July 30 2013

Preparing for the Population Wave: Transit & New Housing Coordination in San Francisco

Between 2010 and 2040, San Francisco will need 92,410 new housing units and 191,000 more jobs to accommodate its growing population. The city alone will take in 134,000 more residents between now and 2035, while the Bay Area can expect an additional 2.1 million people by 2040. This growth is going to happen whether San Francisco wants it or not – but how is the city going to plan for it?

Plan Bay Area map

Housing will always be a concern, but another concern that comes with it is making sure the transit systems are able to accommodate the residents living in these new homes and apartments. Even if San Francisco somehow built 100,000 new units within the next twenty years and prices stabilized, the city still has to ensure the Muni, bus lines and BART can support this growth. Many local residents already view these systems as unreliable and slow, though there are signs that transit will get better with time.

San Francisco took a big step in adopting the Plan Bay Area, a thirty-year strategic growth plan designed to address the drastic growth expected over the next three decades. This includes eliminating sprawl by focusing on infill development and incentivizing new housing to be built near major transit corridors. The plan may be controversial amongst some Bay Area residents, but it will promote sustainability in a global metropolis.

Crowded Muni in San Francisco

If the city is going to make this vision become a reality, it is going to have to significantly invest in its transit. This means more funding for Muni carts, BART trains and bus lines, all of which are currently lacking. Focusing development on transit corridors means that 80% of the growth is going to take place on 20% of the land, but it will only work if there is enough space inside those carts.

San Francisco is aware of this problem. As it builds more during this smart growth movement, urban planners will have to find ways to finance the transportation systems so that they work in sync with the greater numbers of residents moving within and around the San Francisco area.

How is your city planning its transit systems for population growth?

Credits: Data linked to sources. Images credit of SF StreetsBlog and Muni Diaries.

Robert Poole

Robert Poole recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego but now resides in San Francisco. He is intrigued by, yet concerned with the large discrepancies in socio-economic development within the Bay Area. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates for new housing development in the City through policy and legislation. As he continues his work, he hopes to gain a more in-depth understanding of the city’s public process in order to develop solutions that create more affordable housing options for the City's low to middle-income residents.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 at 9:18 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Robert Poole, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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