News at ABAG


Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Plan Bay Area Draft Preferred Scenario Presented



The Plan Bay Area Draft Preferred Scenario was presented to the ABAG Regional Planning Committee and to the ABAG Executive Board last week as well as the Regional Advisory Working Group (RAWG) and the MTC Planning and ABAG Administrative Committees. Cities and counties are invited to review and comment on the Draft Preferred Scenario via email to: mlespiritu@mtc.gov and cc: kkirkey@mtc.ca.gov and miriamc@abag.ca.gov.

October 14th is the deadline for public comments via email at info@mtc.ca.gov, or via U.S. mail to MTC, 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94105.

A special October Executive Board meeting was requested to hear more from cities and counties. This meeting has not yet been scheduled, but will be open to members of the public. Special session details will be available on the ABAG meetings and agendas page at http://abag.ca.gov/meetings/execboard.html.

All input will be used to refine the preferred scenario before the MTC Commission and ABAG Executive Board are asked to adopt a final preferred scenario at a joint November 2016 meeting.

More information is available at http://planbayarea.org/the-plan/Draft-Preferred-Scenario.html.

Posted Friday, September 16, 2016

Association of Bay Area Governments
Executive Director Ezra Rapport Announces Retirement



Executive Director Ezra Rapport will be retiring from the agency he has headed since 2010. Mr. Rapport will leave ABAG effective September 30, 2016.

In his role as Executive Director, Mr. Rapport was responsible for many accomplishments at the agency, including developing a solid regional planning framework for the Bay Area's future growth in housing, jobs, and population. Mr. Rapport oversaw enterprise units working on energy efficiency, clean water supply, disaster resilience, risk management, local finance, trail management, open space, economic development, climate adaptation, infrastructure expansion, and many other important subjects.

ABAG President and City of Clayton Councilmember Julie Pierce thanked Mr. Rapport for his service, stating, "Ezra has been a visionary and passionate leader for ABAG. Ezra has advanced collaboration among the Bay Area's counties, cities and towns and regional stakeholders. He has been instrumental in guiding our ABAG Council of Governments through the adoption of the first Plan Bay Area, adopted in 2013, as we plan for future generations in the Bay Area. We wish Ezra and his family all the best in his retirement."

Following September 30th, Brad Paul, ABAG Deputy Executive Director will be assuming management responsibilities for the foreseeable future.

Posted Friday, September 9, 2016

ABAG Chief Economist Conducts Research on Napa Businesses Impacted by Earthquake


Napa earthquake business survivors have been asked to help the nation become more disaster resilient by completing a survey on the economic impact of the magnitude 6.0 South Napa Earthquake of August 2014. In partnership with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), the Association of Bay Area Governments' (ABAG) Chief Economist, Cynthia Kroll and researchers from four other organizations are developing this Napa pilot survey to serve as a model for gauging business conditions after a natural disaster.

"For the Napa experience, the pilot survey gives us illustrations of how the quake affected businesses and what contributed to business resilience. In the longer term, we hope to determine how to best gather information on the impacts of a natural disaster on local businesses. This type of research provides information for businesses and public agencies on how to prepare and what's needed to help a business recover," Kroll said.

Results will be shared with government decision makers, business groups, emergency managers and planners, researchers, risk mitigation experts, and interested members of the general public. The survey is conducted by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) in collaboration with local economic development and business organizations as part of EERI's Resilience Observatory Project and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. EERI has extended the survey for 4 more weeks. Napa businesses can still respond to the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/napa-case-study.

The goal is to gather enough survey results bymid-October to inform the development of a survey instrument that can track effects of a major event from the initial incident through recovery.

Efforts like the Napa Pilot Survey are in keeping with the missions of ABAG's Research Program, which provides data and analysis on demographic and economic trends in the region, and the ABAG Resilience Program, which supports recovery and mitigation research, planning and action for a resilient Bay Area and assists Bay Area local governments and residents in planning for earthquakes, the effects of climate change, and other hazards.

More information on the survey and the EERI Resilience Observatory Project is available here.

For more information, visit the ABAG Resilience program website at http://resilience.abag.ca.gov/about/.

Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Regional Planning Committee's New Subcommittees
Tackle Infrastructure, Economic Development, and Housing


The ABAG Regional Planning Committee (RPC) has formed three subcommittees to examine issues of importance to the region: Infrastructure, Economic Development, and Housing.

Infrastructure
The Infrastructure Subcommittee met in July to discuss related water and resilience activities. A meeting on Wednesday, September 14th, 9:30 - 11:30 will continue the July meeting's discussion on local and regional collaboration between water districts, cities and counties. In addition, presentations on potential water system disruptions following a scenario earthquake, impressions from the September 8th Yellow Command Exercise and discussion on how a Subcommittee for a Lifelines Council can foster useful coordination will be on the September 14th meeting agenda. For more information, contact Michael Germeraad, michaelg@abag.ca.gov.

Economic Development
The Economic Development Committee has been combined with additional subregional representatives to form an Economic Development Strategy Committee for developing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report (CEDS). The CEDS is a necessary part of the Regional effort to create an Economic Development District for the San Francisco Bay Area. The Strategy Committee broadly represents the main economic interests of the region including business organizations, workforce interests, educational institutions, and equity representatives. The September 13th meeting from 1 - 2:30 pm will include a review of strategies to support a more resilient, prosperous and equitable economy. For more information, contact Johnny Jaramillo, johnnyj@abag.ca.gov.

Housing
Housing Subcommittee met briefly in May and identified preliminary objectives as providing guidance to staff and recommendations to RPC on housing issues in following areas: housing as expressed in Plan Bay Area, the concept and potential implementation of a Regional Housing Trust fund, and exploring the Safe, Smart Integrated Housing Retrofit program (SSIHR) for the Bay Area. The September 14th meeting from 3:00 - 5:00 will review current housing tasks, recent housing data, and discussion of priorities for 2016-2017. For more information, contact Gillian Adams at gilliana@abag.ca.gov.

With these three subcommittees, the RPC can focus on these important topics. Agendas and minutes for meetings will be posted at http://abag.ca.gov/meetings/.

Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Has your city, town, or county joined in to officially celebrate the San Francisco Bay with a Bay Day proclamation?



As the administrator of several regional projects working to enhance San Francisco Bay, ABAG is requesting that all cities and counties in the Bay Area pass proclamations recognizing October 1, 2016 and the first Saturday of October in future years as "Bay Day," in recognition of this valuable resource that defines our region.

On Bay Day, dozens of cultural attractions, community organizations, small businesses, non-profits and parks all around the Bay Area will host special, Bay-themed programs so residents can explore, enjoy, and learn more about our Bay. For more information about Bay Day, and to get the draft resolution, visit http://abag.ca.gov/bayday/index.html.

Posted Monday, August 29, 2016

Building Healthy Neighborhoods with Trees
Forum on Wednesday, September 21, 2016
at Oakland Museum of California


Elected Officials, City Managers, Planning and Public Works Directors are invited to spend a day learning about how urban forestry can help grow healthy communities in the East Bay with experts from regional planning, public health and urban tree canopy analysis. Be inspired by the many benefits trees provide and find out how to develop, implement and fund an urban forestry plan.

Our keynote speaker, Nathanael Johnson, author of Unseen City takes us on a journey that is part nature lesson and part love letter to the world's urban jungles. With the right perspective, a walk to the bus stop can be every bit as entrancing as a walk through a national park.

To register for this forum hosted in cooperation with the Association of Bay Area Governments' PLAN Corporation, California Urban Forests Council, and the Bay Area Urban Forest Ecosystem Council, click here.The forum is free to ABAG PLAN Members.

To find out if you are an ABAG PLAN Member, check here. For more information call, (415) 820-7992.

AICP & CEU Credit Available.

Posted Monday, August 15, 2016

Plan Bay Area 2040 Regional Conversation on Housing and Transportation - What We Heard



During May and June, more than 1,100 members of the public attended open houses or took an online quiz to learn about and comment on an update to the region's long-range transportation and
housing roadmap known as Plan Bay Area 2040.

Bay Area residents who attended these open houses had the opportunity to view displays and offer comments on long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health, maintain the region's transportation infrastructure, and preserve open space,among others. Open house participants posted comments on display boards, took the online survey and filled out comment sheets to elaborate on their positions.

