March 5, 2014

TransForm e-news: March 5, 2014
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From Google buses to Facebook ferries, there’s a lot of talk about tech and transportation in the Bay Area these days.  
Last week Google agreed to fund the free San Francisco Muni for youth program for the next two years. This is a great program and we are thrilled they are funding it. But as someone commented on our Facebook page, “How is this helpful if there are fewer kids whose parents can't afford to live in SF any longer?” 
The combined challenge of creating more transportation choices and greater housing affordability (especially near public transportation) will define much of the Bay Area and California’s future. You’re going to be hearing a lot more about this from TransForm. 
In the meantime, this Atlantic Cities article and Bay Guardian piece are some of the most intriguing takes on the tech-transportation issue we’ve read so far, with takeaways for every region in California.

Here's what else is happening in the world of transportation in March:

We need you in Sacramento; scholarships still available for State Summit April 22
This April, we’re descending on the State Capitol in the name of transportation choices. And we want you there. That’s because it’s going to take people from across California to send a message to our leaders that all Californians deserve to be able to live in places with safe, affordable and abundant options, besides a car, to get where they need to go.

Please join us on April 22 for the 3rd annual Transportation Choices Summit to help make this shift happen. You’ll hear from California’s most innovative leaders, learn about urgent legislation, and network with advocates from across the State. Many summit attendees will reconvene on Wednesday April 23 for the optional Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Learn more and register today!

Additional partial and full scholarships have been made available to attend the Summit thanks to several generous foundations. We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis, and they are limited. Click here to apply by March 11.  
Congress continues to punish public transportation riders

It’s been two months since Congress cut the commuter tax benefit for transit riders to just $130/month, while increasing the amount employees who drive can deduct from their paychecks, before taxes, to $250/month for parking costs.  We fully agree with one TransForm supporter who wrote to us on this issue, saying, “Wow, really? In the year 2014 we’re rewarding the people who drive more than people who take transit?”
As this article points out, this leads to more driving – plus many of the people who need commuter benefits the most are getting benefits cut. 
That’s why we need you to help put the pressure on Congress and email your Congressperson right now to support legislation to change this. 

Who should pay for BART's Oakland Airport Connector?
BART’s $500 million Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) is under construction and slated to open this fall. When BART approved the OAC, they had a stated intent to fully cover the operating costs through fares paid by OAC riders, so that everyday BART riders didn’t have to subsidize the project with their fares. Now is the time to hold BART to that commitment. To learn more about the OAC and ways you can make sure BART stays affordable for all, read our blog.  

Proposed solution to congestion in San Mateo County is catching on
TransForm believes travelers on Highway 101 need more transportation choices, not more traffic. Optimized high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes would offer much needed congestion relief without adding any highway lanes by allowing people to enter the carpool lane for a toll, and funding additional public transportation options. We’re thrilled to share that San Mateo City leaders are strongly endorsing studying our proposal. Read more on our newest blog post

Photos and presentations available from last month's Silicon Valley Summit

It was a packed house at our Let’s Get Moving! Silicon Valley Summit last month… and a day packed with learning, strategizing, and inspiration (especially from Dr. Manuel Pastor)!  You can catch all the 2014 summit highlights - including photos and PowerPoint presentations on topics from Bus Rapid Transit to parking policy on our website.

Q&A with San Francisco Business Times "40 Under 40" winner, TransForm's Ann Cheng

We are thrilled to announce that TransForm’s own GreenTRIP Program Director Ann Cheng is one of the innovators being recognized in San Francisco’s Business Times’ “40 Under 40”! Every year, San Francisco Business Times searches for the most influential young leaders in the Bay Area. Ann’s innovative leadership -- working with developers and cities to create low-traffic development with less parking, free transit passes, carsharing and other great incentives to drive less -- is part of the reason she is being recognized.  We sat down with Ann to learn more. Read the Q & A with Ann.

Limited tickets remain for an Evening with Donald Shoup on March 19

Don’t miss TransForm’s upcoming event From Parking to Paradise on March 19th at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. Hear from renowned urban planner and distinguished UCLA professor Donald Shoup about how better parking policies can reduce pollution, improve our communities, and boost our economy. Check out our latest blog post to learn more about the incredible Professor Shoup.
We've almost reached capacity, so get your tickets here! Professor Shoup’s seminal book The High Cost of Free Parking will be for sale at the event. Buy a copy there or bring your own, and Professor Shoup will sign it.

Coming soon: TransForm's summer internship program

We are thrilled to announce TransForm’s first internship program slated for summer 2014! Thanks to a generous grant from the Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation, we will host two college juniors, seniors or recent graduates for a paid, ten-week internship in our Oakland office to work on and learn about transportation and land use policy with GreenTRIP, ClimatePlan, or our Regional Advocacy team.  

Details about TransForm’s application requirements will be released on our webpage in mid-March. Please visit our website at that time or email JoAnn Prompongsatorn with questions.

Calendar of events

Below are a few of the upcoming events in February 2014. Visit TransForm’s events webpage frequently for details on transportation-related events in the Bay Area and beyond.

Transit & Cities: Past, Present, Future
March 20-21
David Brower Center, Berkeley, CA
This two-day conference hosts keynote Jaime Lerner (Former Mayor, Curitiba, Brazil), Peter Calthorpe (The Next American Metropolis and Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change), and Therese McMillan (Deputy Administrator, Federal Transit Administration).
Santa Clara-Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit Groundbreaking
March 21, 2:00 p.m.

School of Arts and Culture, San Jose, CA
After over a decade of planning and design, the Santa Clara-Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit project is about a year away from commencing service! The community is invited to the groundbreaking of the seven mile BRT project on Friday, March 21, at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza (1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose). 
Carbon Crushers Fundraiser at the Hot Italian
Thursday, April 3

Emeryville, CA
Save the date and stay tuned for more details on this delicious fundraiser for the Carbon Crushers, TransForm's 2014 Climate Ride team who will embark on a 4-day cycling adventure to raise funds and awareness to fight climate change (including TransForm’s work).