Bay Area

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The Bay Area adopted its second Sustainable Communities Strategy, called Plan Bay Area 2040, in July 2017. ClimatePlan is working with partners to monitor its implementation.

Find out more about Plan Bay Area here.


Quick Fact

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a study by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission found that when people both live and work within a half a mile of a transit station, they are ten times more likely to take transit.

Regional Overview

The Bay Area region includes 101 cities, nine counties, and more than 7 million residents, and is expected to grow to 9.3 million residents by 2040.

A number of agencies are involved in transportation and land use planning in the Bay Area; they joined together, along with non-profit organizations and other stakeholders, to work on the Sustainable Communities Strategy.  Ultimately, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, with the Association of Bay Area Governments, is responsible for developing the SCS, called Plan Bay Area.

SB 375 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets:
– 2020: 7% per capita reduction from 2005 level
– 2035: 15% per capita reduction from 2005 level

Leading Practices

For a full review of "leading practices," or best practices so far in Sustainable Communities Strategies from regions around the state, download our Leading The Way report. Here are a few from the Bay Area:

  1. Plan Bay Area is unique in directing 100% of new growth within the existing urban footprint, so all growth occurs as infill development or within established urban growth boundaries.

  2. That focused growth complements the region's planning for conservation of natural and working lands. The plan's preferred land use scenario is built around complementary networks:
  • Over 100 Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs), regionally significant open spaces, nominated by local jurisdictions.
  • Almost 200 Priority Development Areas (PDAs), areas suitable for walkable, transit-oriented growth that can help take development pressure off of habitat, farmland, and open space, also nominated by local jurisdictions.

    To support this framework, Plan Bay Area commits $10 million in new funding for conservation planning and land protection in PCAs, and $310 million to facilitate development in PDAs over a five-year period.

3) To reduce the risk of displacement using funding and other incentives, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) established the $50 million Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund. This provides revolving loans for affordable housing developers to buy land near rail and bus lines. MTC contributed $10 million in seed funding, and leveraged additional funding from community development funds, foundations, and banks.

4) Plan Bay Area has one of the state's best examples of a concise list of performance targets:

  1. Reduce per-capita CO2 emissions from cars and light-duty trucks by 15%;
  2. House 100% of the region’s projected growth... by income level... without displacing current low-income residents;
  3. Reduce premature deaths from exposure to particulate emissions [10% for fine particulates, 30% for coarse particulates, and] achieve greater reductions in highly impacted areas;
  4. Reduce by 50% the number of injuries and fatalities from all collisions (including bike and pedestrian);
  5. Increase the average daily time walking or biking per person for transportation by 70% (for an average of 15 minutes per person per day);
  6. Direct all non-agricultural development within the [2010] urban footprint (existing urban development and urban growth boundaries);
  7. Decrease by 10 percentage points (to 56%, from 66%) the share of low-income and lower- middle income residents’ household income consumed by transportation and housing;
  8. Increase gross regional product (GRP) by 110%...;
  9. Increase non-auto mode share by 10 percentage points (to 26% of trips), [and decrease VMT] per capita by 10%; and
  10. Maintain the transportation system in a state of good repair [as measured by a “road pavement condition index” of at least 75, a reduction in the proportion of “distressed lane-miles of state highways” to less than 10% of all lane miles, and a transit system where all assets are within their useful lifespan].

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