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The Bay Area transportation, land-use and housing plan which is based on an expected increase in Bay Area population from roughly 7 million to 9 million people over the next 30 years is up for adoption by the Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission tomorrow evening.
In order to support another 2 million Bay Area residents by 2040, Plan Bay Area calls for 660,000 new housing units to be built around the Bay. And with the population of San Francisco projected to hit nearly 1.1 million, adding over 200,000 new residents and 190,000 new jobs, the plan calls for 92,480 new housing units in San Francisco alone, double San Francisco’s current housing pipeline.
Atop the table for new Bay Area housing to be built, the plan calls for 129,280 new housing units in San Jose and 51,450 new units in Oakland. The greatest percentage growth is forecast for Milpitas with 12,620 new housing units, an increase of over 60 percent.
And atop the table of projects to support the Bay Area’s growth in population and employment, the $8 billion extension of BART to Fremont, Santa Clara, and San Jose.
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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by zig

    ” $8 billion extension of BART to Fremont, Santa Clara, and San Jose”
    Transit planning 101. This is a is a huge waste of money for a massively inefficient project.
    It is pretty pathetic that this is the the big investment that would somehow make this planned population increase desirable.
    What we will are going to end up with is LA like density. Moderate/high density across a huge region with too few very high density nodes and lots and lots of driving and congestion

  2. Posted by Live Smarter

    One thing that I have learned from this recent BART strike (and possibly another one on August 4) is that instead of relying on public transport to take me to the desired location, I should simply live in the place I need to be. I really don’t need to live in Pinole, Richmond or Fremont, and commute into SF for work because when BART and/or MUNI decides to strike, no amount of commute alternatives will help.
    On a related note, if Google can make driverless cars, how far are we away from driverless trains and other pubic transport?

  3. Posted by CnSF

    Driverless trains are already being used in Europe. I know Barcelona is already building two new transit lines which will not require a driver. On another note high speed rail lines would help with the population growth, as you could live further away and work in SJ or SF (if it gets built).

  4. Posted by Frank C.

    I think transit demand will increase significantly in time, beyond rail, and that will overcome many current obstacles. The reason is that the relative time costs (due to congestion) and fuel costs of driving cars is only going to go up, and it just won’t pay for most people to ride single-occupant vehicles. Alt fuel vehicles won’t change this trajectory much.
    What I’m surprised at is why does Oakland grow by only 51k units? – I’d have guessed a number closer to 80k. Seems to me there is much more available land in Oakland, plus BART, for new high density developments there than SF.
    Unless the Eastern waterfront in SF becomes like Vancouver – and Mission Bay’s relative smallness seems to indicate that is a dream – I could see maybe half of that 90k. I can’t imagine infill making up the difference, given the fear of densifying existing neighborhoods. But maybe that fear will abate in time, who knows. Maybe the price signals will change peopl’s minds.

  5. Posted by Sam

    Oakland is going to explode much more than this plan makes it appear. At least I’d e very surprised if it didn’t

  6. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Zig – Why do you believe that BART to SJ is a huge waste? Sure, it is expensive as any BART extension is. But the most obvious alternative, widening 880, is really wasteful.
    —————————-
    As for driverless trains and subways, the London Docklands Light Railway has been driverless for a quarter century already.

  7. Posted by Don

    Can’t see SF adding that many housing units; most of an already small city is virulently off-limits to any density beyond what’s there now. This is equivalent to +/- 120 developments the size of NEMA; even in the parts of the city amenable to greatly increased density now, that doesn’t sound plausible. (Most of the rapidly-densifying parts of the city are also very recently-densifying – that is, without a substantial and entrenched group of residents to protest development. Give these areas a few years and they’ll have un-shutuppable NIMBY groups too. See the Mexican Museum tower protests for a preview.) And as others have pointed out, Oakland can and should grow by much more than is proposed here – it’s got far greater buy-in from residents and government, and it’s ideally situated in the geographic center of the region. And it’s got space – you could easily add half the housing units proposed above within 6 blocks of a few Oakland BART stations without tearing down a single occupied building.

  8. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Don – I agree that it is more costly and difficult to add housing in SF. But if you look at the job growth you see that SF is expected to add most of the jobs. Without matching those jobs with new housing the existing commute imbalance will get worse.
    Bay area governments should really look towards shifting as much growth (both jobs and homes) as possible out of SF and into infill of other BA cities. But there’s only so much that government can influence.

  9. Posted by conifer

    Don is right.
    Oakland is to Brooklyn as SF is to Manhattan. According to an endless stream of articles in the NY Times, Brooklyn is now the hippest place on the planet, the site of a whole new generation. Bed Stuy was a dangerous slum in the 70s and now houses can cost over $1m. I hear that the whole northern half of Brooklyn has been gentrified.
    This is a major change. It used to be that the only good part of Brooklyn was Brooklyn Heights, and the residents used that in their return addresses, in the same way that La Jolla is the return address where really they are still in San Diego city.
    Oakland has always looked like a place waiting to happen. There is much more room, and much more acceptance of development. The weather is better than SF too.

