Strategy for a Sustainable Region
Draft Plan Bay Area
Table of Contents
Introducing Plan Bay Area Strategy for a Sustainable Region 1
Chapter 1 Setting Our Sights 17
Chapter 2 The Bay Area in 2040 29
Chapter 3 Where We Live, Where We Work 41
Chapter 4 Investments 61
Chapter 5 Performance 95
Chapter 6 A Plan to Build On 121
What’s Next for Plan Bay Area? 135
Appendix 1 Supplementary Reports and Additional Resources 137
Appendix 2 Maps 139
Strategy for a Sustainable Region
Most of us living in the nine counties that touch San Francisco Bay are accustomed to saying we live in “the Bay Area.” This simple phrase speaks volumes — and underscores a shared regional identity. The 7 million of
us who call the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area home have a strong interest in protecting the wealth of features that make our region a magnet for people and businesses from around the globe.
The Bay Area is, after all, the world’s 21st-largest economy. The natural beauty of San Francisco Bay and the communities surrounding it,
“The Bay Area has made farsighted regional planning a top priority for decades.”
our Mediterranean climate, extensive system of interconnected parks and open space, advanced mass transit system, top-notch educational institutions, and rich cultural heritage continue to draw people who seek better opportunities. Yet we cannot take for granted that we will be able to sustain and improve our quality of life for current and future generations.
With our region’s population projected to swell to some 9 million people by 2040, Plan Bay Area charts a course for accommodating this growth while fostering an innovative, prosperous and competitive economy; preserving a healthy and safe environment; and allowing all Bay Area residents to share the benefits of vibrant, sustainable communities connected by an efficient and well-maintained transportation network.
A Legacy of Leadership
Plan Bay Area, while comprehensive and forward-reaching, is an evolutionary document. The Bay Area has made farsighted regional planning a top priority for decades. Previous generations recognized the need for a mass transit system, including regional systems such as BART and Caltrain that have helped make our region the envy of other metropolitan areas. Our transbay bridges add cohesion to the regional transportation system by connecting communities across the bay. Likewise, we owe our system of parks and open space to past generations of leaders who realized that a balance between urbanized areas and open space was essential to a healthy environment and vibrant communities.
Plan Bay Area extends this legacy of leadership, doing more of what we’ve done well while also mapping new strategies to face new challenges. Among the new challenges are the requirements of California’s landmark 2008 climate law (SB 375, Steinberg): to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks, and to accommodate all needed housing growth within our nine counties. By coordinating future land uses with our long-term transportation investments, Plan Bay Area meets these challenges head on — without compromising local control of land-use decisions. Each of the Bay Area’s nine counties and 101 cities must decide for themselves what is best for their citizens and their communities.
Building Upon Local Plans and Strategies
For over a decade, local governments and regional agencies have been working together to en-
courage the growth of jobs and production of housing in areas supported by amenities and in- frastructure. In 2008, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) created a regional initiative to support these local efforts called FOCUS. In recent years, this initiative has helped to link local community development aspirations with regional land use and transportation planning objectives. Local governments have identified Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs), and these form the implementing framework for Plan Bay Area.
PDAs are areas where new development will support the day-to-day needs of
residents and workers in a pedestrian-friendly environment served by transit.
While PDAs were originally established to address housing needs in infill
communities, they have been broadened to advance focused employment growth.
Local jurisdictions have defined the character of their PDAs according to
existing conditions and future expectations as regional centers, city centers,
suburban centers or transit town centers, among other place types. PCAs are
regionally significant open spaces for which there exists broad consensus for
long-term protection but nearer-term development pressure. PDAs and PCAs
complement one another because promoting development within PDAs takes
development pressure off the region’s open space and agricultural lands.
Building upon the collaborative approach established through FOCUS, local input has driven the set of alternative scenarios that preceded and informed the development of Plan Bay Area.
The non-profit and business communities also played a key role in shaping the plan. Business groups highlighted the need for more affordable workforce housing, removing regulatory barriers to infill development, and addressing infrastructure needs at rapidly growing employment centers. Environmental organizations emphasized the need to improve transit access, retain open space, provide an adequate supply of housing to limit the number of people com- muting into the region from nearby counties, and direct discretionary transportation funding to communities building housing in PDAs. Equity organizations focused on increasing access to housing and employment for residents of all income categories throughout the region, and establishing policies to limit the displacement of existing residents as PDAs grow and evolve. All of these diverse voices strengthened this plan.
