Transportation Planning

Plan Bay Area Analyzed In Depth

TRANSDEF submitted its comments today on Plan Bay Area, the regional transportation plan for the Bay Area. A condensed version for policymakers was submitted earlier. Here’s a summary of the top points about the Draft EIR: Read More...

ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed

The Air Resources Board produces a Scoping Plan every 5 years. It is the guiding document for the GHG emissions reductions needed to implement California’s climate policy. TRANSDEF submitted a massive comment set, made up of 1). General Comments; 2). VMT Reduction Comments, Attachment: Comments on State-level Strategies; 3). Environmental Assessment Comments, Attachment: Comments on CHSRA 2016 Business Plan; and 4). Comments on Regional Emissions Reduction Targets. For more climate change resources, see this page.

Bay Area Clean Air Plan Comments

TRANSDEF submitted its comments on the draft 2017 Bay Area Clean Air Plan. They focus on the need to force MTC to do its share of emissions reductions.

Protecting Niles Canyon

TRANSDEF submitted comments today on Caltrans’ proposal to replace the 89 year-old bridge over Alameda Creek on SR 84, to allow higher speeds “to meet driver expectations.” i

CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction

TRANSDEF’s organizational focus is the reduction of GHG emissions from transportation. Much of our work has involved the state’s policy-setting agency for climate change, the California Air Resources Board, or ARB. ARB has produced generally excellent climate change plans, called Scoping Plans. However, it has consistently been weak in the area of reducing GHG emissions from transportation, despite determining that nearly half of the state’s GHG emissions are generated by the transportation sector. Read More...

Highway Widening--Crazy Business

TRANSDEF submitted comments on Caltrans’ proposal to add lanes to Highway 101 in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The letter details how futile it would be to add more lanes to the highway, thereby further continuing dependence on solo driving, the cause of congestion in the first place.

One Win, One Loss

The sales tax measure for Santa Clara County passed, while the one for Contra Costa County failed. TRANSDEF’s ballot arguments were printed in the Contra Costa Voters’ Guide, so we helped defeat an ill-conceived measure.

TRANSDEF Opposes CCTA Sales Tax Measure X

The TRANSDEF Board has voted to formally oppose Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s (CCTA’s) transportation sales tax measure. Our ballot arguments were selected to be the Oppose position in the Voter Guide. Our campaign website was posted today.

TRANSDEF Opposes VTA Sales Tax Measure B

The TRANSDEF Board has voted to formally oppose the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA’s) transportation sales tax measure. We have No Confidence in VTA. Check out the websites of our allies Sierra Club and BayRail Alliance!

Measure B would double VTA’s sales tax. This is intolerable, when the Measure fails in three distinct policy areas:
  • BART to San Jose and Santa Clara is a horribly wasteful and ineffective response to the commuting challenges of Santa Clara County residents.
  • The continued funding of highways is ultimately futile, as congestion will merely continue to get worse. See this study to learn how highway widening increases greenhouse gases over the long run.
  • While Silicon Valley desperately needs great transit, VTA continues to operate a hopelessly ineffective transit system. Its plans allocate little of the Measure A proceeds to an Santa Clara County transit network.
See the brilliant video, produced by the City of Cupertino, that shows how Silicon Valley could have great transit. Read More...

TRANSDEF Seeks RTP Alternatives

TRANSDEF today filed its scoping comments for the 2017 Regional Transportation Plan. The letter asks MTC to study a regional plan alternative in which there is no money for highway widenings or BART extensions. Instead, available funding would be spent on cost-effective transit projects and service. The intent is to maximize the reduction of GHGs by shifting travel away from solo driving. Read More...

Caltrain Electrification Suit Fully Briefed

The challenge to Caltrain’s Electrification EIR is now fully briefed. (See bottom of page.) Petitioners assert that the electrification project is really the first phase of the HSR Blended System on the Peninsula, making the EIR an impermissibly chopped study of the project’s overall impacts. A hearing has been scheduled for 9 AM, September 2, 2016 in Contra Costa Superior Court.

