Planning for displacement: Short takes

Tidbits on planning from around the Bay you need to know

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Regional planning hits Chinatown

When regional planners at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission funded a study to create a bus-rapid transit system on Van News Avenue, they decided, in the interest of speeding the buses along, to allow only one left turn — onto Broadway.

That would turn Broadway into a much-busier thoroughfare — and have a huge impact on Chinatown, where there's heavy pedestrian traffic. That, Cindy Wu says, is one of the problems with regional planning — it doesn't always consider the impacts on existing, fully developed neighborhoods.

Wu is a planner with the Chinatown Community Development Center and a member of San Francisco's Planning Commission. She's concerned that Plan Bay Area, with its macro focus, ignores the micro — the people who already live in communities that will feel the pressure.

"Chinatown is performing amazingly," she told me recently. There's low car use, high density ... all the things ABAG seems to want. And yet, it's in the Priority Development Area, where new construction could lead to displacement. "It doesn't get to the neighborhood scale, where people will be forced to control the impacts of growth."

Gen Fujioka, policy director at CCDC, noted that the plans says people displaced from a San Francisco community like Chinatown can be accommodated elsewhere in the region. "Like that's an acceptable alternative," he said.

A (somewhat) better approach

The Draft Environmental Impact Report on Plan Bay Area looked at several alternatives, including doing nothing at all, which everyone pretty much agrees is a bad idea. But interestingly, a proposal put together by community groups, including Public Advocates, Urban Habitat, and TransForm, turned out to do a better job of reaching ABAG's environmental goals.

In the DEIR models, "Alternative Five," as it's described, leads to slightly lower levels of displacement and less car travel. It does that in large part through the imposition of a Vehicle Miles Travelled Tax — a one-cent levy on every mile driven by a private car or light truck in the region.

That, it turns out, does indeed discourage car use. It would also raise more than $600 million a year, most of which would go to public transit and affordable housing. Over 25 years, that's a lot of cash.

But ABAG planners rejected that proposal, preferring their own alternative.

ABAG and the UN plan for world domination

One of the biggest problems with opposing, or even questioning, ABAG's Plan Bay Area is that some of the loudest voices against it are, in a word, loony.

Around the Bay Area suburbs, people packing hearings on the plan are talking about the secret United Nations plan to confiscate all private property, burn down suburban homes, and force everyone into tiny cells in teeming cities where our personal freedoms will be systematically destroyed.

You haven't heard of that? It's called Agenda 21, and the John Birch Society is convinced that it's a global plot to destroy America.

Actually, Agenda 21 is a weak, unenforceable document that came out of the UN's environmental conference in 1992. It suggests — as does SB375, as does just about every sane thinker in civilization — that the world's growth ought to be planned, sustainable, and energy efficient.

But it's getting dragged up as grounds to scuttle Plan Bay Area. The black helicopter folks, the Obama Wants To Take My House folks, and a few NIMBYs who just don't want density in the suburbs, have been wailing about this massive conspiracy in the past few months.

Comments

...there are TWO left turns allowed on Van Ness as a result of BRT and the Transit First policy: one on Broadway and one on Lombard. If Chinatown was interested in traffic calming and not having an onslaught of cars pillage their neighborhood, they would have supported wider sidewalks and a protected bike lane in accordance with the Broadway Streetscape plan, which was shot down by neighbors because, wait for it...they *wanted* cars to pillage their neighborhood.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 12:13 am

MTC and ABAG want us to believe that the community-driven Equity, Environment & Jobs alternative is only "slightly better" than their preferred plan. The truth is, the differences are many and substantial. For instance, "slightly lower levels of displacement" turns out to mean 15,800 fewer families, and "less car travel" amounts to 3.5 million fewer miles per day and 83,500 fewer cars on the road. Read more, including links to the analysis by researchers at UC Davis, here: http://www.publicadvocates.org/2013-05-02/a-better-bay-area-by-the-numbers.

That is why over 40 groups across the region are supporting the call to incorporate elements of the EEJ alternative into the final Plan: http://www.publicadvocates.org/we-support-the-eej-scenario.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 8:27 am

MTC and ABAG want us to believe that the community-driven Equity, Environment & Jobs alternative is only "slightly better" than their preferred plan. The truth is, the differences are many and substantial. For instance, "slightly lower levels of displacement" turns out to mean 15,800 fewer families, and "less car travel" amounts to 3.5 million fewer miles per day and 83,500 fewer cars on the road. Read more, including links to the analysis by researchers at UC Davis, here: http://www.publicadvocates.org/2013-05-02/a-better-bay-area-by-the-numbers.