Setting Our Sights
Developing a long-range land use and transportation plan for California’s second-largest metropolitan region, covering about 7,000 square miles across nine Bay Area counties, is no simple task. We set our sights on this challenge by emphasizing an open, inclusive public outreach process and adopting objective performance standards based on federal and state requirements to measure our progress during the planning process.
We reached out to the people who matter most – the 7 million people who live in the region. Thousands of people participated in stakeholder sessions, public workshops, telephone and internet surveys, and more. Befitting the Bay Area, the public outreach process was boisterous and contentious. Key stakeholders also included the region’s 101 cities and nine counties; our fellow
regional agencies, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District; community-based organizations and advocacy groups, and some three dozen regional transportation partners. (See “Plan Bay Area Prompts Robust Dialogue on Transportation and Housing,” in Chapter 1.)
Establishing Performance Targets
Before proposing a land use distribution approach or recommending a transportation investment strategy, planners must formulate in concrete terms the hoped-for outcomes. For Plan Bay Area, performance targets are an essential means of informing and allowing for a discussion of quantitative metrics. After months of discussion and debate, ABAG and MTC adopted 10 targets in January 2011, reflecting input from the broad range of stakeholders engaged in the process.
Two of the targets are not only ambitious; they are also mandated by state law. The first man- datory target addresses climate protection by requiring the Bay Area to reduce its per-capita CO2 emissions from cars and light-duty trucks by 15 percent by 2040. The second mandatory target addresses adequate housing by requiring the region to house 100 percent of its project- ed population growth by income level. Plan Bay Area achieves both these major milestones.
The eight voluntary targets seek to promote healthy and safe communities by reducing pre- mature deaths from air pollution, reducing injuries and fatalities from collisions, increasing the amount of time people walk or cycle for transportation, and protecting open space and agricultural lands. Other targets address equity concerns, economic vitality and transportation system effectiveness. Plan Bay Area meets some, but not all, of the voluntary targets. (See Chapter 1, Table 1 for a summary of all the Plan Bay Area performance targets.)
Planning Scenarios Take Aim at Performance Targets
Taken together, the Plan Bay Area performance targets outline a framework that allows us to better understand how different projects and policies might affect the region’s future. With the targets clearly identified, MTC and ABAG formulated possible scenarios — combinations of land use patterns and transportation investments — that could be evaluated together to see if (and by how much), they achieved (or fell short of) the performance targets. An iterative pro- cess of scenario-testing begun in 2010 yielded preferred alternatives, both for transportation investments and a land use strategy. Adopted by the boards of MTC and ABAG in May 2012, they form this draft Plan Bay Area.
Looking Toward the Future
ABAG and MTC track and forecast the region’s demographics and economic trends to inform and guide Plan Bay Area investments and policy decisions. The forecasts reflect the best pic- ture we have of what the Bay Area may look like in 2040, so that today’s decisions may align with tomorrow’s expected transportation and housing needs. These forecasts form the basis for developing the regional land use plan for Plan Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), and, in turn, the region’s transportation investment strategy.
Projections in three main areas informed development of the plan: population, employment and housing. Here are some highlights of each.
The demographic implications of these topline numbers are far-reaching, and some trends in particular weighed heavily in the development of Plan Bay Area. These are touched on below and examined in greater detail in Chapter 2.
Aging Baby Boomers Expected to Change Travel and Development Patterns
The U.S. Census Bureau defines baby boomers as people who were born between 1946 and 1964 during the post-World War II baby boom. By 2040 the oldest baby boomers will be in their 90s and the youngest will be in their 70s. Today, people who are 65 and over represent 12 percent of the Bay Area’s total population, but by 2040 the number of seniors will increase to 22 percent. That’s more than 1 in 5 people in our region. It is expected that many of these seniors will relocate to smaller homes in more urban locations to have easier access to essential services and amenities and the Bay Area’s extensive transit system.
Mobility will be a special challenge for seniors who lose their ability to drive. MTC’s Lifeline Transportation Program supports projects that address mobility and accessibility needs of low-in- come and disabled people throughout the region. Between 2006 and 2012, roughly $172 million was invested to support about 220 projects. Closely related are MTC programs that provide funding to sustain and improve mobility for elderly and disabled persons in accordance with and even beyond the requirements
of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These types of projects have included travel training, sidewalk and bus stop improvements, supportive ride programs and other community initiatives. Plan Bay Area reaffirms the importance of Lifeline and Elderly & Disabled programs by adding over $800 million in discretionary funding for the Lifeline program, and almost $240 million for the Elderly & Disabled programs over the 28-year period of the plan.
