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.
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.
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.
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.
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.