We generally think it a big success when public policy successfully fixes a serious problem. Right now, smart California policies are effectively tackling three major issues at once: housing, traffic, and climate change.
Californians now have a better tool to track where the billions of dollars being collected through the state’s cap-and-trade program are being invested in their communities. An updated online map from TransForm, a transportation and walkability advocacy group, tallies projects receiving funding through the program, and their estimated greenhouse gas reductions.
Billions of dollars of climate investments are flowing to California’s communities, but what does that really look like? A new video and updated mapping tool help show us. The video, co-produced by TransForm and The Greenlining Institute, provides a glimpse of how California’s climate investments can transform the lives of real people - like West Sacramento resident Esther Robert and her family.
TransForm’s map is currently the only detailed, user friendly information available on the benefits produced by California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments. It launched last summer, and has been updated as agencies provide data. TransForm made it easier to search for projects in specific geographic areas, including districts and counties. They also simplified the tool to make it more intuitive and easy to follow.
“These guidelines are a tremendous step forward for transit and development in walkable communities,” wrote Stuart Cohen, the executive director of TransForm, a Bay Area-based public policy group that advocates statewide for more equitable transportation policy and funding programs.
“When SVLG floated the idea of a potential new measure in 2014, we and many others jumped in quickly to make sure the next transportation funding measure would be made with significant community input and through a transparent public process,” says Chris Lepe, TransForm’s senior community planner
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.
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.
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.
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.”