January 9, 2013 e-News

Your monthly pass to world-class public transportation and more wonderful, walkable communities.

Thanks to so many of our supporters, TransForm has a lot to celebrate right now. As 2012 drew to a close, hundreds of generous supporters came forward with gifts to TransForm that helped us raise a remarkable $93,000 in our 15th anniversary year. That means we will continue to bring smart, passionate voices and communities together to win world class public transportation, walking and biking.

We’re excited to embark on the next fifteen years of transforming transportation with this incredible show of support. And of course, it’s not too late to help us build an even stronger movement for transportation choices in 2013. Click here to donate now.

From all of us, happy New Year and best wishes for 2013!

And now for the rest of the e-news:

Cap-and-Trade is up and running – and so is the Transportation Choices Campaign

As it expands over time, California’s first-in-the-nation cap-and-trade program is projected to bring in billions of dollars per year through the auction of greenhouse gas emissions allowances. Californians have made it clear that revenues from greenhouse gas auctions must be used to further reduce greenhouse gases, fairly protect everyone from the impacts of climate change, and achieve a strong and sustainable economy.

Since nearly 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, public transportation, walking, biking, and affordable housing near transit remarkably match the goals for auction revenues envisioned by most Californians. TransForm and our allies are launching the Transportation Choices campaign with a proposal to the Governor and Legislature outlining ways to significantly reduce emissions equitably and efficiently while investing in healthier, more prosperous communities.

Help us win billions for transportation choices by signing our new petition to the Governor here.
Click here to read our proposal and learn more about the Transportation Choices campaign.

Fiscal cliff deal brings transit commuter benefit to new heights, for now

Last week’s fiscal cliff deal in Washington, D.C. included a temporary return to commuter equity: the transit commuter benefit, which had been cut in half in 2012, was restored to matching levels with the parking commuter benefit starting on January 1. That puts the transit pre-tax benefit at $240/month, compared to just $120/month last year – a significant financial boost for people who take public transportation to work.

But unless Congress takes further action, the transit commuter benefit will revert back to $120/month at the end of 2013. It’s past time to bring fairness to commuter benefits, and stop providing more incentives for parking than for public transportation.

Contact House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and let her know that you want commuters who ride transit to be treated fairly – permanently. Click here to send an email to Leader Pelosi now.

Save the Date: First-ever Silicon Valley Transportation Summit on February 23

TransForm and our allies in the Silicon Valley are hosting a conference to promote transportation choices and complete neighborhoods in Santa Clara County. The first-ever Silicon Valley Transportation Summit aims to foster deep community engagement in transportation and land use planning. Community residents and leaders, whether new to the issues or long-time advocates, are all invited.

The Silicon Valley Transportation Summit will be held on Saturday, February 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Click here for details and online registration (opens January 16). If you are interested in co-sponsoring, volunteering, or hosting a session at the summit, please email Chris Lepe or call (408) 406-8074.

Meet our newest GreenTRIP project: Ashland Family Housing

TransForm's program, GreenTRIP, certifies residential and mixed-use developments that keep the number of new parking spaces as low as possible and offer incentives for new tenants to drive less and own fewer vehicles. Our eighth project is a 100% affordable housing development located just outside San Leandro in unincorporated Alameda County.

Click here to learn more about Ashland Family Housing, which will offer 2 free transit passes to each household for 40 years to save residents money and reduce driving trips generated by the development. We’re also presenting a brown bag workshop for the affordable housing community on GreenTRIP on January 30 – see the event listing below for details.

TransForm’s director talks transportation @Google

On November 13th, our Executive Director, Stuart Cohen, presented to a packed house at the Google Mountain View campus. Drawing a crowd of engineers, administrators, and elected officials, Stuart spoke about the roots of our current transportation crisis and the pressing need for innovative technological and planning solutions. Stuart covered emerging innovations such as self-driving cars, controversial topics like high speed rail, and TransForm's own GreenTRIP program.

The presentation was part of the @Google Talks series. Chris Harrelson, a longtime TransForm supporter and Google engineer, made the talk possible. Watch Stuart's presentation, Solving Our Transportation Crisis, on YouTube. If you'd like to skip right to the solutions portion of the talk, click here.

Want to be a transit celebrity?

TransForm’s South Bay office is looking for bus riders to be interviewed for an informative and compelling video about the experience of bus riders in Santa Clara County. We are looking for all types of bus riders, including seniors, youth, people with disabilities, immigrants, and professionals.

To schedule a time to be interviewed or for more information, please email Demitris Woodard or call (323) 528-8678.

TransForm is hiring!

We’re still looking for our next Communications Director – someone we envision to be a strategic, creative communications leader to shape and implement TransForm’s overall communications strategy. Read more about the position here, and please spread the word!

Upcoming events in the Bay Area and beyond

Below is a sampling of upcoming events in January and February. Visit TransForm’s events webpage frequently for details on transportation-related events in the Bay Area and beyond.

Seniors Workshop on Bus Access and Health
Wednesday, Jan 16th, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Oakland

Are you a senior who rides the bus? Do you depend on the bus for your daily needs? Are you interested in how being able to ride the bus affects health and wellbeing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, join a workshop to learn about a Health Impact Assessment study conducted by the Alameda County Public Health Department, and share your thoughts on what we found!

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, January 16 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Center, 925 Brockhurst Street (near San Pablo Ave), Oakland CA. Please RSVP to Zoe Levitt at zoe.levitt@acgov.org or 510-268-4290.

Measuring What Matters: Building a new tool for instant GreenTRIP Certification
Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in San Francisco
Presenter: Ann Cheng, GreenTRIP Program Director, TransForm

The low-traffic and climate benefits of affordable housing near public transportation have been grossly underestimated, and in some places, totally ignored. If we can make this connection clear, and show how it is even stronger with incentives like free transit passes for residents, we can reduce the development cost of affordable housing while building community support and gaining access to new sources of funds (e.g. from greenhouse gas permit auctions).

This workshop, hosted by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, will focus on work that TransForm has proposed to collect data on affordable projects, create a new dynamic tool that would allow cities and developers to instantly access this information, to educate the community and expand GreenTRIP certifications (see www.greentrip.org).

Join us to learn more and see how you can get involved in unleashing powerful benefits and overcoming major hurdles to affordable housing development. Developers, financiers, property management staff, transportation planners, resident services providers, and advocates are encouraged to attend!

Click here for more information and registration details. Lunch is provided when you purchase your ticket.

New Partners For Smart Growth Conference
February 7-9 in Kansas City, Missouri

Register now for the nation’s premier smart growth conference! This year, the New Partners Conference makes its way to America’s heartland, underscoring an expansive diversity ripe for innovative smart-growth strategies and opportunities. With several Bay Area notables on the speakers list, we expect a rich exchange of ideas between regions as the nation’s top thinkers on sustainable development come together to continue the conversation on how to make our cities and regions better for everyone.

New Partners offers over 90 sessions, plus tours of projects in the Kansas City area. We’d love to see you there! Find out more and register online here.

Silicon Valley Bicycle Summit
Tuesday, February 26, 11:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in Palo Alto

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is hosting their annual bicycle summit to discuss ways that governments, law enforcement, and advocates can work together to create safe, welcoming environments for bicyclists.

This community-building annual event will take place on February 26, from 11:45 to 4:30, at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. Click here for more information.