The Bay Area has boomed in recent years, but many communities have struggled to keep up with the pace of growth. The crisis of housing affordability we face as a result is unlike any we have seen before; the need to build new homes that people can afford near jobs, transit, and services is dire.
The newly updated Plan Bay Area 2040, which Greenbelt Alliance played a leading role in shaping, calls for 80% of new homes and more than half of all new jobs to be located near transit. Having a solid plan for how the region should grow is essential, but it is only one step. It is also critical to act at the local level, another area where Greenbelt Alliance is a leader. The recent approval of the North Bayshore Precise Plan in Mountain View is a prime example of how we’re making the right growth happen in the right places around the Bay Area.
What North Bayshore Means for the Bay Area
The 9,850 homes planned for in the North Bayshore Precise Plan—20% of which will be reserved for low- and moderate-income residents—are a big win in easing the region’s housing affordability crisis and cutting the brutal commutes on our clogged freeways. The plan will also support the local economy by placing people within walking distance of Mountain View’s shops and services and away from threatened farmland and wildlife habitat. The transformation of this 650-acre expanse of offices and parking lots into a vibrant community will serve as a shining example for others to follow around the Bay Area.
With the North Bayshore plan for sustainable and equitable growth in place, the next step is to move more local plans for development like this forward. Plan Bay Area 2040 showed that all of our region’s population growth could be contained within existing urban boundaries; there is no excuse to sprawl out onto greenbelt lands, pushing people farther and farther from jobs and services. We’ll continue making Plan Bay Area a reality across the region—ensuring that opportunities like North Bayshore don’t go to waste.
The victory in North Bayshore was nearly 10 years in the making. It all started in 2008, when Mountain View set out to update their General Plan. We immediately sought out community leaders and housing advocates to be our allies in Mountain View. By offering training, guidance, and support, we helped them build a vibrant community of activists. Although the 2012 Mountain View General Plan included no housing in North Bayshore, we and our Mountain View partners continued to rally support for more homes until the City of Mountain View ultimately became a leader in addressing the Bay Area’s housing challenge.
Photo: Timothy Kozono