October 3, 2012

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

There was a flurry of bill signing and vetoing last week by the Governor. We’re thrilled he signed AB 441, a bill TransForm cosponsored with the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network as a first step in getting regions to improve health as a part of transportation planning. The Governor also signed bills to expand commuter benefits, plus cap and trade legislation that could yield significant funds for public transportation.
 
But we’re shocked and confused that the Governor vetoed SB 1464, which would have required drivers to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when overtaking them from behind in the same lane. 
 
This law already exists in 21 other states and the concerns cited by the Governor about liability that seem unfounded. We’re working to find out what it will take to get the Governor to sign a bill like this. 

Read more by our partners at the California Bicycle Coalition and our run-down of what happened with key legislation this session.

Onto the rest of the e-news:

  • TransForm’s positions on November ballot measures
  • Shape important Caltrain decisions 
  • Tell San Francisco to bring progressive parking policy to life
  • TransForm got amazing gifts at our birthday party
  • Big step for Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino Real
  • We TransFormed parking places into parklets
  • Volunteer with Walk and Roll to School Day this week!
  • Flexible dollars could fund affordable housing, bike/ped improvements in Bay Area
  • Find out Thursday what makes the world’s best streets so wonderful
  • Experience car-free bliss on October 14
  • Talk about the links between jobs, housing, and traffic on October 18
  • Save the date for November 29 forum on high speed rail in San Jose

TransForm’s positions on November ballot measures

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 don’t forget to register to vote by October 22 in order to cast your ballot this fall.

Shape important Caltrain decisions 

With new funding to upgrade Caltrain so it runs on electric power, Caltrain will be able to provide more frequent service to more stations. There are important decisions happening about: the schedule; which areas will see more service; and future land use near stations.
 
Get involved in shaping all these decisions by “adopting a station: picking specific station(s) you want to get updates on from our partners at Friends of Caltrain and speak up about when needed.

Tell San Francisco to bring progressive parking policy to life 

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union started a petition we strongly believe in that urges the mayor and supervisors to move forward with progressive parking policies that support a true “transit first” City. This means extending the hours for metered spots, rolling out the SFPark program, and other ways to both price parking appropriately and improve public transportation, walking and biking options. Sign the petition now.

TransForm got amazing gifts at our birthday party

Last Thursday, we celebrated 15 years of transforming the Bay Area and California – and got inspired for the next 15. The most powerful moments of the evening were surely the stories that Fidel Valenzuela and Alice Frayne shared, which we urge you to read.  You can also check out the photos from the event. 
 
We also got some amazing birthday gifts from guests that night: tremendous of gratitude for the changes we’ve made and… an incredible $5,000 in donations in honor of our big 1-5 (thank you)! This was on top of $22,000 raised by our Board of Directors for our 15th – which means we’re well on our way to raising $75,000 by the end of the year to fund high-impact advocacy work in 2013.  If you missed the event or didn’t get a chance to give that night, please donate in honor of our birthday now!

Big step for Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino Real

We were getting nervous about the fate of Bus Rapid Transit service on El Camino Real, despite this being a chance to revolutionize bus service with dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses with level, all-door boarding, and traffic signal priority. VTA was considering doing the project without dedicated lanes or worse: not do the project at all.
 
Thankfully, after a surge of advocacy for the project with many of our partners, we’re happy to share that the VTA Board strongly supported moving ahead with the project - including further consideration of creating dedicated bus lanes. Learn more and email the VTA Board to thank them for their leadership and continued support of true Bus Rapid Transit at their November vote.

We TransFormed parking places into parklets

TransForm celebrated PARK(ing) Day in two cities on September 21, turning asphalt in downtown Oakland and San Jose into temporary parklets. We played games and drums; we made art and smoothies; and we simply enjoyed public space while making a small but powerful statement. Check out the photos and write your thoughts on transforming space for cars to space for people.

Volunteer with Walk and Roll to School Day this week! 

Want healthier kids, cleaner air, and less traffic during rush hour? Then give an hour of your time to support more kids walking and biking safely as part of International Walk and Roll to School Day during the week of October 1. We need folks to help pass out prizes at 99 participating schools around Alameda County where we lead Safe Routes to Schools programs. Email Nora now to volunteer in Alameda County this week.

Flexible dollars could fund affordable housing, bike/ped improvements in Bay Area

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 shaping the OneBayArea Grant Program, which has come out of the planning process. It will put flexible funding in the hands of counties to be used for things we want, like affordable housing, bicycle/pedestrian safety improvements, and open space protection. But since the funds are flexible, we’ll have to watchdog this closely and ask you to speak out in your county in the upcoming months. In the meantime, learn more and stay tuned.

Find out Thursday what makes the world’s best streets so wonderful

Don’t miss Allan Jacobs and Elizabeth MacDonald, two UC Berkeley professors, this Thursday evening in San Jose. They’ll talk about the designable characteristics that make the world’s best streets wonderful. Learn more and RSVP now for Thursday’s free event.

Experience car-free bliss on October 14

17 glorious blocks of road will be closed to cars from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 14 in downtown Berkeley for you to enjoy on foot, bike, or whatever car-free mode you prefer.  Plus, there will be tons of free stuff going on like: dance and yoga classes; kids’ bike rodeos and crafts; and climbing walls and dodge ball. 
 
If you’ve never experienced car-free street bliss like this before, don’t miss Berkeley’s first Sunday Streets. It’s magical! Sunday Streets needs volunteers to help the day run smoothly (note: free cool tshirt) and if you’d like to volunteer at TransForm’s booth, contact Rachel.

Talk about the links between jobs, housing, and traffic on October 18

Vu-Bang Nguyen from Urban Habitat will discuss how the shortage of housing and quality transit near job centers results in serious issues: long commutes, congestion, social equity issues and environmental harm. A discussion will follow.  This free event, cosponsored by TransForm, will be held on October 18 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.

Save the date for November 29 forum on high speed rail in San Jose

Here’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 (check out our report). Yet it also creates tremendous uncertainties and has huge price tag. 
 
Join Dan Richard, Chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority, and special guests for a lively discussion on some of the most confounding issues facing the project. Sponsored by TransForm and the California Association of Environmental Professionals, this event will be on Thursday, November 29, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at San Jose State University. Be sure to save the date; registration starts soon.