Plan Bay Area 2050

By law, each of California’s metropolitan regions must develop long-range plans to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and accommodate all future projected housing without increasing commuting within the region or the number of people traveling from neighboring areas to the region (i.e. from outside of the Bay Area to the Bay Area). In the San Francisco Bay Area, the long-range plan is prepared and updated by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

ABAG and MTC are currently in the process of creating the next long-range plan, Plan Bay Area 2050, to account for projected economic, environmental, housing, and transportation needs of the counties and cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Saratoga. Plan Bay Area 2050’s stated goal is to make the Bay Area more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy, and vibrant for all.

Once finalized, Plan Bay Area 2050 will have significant impacts on Saratoga. The plan will influence the allocation of grant funds for projects like road improvements and public transportation, as well as Saratoga’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which is the total number of housing units projected to be needed across all income levels in Saratoga.

Plan Bay Area 2050 Public Input

 In July, ABAG and MTC released the first draft of the Plan Bay Area 2050 Blueprint. You can help shape Plan Bay Area 2050 by sharing your thoughts by August 10. Public comment can be shared in several ways:

 Stay up to date on the Plan Bay Area 2050 process by subscribing to receive email updates.

City of Saratoga Comment Letters

The City of Saratoga has submitted the following comment letters regarding Plan Bay Area 2050 and proposed housing legislation.

Plan Bay Area 2050 Timeline

  • Late 2019/Mid-2020: Develop strategies and investments to be included in draft Blueprint, integrating feedback from public and stakeholders
  • Summer/Spring 2020: Analyze draft Blueprint and hold workshops with the public to seek feedback
  • Fall 2020: Refine Blueprint strategies based on public input and conduct final analysis of Blueprint
  • Late 2020: MTC Commission and ABAG Executive Board adoption of final Blueprint

Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 Strategies

 ABAG and MTC has identified several overall objectives in the draft Plan Bay Area 2050. In summary, they include increasing housing production and creating inclusive communities; protecting, preserving, and producing more affordable housing; and shifting the location of jobs. Based on these objectives, the draft Plan Bay Area 2050 includes 9 strategies to address housing, economic, transportation, and environmental changes that are projected to occur in the Bay Area over the next 30 years. The draft Plan Bay Area 2050 Blueprint objectives are described in more detail below.

Saratoga & Plan Bay Area 2050 Strategies

Some of the strategies include allowing a variety of housing types at a range of densities in locations identified as a “High-Resource Area,” reducing barriers to housing development near transit by increasing incentives to build housing, including reduced parking requirements, project review times, and impact fees.

 The Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint “Growth Geographies” identify sections of the City of Saratoga as High Resource Areas, including areas near Prospect Road, Quito Road, Allendale Avenue, and Fruitvale Avenue.  

 Saratoga has seen policies, like those proposed by the draft Plan Bay Area 2050, implemented in a manner that strips the City of its ability to control future land use and development. For example, the City was recently required to approve a luxury townhome development under Senate Bill 35 requirements, leaving Saratoga with just one grocery store to serve more than 30,000 residents.    

Proposed Housing Objectives & Strategies

  1. Spur Housing Production and Create Inclusive Communities
    • Allow greater mix of housing types and densities in priority development areas, transit-rich areas, and high resource areas (HRA) as defined by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
    • Reduce barriers to housing near transit and areas of opportunity by increasing incentives to build housing, including reducing parking requirements, project review times, and impact fees.
    • Transform aging malls and office parks into mixed-income neighborhoods by permitting new land uses and reducing development costs.
  2. Protect, Preserve, and Produce More Affordable Housing
    • Fund affordable housing by raising $1.5 billion in new annual revenues to leverage Federal, State, and local sources to protect, preserve, and produce deed-restricted affordable housing.
    • Require 10 to 20 percent of new housing to be affordable for developments of 5 units or more.
    • Strengthen renter protections, including limiting annual rent increases to rate of inflation for unites that are 10 years or older.

Proposed Economic Objectives & Strategies

  1. Improve Economic Mobility
    • Expand childcare support for low-income families by providing a 50% childcare subsidy to low-income households for children under 5.
    • Create incubator programs or technical assistance in economically challenged areas, as well as access to workspaces, mentorship, and financing in disadvantaged communities.
    • Retain key industrial lands by establishing Priority Production Areas in local land-use policies.
  2. Shift the Location of Jobs
    • Allow greater densities for new commercial development in Priority Development Areas as well as Transit-Rich Areas.
    • Apply transportation impact fees on new office developments.
    • Apply jobs-housing linkage fees to generate funding for affordable housing when new office development occurs in a job-rich location to incentivize locating more jobs in housing-rich locations.

