April 1, 2010

Your monthly pass to more wonderful, walkable communities.

Imagine if our streets were wonderful places for everyone to get around on foot, bicycle, and public transportation.
Well, you don't have to go to Copenhagen to actually experience this.
Not only is San Francisco closing streets to cars on even more days this spring, cities across San Mateo County will close streets to traffic on April 11.
Plus, so much is happening that's getting us closer to how we all envision a better future.
Read on:

  • Ask Senators Boxer and Feinstein to cosponsor bills for more federal funding for buses, trains, and ferries
  • Some funding relief for public transportation agencies, but still no long-term fix
  • Two ways for you to be a movie star
  • RSVP now for the April 20 TransForum
  • Bus Rapid Transit service at risk in the East Bay - speak out at key City Council meetings
  • Celebrate the life of a public transportation hero on April 19
  • Affordable housing week kicks off May 7
  • Vehicle license fees are a new way to raise transportation funds
  • Can you give a couple hours to TransForm in April or May?
  • Be an awesome (but unpaid) TransForm intern!

Ask Senators Boxer and Feinstein to cosponsor bill for more federal funding for buses, trains, and ferries

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio will introduce a bill that would allow more public transportation funding to be used for transit operations.  That means more money to actually run buses, trains, and ferries instead of just building new systems.  A similar measure in the House already has 102 co-sponsors and the Obama administration just announced they're onboard, too!  Now the Senate needs to ensure that this important measure passes.  Ask our Senators to keep California's public transportation moving.

Some funding relief for public transportation agencies, but still no long-term fix

Thankfully, the Governor relented and signed two bills that will provide a one-time allocation of $400 million for public transportation.  This should delay or minimize some of the planned service cuts and fare hikes happening statewide.
However, these two bills are a mixed bag.  The $400 million was part of a deal that eliminates the only source of state funding for public transportation: a portion of the sales tax on gas.  Instead, a new sales tax on diesel fuel is supposed to generate some funds for public transportation – but these funds have no legal protection.  This means if the State's budget deficits continue, we'll have to fight for these funds every year.
Together with the California Transit Association's leadership, we held back the Governor’s attempt to eliminate public transportation funds again.  TransForm will expand our Sacramento presence this year to ensure that the new funding is allocated as promised to public transportation and long-term funding solutions are found.  Read more about the state of state transportation funding.

Two ways for you to be a movie star

Thanks to the talented filmmaker Scott Pearson, who's a big fan of TransForm, we’re making three funny videos to promote the 2010 Car-Free Challenge via YouTube.  We need people of all ages to be in a wedding and a bus scene on Saturday, April 3 in downtown Oakland.  We'll shoot from 9am – 12pm.  Email SusanN@TransFormCA.org if you can be in the videos.
A new documentary called Subways will follow people in seven cities around the globe using public transportation to explore a range of related issues.  Laura J. Lukitsch, the director, is seeking people to film in the Bay Area in April.  If you're an avid BART rider with a unique story to share, contact Laura at llukitsch@yahoo.com.

RSVP now for the April 20 TransForum

How can we get developments built with less parking and more walkability?  Learn how April 20 when we talk about GreenTRIP, TransForm's new certification program.  GreenTRIP certifies developments that keep the number of parking spaces as low as possible and offer incentives for tenants to drive less.  Mark Rhoades of City Centric (a developer), Michael Gregory (Councilmember, City of San Leandro), and Ann Cheng (TransForm) will discuss two GreenTRIP projects.
The TransForum is on Tuesday, April 20 from 6:00-7:30pm at our Oakland office and will include time at the end for networking over drinks and snacks.  TransForums are free for TransForm members and $5 for non-members.
Register for the TransForum by 5:00pm on April 16 (events do sell out!).

Bus Rapid Transit service at risk in the East Bay - speak up at key City Council meetings

Right now a small group of people are actively fighting against dedicated lanes for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system along the Telegraph Avenue, International Boulevard, and East 14th Street corridor.  Bus Rapid Transit is a proven way of making bus service faster and more affordable with its dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and frequent service.  But without dedicated lanes, it won't achieve its potential to dramatically improve public transportation. 
City Councils in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro will vote this month on what AC Transit needs to consider as they move ahead with implementing Bus Rapid Transit.  We really need people to speak up for a robust Bus Rapid Transit system - especially in Berkeley.
Join us in sending this message at upcoming City Council meetings: April 19 (San Leandro); April 20 (Oakland); and April 20 and 27 (Berkeley).  If you live in one of these cities and haven't emailed your City Council members yet, do so immediately

Celebrate the life of a public transportation hero on April 19

Jim Gleich, AC Transit’s deputy general manager and a fierce believer in making good public transportation options available to everyone, recently passed away.  Jim was an incredible public servant, bridge-builder, and all-around great guy.  We miss him already.  Learn more about Jim and attend his memorial.

Vehicle license fees are a new way to raise transportation funds

Last year, TransForm supported a new law that gives counties the authority to ask voters to approve an up to $10 vehicle registration fee.  Counties can then use the funds raised for local transportation needs (potentially including public transportation, walking, and biking).  A number of Bay Area counties are working to develop proposals for the November 2010 ballot.  While more are still in the initial stages, Alameda County's Congestion Management Agency is currently holding community input meetings in Dublin on April 8 and Oakland on April 15: learn more and attend.

Affordable housing week kicks off May 7

We love this year’s theme for affordable housing week: healthy families, sustainable communities.  That’s because we have to create more places where people at all income levels and stages of life can live if we want to have thriving, walkable, diverse, and environmentally-efficient communities.  Don’t miss the tours, building openings, workshops, and more from May 7 - 16 in the East Bay, San Mateo County, and elsewhere in the Bay Area.
TransForm, as part of the Great Communities Collaborative, will host a tour of opportunities for transit-oriented, affordable housing development in Pittsburg on May 12.  Email Camille if you’d like to attend TransForm’s tour.

Can you give a couple hours to TransForm in April or May?

With your help, we can make the 2010 Car-Free Challenge a huge success and get hundreds of people across the Bay Area driving as little as possible between June 1 and 7.  We have a range of volunteer opportunities in April and May at several locations: helping with mailings, stuffing Bike to Work Day bags, flyering at events like Sunday Streets, and more.  You'll help us get the message out to thousands on the need for better walking, biking, and public transportation options!  Sign up to volunteer now.

Be an awesome (but unpaid) TransForm intern!

We are in need of an enthusiastic and creative intern to help us with all aspects of the Car-Free Challenge in May and June.  We're also seeking a campaign organizing intern to help shape federal transportation policy as part of the Transportation For America campaign.  Check out the postings and apply soon.
Also, meet our current interns.  They're doing an incredible job reaching out to local businesses and residents about future Bus Rapid Transit service in San Jose and the East Bay.  Listen to the recent story on KALW about San Jose merchants becoming advocates for better public transportation as a way of improving business!