The empathic revolution we need to survive won’t happen overnight, but there are leaders at a local level who are working to turn “what is” into “what should be.” Leaders like Stuart Cohen, the co-founder and executive director of TransForm, who promotes the development of walkable and affordable communities with excellent transportation options.
Transform found that across the 68 sites in their GreenTrip Parking Database, "on average 31 percent of the spaces go unused. That’s 867,900 square feet of space that cost an estimated $139 million to build.
A new tool, the GreenTRIP Parking Database, can help by providing better data on actual parking usage at multifamily housing units. This is only one of the many land use categories about which planners seek data, but it is a key one.
A new tool from TransForm shows where parking is underutilized in the Bay Area, even finding wasted space in a city as notorious for parking difficulties as San Francisco.
"This rule helps by encouraging people to take public transit," said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm. "I think it's the best we can hope to get. I hope some businesses will go beyond it to offer even more incentives for transit."
“People want options,” said Clarissa Cabansagan, a community planner with TransForm. “We don’t have to pitch everyone against each other. What we need to remember is, who we are planning for?”
Oakland-based non-profit TransForm wants to cut down this pricey — but often required by city code — piece of the development process. Through a new database launching today, it aims to show that, despite their central place in both zoning code and development plans, parking structures in Northern California’s urban core are actually underutilized as residents drive less.
OK, so parking may not be sexy. But a new browser tool from TransForm, an Oakland advocacy group trying to create more walkable communities through smarter transit planning, will soon give residents a stronger voice in how their communities are being developed.
"It's not really about generating parking revenue but generating sales tax revenue," said Joel Ramos, TransForm regional planning director.
Knight Foundation recently announced $100,000 in support for TransForm, California’s leading transportation advocate, to expand its GreenTRIP program within San Jose.
Recently, TransForm, with the California Housing Partnership Corporation, published a report that sheds light on the benefits to greenhouse gas emissions and household budgets of investing in affordable homes near reliable transit.
Moreover, the per-gallon increase could be offset by improved public transportation options down the line, said Ryan Wiggins, state cap-and-trade campaign manager at TransForm, an Oakland-based transportation advocacy group. “While the price of gas will rise, projections are that people will use less fuel overall as a result of having more transit and housing options,” Wiggins said.
Ryan Wiggins of TransForm points out that for the average Californian, who uses 40 gallons of fuel per month for transportation as well as indirectly for goods and services, a twenty-cent increase comes to about $8 per month. That’s not a very big increase compared to what people are already paying, nor compared to normal price fluctuations having nothing to do with cap and trade.
“Right now there is a real opportunity for our leaders in Sacramento to agree on a long-term cap-and-trade investment strategy that responds to Californians’ demands for public transit expansion, bikeable and walkable communities, affordable homes, and neighborhoods with parks and open space,” said Ryan Wiggins, with TransForm, a statewide smart-growth advocacy organization.