Policy

What's Holding Us Back? Talking Bay Area Transportation and Housing

Last week's annual State of the Valley Conference hosted by Joint Venture Silicon Valley featured a panel entitled What's Holding Us Back? – a look at the twin transportation and housing challenges facing Silicon Valley and the Bay Area as a whole.

MTC and ABAG Executive Director Steve Heminger and moderator Russell Hancock, Joint Venture's CEO, opened the conversation with an initial focus on the transportation side of the ledger. They were later joined by Carol Galante, Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing & Urban Policy and director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley, as the conversation shifted to housing.

Topics ranged widely, from the elusive search for a "big fix" to "Self-Help" funding for transportation, from CASA – The Committee to House the Bay Area to Silicon Valley's political engagement on the housing crisis.

Transcripts of the conversations, edited for length and clarity, are available from the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Read More

Transportation

KQED Forum on What President Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal Means for the Bay Area

Central Subway Boring Machine
Credit
Noah Berger

Earlier this morning, KQED Forum discussed President Trump’s proposal for $200 billion in federal infrastructure spending over ten years, including how much money might make its way to the Bay Area and which projects it might support.

MTC’s Director of Legislation and Public Affairs, Randy Rentschler, joined host Michael Krasny, along with Sean Randolph of Bay Area Council Economic Institute, to discuss the proposal and a host of other Bay Area transportation issues.

Listen to the whole interview on KQED’s website.  Read More

Meetings

2/16 Meeting Preview: Bay Area Regional Collaborative

Text reads "Building Regional Momentum For More Resilient Communities" over a picture of bay wetlands.

The Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC) will be meeting at the Bay Area Metro Center on Friday, February 16, at 10:00 a.m. Tune in live to hear updates on BARC's solar project, the Adapting to Rising Tides Program, an SB 1 grant, their work with the Government Alliance for Race and Equity, public comments received on the Raising the Bar on Regional Resilience draft report, the Berkeley Energy Assurance Transformation (BEAT) Microgrid Project, and the Resilient by Design Challenge. Read the full meeting agenda here. Read More

Resiliency

The Dangers of Housing Loss in an Earthquake

Earthquake Damage

This past fall, the four 2017 North Bay Wildfires damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,900 structures, taking out a major chunk of Santa Rosa’s (and the wider region’s) housing stock. It served as an uneasy reminder of the potential dangers the Bay Area and its residents face from other ever-present natural hazards, such as earthquakes. For example: How many buildings could be damaged? How many households displaced? How many residents in need of shelter?

A new page from ABAG’s Resilience Program, Expected Housing Losses in an Earthquake, provides the latest and greatest research findings about the region’s seismic risk – including the fact that up to 70,000 residential buildings could be made uninhabitable. In the below video, Dana Brechwald, Resilience Planner, discusses the research and details the residential building damage estimates and displacement risks for 16 different earthquake scenarios. Read More

MTC

Preview of 2/14 BATA and MTC Meetings

The exterior entrance of the Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco.
Credit
Noah Berger

Five meetings are scheduled for this Wednesday, February 14, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Bay Area Metro Center: the Bay Area Toll Authority Oversight Committee, the MTC Administration Committee, the MTC Programming & Allocations Committee, the MTC Policy Advisory Council Equity & Access Subcommittee, and the MTC Policy Advisory Council.

Highlights include: the Bay Area Preservation Pilot, a proposed new policy for State Transit Assistance population-based funds, Regional Measure 2, the Transportation Improvement Program, the Regional Means-Based Fare Proposal Update, recent meetings of the California Transportation Commission, and more!

Continue reading on to see more from the agendas and find links to all meeting materials. As always, you can tune in live on MTC's website once meetings are underway. Read More

Projects

Introducing: Horizon

Foggy City Redux by Wilson Lam
Credit: Wilson Lam

Some of the biggest challenges faced by regional planners over long time horizons are risk, and uncertainty. New technologies, unexpected natural or man-made disasters, economic booms and busts, and political volatility can all lay waste to the most diligent and careful planning efforts.

