Public meetings under way on how Bay Area should look in 2040


Two regional planning agencies will hold a public meeting Monday, Jan. 23 in Richmond to seek comments on a blueprint-in-the-making for expanding transportation and housing in a sustainable way over the next 25 years.

The Contra Costa County meeting, to be held at 5:45 p.m. in Richmond's Civic Center (403 Civic Center Plaza), will cover planning considerations for all parts of the county, including the San Ramon Valley.

Sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Richmond meeting is similar to those being held throughout the nine-county Bay Area that the two agencies represent.

"The meeting itself wouldn't have a dramatic impact on Danville, but the whole Plan Bay Area exercise/effort does," said Tai Williams, Danville's transportation services and economic development director.

A continuation of the "Plan Bay Area" plan establish last year, the One Bay Area meetings aim to gather public opinion on long-range plans for sustainable land use, transportation and housing across 101 towns. Planners have prepared several scenarios for what the Bay Area could look like in 2040 and are seeking the public's help in selecting desired features among the alternative choices and in prioritizing transportation investments.

At the meetings, participants will rotate among a series of stations where they will have a chance to view informational videos, vote on potential transportation investments, select preferred strategies for reducing driving and greenhouse gas emissions and use an "Urban Vision" tool that shows visually how various future development scenarios might appear in their respective counties.

Other county meetings will be held throughout the month in Alameda, San Francisco, Sonoma, San Mateo, Marin, Santa Clara, Napa and Solano counties. Although all nine workshops are full, materials will be posted online at and residents may email their comments to


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Posted by [removed]
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Dear Editor,

I can imagine my 100th birthday and being long forgotten in the results of Contra Costa County:

#1 - a very tired BART system will be too slow and without destinations important to the new economic reality of our county and our bay area.

#2 - housing will be a tired design absent of the combination of preserved open space, high-density residential and convenient commercial/technical/retail as job basis.

#3 - Governments communication with communities and neighborhoods will have declined to the point that local governments are meaningless to the will and interests of the people.

Can you just imagine?

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Posted by Jay Smith
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 10, 2012 at 6:52 am

The One Bay Area Plan is designed to take away private property rights. MTC and ABAG are seeking approval from the public to spend $200 billion dollars of transportation funds on high density stack and pack housing next to mass transit. Mass transit is hopelessly underutilized and therefore must be subsidized. Less than 3% of the population currently uses it. MTC says that dense housing is necessary and will reduce GHG (Green House Gas) emissions, but what they don't tell you is that ALL of the developers will get GHG waivers. They will not have to perform any GHG calculations whatsoever.

You have to ask yourself why a regional transportation authority is responsible for telling us how and where we should live?

The regional plan will transform all nine Bay Area counties into high density (4 to 6 story) stack and packs with retail and business space below without the vote of the public. This plan calls for shrinking the UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) so that only property owners within this arbitrary boundary can build on their properties. If you have property outside of this boundary you will not be able to build on your property. This plan also calls for rezoning much of the properties within the URBAN growth boundary to mixed multi-use. This will severely impact current property owners. If you currently own a property (industrial, residential, etc) and this property is near mass transit or future planned mass transit your property will be rezoned to mixed multi-use. If you try to sell or change/improve your property you must bring it into conformance with the new zoning. This will cost you tons of money. MTC is also advocating for rezoning of private property to what they call "Open Space". This is the conversion of someones' private property from usable to restricted. This is done without any compensation to the current owner. This amounts to an administrative taking. All of this is being done without a vote from the public.

This total transformation is being planned by regional planners and stakeholders behind closed doors. MTC is only holding ONE
public workshop per County and they are capping the participation at 100 people per meeting! That means roughly 900 people will be deciding the future and fate for over 7.5 million people in the Bay Area.

Unbelievable. Don't be fooled by Sustainable Development. It has nothing to do with the environment. It's all about the $$$$$$$

$200 Billion dollars is all these people need to sell you and your family's future out.

