November 1, 2012

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

It’s a question on many of our minds: will high speed rail become a reality?

TransForm believes that high speed rail has the potential to reinforce cities as the hubs of our economy, relieve congested roads, plus help California meet clean air and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Yet high speed rail also faces lawsuits and other opposition, plus has an enormous price tag (check out our report).

Don’t miss a night dedicated to discussing the most confounding issues facing high speed rail on November 29 in San Jose. Learn more and register now.

Then read on for the rest of the e-news:

  • Tomorrow: free conference (with online simulcast) on the future of public transportation
  • Consider TransForm’s positions when voting Tuesday
  • Launch of cap and trade program is historic opportunity for public transportation
  • TransForm is hiring a communications director – spread the word
  • Will Bay Area counties put flexible dollars towards affordable housing and bike/ped improvements?
  • If 10,000+ kids walking and biking to school doesn’t inspire you…
  • We need volunteers for a mailing party on November 8 at our Oakland office
  • Two upcoming events look at what parking policies mean for our communities
  • Work at Google or know someone who does?
  • Land use planning should engage the people most impacted
  • Let’s bring better bike parking to all communities
  • The Caltrain Holiday Train is back on December 1 and 2

Tomorrow: free conference (with online simulcast) on the future of public transportation

Tomorrow, November 2, TransForm’s executive director and speakers from around the country will tackle an urgent question: how do we protect and improve public transportation in a time of decreased funds and increased ridership? This free conference is hosted by UCLA's School of Law, but you don’t have to be in L.A. to attend: register to watch a live simulcast of all or part of the day. Learn more and register now.

Consider TransForm’s positions when voting Tuesday

TransForm’s Board of Directors voted on several initiatives that will be on the November 2012 ballot. Here’s a quick roundup:

• Statewide: YES on Proposition 30.
• Statewide: NO on Proposition 32.
• Alameda County: YES on Measure B1.
• San Francisco: YES on San Francisco Housing Trust Fund (Prop. C).

Read the details on our blog and be sure to vote on November 6.

Launch of cap and trade program is historic opportunity for public transportation

As part of California's landmark program to combat climate change, the state will launch a cap and trade program on November 14 with an auction where major polluters will buy and sell “allowances” to emit greenhouse gases. Revenues – which should become billions annually – will primarily be used to reduce California's emissions.

With nearly 40% of our greenhouse gases from transportation, TransForm is leading an effort to be sure a large portion of these funds are used to dramatically improve public transportation, walking, biking, and affordable homes near transit. By June the State will decide how to spend revenues for the first three years, so we need to act fast.

Contact Joshua if your organization can sign on in support, and learn how this approach will not just reduce emissions, but have huge cost savings for families.

TransForm is hiring a communications director – spread the word

As TransForm’s current communications director, it’s a bit strange to write this… but after many years in this fantastic position and in preparing to have my first baby, it’s time to pass the reins. I look forward to coming back to TransForm in the spring to work on special communications projects.

So please help us find a strategic, creative communications leader to oversee TransForm’s overall communications strategy, as well as implement many pieces of this work. Read and share the post now.

Will Bay Area counties put flexible dollars towards affordable housing and bike/ped improvements?

As part of the planning process happening in the Bay Area that will bring together transportation, housing, and land use under one Sustainable Communities Strategy (aka “Plan Bay Area”), we, along with allies, have been pushing hard for a plan – and the billions of dollars it contains – that maximizes environment and equity benefits.

Right now, we’re focused on the OneBayArea Grant Program, which has come out of the planning process. It puts flexible funding in the hands of counties that can be used for things like affordable housing, bicycle/pedestrian safety improvements, and open space protection. But since the funds are flexible, we’re watchdogging decisions in each county – especially Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties – and need you to speak out in your county in the upcoming months. Contact Manolo if you want to shape how funds are spent where you live.

If 10,000+ kids walking and biking to school doesn’t inspire you…

Last month was International Walk and Roll to School Day, and participation reached incredible new levels. In Alameda County, where TransForm leads the county’s Safe Routes to Schools program, 99 schools participated. But it’s the number of kids who arrived at school either on foot, bike, scooter, bus or in a carpool that’s impressive: more than 13,000! And it was clear these kids were having a blast, which is the best way to inspire the next generation to make walking, biking and public transportation part of their daily lives.

We need volunteers for a mailing party on November 8 at our Oakland office

We've got a big mailing project coming up and need extra hands to complete it. Stop by our Oakland office for a couple hours or more on Thursday, November 8 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. to stuff, stamp, chat, and munch on free food. Please RSVP to Tina if you can help – and feel free to bring friends!

Two upcoming events look at what parking policies mean for our communities

Parking plays a huge role in what our communities are like. For too long, outdated parking codes, traffic policies, zoning, and misconceptions have led to seas of concrete instead of parks, sidewalks, shops, and services.

On November 8 at 7:00 p.m., Brian Canepa of Nelson\Nygaard Transportation Consulting brings an analytical eye to parking practices that so often go unexamined. Learn more and RSVP for this free event on November 8 in Sunnyvale.

On November 9 at 2:00 p.m. in Oakland, join urban planners and policy makers in discussing how a proposed “smart” parking policy for transit-rich areas (Assembly Bill 904, Skinner) could come to life. Workshop comments and recommendations will be forwarded to state legislators. Learn more and register now for this free discussion November 9 in Oakland.

Work at Google or know someone who does?

We’re thrilled that TransForm’s executive director has been invited to speak at Google about how we can transform our transportation system on November 13. Do you work at Google or know someone who does? If so, please send them this invitation to the Talk@google hosted by Chris Harrelson, founding engineer of Google Transit and a TransForm supporter. The talk will be recorded and available online after; we’ll share it in next month’s e-news.

Land use planning should engage the people most impacted

We think everyone should play a central role in shaping the future of their communities, especially those voices who are most impacted and have not adequately been heard in the past. That’s why we’re working with the City of San Jose to lead an all-Spanish language workshop on November 28 so local residents around West San Carlos Street and Bascom Avenue can plug into important decisions being made as part of the Urban Village planning process.

If you speak Spanish, help us reach out to local residents and businesses over the next month by passing out flyers at shopping centers, schools, and bus stops. Contact Chris for more information and to get involved.

Let’s bring better bike parking to all communities

One of the biggest things that keeps people from biking to more places is the lack of safe, convenient bike parking. Our fellow policy-minded friends at ChangeLab Solutions have created a model ordinance for towns and cities to use in tackling this critical issue. Check it out and bring it to your community!

The Caltrain Holiday Train is back on December 1 and 2

Picture Caltrain decorated with 60,000 lights, stopping at 10 stations between San Francisco and Santa Clara, collecting toys for kids in need. Meanwhile at every stop there are carolers, Rudolph, hot cider, and more. It’s practically like being in a Christmas movie!

On hiatus for the past two years, the Caltrain Holiday Train will return on December 1 and 2 thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Don’t miss this holiday tradition and public transportation celebration! Get the details now.