Overall comment themes
Housing: * Strong support for more housing of all types, especially for low and middle-income residents * Major concern with lack of affordable housing and displacement of long-time residents, particularly in disadvantaged communities * Suggestions for easing displacement included stronger policies for rent control, protection against evictions, inclusionary zoning and
living wages * A number of participants called for conditioning state or regional funding to ensure cities are approving sufficient low-income housing and adopting strong anti-displacement policies * Many called for more streamlined approval processes for new housing * There was support for more robust transit-oriented development and more vibrant, walkable downtowns in cities of all sizes.

Transportation: * Widespread support for public transit service - going more places at increased frequencies * Strong support for increased rail - most notably BART, as well as Caltrain and commuter rail, and enhanced bus service, including bus-rapid-transit * Support for electric vehicle charging stations * Some expressed concern about transit crowding, called for a second Transbay Tube * Major concern about freeway and traffic congestion: many seek relief from long commutes * Strong support for more robust bicycle and pedestrian facilities to lay the groundwork for a more carless future (though a small number strongly oppose investments in bicycles).

For the fulll report and to see more information, go to

Posted Thursday, July 21, 2016

Coalition of Governments, Led by ABAG, Wins US EPA Brownfields Grant Providing Funding for Environmental Site Contamination Assessments in the East Bay



Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, and Alameda County, along with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) as the coalition lead, have received an US EPA Brownfields Grant for $550,000. This grant funds environmental site assessments, which will confirm or remove suspicion of contamination on land with the potential for new housing and businesses. Part of the East Bay Corridors Initiative, these communities are reinvesting to improve health and access to opportunity in identified areas near transit. "Without ABAG serving as the coalition lead, we would not have access to this funding. We are very pleased that this grant will allow us take the next step to revitalizing our communities and work toward meeting regional carbon emissions goals," stated Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday.

The coalition's proposal focuses on a 15 mile corridor of downtowns and mixed-use neighborhoods that have been identified by coalition members as Priority Development Areas (PDAs) -- transit-rich places planned by cities for mixed-income housing, commercial development, and local services. The five BART stations within this corridor connect residents to nearly a million jobs, as well as regional educational and cultural opportunities. The region's first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route is scheduled to start along this corridor in 2017.

In 2013, Bay Area elected officials adopted Plan Bay Area—a blueprint for growth and transportation investment that achieves the State of California's GHG emissions reduction target for the region. The foundation of Plan Bay Area's sustainable growth strategy is a network of PDAs.

The PDAs that make up the grant target area are expected to add 44,000 new housing units and 58,000 new jobs by 2040. Land use plans recently adopted by coalition members for these PDAs set the stage for implementation by identifying opportunity sites for a mix of housing, employment, local services, and public spaces to create dense walkable communities. These sites are typically vacant, large enough for significant redevelopment that fulfills a community vision, and in need of assessment to confirm or remove suspicion of contaminants presence. Grant-funded assessments are expected to begin Fall 2016.

Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ABAG-MTC Merger Update



With ABAG Special Executive Board meeting on June 16th, and MTC's Commission meeting on June 22nd, certain conditions established by Resolution 4210 have now been met and the Merger Implementation Action Plan has been adopted.

Under the terms of Resolution 4210, once both the ABAG Executive Board and Commission of MTC vote to adopt the Option 7 Implementation Action Plan, those sections of Resolution 4210 that would have, on July 1, 2016, transferred 13 ABAG planners to MTC and reduced MTC's planning grant to ABAG are pre-empted and the related proposed actions are voided.

At ABAG's Special Executive Board meeting, Resolution 08-16 was passed. This action adopts the Option 7 - Implementation Action Plan with the attached Worker Protection Principles, and

1. Authorizes staff to conduct negotiations with MTC for a Contract for Services in accordance with principles adopted under ABAG Executive Board Resolution 07-16 and report back to the Executive Board on a timely basis regarding progress on such negotiations and to present recommendations on a Contract for Services between ABAG and MTC.

2. Authorizes ABAG's President, in consultation with the ABAG Administrative Committee, to appoint members of the Executive Board to conduct negotiations of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in accordance with the above mentioned principles and to report back to the Executive Board on a timely basis regarding the progress of such negotiations and to present recommendations on an MOU between ABAG and MTC.

The MTC at its Wednesday, June 22nd meeting approved the Implementation Action Plan for MTC/ABAG Merger Study, Option 7 and took Related Financial Actions that included:

1) Approval of the Implementation Action Plan (IAP) to guide Option 7 implementation (the consolidation of all staff functions of MTC and ABAG within MTC under one executive director and consideration of Governance options).

2) Approval of a $1.9 million funding agreement to support ABAG planning functions through December 31, 2016.

3) Approval of a $250,000 contract with Public Financial Management to support financial due diligence called for in the IAP.

4) Approval of a $250,000 contract with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP to conduct legal due diligence called for in the IAP.

MTC's Chair Dave Cortese suggested that MTC approve an amendment "referring SEIU's Worker Protection Principles and MTC's Committee for Staff Representation comments into the record to the new ABAG/MTC Joint Labor Relations Committee for discussion." MTC voted to approve that amendment. ABAG's Executive Board had included SEIU's Worker Protection Principles in its formal approval of the Option 7 Implementation Action Plan (IAP) on June 16th, along with the Guiding Principles it had previously adopted.

For more information, visit the merger webpage at: http://abag.ca.gov/media/2015_merger/

Posted Monday, June 27, 2016

Plan Bay Area 2040 Spring Outreach Extends Regional Conversation on Housing and Transportation



During May and June, more than 1,100 members of the public attended open houses or took an online quiz to learn about and comment on an update to the region's long-range transportation and housing roadmap known as Plan Bay Area 2040. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) invited the public to attend open houses held in all nine Bay Area counties beginning May 26 and continuing through June 14.

Bay Area residents who attended these open houses had the opportunity to view displays and offer comments on long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health, maintain the region's transportation infrastructure, and preserve open space, among others.

An online quiz, Build a Better Bay Area, has drawn more than 600 participants so far. The quiz highlights some of the trade-offs that policy makers will be grappling with as they consider the elements that should be included in Plan Bay Area 2040's preferred scenario. Responses to 10 quiz questions are tied to the three alternative scenarios: Main Streets, Connected Neighborhoods and Big Cities. Quiz questions mirror the tough decisions facing the Bay Area as we adapt to the challenges of future population growth. Designed to be taken from any desktop or mobile device, the Build A Better Bay Area quiz will remain up through the summer. To view the quiz, visit BuildABetterBayArea.org.

Those unable to attend a workshop can view materials and offer comments online at the Plan Bay Area Open Forum. Open Forum is an online conversation platform that encourages Bay Area residents to be a part of the region's planning efforts. Residents are invited to guide the future of our region by getting involved in the conversation and submitting comments to ABAG and MTC. For more information about Plan Bay Area, please visit the website: http://www.planbayarea.org/.

Posted Monday, June 13, 2016

New Online Tools for Residents to Help Shape Bay Area's Future
Cities, Towns and Counties to Invited to Share


Cities, Towns and Counties are invited to use and share the following information about new online tools, which will aid in outreach for Plan Bay Area 2040, the long-range regional transportation and housing roadmap.

These tools include the Build a Better Bay Area website, an interactive quiz that introduces residents to three transportation and housing alternative scenarios--Main Streets, Connected Neighborhoods, and Big Cities. These scenarios are currently being considered by ABAG and MTC. The interactive quiz is designed for residents to see which alternative scenario (or scenarios) for the future of the Bay Area aligns most closely with their own personal priorities.

The quiz will make it easier for Bay Area residents to weigh in on the policies and strategies shaping Plan Bay Area 2040. After residents complete the quiz, they can review and submit responses, as well as share this opportunity to provide feedback with their friends.

Plan Bay Area Open Forum is now available. It is an online conversation platform that encourages Bay Area residents to be a part of the region's planning efforts. Residents are invited to guide the future of our region by getting involved in the conversation and submitting comments to ABAG and MTC.

You are invited to Take the Build a Better Bay Area quiz, Check out the Plan Bay Area Open Forum and share this information with your constituents.

