Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, September 25, 2020

“During its September 23 meeting, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a regional authority that finances and coordinates local mobility plans in California’s Bay Area, set a requirement that large office-based employers should have at least 60 percent of their employees work remotely on any given workday by 2050. The remote-work order is one of 35 strategies in Plan Bay Area 2050, the group’s 30-year roadmap to guide regional transportation funding, as required by state and federal law. The work-from-home directive aims to bring the region’s climate-changing carbon emissions down.

“The telecommuting strategy, [MTC regional planning director Matt Maloney] said later, was ‘one of the most necessary pieces.’

“Gina Papan, a commissioner and council member in the South Bay city of Millbrae, called the mandate ‘problematic.’

“ ‘Telecommuting is a viable strategy, but it’s a stopgap,’ said Ethan Elkind, the director of law at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment. It can also be used to dodge more aggressive and challenging climate pursuits, he said.

“Bob Allen, the policy director at Bay Area Urban Habitat, an environmental justice nonprofit, registered another worry: that public transit may be similarly ignored as the region faces the future.

“While the blueprint calls for transit funding, its approval came hours after another MTC meeting that featured public callers excoriating commissioners for failing to act aggressively to redirect existing transportation funds towards those operators, which serve thousands of low-income residents and essential workers. Allen called for more investment in transit, and less for road construction.”

Read the full article here. (~6 min.)

RELATED: Dan Marks, AICP, opines in this issue on what past PBAs have accomplished and what still needs to be done.

Return to the November Northern News here.

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