October 1, 2013

TransForm e-news: October 1, 2013
Your monthly pass to world-class public transportation and more wonderful, walkable communities.

In contrast to Congress, the California Legislature made strides towards improving our state’s transportation choices this year with several bills that will help walking, biking, and public transportation – including a new policy that could be a game-changer for urban transit-oriented development.

SB 743, signed by the Governor on Friday, eliminates the car-centric “Level of Service” (LOS) metric from environmental reviews in urban infill areas.  LOS has long punished compact infill projects – and even dedicated bike lanes and public transportation improvements – requiring construction of more traffic lanes and other “mitigations” that undermine the goal of reducing overall traffic and pollution.  The state will create guidelines in the next year to replace LOS with new measures focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other true environmental impacts.

Check out ClimatePlan’s blog post on SB 743 for the full story, and see below for the other pro-walk, pro-bike bills that recently got the go-ahead from Governor Brown.

Read on for more good news from the movement to transform transportation:

Will you be joining us for an evening of inspiration on November 14?

Tickets are now on sale for our annual fall event, TransForm 2018: Innovation and Opportunity for All. Join us on November 14th for a preview of our upcoming 2014-2018 Strategic Plan and how it we will sharpen our focus on creating a Bay Area and California that offers opportunities for all. Enjoy heavy hors d'oeurves and delicious beer and wine while taking in the view from our incredible 33rd-floor venue in downtown San Francisco. We will also be hosting a silent auction, raffle and more to help raise funds to further our work.

Don't miss it! This event will likely sell out, so click here to purchase tickets and learn more. 

Thank you to our incredible Partner and Ally sponsors for their support: Panoramic Interests, BRIDGE Housing, City CarShare, Community Design + Architecture, Eden Housing, and Union Bank. We're also grateful to our in-kind and silent auction sponsor GJEL Accident Attorneys and our gracious hosts Morrison & Foerster. For information on sponsorships and auction items or the event overall, please contact Sara Marcellino.

Weigh in on new transit-oriented Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program

The federal commuter transit benefit is a win-win all around, reducing climate pollution while saving money for both businesses and employees.  But while federal law allows commuters to pay for public transportation or vanpool expenses with pre-tax dollars, it’s only voluntary for employers to administer the program.  That leaves out thousands of workers in the Bay Area who could be saving up to 40 percent on their commute costs and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Then came SB 1339.  This bill was passed last year (after TransForm prioritized SB 1339 at our first Transportation Choices Advocacy Day) to authorize a new Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program.  The program will require employers with 50 or more employees to offer a transit commuter benefit option to their employees.  The Air District and MTC are holding public workshops around the region to get input on how to implement the program, beginning on October 7.  Get the details here on their plans, and how you can weigh in.

Jerry Brown puts his John Hancock to key biking and walking bills

In just the last week, Governor Brown approved two key bills that will improve walking and biking in California.  The adoption of AB 1371 makes California the 22nd state to require drivers to leave at least three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists.  Three cheers to the California Bicycle Coalition (CBC), who led this effort.  And it couldn’t have happened without you, too – CBC and TransForm teamed up to generate nearly 5,000 emails to the Governor.  Thank you!

Then, last Thursday, the Governor put his signature to a package of bills creating an Active Transportation Program (ATP) that will consolidate several walk/bike funding streams into one pot of funding.  TransForm and our allies worked hard all summer to ensure that this program didn’t shortchange existing programs like Safe Routes to Schools, and would invest in disadvantaged communities.

Now we just need the Governor to sign AB 1290, which would strengthen the California Transportation Commission and support sustainable transportation efforts statewide.  Click here to urge the Governor to sign AB 1290.

Bus Rapid Transit projects neck and neck on construction timelines in SF, East Bay

East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been steadily advancing towards a groundbreaking over the past two years – but now it looks like San Francisco might be catching up.  After lots of delays in planning, Van Ness BRT got a big boost on September 10 when San Francisco agencies gave the project a green light for final design and construction.  Read how TransForm helped ensure that seniors had a voice in planning decisions on our blog.

Now both projects are expected to complete construction and begin service within 5 years.  TransForm will continue to advocate for BRT projects throughout the region to include community input and bring us closer to the revolution that BRT promises for Bay Area public transportation. For more information, contact Joël Ramos.

See exactly how much the climate could change in your lifetime

Wondering how hot it will get before you retire?  This new interactive tool from the Guardian shows the projected global temperature increase for your lifetime, based on the year of your birth.  Using data from the most recent UN report on climate change, the website shows the range of possibilities into the next generation and beyond – as well as an alternate scenario that would result from a global agreement to limit climate change through aggressive reduction of climate pollution.

