Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint
The Blueprint is the first step in developing Plan Bay Area 2050.
The Plan Bay Area 2050 Blueprint ("the Blueprint") is the “first draft” of Plan Bay Area 2050. The Blueprint is being developed in two phases — the Draft and the Final. The Draft Blueprint, approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments Executive Board in February 2020, integrated 25 resilient and equitable strategies to move the region toward its adopted vision of a more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant Bay Area for all.
From Horizon to the Draft Blueprint
The 25 Draft Blueprint strategies were identified through its predecessor, the Horizon Initiative. The Blueprint process began with an analysis of those strategies, along with input from the Futures Planning and the Project Performance Assessment. These 25 strategies were tested against a wide range of external forces to see which policies and investments would best respond to an uncertain future (similar to what we are experiencing now due to the pandemic). The Blueprint planning process is being developed in two phases: the Draft and the Final Blueprint. Because the Blueprint is a key first step in creating the Plan Bay Area 2050, it requires iteration and deep engagement with the public, stakeholders and elected officials.
The Draft Blueprint
The Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint weaved together transportation, housing, economic and environmental strategies, alongside an expanded set of growth geographies, to advance critical climate and equity goals. Designed to accommodate 1.5 million new homes (necessary to house the anticipated expanded population and address overcrowding) and 1.4 million new jobs identified in the Regional Growth Forecast, the Draft Blueprint integrated critical strategies to address regional challenges, such as our severe and longstanding housing crisis. With infrastructure investments in walking, biking and public transportation — as well as critical sea level protections designed to keep most Bay Area communities from flooding through 2050 — the Draft Blueprint made meaningful progress toward the adopted Plan Bay Area 2050 vision.
While still remaining fiscally constrained per federal planning requirements, the Draft Blueprint included available revenues from the Needs and Revenue assessments, as well as new regional revenues for transportation, housing, economic development and environmental resilience.
Highlights of the Draft Blueprint
- Improving Affordability for All: The Draft Blueprint reduced the cost burden for housing and transportation, with even greater reductions for low-income residents.
- Expanding Housing Opportunities: The Draft Blueprint integrated investments to build more than 400,000 new permanently affordable homes.
- Focusing Growth in Walkable Places: The Draft Blueprint focused the majority of new homes and new jobs in walkable communities with frequent transit service.
- Saving Lives and Protecting Communities: In addition to saving more than 1,500 lives from roadway crashes through 2050, the Draft Blueprint also protected 98% of housing units at risk of sea level rise inundation through the year 2050 with new resilient infrastructure.
- Positioning the Region for Robust Economic Growth: Despite over $200 billion in new taxes in the decades ahead to pay for the bold strategies approved in February 2020, Bay Area businesses are forecasted to rebound robustly.
In spring 2020, staff analyzed the outcomes for the Bay Area that would result from the Draft Blueprint strategies. The findings revealed significant progress in advancing the bold vision of Plan Bay Area 2050; however, challenges remained. The five key challenges, organized by the five Guiding Principles of Plan Bay Area 2050, are highlighted below:
- Challenge #1: Affordable Guiding Principle. While the Draft Blueprint funds a considerable amount of deed-restricted affordable housing, hundreds of thousands of existing low-income residents would still lack a permanently affordable place to live. What strategies could we modify or advance to further increase the production of homes affordable to lower-income residents, most importantly in High-Resource Areas with well-resourced schools and convenient access to jobs?
- Challenge #2: Connected Guiding Principle. While the Draft Blueprint makes significant headway in improving access for drivers and transit riders compared to existing trends, traffic congestion and transit overcrowding remain significant challenges across the Bay Area. How can new or expanded strategies better address these key transportation issues?
- Challenge #3: Diverse Guiding Principle. While the Draft Blueprint focuses a sizable share of affordable housing in historically exclusionary places in the Bay Area, displacement risk continues to rise, especially in Communities of Concern. How can new or expanded strategies reduce this risk of displacement so more residents can remain in place?
- Challenge #4: Healthy Guiding Principle. While the Draft Blueprint includes robust protections for agricultural lands and communities vulnerable to sea level rise, the biggest challenge remaining relates to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Given the magnitude of the gap between Draft Blueprint performance and the state-mandated target, which strategies could we modify or expand to close this GHG gap in an equitable and sustainable manner?
- Challenge #5: Vibrant Guiding Principle. While Bay Area businesses thrive in the Draft Blueprint, job growth remains relatively concentrated in traditional job centers like Silicon Valley. Potentially impactful strategies, such as office development caps, were not included in the Draft Blueprint following discussion at the Commission/Executive Board workshop in January 2020, and more modest strategies such as impact fees led to positive yet limited effects in shifting jobs to housing-rich communities, such as parts of Alameda County. What additional strategies could be considered to shift jobs closer to the region’s existing workforce?
In summer 2020, staff engaged in robust dialogue with the public, stakeholders and elected officials to help identify new or expanded strategies to address the five remaining challenges.
This second round of Plan Bay Area 2050 public engagement started as the Bay Area and the rest of the world began contending with the novel coronavirus pandemic, which required all residents to shelter-in-place and maintain physical distancing. This meant staff had to quickly pivot and revise in-person public engagement to be held entirely virtually. Despite these challenges, staff was able to engage in robust dialogue with the public and stakeholders via virtual focus groups, interactive virtual workshops and telephone town halls, office hours, an online survey, and a statistically valid poll.
The results of the summer engagement activities unequivocally identified housing unaffordability as the top challenge to be addressed in the next phase of the Blueprint planning process. To review the complete results and what we heard during the summer, including all correspondence received, visit the Draft Blueprint comments page.
Late 2019 – Mid-2020
Develop strategies and investments to advance into analysis of the Draft Blueprint, integrating feedback from the public and from stakeholders.
Analyze the Draft Blueprint and hold workshops with the public to seek feedback on the strategy revisions needed to address the five remaining challenges identified via the Draft Blueprint analysis.
Make refinements to the strategies included in the Blueprint based on feedback, and conduct analysis on the Final Blueprint.
Seek adoption from the Commission and ABAG Executive Board of the Final Blueprint as the Preferred Alternative for environmental analysis purposes.