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Four Agency Collaboration to Create “One Bay Area”


Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)


Four agencies are collaborating in an effort to produce an integrated land-use/transportation plan in the Bay Area. Plan Bay Area is a joint effort led by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). The four agencies are working together with the nine counties and 101 cities and towns in the region along with transportation partners in order to manage the regional transportation network.

In March 2011, fourteen Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) throughout the Bay Area were asked to help engage the public and reach out to underserved communities with a combination of grassroots, traditional, and modern forms of public engagement. The goal of the CBOs was as follows:

  • Gather input from a variety of communities about land-use, transportation spending, transportation policy, and to engage those communities in an effort to attain feedback about future planning.
  • Provide a summary outlining results of their community outreach efforts.

During a two month engagement process more than 1,600 Bay Area residents in the 24-64 age group were contacted and surveyed through a combination of door-to-door knocking, tabling, event participation, community meetings, radio announcements, and on-site surveying at community events, public transportation hubs and on public transportation vehicles. The outreach resulted in the engagement of a wide range of ethnicities and outreach to mid-to-low-income under represented communities. The three-phase process, when completed, will result in the adoption of the final Regional Transit Plan (RTP) and certified final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Bay Area.

Program Highlights to Date

To date there have been 10 public workshops, one in each of the nine Bay Area counties plus an additional Oakland workshop. The workshops were conducted by the group Envision Bay Area with funding from a grant from the Knight Foundation. Group members included the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Greenbelt Alliance who, working together, developed a web-based interactive tool that walked workshop participants through a priority setting exercise regarding future land use and development in the region.

In addition to the workshops, fourteen Community Based Organizations where contracted with in an effort to reach low-income and ethnically diverse communities through a combination of grassroots, traditional and modern forms of public engagement. The overall purpose of the workshops and community outreach was:

  • For ABAG and MTC to develop an unconstrained “Initial Vision Scenario” with input from local jurisdictions and county Congestion Management Agencies (CMA).
  • This Initial Vision Scenario will articulate the Bay Area’s vision of future land uses and assess its performance relative to statutory greenhouse gas and housing targets as well as other voluntary performance targets.
  • The Initial Vision Scenario serves as a starting point for the development, analysis and discussion of detailed SCS alternatives that will lead to a preferred SCS by early 2012.

The Rest of the Story…

Based on the input gathered during this community-based outreach process a series of priority transportation investment strategies and priority policy initiatives were developed. Of the twenty-one transportation funding options that participants were given, the top six were as follows:

  • Expand commuter rail services;
  • Invest more transportation funds to support cities that build new affordable housing near transit;
  • More frequent service on transit routes with high ridership;
  • Expand express bus and local bus services;
  • More transit service to connect housing and jobs; and
  • More pike paths and bike lanes.

In addition to transportation options, participants were given six options of potential new policies that could be adopted and the top were as follows:

  • New requirements for employers to allow employees to work from home once a week and allow employees to pay for transit with pre-tax dollars;
  • Economic strategies that protect existing jobs, create new jobs and/or preserve warehouse and industrial sites; and
  • Subsidization of the purchase and/or lease of electric vehicles and hybrids with increased availability of electric vehicle chargers.

The public outreach will continue through-out the remaining planning portion of this project. Phase one is complete and they are halfway through phase two of the planned community outreach. The outreach will continue through the selection, analysis and implementation processes that are scheduled to occur until the current project deadline of April 2013. The completion of Phase three will see the adoption and implementation of a final Regional Transit Plan (RTP), certified final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and conformity determination.

  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
  • Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
  • Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)

Resources to Learn More

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