Regional Plan For Bay Area Shopped To Officials

Planning for 2 million additional Bay Area residents in 25 years, three regional agencies will tie transportation funding to land use development to promote medium and high density housing within 1/2 mile of transit centers.

A plan has been developed by the 3 Bay Area regional agencies: Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Association of Bay Area Governments, and Bay Area Air Quality Management District, to steer new development in the 9-county Bay Region along its transit corridors, such as BART in the East Bay and Caltrain on the Peninsula.

The 3 agencies have come together in the "Joint Policy Committee" where they are unveiling the plan, initially through seminars to public officials, underwritten by state grants for two years.

"What that development might look like ranges from skyscrapers in metropolitan downtowns to two- to five-story buildings along the Peninsula, according to officials. "There won't be a one-size-fits-all solution, so the type of growth that would fit in San Francisco or Oakland wouldn't necessarily make sense in less urban areas," said Janet McBride, planning director for the Association of Bay Area Governments."

The goal is to ensure the least expense in infrastructure for the population growth by having developments be more transit oriented, while protecting open space.

"To encourage housing near transit, the MTC has begun attaching strings to more than $27 million in annual transportation monies it hands out to local governments, (MTC) agency spokesman John Goodwin said."

"More than 84 percent of the 21 million trips taken on an average weekday by Bay Area residents are by automobile, according to the MTC.

By creating more housing, experts also hope to drive the ever-increasing cost of home ownership in the nine-county Bay Area. "Recent estimates indicate that only about 12 percent of Bay Area households could afford a median-priced home, were they to try and purchase today," officials said.

Full Story: Area growth plan: Build Near Transit

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