July 1, 2009

Your monthly pass to better transit and more wonderful, walkable communities.

Maybe it's just the summertime heat, but our issues seem hotter than ever.

There was the new Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's quote about "getting to a concept that we call livable communities, where people don't have to get in a car every day."

Then there was the huge piece in the New York Times Magazine on the future of high-speed rail in California

The list goes on, but for now here's what we think is hot:

  • Prepare to be inspired by the results of the Car-Free Challenge
  • Oakland Airport Connector increasingly called into question
  • Want better bus service in the East Bay?
  • Join TransForm at three free parties around the Bay Area
  • July 15 regional meeting asks if road pricing is unfair to low-income people
  • A great plan for Berkeley still hangs in the balance – speak up July 7
  • California stimulus funds will help existing roads and bridges – not build more highways
  • TransForm is hiring
  • TransForm is moving (across the street) July 10
  • What happens when you give streets back to people?  Ask Enrique Peñalosa on July 7

Prepare to be inspired by the results of the Car-Free Challenge

More than 160 people just proved it's possible to leave their cars behind for more trips.  As part of TransForm's Car-Free Challenge, participants drove an average of only 125 miles in June (the average American driver goes more than 1,000 miles in a month)!  Tens of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide were kept out of the atmosphere.

The Challenge was both inspiring and illustrative.  Noren Caliva in Santa Clara wrote: "I don't know why I never did this before! Taking the bus only takes 10 minutes longer than driving and is way more enjoyable! I even made a new friend on the bus!"

It also pointed out the need for better walking, biking, and public transportation options. 

"The fact that an 11-mile trip within San Jose (from downtown to the suburbs) took 1.5 hours door to door, despite the fact that we'd timed our trip right and didn't miss any connections, should tell you something about the state of transit in San Jose," wrote Ramkumar Sridharan in a blog post during the Car-Free Challenge. 

Read the results and stories from the Car-Free Challenge, and get on the list to take the Challenge in 2010!

Oakland Airport Connector increasingly called into question

Costs for the Oakland Airport Connector have ballooned from the voter-approved $130 million in 2000 to $522 million.  Riders are projected to pay up to $12 roundtrip (in addition to the price of a rider's BART ticket) for a slow, three-mile journey.  And all of the stops that would serve the local community have been eliminated, removing the economic development aspects of the project. 

Support for a cost-effective alternative to the proposed Connector is growing. Former State Senator Don Perata, the Port Commission, and the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority are all questioning the current proposal.  A new coalition has created a website dedicated to winning a fast, affordable alternative to the Connector project.  Check it out at www.oaklandairportconnector.com.

 

Want to make your bus ride in the East Bay better?

We do!  That's why TransForm has been working with advocates to get Bus Rapid Transit up and running in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro.  With dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and other key features, Bus Rapid Transit will make bus service much faster and more reliable.

We want Bus Rapid Transit to get on the ground ASAP, which is why we need you to speak up in support of the Telegraph Ave. / International Blvd. / E. 14th St. Bus Rapid Transit corridor.  It's time to tell the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Policy Steering Committee to get a move on at - and leading up to - their July 17 meeting.  Take action online now in support of Bus Rapid Transit, come to the July 17 meeting, or help us strategize.

Join TransForm at three free parties around the Bay Area

Want to enjoy free food and drinks (including wine and beer) with fellow fans of public transportation, walking, and biking options?  Then come to one of the three free parties TransForm and Sports Basement are hosting around the Bay Area in celebration of the close of the Car-Free Challenge.  Did we mention the 15% discount you'll enjoy while you're at Sports Basement?  Please RSVP at least a day before the party/parties you'll attend by contacting Leila at 510.740.3150 x308 or leila@TransFormCA.org.

Get the details on the parties in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and Sunnyvale.

July 15 regional meeting asks if road pricing is unfair to low-income people

An array of road pricing mechanisms are being tried across the country.  But is road pricing unfair to low-income people?  Kathryn Phillips from Environmental Defense Fund will present a new report that attempts to answer this question.  Regional meetings are free and open to all, and a great place to learn about the issues and meet advocates.  RSVP to Lauri so we have enough seating and food.  The July 15 regional meeting will be held from 5:30 - 7:30pm in the Sierra Club's 3rd floor conference room at 85 2nd St. in San Francisco.  Read more about the regional meeting.  

A great plan for Berkeley still hangs in the balance – speak up July 7

We think you'll agree that focusing new homes and shops within walking distance of the Downtown Berkeley BART station is a smart way for Berkeley to grow.  That's why we want the Berkeley City Council to adopt a new Downtown Area Plan – but with the Citizen's Downtown Area Planning Advisory Committee recommendations that will also ensure improved pedestrian and cyclist safety and better bus service.  Help make a great plan happen by attending the July 7 City Council meeting or sending a quick email to City Council.  Learn more about TransForm's stance on the plan and how to take action.

California stimulus funds will help existing roads and bridges – not build more highways

Thanks to advocates like you and the joint efforts of TransForm, CalPIRG, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and others, new economic stimulus funds coming into California are going to go towards fixing our existing (and hurting) roads and bridges, rather than building more highways.  Read more about this important victory.

TransForm is hiring

TransForm seeks a part-time community organizer to lead our efforts to promote sustainable transportation in Contra Costa County.  Read the job description.

TransForm is moving (across the street) July 10

As of July 10, TransForm will be in new digs across the street from our current office.  Our new address will be 436 14th Street, Suite 600, Oakland, CA 94612.  Our phone and fax numbers will remain the same.

What happens when you give streets back to people?  Ask Enrique Peñalosa on July 7

Some of us at TransForm still get choked up when we remember hearing Enrique Peñalosa speak for the first time.  Former Mayor of Bogata, Columbia, Enrique created a model for urban improvement based on all people having equal access to quality transportation, education and public spaces.  Enrique will speak from 5:30 – 7:30p.m. July 7 at the San Francisco Main Public Library.  The event is free and open to the public.  Read more about the event.