Highway Widening

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...

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...

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...

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.

Is California Serious about Reducing GHGs?

The Air Resources Board is updating its Scoping Plan, California’s master strategy to reduce greenhouse gases under AB 32. TRANSDEF submitted a wide-ranging set of suggestions which emphasized the need for the Board to set stringent regional greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, required under SB 375, that will achieve lower emissions from cars and light trucks. The targets set by the Board in 2010 were per capita numbers that, because they were lower than the rate of population growth, lead to increases in GHGs, contrary to the intent of SB 375.

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.

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:

Framework

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.
Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.