November 3, 2009

Your monthly pass to better public transportation and more wonderful, walkable communities.

We thought it was pretty powerful when the California Medical Association recently passed a resolution in support of smart growth.

It makes sense. Car-centered development makes it practically impossible – or really dangerous – to get around on foot or bicycle, which is clearly part of the obesity crisis. Plus, kids who live near major roads are 50% more likely to have asthma.

Well, we're taking the doctors' orders seriously. Let's create more places that make it safe and easy for people to get around without a car.

Read on:

U.S. Senate climate bill includes funding for public transportation and walkable communities – urge Senator Boxer to do more

With transportation responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, we're pleased that Senator Barbara Boxer recently agreed to include a higher level of funding in the Senate climate bill for improving public transportation, creating more affordable neighborhoods near public transportation, and making streets safer for walking and biking (roughly 2.4% of funding over the life of the bill).

Thank Senator Boxer for making clean transportation part of the climate bill – and tell her to defend and increase that funding over the coming weeks.

TransForm is now working with the Transportation For America campaign to win federal transportation policy that supports a nation of world-class public transportation and neighborhoods that require less driving – all while keeping our current transportation infrastructure in great shape. Meet Shannon Tracey, the new Transportation for America California Field Organizer.

New Bay Area program to fight climate change poised for additional funding

Thanks to you, the Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has been inundated with emails, calls, and letters in support of a new fund that fights climate change by getting more people to walk, bike, and take public transportation. The fund would also support innovative programs that reduce key obstacles to more walkable communities, like excessive parking requirements.

Now, MTC is proposing shifting $31 million from highway ramp meters back towards the Transportation Climate Action program – which would get $80 million over the first 3 years. Let's make it happen: learn more and come out on December 9 in support of the Transportation Climate Action program.

Funding mess puts Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay at risk

TransForm has been advocating for Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay for years – and several routes are now in the works. Bus Rapid Transit, with its dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and other key features, is an affordable way to make bus service much faster and more reliable.

But as AC Transit faces budget shortfalls, they are trying to shift funds from getting Bus Rapid Transit off the ground to staving off service cuts. While we don't want service cuts, we must keep the momentum going for Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay. Come to an upcoming public meeting in San Leandro (November 7, 10am) or Berkeley (November 19, 6pm) to speak out in support of Bus Rapid Transit.

Hundreds of homes near public transportation saved in Pittsburg!

Opponents tried to strip four acres of homes (including more than 200 affordable homes) from the City of Pittsburg's plan for the area near the future Railroad Avenue BART station. But this is where homes are needed most: less than a block away from the future station. TransForm galvanized residents and organized a quick response from Greenbelt Alliance, La Clinica, and Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization… and the City Council voted to stop the assault on affordable homes! Read more about this victory for creating places with transportation and housing choices.

Thousands of kids hits the streets and show what the world could be like

Picture sidewalks and bike lanes filled with countless kids on bikes and on foot, laughing and excited to be out in the fresh air on their way to school. This vision was a reality last month when more than 20,000 kids walked or biked to school in Alameda County during International Walk and Roll to School Week (which is part of TransForm's Safe Routes to Schools program, funded in part by a major grant from Alameda County's half-cent transportation sales tax, administered by ACTIA). Read highlights of International Walk and Roll to School Week, including media coverage.

A poem to inspire you to volunteer on November 18 or 19

We've got stuffing, sealing, and stamping galore – so come help us get our mailing out the door! As a part of our mailing team, you'll get food and drink to keep up your steam. We'll gather on November 18 and 19 from 11-1 and 5-7 in our Oakland space; please RSVP to let us know when we can look forward to seeing your smiling face. If you're able to help, give a yelp (email

Andréa Tyler at or 510.740.3150x372).

City Council puts conditions on Oakland Airport Connector project

TransForm has been working hard to get BART to consider a fast, affordable alternative to their proposed Oakland Airport Connector. Their proposed project would cost $500,000,000 in taxpayer money, cost BART riders an extra $6 each way to ride, and will move relatively slow despite having no local stops for Oakland residents.

Thankfully, the Oakland City Council is demanding more from BART. At the beginning of October, the Council rescinded their support of the Oakland Airport Connector project until key conditions are met. Conditions include having BART perform a social equity analysis of the fare structure (one of the key concerns in the federal civil rights complaint filed by TransForm and partners). Read more about TransForm's work to shape the Oakland Airport Connector project.

Contra Costa County's smart growth program at risk – take action to stop the cuts

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is considering defunding its smart growth incentive and planning program in East County. Send a quick message urging CCTA Commissioners to fight sprawl by fully funding the smart growth program on November 18.

'Delightful density' discussed in Palo Alto November 5

Join the Alliance for a Livable Palo Alto on November 5 in discussing 'delightful density' with KQED reporter Kevin John Schuler and Redwood City planner Dan Zack. The $20 registration cost includes breakfast; RSVP's appreciated. Learn more about the event.

Learn how SB 375 will be implemented at the local level

Hear about the role of local governments in implementing SB 375, California's new smart growth law, from Ted Droettboom from the Joint Policy Committee and Kenneth Kirkey from the Association of Bay Area Governments. This event will be at the City of Palo Alto Council Chambers on November 10 from 4-6pm.

Party with a bike coalition near you

'Tis the season for celebrating with cyclists! First, Marin Country Bicycle Coalition's Bikers Ball, with a live dance band, will be on November 14 in Tiburon. Get tickets now for Marin's festivities.

Don't miss the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition's November 18 annual benefit, which will include a panel discussion with three-time Tour de France racer Chris Horner, Trek Bicycles President John Burke, local cycling champion and Andy Ball, Webcor CEO and President. Learn more about the Silicon Valley shindig.

Then there's the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's annual Winterfest on December 6, a huge party complete with bike-themed art, bike-themed beer, and bike-themed auction items. Get the details on the San Francisco bash.

There's still time to learn the secrets to shaping development in "form-based codes" class

TransForm is cosponsoring a class that will teach you about a new alternative to conventional zoning: form-based codes. Form-based codes are a way of shaping development that can be very effective in achieving more walkable communities. Learn about the November 4 class; some scholarships are available.