  10. Posted by wrath

    I think you are looking at the Oaktown question solely from a, scientific, view – no one denies its geographic relevance (though not the easiest place to be there if you work in Silicon Valley) but there are other considerations at play there. For one thing, the city is notorious for selecting morons as mayors. For another it is a criminal hotspot. If that were not enough, it attracts lunatic leftist anarchists and racebaiters who regularly trash this or that. So, sure, you can build new housing there and probably will have to but it will be section 8 type or anarchist housing. That in turn goes to the taxbase which is rapidly leaving Oakland in all directions.
    The way Oaktown gets upgraded is tech firms set up operations in the Diablo Walnut Creek area – but that is unlikely in the near future – then you can live in Oaktown and be centrally located b/t SF/East Bay tech cluster and, potentially, south bay. We’re talking 50 years if that.

  11. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “I hear that the whole northern half of Brooklyn has been gentrified.”
    It is getting that way but not quite. Greenpoint is still occupied by the old guard. It is about as gentrified as the Excelsior.
    I totally agree that Oakland is a better place to grow. The city has a lot of underutilized waterfront space and could really use the tax dollars. Plus they’re the main nexus of bay area transportation. The big question is how to convince people and businesses to move to Oakland.

  12. Posted by Frank C.

    With oakland, we can see impressive growth in the restaurant industry just in the last 5 years. So amenities are coming, and residential growth should eventually encourage job growth. I’m frm nyc originally and know Brooklyn well…..brooklyn overall is not very gentrified., only the close in brownstone areas, plus williamsburgh. Outside of the brownstone areas the housing stock is much less desireable. Brownstone areas are well less than a quarter of the borough’s population and land area, and historic district worthy brownstone hoods less than that. Bed stuy is in early stages, its quite un polished.

  13. Posted by anon

    Zig – Why do you believe that BART to SJ is a huge waste? Sure, it is expensive as any BART extension is. But the most obvious alternative, widening 880, is really wasteful.
    Ugh, seriously MOD? BART to SJ is building metro-level equipment into suburbia rather than building more lines in urban areas that can already support higher density.
    I’d be ok with BART to SJ if there were massive upzoning requirements tied into the plan. There aren’t – we’ll get a few three story apartment complexes built along a subway that has the technological capability of transporting a hundred thousand people an hour, but neighbors along the line will fight anything denser – they already have their train, so why in the world would they want more people around them fighting them for a seat? A colossal waste.

  14. Posted by shamza

    Brooklyn is not “gentrified” at all – the Manhattan professional population has displaced the locaks (if that is what you mean by “gentrification”) in certain “brownstone” areas but as someone noted above most of the borough is what it was before – professionals who are there are mostly ones who could not afford to live in Manhattan (or at least in the desirable parts of Manhattan). Moreover, most of them are, working professionals, i.e., those who tend to have far fewer children than their non-Manhattan working class neighbors. Moreover, their children are likely to have opportunities outside of Brooklyn and are not likely to stay there whereas the poor are more or less trapped there. So, yes, portions of Brooklyn are gentrified if by that you mean a transient professional class is living there – for now.
    Real gentrification is not achieved by bringing in more rich(er) people but bringing up the poor people. The former have fewer children and so whatever small gains you can achieve in economically depressed areas will dissipate promptly thereafter.
    But we too often think that we have “gentrified” Oakland because of Rockridge. Well, all you’ve done is displace a whole bunch of people such that they moved to Antioch, Pitsburg, Martinez, Bay Point. And Antioch has far more people than Rockridge and Piedmont together.
    So what you are doing is just spreading the problem not solving it. That’s it folks.

  15. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “I’d be ok with BART to SJ if there were massive upzoning requirements tied into the plan.”
    Of the five stations slated this extension, two (d
    Downtown and Caltrain) are already dense enough to support BART and still have room to grow. The Caltrain station area also has a major sports arena across the street as well as several nearby undeveloped parcels slated for dense housing. Downtown still has acres of undeveloped parcels. Another two (Berryessa and Santa Clara) are essentially brownfield infill developments not subject to NIMBY meddling. I don’t know enough about Alum Rock to know what is planned there.
    You’re right that those cities should be required to upzone the areas around the stations but as you can see two already have and two others are in a good position to do so without much resistance. Compare that to the Dublin/Pleasanton station where the tallest building is a parking garage.
    Can we get LaMOrinda to upzone too while we’re at it?

