Can the Bay Area Grow Up Without Growing Out?

John King writes about an ambitious new regional plan for the Bay Area that looks to accommodate the 1.1 million new jobs and 2.1 million new residents expected by 2040, with relatively little suburban sprawl.
March 20, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Plan Bay Area, which was presented last week to a joint meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments, has been a year in the making. Part of a state-mandated plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the plan "is the latest attempt to encourage local governments to accept higher-density growth as part of an effort to create communities where jobs, housing, shopping and recreational space all are within convenient reach," notes King.

Based on expected demographic trends and changes in tastes that will drive a market for urban living, the plan would focus development in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, and along such corridors as El Camino Real on the Peninsula and San Pablo Avenue from Oakland to Richmond.

The plan, however, is not without its detractors. "'Everything here is cookie-cutter,' said Richard Willis of Corte Madera, referring to the plan's enthusiasm for putting apartments and condominiums near transit. 'If you want to deny that this (Agenda 21) is the basis of your plan, you're in la-la land.'"

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Published on Saturday, March 17, 2012 in San Francisco Chronicle
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