For more details, visit planbayarea.org, or contact us at info@planbayarea.org and (415) 778-6757.

Posted Thursday, June 9, 2016

San Francisco Bay Protection Measure AA Passed with Bay Area Voter Support


Measure AA, a special parcel tax of $12 per year for twenty years on the June 7, 2016 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties passed with 69 percent voter approval. "This is a significant achievement for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (Authority), for the San Francisco Bay, for all Bay Area residents, and for all of us interested in regional issues," said Ezra Rapport, ABAG Executive Director.

The "San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program," known as the Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure, would generate approximately $25 million per year, totaling $500 million, to fund shoreline projects that would protect and restore the San Francisco Bay by: (1) reducing trash, pollution and harmful toxins; (2) improving water quality; (3) restoring habitat for fish, birds and wildlife; (4) protecting communities from floods; and (5) increasing shoreline access for public enjoyment. Through the parcel tax, revenue would be allocated to projects in each of the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties.

ABAG is responsible for appointing the seven member Governing Board of the Authority. The current members are listed here: http://sfbayrestore.org/sf-bay-restoration-authority-board.php. In addition, ABAG has provided voluntary staff support to the Authority in the form of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership's Director and Staff, ABAG's Executive Director, Legal Counsel, Finance Director and Board Clerk. The staff of the San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program has also served the Authority on a voluntary basis.

For more information, visit the website at http://sfbayrestore.org/ or contact the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority at info@sfbayrestore.org.

Posted Monday, June 6, 2016

Plan Bay Area 2040 Open Houses This Week in Napa County


The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) invite the public to attend any of three open houses to be held Monday, June 13 in Fairfield and Santa Rosa, and in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 14th to learn about an update to the region's long-range transportation and housing roadmap known as Plan Bay Area 2040.

Solano County: Monday, June 13, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Solano County Events Center, 601 Texas Street, Fairfield

Sonoma County: Monday, June 13, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Luther Burbank Center for the Arts—Grand Lobby, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa

San Francisco City & County: Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market Street, San Francisco

These meetings are part of a series to be held in all nine Bay Area counties beginning May 26 and continuing through June 14. For more information about upcoming meeting times, dates and locations in all nine counties, please visit the Plan Bay Area website:http://www.planbayarea.org/.

Bay Area residents who attend these open houses will have the opportunity to view displays and offer comments on long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health, maintain the region's transportation infrastructure, and preserve open space, among others. Displays also will feature the schedule and key milestones for the plan update. Planners have prepared several alternative scenarios for what the Bay Area could look like in 2040, and are seeking the public's help in selecting desired features among these alternatives, and in prioritizing transportation investments.

Can't Attend an Open House?
Join the online discussion at planbayarea.org or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter. Note that if you need an interpreter or other assistance in order to participate, we require three days' notice in order to provide reasonable accommodation. For more information, call (415) 778-6757 or (415) 778-6769 for TDD/TTY.

Posted Thursday, June 2, 2016

Plan Bay Area 2040 Open Houses This Week in San Mateo, Alameda and Marin Counties


The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) invite the public to attend any of three open houses to be held this Wednesday, June 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Burlingame (City of Burlingame Recreation Center, Auditorium, 850 Burlingame Avenue); this Thursday, June 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Oakland (MetroCenter Auditorium, 101 Eighth Street); or on Saturday, June 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Corte Madera (Corte Madera Community Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive) to learn about an update to the region's long-range transportation and housing roadmap known as Plan Bay Area 2040. These meetings in San Mateo, Alameda and Marin counties are part of a series to be held in all nine Bay Area counties beginning May 26 and continuing through June 14. For more information about upcoming meeting times, dates and locations in all nine counties, please visit the Plan Bay Area website:http://www.planbayarea.org/.

Bay Area residents who attend these open houses will have the opportunity to view displays and offer comments on long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health, maintain the region's transportation infrastructure, and preserve open space, among others. Displays also will feature the schedule and key milestones for the plan update. The Corte Madera event will also feature a presentation. Planners have prepared several alternative scenarios for what the Bay Area could look like in 2040, and are seeking the public's help in selecting desired features among these alternatives, and in prioritizing transportation investments.

Can't Attend an Open House?
Join the online discussion at planbayarea.org or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter. Note that if you need an interpreter or other assistance in order to participate, we require three days' notice in order to provide reasonable accommodation. For more information, call (415) 778-6757 or (415) 778-6769 for TDD/TTY.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/plan-bay-area-2040-open-houses-this-week-in-san-mateo-alameda-and-marin-counties-300277426.html.

Posted Thursday, May 26, 2016

Joint ABAG Administrative Committee Meeting
May 27th from 9:00 a.m. to noon


Elected officials are invited to attend the Joint ABAG Administrative Committee - MTC Planning Committee meeting on Friday, May 27th from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Bay Area Metro Center, 375 Beale Street in San Francisco.

The Bay Area Metro Center is about four (4) blocks -- a 12-15 minute walk -- from the Embarcadero BART Station. A free accessible shuttle service will be provided between the Bay Area Metro Center and the vicinity of Embarcadero BART/Muni station both before and after the committee meeting on May 27th. The shuttle will run continuously from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

View the meeting agenda at http://abag.ca.gov/meetings/administrative.html. For more information, call (415) 820-7900 and ask to speak to ABAG Communications Staff.

Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SFEP Base Funding Awaiting Presidential Signature


The San Francisco Estuary Partnership's (SFEP) base funding bill, S1523, has made it out of the United States House and the Senate and is now awaiting approval from the President. The SFEP, along with the other 27 other national Estuary Programs, was established by Congress to improve the waters, habitats and living resources of 28 estuaries across the country.

Program funding authorization expired in 2010 and funding was provided on a yearly basis while several unsuccessful reauthorization attempts occurred. Getting the bill to the President's desk is a significant accomplishment, demonstrating strong national support for the Estuary Program.

For more information about SFEP, visit the website at http://www.sfestuary.org/. More information about the National Estuary Program is available at https://www.epa.gov/nep.

Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2016

3rd Hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning for the San Francisco Bay Area
Friday, May 20, 2016


10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Elihu M. Harris State Building, Auditorium
1515 Clay Street, Oakland

Elected officials are invited to attend the 3rd hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning for the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday, May 20, 2016. The hearing will include an update on the merger study option selected by the Joint Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) that are overseeing the study, along with additional information. Also under discussion is the topic of sea level rise, wetland restoration and Measure AA, as it relates to the nine county Bay Area Region.

Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bay Area Open Houses Scheduled for
Plan Bay Area 2040 Regional Transportation and Housing Plan



Who: Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) &
Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

What: A series of public open houses for Bay Area residents to learn about an update to the region's long-range transportation and housing roadmap known as Plan Bay Area 2040. Planners have prepared several alternative scenarios for what the Bay Area could look like in 2040, and are seeking the public's help in selecting desired features among these alternatives, and in prioritizing transportation investments.

Open house participants will rotate among a series of stations where they will have a chance to view displays and offer comments on long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health, maintain the region's transportation infrastructure, and preserve open space, among others. Displays also will feature the schedule and key milestones for the plan update. For more information, visit http://planbayarea.org/ or call 510/817-5757; starting May 23rd, please call 415/778-6757.

When & Where:

Alameda County: Thursday, June 2, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
MetroCenter Auditorium, 101 8th Street, Oakland

Contra Costa County: Thursday, May 26, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th Street, Richmond

Marin County: Saturday, June 4, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Corte Madera Community Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera

Napa County: Thursday, June 9, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Elks Lodge, 2840 Soscol Ave., Napa

San Francisco: Tuesday, June 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Hotel Whitcomb, 1231 Market St., San Francisco

San Mateo County: Wednesday, June 1, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
City of Burlingame Recreation Center - Auditorium, 850 Burlingame Avenue, Burlingame

Santa Clara County: Thursday, May 26, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Tech Museum, 201 South Market Street, San Jose

Solano County: Monday, June 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Solano County Events Center, 601 Texas Street, Fairfield

Sonoma County: Monday, June 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts - Grand Lobby, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa

Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New 2.5-mile segment of Bay Trail to open at Sears Point


Public invited to celebration & ribbon-cutting ceremony at site of Sears Point Wetland Restoration Project

Sonoma Land Trust, the San Francisco Bay Trail, and the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge invite the community to join in the grand opening of the new 2.5-mile extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail, part of Sonoma Land Trust's Sears Point Wetland Restoration Project. The new segment of Bay Trail will open to the public Sunday, May 15, from 2-6pm; the entrance is located on Reclamation Road, south of the Highway 37/Lakeville Highway intersection.