Increased Racial and Ethnic Diversity Will Increase Demand for Multifamily Housing
The Bay Area and California are at the forefront of one of the greatest demographic changes in our nation’s history: growth in the Latino population. In January 2013 the California Depart- ment of Finance projected that the state’s Hispanic population will equal the non-Hispanic white population by mid-2013. By early 2014 it expects that California’s Hispanic population will have become a plurality for the first time in state history.
Figure 1 Share of Population by Race and Ethnicity, 2010 and 2040
This state forecast aligns with Plan Bay Area’s projection that by 2040 the Bay Area population will become substantially more racially and ethnically diverse. Latinos will emerge as the largest ethnic group, increasing from 23 percent to 35 percent of the total population. The number of Asians also will increase, growing from 21 percent to about 24 percent of the population. Both population groups have demonstrated an historic preference for multifamily housing, and they form multigenerational households at a higher rate than the general population. This is expected to drive higher demand for multifamily housing, in contrast to the historic development pattern of building primarily single-family homes. Likewise, many Latinos and Asians rely more on public transit than non-Hispanic whites. This, too, is expected to increase demand for a robust transit system that makes it easier for people who don’t own cars to commute, shop and access essential services.
Demand for Multi-Unit Housing in Urban Areas Close to Transit Expected to Increase
Single-family homes represent the majority of housing production in recent decades, but recent trends suggest that cities once again are becoming centers of population growth. Construction of multifamily housing in urban locations in the Bay Area increased from an average of 35 percent of total housing construction in the 1990s to nearly 50 percent in
the 2000s. In 2010 it represented 65 percent of all housing construction.
As discussed above, demand for multifamily housing is projected to increase as seniors downsize and seek homes in more urban locations. The growing numbers of Latino and Asian households will create a similar shift in the housing market. Finally, population growth of those aged 34 and younger is expected to have a similar effect, as this demographic group also demonstrates a greater preference for multifamily housing. All told, the number of people per Bay Area household is expected to increase from 2.69 in 2010 to 2.75 in 2040. Market demand for new homes will tilt toward townhomes, condominiums and apartments in developed areas near transit, shops and services.
Building a Development Pattern That Aligns With Where We Live and Work
Plan Bay Area provides a vision for how to retain and enhance the qualities that make the Bay Area a great place to live, work, and play. It builds on the legacy of leadership left to us by
previous generations. In fact, many of the attributes that make the Bay Area special—a strong
economy, protected natural resources, a network of diverse neighborhoods—would not have been possible without our predecessors’ forward-thinking actions.
Looking ahead to the growth expected in the Bay Area over the next several decades, we face many similar problems as past generations, while also confronting new challenges that
threaten the region’s economic vitality and quality of life. Our economy is still recovering from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which has resulted in uneven job growth throughout the region, increased income disparity, and high foreclosure rates. At the same time, housing costs have risen for renters and, to a lesser degree, for home buyers close to the region’s job centers. Finally, Bay Area communities face these challenges at a time when there are fewer public re- sources available than in past decades for investments in infrastructure, public transit, afford- able housing, schools and parks.
A More Focused Future
The planning scenarios and land use and transportation investment strategies developed during the Plan Bay Area process seek to address the needs and aspirations of each Bay Area jurisdiction, as identified in locally adopted general plans and zoning ordinances. They also aim to meet the Plan Bay Area performance targets and equity performance standards. The framework for developing these scenarios consisted largely of the Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) recommended by local governments. The preferred land use scenario identified in Chapter 3 is a flexible blueprint for accommodating growth over the long term. Pairing this development pattern with the transportation investments described in Chapter 4 is what makes Plan Bay Area the first truly integrated land use transportation plan for the region’s anticipated growth.
Richmond Transit Village
2040 Employment Distribution Highlights
Plan Bay Area’s distribution of jobs throughout the region is informed by changing trends in the locational preferences of the wide range of industry sectors and business place types in the Bay Area. These trends capture ongoing geographic changes, as well as changes in the labor force composition and workers’ preferences. The employment distribution directs job growth toward the region’s larger cities and Priority Development Areas with a strong existing employment base and communities with stronger opportunities for knowledge-sector jobs.
