March 3, 2010

Your monthly pass to more wonderful, walkable communities.

This e-news is an emotional rollercoaster: happy, sad, happy, sad...

Read on for all the news and action, good and bad - plus events:

NEWS & ACTION

  •  $70 million in federal money redirected from the Oakland Airport Connector to transit agencies!
  • Weigh in on how much the Bay Area should have to reduce emissions from cars
  • Senator Boxer starts to get the message on funds for public transportation
  • Help shape the new federal "Sustainable Communities Program"
  • New job opening at TransForm: spread the word!
  • Norm Rolfe, advocate for public transportation, passes away
  • Contra Costa County officially recognizes benefits of walking, biking and public transportation
  • Tell elected officials to make sure Bus Rapid Transit service meets community needs
  • $10 million pledged for building affordable homes near transit
  • GreenTRIP certification awarded to three developments
  • Laugh and cry at our big screen movie night on March 17
  • Save MUNI summit on March 6
  • March 9 workshop on winning transportation ballot measures
  • Transportation expert talks climate change and congestion March 11
  • Learn how to create climate-friendly, walkable communities March 13 and April 17

$70 million in federal money redirected from the Oakland Airport Connector to transit agencies!

On February 12, the Federal Transit Administration issued a letter to BART rejecting their request for federal stimulus funds for the Oakland Airport Connector project because of serious civil rights concerns.  As a result, $70 million in stimulus funds for the project was redirected to suffering public transportation agencies across the Bay Area - a huge victory for transit, jobs, and justice.

It's clear that there needs to be a real public process for the proposed Oakland Airport Connector so we can fix what's wrong with it: no local stops, a speed of just 23.4 miles per hour, a $500 million price tag, and a $12 roundtrip fare (on top of BART fare)! 

Learn how we won this important battle and listen to KALW's recent radio coverage.

Weigh in on how much the Bay Area should have to reduce emissions from cars

Thanks to the groundbreaking new law SB 375, regions will soon be assigned targets for how much they need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. 

The Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission is hosting a public meeting for people to learn about the target-setting process and weigh in on proposed options for meeting it.

Please speak out for an ambitious target and aggressive approach to expanding public transportation, walking, and biking plus putting more homes - especially affordable ones - near transit.  The meeting will run from 2pm - 4pm at 101 Eighth Street in Oakland (across from the Lake Merritt BART Station).  Contact Carli if you can come March 10.

Senator Boxer starts to get the message on funds for public transportation

TransForm and other allies with the Transportation For America campaign gave Senator Boxer a reality check last month at a transportation town hall after the Senator kept calling the upcoming federal transportation bill "the highway bill".  Erin Steva of CALPIRG asked the Senator what she will do to increase transit funding to 40% in the next transportation bill.

"Well, that's quite a lot," the Senator said and then asked for a show of hands of how many believed that more transportation funds should go to transit.  Attendees overwhelmingly indicated they want more money for transit!  Read more about what happened in LA and email Senator Boxer to fight for public transportation funding.

Help shape the new federal "Sustainable Communities Program"

It's pretty exciting: the federal government is actually investing in smart growth and better regional planning to the tune of $100,000,000 for a new competitive grants program.  Right now, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department is taking comments on how funds should be distributed.

TransForm is hosting a webinar on March 12 from 10am-11am so people can hear from and give input to HUD leaders firsthand including Shelley Poticha, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing and Communities at HUD.  This is a great chance to forward the innovative policy ideas from the Bay Area, plus the need for equity and affordable housing.  RSVP for the free webinar to Denise.  Submit your input to HUD directly.

New job opening at TransForm: spread the word!

We recently announced a new State Policy Director position.  We are also hiring a Chief Operating Officer, Land Use Program Director, and Development and Events Manager.  Check out the postings and share them with your contacts.

Norm Rolfe, advocate for public transportation, passes away

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Norm Rolfe, an incredibly kind, intelligent, and tenacious voice for better transportation planning in San Francisco.  In his 40 years of activism for transit and walkability, he helped save the cable cars and Muni's J-Line, plus prevented Upper Market Street from being converted into an 8-lane so-called "boulevard".  We miss you, Norm.  Read more about Norm's legacy.

Contra Costa County officially recognizes benefits of walking, biking and public transportation

In a unanimous vote on February 17, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) officially recognized that transportation policies that reduce greenhouse gases and increase how much people walk, bike, and take public transportation have important public health benefits. 

We couldn't agree more, and are thrilled that this will be part of CCTA's thinking as they work to implement SB 375Thank Contra Costa Commissioners for making health part of transportation planning!

Tell elected officials to make sure Bus Rapid Transit service meets community needs

Over the next two months, City Councils in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro will vote on what AC Transit needs to consider as they move ahead with implementing Bus Rapid Transit.  Bus Rapid Transit, with its dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and frequent service is an affordable way to make bus service much faster and more reliable.  

But exactly how Bus Rapid Transit rolls out is important.  Tell the City Councils to support studying a Bus Rapid Transit system with as many dedicated lanes and stops as possible.  

If you live in San Leandro, give your thoughts in person March 8.

$10 million pledged for building affordable homes near transit

TransForm and other partners in the Great Communities Collaborative have secured a $10 million pledge from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to finance land acquisition for permanently affordable housing near bus and rail lines throughout the Bay Area.  Read more about the pledge and why these funds are so needed.

GreenTRIP certification awarded to three developments

TransForm just gave proposed developments in San Leandro, San Mateo and Berkeley "GreenTRIP certification".  That's because these developments will reduce traffic and emissions by being smarter about parking plus create incentives for residents to drive less.

Learn about the developments and how GreenTRIP certification works.    

Laugh and cry at our big screen movie night on March 17

On Wednesday, March 17, we'll watch the excellent documentary "Taken for a Ride", which tells the heartbreaking story of how public transportation was systematically dismantled in the mid-1900's.  Then we'll lighten things up with some hilarious clips from the 1950's promoting the suburbs and imagining life "in the future". 

This TransForay will be held from 6 - 8pm in the ultra-comfy screening room at the Uptown Apartments in Oakland.  Wine, popcorn, and other treats will be served.  TransForays are free for TransForm members and $5 for non-members.

Register by March 15 (events do sell out!).

Save MUNI summit on March 6

San Francisco's public transportation is seriously struggling in the so-called "transit first" city.  Join citizens and community groups who at a summit dedicated to crafting solutions to the anticipated massive MUNI budget shortfalls, service cuts, and fare hikes.  Registration opens at 8:15am on March 6 for the 9:00am - 1:00pm summit at The Women's Building.  Learn more and RSVP (volunteers are needed!). 

March 9 workshop on winning transportation ballot measures

TransForm's executive director, Stuart Cohen, will be the keynote speaker at an all-day workshop on March 9 in Sacramento where you'll learn the latest on how to win public transportation ballot measures -- from case studies and media strategies to election trends and tools for success. 

Register now.  Fees will be waived for a limited number of TransForm members (email Denise).

Transportation expert talks climate change and congestion March 11

Learn from Jeff Tumlin of Nelson/Nygaard how "sustainable mobility" can ease congestion, earn money, and fight climate change on March 11 in Palo Alto.  Get complete event details.

Learn how to create climate-friendly, walkable communities March 13 and April 17

The Sierra Club's Loma Prieta Chapter will offer two trainings on the grassroots organizing skills you need to make places where people drive less and emit less.  Learn more about the March 13 San Jose training and the April 17 San Mateo training.