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Posted by George Doddington
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

“Sustainability” is a popular word today, but the natural conflict between sustainability and growth is not well appreciated. The resources we need for an enjoyable and gratifying life, including food, water, air and space, are limited. These limits must be respected, but even our current population presents a challenge and a threat. So when I read that our planning agencies are planning to accommodate continued growth with a blueprint for “expanding transportation and housing in a sustainable way over the next 25 years”, I realize that we are headed for hard times.
While our human intellect has given us a magnificent standard of living, it has also over-leveraged out impact on the earth and created a toxic population bloom that threatens our liberty and pursuit of happiness. The challenge should not be about how to stack and pack ‘em. The challenge should be – are you ready for this? – to stop population growth.

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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jan 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

Is our government working for us or against us? And using our tax dollars to do so!
Is it working to accomplish MY DREAM and desire.......or, instead, hard at work with plenty of paid employees on some OTHER dream and desire that is adamantly contrary to my dream and that ultimately seeks to crush and destroy my dream?
MY DREAM: That I can go to my individual vehicle (let's call it a POD--Private Occupant Device) and go from Point A (the privacy and safety of my house) to Point B (within 50 feet of where I want to get to) in a fairly fast fashion (at least as fast as a bicycle) with fairly low risk and decent safety (I'm willing to accept a fair amount of risk).
That my POD can carry myself AND the things I usually need to carry with me (other people, children, pets, groceries, lumber and garden supplies) and carry us in relative comfort and safety.
That my POD allows me some privacy and isolation, without forcing me into contact with unknown strangers (and the potentials for disease/germ contacts and possible criminal actions).
That my POD doesn't require extreme skill and 100% attention to operate safely (is simple enough for our lowest-common denominators in society)--perhaps even allowing me to make other uses of my time while in the POD (to have conversations, make phone calls, hear news, listen to music of my own choosing and volume, eat, deal with other life issues, etc.).
That my POD, and all the infra-structure involved, costs a reasonable amount (less than 10% of an average annual wage) and NOT be subject to wild cost fluctuations and huge increments of inflation, to blackmail/extortionistic actions by union organizations, or to control by monopolistic organizations that counter free choice. I want the possibility of customizing my POD to suit my own needs and requirements and even my own aesthetic inclinations. I want there to be plenty of opportunity for COMPETITION in the whole system, so that IF I DON'T OBTAIN GOOD SERVICE AND GOOD PRODUCTS from one source, then I can choose to obtain my service and products elsewhere. In other words, I want free enterprise involved, not government.
OK, I don't want it to throw blowing clouds of black smoke into the air (that cause an average, non-Ashmatic person to gage if within 10 feet of such), but I place the goal of providing the above-dreamed functionality at a much higher objective and priority, than achieving the goal of zero emissions and/or zero environmental impact.
Now, are my tax dollars working to achieve that Dream.....or to DESTROY it!?!
Are BILLIONS of dollars going to be spent for YOUR DREAM OF THE FUTURE.......or against it?

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Danville
on Jan 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I think that we can all agree that it will not be a very pleasant or efficient future if the highways become so overcrowded that our commutes to work (which is when most of the traffic delays occur) become unreasonably long. And commutes to work are really the main focus or our transportation problems -- or should be.

Stacking housing near public transortation doesn't really solve the problem, does it? You step out of your condo, hop on BART, and get off at a station that is still too far from your job to walk to it (unless you work in downtown SF or Oakland).

It seems like it would make far more sense to offer incentives to locate offices/workplaces near existing BART stations (or other transit hubs). Then you could drive the relatively short distance from your suburban house to a BART station, park there (need sufficient parking, which is in short supply now at many stations), ride BART, and get off just a short walk to your workplace.

If we could accomplish that, we would have a much better system, have better usage of public transport, and have less crowded roads for those who would truly need their cars to commute to work.

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

People who have already attended different iterations of the One Bay Area Plan meetings have commented on how there is actually very little intent to listen to attendees, nor take input from them. It's more in the vein of "telling", and "convincing".

If you like the idea of everyone living in similar-sized apartments, and only using public transportation, then their plan is for you!

If, in the other hand, you aspire to more, or believe that how and where you live is mostly not the government's business, then you are clearly some form of denier....

When one of the stated objectives of the plan is to "increase/improve social justice", then you kind of know where it's headed.