"This new 2.5 mile segment of Bay Trail represents the best in collaboration, and highlights the myriad benefits that can accrue from wetland restoration. Between the Sonoma Land Trust and its many partners, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and ABAG's San Francisco Bay Trail Project, the public at large will be able to access yet another spectacular piece of the Bay shoreline," says Laura Thompson, San Francisco Bay Trail Project Manager.

The celebration will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 with emcee Doug McConnell of NB's Open Road. Speakers will include U.S. Representative Mike Thompson's chief of staff Stephen Gale, Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, and representatives of Sonoma Land Trust, San Francisco Bay Trail, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Nancy Wiseman of the Dickson Family, former owners of the ranch. Following the ribbon-cutting, the trail will be opened to the public and will remain open daily. McConnell will lead the first official hike down the trail.

"We are overjoyed to be sharing this long-planned trail with the community and to also be turning this property over to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge to manage for the future," says Dave Koehler, Sonoma Land Trust executive director. "This is the best access point to the bay in Sonoma County and people are really going to enjoy walking along here and watching the new tidal marsh evolve."

History of this Bay Trail segment
This new section of Bay Trail flanks the tidal wetlands at Sears Point, the focus of a marsh restoration project 10 years in the making. Last fall, Sonoma Land Trust breached the levee at Sears Point to allow the tides to return to 1,000 acres of land that were diked in the late 1800s. The new section of Bay Trail, part of a planned 500-mile path around the entire San Francisco Bay, will allow visitors to be steadfast witnesses to the growing marsh. The new trail will also link to the older 1.5-mile Bay Trail at Sonoma Baylands, which starts at Port Sonoma, creating up to a four-mile experience each way.
"This new 2.5 mile segment of Bay Trail represents the best in collaboration and highlights the myriad benefits that can accrue from wetland restoration," says Laura Thompson, San Francisco Bay Trail Project Manager. "Between the Sonoma Land Trust and its many partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ABAG's San Francisco Bay Trail Project, the public at large will be able to access yet another spectacular piece of the Bay shoreline."

Launching new docent program
On May 15, docents and bird experts from the three organizations will be on hand to provide information to guests. The following Saturday, Sonoma Land Trust will launch a new Sears Point docent program. Every Saturday from 9am-noon, docents will be available to talk with visitors about the restoration project, tidal marsh ecology and wildlife found in the area. Introductory interpretive talks will occur each hour at 9am, 10am and 11am. Bird walks will begin at 9:15am, and will be followed by informal bird viewing and interpretation.

The May 15 event is open to the public and free of charge; attendees are asked to register online at sonomalandtrust.org. Straus Family Creamery is donating organic ice cream for attendees to enjoy throughout the afternoon while supplies last. Please, no dogs, bicycles or kayaks on this day.

"The addition of this restored land and public trail to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a testament to the vision of our partners at Sonoma Land Trust and the San Francisco Bay Trail," says Anne Morkill, manager of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "This extension of the Bay Trail on Refuge land will offer Bay Area residents exciting opportunities to experience wildlife and wild places for generations to come."

About Sonoma Land Trust
Sonoma Land Trust believes land is the foundation of our economy and our community's health and well-being. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected nearly 50,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations, and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.baytrail.org.

About the San Francisco Bay Trail The San Francisco Bay Trail is a planned 500-mile walking and cycling path around the entire San Francisco Bay running through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities and across the region's seven toll bridges. With 345 miles in place, the Bay Trail connects communities to parks, open spaces, schools, transit and to each other, and also provides a great alternative commute corridor. The ultimate goal of the Bay Trail is to build a beautiful shoreline bicycle and pedestrian path for all to enjoy. Visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.

About the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1974 in response to rapidly disappearing wetlands and a critical need to protect a prime location on the migratory bird Pacific Flyway. The Refuge and San Pablo Bay support the largest wintering population of canvasback ducks on the West Coast, and protect the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and Ridgway's rail. Numerous other threatened species also depend on the area's marsh habitat for their survival, including 11 species of fish that make it their spawning grounds. For more information, go to http://www.fws.gov/refuge/san_pablo_bay/.

Posted Friday, April 29, 2016

Bay Area Planning Directors Association
Spring Meeting

Housing Solutions in a Time of Crisis


May 13, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Preservation Park, Nile Hall
668 13th Street, Oakland

View Draft Agenda

The Bay Area housing market is in crisis. A booming regional economy and rapid population growth have led to exceptionally high rents, a severe lack of housing supply, displacement and extreme commutes.

Conference presenters will offer suggestions and solutions during this time of crisis. Speakers will focus on strategies and innovations in building urban development equitable to all. Panelists will brief us on current legislation and replicable best-practices, as well as relevant policy and political context.

Some of the most skilled affordable housing developers in the state will share experiences and opinions, highlight project successes and talk about how these projects come to fruition in a challenging market.

The meeting fee of $45 includes breakfast and lunch
Please register at https://store.abag.ca.gov/authorizenet/bapda.html
For questions, please call (510) 464-7900
3 CM Credits


Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Learn More about ABAG's Spring General Assembly
View Presentations and Video


More than 160 city, town and county elected officials and stakeholders from throughout the region attended the Association of Bay Area Governments' (ABAG) Spring General Assembly on Thursday, April 21st at the Oakland Museum. During this significant regional forum on "The Future of Regional Planning," attendees expressed their views on how to strengthen and improve regional planning through a greater integration of land use, housing, transportation and economic development work. Forum highlights included a presentation by Management Partners, merger study consultant on potential merger options for ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. In the afternoon, participants attended breakout sessions where they held candid discussions with other elected officials on shared interests such as affordable housing and economic development.

View materials presented at the General Assembly below:
ABAG General Assembly Presentation
Places of the Bay Area Presentation and Video (Flash Player Required)
Places of the Bay Area Presentation
Management Partners Presentation

For information on upcoming opportunities to participate in ABAG meetings and initiatives, see the ABAG calendar for regular updates.

Posted Thursday, April 14, 2016

Housing Action Agenda Approved on
March 17, 2016


The ABAG Executive Board unanimously approved the Housing Action Agenda on March 17, 2016. In the coming months, ABAG will develop a detailed work plan to identify actions locally, regionally and statewide to promote, preserve and fund affordable housing in the Bay Area.

The goal of the housing agenda is to make it easier to build new homes in the Bay Area, unlock and preserve affordability of existing homes, and provide jurisdictions with the tools they need to avoid displacement of residents. The Housing Action Agenda compiles a set of actions at the local, regional, and state levels that ABAG can take to tackle the region's chronic housing shortage. Some of the solutions discussed include seeking state-level reforms to various housing-related laws, creating a regional housing trust fund, and continuing ABAG's collaboration with stakeholders to make existing regulations work better for the region.

For more information, refer to agenda item eight at http://www.abag.ca.gov/meetings/execboard.html.

Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ABAG Enters Regional Collaborative Services Agreement
Member Cities, Towns and Counties Invited to Participate


Many ABAG member cities, towns, and counties have opted into Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs to benefit their constituents and communities. PACE is rapidly growing in popularity with local governments as a means for local home and business owners to finance the upfront cost of energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy improvements to their properties and repay the funds via a special property tax assessment.

In an effort to help ensure consistent application of best practices considered to be critically important for local governments, ABAG has signed a Regional Collaborative Services Agreement (RCSA)with active PACE administrators in the Bay Area. The RCSA includes consumer protections and disclosures; local government risk mitigation and indemnification; co-marketing complementary energy efficiency programs; contractor and project quality assurance; and performance tracking, data, and reporting. ABAG members can sign an "ABAG Member Acknowledgement Form" for these terms to apply to PACE activities in their community.

