“While there are still details in the bill to be worked out, such as affordability requirements, it looks like a tremendous improvement over SB 827. One of the biggest improvements is in the area of tenant protections; sites wouldn’t be eligible if they had been occupied by tenants within seven years preceding the date of the application. While this will reduce the number of eligible sites, it negates the potential for the loss of significant rental stock upon signing of the bill,” wrote Stuart Cohen of TransForm, an organization that did not support SB 827, in an email to Streetsblog. “The last thing we need is a new round of displacement.”
“The bill also now applies to job-rich areas even if they don’t have qualifying transit access,” continued Cohen. “In these areas, as well as near high-quality bus-corridors, there would be no density restrictions and minimum parking would be capped at 0.5 spaces per unit. Building heights would not change from existing codes. What this does is allow more units but without changing the character of communities.”
El planificador urbano Chris Lepe asegura que el desarrollo es muy relevante para San José porque se estarían generando empleos a un área que ya cuenta con mucho transporte público y zonas comerciales.
The measure’s passage was even more significant because it lacked the kinds of flashy expansion projects that often draw voter’s attention and focused instead on ensuring there is adequate funding to support bus and Caltrain services that already exist, said Edie Irons, a spokeswoman for TransForm, a transportation advocacy nonprofit. That support for existing services will be important if regional transportation leaders decide to come to voters with a proposed “mega-measure” to pay for large expansion projects, she said, such as a new transbay tube for BART.
“We’re going to be advocating for big, bold projects,” Irons said, “that really move the needle on equity, mobility, and sustainability.”
With the board and the California Transportation Commission scheduled to discuss the report in December, Joshua Stark of the public transit advocacy group TransForm hopes the regulators will “look forward” when it comes to allocating transportation funding.
“The Legislature and state agency leaders need to focus more of the state’s transportation dollars on meeting our climate goals,” Stark said.
“If Prop. 6 passes it will set our movement back tremendously, possibly by many decades! Yes, we would we lose the direct annual funding — $100 million for active transportation, $750 million for transit and $1.5 billion (with a B) for local road maintenance that is fixing our cracked roads and bringing us so many complete streets with it,” wrote Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of TransForm. “But we would also have a MUCH harder time winning these funds again.”
Chris Lepe, a transportation advocate with TransForm, a nonprofit that seeks to promote public transportation and social equity, said gas taxes are also regressive.
“Sometimes we have to support sales taxes in order to enhance the greater good and in order to advance equity,” he said. “Even though [Measure W] is a regressive taxation approach, the spending is going to be progressive and that’s why we support it and what the folks on the other side are not taking into account.”
He said SamTrans may face service cuts up to 30 percent if Measure W fails. “If you’re trying to make an equity argument and trying to advance the needs of low-income folks in this county, why would you oppose something that’s going to avoid cutting the very service they rely on to get to a job or to services. To me, that’s playing with fire,” Lepe said.
Of course, many of these ideas are cost-prohibitive–at least for now. However, “you might really be able to take some of these more visionary ideas and, even if they don’t make it as a full-scale, regionwide project, you can ignite people’s interests and get some pilot projects going,” said Stuart Cohen, co-founder and Executive Director of TransForm, and one of the judges of the competition, in a phone interview with Streetsblog.
“We absolutely need to start transitioning the fleet to electric buses, but there is certainly a learning curve and a transition cost,” said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, an advocacy group in Oakland. “Put on the right routes, e-buses can be a huge win-win.
“They are quieter and smoother to ride, they reduce local air pollution and street noise, and when focused on low-income communities of color most impacted by pollution, they can be a way to reduce the tremendous health disparities in our society.”
Communications Director Edie Irons was a guest on Your Call with Rose Aguilar, an hour-long call-in radio show, focused on transportation issues on the November ballot.
"This is the most powerful statement I've ever seen in transportation policy," said Stuart Cohen, executive director of the nonprofit group TransForm. He praised Lara and other state legislators for recognizing that something as seemingly small as a freeway lane can lead to opportunity and social mobility.
“When you get into that freeway lane, you get to your job faster,” Cohen said. Societal disparities get worse, he noted, when rich people can buy their way into the lanes, and poor people are shut out.
There are solutions to this problem that would spare clean-air drivers, such as increasing vehicle occupancy requirements to three or more people; instituting or increasing tolls; or constructing more diamond lanes, according to Caltrans. But those fixes are either cost-prohibitive or politically unpopular, said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, an Oakland transportation advocacy group.
“This is absolutely the simplest way to tackle this issue,” Cohen said.
Clarrissa Cabansagan, a transportation advocate with the group TransForm, says companies need to be “held to a higher standard,” than what’s in the ordinance.
The plan would require that a majority of scooters be deployed in what are called “communities of concern” — a designation for low income and underserved neighborhoods. But that designation covers most of Oakland.
“That can mean all in the Lake Merritt area, downtown,” says Cabansagan.
Cabansagan, with TransForm, adds that scooter companies should work with community groups to spread the word about the affordable option, and how to ride safely. She also says scooters highlight a need for more bike lanes and better pavement.
“In places like deep East Oakland, people are riding on sidewalks and they’re riding on sidewalks because they feel safer on sidewalks, because sidewalks don't have as many potholes as the streets,” says Cabansagan.
Cabansagan says the scooter craze has opened a window of opportunity to invest in safer streets. Some scooter companies have already pledged to fund more bike lanes in the cities where they operate.
The transportation advocacy group, Transform, supports the change. "By unclogging the carpool lanes, it will get people back to using transit and incentive to be in electric vehicles for a fast ride for three years," said Stuart Cohen, Transform executive director.
“The current system is definitely broke; right now the carpool lanes are losing,” said Stuart Cohen, executive of TransForm, a transportation advocacy group in Oakland. “Many of the Bay Area’s carpool lanes are slowing down 75 percent or more of the time. At that point, commuters lose all incentive to carpool.
“Even worse, buses, carpools and shuttles that may be carrying five to 60 people per vehicle also come to a crawl. That means more solo driving and more congestion for everybody.”
“Those people enjoyed three, maybe four years of HOV lane access and if they want, and what we’ve heard is some people are gonna trade those in and get a new electric vehicle,” said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, an Oakland-based non-profit seeking to reduce the number of commuters and vehicles on Bay Area roadways.