September 7, 2011

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

Congress has until September 30 to extend the current federal transportation bill and prevent a national shutdown of funding for roads, rails, and other key transportation projects.

As the clock ticks, the House of Representatives continues to cut total transportation spending by one-third – which means one-third less for public transportation, not to mention 630,000 lost jobs.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has pledged that he’ll block any extension of the bill unless bicycle and pedestrian spending is cut!

This is being debated this week, so email Senators Boxer and Feinstein now and tell them why we must protect all funds for walking, biking, and transit.

Now onto the rest of the news:

  • Sign on to new campaign to help regions fund transportation needs
  • Bill to identify public transportation solutions goes to Governor
  • Proposed express lane network falls short
  • Stop by TransForm’s temporary “park” as part of PARK(ing) Day September 16
  • We need YOU to inspire kids to walk and bike to school
  • Learn how new developments can reduce traffic and support transit at GreenTRIP’s free webinar
  • Help transform the area around Lake Merritt BART
  • Training on how to make public health wins happen through transportation planning
  • Forum in Berkeley on smart growth and social justice
  • Join the “Rail~Volution” at national conference in DC this October
  • PolicyLink summit will explore solutions to building better communities this November


Sign on to new campaign to help regions fund transportation needs

We’ve been coordinating a big push for recently amended SB 791, a bill to let regions raise desperately-needed transportation funds.  SB791 would give regions the authority to propose a “congestion reduction charge on vehicle fuel” to voters in that region.  If the majority of voters approved the charge, it would fund a range of transportation needs in that region including improvements to public transportation and bicycle/pedestrian projects. 
 
Over 40 groups from across California have already signed on in support of SB 791.  But the oil industry is also trying to kill the bill.  When SB 791 is debated in January, we need to be ready to win – so sign on in support as an individual or organization now and be part of this critical campaign! 

Bill to identify public transportation solutions goes to Governor

AB 650 would tackle something that’s desperately needed in California: a statewide assessment of and plan of action for public transportation.  Through a task force of experts and a series of public hearings, our state will finally have a blueprint for fixing what’s broken and expanding the system for a growing population.  Many thanks to the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Action Fund for all their work to help move this legislation.  Next stop, Governor Brown’s desk.  We need organizations to send letters of support this week, so download text you can use right now

Proposed express lane network falls short

The Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission unveiled a disappointing new express lane proposal on Friday.  The proposal, which would allow solo drivers to pay to drive in carpool lanes when there's capacity, doesn’t include any new public transportation or vanpooling options.  It also doesn’t consider how low-income people will be impacted nor does it do enough to address required emissions reductions.  Read more details on why and contact John to be kept up-to-date on this important transportation planning process. 

Stop by TransForm’s temporary “park” as part of PARK(ing) Day September 16

This year marks the 6th annual PARK(ing) day, a worldwide celebration of turning metered parking spaces into temporary public places.  We will host a game-themed PARK(ing) spot on 14th Street in Oakland between Broadway and Franklin.  Stop by to add a little play to your day with checkers, dominoes, and more.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details as the date gets closer and email Jessica if you want to volunteer with our “park” and show how we can transform parking to make better cities.

We need YOU to inspire kids to walk and bike to school

Want healthier kids, cleaner air, and less traffic during rush hour?  Then give an hour of your time to inspire more kids to walk and bike safely to school as part of International Walk or Roll to School Day during the week of October 3.  We need folks to help pass out prizes at 75+ schools around Alameda County.  And if you’re a parent, urge your child’s school to participate in International Walk to School Day.  Email Nora to volunteer in Alameda County during the week of October 3.

Learn how new developments can reduce traffic and support transit at GreenTRIP’s free webinar

GreenTRIP is TransForm’s cutting-edge program that certifies multifamily and mixed-used developments that reduce parking plus offer incentives for new tenants to drive less and own fewer vehicles.  Tune in at 11 a.m. Pacific time on September 28 to a dynamic panel discussion about GreenTRIP led by Julia Prange with LISC’s Green Development Center about GreenTRIP with: Hans Larsen, San Jose Department of Transportation; Andrea Osgood, Eden Housing; and Ann Cheng, TransForm.  Get the details to join the September 28 webcast

Help transform the area around Lake Merritt BART

Stop by Laney College anytime between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Monday, September 12 for a preview of the draft plan to improve the area surrounding the Lake Merritt BART station.  TransForm staff, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Asian Health Services, and other community stakeholders will be there speaking out for affordable housing, increased walkability, and more green space as part of the final plan – and the more voices echoing this, the better!  Learn more about the September 12 open house or contact TransForm’s Joél Ramos. 

Training on how to make public health wins happen through transportation planning

At a free training aimed at those in the public health field, you’ll learn how to harness opportunities at the federal level to make public health gains here in California.  This includes issues like: the built environment, obesity prevention, walking and bicycling safety, and air quality improvement.  Stuart Cohen, TransForm’s executive director, will be one of the speakers at this all-day event co-sponsored by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and Transportation for America.  Register now for the September 19 training in Oakland.  

Forum in Berkeley on smart growth and social justice

Sadly, as areas with good transit become denser with housing and services, they often become unaffordable to the people living there.  As low-income families are priced out, they end up living next to freeways or other locations that pose long-term health risks.  TransForm’s Joél Ramos will join representatives from Urban Habitat, Pacific Institute, and Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California to discuss how to make sure transit-oriented development remains affordable for all – and housing in unhealthy areas is addressed.  Learn more about the September 22 event.

Join the “Rail~Volution” at national conference in DC this October

Rail~Volution is the placefor people who want to bring livable communities with transit to life across the country.  The conference brings together some of the best minds on livability in the world with 75 workshops, networking events, charrettes and toolbox sessions.  TransForm’s own Ann Cheng will be presenting this year, so learn more and register now!

PolicyLink summit will explore solutions to building better communities this November

Change is all around us: shifting demographics, economics, and patterns of urban, suburban, and rural development.  Can we make equity the “growth model” as we navigate these changes so we build a country of opportunity-rich communities?  Delve into this topic with advocates, policymakers, and others from around the country (including some TransForm staff) at PolicyLink’s fourth summit, to be held in Detroit.  This inspirational summit is no ordinary conference, so learn more and register.