View Regional Collaborative Services Agreement at http://www.abag.ca.gov/bayren/pace/localgov.html.
For more information, contact Jennifer Berg, ABAG's BayREN Program Manager, at jennyb@abag.ca.gov.


Background
Currently over $1.5 billion in residential PACE has been financed in California, primarily in the single family home market. Typically local jurisdictions make residential PACE available to their property owners by passing an authorizing resolution to "opt in" to a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that has partnered with PACE providers. The JPA issues bonds and partners on legal and related matters with PACE Providers, private companies who have arranged capital to purchase the bonds, administer programs, vet and work with installation contractors, and service assessments in partnership with county tax collectors. This makes the proposition to local governments attractive since there is almost zero cost or effort required to participate.

However, since the PACE Provider's primary relationship is with the JPA, the local jurisdiction is also giving up control and oversight opportunities over PACE activities. The intent of the RCSA, as administered by ABAG, is to collaborate with PACE Providers on behalf of ABAG members to:


Executed by and between ABAG and PACE Providers active in the Bay Area, the RCSA now affords ABAG member jurisdictions who "sign on" an extra layer of protection for these best practices to apply to PACE activities in their communities. The providers that have "signed on" to the agreement are Western Riverside Council of Governments (HERO program), PACE Funding Group LLC in Los Gatos, Ygrene Energy Fund California LLC in Santa Rosa, CounterPointe Energy Solutions LLC (AllianceNRG Program) in Oakland, and Figtree in San Diego.

Posted Friday, April 8, 2016

BayREN's April Newsletter Features Home Energy Savings Programs and Regional Energy Code Compliance


View BayREN's April e-letter for the latest news on Single Family and Multifamily energy upgrade programs, Codes and Standards program events, Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) and more.

BayREN is a collaboration of the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area. Led by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. BayREN is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

BayREN's E-letter
http://conta.cc/202o3Mx

Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning for the San Francisco Bay Area
Friday, April 8, 2016


The second hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning for the San Francisco Bay Area will be held on Friday, April 8, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the California State Building, Auditorium, 1515 Clay Street in Oakland. The hearing will include an update on the February and March Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) merger workshops. The Select Committee will also discuss housing throughout the region with an update on both state and local housing initiatives.

Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More than 90,000 People Added to Bay Area Region


The Bay Area region added 90,834 people between 2014 and 2015, according to recently released U.S. Census Bureau data. "The population has been growing because of an increase in the number of available jobs in the Bay Area over the past five to seven years, especially in technology and healthcare. Population has grown faster than the number of housing units, leading to what some have called a housing crisis," said Association of Bay Area Governments, Senior Regional Planner, Hing Wong.

During the past five years, there has been a net in-migration of people who are in their 20s and 30s. In contrast with the timeframe between 2000 and 2010, when there was a net out-migration due to the dot.com bust, as well as the housing crisis later in the decade.

Economists forecast that this current increase is not expected to continue over the next five years. The ABAG Housing Action Agenda and other strategies will be used to help balance the supply of housing.

Posted Friday, March 25, 2016

New Map Cards Unlock Commute Routes and Recreation Destinations
On The San Francisco Bay Trail


Discover 345 miles of walking and biking trails and explore the shoreline with updated Bay Trail Map Cards and a new Bay Trail Website (http://www.baytrail.org). Commute routes and recreation destinations for walkers and bicyclists are showcased on the San Francisco Bay Trail Project's revised map cards. The San Francisco Bay Trail Project is a non-profit organization administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Laura Thompson, San Francisco Bay Trail Project Manager, says, "The updated map cards are key to discovering recreation along the San Francisco Bay Trail, which spans 47 shoreline cities, nine counties, and 130 parks and wildlife preserves, reinforcing the connectivity between cities. The Bay Trail also serves as an alternative commute corridor connecting to public transit and employment centers." The new map cards were made possible through a State Coastal Conservancy grant.

The boxed set of 25 cards includes detailed maps, trail descriptions, and one large fold-out map featuring points of interest along the shoreline. Highlighting almost 15 miles of recently completed Bay Trail, the map cards are an update to those published in 2013. They now feature 2.5 miles along the Hamilton Wetlands in Novato, 1.7 miles on Carquinez Scenic Drive outside of Martinez, and 1.7 miles of trail on Inner Bair Island in Redwood City. The 3.8 mile Bay Trail on the East Span of the Bay Bridge* is also featured, along with hundreds of other trail segments. Easy-to-pack and easy-to-use, the San Francisco Bay Trail maps are now available for purchase at retailers and at www.baytrail.org for $14.95. Companion online and mobile phone applications are also available through the website.

New Bay Trail Website
Shoreline adventurers now have a new resource for trip planning and inspiration with the launch of an updated San Francisco Bay Trail website, http://www.baytrail.org. The easy-to-navigate site is packed with recommended excursions for walking, bicycling, birding, picnicking, dog walking and learning in places of solitude or lively destinations. Events and points of interest along the Bay Trail are listed on the site. Funded in part by a grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, the new website tells the story of the Bay Trail through beautiful photographs and detailed maps to entice people to explore the shoreline on their own or as part of a group event. The new website aims to raise awareness about the San Francisco Bay Trail and the efforts to close the remaining gaps in what will someday be a 500-mile continuous shoreline trail.

Background
When completed, the Bay Trail will encircle the entire San Francisco Bay, linking all nine Bay Area counties and 47 cities, and crossing seven toll bridges. The San Francisco Bay Trail Project provides funds and technical assistance for trail planning and construction to local jurisdictions, enlists public participation in trail-related activities, and publicizes the Bay Trail and its region-wide benefits as part of its mission to plan, promote, and advocate for implementation of the Bay Trail.

*Pathway completion to Yerba Buena Island is expected at the end of 2016. Check with Caltrans regarding intermittent pathway closures http://www.baybridgeinfo.org/path.

Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Financing Innovation Spurs Energy Upgrades in Bay Area's Multifamily Buildings


Coordinated programs provide streamlined access to low-interest loans, rebates and no-cost consulting services for energy efficiency improvements

OAKLAND, Calif — March 18, 2016 — A new Bay Area program that helps private lenders provide low interest financing for energy efficiency improvements in multifamily buildings recently closed its first three loans and has $1 million available to fund additional projects in 2016.

The Bay Area Multifamily Capital Advance Program (BAMCAP) provides loan capital at 0% interest to participating lenders for up to 50% of the cost of energy efficiency projects in apartment buildings and other multifamily properties. The owner pays interest only on the remaining loan capital supplied by the lender. This structure lowers the property owner's cost of capital, providing an incentive to invest in energy efficiency.

Together, the first three multifamily properties to participate accessed $879,000 in BAMCAP capital and $1.3 million in private capital for energy upgrades. The three projects also received cash rebates of $750 per unit and no-cost consulting services through Energy Upgrade California's Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program.

The lenders for the three recently closed transactions were Popular Community Bank and California Community Reinvestment Corporation (CCRC). The funded projects include renter- and owner-occupied market rate and affordable housing.

"This transaction was quite creative and cutting edge," said Mark Rasmussen, CCRC Executive Vice President. "It marks one of the first examples of combining public and private capital to support multifamily housing energy efficiency projects in California. We hope that its success allows for similar projects to come to fruition in the future."

Property owners can access BAMCAP financing, rebates and consulting services through one coordinated application and quality assurance process. "When we learned that we could get a $750 credit per unit and a 0% interest loan on half the cost of our project we knew this was the time to upgrade!" said Paula Schnur, a participating Homeowners Association President. "At each step, the program helped us coordinate with the contractor and the bank. They provided us with no less than 10 different ways to achieve our energy consumption reduction goal. The online application process was effortless."

BAMCAP financing and the rebate program serve multifamily buildings with five or more attached dwelling units receiving PG&E gas or electric service in the San Francisco Bay Area. The programs encourage multifamily property owners to improve their real estate assets through energy upgrades such as new windows, added insulation, more efficient boilers, furnaces and water heating systems, water conservation devices, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting.

BAMCAP and the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program are offered by the Bay Area Regional Energy Network and funded by energy utility ratepayer funding under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The BAMCAP financing partnerships were arranged by Energy Finance Solutions.

More information about the financing and rebate programs is available at bayareamultifamily.org.

