June 1, 2012 e-news

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

Rarely a week goes by when we don’t see signs that our issues keep gaining momentum. Like this past week.

There’s new evidence that even when gas prices go down, new public transportation riders stay on the bus or train. 

On Sunday, the cover story in the 'Week in Review' section of the New York Times was about bike sharing!

And walkable neighborhoods are now so desirable that they’re far outcompeting the suburbs in terms of economic vitality (although we have to figure out how to keep walkable neighborhoods affordable for all incomes).

Things really ARE changing as you'll see in the rest of the news:

Bill to protect bicyclists from passing cars passes California Senate

Last week, the California Senate voted 27-6 to pass SB 1464, which would require drivers to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when overtaking them from behind in the same lane. More than 2,000 people sent emails to their Senator and it's clear our leaders got the message: bicyclists need more protection. The next stop for SB 1464 is the Assembly Transportation Committee. Once it gets out of Committee and goes to the full Assembly, we’ll ask you to email your Assembly person. Learn more about SB 1464 at the California Bicycle Coalition.

Important win as Bay Area’s transportation spending plan moves forward

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments recently approved a draft regional transportation and land use plan. This plan will guide $277 billion in transportation spending over the next 28 years.

We’re happy to share that after working with partners and activists to put the pressure on Commissioners, we had an important win that was adopted within the plan: $226 million for the Climate Innovative Grants program (up from $0!) to support parking reform, transportation demand management, regional bike sharing, and other great ideas. Learn more about the Climate Grants victory, plus read an overall analysis of the draft plan.

Tell legislators to make health part of transportation planning

Transportation decisions have huge health impacts, from the air we breathe to the safety of our streets. When the state provides guidance to regions on how to do transportation planning, it should strongly make this connection.

That’s why TransForm is now cosponsoring AB 441 with CPEHN, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. AB 441 will help ensure transportation in planned with health in mind by incorporating health and equity best practices in the next update of the Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines. Email Senator Mark DeSaulnier your support so the bill moves to a Senate vote soon!

TransForm supports reauthorizing Alameda County’s transportation sales tax

Alameda County voters face a big decision in November: will they double the existing transportation sales tax, extend it in perpetuity, and approve a $7.8 billion spending plan for the next 30 years? TransForm believes Alameda County will be better off with the new Measure B plan and officially supports it, especially because it will reverse the devastating cuts to bus service, start a new youth bus pass program, repair potholes, and make unprecedented investments in pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure. Learn more about our decision and to get involved with our efforts around Measure B, contact Manolo.

Designated pedestrian/bicycling funds at risk again in Congress

Back in February, Senator Boxer stood up and protected designated pedestrian/bicycling funds by including the Cardin-Cochran amendment in her federal transportation bill, which maintains local control over these funds. But right now, the Cardin-Cochran amendment is under serious attack and may be stripped from the bill in the final round of negotiations. Tell your Senators and Representative to preserve the Cardin-Cochran amendment now.

Let's realize a better Broadway-Valdez neighborhood in Oakland on June 11

Right now, the Broadway-Valdez neighborhood is dominated by vast parking lots and several vacant car dealerships. But with a planning process for this area underway, we have a chance to transform this area into a vibrant, mixed-use community where people of all income levels can live, shop, and work. Come enjoy complimentary refreshments, hear from several planning experts, and discuss on how we can make the most of this opportunity on Monday, June 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Temple Sinai at 2808 Summit St. Learn more and RSVP now.

Take on (or just celebrate) the ultimate bike + transit adventure June 16

TransForm is partnering up with the coolest bike ride we’ve ever heard of: Alt. Alt. goes up Mount Hamilton, Mount Tamalpais, and Mount Diablo in one day, using Caltrain, the Sausalito ferry, and BART to get between them (128 miles total). Don’t worry: you don’t have to ride to be part of this awesome day. You can volunteer or simply celebrate with other like-minded folks who believe the Bay Area should have great access to nature on bicycle and public transportation. Learn more and sign up.

Join the conversation on the connection between health and transportation June 20

TransForm and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership recently kicked off a new collaboration of advocates, community members, health professionals, and planning experts who want transportation decisions to yield better health outcomes for all. Be part of our next call-in meeting of the Bay Area Health in Transportation Collaborative (BAHT). Sign up to stay in the loop and get the details on the June 20 meeting.

TransForm is hiring – spread the word!

Want to work at a fun, fast-paced, flexible organization with an incredible mission? Then check out our openings for a State Policy Director, State Campaign Organizer, and Chief Operating Officer. Read and share the posts now.

Bus Rapid Transit takes a step backwards in the South Bay 

Despite a huge showing of community support and powerful op-eds in favor of bringing Bus Rapid Transit to the South Bay, the Sunnyvale City Council voted against Bus Rapid Transit with dedicated lanes on El Camino Real. Four of seven city councilmembers (including the mayor) chose to maintain El Camino Real as a car-centered corridor with mediocre transit service and little to no accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians.

We’re incredibly disappointed and concerned as to what this means for the project as a whole, since this impacts a large part of the route between San Jose and Palo Alto. We’re strategizing next steps for the public transportation revolution in the Bay Area and will let you know more soon. Sign up for updates on South Bay Bus Rapid Transit and like Friends of Silicon Valley Bus Rapid Transit on Facebook.

$1 million awarded for transit-oriented development in Oakland 

We’ve been working hard to bring Bus Rapid Transit – with features like dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and traffic signal priority – to the East Bay and South Bay. In the East Bay, Bus Rapid Transit will run along International Boulevard, a major transit corridor. But Bus Rapid Transit isn’t just a chance to dramatically improve bus service. It’s a chance to bring desperately needed grocery stores, services, mixed-income housing, bike lanes, jobs and more to the corridor, as laid out in the award-winning International Blvd. Transit-Oriented Development Plan

To ensure that this plan didn't end up on a shelf, TransForm and the Great Communities Collaborative worked with the City of Oakland to write a grant to the Strategic Growth Council. The Council recently awarded $1 million to implement the policies called out for in the plan! Learn more.