There are also a number of very loosely-supported environmental justifications for the plan, such as "avoidance of seal-level increase", and the ever-popular equating of carbon dioxide reduction with "clean air", when the two have nothing to do with each other (in the sense that while CO2 may or may not be affecting global warming, it cannot be considered to have an impact on air quality, in the way that real pollutants do).

Be VERY concerned...

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Sorry about my typo, above (I wish you could edit these posts after submitting).

Obviously, I meant "avoidance of sea-level increase", and not "seal-level"

I don't know about you, but I am very much in favor of higher seal-levels. They're very cute.... :-)

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Posted by Bad ABAG !
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm

ABAG has really become a very dictatorial, dangerous, jack-booted, marxist, central planning body, fully intended to alter our lifestyles, and make us spend our earnings on things we don't want.
A really sad state of affairs in our former America of personal freedoms.
This big government movement is to require locally subsidized low-income housing (like up to $80K range) and also have public transit closeby. No more doing it the American way of starting out renting and saving earnings, then buying a tiny starter-home a town or two away, saving earnings, then buying a bit bigger and a bit closer to what you like better (incentive) then up MOVE UP ! ! That is how america was made. Now, ABAG says everybody from everywhere (no just locals) has a right to 'whatever they want...and you have to give it to them". That is the new ORDER of things. No starting at the's called equalizing and closing the gap. Actually, it's called WTF, if there's no incentive, why should I be the one to do the 'working'. We are not all ENTITLED to equal results and goodies. We are all entitled to equal freedoms to try and experiment with our dreams....some dreams work and some don't. Sometimes they do for just awhile. Whatever, it's each on our own, get married or not, have one child or not, have 3 children, or NOT...your personal choices are not my responsibility. You can live irresponsibility and it becomes my problem. ABAG is here to change the rules !
This nightmare is being argued in our communities, it won't help...big brother is in charge. Naturally, they will obfuscate the process and the intended OUTCOME.

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Posted by Dickita P
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

CAPITALIZING words makes people take ME more SERIOUSLY

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Posted by George
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 13, 2012 at 6:39 am

George Orwell lives. We're all just frogs in the gumment pot. Can't you feel the water warming up as you sit there with a "Yes, massah" attitude? Give it some thought as you sit by your empty fireplace on a no burn day.

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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

It's really amazing what a SHAM this "process" is!
They use our money to build these large agencies and hold these meetings and develop these TIMELINES that move toward obtaining MILLIONS (Billions?) of dollars and starting certain construction projects.
It's a large empire of money stream.

They'll hold these fake meeting.
Then be able to claim that they held public meetings and fulfilled legal requirements.
They'll claim that they got the true pulse of the community, have community backing, and are supplying what the community wants (has chosen from their carefully crafted and limited choices).
They'll obtain huge sums of money and use it to shape the entire look and feel of our future without our ever having an actual say or vote in it.

When you see their eventual requests for BOND money, say NO!
(Otherwise, YOU are part of the problem......and they'll just keep on operating this way.)

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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:27 am

It's encouraging to see that so many people (writers here) have "seen through" to the real wrongs of these agencies and these meetings.
However, it's very misleading. From most of these writings, it looks like these agencies will be stopped. It looks like the mass of people will become informed and will understand the truth of issues and will vote NO to their bonds.
But I don't think the majority of people have the time and energy and Will to deal with this type of organized on-slaught. (I don't think the "majority of people" will ever see the writings of these writers in the DE, especially with its format of "dumping" one days news--and comments--for the next day.)
So these agencies (like most others) won't be stopped. They're already "too big too fail". They have too many employees, too much money and power and access to the reins of government.
Their ideas, their bonds, and their actions will go through. If not on the first try, then on the next and next and next.
What can a people so tired, and apathetic, and honestly distracted by chores of their own life ever do up against a Government system so large, convoluted, and well-funded???
If nothing else, keeping VOTING "NO" for every request for more money (no matter how good sounding the intended goal or how beneficial to yourself personally) UNTIL they have reformed and down-sized themselves dramatically!!!

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Jan 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

The one thing that strikes me is how negative and pessimistic most of the comments are. I appears that many of our citizens have lost the desire to get involved in decisions that affect their lives -- and just be content to sit there, complain and do nothing.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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