About the Bay Area Regional Energy Network
BayREN is a collaboration of public agencies representing all nine counties within the San Francisco Bay Area. BayREN draws on the experience and expertise of Bay Area local governments to design and implement effective energy savings programs. www.BayREN.org

Energy Finance Solutions
EFS provides financing program consultation, design, and delivery services in support of energy efficiency improvements. Through partnerships with utilities, contractors, and other agencies, EFS offers residential customers a simple, affordable way to finance energy efficiency improvements. www.energyfinancesolutions.com

Posted Monday, March 14, 2016

Water Bill Savings Act SB 1233 (McGuire)



ABAG has identified an innovative way to help meet California's mandated drought response and greenhouse gas reduction goals with the Water Bill Savings Act, SB 1233 (McGuire). This bill was developed to facilitate large-scale adoption of water efficiency upgrades. Passage of the bill will help reduce water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and the cost of utility service, and incentivize water efficiency among residential customers. With the Water Bill Savings Act, local governments can respond to drought in a way that is regionally efficient, financially sustainable, and available to all municipal utilities, large and small.

This broad scale regional response to California's water supply issues works by allowing Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs) to pool services and fund voluntary efficiency projects on private property and enables municipal water utilities to offer their customers the tools and incentives to make efficiency upgrades with no up-front costs. Participating customers pay for the measure through a monthly surcharge affiliated with their water utility meter, with the assurance that bill savings will exceed the surcharge.

It is anticipated that these water efficiency efforts will be extremely impactful in our region with over seven million residents.

To view this Water Bill Savings Act, go to SB 1233 or call (510) 464-7986 for more information.


Posted Thursday, March 3, 2016


ABAG General Assembly April 21st
The ABAG General Assembly is to determine policy matters for the Association, including adoption of the annual general budget and summary work program. Other functions include reviews of major policy actions and recommendations of the Executive Board; establish annual membership fee for all members of the Association each year upon adoption of the annual budget; and reviews fundamental changes and adopts amendments to the Bylaws of the Association.

In 2016, the ABAG General Assembly will begin mid-morning and end early afternoon, with the business meeting at noon. It is essential that we have your participation in this General Assembly and business meeting. Register at http://abag.ca.gov/events/ga/2016/

Posted Thursday, February 25, 2016

Successful Housing Forum - Sat, Feb 20th



ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), jointly sponsored "Calling the Bay Area Home: Tackling the Affordable Housing and Displacement Challenge," held on Saturday, February 20, 2016. More than 350 attended this free half-day event and participated in a timely and important dialogue among a diverse array of stakeholders on the role that Bay Area local governments and regional agencies — as well as the state and federal governments — can play in addressing skyrocketing housing costs and the accompanying displacement of long-time residents.

Held at the Oakland Marriott, the forum brought together Bay Area housing and transportation policymakers, city planners, community and business leaders, housing developers and advocates. More details about the event, along with a video record, will be posted shortly on the MTC website http://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/news/recap-calling-bay-area-home-tackling-affordable-housing-and-displacement.

Posted Monday, February 22, 2016

BayREN Codes and Standards Program Annual Report



The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is pleased to release the Codes and Standards Program 2015 Annual Report. The Codes and Standards Program is part of the BayREN portfolio of energy efficiency programs and is designed to help local building departments understand and comply with Title 24 of the CA Energy Code. Since 2013, the Codes and Standards Program has engaged with building departments and building professionals representing over 75 Bay Area jurisdictions. This report provides a detailed account of Codes and Standard activities in 2015.

To download the Codes and Standards 2015 Annual Report, please visit the BayREN website at https://www.bayren.org/codes/2015-annual-report.

Contact the BayREN team at codes@bayren.org for information on how your jurisdiction can take part in BayREN Codes and Standards Program activities in 2016.

The BayREN Codes and Standards Program focuses on improving enforcement of Title 24, Part 6 of the California Code of Regulations, California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards). BayREN Codes and Standards is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

For more information, visit the BayREN website at bayren.org/codes.

Posted Friday, February 12, 2016

Assembly Speaker Atkins Names Assemblymember Thurmond as Chair of the Select Committee on Bay Area Regional Planning



Photo
The first Select Committee Hearing will be held on Friday, February 19, 2016 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Elihu Harris State Building, 1515 Clay Street in the Auditorium. Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-15) has been named chair of the newly formed Select Committee on Regional Planning in the San Francisco Bay Area. The committee will address the planned merger of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Assemblymember Thurmond also intends for the select committee to address other regional issues, including the lack of affordable housing; environmental issues, such as sea-level rise; strengthening the local economy; and improving public transportation systems.

Assemblymember Thurmond, stated, "We must take a regional approach to many of the issues facing Bay Area residents. The entire Bay Area is experiencing a significant homeless epidemic and there are hospitals that are in grave danger of shutting their doors, as has already happened to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo. These facts tell me that if we don't take a regional approach to these issues, there is no way we can appropriately allocate resources to fix the problems."

Members of the select committee include:
Tony Thurmond (Chair)
Catharine Baker
Rob Bonta
Nora Campos
David Chiu
Bill Dodd
Richard Gordon
Marc Levine
Kevin Mullin
Bill Quirk
Philip Ting

A schedule of upcoming hearings will be announced shortly.

Posted Friday, February 12, 2016


View Video of ABAG and CSAC Legislative Workshop


More than 50 elected officials, legislators, and staff members attended the ABAG and CSAC Legislative Workshop on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

Speakers included:
Assemblymember Richard Gordon, Rules Committee, Chair
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins
Assemblymember Bill Dodd, Agriculture Committee, Chair
Lisa Bates, Deputy Director, State Department of Housing and Community Development
Assemblymember David Chiu, Housing and Community Development, Chair
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, Select Committee on Regional Planning, Chair
Senator Mike McGuire, Human Services Committee, Chair
Assemblymember Jim Frazier, Transportation Committee, Chair

Workshop speakers highlighted the critical need for housing and disaster resilience and emphasized their work on these important issues and the need to continue to work collaboratively. Speakers underscored that elected officials and legislators will continue to work toward meeting the needs for affordable housing in the region.

Assembly Speaker Atkins underscored the importance of advocacy. Assebmlymember Thurmond noted that he welcomed input from elected officials regarding the newly formed Select Committee on Regional Planning in which he is chair. To hear these and other Legislative Workshop speakers, click here https://youtu.be/JSQjmrVuUIU.

Posted Friday, January 22, 2016

San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habit Restoration Measure


On January 13, 2016, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority's Board unanimously voted to place a funding measure on the June 7, 2016 ballot in the nine-county Bay Area to generate funds to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority is a regional government agency charged with raising and allocating resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.

The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority authorized a parcel tax of $12 per year to raise approximately $25 million annually for twenty years with independent citizen oversight, audits, and all funds staying local. Through the parcel tax, revenue would be allocated to projects in each of the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties. Anticipated project types include ecosystem restoration, flood protection, and recreation enhancement designed to provide wetland habitat for wildlife and improve flood risk management. Grant funds would be allocated for projects to conduct restoration and enhancement of creek mouth habitats for birds, fish, and water quality, as well as flood protection in regionally significant watersheds.

The San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Program is designed to protect the San Francisco Bay for future generations by reducing trash, pollution and harmful toxins, improving water quality, restoring habitat for fish, birds and wildlife, protecting communities from floods, and increasing shoreline public access.

Taking action now will ensure that we have the resources to prevent urban runoff from polluting the Bay, preserve critical habitat for fish and wildlife, enhance public access to open spaces, and protect homes and infrastructure from flooding.

For more information visit the website at http://sfbayrestore.org/ or contact the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority at info@sfbayrestore.org.


Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New San Francisco Bay Trail Website Unveiled


Shoreline adventurers now have a new resource for trip planning and inspiration with the recent launch of an updated San Francisco Bay Trail website, http://www.baytrail.org. The easy-to-navigate site is packed with recommended excursions for walking, bicycling, birding, picnicking, dog walking and learning in places of solitude or lively destinations. Funded in part by a grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, the new website tells the story of the Bay Trail through beautiful photographs and detailed maps to entice people to explore the shoreline on their own or as part of a group event. With 343 miles of Bay Trail in place throughout all nine Bay Area counties, there is much to discover. The new website aims to raise awareness about the San Francisco Bay Trail and the efforts to close the remaining gaps in what will someday be a 500-mile continuous shoreline trail.

