TransitCenter recently interviewed TransForm’s Jeff Hobson and Clarrissa Cabansagan about their efforts and how California’s DOT (Caltrans) has helped by acknowledging that wider roads cause more traffic.
Consequently, leaders of the nonprofit developer alliance East Bay Housing Organizations, the environmental group Greenbelt Alliance, and the transit group TransForm have called for the city to impose the maximum fee possible on new development to support affordable housing.
TransitCenter supports TransForm’s “Optimized HOT” work to convert highway lanes on Highway 101 south of San Francisco into tolled express lanes that prioritize transit and carpools. We recently spoke with deputy director Jeff Hobson and community planner Clarrissa Cabansagan about the campaign, TransForm’s evolution and what it takes to make real change.
According to research from TransForm, it would cost $500 million over 30 years to create a 15-minute all-day bus network using the heaviest-traveled routes, and this figure doesn’t include other transit investments, such as express buses, and first-last mile services.
"After Simitian's piece appeared (see mercurynews.com/opinion), I talked with Chris Lepe, a senior community planner for TransForm, an organization that promotes transit and more walkable communities. Lepe has studied the bus rapid transit proposal carefully."
Josh Stark of TransForm expressed frustration with this. “We’re sitting on a perfectly good program that could easily be funded and already has support–but they just won’t do it,” he said.
Joel Ramos, regional planning director of TransForm, a transportation advocacy organization, said his organization is happy to see the bulk of the impact fees go toward affordable housing because the displacement crisis is worsening.
Back in October, the Schmidt Family Foundation announced its “Just Transit SF Challenge,” a contest to come up with good transit improvement ideas that can be implemented quickly. The three winners were announced this month. The $125,000 first prize went to RideScout and TransForm, which are partnering to improve transit using financial incentives.
“By focusing on corridors that are getting significant transit upgrades — like the 9 San Bruno or 28 Daly City — we can attract people back to transit and provide immediate benefits,” wrote Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, in a statement. “By partnering with youth, senior and other community groups we will make sure it is focused on communities that need it most.”
“By focusing on corridors that are getting significant transit upgrades — like the 9 San Bruno or 28 Daly City — we can attract people back to transit and provide immediate benefits”, said Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of TransForm. “By partnering with youth, senior and other community groups we will make sure it is focused on communities that need it most. This project syncs perfectly with TransForm’s mission to promote excellent transportation choices that connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable, and help solve our climate crisis.”
As transit-oriented and mixed-use development become increasingly hot in the Bay Area, one thing remains a challenge for developers: providing the required parking. Bisnow caught up with Ann Cheng, GreenTRIP program director for TransForm, a Bay Area organization focused on transportation reform.
The Oakland Community Investment Alliance — a coalition that includes East Bay Housing Organizations, which represents nonprofit developers, the Greenbelt Alliance, nonprofit law firm Public Advocates and transit group TransForm — is organizing the rally. Renters and religious leaders are also expected to take part.
Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, has spent a lot of time thinking about induced demand as well. “We know it exists,” he says. “That’s why we put up new transit routes—because we want to induce demand for transit. But we also know that new roadways induce more car trips.”
For example, in Sacramento County, Regional Transit was a big cap-and-trade winner this year, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the program, according to the nonprofit Transform, which has mapped out projects funded by cap-and-trade.
“We’re talking about being able to sometimes fit another 30 parking spaces into a building that was going to be 100 units that can now be 130 because the ground floor is no longer podium parking,” said Stuart Cohen, executive director of the advocacy group TransForm.