City Visions discussed the impact of companies like Uber and Lyft on Bay Area traffic and transit. The rapid growth of ride-sharing has undeniably changed the patterns of traffic on our roads. Has ride-sharing decreased car ownership as promised? Does it increase traffic congestion? What is its impact on public transit use? Can our existing infrastructure support this burgeoning practice? TransForm's Joël Ramos was one of two guests on the live call-in radio show.
“You'd be cruising along, mostly stopping only at stations,” says Joël Ramos, a planning director with the transportation advocacy group Transform. He says the system will save riders around 30 percent of their travel time.
Transform’s Clarrissa Cabansagan made the point that when existing sidewalks are completely blocked off by trash and encampments, talk of safety improvements to the sidewalk seem premature (and perhaps even absurd) to the community.
Josh Stark of TransForm was very disappointed at that outcome. His advocacy group has long fought to get California leaders to commit to better public transit, rather than relegating it to status as an after thought. That is, transit gets funding after roads and cars are taken care of. In this case, electric vehicles are getting a lot of money from the GGRF—almost $200 million in total—but there is no money for transit passes.
In Tuesday in downtown Oakland, TransForm honored housing developers, cities, and transit agencies that have participated in its GreenTRIP program. The developers earned platinum-level certification under GreenTRIP, and the cities and agencies adopted some or all of the GreenTRIP policies into their planning processes.
It also aims to make the best use of existing highway lanes rather than widening roads. “…we are happy that they are proposing a way for public transit, vanpools and other high-occupancy vehicles to get out of traffic on the Dumbarton Corridor. It is the first agency study to fully recommend conversion of existing general purpose lanes to express lanes to make this happen, rather than in widening the road,” wrote Stuart Cohen, co-founder and Executive Director of TransForm, in an email to Streetsblog.
“We know that without outreach, the demographics of bike-share ends up being white, affluent, male professionals,” says Clarrissa Cabansagan, TransForm’s senior community planner. “In this era of immense gentrification and displacement, where families are struggling to survive in the Bay Area, we really ought to think about equity. … We want [the ridership] to look like the diverse communities that live in the Bay Area, that live in Oakland."
“Bike share has traditionally been white, male and college-educated dominated,” said Stuart Cohen, executive director of the transit advocacy group TransForm, at the launch event. “And with the inequality gap we have here in the Bay Area, that would just widen it and would be the wrong way to go.
Brytanee Brown, a community planner for TransFormCA and one of the individuals involved in OakMob101, stated that the East Oakland communities left out of the bike-share program are historically underserved by the city, especially when it comes to quality food, housing, and transportation.
In a draft of a report that is scheduled for release Monday, the transportation advocacy nonprofit TransForm, acknowledged that Motivate made some strides by providing a low-income discount, enabling users to pay for the system with cash, and extending the system along International Boulevard to Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, one of the city’s lower-income neighborhoods.
A new affordable housing project called Quetzal Gardens could bring 71 affordable apartments to 1695 Alum Rock Avenue in East San Jose. The six-story complex includes 12,175 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.
Joël Ramos, regional planning director for Oakland transportation nonprofit TransForm, said after the vote that the resolution was “wonderful." “Granted, we’ll all need to work on finding a permanent solution, but at least kids can still get to school,” Ramos said.
Jennifer West, senior program manager at GreenTRIP, which advocates for environmentally friendly development and is a project of the group TransForm, noted that if Rockridge were to upzone, it could relieve parking concerns by encouraging developments to have a mix of market-rate and affordable units. Research has shown, she said, that low-income residents are more likely to take transit than high-income residents and that low-income residents are less likely to drive than high-income residents. “There is a benefit to the neighborhood to build affordable units,” she said.
“This is an absolutely pivotal time for public transit,” said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, a transportation and land use group. “Ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are absolutely changing travel in urban areas. We are at an inflection point and unless we make some changes, and fast, I predict we’ll likely see bus ridership decline at a faster clip.”