Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, and Alameda County, along with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) as the coalition lead, have received an US EPA Brownfields Grant for $550,000. This grant funds environmental site assessments, which will confirm or remove suspicion of contamination on land with the potential for new housing and businesses. Part of the East Bay Corridors Initiative, these communities are reinvesting to improve health and access to opportunity in identified areas near transit. "Without ABAG serving as the coalition lead, we would not have access to this funding. We are very pleased that this grant will allow us take the next step to revitalizing our communities and work toward meeting regional carbon emissions goals," stated Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday.
The coalition's proposal focuses on a 15 mile corridor of downtowns and mixed-use neighborhoods that have been identified by coalition members as Priority Development Areas (PDAs) -- transit-rich places planned by cities for mixed-income housing, commercial development, and local services. The five BART stations within this corridor connect residents to nearly a million jobs, as well as regional educational and cultural opportunities. The region's first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route is scheduled to start along this corridor in 2017.
In 2013, Bay Area elected officials adopted Plan Bay Area—a blueprint for growth and transportation investment that achieves the State of California's GHG emissions reduction target for the region. The foundation of Plan Bay Area's sustainable growth strategy is a network of PDAs.
The PDAs that make up the grant target area are expected to add 44,000 new housing units and 58,000 new jobs by 2040. Land use plans recently adopted by coalition members for these PDAs set the stage for implementation by identifying opportunity sites for a mix of housing, employment, local services, and public spaces to create dense walkable communities. These sites are typically vacant, large enough for significant redevelopment that fulfills a community vision, and in need of assessment to confirm or remove suspicion of contaminants presence. Grant-funded assessments are expected to begin Fall 2016.