That is why over 40 groups across the region are supporting the call to incorporate elements of the EEJ alternative into the final Plan: http://www.publicadvocates.org/we-support-the-eej-scenario.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 8:31 am

We live in the community too, and we reject the "Equity" driven plan. 40 groups? 40 special interest "groups" of people who want a lot of free stuff paid for by others. Public Advocates has been pushing radical redistribution for decades.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:45 am

ABAG and MTC have not taken action on any of the DEIR alternatives. That's still to come...

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 10:02 am

Plan Bay Area incorporates some good, basic planning principles, but doesn't go nearly far enough. At MTC they slap a shrugging happy face pin on all the environmental goals that the plan fails to address. GHG targets are met. Hooray!
Toxic particulate matter (PM) goals? No, but... This still a huge health issue, the second biggest cause of cardiopulmonary death after smoking. At most risk? People who live near a freeway, usually the poor. The biggest source: Diesel Trucks. Where is entertained in PBA the notion that freight should be partially migrated over to rail, on systems that are already in place? This could have a huge impact on the amount of PMs, as well as freeway traffic, noise, and road wear. Too simple? Too complicated?
They aim to spend a huge percentage of the budget on the "Freeway Performance Initiative", an excuse to continue to invest heavily in the transportation modes that got us into this climate mess, and fix the many potholes largely caused by aforementioned large amounts of truck traffic.
In the Bay Area, pressing needs are more on the ground: affordable housing near jobs, and vice versa. Improving and expanding local transit systems. Co-ordinating, or better yet, unifying the many disparate Bay Area transit agencies. Lower administrative costs, less scrambling for scarce funds, more of a regional perspective, better coordination, better service.
And how short-sighted is a Van Ness BRT that doesn't also go up Lombard, or even to Marin and Sonoma County?
Many of us demanded that the Bay Bridge be constructed with the space and strength to accommodate rail in the future. And this was happening at a time when both HSR and BART capacity were on the horizon. Now we're building a high-speed rail system that will need to go to San Jose to get to Sacramento!
Caltrans and MTC won't even entertain the idea of a HOV/Bus lane on the Bay Bridge. Imagine a bridge where the buses didn't get stuck in traffic! And BART is talking about adding a second trans-bay tube. And the new bridge construction has been a series of scandals and disasters. No very re-assuring for a bridge that's being built to solve seismic vulnerability issues (but doesn't at all address transportation shortcomings. Just keeps things as they are.)
So don't count on any miracles from Plan Bay Area, even though Rome is burning. Maybe they should call it "Impotent Plan Bay Area."

Posted by keenplanner on May. 29, 2013 @ 10:59 am

Plan Bay Area incorporates some good, basic planning principles, but doesn't go nearly far enough. At MTC they slap a shrugging happy face pin on all the environmental goals that the plan fails to address. GHG targets are met. Hooray!
Toxic particulate matter (PM) goals? No, but... This still a huge health issue, the second biggest cause of cardiopulmonary death after smoking. At most risk? People who live near a freeway, usually the poor. The biggest source: Diesel Trucks. Where is entertained in PBA the notion that freight should be partially migrated over to rail, on systems that are already in place? This could have a huge impact on the amount of PMs, as well as freeway traffic, noise, and road wear. Too simple? Too complicated?
They aim to spend a huge percentage of the budget on the "Freeway Performance Initiative", an excuse to continue to invest heavily in the transportation modes that got us into this climate mess, and fix the many potholes largely caused by aforementioned large amounts of truck traffic.
In the Bay Area, pressing needs are more on the ground: affordable housing near jobs, and vice versa. Improving and expanding local transit systems. Co-ordinating, or better yet, unifying the many disparate Bay Area transit agencies. Lower administrative costs, less scrambling for scarce funds, more of a regional perspective, better coordination, better service.
And how short-sighted is a Van Ness BRT that doesn't also go up Lombard, or even to Marin and Sonoma County?
Many of us demanded that the Bay Bridge be constructed with the space and strength to accommodate rail in the future. And this was happening at a time when both HSR and BART capacity were on the horizon. Now we're building a high-speed rail system that will need to go to San Jose to get to Sacramento!
Caltrans and MTC won't even entertain the idea of a HOV/Bus lane on the Bay Bridge. Imagine a bridge where the buses didn't get stuck in traffic! And BART is talking about adding a second trans-bay tube. And the new bridge construction has been a series of scandals and disasters. No very re-assuring for a bridge that's being built to solve seismic vulnerability issues (but doesn't at all address transportation shortcomings. Just keeps things as they are.)
So don't count on any miracles from Plan Bay Area, even though Rome is burning. Maybe they should call it "Impotent Plan Bay Area."

