Saturday, January 21, 2012

Public resistance to phony planning process


Residents express outrage at planning meeting
Alan Wang
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In the next 25 years, it is estimated that two million more people will be living in the Bay Area. To accommodate them, a long-range, land-use and transportation plan is being launched.

In Dublin Wednesday night, officials were met by a rather angry crowd. The gathering was part of a series of meetings designed to get feedback on a project called "One Bay Area." The strategy is to get more people living near their jobs and mass transportation, which would reduce greenhouse gases. Opponents are calling this "social engineering."

One man stood up and said, "If we need stack and pack housing because there's a sufficient market for it that's willing to pay for it, it will get built without your intervention."

A growing opposition is forming against One Bay Area---an integrated land-use and transportation plan for the nine Bay Area counties.

"You are forcing the plan on these cities despite your pretty words about it not being forced, that they have a choice," said Castro Valley resident Mimi Steel.

There are 200 priority development areas, much of it planned for high density living that would rely on mass transit.

"You're going to make it harder for the middle class to use their cars, their cost of living is going to go up, and so how are people in the low-income going to move up, have upward mobility?" said Pleasanton resident Lydia Barrington.

The plan is led by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. They say it's based on the changing demographics of the Bay Area.

"With the change and the preferences by young professionals, by new families, pursuing a more urban environment," said Miriam Chion, the principal planner in the Association of Bay Area Governments.

But the biggest issue these opponents have with the plan is the process. Many called it a sham because the public is left to make only minor decisions.

"All of the most important decisions on this subject have all been made. They've been made by big developers and high-density growth advocacy groups and we were not at the table when all of those decisions were made," said Berkeley resident Doug Buckwald.

The largest development calls for 24,000 housing units in Downtown San Francisco. The smallest is 20 units in Sonoma County.

Plan Bay Area is scheduled to be adopted in April of 2013...

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20 Comments:

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You're going to make it harder for the middle class to use their cars, their cost of living is going to go up, and so how are people in the low-income going to move up, have upward mobility?" said Pleasanton resident Lydia Barrington.

Forcing the low income to own a car is what is keeping them stuck. Providing other options is what is needed.

Also, better planning of the entire bay area will greatly benefit SF as we are constantly having to deal with cars storming our city because of all the surrounding suburban sprawl.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, why can't all those commuters ride bikes into the city? Oh, wait: there's no bike lane on the Bay Bridge. But there's no excuse for motorists coming from the south or the north of the city.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The reality is that most people---especially people with families--don't want to live in "stack and pack" housing in a city. That might suit the young and the old single groovies but it's not for everyone. That's what makes all this trendy prattle about "smart growth" unrealistic. Many people would rather submit to a long commute in their Death Monster/car than what the dense development, transit corridor planners want them to do.

 
At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reality is that most people---especially people with families--don't want to live in "stack and pack" housing in a city.

--> Yet the majority of people world wide live in Urban Areas. Discuss.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So what's the problem?

 
At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your statement is contradicted by the facts. I have a big problem with hypocrisy. You prefer to wallow in it.

 
At 12:15 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

If suburban sprawl isn't perceived as a problem by the folks behind this planning process, why are they going to the trouble of rigging the process?

 
At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the majority of the world's population lives in urban spaces, why do you claim "The reality is that most people---especially people with families--don't want to live in "stack and pack" housing in a city."

 
At 1:31 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The only change I would make to that statement is leaving out the "most" term. The people living in and/or commuting to SF obviously don't want to live here, even if they have to come here every day to work.

 
At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The people living in and/or commuting to SF obviously don't want to live here, even if they have to come here every day to work."

Oh yes, OBVIOUSLY! Or maybe misallocated public funds that promoted driving and far flung suburbia forced them to choose the "cheaper" housing. Much like many people obviously prefer to eat/drink unhealthy foods.

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Right. You and the trendies in the Planning Dept. know what's best for everyone.

 
At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People don't want to live in SF, that is why it is so cheap.

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people living in and/or commuting to SF obviously don't want to live here.

The price of housing in SF is the highest in the Bay Area. That is pretty damning evidence against your claim. If people did not want to live here, prices would drop.

Once again you offer wild guesses, facts trump wild guesses. ALWAYS.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why does anyone live in the suburbs? Obviously a lot of people like living in SF, including me. I like it here, but I'm single and retired. But if you have a family---or just want to live in a more affordable house---you could choose the suburbs.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does anyone live in the suburbs?

--> No changing the goal line Rob. Your statement was

"The people living in and/or commuting to SF obviously don't want to live here"

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That's probably true.

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wuss. It is true? or not? If you think so, provide data.

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

Have you heard of SB375? Are you aware that it passed in the 2008 general assembly with 145 yea votes and 0 nays? California's regional planners are obligated by state law to set GHG emission reduction targets, which requires long-term planning at the regional level. Think about our city, for example: given that so many people drive into San Francisco every day, there is very little that we could do to reduce emissions without coordinating the development of housing and job markets in surrounding counties. Regional targets necessitate regional planning.

The only people calling One Bay Area "social engineering" are a handful of whack jobs touring around the Bay Area to disrupt public meetings in other people's communities. These conspiracy theorists believe that the United Nations is plotting world control with Agenda 21, a framework for combating poverty, promoting health, facilitating decision making, protecting the environment, strengthening the roles of indigenous people, women and children in society; and, yes—describing the technological, educational and financial tools for implementation. What these people reject as "social engineering" are proven and globally agreed upon solutions for many of the problems that we Americans face today. But the wingnuts hijacking these public meetings do not wish to solve these problems through collaboration with their communities, or anyone, for that matter. Their aim is to disrupt public meetings and drown out the voices of reasonable people. They, and you, are not representative of the general population. And they are hurting their communities by cynically shutting down one of the only avenues that citizens have for participating in the planning process.

Saying that "most" people want to live in the suburbs is like saying that people want to be overweight. It's not "obvious" that people who live outside of the city don't want to live here. Many families leave the city because they can't afford it, and we can blame that fact squarely on people like you, who live cheaply in overpriced houses with rock-bottom property taxes while young people with scant well-paying jobs outside the tech and financial sectors struggle to afford outrageous rents. Who are you to tell them that they should not be able to have dense, affordable housing in the city?

You are part of the problem, Rob. Whining on your blog doesn't make you part of the solution.

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Looking through the One Bay Area links ca't help but notice that the 25 April 2011 "Workshop" questions for "a preferred scenario for future growth" were answered by only forty people! In a few years the SFCTA will justify doing whatever it is they want because this is what the "community" asked for in their outreach program.

Forty people out of 800,000!

Worse is the MTC "Programmatic Categories" for projects, every pedestrian category is packed into a bicycle category, e.g., "bicycle/pedestrian enhancements." Anyone who actually spends a lot of time as a pedestrian on the streets of SF knows that bicyclists are the greatest danger while on the sidewalk. Cyclists seem to think the sidewalks are their racetracks, the pedestrian crosswalks are their safe zones.

A mild-mannered friend is so sick of being threatened by cyclists on the sidewalk he said he can't wait until one hits him so he can pound the creeps face into the concrete.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Anyone who actually spends a lot of time as a pedestrian on the streets of SF knows that bicyclists are the greatest danger while on the sidewalk.

[citation needed]

In fact more pedestrians have been killed on sidewalks over the past decade by cars, than by bikes. And it's not even close.

 

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