Table 1 SF Bay Area Total Job Growth 2010-2040, Top 15 Cities
Source: Jobs-Housing Connection Strategy, ABAG, 2012
Almost 40 percent of the jobs added from 2010 to 2040 will be in the region’s three largest cities
Support Focused Growth – One Bay Area Grant Program
The OneBayArea Grant (OBAG) Program is a new funding approach that better integrates the region’s transportation funding program with SB 375 and the land use pattern outlined in Chapter 3. The OBAG program rewards jurisdictions that focus housing growth in Priority Development Areas (PDAs) through their planning and zoning policies, and actual production of housing units. The OBAG program allows flexibility to invest in a community’s transportation infrastructure by providing funding for Transportation for Livable Communities, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, local streets and roads preservation, and planning activities, while also providing specific funding opportunities for Safe Routes to Schools projects and Priority Conservation Areas.
Plan Bay Area Achieves Key Performance Targets
As described earlier, Plan Bay Area was developed within a framework of objective performance standards, both mandatory and voluntary or aspirational. As has been the case in past long-term transportation plans, no single strategy is able to achieve all the plan’s performance targets. An analysis of the 10 main targets and five sub-targets (for a total of 15 performance measures) clearly bears this out. Specifically, the draft plan meets or exceeds six targets, including the statutory greenhouse gas emissions and housing targets, narrowly misses three targets, falls well short of two targets and unfortunately moves in the wrong direction on four of the targets. In other words, the draft plan makes great progress on nine of 15 performance
measures, which represents a solid first effort. The region will need to focus future attention on conceptualizing breakthrough strategies to achieve the four targets where we are falling behind. For a more detailed discussion of the plan’s performance as measured against each individual target, please see Chapter 5.
A Plan to Build On
Plan Bay Area is a work in progress that will be updated every four years to reflect new initiatives and priorities. It builds upon the work of previous initiatives, complements ongoing work and lays the groundwork for closer examination of certain critical issues that can further prepare the region to meet the future head-on. The plan highlights the relationship between transportation investments and land use planning, and represents the region’s newest effort to position itself to make the most of what the future will bring.
No single level of government can be expected to address all the critical components needed to create a stronger and more resilient Bay Area. It will take a coordinated effort among diverse partners to promote regional economic development, adapt to climate change, prepare for natural disasters, get creative about how to provide affordable housing for all Bay Area residents, ensure clean and healthy air for our communities, and prepare for emerging technologies that will change the way people work and get around. Further steps will be needed to fully realize the Plan Bay Area vision and implement some of its forward-looking plans and policies. (See Chapter 6 for a discussion of some needed “next steps.”)
But we have made a strong start. Look closely at Plan Bay Area, and you will see a plan that takes great strides toward:
Tackling problems that cross boundaries and require regional solutions
Housing, air quality, traffic, jobs, economic development, open space preservation – the list is a long one.
Embodying local visions
Priority Development Areas were recommended by local governments, and land use and transportation strategies are linked to local input and priorities; different kinds of investments and development are envisioned for different parts of the region.
Helping to ensure a vibrant and healthy region for our children and grandchildren Cleaner air, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, more housing options, improved infra- structure, better access to jobs, and access to open space and recreation — these are the building blocks of a better future.
Making Bay Area businesses more competitive
A well-constructed, sustainable regional plan can help us attract private sector invest- ment and compete for federal and state funding.
Providing a range of housing and transportation choices
A greater variety of multifamily and single family housing will be available in places with better transit access, and improved walking conditions and local services.
Stretching tax revenues through smart investments
By making the most of existing infra- structure, using a performance-based approach to transportation investments and coordinating the location of future housing and jobs with major transporta- tion investments, we can get more bang for our buck in public expenditures.
Preserving open spaces, natural resources, agriculture and farmland
By developing in existing downtowns, main streets and neighborhoods, we don’t need to develop on open spaces or in places that over-utilize our water supply, energy resources and road capacity.
Helping to create healthy communities
More people will be able to live in neighborhoods where they can walk to shops, transit and local parks because of the groundwork laid in this plan.
Plan Bay Area cannot guarantee these outcomes, of course, but we believe it can greatly boost the region’s odds of achieving them. For surely we must work together as a region to promote sustainability, and to leave a better Bay Area for our children and grandchildren. By helping to harmonize local decision-making and regional goals, by better integrating transportation in- vestment and land use planning, by more closely aligning our policies with our vision — in short, by creating a strategy for a sustainable region — Plan Bay Area gives us a chance to do that.
16 Plan Bay Area I DRAFT