May 4, 2012

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

"We can change California in a meaningful way, and indeed we are,” said State Senator Mark DeSaulnier at TransForm's first-ever Transportation Choices Summit in Sacramento this week.

It was inspiring: not only Senator DeSaulnier’s words, but that activists and leaders from every corner of the state came together to send a message that all Californians deserve safe, affordable and abundant options – besides a car – to get where they need to go.

Check out photos from the Summit, then read the details on what happened and what’s next for winning transportation choices across California.

Onto the rest of the news:

  • Nerve-wracking negotiations begin on federal transportation bill
  • How should the Bay Area spend its transportation dollars? We have some ideas.
  • Speak out for Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino Real
  • Approval of Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay is victory for entire Bay Area
  • TransForm is hiring – spread the word!
  • We’re linking health and transportation May 16
  • Attend preview of transit documentary May 5
  • Bike to Work Day on May 10 is also Bike to School Day!
  • Help shut down streets to cars in Berkeley
  • If you're fed up with poor Muni service, come out on Saturday!
  • Take on (or just celebrate) the ultimate bike + transit adventure June 16
  • Program to encourage less driving reaches 10,000 households in Alameda County!

Nerve-wracking negotiations begin on federal transportation bill

Next week, California’s own Senator Barbara Boxer will convene a special joint committee to try to negotiate the differences between the strong, bipartisan Senate transportation bill and a House bill that contains little change to current transportation policy. The Senate bill would protect funds for transit, walking, and biking; expand tax benefits for transit riders; and ensure new roads are designed for all users, not just cars. But House leaders want to force a compromise by including divisive provisions that are sure to be controversial - even if they don't have anything to do with transportation.

Basically, it’s going get ugly and we need Senator Boxer to stand stronger than ever for a bill that supports transportation choices. Email the Senator now and tell her not to let the Senate bill get watered down.

How should the Bay Area spend its transportation dollars? We have some ideas.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has proposed a “Draft Transportation Investment Strategy” for the region as part of the Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. We’ve been carefully watchdogging this process and have six changes we think MTC should make before this moves ahead. Read our recommendations and send a letter to MTC urging them to support these recommendations.

Speak out for Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino Real

Bus Rapid Transit is revolutionizing bus service around the world by mimicking rail with features like dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses with level, all-door boarding, and traffic signal priority.

The Santa Clara City Council voted last week to support VTA’s proposal for Bus Rapid Transit and major bike/pedestrian improvements along El Camino Real. The next city to vote on whether or not to move forward with VTA’s proposal is Sunnyvale. If you live, work, or shop in Sunnyvale make sure to speak out in support at one of the upcoming meetings on May 8 and May 22. If you can’t make a meeting, email your local elected officials now.

Approval of Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay is victory for entire Bay Area

After years of community engagement and advocacy led by TransForm, we are thrilled that the AC Transit Board unanimously approved the excellent plan for bringing true Bus Rapid Transit with dedicated bus lanes to Oakland and San Leandro. This plan is a big step for the entire Bay Area, as it will showcase what’s possible: fast, reliable, frequent buses plus a better experience for riders – all at an incredible value.

The plan also represents what’s possible in terms of community outreach. Community input has so far led to adjustments to station locations, new traffic signals, improved parking mitigations and better bike/ped infrastructure… plus simply gotten people excited about Bus Rapid Transit. A ton of local organizations signed on to a support statement TransForm circulated. And you’ve got to check out the excellent video Youth Uprising made, with TransForm, in support of the project.

Read coverage of this important victory in SF.Streetsblog and the Contra Costa Times. Oakland and San Leandro City Councils will vote on the project sometime in June.

TransForm is hiring – spread the word!

We just announced a new opening here at TransForm for a Database and Online Communications Manager. Read all our job posts (including openings for a COO and State Campaign Organizer) and let your friends and colleagues know, too.

We’re linking health and transportation May 16

TransForm and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership recently kicked off a new collaboration of advocates, community members, health professionals, and planning experts who want transportation decisions to yield healthy outcomes for all. If you want to learn about and shape key transportation decisions, especially the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy, be part of our next call-in meeting of the Bay Area Health in Transportation Collaborative (BAHT). Read the presentations from the April meeting and sign up to get the May 16 meeting info.

Attend preview of transit documentary May 5

Documentary film director Laura Lukitsch is throwing a party to celebrate her recent trip to China where she filmed eight commuters using seven forms of transit. Join other transit-lovers in San Francisco the evening of May 5 for some footage from China, plus enjoy food, drinks, and live music as you support bringing this film to life. Get the details and then RSVP to Laura.

Bike to Work Day on May 10 is also Bike to School Day!

You may already be planning to bike to work on May 10. We’re working at 40 schools in Alameda County to get kids biking that same day. We’d love to station you at a participating school for an hour on the morning or afternoon of May 9 or May 10 to pass out prizes and cheer on kids. If you can help, email us.

Help shut down streets to cars in Berkeley

In the spirit of San Francisco’s Sunday Streets, our friends at Livable Berkeley want to shut down the streets in downtown Berkeley to cars one Sunday this fall. But they need your help to make this dream a reality, so head to their family-friendly fundraising party on May 12. It’s just $10 for live music, beer, and more. Register now for the May 12 event.

If you’re fed up with poor Muni service, come out on Saturday! 

We’re thrilled: SF MTA is proposing smart improvements to major bus and Metro Muni lines which will reduce travel time by 15-30%! These changes will help the vast majority of Muni’s riders, but some community meetings have attracted opponents who prefer to keep things as they are today - slow and unreliable. We need people to speak out in support of a “Rapid Network” at a public meeting this Saturday morning. Learn more at San Francisco Transit Riders Union and please come out if you can!

Take on (or just celebrate) the ultimate bike + transit adventure June 16

TransForm is one of the sponsors for the coolest bike ride we’ve ever heard of: Alt. Alt. goes up Mount Hamilton, Mount Tamalpais, and Mount Diablo in one day, using Caltrain, the Sausalito ferry, and BART to get between them (128 miles total). Don’t worry: you don’t have to ride to be part of this awesome day. You can volunteer or simply celebrate with other like-minded folks who believe the Bay Area should be rich in access to nature via bicycle and public transportation. Learn more and sign up.

Program to encourage less driving reaches 10,000 households in Alameda County!

TravelChoice, one of TransForm’s innovative programs, works to reduce how much people drive by providing personalized information on car-free options and other incentives to get people to “think outside the car” more often. The program is funded by Alameda County’s Measure B, TFCA and the City of Berkeley’s BTAP program. Once complete, the program will have contacted nearly 10,000 households throughout Alameda County! Want to read the results of TravelChoice once the final phase of outreach in Berkeley is done? Email John to get the report when it’s released in July.