A massive plan to turn Lamorinda cities into Fruitvale Transit Villages to force drivers out of their cars and rely more heavily on public transportation was unveiled Thursday, February 9 at a joint meeting of the city councils of Orinda, Lafayette, and Moraga. The plan proposes a major reconfiguration of the layout of all three cities.
The plan was unveiled by Martin Engelmann of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, a public agency formed, in 1988, by the voters of Contra Costa County. The agency is charged with county-wide transportation planning.
The plan proposes to concentrate housing and population growth near transportation centers.
In Orinda and Lafayette, the plan proposes special housing centers near each city’s respective BART station. Moraga, which does not have a BART station, will have a special downtown housing center.
The plan assumes that between 2010 and 2040 that the number of households in the Bay Area will increase by 30 percent. The plan also projects that the number of Bay Area jobs will, during the same interval, grow by 35 percent.
Mr. Englemann’s remarks did not cover California’s current high level of unemployment. In January 2012, California’s official unemployment rate was 11.1 percent. The official national unemployment rate for the same month was 8.3 percent.
The plan’s rationale is to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from cars.
Several individuals criticized the plan. One critic said the plan gave government “terrifying” control over individuals’ lives.
Another critic said the plan was too optimistic concerning job growth. This critic noted that California has tax rates that are too high to stimulate job formation. He said that California currently has the nation’s highest sales tax rate, the second highest personal income tax rate, and the seventh highest corporate income tax rate.
Another critic of the plan was Mike Metcalf, the mayor of Moraga. Metcalf called the plan an example of “liberal fascism.”
The meeting was held in the auditorium of the Orinda Public Library.