Bay Area allies advocate for consistency and sustainability in county plans

Clarrissa Cabansagan Headshot

 Alameda County Transportation Commission

Earlier this year, Public Advocates and Urban Habitat filed suit against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) over the agency's outdated Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) guidelines for Bay Area congestion management agencies (CMAs). While previously updated about every 5 years to reflect changes in state and federal legislation, the last update was in 2000. 

This decade-plus lapse is significant because so much has changed in the realm of transportation and land use planning. One of the biggest changes is that California’s landmark greenhouse gas laws require that we not only reduce our region’s driving, but coordinate planning efforts regionally via our region’s sustainable community strategy: Plan Bay Area. And hundreds of hours of meetings later, we all know this has been no small feat.

TransForm staff has worked over the years with allies advocating at individual CMAs on key policies like optimized express lanes, transportation funding measures like the upcoming sales tax ballot measure in Alameda County, as well as getting counties to adopt better requirements through One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) funds.

Clearly our region stands to benefit from better coordination of CMA efforts. 

In March, MTC responded to the legal challenge by committing to update these guidelines over the next few months. Over thirty organizations, including TransForm, signed onto this letter initiated by the 6 Wins Network. As a result of this advocacy, MTC has put together a series of workshops to gather CMA and public input to update the guidelines.

Since Plan Bay Area is comprised of the projects found in these county plans, better streamlining will bring us stronger outcomes for the Bay Area as a whole. Most of the current CTPs whose projects fed into Plan Bay Area were outdated; only Alameda County made a specific effort to align county plans with regional goals during the Plan Bay Area process. 

With the vast majority of counties busy updating their plans as we gear up for Plan Bay Area 2.0, it is an opportune moment to ensure the best possible outcomes.

See below for the status of and links to current CTPs in order of recent adoption:

County plans can, and should, be subject to the same performance standards and goals as Plan Bay Area, especially since so much work has been put into shaping them. So, along with our broad set of allies, we’re backing a set of policies that will advance Plan Bay Area by keeping county plans consistent and equal. This includes a push for equity so that all communities can share in the plans’ benefits.

We expect that a draft set of guidelines will be available soon, and will reflect the summary of major changes in this memo.  The draft guidelines will be discussed at the following meetings, with final adoption by the Commission on September 24:

  1. MTC Policy Advisory Council: July 9, 1:30pm
  2. Countywide Transportation Plan Workshop #2:  July 22, 2014, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  3. Countywide Transportation Plan Evening Workshop: July 24, 2014, 6 p.m.
  4. MTC Planning Committee: September 12, 9:30am

For more information see MTC’s website.

 

 

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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.