Population growth making Bay Area into megaregion

While the population of San Francisco and the Bay Area is growing, it’s nothing compared with the boom occurring in the surrounding rural areas, according to a report released Tuesday.

Called the Northern California megaregion, it’s the result of a booming population, the rising cost of living, and a housing shortage in urban areas like San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. Planners say the growth could lead to more traffic, a lack of resources and more pollution.

The nonprofit public-policy organization is looking to the future and the inevitable spread of the traditional nine-county Bay Area into the Central Valley, Sacramento and Nevada.

“We should just face reality — that our de facto strategy today is that the vast majority of our affordable housing is in fact being built in the Central Valley,” SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf said at a presentation Tuesday.

The answer lies primarily in high-speed rail and the infrastructure to support it, according to the SPUR report. A train that could transport workers from their homes in the Central Valley to urban job centers such as Silicon Valley would not only bring prosperity to the outer reaches of the megaregion, it would also cut down on automobile travel.

The organization is also pushing a $10 million-$20 million state bond measure for the November 2008 ballot that would jump-start a project for a transregional bullet train.

Metcalf said improvements to the BART system and Caltrain provide proof that a regional plan can improve people’s lives.

“People can get from San Jose to San Francisco much more quickly than, say, the Sunset to downtown San Franciscoon the L-Taraval,” Metcalf said.

Egon Terplan, SPUR’s economic development and governance policy director, said improved planning can also improve economic disparity in the state. Poverty is at its worst in Central Valley areas such as Tulare and Fresno counties, he said.

bbegin@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

‘Mad Mob’ aims to influence SF City Hall on mental health policies

They are fed up with City Hall telling those who need the services what’s best for them

Police efforts to stem 49ers revelry in Mission District spark backlash

SFPD preparing for potential bonfires, vandalism on Super Bowl Sunday

Calendar of Events: San Francisco celebrates the Year of the Rat

JAN. 25 Choy Sun Doe Day: The San Francisco Chinese Chamber of… Continue reading

BART study: Ending paper tickets would ‘disproportionately’ impact low-income riders, people of color

When BART eventually eliminates its magnetic-stripe paper tickets from use, it will… Continue reading

Second case of respiratory coronavirus confirmed in U.S.

The woman, who is in her 60s, remained hospitalized Friday and her condition had been stabilized

Most Read