Bay Area Regional Efforts to Restore Funding for Active Transportation

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition - Safe Routes to School. Flickr Photo Credit: sfbike

Update from January 13 Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Planning Committee meeting

Last Friday, the Planning Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Administrative Committee of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) deliberated changes to the $250 million OneBayArea Grant program. The Committee members heard from a strong showing of the community about concerns that included reductions in funding for Safe Routes to School, too much flexibility for road development next to Priority Development Areas, lack of strong complete streets requirements, as well as lack of strong affordable housing and anti-displacement policies.

Community members and advocates who gave testimony included the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, East Bay Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Contra Costa Health Services, TransForm, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Prevention Institute, Urban Habitat, Greenbelt Alliance, Public Advocates, Presidio Community YMCA, and the San Francisco Unified School District. Others included Jasmine S. Chan of the University of California Cooperative Extension Alameda County, community members Cindy Winter, Cheryl Longinotti, and parents from three Berkeley elementary schools, Jed Waldman, Jenne King, and Joel Gerwein.

Commissioners, including Planning Committee chair Jim Spering, Scott Haggerty, and Jake Mackenzie, complimented the community members and advocates who testified for providing compelling and respectful testimony on their concerns.

During the discussion period, unfortunately, some of the Commissioners praised the draft revisions to the OneBayArea grant criteria for providing flexibility to local planning authorities. But others, including John Gioia, and MTC chair Adrienne Tissier, spoke up for the need for strong regional guidance in planning policy.

There is still a need for action to ensure the final OneBayArea Grant program represents a step forward for climate change, bike/ped, and safe routes to school!

The next big meeting is on the morning of March 9th—this will be the meeting when the Planning Committee will vote to approve the OneBayArea Grant. We need to attend this meeting and contact our commissioners in advance.

The commissioners need to hear from us! Reach out to MTC Commissioners  and ABAG Admin. Committee members. We need to urge the commissioners to contact MTC staff to express our concerns.

The main points to address are the following:

  • We oppose the proposed reduction in Safe Routes to School funding from $17 million to $10 million. Funding should be fully restored to $17 million.
  • Don’t open the door to funding road rehabilitation projects that “provide proximate access” to Priority Development Areas (PDAs). We want MTC to develop criteria for what development in “proximate access” to a PDA would mean to ensure that this “flexible” policy enables MTC to meet climate goals.

Flickr Photo Credit: sfbikes

Mark your calendars: We’ll be discussing the OneBayArea grant on a conference call on Wednesday, February 15 from 9am – 10am. The call will be the kick off meeting of the Healthy Transportation Network — Bay Area, a new collaboration of advocates, community members, health professionals, and planning experts from across the Bay Area, spearheaded by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and TransForm.  Please register now by going to the following link: https://secure.commonground.convio.com/TransForm/healthy-transportation-network/.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Marty Martinez of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership at (415) 637-6488 or Marty@saferoutespartnership.org. Stay tuned for more updates! Thank you.

Update from MTC’s Active Transportation Working Group meeting January 19

Last Thursday, MTC staff member Sean Co convened the Active Transportation Working Group. This is a new working group that has been formed by merging MTC’s Regional Bicycle Working Group and the Regional Pedestrian Committee.

The major issue addressed at the meeting was a revision to MTC’s complete streets policy. Sean is trying to time a revision of the current complete streets policy to coincide with the finalization and release of the OneBayArea grant in mid March.

The new policy MTC staff is aiming for is to have ALL projects funded with MTC funds include bike/ped components. If projects did not include these elements, agencies would have to provide statements as to why they were not included.

The policy changes would also require cities and CMA’s to adopt complete streets policies and provide earlier review of projects by county Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees (BPAC). As things stand now, usually BPAC’s aren’t able to review checklists of the bike/ped elements in road projects until the very end of the planning process, which does not allow them to have a strong role.

The changes would be made as a change to MTC’s Routine Accommodations Policy, Resolution 3765, which would then require a vote by MTC. At the meeting a question was raised as to whether the resolution could be formally amended fast enough to be effective for this round of OneBayArea grants. Sean Co said he believes it would be a fast, simple matter to change the resolution.

Flickr Photo Credit: WalkSF

After the new policy is adopted, next steps will include developing Complete Streets sample guidance for use of all MTC road funds, perhaps an additional guidance specific to use of OneBayArea grant funds, and model local resolutions that cities and CMA’s can adopt. There also will be revisions to the checklist of bike/ped elements that CMA’s currently use to assess road projects. (An element of the guidances would be on the timing of the completion of the checklist to provide for BPAC review.) These guidances would be developed by April. We also discussed MTC possibly providing trainings and workshops to CMA staff on the new policy.

The next meeting of the working group is currently scheduled for Thursday, March 15, but there was discussion of having a February meeting to discuss the complete streets policy further.

One Response to Bay Area Regional Efforts to Restore Funding for Active Transportation

  1. Pingback: January Meeting: California State Network « Safe Routes to School in California

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