Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint

The Blueprint is the first step in developing Plan Bay Area 2050. Watch the video to learn more about the Blueprint.

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Karl Nielsen

Building on the foundation of the Horizon Initiative, the Plan Bay Area 2050 Blueprint ("the Blueprint") integrates bold and equitable strategies across four elements — transportation, housing, the economy and the environment — to create a more resilient and equitable future for the Bay Area. The Blueprint was developed in two phases — the Draft and the Final.

The Final Blueprint

December brings an end to the Blueprint development process with the release of the Final Blueprint Outcomes. Over the last couple of months, staff from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) analyzed the 35 transportation, housing, economic and environmental strategies included in the Final Blueprint, which was approved along with the Growth Geographies and the Regional Growth Forecast by the Commission and the ABAG Executive Board in September, to determine how much more progress the region makes towards the Plan Bay Area 2050 Vision.

The analysis shows continued progress made toward the Vision that builds on the successes gained with the Draft Blueprint—as well as achieving the region’s 19% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target as set by the California Air Resources Board. The analysis included the revised Strategy EN7, featuring expanded employer commute trip reduction programs, which was approved by MTC in November and by ABAG in December.

Additional highlights from the analysis include:

  • A more affordable Bay Area: strategies in the Final Blueprint would enable Bay Area residents, especially households with lower incomes, to spend less on housing and transportation compared to Plan Bay Area 2040. Additionally, the Bay Area would be able to produce and preserve more affordable housing.
  • A more accessible and reliable transportation network: strategies in the Final Blueprint would enable Bay Area transit riders to access their destinations more easily, while motorists would be able to count on more reliable travel times.
  • Continued progress toward a more inclusive Bay Area: inclusive development helps reduce the risk of displacement in Transit-Rich communities, while new strategies to provide mortgage and rental assistance help to open opportunities for home ownership for residents with lower incomes.
  • A healthier and safer Bay Area: investments in parks and open space, particularly in historically disinvested communities, will provide more opportunities for recreation, and through a suite of strategies in the Final Blueprint that increase resilience, risks from hazards like wildfires and sea level rise are reduced.
  • A thriving economy and a more balanced growth pattern for the Bay Area: the Final Blueprint outcomes show improvement in the jobs-housing imbalance, particularly in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Alameda counties, while business incubators and job training programs help support middle-wage jobs.

Staff hosted webinars on December 18, 2020 and January 5, 2021 to present the results of the Final Blueprint analysis in detail; the recordings and presentation slides are posted online. The Commission and ABAG Executive Board approved the Final Blueprint as the Preferred Alternative for environmental analysis purposes in January 2021.

Draft RHNA Methodology

Concurrently, the Draft Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Methodology and Final RHNA Subregional Shares have been released, which integrate Final Blueprint data via the 2050 Households baseline. The materials associated with the Draft RHNA Methodology and Final RHNA Subregional Shares are available on the ABAG website.

Winter Office Hours

Local jurisdiction staff and partner organizations were invited to book office hours with MTC and ABAG planners to discuss the Final Blueprint outcomes and the RHNA methodology updates in more detail. Winter Office Hour appointments were available for booking from December 21, 2020 to January 22, 2021. Further questions and inquiries can be submitted to info@planbayarea.org or by calling the Plan Bay Area 2050 comment line at (415) 778-2292.

 

The 35 Final Blueprint strategies, defined as policies or bundles of investments, are clustered around 11 themes and integrate the four key elements of Plan Bay Area 2050:

Transportation Element

  1. Maintain and Operate the Existing System
  2. Create Healthy and Safe Streets
  3. Build a Next-Generation Transit Network

Housing Element

  1. Protect and Preserve Affordable Housing
  2. Spur Housing Production at All Income Levels
  3. Create Inclusive Communities

Economy Element

  1. Improve Economic Mobility
  2. Shift the Location of Jobs

Environment Element

  1. Reduce Risks from Hazards
  2. Expand Access to Parks and Open Space
  3. Reduce Climate Emissions

For complete details on the 35 strategies included in the Final Blueprint, including the cost, objective and description of each strategy, read Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint: Strategy Descriptions.

Staff evaluated the 35 Final Blueprint strategies against ten questions—two for each of the Plan’s Guiding Principles:

Affordable

  • Will Bay Area residents spend less on housing and transportation?
  • Will the Bay Area produce and preserve more affordable housing?

Connected

  • Will Bay Area residents be able to access their destinations more easily?
  • Will Bay Area residents have a transportation system they can rely on?

Diverse

  • Will Bay Area communities be more inclusive?
  • Will Bay Area residents be able to stay in place?

Healthy

  • Will Bay Area residents be healthier and safer?
  • Will the environment of the Bay Area be healthier and safer?

Vibrant

  • Will jobs and housing in the Bay Area be more evenly distributed?
  • Will the Bay Area economy thrive?

The Final Blueprint analysis gauged how much progress would be made toward the Plan’s vision of ensuring that by the year 2050, the Bay Area is affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all residents. For the most part, the overwhelming response to the questions above was yes. The complete results from the analysis are available in the Investment Analysis and the Equity and Performance Outcomes handouts.

The Final Blueprint Growth Geographies are key locations for future focused housing and job growth. The Final Blueprint weaves together the 35 strategies, alongside an expanded set of growth geographies, to advance critical climate and equity goals.

The growth geographies included in the Final Blueprint represent a middle ground between a singular focus on Priority Development Areas (PDAs) in past plans and a more inclusive set of growth geographies. In addition to PDAs, the growth geographies also include Priority Production Areas, Transit-Rich Areas and High-Resource Areas (as designated by the State of California).

Ultimately, the Growth Geographies help to accommodate the Regional Growth Forecast adopted in September 2020, with 1.4 million new jobs and 1.4 million new households anticipated between 2015 and 2050. Prior to its adoption, the Regional Growth Forecast was revised to integrate the significant adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic and 2020 recession on the first decade of the planning period. To review the technical information related to the Regional Growth Forecast, read Plan Bay Area 2050: Regional Growth Forecast and the Regional Growth Forecast Methodology.