2014 was quite a year. There were good things like the Giants winning another World Series. There were bad things like the ongoing drought.
And there were things that were a little harder to judge—like the “storm of the decade.” The rain was welcome, the flooding not so much.
At Greenbelt Alliance I am extremely proud to report that 2014 was full of “good things.” Across the Bay Area, great steps were made toward better protecting our region’s special open spaces and to making our cities and towns great places to live, work, and play.
Much of our success came at the ballot box, where voters made critical decisions about how the Bay Area grows. This past November, we won on every single ballot measure position that we endorsed. Bay Area residents overwhelmingly voted to safeguard our greenbelt lands and to create neighborhoods where walking and biking are viable alternatives to driving and where affordable homes can be found. We also celebrated a ballot box win in June when voters along the Peninsula decided to raise $300 million to fund open space protection with the passage of Measure AA.
Wins didn’t just come at the ballot box. In Mountain View, Oakland, and San Jose, we worked with the city councils and other community leaders to pass important neighborhood plans. Each of these plans will ensure that as new homes are built, they are placed near jobs, public transit, and other amenities rather than on isolated patches of the greenbelt. Making sure that the development that does happen in the Bay Area happens in the right way, and in the right places, is just as much part of Greenbelt Alliance’s job as stopping development where it doesn’t belong at all. This holistic approach to protecting the Bay Area’s iconic landscapes and making sure the right development happens in the right places is part of what makes Greenbelt Alliance unique. Our wins in 2014 show that this unique approach is working!
In the new year, we are taking on new challenges; 2015 will build on the momentum of 2014. Here’s a sample of what we’re working on this year:
- We will champion new policies to protect Sonoma County’s natural and agricultural lands,
- Help local farmers and ranchers thrive,
- Ensure Contra Costa County’s transportation tax supports climate-friendly transportation and development,
- And rally support for climate-friendly and affordable neighborhoods in Silicon Valley.
2014 was a great year. Together, we can make 2015 even better.