February 1, 2011

Your monthly pass to world-class public transportation and more wonderful, walkable communities.

Three excellent reports just came out that prove that world-class public transportation and walkable communities create jobs, save money, spur economic growth, and protect the environment.

First, SPUR’s new report shows how high-speed rail can yield huge environmental and economic benefits for California if planning around future rail stations is done right. 
 
The League of American Bicyclists’ report shows that for $1 million in spending, road construction projects create approximately 7 jobs while pedestrian projects create over 11 jobs and bicycle projects up to 14 jobs!
 
And speaking of money, the Center for Clean Air Policy presents compelling evidence that smart growth improves the bottom line for businesses, households and governments.

Read up and then read on for more news:

  • What Governor Brown's budget means for public transportation
  • Mr. President, please prioritize funding for transit, walking, and biking
  • Caltrain’s future is at risk, but solutions are being discussed
  • The Bay Area’s next transportation plan could boldly go where previous plans haven’t
  • Funding available for community outreach
  • Help shape Alameda County’s transportation investments at community workshops in February or March
  • Let the Oakland City Council know you want a better International Boulevard
  • Car-free happy hour in San Jose tonight!


What Governor Brown's budget means for public transportation

TransForm, in our efforts to win more state funding for public transportation, was pleasantly surprised when Governor Brown released his proposed state budget.  Despite the state of California’s budget situation, it had no cuts to transit funding.  But the reality is that even without cuts, funding levels are woefully inadequate after being decimated over the past several years.  Read more

Mr. President, please prioritize funding for transit, walking, and biking

In last week's State of the Union address, President Obama called out the importance of investing in our nation's transportation system, including high-speed rail.  We were thrilled to hear that infrastructure is near the top the President's priorities.  But the President is also under a lot of pressure to cut support for the things we need to invest in the most: public transportation, walking, and biking.  And his speech didn't mention any of these things. 

We’re working hard with the Transportation For America campaign to ensure that the President continues to push for bold investments in our transportation system, particularly in alternatives to driving.  We’ll keep you posted as efforts ramp up over the next few months. 

Caltrain’s future is at risk, but solutions are being discussed

Although Caltrain is one of the highest performing Bay Area transit agencies, it’s the only one without dedicated funding.  Now it faces a $30 million operating deficit for the coming year.  A panel of experts gathered by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group – including TransForm’s own Stuart Cohen – discussed possible solutions while the Save Our Caltrain summit this past weekend got activists together. Listen to the podcast of the panel and take action on the Friends of Caltrain site

The Bay Area’s next transportation plan could boldly go where previous plans haven’t

Every four years, TransForm leads a campaign to shape the Bay Area’s latest transportation funding plan so it yields big wins for public transportation, walking, biking, affordable housing, and smart growth.  Now the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is proposing to do something TransForm and other advocates have pressured them to do for years.  They plan to look at all the projects that would normally be "grandfathered" into the plan and compare them with new ideas to see which are most cost-effective and offer the most benefits in terms of reducing emissions and pollution as well as increasing safe and affordable transportation options.

This is an exciting opportunity to revisit past assumptions and policies, but also means the things we've fought for will have to prove their value.  TransForm is convening a working group to coordinate policies and strategies on this and other issues in the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy.  Read more or contact Carli Paine to get involved.

Funding available for community outreach

The Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission will award funding to up to 10 nonprofit, community and faith-based groups to engage their constituents in shaping the region’s upcoming Sustainable Communities Strategy.  TransForm won’t be applying, but encourages other groups to.  Proposals are due February 16, so learn more now.

Help shape Alameda County’s transportation investments at community workshops in February or March

The Alameda County Transportation Commission is beginning their official update of the county’s transportation plan, which is a big opportunity to win more funds for walking, biking, and public transportation.  Please attend one of the four upcoming community workshops to weigh in on what you think the county’s needs and priorities are.  Attend on February 26, March 2, March 5 or March 9.

Let the Oakland City Council know you want a better International Boulevard

The City of Oakland has officially unveiled its vision for the development of International Boulevard… and it’s great!  TransForm has been working for months getting the community involved in the planning for this corridor, and so much of what residents want is now in the vision: improved pedestrian/bicycle safety; affordable and market rate housing; ground-level retail; parks; and a grocery store between 55th and 85th Avenues.  Speak out at an upcoming meeting on February 2, February 22, or March 1 – or email the Council now.

Car-free happy hour in San Jose tonight!

Join Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition tonight (February 1) from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Trials Pub on First Street.  Meet fellow self-powered commuters and public transit fans while sharing tips for traveling car-free in the South Bay.  Learn more.