The Vision for the TRANSDEF Smart Growth
Alternative (“Alternative”) is the preservation of the
quality of life for the Bay Area. The Alternative differs
greatly from past RTPs, whose EIRs predicted a degradation
of quality of life due to continuing suburban development
on the fringes of the Bay Area, resulting in loss of open
space, increased noise, ever-worsening traffic congestion
and lowered mobility, especially for the region’s
lowest-income residents. Without intervention, it was clear
that the Bay Area would deteriorate into a Los Angeles-like
The crux of the problem is suburbanization itself, where land uses are so dispersed that individuals need their own transportation. The answer is Smart Growth, defined as ‘development accessible to convenient transit.’ This kind of development has more density, more walking and biking, and more mixing of uses than conventional suburbs. This concentration of activity is what makes public transportation feasible: because many individuals have destinations in common, they can ride together.
While the Alternative contains little suburban growth, the vast majority of dwellings in the region continue to be single-family homes. Many existing neighborhoods will be protected from change. An attractive, affordable lifestyle especially suited to young adults, couples without children, and other small households will become available in the more urban areas.