December 4, 2012

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

Cap and trade launches - and with it a new way to fund public transportation and more

As part of California's landmark program to avoid dangerous climate disruption and reduce dirty air, the state launched a cap and trade program last month. Major polluters must now buy and sell “allowances” to emit greenhouse gases (read our blog on what happened at the first auction of allowances). Revenues – which should become billions annually – will primarily be used to reduce California's emissions.
By June the State will decide how to spend revenues for the first three years, so we need to act fast.  With nearly 40% of our greenhouse gas pollution from transportation, TransForm is leading an effort to be sure a large portion of these funds support public transportation, walking, biking, and affordable homes near transit. We’re working on a detailed platform for how funds should be spent, but to get involved now and stay informed please sign the petition asking our leaders to prioritize funding for public transportation.

What the election means for transportation

We were thrilled last month’s election yielded some key victories for public transportation, walking, biking, and affordable housing. But we’re still holding our breath on Measure B1 (as are other counties considering similar measures), which would renew, increase, and extend Alameda County’s sales tax for transportation. Funds would restore bus service after years of major cuts; start a youth bus pass program; and make huge investments in pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure.
The uncertified final results have Measure B1 receiving 66.53% of the votes cast: less than 750 votes shy of the required 2/3 threshold! A recount is starting today and we hope it gets Measure B1 across the finish line. Read our blog for the details on victories from local ballot measures to the highest levels of government.

December 12 event in San Francisco tackles how to make housing and transportation more affordable

There are real challenges to developing more affordable housing developments near good public transportation, like requirements for excessive parking, community opposition, and financing hurdles. But there are also exciting solutions to these challenges. Come to a panel (with networking after) hosted by the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco highlighting solutions. TransForm’s executive director is a panelist and our GreenTRIP program will be featured. Register now for this free afternoon event.

Forum on the future of high-speed rail proves thought-provoking

We knew the forum we hosted last week on high-speed rail with the California Association of Environmental Professionals would be interesting, but it proved fascinating! As highlighted by the Mercury News, the debate featured different takes on the project's route, fiscal realities, air quality and climate benefits, and implications for wildlife habitat, farmland, and local neighborhoods. And there were some disagreements (see the in-depth Examiner article). TransForm continues to see the project as having incredible potential for California’s future, as described in our report.

An entertaining reminder of why we love the bus and train

Isa Hopkins, a local comedian, recently wrote a piece on all of the magical things that happen on public transportation. It moved us – pun intended. Read it for inspiration and a laugh
Want more inspiration? Read or listen to an interview with Jeff Speck, whose book Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time just came out.

Check out TransForm’s presentations from Rail~Volution

Three TransFormers presented at the recent Rail~Volution conference – and we thought you might want to check out what they talked about. Ann Cheng was part of a conversation on the role of parking in creating more livable, walkable areas. Her slides focus on our innovative GreenTRIP program. Sandra Padilla talked about the critical role of how easy (or hard) it is for people to actually get to transit (check out slides from the whole panel) in actually taking transit. And Joél Ramos discussed how essential is it to get the people most impacted by transportation and land use changes deeply involved in decision making (see his slides). You can browse all the presentations from Rail~Volution.

Help transform the area around Lake Merritt BART

If you know the area near the Lake Merritt BART station at all, you know it could be a lot better in terms of walkability, green space, and more housing options – especially affordable ones.  TransForm has been helping lead efforts to get people and local groups plugged into the planning process happening for the area. We would love to have you come to the City of Oakland’s open house on Saturday, December 15 at Laney College. You’ll learn about the latest version of the plan for the area, including street and open space improvements, plus guidelines for new development in the area. Get the details on the open house and contact Joél with any questions.