In a wide-ranging conversation at the TransForm/CalBike Equity Summit, Malcolm Dougherty kept right on saying things that advocates are not used to hearing from the director of Caltrans. He reiterated Caltrans’ commitment to its goals of tripling biking trips and doubling the number of walking trips in the state. He said that California is investing more in transit than it ever has before, and he even said there are freeways in the state “that may not be serving their original purpose” and maybe should be removed, using the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco as an example of the improvements that could bring.
Another crucial element to the new department, said Joel Ramos of the transportation advocacy nonprofit TransForm, is the expectation that DOT will communicate more regularly with community members during the design phases and implementation of any new projects. As Oakland becomes more densely populated, Ramos said better communication will be essential to ensuring that any improvements to the city's transportation network benefit all residents.
That’s why the approach TransForm takes to its civic work is so crucial. As a nonprofit that engages deeply with legislation, private building companies, and the public sector – while thinking holistically about transportation, housing, and land use — TransForm is uniquely poised to navigate through the complications that affect the lives of Silicon Valley residents every day and push the region toward a brighter and more equitable future.
Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, a statewide advocacy group for walkable communities, said it’s time for Placer to make bike and pedestrian facilities in north Auburn a higher priority. That could include analyzing how pedestrians use the corridor, where trouble spots are, and what kinds of creative fixes will make walking and biking safer, and even encourage more people to do those things.
As a professional who has dedicated my career to stopping climate change, my reasons are straightforward — a healthy environment and a chance for future generations to live happy, prosperous lives. As a veteran I have some more personal reasons.
Nora Cody, the Alameda County Safe Routes to Schools Director, leads the team of site coordinators, who work with school champions to implement activities at all the schools, direct outreach efforts, and assist with overall project guidance. Nora recently received the 2016 Hubsmith Safe Routes Champion Award, named for Deb Hubsmith, founding director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, who dedicated her life and career to advancing the Safe Routes to School movement.
Reasons behind the huge loss in passengers are many, said Stuart Cohen, executive director of Transform, a transit watchdog in the Bay Area, including "more than doubling fares in some cases since 2000, no free or reduced cost transfers for bus trips, 15 percent service cuts to the bus network, and 9 percent reduction in speed across the bus network due to increasing congestion and lack of transit priority."
Josh Stark of TransForm pointed out that a free transit pass program could encourage people to use transit and also support transit agencies so they can improve services, thus aligning with statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals by reducing driving.
The Bay Area's economic surge has brought unprecedented traffic congestion to our region, or so the theory goes. But what is really causing all the congestion is that the vast majority of cars are driving around with just one "solo" driver. Indeed, carpooling has declined over the past few decades as office locations have scattered.
BART has been suffering weeks of breakdowns, delays, and overcrowded trains – why? We talk to a spokesperson from the agency, a critic from Transform, and we take your calls.
“All of the extensions we built from the core system without being able to maintain the core system have been a mistake,” said Joel Ramos, regional planning director for TransForm, a transit advocacy group that fought the Oakland Airport Connector, BART’s extension to Oakland International Airport. “If the core system is not maintained, the extensions are good for nothing.”
As the transportation experts at TransForm have documented, lower-income households who live near transit drive less than half as many miles as wealthier households.
Joel Ramos, Bay Area regional planning director for TransFrom, an Oakland nonprofit that's seeking more transit funding and more public accountability to go along with it, told me last summer that "No one in charge, at least in the past, had the foresight to say the reality that the system needs investment" in unsexy items such as upgraded tracks, an improved control system and other basic necessities.
“It would be a huge missed opportunity if we can’t use innovative strategies to cut traffic by moving more people in fewer vehicles along the Bay Area’s most critical transportation corridor,” said TransForm Community Planner Clarrissa Cabansagan.