ARB Not In Touch With Transporation

A collection of TRANSDEF’s comments to the Air Resources Board (ARB) was recently posted:

Testimony to ARB on Regional GHG Emissions Reduction Targets: “These targets will result in increased emissions in this sector, due to population growth. This is going in the wrong direction, and would send the wrong signal to the rest of the world about ARB's view of the need for urgent reductions in GHG emissions.”
ARB’s 2013 Scoping Plan Update: “Staff recognizes the need for "Fundamental transformation of transportation system needed to meet goals" but seems to have little grasp of the institutional barriers to that transformation.” Read More...

Capitol Corridor Roseville Extension--A Waste of Money?

TRANSDEF, the Train Riders Association of California and the California Rail Foundation filed a comment letter on the DEIR for the Capitol Corridor’s proposed extension to Roseville. We found the DEIR provided no justification for spending $250 million dollars to build a third track to Roseville. “We find it striking that the beneficial impacts in terms of VMT reduction and GHG emissions reductions of the $226 million Build Alternative are so small as to be unnoticeable at the regional scale.” The project would not accomplish the objectives identified in the DEIR. The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Board certified the FEIR on November 18, 2015 Read More...

Marin Clings to Status Quo

As the Transportation Authority of Marin was determining what projects to submit to the 2017 Regional Transportation Plan, TRANSDEF’s President testified, “Highway performance is at near-crisis levels. Mobility is severely impaired. Yet you are being offered more of the same.” See that testimony and the rest of the Marin page. TAM didn’t discuss whether there was a problem, and adopted staff’s status quo proposal. Read More...

Mill Valley Traffic--Bursting at the Seams

With traffic in Mill Valley reaching record levels of congestion, the City Council designated a Mill Valley Traffic Task Force to look for solutions. TRANSDEF’s President offered these thoughts to the Task Force, indicating that solutions would not be found that restore past conditions:

I'd like to offer you a mental frame for the traffic issue, one you've probably never heard:

We're at the point where the roadway system in developed areas has reached a state of maturation. The fiscal and environmental costs of expanding capacity are so high that it is mostly out of reach. Yet vehicle trips keep increasing. This results in ever-increasing congestion all over the Bay Area, which is significantly worse here.

Mill Valley is something like a pressure cooker, because of its isolation from the rest of the county. Because of that, Mill Valley is at the bleeding edge of this change.

Caltrans Leaps into the Present

Caltrans has released its draft California Transportation Plan, or CTP 2040. The draft plan is a dramatic change from decades of status quo thinking. The plan is specifically designed to answer a question posed by the Legislature in 2009’s SB 391: What is needed for California to reduce emissions from motor vehicles to meet the AB 32 and Executive Order GHG emissions reduction targets.

TRANSDEF wrote a series of letters praising the Plan and suggesting improvements. They include
overview comments, detailed comments, and their attachments. Streetsblog wrote an excellent article covering the Plan. Read More...

Bay Area transit ridership down despite subsidies, enticements

In today’s Chronicle, Matier & Ross write about how regional transit ridership in the Bay Area has down for decades despite the many billions of dollars MTC has put into construction projects. This begs the question “Why?” For us, the answer is simple: MTC’s unique combination of indifference, incompetence and unwillingess to do the hard work of policy development has created a politicized unaccountable system that works great for contractors, but does little for Bay Area residents and commuters. See related several posts on this site: Bay Area Basics; a case study we did on MTC called Politics Trumps Outcomes; and a comment letter on how to set up a new transportation pot of money so that it is not wasted, as MTC’s resources have been. Read More...

TRANSDEF Files Caltrain Electrification Lawsuit

TRANSDEF today joined in two litigation coalitions to file suit. In the first lawsuit, it joined the Town of Atherton and the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail to challenge the Caltrain electrification EIR. TRANSDEF’s concern here is that spending $1.5 billion on electrification will not do much to help ridership. That same money would have a much bigger effect on ridership if it were spent to build the Caltrain Downtown Extension to the Transbay Transit Center. Worse, by trading its current surplus capacity to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for electrification funding, it places a cap on its future ridership. In an era of climate change, in which we need transit operators to greatly expand their ridership, this is a profound strategic error.

