Plan Bay Area 2040, our region’s long-range land-use and transportation plan, envisions a smart future for the Bay Area. The plan, which Greenbelt Alliance helped craft, calls for abandoning the old, sprawling patterns of development, focusing growth within in our existing cities and towns, so that every one of our neighbors can make their home in a community they love. Its vision also includes specific 2040 housing goals for the region’s cities and towns.
It’s no secret that bringing that vision to life is going to take sustained, dedicated work from communities across the region. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) just released some sobering data, showing we all have our work cut out for us. According to their assessment, it could take centuries for some of our cities and towns to build enough homes to reach the Plan Bay Area 2040 housing goals.
Fortunately, there are many examples across the Bay Area where communities are stepping up to provide homes for people across the income spectrum within our cities and towns.
We can look to Mountain View’s recent approval of the North Bayshore Precise Plan for a perfect example of the vision, foresight, and hard work this will take. In approving the North Bayshore plan, their city council showed great leadership. This plan will transform the parking lots around Google and LinkedIn into 10,000 new homes, affordable to residents across the income spectrum.
The apartments, houses, and townhomes there will help families stay in the cities and towns they’ve lived in for generations and accommodate our growing region. They will help young couples hoping to start families of their own become homeowners for the first time. And they’ll keep the public servants who make our lives possible—teachers, firefighters, bus drivers, police officers—make their homes in the communities they serve.
If more cities and towns across the Bay Area adopt plans like North Bayshore, we will see the dates on the MTC’s map tick down towards their 2040 housing goals. And when these homes are built, the Bay Area’s thriving, diverse communities, magnificent natural landscapes, and bountiful farms and ranches, will be safe from the threat of sprawl.