Connecting Communities 2019

Connecting Communities: An event series for transportation and housing solutions that advance climate protection and social equity

Transportation and housing are two of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area. How can we meet these challenges in ways that also address climate change and social and economic inequity? This work is already underway locally, and there are inspiring lessons to be learned from other regions. Find out more about the connections between housing, transportation, climate, and equity, and what you can do to make the Bay Area and your community more just, sustainable, and livable.

These free events will take place online and around the Bay Area in October and November 2019. Bookmark this page and check back for more details including additional speakers, dates and locations, and how to watch online, or just contact us.

The Connecting Communities series is produced by TransForm with an incredible team of co-hosts. We are currently seeking financial sponsorships for the series; please contact Dave Severy to learn more about perks and sponsorship levels

How is Housing Policy Climate Policy? 

Photo of a rendering housing development.

There are many different state and local policies targeting climate action, but are they overlooking the critical connections between housing and climate change? The truth is that many current housing policies work to undermine our ability to reduce transportation emissions — the biggest source of climate pollution in California. 

Come learn about these connections, and how you can help support housing policy that moves us toward climate solutions and justice.


  • Chris Jones will discuss the GHG benefits of infill housing, based on his recent studies highlighted in the Coolclimate tool and this New York Times op-ed.
  • Bruce Nilles of the Rocky Mountain Institute will discuss the importance of building electrification and linkages with housing policy. See his op-ed in the New York Times.
  • Nina Rizzo manages GreenTRIP certification at TransForm and will discuss how multi-family housing can reduce traffic, parking, and GHG emissions while improving affordability and transportation options.
  • Moderator: David Garcia, Policy Director at the Terner Center at UC Berkeley.

Co-Hosts: Urban Environmentalists, Bay Area Housing Action Coalition, SPUR

Watch the livestream of the event:

A More Coordinated Transit Network: Learning from other regions

Photo showing the Bay Area from an aerial or distant view in the evening

How have other regions brought fragmented, disconnected transit systems together to create a more customer-focused network? How can this make transit easier and faster for all, and create major climate and equity benefits? The Bay Area can learn from both US and international examples.

Speakers from Germany, Nordic countries, and other North American regions who have dealt with similar challenges will share what’s possible. Organizers, transit advocates, and practitioners who are daunted by the institutional change that is necessary will come away motivated and inspired.

Monday, October 21, 6:30 - 8 pm, Redwood City Library - Community Room, 1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City,

Click here to register

Wednesday, October 23, 6 - 8 pm, SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway

Click here to register


  • Ian Griffiths - Seamless Bay Area
  • Elias Arnestrand - Nordic Innovation House
  • Wiebke Geldmacher - DB Engineering & Consulting
  • Rick Ramacier - County Connection
  • Arielle Fleisher - SPUR

Co-hosts: Seamless Bay Area, Friends of Caltrain, SPUR

Webinar: Saving Local Transit in the Bay Area and Beyond

 An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit"

Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, will discuss how to strengthen local transit, putting the Bay Area’s transit challenges in context with other regions around the country. Spieler will discuss strategies to revive interest in transit and boost ridership locally and regionally, in conversation with a local transit advocate and a transit agency representative.


  • Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is a Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a lecturer in Architecture and Engineering at Rice University
  • Christy Wegener, Project Manager for the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans)
  • Chris Lepe, Regional Policy Director, TransForm

Date and time: Wednesday, October 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, Online

Click here to register

Co-hosts: Island Press, TransForm 

How to Get More Homes with Less Driving

Rendering photo of Quetzal gardent

The Bay Area desperately needs to build more homes to address the housing affordability crisis, but we don’t want to worsen the climate crisis or our traffic nightmare. You can advocate for affordable homes with great transportation options that will help make your community more healthy and connected. Join us to:

  • Learn about the connections between housing affordability, traffic reduction, and climate change;
  • Hear how communities are planning and building in ways that reduce the need to drive
  • See how you can help make your community more walkable, affordable, and transit-friendly.


  • Nina Rizzo manages GreenTRIP Certifications at TransForm. The GreenTRIP program supports multi-family residential developments that implement strategies to reduce traffic, parking, and greenhouse gas emissions
  • First Community Housing, an affordable housing developer that designs its projects so that residents can reduce their reliance on cars
  • Travis Duncan, Saris Regis, a developer of market-rate and mixed-income housing focusing on transit-rich locations

Date and time: Monday, November 4, 6:30 - 8 pm 

Location: Santa Clara Public Library, 2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara 

Click here to register

Co-hosts: TransForm, Friends of Caltrain, Livable Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Community Advocates, Greenbelt Alliance

Getting Downtowns Moving with Convenient and Sustainable Access

Photo displaying people walking in downtown Walnut Creek at Broadway Plaza

Many downtowns in the Bay Area are facing some version of this challenge: Customers and workers, residents and visitors all need to be able to get downtown, and parking can be a barrier.  In this session, experts will discuss a variety of strategies to improve downtown access that also help reduce congestion and improve the environment.