For thirty years, Caltrain has wanted to electrify, but never had the money. TRANSDEF believes that this longstanding desire blinded it to the agency’s best interests. We see this as tragically similar to the Biblical tale of Esau selling his birthright to his brother Jacob because he was hungry one night.

TRANSDEF filed extensive comments on the
DEIR and the FEIR. See the Caltrain Electrification page for he background. Read More...

Cap and Trade Guidelines for Transit

TRANSDEF filed comments on January 30, 2014 on the draft Guidelines for the State Transportation Agency’s distribution of cap and trade funds to transit and intercity rail. The program, called the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, will receive an ongoing 10% of cap and trade auction revenues. The final Guidelines were adopted today, and differed from the draft in the areas highlighted in yellow. None of the changes responded to our comments.

Our comments addressed the ongoing problem with large transportation projects: they promise too much and deliver too little, at a vastly higher price than initially promised. We wrote up a case study of MTC which we called
Politics Trumps Outcomes that identifies the politicization of project selection as the root reason why the Bay Area has lower transit ridership now than it did thirty years ago.

Contra Costa Stuck in the Past

Contra Costa County’s Transportation Authority has released a draft 2014 Countywide Comprehensive Transportation Plan. It is a classic suburban plan that ignores the fundamental challenges posed by climate change and congestion. TRANSDEF submitted comments that attempt to identify a different, more realistic pathway. We believe these comments are widely applicable to suburbia. See the Contra Costa page for more.

Opponents of BB Hold Press Conference

Opponents of Alameda County’s Measure BB transportation sales tax held a press conference today at the Asian Cultural Center in Oakland. It was covered by three TV crews and print press, including the Chinese language press.

TRANSDEF’s President made these remarks:

Putting More Action Into Marin Climate Action Plan

TRANSDEF submitted a set of comments on the Draft Marin Climate Action Plan. They focused on reprioritizing Marin’s transportation funding to support alternatives to driving alone, rather than continuing to focus resources on supporting solo driving. Read More...

Golden Gate Bridge District Firmly Plants Itself in 20th Century

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously today to provide more auto parking for passengers of the Larkspur Ferry. They voted to give notice to the Marin Airporter to vacate the Larkspur Landing site it leases from the District. The District’s plan is to use the parking spaces currently used by Airporter customers for its ferry passengers.

TRANSDEF’s President was the only member of the public to speak on the item. His suggestion that the District show leadership on climate change by encouraging its passengers to arrive at the Ferry Terminal by ways other than solo driving was ignored by the Committee. The text of his comments follows. Read More...

TRAC Ideas Exposed in the Bee

The Train Riders Association of California, TRAC, got the opportunity to put its ideas out in the State Capital’s leading newspaper, the Sacramento Bee. Hopefully, it will strike a chord with political leaders. Here’s the link to the Viewpoint article.

MTC Opposes Regionalism, Yet Again

In 2013, MTC adopted a regional plan called Plan Bay Area, in response to state requirements under SB 375 to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). Continuing its long history of putting politics before its mandate of improving the Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted today to adopt an eviscerated set of Guidelines for Bay Area counties. Draft Guidelines had been developed that called for counties, when developing their Countywide Transportation Plans, to look to the goals of Plan Bay Area. Click on Read More for TRANSDEF’s comments.

TRAC Opposes Palmdale Focus

The TRAC Board of Directors adopted a Resolution opposing the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s new-found interest in the Palmdale to Burbank route. Instead, the Resolution proposes that the funding available for HSR be used to create benefits for passengers in the near-term. Read More...

Plan Bay Area Court Decision Released

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Grillo issued a ruling today in the Bay Area Citizens v. ABAG challenge to Plan Bay Area. He denied their petition that sought a ruling that the EIR was inadequate. See the decision and the briefing at the bottom of this page. This page also contains the settlement between the MTC and Sierra Club and Communities for a Better Environment.