  16. Posted by lyqwyd

    No offense, but you guys are NUTS!
    SF is obviously where growth should focus. MUNI may suck, but it’s a million times better than AC transit. SF is the transit hub of the bay area, everybody can get to SF via transit, and that’s only going to become more true as the transit network continues to grow.
    And the idea that Oakland is more development friendly is quite debatable. It has a very suburban approach to development except in downtown and a few other industrial areas. While SF is no developers paradise, I believe it is friendlier, or at least more desirable, to development, as can be found in the numerous 4-6 story projects going on throughout the city, as well as the many towers being built / planned right now in the more central areas.
    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be development in Oakland, but the idea that there should be more in Oakland than SF is ridiculous.
    Growth should happen where jobs and transit are, which is clearly SF.

  17. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Yes lyqwyd, agreed that the growth shouldn’t go only to Oakland. It should go to Oakland, Concord, Hayward, Fremont, Milpitas, SJ, SC, SV, Redwood City, and a handful of other locations around the bay. SF should grow too but it doesn’t have enough developable land to make it happen in an economic efficient way.
    You don’t need Manhattan dimensions and densities to support good transit and growth. The number one way to increase density is to limit sprawl and to limit sprawl, avoid building transportation out towards greenfields.
    At some point the bay area governments and the state (Caltrans) need to phase out building roads (and transit) that support the sprawl that is ironically crippling the Bay Area’s growth and vitality. And there’s no way that SF can support the projected growth without major help from the rest of the BA.

  18. Posted by lyqwyd

    “doesn’t have enough developable land to make it happen in an economic efficient way.”
    I strongly disagree with that, my evidence is all the development going on in SF.
    “The number one way to increase density is to limit sprawl and to limit sprawl, avoid building transportation out towards greenfields.”
    I strongly agree with that, but that doesn’t mean we should de-emphasize development in SF. They are two completely separate issues.
    SF can easily handle double it’s current population, given that Manhattan is almost 4 times as dense, and Brooklyn is well over twice as dense as SF currently is.

  19. Posted by Why?

    Why? Why must a region absorb so many more people? BBC Radio 4 just did a recent program where the idea of non stop continued growth and increasing density for London was questioned. How much is enough? Why do so many who post here constantly feel the need to bring up NYC? I do not want Manhattan, Hong Kong or London. I like the few views we have left of the bay and hills and am not in favor of Manhattan West. Be my guest, if you don’t like it here, try Tokyo, they have amazing density and the worlds best, largest and most efficient public transport network!
    The real problem is a unchecked non-stop population explosion, not lack of housing or density.

  20. Posted by lyqwyd

    If you like views of the bay hills then support development in SF, as it will not impact the bay hills one bit.
    Population is growing, so people have to go somewhere, the only question is where. You can either have ecologically sound development in already urbanized areas, or you can have ecologically harmful development elsewhere. Those are your choices.
    Even without population growth, certain places would grow (bay area for example), while others shrink (Detroit for example). Either a city is growing, or it’s dieing.
    People bring up NYC, and the many other dense and vibrant urban areas such as London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, etc. because they are shining examples that put the lie to the claims that SF is over-developed.
    There are tons of places in the world that have views and low density, that is especially true in the U.S. If you are not in favor of density why are you here? SF is the 3rd most densely populated city in the U.S. of cities with more than 100,000, and the 14th highest populated city.
    You may not like density, but I find it hard to believe that the majority of people who have chosen to live in the 3rd most densely populated city feel the same. It’s trivial to find alternatives for those that don’t like density, it’s very hard to find alternatives for those that do.

  21. Posted by anon

    @MOD:
    Of the five stations slated this extension
    That’s my primary reason for disliking this extension – it’s 20+ miles with only five stations for potential building of density. Five stations in 20 miles should use cheap, off-the-shelf commuter rail, not the same technology that is designed for metros with every 30 second frequency. It’s the ultimate case of building a bazooka where a hammer would suffice.

  22. Posted by anon

    Another two (Berryessa and Santa Clara) are essentially brownfield infill developments not subject to NIMBY meddling.
    Also, this is absolutely, 100% wrong. The Berryessa site has been the subject of MASSIVE NIMBY meddling so far, with the current plan being a mess of four story apartment buildings to go there after all other plans were shouted down because of expected traffic impacts. The current plan is also under attack, as most of the recent meetings on the plan for the area have had hundreds of people show up demanding that park and ride lots be built rather than housing.

  23. Posted by Will

    All this discussion about transit and “where: the new housing is going to be built is fine but it is missing the core issue and that is in an already developed area “how” is so much new housing going to get affordably built? Significant increases in density is one way and finally dealing with all the obstacles thrown up by individual cites that prevent significant increases in Accessory Dwelling Units (granny units) is another but the bottom line is having a “plan” is very nice but frankly unless the state legislature actually changes the law to mandate increased density under specific circumstances and to remove the obstacles to creating ADUs it will be nothing but a nice expensive well meaning plan.

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