RM3’s claim of reduced traffic is misleading

Was the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) lying to the public when it wrote the ballot language for Regional Measure 3? The measure’s principal claim is that it will “reduce auto and truck traffic.” A leading opponent of Regional Measure 3, TRANSDEF, with deep familiarity with MTC’s planning documents, knew that MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan for 2040 projected a 44% increase in hours of congestion delay and a 21% increase in driving. These figures suggest that claims of traffic reduction were knowingly false. TRANSDEF filed a Public Records Act request on May 9, 2018 asking for: Any studies or analysis demonstrating…

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KRON4 reports on RM3

KRON4’s report on Regional Measure 3 featured dueling appearances by the Bay Area Council’s John Grubb and TRANSDEF.org’s David Schonbrunn. Schonbrunn asserted: This will do nothing whatsoever for congestion. What it will do is move politically-favored projects along. The Bay Area Council attempted to erase the politicized legislative origin of the measure: The Bay Area Council points say this is no pork barrel project but one designed by both regional and local traffic engineers with the goal of reducing congestion. Grubb, of course, claimed the measure would improve traffic. We’ll see if voters are taken in by the hype…

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The backstory of Seattle’s success with buses

CityLab offers more details about how Seattle succeeded in accommodating a large increase in population with an expanded bus system. A good representative quote: The first lesson for any transportation planner looking to reverse-engineer Seattle-style success: Make room for buses. Seattle is one of the few cities to escape the transit death spiral, where budget cuts lead to reduced service hours, which leads to lower ridership. Seattle has created a virtuous circle, where good bus service leads to higher ridership, which supports better service. The article also mentions that the Nashville, TN transit measure mentioned previously here was defeated in…

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Daily Cal comes out against RM3

Another voice for sanity: The Daily Cal’s endorsements include opposing RM3: Bay Area residents are no strangers to the congested, poorly maintained transportation infrastructure that litters the region. Regional Measure 3, with its 25-year goal of raising $4.45 billion in funding for 35 transportation projects, aims to alleviate this Bay Area congestion. But while the Bay Area desperately needs solutions to its transportation problems, the eventual $3 increase in bridge tolls that the measure would necessitate makes transbay travel unsustainable for the scores of low-income workers who commute to San Francisco. Ultimately, while this measure is a step in the right…

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Seattle leads on parking, too!

In Seattle’s latest act of transportation greatness, parking minimums were eliminated in areas with good transit. Councilmember Rob Johnson, the legislation’s lead sponsor, said at Monday’s council meeting: Fundamentally I come to this because I believe it’s unfair for us to have parking that’s abundant and free and housing that is scarce and expensive. I’m working hard to change that. The measure unbundled parking fees from rents, thereby creating an economic incentive to reduce or eliminate household automobiles. It also authorized the renting of surplus off-street parking to non-residents of the building in which it is located, thereby reducing the need…

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Women lead the way on climate policy

A very significant opinion piece by three women leaders suggests that the upcoming San Mateo sales tax needs to acknowledge that the era of highway widening is over: Please urge our county’s Board of Supervisors and the leaders of our transportation agencies to end the cycle of highway widening, and instead, fund projects with this ballot measure that improve mobility without adding polluting car trips. TRANSDEF applauds these leaders for helping the public grasp the seemingly counterintuitive notion that widening highways doesn’t solve congestion. The piece is well-worth reading. Highway widening is controversial up in Portland, where strong dissenting opinions…

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Union leaders and their fantasies

Two union officers penned an opinion piece for the San Mateo Daily Journal that laid out their fantasy for transportation: We can all dream of a future when today’s unbearable traffic congestion is a thing of the past. Traffic would flow freely on Highway 101, Interstate 280, State Route 92 and the Dumbarton corridor because smart, safe, reliable technology will have improved mobility on our traffic corridors, expanded the use of public express buses and maximized the capacity of our highway network. The problem is, their fantasy is actually the unexamined assumption underlying all transportation planning in the U.S. When…

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TRANSDEF on KSRO Radio

TRANSDEF’s David Schonbrunn was on Santa Rosa radio station KSRO to talk about Regional Measure 3. Leading off the segment was a discussion with Jake Mackenzie, a Rohnert Park Councilman and the current chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the MTC in OccupyMTC). In his segment (the lower of the two audio players on the KSRO page), Schonbrunn addressed sprawl growth, Sonoma’s big climate and congestion challenge for the future, and urged a shift of future development to sites near good transit service.

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Chron gives grudging nod to RM3 opposition

The Chronicle’s lead story today, Measure would hike tolls to cut congestion, is a glowing promotion of the benefits of Regional Measure 3. To be able to check the box for journalistic balance, a short section on the opponents is stuck near the very end of the article. This perfunctory treatment, however, is immediately neutralized by MTC spokesmouth Randy Rentschler: Considering all the fixes we need in the Bay Area, there are going to be people upset they don’t get theirs included. I get it. It doesn’t take more than a day driving around in the Bay Area to figure we…

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Who’s paying for the Yes on RM3 Campaign?

The Mercury News published a report on the large contributors to the Yes on RM3 campaign. What’s so interesting about this measure’s sponsors is they’re not the usual group that typically bankrolls transportation funding measures. Usually, it’s contractors seeking to make money on the public projects funded by the measure. This year, however, high-tech firms are leading the charge to charge the public more for using the bridges. Is this public-spirited? Or is it an attempt to distract the public from connecting the dots between the big increase in congestion and the high-tech economic boom? If the public is told, through…

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