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TRANSDEF.org is transitioning to WordPress. While all the blog posts are here, many of the resources that had been available on the site are temporarily unavailable. The links to those resources are temporarily not working. (The links to other websites still work.) Please pardon our dust! We appreciate your patience.

Unprecedented candor on climate change

In an uncharacteristic move, the California Air Resources Board’s 2018 Progress Report California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act admits the state is going backwards in greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Some key excerpts: With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built.   The overall ratio of dollars planned to be spent on roads versus on…

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San Mateo Measure W going down to the wire

See updates, below. San Mateo County’s additional transportation sales tax, Measure W, failed to get a 2/3 majority vote on election night. As the mail-in ballots are slowly tallied, the percentage is creeping slowly towards 66.67%. As of November 25, the count was at 66.55% yes, with approximately 13,000 ballots left to count. TRANSDEF has taken an Oppose position, and has been helping its allies in San Mateo County. Excellent coverage in the local press: Daily Post Measure W Editorial Daily Journal Article As of Tuesday, November 27, the margin had shifted significantly to 66.87% Yes votes. Concerns have been…

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Kids’ safety held hostage in Measure AA money grab

In a great post today, CO$T’s Mimi Willard shows just how far TAM is willing to go to to scare voters into passing Measure AA. TRANSDEF has seen similar hostage-taking in other measures. It is a frequent tactic of agencies seeking more funding. Often, the claim is that underprivileged people would be hurt if the measure doesn’t pass. The implicit threat is that “If you don’t care enough about these people to protect them, we won’t protect them either.” Of course, what does that say about the priorities of the decision makers? It says, “We’re going to do just what…

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Peter Calthorpe hits one out of the park

With his characteristic brilliance, architect/planner Peter Calthorpe has cut through the morass of opinion and self-promotion on autonomous vehicles. His Chronicle interview brings clarity to an issue swirling in hype. The headline says it all: “Driverless cars won’t help traffic congestion, he says.” The article goes on to lay out how suburban car culture could be changed in San Mateo County by changing how transportation and land use are planned. Very much worth reading… For those eager to dive deeper, see this 2017 article Autonomous Vehicles: Hype and Potential.

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MTC shows its true colors: Executive Director search process

The agenda for the October 24 Executive Director Selection Committee discloses all one needs to know about the approach being taken by the Committee. The only items on the agenda are the roll call, a mandatory opportunity for public comment, a closed session and a report-out. All the signs are there that a back-room deal is being cut for the most important hire for the future of the Bay Area. This is just the way it was done when Steve Heminger was appointed many years ago. A hire from the inside, with no national search process is what happened then…

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IPCC delivers blockbuster report–No one important acted

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, published its latest scientific consensus of projections of where climate change will take the planet. The short version: Unless we act quickly and decisively, the results will be even more catastrophic than we predicted earlier. In fact, the impacts of a 2° C increase in average temperatures, the former globally agreed-on target, are now recognized as being so concerning that the IPCC recommends restricting warming to 1.5° C. Here are selected responses to the report: ‘Incredibly grim’ prognosis on global warming also carries clarion call for global action–Los Angeles Times Opinion Piece by…

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TAM is a mediocre agency

When it comes to making the lives of Marinites better by improving their transportation, the Transportation Authority of Marin, TAM, has consistently been missing in action. Traffic has gotten worse over the decades, but you’d never know that from TAM’s self-congratulory communications. Listening to TAM’s Board of Commissioners meeting, one would never know how miserable traffic is. Part of the problem is TAM’s very narrow view of its mission. It sees itself as responsible only for for funding and delivering transportation projects. The agency is completely disconnected from any sense of responsibility for the experience of highway users. As a…

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Measure AA: TAM could care less about climate change

Climate change is sending increasingly strong messages–through catastrophic floods, droughts, and wildfires–that human societies must shift their priorities if they are to survive beyond the next few generations. Unfortunately, transportation professionals–including the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM)–still haven’t accepted the responsibility of reducing the impact of transportation on climate change. Climate change is caused primarily by the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from the burning of fossil fuels. Motor vehicles are the biggest source of GHGs in California, in the Bay Area, and in Marin. Because driving keeps increasing, GHG emissions keep increasing, even while the State is working hard to…

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TAM can’t be trusted with a 30-year sales tax

Today’s Marin IJ carried TRANSDEF’s Marin Voice, entitled “TAM can’t be trusted with a 30-year sales tax.” Although the IJ endorsed the measure, it gave opponents the much-sought-after Sunday placement. The piece is a hard-hitting takedown of a status quo agency that is uninterested in its impacts on climate. As environmentalists, we find that stance completely unacceptable. See associated post.

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The official start of the age of carpooling

Today’s Chronicle carried a story on how Google’s Waze is rolling out carpooling on a national scale. TRANSDEF has been writing about the significance of ridematching apps for years, before Waze got interested in this market. The announcement today marks what we believe will become known as the official start of the age of carpooling. What makes the announcement so unusual is its express interest in both the public and private benefits of the venture: “We want to reduce traffic and take cars off the road,” said Josh Fried, Waze’s head of carpool.   Waze has another goal, too: prepare…

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