This November voters in three Bay Area counties will have the chance to vote on a $3.5 billion bond measure to pay for critical repairs and improvements for BART, including station improvements, new rails, and an improved train-control system that will allow trains to cross the bay more frequently at peak hours.
But, Jennifer West, a program manager for TransForm, a transportation and housing advocacy nonprofit, said there is an excess of parking at developments across the city. TransForm in 2014 released the GreenTrip parking database, which, for the first time, created a comprehensive data-set detailing how much parking was actually being utilized at apartment buildings across the Bay Area.
“It’s kind of remarkable that they didn’t go back to the voters,” said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, a transit advocacy group that has often been critical of BART’s priorities. Cohen said BART is in the predicament it’s in because of a past failure to plan ahead.
One of the bills, A.B. 1550 from Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), calls for 35 percent of all cap and trade funds to be invested in the communities that are most vulnerable to pollution and other effects from climate change. TransForm has issued a call to contact legislators to urge support of the bill, as its outcome is uncertain.
Joel Ramos, the regional planning director for transportation advocacy nonprofit TransForm, said the lanes could also be a boon for public transit. He's hoping the express lanes on I-580 will encourage express bus service on the freeway, especially for residents in the Livermore area and beyond who have limited access to BART.
Jason Laub of Nautilus Group discussed the GreenTRIP certification systemdeveloped by TransForm, which provides a framework for these kinds of swaps for developers and city officials, and a rating system similar to LEED for recognizing high-achieving projects.
When the California Air Resources Board released the results of its May auction of carbon allowances, audible gasps from around the state could be heard from the space station. I kid – but only just a little. The auction results did in fact create a great shock: many had expected at least half a billion dollars to be collected at the quarterly auction, but the auction generated only about ten million dollars.
From bottlenecks on Highway 101 to gridlock on Sir Francis Drake, Marin County residents are increasingly frustrated by the region’s traffic conditions.
Stuart Cohen, executive of TransForm, a transit advocacy group that has been critical of BART’s spending priorities for the past two decades, said the bond measure is evidence that the transit system has mended its ways and is focused on rejuvenating the system. “We’ve been one of BART’s worst critics, especially as they made the decision to expand rather than take care of the core system — deferred maintenance. And we’re paying for that now,” Cohen said. With the bond measure, he said, “We think BART is absolutely headed in the right direction.”
Stuart Cohen, executive director of transit activist group TransForm, said at Thursday’s board meeting his group supports the bond measure because it believes it will increase the system’s reliability. “We all know that when BART stops, the Bay Area stops as well, and we’ve seen it a bit too much” in recent years, Cohen said. “We’re squished like sardines,” he added, “and we’re just about to get to that place that Washington, D.C.’s Metro is, where they’re now having frequent meltdowns.” (Electrical problems in the D.C.-area system prompted a one-day emergency shutdown in March.)
For Stuart Cohen, executive director of transportation advocacy group TransForm, BART’s continued deferral of core maintenance was a mistake but he praised the board’s approach in introducing the bond measure. “We all know that when BART stops, the Bay Area stops as well and we’ve seen that a bit too much over the last few years,” Cohen said.
Stuart Cohen, executive director of the transit activist group Transform, told KQED radio that he believes it will increase the system’s reliability. “We all know that when BART stops, the Bay Area stops as well…We’re squished like sardines,” he said to the Bay Area’s NPR-affiliate, “and we’re just about to get to that place that Washington, D.C.’s Metro is, where they’re now having frequent meltdowns.”
“Yeah, you know, it absolutely brings up a classist feel to it,” says Stuart Cohen, the co-founder of the advocacy group TransForm. He concedes that “there are significant equity questions that we have to grapple with, and yet, the current system is failing everybody.”
Would the street and highway improvements in a 30-year list of projects being considered by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) board encourage so many people to use cars that the benefits of improved mass transit are never realized? That’s what Chris Lepe — a community planner with TransForm, a Bay Area transit advocacy organization that focuses on improving bus service — will argue Thursday when the board meets to formally approve a half-cent sales tax ballot measure for November. It will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the County Government Center on West Hedding Street.