Bay Area Regional Planning

The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is mandated by the federal government to be a document containing a list of all future public expenditures for transportation. A project must be listed in the RTP before it can get funded and built. This document is the most important product of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The results achieved have been appalling: increased congestion and reduced transit ridership, despite the investment of many billions of dollars. See Bay Area Basics for a more detailed discussion.

In recognition of the need to reduce driving as a means of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), the CA Legislature adopted SB 375. It mandates regions to create a Sustainable Communities Strategy as part of its RTP. The purpose is to bring land use planning together with transportation planning, so that together, future residents can accomplish more of their daily trips by walking, biking and using transit, rather than driving alone.

The Regional Planning section contains the following pages:

2005 Regional Transportation Plan
2009 Regional Transportation Plan
2013 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (Plan Bay Area)
2017 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (Plan Bay Area 2.0)
BART Extensions

Regional Policy Questions (See the excellent discussion in this long, detailed article and its companion.)

  • What are the equity/power/political issues at the heart of regional planning?
  • How to actually protect low-income tenants from displacement?
  • Is equity a non-issue, as Big Business says, or do rising land prices (the result of private property ownership) lead to unacceptable social instability?
  • How to balance TOD with preserving land for industrial uses (key to preserving lower and middle wage jobs)
  • Can market forces possibly build enough housing to satisfy the need for affordable housing, when the demand coming from workers paid so much more than the median overwhelms lower-wage workers’ ability to compete?

How much growth?
  • How much growth is appropriate for the region?
  • How many new units would it take to house everyone who wants to live in the Bay Area?
  • Wouldn’t all those new units further diminish the qualities that have made the place special? And isn’t that a problem? If not, why not?
  • Is there any feasible way to choose how much the region grows?
  • Is it politically feasible for elected officials to turn down job growth, the major driver of regional growth?
  • Why does everyone who lives in the Bay Area today need to accept responsibility for making changes where they live so that everyone who wants to be here, can, especially at a time when environmental pressures—starting with too much and too little water—are increasing?