Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) planners invite members of the public to share their visions for the future and their policy priorities for the Bay Area at a series of public workshops that kicks off this week as part of the agencies’ Horizon initiative to develop a long-term transportation and land-use strategy to guide the nine-county region through 2050. MTC and ABAG staff have identified three distinct scenarios that present both opportunities and challenges in the coming years:
- Rising Tides, Falling Fortunes: Tax cuts and spending caps reduce federal infrastructure funding, requiring states, cities and regions to shoulder more of the burden; autonomous vehicles fail to live up to the hype; and lack of action on climate change results in a three-foot rise in sea levels by 2050, creating a new set of infrastructure needs in an era of slow growth;
- Clean and Green: The U.S. government strengthens environmental regulations and implements a nationwide carbon tax; new technologies like virtual reality foster telecommuting and smaller-scale workplaces; and high-tech manufacturing thrives while growth slows in more energy-intensive sectors; and
- Back to the Future: Smart policies and increased infrastructure investment drive continued prosperity; rapid job growth makes the U.S. more attractive to immigrants; Silicon Valley technologies are dominant worldwide; and wealthy American seek larger suburban homes, with access to job centers provided by autonomous vehicles and hyperloop lines.
Now it’s the public’s turn to “Transform the Future” by defining priorities, raising questions and offering comments to help MTC and ABAG to identify policies that can be effective across all possible futures. Horizon workshop dates, times and locations include:
- Oakland: Tuesday, March 12
6 pm – 8 pm, Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter, Auditorium, 101 8th Street (across from Lake Merritt BART)
- San Jose: Thursday, March 14
6 pm – 8 pm, San Jose City Hall, Rotunda, 200 E. Santa Clara Street
- Petaluma: Saturday, March 16
10 am – 12 noon, Petaluma Community Center, Meeting Room, 320 North McDowell Blvd.
- San Bruno: Tuesday, March 19
6 pm – 8 pm. Tanforan Mall, Second Floor #289 (next to G by Guess), 1150 El Camino Real
- Vallejo: Wednesday, March 20
6 pm – 8 pm, Cal Maritime Academy, Main Room, 253 Georgia Street.
- Walnut Creek: Wednesday, March 27
6 pm – 8 pm, Embassy Suites, Grizzly Peak Room, 1345 Treat Blvd.
Bay Area residents who want to participate in the Horizon Futures process but can’t make it to an upcoming workshop can recommend strategies to help the region prepare for a better future on the Vital Signs website at vitalsigns.mtc.ca.gov/horizon. Visitors to the site can explore the opportunities and challenges unique to each future, and take a deeper dive into how each future performs for select indicators, such as housing affordability or greenhouse gas emissions.
Follow the Horizon conversation on Twitter @MTCBATA or at facebook.com/MTCBATA. For more information, contact Dave Vautin, Horizon project manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.