Mill Valley Traffic–Bursting at the Seams

Mill Valley Traffic–Bursting at the Seams 09/15/15 Filed in: Transportation Planning 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…

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Walter Strakosch, 1928-2015

Walter Strakosch, 1928-2015 06/27/15 Walter Strakosch, long-time TRANSDEF Board member and Secretary, and former Federal Transit Administration planner, died May 30th, 2015 in San Clemente, CA, where he had moved to be near his grandchildren. Walter dearly loved roller coasters, and rode them till quite late in life. As a member of Marin Advocates for Transit, he proposed a reversible lane alternative for Highway 101. Caltrans adopted it, and was about to build it when additional funding became available, making it possible to add both north and south HOV lanes. Walter was passionately interested in the development of high-speed rail…

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Caltrans Leaps into the Present

Caltrans Leaps into the Present 04/07/15 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change 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…

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TRANSDEF Files Caltrain Electrification Lawsuit

TRANSDEF Files Caltrain Electrification Lawsuit 02/09/15 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Transportation Planning 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,…

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Bay Area transit ridership down despite subsidies, enticements

Bay Area transit ridership down despite subsidies, enticements 02/09/15 Filed in: Transportation Planning | MTC In today’s Chronicle, Matier & Ross write about how regional transit ridership in the Bay Area has been 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…

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Cap and Trade Guidelines for Transit

Cap and Trade Guidelines for Transit 02/06/15 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning 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…

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Left-Right Alliances

Left-Right Alliances 10/21/14 Much of our work in transportation is done in coalition. Ralph Nader recently put out a book “Unstoppable–The Emerging Left-Right Alliance” that recognized the unexpectedly large amount of common ground that exists, especially on local issues, between advocates on the left and right. TRANSDEF’s President participated in a discussion program about his work, which included the topic of left-right alliances.

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Contra Costa Stuck in the Past

Contra Costa Stuck in the Past 10/15/14 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change 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. Tags: CEQA, Contra Costa

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Opponents of BB Hold Press Conference

Opponents of BB Hold Press Conference 10/14/14 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning 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: The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) has engaged in flagrant greenwashing. They call this an environmentally sustainable plan. It is true that our environmental colleagues have endorsed this measure. However they didn’t look closely enough at its long-term consequences, because they were overly focused on the short-term. The tax and the related transportation plan are a rejection of responsibility to deal…

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Golden Gate Bridge District Firmly Plants Itself in 20th Century

Golden Gate Bridge District Firmly Plants Itself in 20th Century 10/09/14 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change 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…

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