Okay, maybe this doesn’t fit into the “good news” theme of this e-news…but it’s definitely a motivator for continuing to press forward in our work to transform transportation.  Click here to sign up for updates on our Transportation Choices campaign, and help us make sure that California’s climate funds are invested in clean transportation and sustainable communities as soon as possible.

How can we make equity central in transportation planning?  Ask Jeff!

Transportation planning and investment decisions – what we build, where it is placed, and who builds it – is central to creating regions where everyone can get to work, school, doctors, and the grocery store safely and conveniently.   Last Friday, TransForm’s Deputy Director Jeff Hobson joined other equity leaders from around the country on a webinar discussing ways to incorporate equity into the transportation decision-making process.  Jeff and a colleague from Public Advocates shared the story of our coalition work on Plan Bay Area and lessons learned for weaving equity into the fabric of transportation planning.

You can listen to a recording of the webinar by clicking here, and also download the slides here.  The discussion of Plan Bay Area begins about forty minutes into the webinar.  Many thanks to PolicyLink for hosting and archiving the webinar.

The elephant in the room can’t hide from GreenTRIP at Rail~Volution

Parking: It's the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about in planning better public transportation and transit-oriented development.  But our GreenTRIP team is gearing up to bring it out into the open at Rail~Volution 2013 this month in Seattle, WA.

If you’re heading to the nation’s biggest public transportation and land use conference, look for the GreenTRIP information booth for details.  Or, check out one of the workshops that TransForm staff are leading: Ann Cheng will discuss parking reform and Joël Ramos is presenting on Bus Rapid Transit efforts.  Not signed up yet?  Visit railvolution.org to register now.

Help us find great candidates for three new positions now open at TransForm

The search is on for three great people to join TransForm in new positions with our operations, communications, and GreenTRIP teams.  Can you help us find them?

We are currently seeking:

  • A full-time office manager to oversee IT, facilities and administrative office operational needs
  • A full-time communications associate to increase writing capacity in support of our programs and overall strategic communications
  • A full-time GreenTRIP planner to work with cities, developers and community groups to help implement our GreenTRIP Connect Initiative

Please spread the word, and encourage job-seekers to keep tabs on our jobs page for the latest employment opportunities at TransForm.

We need volunteers for a mailing party on November 8 at our Oakland office

We've got a big mailing project coming up and need extra hands to complete it. Stop by our Oakland office for a couple hours or more on Thursday, November 8 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. to stuff, stamp, chat, and munch on free food.

Please RSVP to Tina if you can help – and feel free to bring friends!

Upcoming events: Walk and Roll to School Day is almost here

Below is a sampling of upcoming events in October and November.  Visit TransForm’s events webpage frequently for details on transportation-related events in the Bay Area and beyond.

Walk and Roll to School Day
Wednesday, October 9 in your city

The 17th annual International Walk and Roll to School Day is right around the corner on Wednesday, October 9.  TransForm’s Safe Routes to School team is helping sponsor events at nearly 100 schools in Alameda County.   Contact us if you would like to volunteer at a school in your neighborhood, or visit www.AlamedaCountySR2S.org for more information.

You can find a list of all the Walk to School Day events in California by clicking here.

2nd Annual Berkeley Sunday Streets
Sunday, October 13 from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in Berkeley

Come out and play along Shattuck Avenue for their second annual “open streets” event, where the road is closed to cars in order to be open for people.  Help build a giant puppet, test ride a Bay Area Bike Share bicycle, hula hoop to live music, or all of the above – your feet are your ticket to this free event!

Click here for more info about Berkeley Sunday Streets, sponsored by our friends at Livable Berkeley and the City of Berkeley.

Bay Area Health in Transportation – Healthier Communities through Smarter Parking Policies
Wednesday, October 16 at 10:00 a.m. via webinar

Join TransForm and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership for a webinar exploring the health benefits of parking reform.  Ann Cheng of TransForm will discuss how healthier communities are supported with approaches like GreenTRIP, TransForm’s low traffic development certification, awarding housing projects with excellent traffic reduction and innovate parking strategies. 

Click here to register for the webinar.  Register to get announcements for future calls here!

California By Bike Summit
Thursday, November 7 – Sunday, November 10 in Oakland

Join the California Bicycle Coalition along with other advocates, experts, and planners for this second annual statewide bicycle summit.  Focused on “Mainstreaming the Bike,” this year’s summit welcomes speakers like CA Transportation Secretary Brian Kelley, Trek Bicycles President John Burke, and Red, Bike, and Green founder Jenna Burton.  Early bird registration has been extended through this Friday, October 4 – click here to sign up now!

After the Summit, you can keep the fun rolling and pedal south on the California By Bike Tour, November 11-15 along the California coast.  Click here to learn more.