  • Billy Riggs, University of San Francisco
  • Carla Hansen, Parking Manager of Walnut Creek (partnerships with ParkSmart/Smarking)
  • Christian Hammack, City of Redwood
  • Karen Camacho, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County
  • Steve Raney, Palo Alto Transportation Management Association

Date and time: Wednesday, November 6, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Location: Oak Room of the Arrillaga Community Center, 700 Alma St., Menlo Park

Click here to register

Co-hosts:  APA Emerging Planners Group, San Jose Dept of Transportation, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

How Public Policy Can Improve Your Commute

In-car view of traffic on the interstate going toward downtown San Francisco

There’s a lot we can do to decrease congestion and improve commutes in the Bay Area without building expensive new roads and infrastructure. Toll lanes and other pricing strategies, carpooling and vanpools, trip caps, and employer-based programs can all make an impact. Come learn what’s already happening in the Bay Area, what’s working elsewhere, and what to watch and advocate for so commuting gets better in the future, not worse.


  • Moderator: Jessica Alba, Stanford University
  • Kim Comstock, Commuter Programs Manager for
  • Michelle Poche Flaherty, Deputy City Manager, Palo Alto
  • Peter Engel, Director of Programs for the Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Date and time: Thursday, November 7, 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Location: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Library, San Jose State University

Co-hosts: Association for Commuter Transportation Northern CA chapter, Prospect Silicon Valley

Click here to register

Webinar: How can congestion pricing advance transportation equity?

Cities around the country are starting to plan for and seriously consider congestion pricing —charging people to drive in busy places at busy times — as a remedy for traffic and climate pollution. Done wrong, congestion pricing can have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income people and communities. But done right, congestion pricing can open up exciting possibilities for transportation equity and justice.

Come learn how road pricing can advance equity, discuss the challenges and risks, hear about plans for congestion pricing in cities around the country, and strategize with other mobility justice advocates about how to steer pricing policies in the right direction.


  • Chris Lepe, TransForm
  • Rio Oxas, People for Mobility Justice 

Date and time: Tuesday, ​November 12, 10 am, online

Registration link coming soon

Assessing Big Transportation Ideas for the Bay Area

Image of hand holding a smartphone

In an innovative region like the Bay Area, there are lots of creative ideas about how to make our transportation system more affordable, sustainable, and effective. With more than 100 ideas in the mix — including 12 public submissions from non-profits and individuals across the nine-county region — MTC is exploring how these ideas perform through the Horizon/Plan Bay Area 2050 project-level analysis to craft a long-range plan for the region.

From a next-generation regional express bus network running on highway express lanes to integrated fares and transfers across all transit systems to bicycle superhighways alongside major Bay Area freeways, we’ll dig into how these ideas and others fared. In addition to discussing the projects and their performance, we’ll hear from some of those who submitted ideas into the process and discuss where the region should go from here.


  • Presenter: Anup Tapase, MTC
  • Arielle Fleisher, SPUR
  • Chris Lepe, TransForm
  • Ian Griffiths, Seamless Bay Area

Date and time: Thursday, November 21, 6:30 pm -  8:30 pm

Location: Swiftly, Inc., 611 Mission St. 7th Floor, San Francisco

Click here to register

Co-hosts: TransForm, MTC, SPUR, Seamless Bay Area  

Webinar: The Path to a Regional Transportation Funding Measure

Stock image of a smiling transit rider

Advocates, legislators, public agencies, and business interests around the Bay Area are planning for a 2020 ballot measure to raise tens of billions of dollars for transportation.

But where should all that money come from, what should be prioritized, and most importantly, how will it transform transportation in the Bay Area?

This webinar is an opportunity to learn about the coalition working for a just and equitable transportation funding measure, known as Voices for Public Transportation. We will examine the options and trade-offs, discuss our funding framework and approach, and preview the path to getting it on the ballot. Standing together, we can win a transportation system that gets everyone in the Bay closer to where they want to be.

Date/time and registration details coming soon!

Thanks to our generous sponsors for their financial support. 

American Planning Association Northern California Chapter
Commute with Enterprise
EAH Housing
San Mateo Office of Sustainability


Connecting Communities Co-Hosting organizations: