We Don’t Need More Infrastructure — We Need Congestion Pricing

Streetsblog covered the release of an important study by Brookings titled Local Transportation Policy and Economic Opportunity, which is far more exciting than its title would suggest. The study provided the basis for Streetsblog’s provocative title, We Don’t Need More Infrastructure — We Need Congestion Pricing: The U.S. does not need to build more highways — it needs to spend more on aging urban rail systems and use congestion pricing to ease gridlock in urban areas, a new report shows.   … “Claims about the dilapidation of U.S. transportation infrastructure should be regarded with a critical eye,” says Turner.  

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San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes

The Voice of San Diego reported on a refreshing statement of the obvious as to the level of changes needed in the county’s transportation planning to meet State climate goals: The region simply can’t meet state requirements for thwarting climate change the way things are and the way they’re headed, Hasan Ikrhata, director of the San Diego Association of Governments, said at a Friday board meeting. Even if the region built the trolley lines and bus services leaders have been discussing, it would not change enough. Either state law would have to change, or regional leaders need to reimagine plans…

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Strong Towns offers important insights on congestion

The Strong Towns website has posted a series of important articles on congestion. Taken together, they frame how public agencies in California and the U.S. have been doggedly heading in the wrong direction in transportation and land use planning. Here’s a sampling: The Causes of Traffic and Congestion, addresses the question of whether new development causes more traffic. Here is its excellent summary: Development can add traffic. However, development that brings amenities and people closer together and reduces the need to travel so far can actually reduce traffic. With a mixture of uses, you can achieve a high population density…

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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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SF Transit Riders Union tells SFMTA “Do your job!”

In a superb opinion piece, Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the SF Transit Riders, documents the political cowardice of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency in implementing the City’s longstanding Transit First policy. She forcefully argues that Transit First is critical to making the City more livable, by speeding up transit and making it an attractive mode of travel for large numbers of residents. Transit professionals and transit advocates know what’s needed to improve transit. What’s missing is the political will to make policy decisions on behalf of the greater good, when objections are raised by those that insist on driving.…

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CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction

CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction 02/05/17 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning 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. TRANSDEF suspects that high-level officials in state government are unwilling to take…

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TRANSDEF Opposes VTA Sales Tax Measure B

TRANSDEF Opposes VTA Sales Tax Measure B 09/04/16 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning 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…

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TRANSDEF Opposes CCTA Sales Tax Measure X

TRANSDEF Opposes CCTA Sales Tax Measure X 09/04/16 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change 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. Tags: Contra Costa, Highway Widening, Tax, Congestion

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Marin Clings to Status Quo

Marin Clings to Status Quo 10/12/15 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change 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. Tags: RTP, Marin, Congestion

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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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