What the Youth Think About Plan Bay Area 2040

Plan Bay Area in the Perspective of a 17 year old:

 by Mykela Patton

Thursday May 4. I attended the Plan Bay Area 2040 Alameda County community workshop. I learned a lot, but also had many questions about its affects on the Oakland community after it was over. Plan Bay Area 2040 is a transportation and land use plan sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). This plan seems great; it will focus on both expanding transit lines, but also operating and fixing current transit lines, as well as roads.

This plan seems solid and reasonable; however, I see a few flaws in Plan Bay Area 2040. This plan focuses on Priority Development Areas (PDA’s), which are neighborhoods and communities that local governments believe would be great locations for growth. PDA’s are great, and I am definitely not anti-development as growth would stimulate the economy and provide more activities for the residents. I have one major fear however: displacement.

Coming from Oakland CA ,a city currently facing gentrification, I am aware that development often brings high-end jobs, housing, and eateries. This means the current residents will, most likely, not be able to afford the new attractions in their neighborhood. This is a problem that MTC and ABAG are aware of, but they offer no solid measures to prevent it.

I understand how this plan will increase Bay Area transit, but I am not sure it will protect the already underserved communities of the Bay. As the open house ended, I wondered, how will this plan protect low-income communities from displacement? How will MTC be able to expand and improve transportation, but also keep the fares low? Does this plan have a measure in place to decrease existing fares? Will building new transportation separate and disturb existing communities?

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