MTC Wants to Bury Dumbarton Rail

The staff report for MTC’s Planning and Allocations meeting, Wednesday, May 14 at 9:40 am lays out MTC's plans to bury the Dumbarton Rail project. Transit advocates have often noted that this project is the only possible way to avoid the cost of a new multibillion Transbay tunnel to deal with the lack of capacity in BART's Transbay tube. On April 23, TRANSDEF filed comments [this file without exhibits] with MTC, asserting legal arguments for why the proposed elimination of Regional Measure 2 funding for the Dumbarton Rail Project would be both illegal and unwise. [Comment file with the full set of exhibits.] Read More...

Caltrain Electrification--Has Caltrain Lost its Way?

Caltrain issued its very large Draft Environmental Impact Report for its Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project, which depends on HSR funding to electrify the tracks from San Jose to San Francisco. TRANSDEF filed extensive Comments and Attachments, making the case for studying a fully worked-up DEMU (Dual-mode diesel-electric multiple unit) alternative. This alternative would accomplish many of the goals of the electrification project while remaining within the financial reach of Caltrain, now that HSR seems to be crashing. Because it would eliminate most if not all the proposed electrification that is controversial for a significant portion of the public, it would improve Caltrain’s public support. A policy letter to the Joint Powers Board makes the case that Altamont Corridor access to the Bay Area should be reconsidered and supported, because it would preserve Caltrain’s capacity to grow in the future, and because it would allow Caltrain to determine its own future, independent of the fate of HSR. Read More...

TRANSDEF Proposes New Approach at TAM

TRANSDEF appeared at the Transportation Authority of Marin to propose a strategic approach to operating the agency. In particular, the time has come to recognize that the era of the single-occupant vehicle is over. There isn’t enough roadway capacity to accommodate all those solo drivers, and there isn’t enough money or right-of-way to feasibly do that. Rather than having a congestion problem, Marin has an expectation problem, in which people expect to be able to drive alone.

Multiple Suits Challenge Plan Bay Area

Multiple lawsuits were filed, challenging the FEIR for the Bay Area’s regional plan under CEQA. Interestingly, they attack the plan from different directions:

The Sierra Club/Communities for a Better Environment suit seeks a reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution that affects communities of color in West Oakland. The “Bay Area Citizens” suit is a right-wing challenge to what it views as an assault on Americans’ God-given right to live in suburbs. The Building Industry Association suit makes interesting claims that have never been litigated: that the regional plan violates SB 375 by not providing for feasible levels of housing for the entire population of the Bay Area, including in-commuters from the Central Valley.

For the associated documents, see the bottom of
this page.

A New Section: Marin County

TRANSDEF has been actively involved in the Greenbrae Corridor Improvement Project Advisory Committee, which has been meeting to develop a consensus on what to do instead of the soundly rejected $143 million Highway 101 project in the Larkspur/Corte Madera area. TRANSDEF submitted four proposals to the public input process, which are available on TRANSDEF’s Marin County page.

In its August 26 meeting, the Committee approved a consensus plan including the following elements that had been proposed by TRANSDEF: a North-South bikeway on the railroad trestle, if feasible; improved merging of E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. with I-580; and an added eastbound lane on E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Marin County has become known lately for very vocal opposition to the Bay Area’s regional plan. TRANSDEF published an opinion piece on recent
overreactions to regional planning. In an effort to foster an informed dialogue over housing issues, the Marin County League of Women Voters has published Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Affordable Housing.

We Lost One of the Greats: Roy Nakadegawa

Roy Nakadegawa was a founding Board member of TRANSDEF. He contributed his vast experience in public transit and his financial support to our small non-profit’s efforts to focus Bay Area transportation planning on cost-effectiveness. Our goal was public transit investments that benefit many more residents.

Roy agreed to put himself forward, along with fellow former BART Director Sherman Lewis, as a named plaintiff in
a suit brought by TRANSDEF to stop MTC from moving funds from the proposed Dumbarton Rail Project to the BART Warm Springs project. TRANSDEF vehemently opposed this billion dollar wasteful project. In agreeing to do so, Roy truly walked his talk.

TRANSDEF is very grateful for Roy’s assistance over the years and offers its condolences to his large family. We will miss him.

