June 1, 2010 e-news

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

You’ve got to meet some of the people taking the Car-Free Challenge.

There’s Amber, a self-proclaimed soccer mom who’s trying to buck the stereotype of driving her kids everywhere by cutting her car mileage from 200 to 0 during the Challenge.  Then there’s Adam, a Chevron employee taking the Challenge in preparation for peak oil.

Together, the Challengers – many of whom are already car-free – are helping us build a critical mass of Californians who want more options for walking, biking, and public transportation!

It’s not too late to sign up.  You can also give those taking the Challenge a boost by posting an encouraging word or sponsoring them (your support goes straight to TransForm’s advocacy work).

And now, read on for all the latest from TransForm:

Urge Senators Boxer and Feinstein to pass funding for public transportation

We have a chance to bring much-needed public transportation funding to California and stop the drastic service cuts and brutal fare hikes happening everywhere.  The Senate just introduced legislation to provide $2 billion emergency funding relief for transit agencies: the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010.  Send an email now to urge our senators to champion this legislation.

RSVP now for June 22 TransForum

At the next TransForum, we’ll look at the harsh realities transit agencies currently face across the Bay Area and discuss potential solutions.  Speakers include Carolyn Clevenger (the project manager for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transit Sustainability Project), Lewis Clinton (AC Transit’s CFO), Stuart Cohen (TransForm’s executive director), and Carli Paine (TransForm’s transportation program director).  Joel Young, a member of AC Transit’s Board of Directors, will moderate a lively discussion and Q&A session.

The TransForum will run from 6:00-7:30pm (with time for networking after) at AC Transit’s headquarters in Oakland.  Drinks and snacks will be served.  TransForays are free for TransForm members and $5 for non-members.  RSVP now.

Speak out for more funds for biking, walking, and public transportation in Contra Costa County

It looks likely that Contra Costa residents will have the chance to vote for a $10 vehicle registration fee in November.  The fee would generate transportation funds for the County.  But “transportation funds” can mean a lot of things.  We need those funds to go towards pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation improvements.  Speak out at the June 16 meeting of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.  Contact Olivia if you can attend or to learn more.

Regions must set ambitious but achievable transportation-related emissions targets

Under SB 375, California’s 2008 smart growth law, every region in the state will be assigned transportation-related greenhouse gas reduction targets that they’ll then work to meet by improving transportation choices, land use, and housing options.

Draft emissions targets will be set by June 30 by the California Air Resources Board.  The Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission just told the State that the region can achieve reductions of somewhere between 3% and 12% by 2035.

TransForm believes we can reduce emissions by even more than 12% by making world-class public transportation and walkable communities the norm - not the exception - in the Bay Area.  And we need to move strongly in this direction if we want to fight climate change and reduce how much individuals and governments spend on transportation.

Stay tuned as TransForm makes the case for ambitious but achievable emissions targets in the Bay Area and elsewhere over the next weeks.  Sign up for TransForm’s Twitter feed to find out what’s happening in real time.

San Leandro vote helps bring Bus Rapid Transit closer to reality in the East Bay

Thanks to the urging of activists like you, San Leandro recently joined Oakland in voting to study the creation of dedicated lanes for Bus Rapid Transit service.  This is great news for bus riders, as Bus Rapid Transit's combination of dedicated lanes, cutting-edge buses, and prepaid boarding could revolutionize the speed and reliability of service along Telegraph Avenue, International Boulevard, and East 14th Street.  The 122 emails sent in support of studying dedicated lanes made all the difference - thanks again!  Learn more about this victory for better bus service.

TransForm ramps up state efforts for transit funding: sign on!

With the slashing of state funds for public transportation operations (the money to actually run buses, trains, and ferries), TransForm is working harder than ever to find creative solutions.  These efforts are being led by our new State Policy Director, Graham Brownstein.  Graham’s walking the halls of the Capitol and building a coalition in support of legislative solutions for transit funding.

If you are associated with an organization, please sign on to our urgent letter to legislators by Thursday asking them to give regions more authority to raise funds for public transportation. 

TransForm launches grant-funded study to look at alternatives to the Oakland Airport Connector project

TransForm has been fighting for a better Oakland Airport Connector for more than a year because this $500,000,000 boondoggle of a project would have no local stops, an average speed of just 23 milesper hour, a $12 roundtrip fare (on top of BART fare), and drop passengers in the airport parking lot!

Meanwhile decisionmakers across the region have voiced a desire to look at alternatives to the project, but no agency has stepped up to conduct a study.

TransForm is excited to announce that a recent grant has made it possible for us to hire a top transportation consulting firm to study a range of alternatives along the Hegenberger corridor that we anticipate can improve mobility at a fraction of the cost of the Connector project.  Read more about what we said at last week's BART meeting and contact John to get involved.  

New executive structure makes TransForm stronger than ever

TransForm is thrilled to welcome our first-ever Chief Operating Officer later this month, Laura Keegan Boudreau.  Currently the COO of the American Lung Association of California, Laura will ensure we’re running even more efficiently and effectively.  This new position will allow TransForm’s executive director, Stuart Cohen, to dedicate more time to critical opportunities at the state level and our deputy director, Jeff Hobson, to oversee our work on the Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy, as well as our programs.  Read more about Laura and this change

KQED’s Michael Krasny to lead June 9 panel on sustainable communities

TransForm’s Stuart Cohen and several other distinguished leaders will discuss the question, “Is affordable housing critical to sustainable communities?” at EAH Housing’s annual event.  RSVP by June 2.

June 9 panel tackles the role of parking in creating affordable housing

Zoning codes and parking policies have a big impact on exactly how affordable new housing developments are.  This lunchtime panel in San Francisco, hosted by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, will cover shared use parking, off-site parking, carsharing, parking stackers, transit passes, bicycling, and designing for walkability.  Learn more and register.

June 16-20 conference looks at the future of American urban areas

This year, the national Just Metropolis conference brings together planners, designers, activists, policymakers and citizens in the Bay Area for four days of learning and thinking about how human settlements can yield social, environmental and economic justice.  If you go, look for TransForm staff presenting on GreenTRIP and our work to engage residents in local land use planning in Oakland.  Learn more.

Attend the first ever car-free event in Oakland on June 27

From 10am-2pm on June 27, enjoy the downtown and uptown areas of Oakland from Grand Avenueto Jack London Squareand West Oaklandon streets free from cars.  Plus there are a ton of free activities.  Learn more about Oaklavia.

Take survey on the state of cycling in San Francisco

Whether you ride your bike daily or barely at all in San Francisco, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition wants your opinion on how the City’s doing in terms of cycling.  Take the survey by June 6.