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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.