Joint Statement by AC Transit and BART

Former AC Transit and BART director Roy Nakadegawa passed away last Friday morning, August 23, 2013, at his home in Berkeley. Mr. Nakadegawa had been suffering from congestive heart failure for some time.

Mr. Nakadegawa served on the AC Transit Board for 20 years, from 1972 to 1992. He then served on the BART Board for 12 years from 1992 to 2004.
After he left the BART Board, he joined the Board of TRANSDEF (Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund), a non-profit environmental organization created by transit activists to advocate for better solutions to transportation, land use and air quality problems in the San Francisco Bay Area. In all those positions he argued for cost-effective, mobility improving transit.

Mr. Nakadegawa was an active attendee and participant in TRB (Transportation Research Board) meetings and was well known and respected around the world for his depth of knowledge about transit and its relation to land use. He was written up in the local press for the frugality of his travel arrangements. When Mr. Nakadegawa served as an AC Transit directors, its members got an annuity when they left the Board. For many years, Mr. Nakadegawa generously donated his annuity payments to buy prizes for AC Transit's local bus rodeo winners.

An Excellent Overview of Regional Planning

Environmental advocate Peter Lydon wrote these comments on MTC’s Plan Bay Area, which capture the essence of regional planning:


Independently of anything the regional agencies do, the nine-county Bay Area is growing in population and getting wealthier, so, inevitably, it is changing. That means that the region is in transition. The aspect that concerns us is a needed transition from the present land use/mobility system to a new one.

The old, existing system is based on the single-family house, the personal automobile and the freeway. It handles growth mainly through outward spatial diffusion, or sprawl. It has grown up over decades, and has become our thoroughly familiar environment. We have all deeply adapted to it. It is individualistic, and not egalitarian. Growing up in times of economic success and prosperity, it offers what people believe is freedom. Therefore, on the basis of inertia alone, the traditional layout has support from the very large share of the population (and public and private administrative structures) that are comfortable in it and who want to preserve what is known and good.

TRANSDEF Comments on Plan Bay Area

TRANSDEF filed comments on the Bay Area’s Draft Sustainable Communities Strategy today. By a fascinating coincidence, U.S. PIRG released its study today, called A New Direction, which is directly relevant to how to approach a regional transportation plan. This study points out the transportation planning consequences of the emerging pattern of millennials driving less. These documents are available here.

RTP Submission by TAM

TRANSDEF’s Comments to the Transportation Authority of Marin
Regional Transportation Plan Discussion, 10-27-11

You have the authority to set a very new direction for transportation in this county. But you would never know it by reading the staff report. Judging by the report, this agenda item appears to be just another routine item.

The whole point of this agenda item last month had been to ask you what weight to give to each of the RTP candidate priority criteria. But that focus has been buried. It isn't at all clear what you are expected to do with this item. If you had been properly briefed by staff, you would recognize this item as the ultimate transportation policy setting discussion.

In my view, this is yet another in a long history of presentations shaped to maintain the status quo. TAM's predecessor agency had an ugly practice of keeping decision makers in the dark, so as to have staff positions rubber-stamped.


Testimony on Central Subway

Testimony Before the S. F. Supes Audit Comm.
10/27/11 Hearing on Civil Grand Jury Report on Central Subway

We are transit advocates, working primarily at the regional and statewide level. We have opposed the Central Subway for years, because instead of being a well- designed cost-effective transportation project, it is primarily a political payoff.

The Grand Jury deserves the thanks of all San Franciscans for their willingness to dive into an incredibly dense thicket of details and their courage to call a spade a spade. Their report is a proud addition to the long tradition of speaking truth to power.

The fundamental project design problems raised in the report are so serious that they necessitate a response from the Board on recommendations 16 - 20, even though you weren't specifically asked to. If the Board ignores these recommendations, it will send a strong message of “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.”

As Mr. Reskin, the MTA head said, the questions about this project were asked and answered. However, the answers were so steeped in politics as to be worthless. The Grand Jury is telling your Board that the Emperor has no clothes. Future generations will remember you as the Board members that ignored their message and put Muni into an extended fiscal crisis.