Posted by keenplanner on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:19 am

I'll avoid driving my car over that bridge. We'll be lucky if it can support vehicles, let alone put trains on it.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:42 am

UN's Agenda 21 language is embedded within ABAG's documentation. It's not fantasy. It's real. It's goal is redistribution of wealth. That's what the "equity" stuff is all about. Normally people like this guy just claim there is no connection to UN Agenda, but it's there, so he decided to trash and mock those who won't be silenced. If ghg reduction really were the goal, we'd be focusing on controlling population.

ABAG and MTC know, and admit, that the plans put forward will increase ghg. It's not aguable. They will not reduce ghg. I love the part where the planners say the displaced folks can be put somewhere else in the region! The "Alternative 5" is a bald redistribution plan-----a money grab for social engineering and control. It would put masses of very poor and illegals right next to your lovely formerly valuable private property. The housing is called stack and pack. Go ahead, call me names. We won't be silenced.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:40 am

Well, this bloviating missive reveals the fundamental flaw of One Bay Area: its very name and what it implies. The name given this scheme was not a matter of happenstance or accident. They mean what they say, in the same way that Barack Obama meant what he said in the 2008 Presidential campaign--he intends to change America. Well, be careful what you vote for--you just may get it.

It is clear that One Bay Area and the central planners that perpetrate are moving on--discussion & opposition are to be ignored since, after all, this is the right thing to do, and they don't care what ANYONE thinks.

Well, One Bay Area is another in a long line of flim-flams to emanate from Sacramento. And good grief, this joker actually supports the connection between Agenda 21 and One Bay Area.

This is a matter of idiot politicians in Sacramento and those who control them using regulation and the legislative process to overturn local governance in California. This scheme is moving along several fronts, ranging from this absurdity to the upcoming Democratic attacks on Proposition 13. It is, quite literally, just another massive tax-and-spend scheme concocted by the usual schemers.

Kick 'em to the curb, as they have all of California for 35 or 40 years.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

Tim Redmond does a good job of covering a lot of material, and points out the many inconsistencies in the claims of proponents of Plan Bay Area. We agree with Henderson that ABAG's land-use theory is flawed. Projecting 25 years into the future is a fools game. How many booms and busts have we had over the last 25 years? Most economists are not expecting the slow economy to pick up any time soon, and are advising caution. Where are all these millionaires going to come from to buy the expensive new properties?

If one goes by the meaning of the word "infill", and only fills in the areas that are truly empty. We agree with Henderson that building in the suburbs along BART and Caltrans lines makes the most sense and requires no displacement of neighborhoods. Four and five story buildings powered by on-site solar systems is the easiest way to combat global warming.

Power companies love high rises because they are are big energy consumers compared to single family homes. Elevators, heating, and ventilation systems run constantly, so no matter how you get to work, your home is "on" all day. How is this a green solution?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 3:20 am

Talk to the folks at Parkmerced about displacement. They are the first in line to go according to the "Plan". Being a historical resource used to protect you, but no more.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 3:35 am

I understand way people want to live in a single family home, yard, big garage, a pool, lots and lots of room. But folks really, you want the open space, the farmland, the views, the walking trails and your home values to stay good.

We can't have it all.

We keep adding jobs, we want our stores, a nice places, we want to be served and served fast. We want our lawns cut, our homes cleaned, our tables bused, we want our hair styled, our food picked, driven to stores and stocked. We want customer service, we want good teachers, fire fighters, police and other public servants. We want our plumbers, painters, contractors and anyone else who will be a tradeperson or helper.

They need space for housing, their businesses, not to mention their support.

Who gets in or get to drive a long way to serve you.

Posted by Garrett on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

Sooner or later the big one will hit San Fransico killing thousands and destroying many buildings probably including the defective Bay Bridge, it isn't IF but WHEN. It will pale the tornados that recently destroyed much around Oklahoma City.
Then the real redevelopment will happen and the survivors will build a new safer city.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

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