affordable housing for the Bay Areas projected population growth, so that people won’t have to commute to their jobs from homes outside the Bay Area. ABAG will take final action on the RHNA methodology at its July meeting.

MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Areas transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. ABAG is the council of governments and regional planning agency for the nine counties and 101 cities and towns of the San Francisco Bay region.


Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012
Growing Smarter Together Awards Presented to Distinguished Leader and Local Governments

The Association of Bay Area Governments’ (ABAG) Spring General Assembly featured the presentation of ABAG’s Sixth Annual Growing Smarter Together Awards, honoring the 2012 Distinguished Leader and recognizing four local government projects. Awardees include Distinguished Leader, San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, the Alameda County Public Works Agency, the City of Union City, the Grand Boulevard Initiative, and the City of Palo Alto and Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

Distinguished Leadership Award: San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson
San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson was awarded the 2012 Distinguished Leadership award in recognition of her significant and continuing legacy of leadership and advocacy for regional and local issues. She has been a tireless advocate for public safety, reducing youth gun violence, improving public health, building affordable housing, creating jobs, and protecting the environment. A steward of the region, she provided incomparable leadership and commitment to securing a stable source of funding for ABAG and spearheaded a regional effort to reduce the proliferation of illegal guns in the hands of youth and policy recommendations to reduce the incidence of youth gun violence. She has been a champion of complete healthy communities, starting with her days on the city council in East Palo Alto, continuing as a San Mateo County Supervisor since 1999, as past ABAG President, as past chair of the regional Joint Policy Committee, and statewide through the California State Association of Counties, and nationally through the National Association of Counties. She is considered a model leader, with a quiet persistent style and a consummate diplomat, and coalition-builder.

Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award: Alameda County Public Works Agency for Streetlight Retrofit Project
The Streetlight Retrofit Project implemented by the Alameda County Public Works Agency was recognized for lowering the County’s environmental footprint and providing a savings of $180,000 per year in energy costs throughout unincorporated Alameda County. The replacement of nearly 7000 streetlights with Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures was done in record time, reducing energy use for a savings of 1.7 million kilowatt hours per year. Besides conserving energy and reducing lifecycle and maintenance costs, the LED
lights have improved night visibility and eliminated mercury, lead and other known hazards. This project also encompassed the Board of Supervisors’ vision of promoting the use of small and emerging businesses with 70% subcontractor participation.

Urban Design Award: Union City for Intermodal Station District Connection
The Intermodal Station District Connection created at Union City BART Station features a 25-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian promenade. This specially designed thoroughfare connection extends from the west side of the Union City BART Station, through the Station and to the jobs center to the east on lands zoned for a Research and Development Campus (RDC)—an 80 acre area being developed on under-utilized and vacant industrial lands. This Priority Development Area (PDA) Intermodal Station District creates connections with the promenade spine linking 143 market rate units recently completed and 157 units of affordable housing under construction to business areas and intermodal transportation. Special features include sustainable, living landscapes and streetscapes, with glass canopies embedded with photovoltaic lenses surrounding station entrances.

Public Private Partnership Award: Grand Boulevard Initiative
The Grand Boulevard Initiative is a historic inter-jurisdictional partnership that encompasses the El Camino Real PDA which stretches from Daly City to San Jose. The vision is to transform an auto-centric strip into a series of walkable and bikeable urban neighborhoods with the vision that El Camino Real will become a Grand Boulevard linking communities to promote walking and transit and an improved and meaningful quality of life. Developed under the leadership of Russell Hancock, President/CEO of Joint Ventures Silicon Valley Network, and Michael Scanlon, Executive Director, San Mateo County Transit District, the Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force is a model of public-private partnership. The Task Force includes the collaboration of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, 19 cities, ABAG, MTC and other state and regional agencies, the California Department of Transportation, the Valley Transportation Authority, SamTrans, two Congestion Management Agencies, businesses, non profits, neighborhood advocates, and community organizations. In collaboration, ten guiding principles were crafted and approved by all the local governments and other Task Force members to frame all local related projects: target housing and job growth in strategic areas; encourage compact development with high quality design; create multimodal and pedestrian-oriented settings with strong transit/bike/pedestrian connections; manage parking assets; provide lively public spaces; improve public safety and health; pursue sustainable development, while preserving the unique community character of the cities along the El Camino Real corridor.

On the Ground, Getting It Done Award: City of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto Housing Corporation
In partnership with the City of Palo Alto, The Palo Alto Housing Corporation (PAHC) completed the Tree House Apartments, a green, affordable 35 unit multi-family apartment building, receiving the highest green rating of all multi-family projects at affordable or market rate. Sustainable features include energy efficient heating and air systems, appliances, landscaping, and green construction methods. The Tree House Apartments offer special needs families, persons with disabilities, and persons transitioning from homelessness the choice of 33 studios and two one-bedroom affordable residential units. Residents are also provided with free VTA passes, and on-site services that include language skills, financial literacy and job-skills training. The city, which has partnered with PAHC since 1972, producing over 600 units of affordable rental housing, provided significant funding and assistance with permitting and review process to provide this outstanding example of affordable housing.