Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sending Condensed Centered Bay Area paper to Regional Officials--Cover Letter

Ken Kirkey,  Planning Director, Association of Bay Area Governments
Lisa Klein,  Planner,  Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Dear Mr. Kirkey and Ms. Klein,

               For twenty years or more, many leaders of the Bay Area have struggled to turn our region toward a coherent pattern of growth to succeed 20th century sprawl.   
After many  years of effort, we are now seeing the MTC, Air Board, BCDC and ABAG moving into better consultation, as California in SB 375 calls on the region to act effectively for sustainability and against climate change.   The creation of the Joint Policy Committee several years ago, and current work on the RTP/SCS (Bay Area Plan), are clearly landmarks in this movement toward cooperation.
I would like to suggest an addition to the Place Types of the Station Area Planning Model in the excellent Initial Vision Scenario, which you presented on March 11.
The present list of Place Types at this early stage does not seem to go much beyond a rather unspecified intensification of housing and worksites at existing nodes.   There should be added to the list of Place Types a new kind of intensification to be designed expressly to optimize transit-oriented living and working.   Less dominated by existing city forms on the ground, this additional place type, a full-fledged walking transit oriented community, tries instead to work out an optimum modern settlement for business and housing on the Bay Area’s existing rail network.   It would directly advance the SB 375 goals to house expected new population within the region and to reduce carbon emissions.   By purposefully lowering automobile reliance, it will make other environmental gains as well, and bring down our excessive costs of housing.
Attached is a six page paper on the concept of such a walking transit oriented community, or “Center.”    I am working on a longer version in short book form which I hope to finish in the Spring, but am sending this to you now, since the RTP/SCS policy process is developing momentum. 
It would be useful to include one or two examples of such Centers in the coming  RTP/SCS as prototypes to test their long-term utility to the region and acceptability to the market.   Support for such a center can be seen as an expansion of the MTC’s TLC program.  It will reflect the Commission's and the region’s realization that it is mainly through land use improvement, not direct transportation investment, that regional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) can be reduced. 

Peter Lydon
Berkeley, California, 94708

No comments: