Last night I attended a meeting of community leaders (ahem!) to discuss the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), how it could affect people in Santa Clara County, and how we could communicate the process to our communities. So, in the spirit of communication, gather 'round Grampa Colin's rocking chair, readers, and I'll tell you all about the transportation/land use/housing strategy that could change the Bay Area!

First of all, “Sustainable Communities Strategy” was proving to be far too much of a consonance-laden mouthful to repeat over and over in meetings, and the last thing we need is another acronym to confuse everybody, so the thing is forever more to be referred to as Plan Bay Area. Simple, straightforward, it is what it says: a plan for the Bay Area. I like it.

This plan won't sit well with everybody, as it uses financial incentives to promote housing growth in certain areas, especially those near transit, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. Others will welcome a denser urban planning strategy. Still others (ahem!) will be happy with the emphasis on transit, but will want to see more resources allocated to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure so that people can get to and from transit centers without having to drive.

Whatever your thoughts on this plan, it's important that you get involved. Big money is at stake here, and the way it's spent will influence the demographics, transportation systems, and built environment of the Bay Area for a long, long time. Visit to get acquainted with the whole thing. If you have something to say, try bringing it up with the Joint Policy Committee, which does the voting on Plan Bay Area matters. And sign up for email updates from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to keep up with all the latest and greatest.

Thanks to Greenbelt Alliance, TransForm, Public Advocates, Urban Habitat, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and South Bay Labor Council for putting last night's meeting together. Special thanks to Chris and Jason at TransForm for providing this eternally useful acronym buster, which is a must when dealing with this stuff.