“Five Not-So-Easy Pieces” – jobs, housing, transit, taxes, climate

Excerpts From the Bay Area Monitor web site. The entire article is here.

By Alec MacDonald

For Egon Terplan – the regional planning director of SPUR (the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) – looming questions revolve around five overlapping issues: jobs, housing, taxes, transit, and climate change. He has investigated how government manages these issues and found the Bay Area’s current system lacking — but he sees strategies for improvement that won’t necessitate a radical overhaul of existing institutions…

From 1980 to 2010, builders produced an average of 24,000 housing units in the Bay Area every year, a 40 percent decline from the annual average posted between 1950 and 1980. Units from recent decades also tended to get constructed in communities farther away from the strongest job markets..

The “fiscalization of land use” is an approach to zoning and planning decisions that boosts tax revenue by pursuing more retail development than the immediate population requires. Policymakers know this tendency, or at least, its upside for their local jurisdictions. They may be less attuned to the side effects of attracting out-of-town shoppers. Besides producing extra traffic and air pollution when they drive in…

New York, Toronto, and Portland all demonstrate the relative advantage of maintaining a single regional transit operator, although coalescing one in the Bay Area would take incredible time and effort…“We could begin coordinating the schedules and the fares between BART and Caltrain more effectively,” he said, “painting buses and trains in a way that they look and feel like a single system

Read it all here here.