Joint Policy Committee Blinks

The Joint Policy Committee (JPC) is comprised of the four regional agencies: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District BAAQMD, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). With SB 849, it was tasked by the Legislature in 2004 to:

“coordinate the development and drafting of major planning documents prepared by ABAG, MTC, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, including reviewing and commenting on major interim work products and the final draft comments prior to action by ABAG, MTC, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.”

In its last three meetings, the JPC has walked away from the responsibility to coordinate the development of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), with its associated Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), and has decided to focus instead on regional resilience and economic development. While these two subject areas certainly need the attention of the JPC, it appears that this new focus is the result of MTC not wanting the JPC involved in the RTP. Whereas the JPC was created to foster interagency cooperation, this recent move seems to be a classic turf fight--a curious one in which no one is willing to talk about it.

Given this silence and denial, TRANSDEF’s President David Schonbrunn stepped in and spoke about MTC’s decision on committed projects (See Massive Counter-Attack, next blog entry), calling upon the JPC to assert the interests of the region, which were abandoned by MTC, which would rather play politics with transportation dollars. He was gaveled down at precisely 3 minutes by JPC Chair Tom Bates, cutting off the last paragraph of his prepared remarks. See Read More for the complete comments.

Massive Counter-Attack Ends Brief Spring at MTC

In a blow to the very heart of the transportation planning process, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted today to preserve the longstanding dominance of local politics in the allocation of funds for transportation projects in the Bay Area. The shortage of funds due to the economic crisis had led MTC staff to propose a revision to the Commission’s Committed Projects Policy, so as to enable the MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan to be more effective. The policy essentially cemented in past project approvals, so that those decisions would never be reconsidered. Because MTC’s RTP process has been to staple together the wish lists of the various counties of the region, this has meant that project selection was primarily occurring at the local or county level.

The problem with this is that local solutions do not work when aggregated together at the regional scale. Local transportation plans assume that their residents will travel largely by automobile. However, when these residents leave their respective counties, it has not been possible to furnish adequate regional infrastructure. The extremely high cost of widening existing highways, along with the lack of physical space to do so without even more expensive condemnation of existing residences and businesses, has resulted in massive congestion throughout the region.

Clean Air Plan Adopted

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted its 2010 Clean Air Plan for the Bay Area. The plan is the first in the nation to offer a comprehensive approach to reducing all significant air pollutants, instead of treating them separately, as has been standard practice. TRANSDEF applauds the District for its excellent and innovative work.

Upon noticing that the Clean Air Plan would result in excessive particulate matter in the air, TRANSDEF’s President David Schonbrunn spoke to the Board of Directors and suggested that a mitigation be adopted to reduce the source of growing particulate pollution: motor vehicles.

MTC Shows its True Colors-OAC

MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee met to once again take the heat in deciding whether to provide additional funding for the BART Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), a truly execrable project. This project, which had died after the Federal Transit Administration pulled the plug on $70 million in stimulus funding, showed itself to have many lives, and many functionaries willing to bend institutional rules to raise it from the dead. MTC violated its own rules in bypassing a required vote by its Commissioners, and was caught at it.

Large numbers of presumably unemployed carpenters showed up to flex their political muscles, with a banner eerily calling out CIA. Only this time, CIA meant Carpenters in Action. They were calling for jobs, and clearly weren’t much concerned that the project was enormously bloated in cost, and already eliminated any benefits for the impoverished community it was to pass through. The carpenters seemed unaware that most of the jobs resulting from the project would be elsewhere, where the people mover system will be built. The use of precast concrete is going to reduce the construction jobs dramatically.

After many impassioned speeches calling for MTC to preserve the Bay Area’s underfunded transit system and not waste money on the OAC, the committee voted to approve the funding. While there was a significant group of Commissioners who saw the problems with approving the money, they were in the minority.

MTC, through this and many previous votes, demonstrated more clearly than ever before that the agency truly does not give a crap about outcomes. The fact that the OAC would waste a half-billion dollars was not a consideration. MTC has always been about cutting political deals. The OAC represented someone’s deal, and MTC’s unspoken rules prohibit going back on a deal, no matter how loathsome a project has become.

