At TransForm we really believe that you can't get ahead in life if you can't get around. And that means dealing with the reality that we have currently a bifurcated system, where there are people who can afford to drive everywhere...and then there are those who have to take transit, even if it's unreliable or not coming when you want it to come, or walk or bike to your destination. The reality is that people want options, and these new services signal the need for provision of options, and that people currently can't rely on the existing transportation network.
Building affordable housing close to BART also has environmental benefits, according to a new study by TransForm and the California Housing Partnership Corporation. The report shows that lower-income people living near transit take public transportation more and are more likely to give up their cars than those who can afford market-rate housing.
Last weekend, I attended a presentation by GreenTRIP Policy Analyst Jennifer West at the TransForm California’s wonky Silicon Valley Transportation Choices and Healthy Communities Summit. West described how the GreenTRIP Parking Database challenges assumptions about parking requirements for residential developments in the San Francisco Bay Area.
GreenTRIP debuted in 2008 and has certified about two dozen projects that were designed especially well to reduce physical footprints, commuter traffic and pollution by getting residents out of their cars. GreenTRIP's advisers have rewarded certified developers who have made concessions such as including long-term free public transit passes or car-sharing memberships with their apartments. Another way to earn points? Renting out parking spaces separately from units.
Millennials are making their mark on Silicon Valley, and it’s not just in the shape of a hashtag. Born between 1983 and 2000, this generation is redefining the landscape of our region with one request: more options, please.
“There are very entrenched interests that don’t want to see this project happen, or want to see it watered down,” says Chris Lepe, a senior community planner for the transit advocacy group, TransForm.
Shared-use mobility, like care share and bike share, could dramatically lower rents in new housing by reducing the amount of expensive parking required in new developments. That’s the message Stuart Cohen with TransForm conveyed on Live Ride Share’s panel on integrating shared mobility into land use and housing.
Jeff Hobson, deputy director of TransForm, an Oakland transportation advocacy group, said a per-mile charge could also be used as a traffic-management tool with charges increasing during the busiest times of day and falling along with traffic congestion.
Joel Ramos, regional planning director for the mass transit advocacy nonprofit TransForm and a board member of Muni, said many families simply cannot use public transit to get their children to school.
TransForm’s new platinum-level certification is a step up, based on one development that was able to scrap its $2.3 million garage entirely. According to Ann Cheng, GreenTRIP program developer, the certification acts like a political endorsement.
Among the objections to this chosen method were several comments that pointed out that the model creates incentives to build only for the higher end of the low-income market. “Building for extremely low-income households would have a higher impact on greenhouse gas reductions because they have the lowest carbon footprint,” said Megan Kirkeby of the California Housing Partnership. Stuart Cohen of TransForm agreed, saying that the data used for the model is already outdated.
“The app world is filling in all the gaps in under-used assets and parking spaces are no exception,” says Ann Cheng with TransForm...To Cheng, the emergence of these technologies speaks to a cultural trend away from cars. After all, she says, millennials’ transit preferences are officially mainstream.
TransForm's Jeff Hobson: "We need to use our existing infrastructure better because that's the cheapest way of serving more people - the most cost effective way of serving more people. we also need to make sure that where the region is expanding, where we have more people living on the edges of the region, that we're serving those people in the most cost effective way..."
State sustainable transportation advocates are cautiously optimistic about the preliminary budget, at least in its summary form. “This budget shows that we can solve our climate problems while lifting up our most vulnerable communities,” according to a statement by Josh Stark of TransForm.