Posted Thursday, December 17, 2015

Embezzled FAN Funds to be Restored, Internal Investigation Report Released



Clarke J. Howatt, a former employee of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and former Secretary to ABAG's Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN) is pleading guilty to one count of federal wire fraud in connection with embezzling $3.9 million. FAN and ABAG have announced they have obtained restitution funds from Howatt to enable all the impacted accounts to be refunded, and are in the process of doing so.

In late January 2015, ABAG learned Howatt had stolen $1.3 million from a bank account holding proceeds of bonds issued by FAN to fund public improvements for the Rincon Hill development in San Francisco. FAN and ABAG immediately contacted the U. S. Attorney's office and the FBI to share resources and information. and took action to restore the entire $1.3 million taken from the Rincon Hill account.

Howatt cooperated fully in the investigation and criminal proceedings conducted by the U.S. Attorney and FBI. In addition to the $1.3 million Rincon Hill theft, Howatt admitted to embezzling approximately $2.6 million from bank accounts established in connection with bonds to fund public improvements for the Windemere Ranch development in Contra Costa County.

In March, FAN and ABAG retained the law firm of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe (Orrick) to lead its investigative effort. Now that the federal investigation has concluded, FAN and ABAG are releasing a report prepared by Orrick on the results of their investigation (see link below).

Executive Director Ezra Rapport said,"The accounts embezzled by a former employee will be restored in full. ABAG wishes to thank the U. S. Attorney's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their prompt and thorough attention to this matter. We are committed to protecting and preserving public funds and we will be working to put into place remedial measures recommended by Orrick that will enhance our ability to detect and avert any future theft."

Full Press Release
http://www.abag.ca.gov/rss/pdfs/FinalFANRelease.pdf

ABAG FAN Investigation Report
http://www.abag.ca.gov/rss/pdfs/ABAGFANReport.pdf

ABAG FAN Internal Control Recommendation http://www.abag.ca.gov/rss/pdfs/ABAGFANRecommendations.pdf

Posted Monday, November 23, 2015

Getting Ready for El Niño: Briefing for Cities and Counties


Hosted by your local Council of Governments

A strong El Niño may bring us plenty of stormy weather this winter.
You've heard the forecasts: Godzilla. Record-breaking. Too big to fail. But there's no need to get scared — there are tools to make sure cities, counties, and their residents are prepared ahead of the storms.

The Association of Bay Area Governments, in collaboration with the California Office of Emergency Services, is convening panels to discuss resources, preparations by utilities, what the state can offer cities and counties, and the actions each city should be taking to weather El Niño.

Wednesday, December 16th from 2 to 4 pm at the Oakland Museum. This program is offered at no charge. Space is limited, so register soon. http://abag.ca.gov/resilience/el_nino_2015.html

Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ABAG Awarded Grants to Boost Region-wide Resilience to
Earthquakes, Fires, and Climate Change Impacts



The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) was awarded $1.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) for 2016 and 2017 to boost region wide investment in resilience and recovery from earthquakes, fires, climate change impacts and related natural disasters. These funds will leverage 2015 grants from FEMA for $300,000, along with an $86,000 U.S. Geological Survey grant, and a $75,000 grant from the Sustainable Growth Council. "ABAG will have resources to help cities and counties improve housing resilience and work on the social and economic challenges associated with earthquakes, fires, and climate change impacts," says Ezra Rapport, ABAG Executive Director.

Key areas to be addressed through the grants include planning for safe sustainable housing, developing updated building codes, and supporting financial incentives for home-owners to retrofit. The focus of the Rockefeller grant is to ensure information exchange among the three cities that are part of Rockefeller's international 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative and to establish a linkage between the 100RC cities (San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley) and all Bay Area cities. Soft story building safety, energy assurance planning, and incentives for resilience policies are program focuses.

ABAG is developing a network of resilience policy with other Councils of Governments and the Governor's Office of Planning & Research and will guide the region on how to be more disaster resilient using the policies outlined in the Loma Prieta 25 report, ABAG's policy agenda developed in 2014. The goal is to equip cities and counties with built in disaster resilience mechanisms so that they are better prepared to recover and rebuild quickly after disasters. ABAG will develop a visual map of the regional resilience programs in the Bay Area to streamline research and technical support for cities involved in disaster and climate action plans.

A toolkit of technical and policy support is being developed to help cities and counties. Technical work involves identifying hazards and resilience strategies and retrofitting homes to make them more disaster resilient, and implementing improved public safety through the development of a regional lifelines council and regional resilience index.

A Drought Summit will be convened in 2016. Grants will enable the development of new special studies on drought and urban wildland fire and risk in the Bay Area. In the coming year, ABAG will be heavily involved in supporting sustainable and safe development tied in with the Sustainable Communities Strategy (Senate Bill 75).

Information on specific workshop and services for jurisdictions, as well as maps and tools for the public, will be available on the ABAG Resilience Program website at: resilience.abag.ca.gov. For more information about the 100 Resilient Cities program, visit the website at: www.100resilientcities.org.

Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2015

First Public Art Dedication on the San Francisco Bay Trail
at Mariner Park in Redwood City



A new art project on the San Francisco Bay Trail will launch on Sunday, October 25th at 3:00 p.m. at Mariner Park in Redwood City with an unveiling and dedication of a unique functional public art sculpture. The free event will include food, live music, and presentations by Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Chris Beth, art curator Lance Fung, and San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum. The installation of this artwork highlights a new partnership between the City of Redwood City, Fung Collaboratives, the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, and the Association of Bay Area Governments' Bay Trail Project.

"Redwood City is dedicating the first of what we anticipate will be many exhibits along the Bay Trail as part of a new regional art initiative," says Laura Thompson, Bay Trail Project Manager. The Bay Trail Project is in the early stages of creating a regional public art program in partnership with shoreline cities called Migrations. Fung Collaboratives is the organization contracted to oversee and curate the ongoing Migration series. This program promotes art exhibits along the trail and creates unique experiences for trail and art enthusiasts along the Bay Area shoreline.

The community is invited to participate in the art celebration on October 25th. This event is hosted by Redwood City and the artwork is sponsored by the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation. The unveiling of the artistic benches will take place Sunday, October 25th at three parks in Redwood City, with the celebration culminating at Mariner Park at 3:00 p.m.

"Redwood City is very pleased to be the first shoreline city to partner with the Association of Bay Area Governments' Bay Trail Project," said Jeff Gee, City of Redwood City mayor. "Public art in public spaces and along our trail system is a tremendous way to connect our community to the outdoors and to experience art at the same time."

The artistic benches that will be dedicated on October 25th were created during three "Harambee" (meaning 'all pull together' in Swahali) events by emerging artist Michael Koliner with help from community members of all ages taking part in a mud dance (stomping in mud) to make cob-adobe used for art benches. The three Harambee events this past weekend brought together over 250 residents and participants to help the artist at Andrews Spinas Park, Mariner Park, and Mezes Park.

October 25th Unveiling Event Details include:
Andrew Spinas Park (2nd Avenue & Bay Road) Unveiling at 9:00 a.m.
Mezes Park (Warren Avenue & Standish Street) Unveiling at 12:00 p.m.
*Mariner Park (Tiller Lane & Bridge Parkway) Unveiling and presentations from elected officials at 3:00 p.m.

Overview of Migrations
Migrations will create destination art experiences along existing sections of the Bay Trail that appeal to a broad audience, encouraging people to gather, connect and experience something new and inspiring along the shoreline, linked by over 340 miles of Bay Trail in all nine Bay Area Counties. Migrations has the potential to involve 47 shoreline cities, nine counties, local, regional, state and national parks, ports, marinas and other shoreline management agencies, reinforcing the connectivity between cities and promoting the trail as a unique destination for art enthusiasts. Cities will serve as hosts of the artwork and will work closely with ABAG and Fung Collaboratives to initiate and implement art exhibits.

