An Update on BART's "Fleet of the Future" and Train Control Modernization Project

By Chirag Rabari
BART Warm Springs Opening

Earlier this year, the blog provided a sneak peek at the long-awaited first new BART rail cars rolling into service around the Bay Area – and, with them, the promise of smoother, quieter, more comfortable and more spacious train rides for commute-weary Bay Area residents. In that post, we went into some detail on MTC’s essential role in funding and supporting BART’s $4.2 billion “Fleet of the Future” project to purchase and deploy 1,081 new rail cars. But it’s worth stepping back a bit from the funding mechanics to get a better understanding of the difficult realities that make these new rail Read More

Economic Development

New Data from U.S. Census Shows (Mostly) Broad and Steady Employment Growth, Highlights Changing Nature of Bay Area Economy

By Chirag Rabari
Construction on the San Francisco Skyline

The latest U.S. Census data from the 2016 County Business Patterns series shows continued overall growth for the nine-county Bay Area in employment as well as the number of business establishments. While the news is mostly good, the data also reveals some soft spots, and further highlights some of the disparities that have developed between different parts of the Bay Area, as well as between different industries. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the latest data to look at: Bay Area Employment, or the number of employees as of the First Quarter of a given year, and Bay Area Business Read More


Friday Video: Transbay Transit Center's Floor Blooms With Art

By Chirag Rabari

When the Transbay Transit Center (now officially known as the Salesforce Transit Center) opens in downtown San Francisco, travelers will have a myriad of transit options at this “Grand Central Terminal” for the West. As a bonus, public art projects from four different artists will provide a visual feast for the eyes. The above video from MTC's Mark Jones features San Francisco-based Julie Chang, who designed the terrazzo floor for the Grand Hall. As described on MTC's website: The terrazzo floor of the Grand Hall will welcome visitors into a warm and inviting environment that evokes a lush Read More


Third Eastbound Lane on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Opens Today

By Khristina Wenzinger
Cross Section of Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (Looking West) Showing Proposed Improvements

Caltrans today will open a long-awaited third eastbound lane on Interstate 580 to accommodate peak period traffic from San Rafael to Richmond. The opening of the lane marks a major milestone in the multi-year, $53 million project to convert the right shoulder to carry afternoon traffic from Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in San Rafael to a newly-expanded Richmond Parkway/Point Richmond exit in Richmond. Read More


New Book Explores the Latest and Greatest Research on Parking, the “Cinderella of Transportation”

By Chirag Rabari

For many years in planning and transportation circles, parking was a subject taken for granted – like the air we breathe or the water we drink. It was so much a part of the built environment, so necessary for modern mobility, and – frankly – so esoteric that it didn’t warrant much consideration beyond the fact there should be plenty of it, and it shouldn’t cost too much either. This started to change in 2005 when UCLA professor Donald Shoup synthesized decades of at-the-time lonely research on the subject in his book, The High Cost of Free Parking. As summarized in the above video from Vox Read More


Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Housing Market

By Chirag Rabari
Housing in Santa Clara County

In "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," the great modernist poet Wallace Stevens explores what it means to know something, to show how different perspectives can be isolated while still pointing to some general (if elusive) subject. I was of three minds, Like a tree In which there are three blackbirds. Every day in the Bay Area, we are bombarded with story after story about the housing market and our regional housing crisis. There are on-the-ground anecdotes and sophisticated research reports, micro assessments and macro assessments, and complex analyses of local, statewide, national or Read More


San Francisco Bay Restoration Projects and Estuary Success Stories

By Chirag Rabari
An aerial shot of the South Bay

Last week the Bay Area celebrated a major milestone with the announcement of $17.9 million in funding for the first round of wetland restoration projects supported by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, the local agency responsible for allocating funds raised by Measure AA. The measure, which was passed in June 2016 by 70 percent of voters in the nine Bay Area counties, is the first regional parcel tax in California’s history. It is expected to generate $500 million in funds over the next 20 years, or approximately $25 million annually, to fund shoreline and habitat restoration Read More


Bay Area and California Housing and Transportation Highlights from the Fiscal Year 2018 Federal Budget

By Leah Zippert
An Aerial View of Marin County with the Bay in the Background

Last month Congress approved a $1.3 trillion appropriations bill to fund the government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. In a departure from previous years, the budget included major boosts in funding for both defense and non-defense discretionary programs and also significantly increased investment in federal housing and transportation programs. This post will provide summaries of major housing, transportation and other relevant provisions from the final FY 2018 spending bill; a chart comparing FY 2017 and FY 2018 funding levels; and analysis of California and/or Bay Area impacts for select housing Read More


Friday Video: Regional Measure 3

By Julie Teglovic

On June 5th, voters in all nine Bay Area counties will decide on a package of congestion relief projects known as Regional Measure 3 (RM 3). If approved by a combined majority of all voters, this suite of transit, highway and bike/pedestrian improvements would be financed by an increase in tolls on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges. Today’s video gives a brief history of the past two regional measures that were passed in the Bay Area – Regional Measure 1 in 1988 and Regional Measure 2 in 2004 – before discussing some of projects planned for the toll funds if RM 3 passes this year Read More


Preview of 4/13 Meetings

By Julie Teglovic
BAMC entrance

The Bay Area Metro Center will host one joint MTC-ABAG committee meeting and two MTC standing committee meetings this Friday morning, starting at 10:00: Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee MTC Operations Committee MTC Legislation Committee This post highlights some of the of agenda items for the meetings. Stream the meetings live via the Live Webcasts page on the MTC website. Read More