September 9, 2009

Your monthly pass to better transit and more wonderful, walkable communities.

Can you figure out the theme of this e-news?  I’ll give you a hint: it’s all about the Benjamins.

Read on and you’ll see that TransForm is fighting on several fronts for more money for the good stuff (better public transportation, pedestrian/bike safety improvements, smart growth, and more) and less money for the bad stuff (wasteful spending of tax dollars and prioritizing highway ramp meters over fighting climate change). 

Speaking of the Benjamins, if you’re not an individual member of TransForm yet, now's the time to give a quick gift of $25 (or more for perks like steel water bottles).  Feel great knowing your gift will be leveraged many times over as we win more funding for the good stuff!

In this e-news:

  • Ask the Governor to sign SB 406 so regions can plan for smarter growth
  • Tell the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that fighting climate change must remain a priority
  • TransForm joins legal complaint against the proposed Oakland Airport Connector project
  • New faces, key places: meet our staff working in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties
  • We need YOU to inspire kids to walk and bike to school
  • September 22 regional meeting: learn how parking policies can create more walkable communities
  • Safe Routes to Transit grant program slammed by funding requests
  • We’ve got jobs: part-time position just announced
  • Events and news from our regional coalition

Ask the Governor to sign SB 406 so regions can plan for smarter growth

A new California climate change law, SB 375, is creating a chance to change how the state grows so communities are more walkable and we have more options for getting around besides just driving.  Regions will be assigned an emissions reduction target and then develop a plan to meet it that integrates transportation, land use, and housing, called a "Sustainable Community Strategy".

But right now, there is no dedicated funding for regions or local communities to plan for the Sustainable Community Strategies.  SB 406 would change that by allowing regions to establish a $2 vehicle registration fee. 

We need the Governor to sign SB 406 – and he won’t do that without hearing from you.  Ask him now.

Tell the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that fighting climate change must remain a priority

We need to make sure leaders at the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) follow through on their plan to dedicate $80 million per year for a range of programs that fight climate change and make it easier and safer to walk, bike, and take public transportation.

Now that it's time for money to be allocated, MTC staff is proposing a lot more funding for highway ramp meters – at the expense of Transportation Climate Action Campaign, which would get just $11 million per year rather than $80 million.

Personalize a letter now asking MTC Commissioners to stand up for the priorities they set.

TransForm joins legal complaint against the proposed Oakland Airport Connector project

A recent story in the Sacramento Bee does a great job explaining the latest with the proposed Oakland Airport Connector project: “Critics say the OAC project has become a wildly overpriced, inefficient boondoggle.” 

Boondoggle, indeed.  With a $500,000,000 price tag, BART will have so much debt they’ll have an even harder time fixing the existing system, like replacing aging BART cars.  Did we mention the $6 one-way fare on top your BART fare?

TransForm just joined in filing a legal complaint before the Federal Transit Administration stating that BART has not done the required studies to determine if there are adverse impacts of the project on the East Oakland community.  It’s time for BART to finally study alternatives to their proposed project.  

Learn more and enter the contest (with cash prizes – ends September 12!) for videos, images, and haikus that creatively highlight what’s wrong with the currently proposed Oakland Airport Connector.

New faces, key places: meet our staff working in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties

TransForm’s about to do even more to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area. 

First, meet Olivia deBree.  Olivia’s a community organizer who will work in Contra Costa county to make sure that funds from the county’s Measure J sales tax (which TransForm helped shape and pass in 2004) are spent on public transportation, smart growth, bicycle/pedestrian safety, and affordable housing as originally designated.  Many thanks to the Firedoll Foundation and individual supporters like you for making this happen.

Next, meet Chris Lepe, our Silicon Valley community planner.  Chris will be working out of San Jose, where TransForm is reopening a satellite office.  Chris will engage local groups and residents in shaping the South Bay’s first Bus Rapid Transit line so it dramatically improves bus service and makes the surrounding communities more walkable.  TransForm will also be piloting our GreenTRIP (Traffic Reduction + Innovative Parking) certification program for new residential and mixed use developments in at least one South Bay Community.  Tremendous thanks to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation for their generous support.

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 to School Day during the week of October 5. 

We need folks to help pass out prizes at dozens of schools around Alameda County.  Not in Alameda County?  Contact Susan and she'll connect you with a program in your county. 

And if you’re a parent, urge your child’s school to participate in International Walk to School Day (even better: if you’re in Alameda County and have a child in elementary school, have TransForm bring a comprehensive Safe Routes to Schools program to your school). 

Contact Nora to volunteer in Alameda County during the week of October 5 or learn more about TransForm’s Safe Routes to Schools Alameda County Partnership.

September 22 regional meeting: learn how parking policies can create more walkable communities

For too long, outdated parking codes, traffic policies, zoning, and misconceptions have held back the kind of development that makes communities more walkable, supports public transportation, and rewards those who drive less.  Instead, we get places with huge seas of empty parking lots where you have to drive miles to pick up just a carton of milk.

At the September 22 regional meeting, learn about a range of parking strategies that can address these challenges and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Jeffrey Tumlin of Nelson/Nygaard will talk about the role of parking in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Then, Jay Primus from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) will present the innovative SFparkprogramGet the details and RSVP now for the regional meeting.

Safe Routes to Transit grant program slammed by funding requests

The Safe Routes to Transit program gives grants to agencies in the Bay Area for projects that make it easier, faster, and safer to walk or bike to public transportation.  TransForm administers this first-in-the-nation program, which is funded by Regional Measure 2 (the $1 bridge toll increase for public transportation passed in 2004).

Applications poured in for the Safe Routes to Transit grant program this August: 35 applications totaling over $14 million in requests for just $4 million of funding.

Learn more about the great projects that have been funded by Safe Routes to Transit grants – there’s probably one where you live!

We’ve got jobs: part-time position just announced

TransForm currently has several job openings we hope you'll either apply for or share with your contacts.  The newest job announcement is for a new part-time communications and development administrative position.  A statewide organizing position for ClimatePlan is also available.  Check out the job postings. 

Events and news from our regional coalition

Read two new policy reports from PolicyLink and others: Making Equity and Inclusion Central to Federal Transportation Policy and The Transportation Prescription: Bold New Ideas for Healthy, Equitable Transportation Reform in America

September 30: Sustainable Contra Costa will host an awards event recognizing local individuals and organizations for their contributions to sustainability.  Learn more at www.sustainablecoco.org

October 23: Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County will host its annual housing conference.