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  • Writer's pictureTransForm Staff

A Look Back at a TransFormative 2023

With support from our community of partners, funders, donors, and supporters, TransForm achieved notable policy and programmatic successes in 2023. We had victories in affordable housing, public transit, and safer streets for all modes of transportation. Our programs reached thousands of people, from youth to seniors, helping them connect with active and shared transportation.

As we step into the new year, it’s time to take a moment to celebrate the victories. And then — we forge ahead with a full agenda of goals for 2024!

Stepping back from the fiscal cliff

TransForm began the year campaigning to save Bay Area transit agencies from the fiscal cliff at the top of our policy agenda. We won $5.1 billion for transit in the 2023 budget, saving Bay Area transit providers from the fiscal cliff for the next few years.

What’s next: We’re working in coalition with our partners in Voices for Public Transportation (VPT) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to develop enabling legislation for a new regional transit funding measure coming before voters as soon as 2026.

Passing legislation for a brighter future

TransForm supported 11 bills in the 2023 legislative session. Seven of our bills became law, and one became a two-year bill that will be considered in the 2024 session.

The bills TransForm helped pass will make our streets safer with automated speed enforcement, improve public transit with rider surveys, and create a transit transformation task force.

The housing bills we supported will provide more options to fund affordable housing in the Bay Area, lower costs by unbundling parking, and give businesses latitude to meet parking requirements through shared parking. These practical solutions are concrete steps toward building the additional affordable housing that the Bay Area and California desperately need.

Perhaps our biggest nail-biter and also the biggest legislative win in 2023 was the passage of ACA-1, a constitutional amendment to lower the voter threshold for certain types of revenue bonds from two-thirds to 55%. Historically, Bay Area bond measures raising money for public benefits have passed by slim margins or fallen short of two-thirds but garnered more than 55% support, so ACA-1 is essential to securing more funding for transit and housing.

What’s next: ACA-1 passed the legislature, but voters must ratify it before it can become law, so we’ll be campaigning for the statewide ballot measure confirming this constitutional amendment.

The Bay Area Housing for All ballot measure will be another big push in 2024. This initiative, which will be on the November ballot, will authorize $10-20 billion in housing bonds to build thousands of new affordable housing units. This funding is crucial to help the region meet our affordable housing needs.

We’re also actively working with legislators and coalition partners to develop bills for the 2024 session. We’ll share more about our 2024 legislative agenda early in the new year.

Groundbreaking reports and campaigns

In 2023, TransForm’s Ride Fearlessly report compiled extensive research to outline methods to make public transit safer for all riders without increased policing. Our webinar on that report was a dynamic panel discussion that shared strategies and moving lived experiences.

We issued a report about new laws that allow developers to build housing with minimal or no parking, enabling them to prioritize space for people over cars. And we hosted an inspiring panel discussion on the topic, offering tools to affordable housing developers to build more housing and less parking.

Another facet of our parking work in 2023 was launching our SPOT-SJ project: Smart Parking for Optimal Transportation in San Jose. With funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we partnered with community groups to take advantage of emerging parking technology tools to create more people-oriented streets and provide more housing in Downtown San Jose. And we won an award for the work!

We also prepared a report on the value of shared micromobility to create viable and equitable transportation networks. Recommendations included increased funding to make micromobility accessible to people of all income levels and public-private partnerships to integrate last-mile solutions into our public transportation networks.

What’s next: Our SPOT-SJ project is ongoing and expanding, and we plan to organize additional webinars about parking policy focused on local development in specific Bay Area counties.

Connecting people with transportation alternatives

This was a big year for connecting people directly with transportation options through our Mobility Hubs pilot. We gave out bus passes and spread the word to hundreds of affordable housing residents about getting free and low-cost transit passes.

Our collaboration with the Alameda CTC’s Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) Program showed youth and families the joy of walking and rolling through many fun events. We also increased the education and services provided by the program by 120%. SR2S spread a lot of joy in 2023!

Golden Sneaker Contest

Bike to School Day

International Walk and Roll to School Day

What’s next: SR2S is looking forward to the Golden Sneaker Contest, Reboot Your Commute, Bike to School Day, and many other fun events. We’ll continue to expand our Mobility Hubs work to connect more communities with affordable alternatives to driving. And we’re excited to partner with Ava Community Energy to help launch one of the most ambitious local e-bike incentive and lending programs in California.

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