Proposed Transportation Objectives & Strategies

  1. Maintain and Optimize Existing Infrastructure
    • Operate and maintain the existing system, including roads and transit infrastructure while ensuring Priority Development Areas have sufficient transit service.
    • Enable seamless mobility with unified trip planning and fare payments.
    • Reform regional transit fare policy with streamline fare payment and replacement of existing operator-specific discounts.
    • Implement per-mile tolling on congested freeways that have transit alternatives, with discounts for carpoolers, low-income residents, and during off-peak travel hours.
  2. Create healthy and safe streets
    • Build a Complete Streets Network to promote walking, biking, and other micromobility options through sidewalk and bike lane improvements.
    • Advance regional Vision Zero Policy through reductions in speed limits on local streets and by reducing speeds to 55 miles per hour on freeways, using design elements on roadways to slow traffic, and using automated speed enforcement on freeways.
  3. Enhance regional and local transit
    • Advance low-cost transit projects that require limited regional dollars to be fully funded.
    • Build a new Transbay Rail Crossing to help reduce overcrowding during peak commute periods and provide system redundancy.

Proposed Environmental Strategies

  1. Reduce Risks from Hazards
    • Adapt to sea level rise by protecting shoreline communities, prioritizing areas of low cost and high benefits, and providing support to vulnerable populations.
    • Modernize existing buildings with seismic, wildfire, drought, and energy retrofits through new building ordinances and incentives.
  2. Reduce Our Impact on the Environment
    • Maintain urban growth boundaries by confining new development within areas of existing development or areas otherwise suitable growth.
    • Protect high-value conservation lands through strategic matching funds.
    • Expand the MTC Climate Initiatives Program, which includes investment in transportation demand management and electrification incentive programs, while also working with the Air District and State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for other transportation sectors.

Plan Bay Area 2050 Assumptions

The Regional Growth Forecast, was prepared by ABAG and MTC to project the amount of growth in the Bay Area over the next 30 years. It is an important building block these organizations use to draft Plan Bay Area 2050. Some assumptions in the Regional Growth Forecast that have notable impacts on Plan Bay Area 2050 include:

  • The forecast predicts the Bay Area population to grow by 2.7 million, bringing the total Bay Area population to 10.3 million
  • The forecast predicts Bay Area households to increase by 1.3 million, bringing the total number of Bay Area households to 4 million
  • The forecast predicts Bay Area employment to grow by 1.4 million jobs, bringing the total number of Bay Area jobs to just over 5.4 million jobs

When compared to the projections used to create Plan Bay Area 2040 (the last regional plan), the projections for Plan Bay Area 2050 represent:

  • 200,000 fewer people
  • 300,000 more households
  • 300,000 more housing units
  • 400,000 more jobs

The Regional Growth Forecast states that the difference is explained by a change in demographics that increase the total number of households, even while the population is expected to decrease. Additionally, recent employment growth resulted in an increase in the total number of jobs expected in the next 30 years. The Regional Growth Forecast also assumes a higher number of housing units due to state laws and other policies promoting increased housing development.

Plan Bay Area 2050 & Regional Housing Needs

Every 8 years, housing needs are assessed within the different regions of California. After identifying regional housing needs, the total number of housing units projected to be needed for each income level is distributed among the cities and counties in the region. This is called the Regional Housing Needs Allocation or “RHNA” (pronounced “reena”). Cities and counties must then update their Housing Elements to identify policies and specific locations for residential development to provide an opportunity to reach the jurisdiction’s RHNA allocation.

The Bay Area region’s 2023-2032 RHNA process started in October 2019. The draft housing allocation for Saratoga and other jurisdictions is expected by spring 2021, with the final allocation provided by winter 2021.

The Plan Bay Area 2050 Regional Growth Forecast will influence how housing needs are allocated among the counties and cities in the Bay Area.

Previous Regional Plans

Plan Bay Area 2050 will be a major update to previous regional plans for the Bay Area, including Plan Bay Area and Plan Bay Area 2040. ABAG and MTC are required by law to develop the plan in collaboration with local and regional agencies and update it every 4 years.

About ABAG and MTC

ABAG is a regional planning agency and council of government that serves the nine Bay Area counties formed in 1961 to address common issues from a regional perspective. The ABAG Executive Board is comprised of elected officials from throughout the Bay Area who are selected to serve on the Board by fellow elected officials in the different counties. In Santa Clara County, the city representative on the ABAG Executive Board is selected by the Cities Association of Santa Clara County

The MTC is the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the Bay Area. The MTC Commission includes 21 members, 17 of these are elected officials from Bay Area cities and counties. The representatives from Santa Clara County include a member selected by the County Board of Supervisors, a member selected by the Cities Association of Santa Clara, and a member selected by the San Jose City Council. The remaining 3 members are nonvoting and represent the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the California State Transportation Agency.