Explore your Bay Area housing and transportation choices this Thursday, May 19 (Community Voices)

Ruth Miller

Whether you drive, walk, bike, bus or BART through the Bay Area, you probably have an opinion on how we should grow as a region.

Blame it on $4 gas. Or climate change. Or SB 375, which requires California communities to develop and implement aggressive sustainability strategies. Or a more organized and informed public that demands a say in its future.

Either way, the Bay Area will need to find a place to put 900,000 new homes and 1.2 million new jobs by 2035. As a region, we should build our homes, jobs and infrastructure in a way that will improve our communities and offer a high quality of life. Oakland is facing a $58 million budget deficit, and dense growth is cheaper to govern and serve than sprawl.

So what should we do? These decisions are happening now, and we’re already seeing that many of our transportation, land-use and housing policies can’t meet our emissions and fiscal goals.

A coalition led by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation invites you to join the discussion to align our plans with our needs.

You may have already seen the You Choose Bay Area tool. You might have even used the tool to plan your own version of the Bay Area’s future – setting your priorities, encouraging the types of neighborhoods that you would like to see and seeing the environmental and cost impact.

Get ready for the next step.

Several community and transportation development organizations are coming together to host a series of hands-on You Choose workshops throughout the Bay Area. These workshops depend on the expertise of residents to outline priorities for each county that will guide development to improve quality of life.

Alameda County’s first workshop is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley. Due to overwhelming demand, a second workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission auditorium at 101 Eighth St. in Oakland.

Dinner will be served at both events, and translation services are available upon request. RSVP now to reserve your place.

These workshops will specifically discuss the Broadway Auto Row redevelopment plan, the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan and the International Boulevard Transit-Oriented Development Plan, as well as the Alameda County-wide sustainable communities strategy. TransForm, the East Bay Housing Organization and the Greenbelt Alliance are co-hosting the discussion to make sure all the attendees can engage in the discussion.

The results of these workshops will guide the new One Bay Area Plan. This plan is the Bay Area’s most comprehensive attempt to create an integrated land-use/transportation plan, bringing together the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, several transportation agencies and the governments and residents of the Bay Area’s nine counties and 101 cities and towns.

So … how will you share you vision for the Bay Area?

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