Plan Bay Area Adopted! But Our The San Francisco Bay Area Still Needs a Bigger Investment in Active Transportation

Marty MartinezNearly three years in the making, Plan Bay Area was approved by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in an after-midnight vote early in the morning of July 19. Plan Bay Area will have massive significant impacts on active transportation, public transit, housing, and other factors affecting the growth, health, and climate of the region for years to come.

Plan Bay Area, our region’s Regional Transportation Plan, is an integrated long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan that will support a growing economy, provide more housing and transportation choices, and reduce transportation-related pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area. The effort grew out of the California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (California Senate Bill 375, Steinberg), which requires each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas – including the Bay Area – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.

The adoption of Plan Bay Area is a powerful step to protect our climate and health, but we need to do more to increase walking and bicycling than even this plan does. The region needs a much larger investment in active transportation. ABAG and MTC adopted broad goals for increasing walking and bicycling in the region to improve our health and protect our climate. But the region will not come anywhere close to meeting those goals without a significant investment in programs that directly increase walking and bicycling, such as the Regional Safe Routes to School program. In addition, improved evaluation and monitoring of the Complete Streets and One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) requirements, which were approved last year as part of the Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy - as well as increased data collection on active transportation and improved modeling of the benefits are essential for forward progress. Find comments from the Safe Routes to School Nation Partnership on Plan Bay Are here.