Save Getting Great Press

Here are a series of articles instigated by the great work of Save They are campaigning to inform the public about the folly of Muni’s Central Subway. Amazingly, this $1.5 billion boondoggle will lead to reduced bus service and even longer travel times. Check out these articles:

RTP Guidelines Revisions Adopted

The California Transportation Commission adopted revisions to the statewide Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines in response to all the changes resulting from SB 375. That law requires RTPs to contain a sustainable communities strategy, which attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet a target set by the State Air Resources Board. TRANSDEF participated actively in the revision process and is very pleased with the results.

Oakland Airport Connector--Government at its Worst

Guy Span wrote a powerful post on the decision of the BART Board to put itself into serious debt, in the midst of cutting service and not having the funds to replace its cars.

Here’s the comment we posted:

Finally, Someone's Writing about Highway Widening

MTC continues to make ludicrous claims that their proposed HOT lanes network will result in decreased GHG emissions, despite the new lanes’ encouragement of a significant increase in driving in the Bay Area. Given MTC’s intention to go forward with this massively counterproductive project, it is heartening that the Sightline Institute has produced an important study on the expected long-term increase in GHG emissions that will result from highway widening. Finally, someone in transportation is making sense! See our Smart Growth Resources page.

RTP Guidelines Revision Process

The California Transportation Commission is conducting a thorough process to revise the statewide Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines, in response to all the changes resulting from SB 375. That law requires RTPs to contain a sustainable communities strategy, which attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet a target set by the State Air Resources Board. Check out the CTC webpage.

Major new figure emerges in Bay Area Transportation Reporting

TRANSDEF was exceedingly pleased to discover the blog of Guy Span, available at He wrote an in-depth multi-part series on MTC decisionmaking that was, in our opinion, the very best analysis we’ve seen. Check out his List of Articles.

Central Subway--Vigorous Radio Debate

TRANSDEF’s President David Schonbrunn debated the Central Subway Project Manager on KALW Radio’s City Vision’s program. Check out the podcast.

David argued that the subway is so deep that the time it will take to access it will eliminate the travel time savings over the current bus. Also, the route is so badly designed that a transfer to BART and Muni lines will require over a 1000 ft. walk. Residents of Bayview/Hunters Point, who now have a convenient transfer to all the Market Street trains, will lose that connection when the Third Street Line goes direct to Chinatown.

Jeff Tumlin Leads the Way!

Jeff Tumlin of Nelson-Nygaard gave a rousing presentation at the Joint Policy Committee. He made it clear that managing parking is a key strategy for reducing GHG emissions. Check out his report and Powerpoint.

Caltrans Introduces Smart Mobility

Caltrans offered a workshop last week in Sacramento on their new Smart Mobility Framework.  This is a program that Caltrans has developed in association with EPA.  It takes Smart Growth principles and integrates them into transportation in a manner that environmental activists will find both familiar and heartening.   Read More...

Comments Filed on Sonoma Transportation Plan

TRANSDEF filed comments on the Draft EIR for the Sonoma County Transportation Authority’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan. Find them next to the New! logo. Read More...

The BART Oakland Airport Connector

TRANSDEF blasted the BART Board as having “an extreme indifference to project cost.” Read More...

Comments on the DEIS for BART to San Jose

Summary only available when permalinks are enabled.

MTC adopts irresponsible regional plan

Summary only available when permalinks are enabled.

TRANSDEF on the radio

TRANSDEF's President David Schonbrunn appeared on Stanford University Radio's Raising Sand Radio program. The one-hour show provides a good overview for Bay Area and California transportation issues, from an activist's point of view.

Warm Springs BART litigation

TRANSDEF recently filed a taxpayers' lawsuit to prevent Bay Area transportation agencies from illegally sending BART over $315 million for construction of its Warm Springs extension. Check it out.

The Regional Transportation Plan is nearing adoption

On March 13th, MTC will have a meeting of its Planning Committee to go over final details of its draft Regional Transportation Plan, for approval on March 25th. Read More...