Opinion: To Meet Climate Goals, Bay Area Needs More Transit-Oriented Development

The region's transit-oriented development (TOD) plan requires a significant update to achieve the density and housing goals laid out in the MTC's 30-year vision.

2 minute read

November 18, 2021, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


San Francisco Bay Area

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

In a detailed article, Jonathon Kass, transportation policy manager for SPUR, lays out a case for updating the Bay Area's plan for transit-oriented development (TOD), first developed in 2005.

Kass argues that achieving the vision laid out in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)'s Plan Bay Area 2050–a 30-year vision for reaching climate goals, addressing the housing crisis, promoting equity, and improving transportation–requires a focus on transit-oriented communities and a revision of the state's outdated TOD plan, which does not do enough to incentivize effective TOD.

Kass asserts that to overcome local opposition and address community concerns effectively, local jurisdictions will "need incentives to encourage them to plan areas around transit as equitable, sustainable population and job centers. It is MTC’s job to create policies that encourage all communities to advance these regional goals."

According to Kass, the current TOD policy "is not only failing to deliver the transit-oriented communities we need, it is doing harm" with outdated density guidelines and a lack of protections against displacement or incentives for creating jobs or other services in TOD neighborhoods.

Kass provides a list of priorities that the new policy should address. These include: setting density growth targets for existing transit stops, prioritizing commercial development to create jobs and services, mandating community stabilization policies, and eliminating parking requirements.

Read the source article for the full list of suggestions and proposed improvements to the TOD policy.

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