Association of Bay Area Governments
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Redwood City
The City of Redwood City is a San Francisco Bay Area community located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the technology-rich region extending from the San Francisco shoreline to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood City is the third largest city within the County of San Mateo, with over 84,000 residents. The city enjoys an average of 255 sunny days a year, which it boasts via the city slogan: "Climate Best by Government Test". Incorporated in 1867, Redwood City is home to the San Mateo County History Museum (located in the county's old courthouse) and the only active deep water port within the south bay of San Francisco. The city's vibrant downtown, quickly becoming known as the entertainment hub of the San Francisco Peninsula, offers residents, visitors, and businesses a unique retail, entertainment, and restaurant experience. For more information, visit the City of Redwood City's website at www.redwoodcity.org or follow @RedwoodCity on Twitter.

For more information visit, www.redwoodcity.org/publicart.


Posted Friday, October 16, 2015

LA Passes Tough Seismic Retrofit Legislation - Bay Area Opportunities


The City of Los Angeles has unanimously approved the nation’s toughest seismic legislation, requiring that approximately 15,000 buildings, both concrete and wood framed, be retrofitted to handle violent shaking.

The challenge for Bay Area communities is to enact standards for existing and new buildings that ensure communities can quickly recover from earthquakes; to develop financing tools to pay for improving seismic safety; and to ensure coordinated improvements of essential infrastructure. Speedy recovery requires that vulnerable buildings and lifeline systems are upgraded so that homes remain livable and businesses are operational.

In 2014, the Loma Prieta 25th Anniversary Symposium (LP25) marked the launch of a three-year public policy program to improve state and local laws that address community safety and resilience. The LP25 Steering Committee developed the following policy recommendations, informed by the Northridge 20th Anniversary Symposium Summary Report, which was also developed in 2014.

The LP25 Symposium promoted a legislative program with these goals:
• Update building codes. Adopt building code standards to improve the seismic performance of new and existing buildings and ensure that building codes meet community performance expectations.
• Upgrade vulnerable apartments and condominiums. Enact statewide guidelines for the identification, evaluation, and retrofit of seismically unsafe apartment and condominium buildings.
• Develop financial incentives. Establish regional financial incentive programs for improving the seismic safety of apartments and condominium buildings.
• Convene lifeline providers and cities. Establish a State Lifelines Council and convene regional Lifeline Councils in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Southern California.

Seismic and policy experts defined these four actions as critical next steps to achieve in the near future that could launch widespread implementation throughout the Bay Area; however resilience-building is an ongoing activity that will require more effort beyond these near term actions.

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) serves as the public policy hub with its member cities, towns, and counties to implement these policy actions, and will work to incorporate these policies into other regional planning efforts. The ABAG Regional Planning Committee endorsed the LP25 policy measures in October 2014, and recommended their adoption by the ABAG Executive Board, which unanimously approved the policies in January 2015.

The LP25 Policy Action Report was recently posted to ABAG’s website and is available at http://resilience.abag.ca.gov/wp-content/documents/LP25/LP25_PolicyActions.pdf

Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ABAG Releases Preliminary Update to 2013 Projections
Economy, Population, and Housing Projections for Discussion



The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) proposed preliminary revised projections for the Plan Bay Area 2040 update. Population is projected to rise from 7.2 million in 2010 to 9.4 million in 2040, employment from 3.4 million in 2010 to 4.6 million in 2040, and households from 2.6 million in 2010 to 3.4 million in 2040. These levels are a slight increase from ABAG's previous forecast, released in 2013, ranging from a 1.5 percent increase in population over the Projections 2013 level, a 2.1 percent increase in employment projections and a 2.4 percent increase in household projections.

The preliminary projections also include a regional housing control total of 3.6 million housing units, which covers not only housing for the higher household count but additional units to mitigate an estimated increase in commute flow (requirement of a legal settlement with the Building Industry Association after Plan Bay Area 2013). Housing unit projections are 4.2 percent higher (147,001 more units, which includes the legally required 28,000 units to offset the projected in-commute numbers) than in Plan Bay Area 2013.

ABAG's projections are being updated as part of a minor update to Plan Bay Area. The projections update recognizes changing information on economic conditions and population growth in the region over the past five years and also applies new analytic tools. ABAG is releasing these preliminary projections to the ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) committees to provide opportunity for review, comment and discussion before the numbers are finalized for the Plan Bay Area 2040.

According to ABAG's Chief Economist, Cynthia Kroll, "This preliminary update is one of many futures possible for the Bay Area. Developed through various methodologies, what we are calling ABAG 2017p, reflects an economy that continues to grow, but not always at the rate experienced from 2010 to 2015. After the boom of the past five years (when recovery from a recession mixed with new industry expansion), the region's employment growth rate could slow compared to the nation for some period. Over the longer term, population and housing will also need to expand to enable the region to maintain a competitive edge."

What Do These Numbers Mean
Building on the completed State of the Region report released in March 2015, these modified projections frame the regional forecast for the 2017 update of Plan Bay Area. "We are seeking a 'realistic' set of numbers, meaning a projection that could reasonably occur given feasible relaxation of our most constraining limitations. At the same time, Plan Bay Area is aspirational and intentional, prescribing policies to help overcome barriers and allow housing, household, population and job growth," commented Kroll.

How Were the Preliminary Numbers Developed
ABAG used a suite of tools and in-house analytic models to develop a range of projections for employment, population and household growth. ABAG staff also worked with consultants John Pitkin of AFI and Dowell Myers of the University of Southern California on population analysis and with Stephen Levy of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy on the employment analysis. Selection of a preliminary projection from the range of projections relied on feedback from the ABAG's Technical Advisory Committee and consultation with senior and executive staff within the two regional agencies primarily responsible for Plan Bay Area 2040.

These preliminary numbers were presented to the ABAG-MTC Joint Administrative and Planning Committee on October 9, 2015. Committee members discussed the importance of understanding the details of the forecast around these changes, which impacts housing demand, as well the changes in job types available, which then influence income opportunities and the ability to pay for homes. Discussion also highlighted the link between housing supply and employment growth. Cynthia Kroll responded to questions by pointing out that if the housing forecast cannot be reached, employment growth could also be lower than estimated in these preliminary projections. Additional information about the preliminary numbers is available on ABAG's website, at http://abag.ca.gov/planning/research/Memo_PBA_Draft_Regional_Forecast_1.pdf

Plan Bay Area
Plan Bay Area is the region's long-range transportation and housing plan with the long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health and maintain and improve the region's transportation infrastructure, and open space. Developed by ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and adopted in July 2013, the Plan is currently undergoing a minor revision. More information is available at http://planbayarea.org/plan-bay-area.html.


Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Study on Benefits of Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Development



The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Resources for Community Development (RCD) have released a new study of the role of affordable housing in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) areas. Over the past decade, TOD has become an important strategy for providing affordable housing while also promoting smart growth. Through a survey of affordable housing residents, Transit Oriented Development and Affordable Housing: A Survey of Residents in Five East Bay Properties examines whether living in TOD areas can combine broader goals of improving housing affordability and providing other social and economic equity advantages, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from travel.

RCD Executive Director, Dan Sawislak, commented on the study's value, stating, "With California's mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly through reduction of Vehicle Miles Travelled, what residents of multi-family housing have to say is an important addition to the discussion. Their experience shows the value of combining affordable multi-family housing with accessibility to transit and services as a strategy that impacts both housing affordability in California and greenhouse gas reduction."

The study was conducted over the course of six months, collecting responses from over 200 East Bay households at five affordable housing developments, two in TOD locations and three in less centralized places. Residents described how and when they use cars or public transit, where they go, how far they travel, and how they perceive the advantages of where they live. In addition, the study found that a combination of travel alternatives, locations near a denser population of employers, and property and community assistance services can improve employment options for affordable housing residents.

These implications point toward ways in which state and local policies can have an even greater impact in addressing both housing affordability and environmental sustainability. See the full study here.

The San Francisco Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Association of Bay Area Governments Finance Authority provided support for this study.

Association of Bay Area Governments
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Resources for Community Development
Founded in 1984, RCD has built over 2,200 units of housing and serves over 4,000 low- and very-low income individuals and families in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties. RCD's mission is to create and preserve affordable housing for those with the fewest options, to build community and enrich lives. For more information, visit www.rcdhousing.org.


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