As the nine county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation and land use planning agencies, respectively, MTC and ABAG are jointly responsible for developing the region’s long-range Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). Our most recent RTP/SCS, Plan Bay Area 2040, discusses how the region will grow over the next two decades and identifies transportation and land use strategies to enable a more sustainable, equitable and economically vibrant future.

The RTP/SCS has its limitations though. While a long list of statutory requirements ensure the plan is doing what it is intended by law to do, these requirements can also constrain the types of issues that can be explored, modeled and ultimately acted upon. This makes it difficult to incorporate outside-the-box – yet essential – thinking about emerging issues into the RTP/SCS’s policy and project framework.

Enter Horizon. Read More

Transportation

Statewide Coalition to Support State Roads and Protect Local Transportation Improvements Gains Momentum

Bike lane

From the League of California Cities:

As cities and counties throughout California begin hundreds of street and road improvement projects funded through SB 1, [a] broad coalition supporting safer roads and protecting local transportation improvements gains momentum. 

Cities are using these dollars to fill pot holes resurface streets, fix bridges, improve sidewalks, expand bike lanes and more and it is critical that these transportation funds remain protected.

Voters have an opportunity in June to prevent the Legislature from diverting transportation funds with Proposition 69. Supported by the League and the Coalition to Protect Local Transportation, the measure adds constitutional protections to new revenues generated by SB 1 and ensures that these funds can be used only for transportation improvement purposes.

The groups supporting Prop. 69 and opposing any ballot measure to repeal SB 1 comprises a broad Coalition that understand the value of these funds for California’s residents, businesses, cities and counties. Coalition members come from business, labor, local government, transportation advocates and taxpayers.

Read More
Resiliency

Metro Talks: Three Perspectives on Resilience

This past fall’s special edition of Metro Talks – a speaker series hosted by the Bay Area’s four regional agencies at the Bay Area Metro Center – featured three design experts participating in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge. The speakers included Henk Ovink, the Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of Netherlands, Rupal Sanghvi, Founder of HealthxDesign, and Cathy Simon, Fellow, American Institute of Architects.  

In the above video, the speakers share their unique professional and personal perspectives on what resilience means and why it matters, including how research and design can help make the Bay Area more resilient to the impacts of climate change including sea level rise and flooding. As leaders in integrating the disciplines of public health, architectural design, ecology, social equity and public sector ingenuity, they shared insights for how the Bay Area can navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead in local and regional resilience building. Read More

Housing

ABAG Launches Exciting New Online Housing Data Portal, Regional Permitting Activity in 2016 Disappoints

Housing Permit Activity

On the Bay Area housing beat there’s good news and bad news. 

The good news is that at yesterday’s ABAG Regional Planning Committee meeting, staff unveiled an exciting new online housing data portal. The portal provides easy access to data related to housing permit activity as well as local adoption of housing policies in the 101 towns and cities and nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The permitting data will allow users to see the affordability level (very low, low, moderate, or above moderate income), housing type (single family, multifamily, mobile home, second unit) and location of every single unit permitted in the region from 2014-16. The policy data will let users see the housing policies and programs that jurisdictions across the region are using to increase housing supply and affordability, preserve existing housing choices, and protect residents from displacement. Read more on ABAG’s website or check out the portal for yourself. 

The bad news is, well, what the data actually says. Read More

Services

BayREN: Regional Energy Efficiency with a Local Touch

As the San Francisco Bay Area’s council of governments, ABAG supports regional planning and cooperation among the 101 cities and nine counties that make up the region. Generally, this has meant research, planning and projects related to land use, housing, environmental and water resource protection, and disaster resilience.

What is perhaps not as well-known is that this broad portfolio of work also extends to energy and energy efficiency. Enter the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), a collaboration of the nine Bay Area counties led by ABAG that implements energy saving programs on a regional level. BayREN draws on the expertise of Bay Area local governments to (1) Promote healthy and efficient buildings, (2) Reduce carbon emissions, and (3) Build government capacity. 

Started in 2012 as a first-of-its-kind pilot program, BayREN is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as through grants. One of only two Regional Energy Networks in the state, BayREN represents 20 percent of the state’s population. Read More