The Bay Area Transportation & Land Use Coalition (TALC) (http://www.transcoalition.org/) is a coalition of over 80 environmental and social justice organizations in the Bay Area. These organization include Greenbelt Alliance, Save the Bay, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense Fund, Congress for New Urbanism, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Palo Alto Civic League, Peninsula Conservation Center, Bay Area Action, train/bus rider associations, bike/ped groups, neighborhood groups, and churches. TALC South Bay Chapter voting member organizations passed the following policy statement. Thanks especially to Sierra Club and Peninsula Rail 2000 members for helping to craft this statement:
The Transportation and Land Use Coalition, South Bay Chapter, supports the Page Mill Corridor Design Competition outlined at www.cities21.org. A “design competition” is a formal process where proposals are solicited and shepherded through open, public review. The competition process will be based upon a recent Cincinnati elevated rail competition, involve affected constituents from the outset, and be strengthened by constituent input.
We strongly support the goals of:
A) converting 8,000 out of 34,000 daily commuters from auto to transit,
B) reclaiming parking spaces and providing affordable housing for commuters, teachers, and professors,
C) making the Stanford Research Park an even better place to work.
TALC would like to emphasize the following items about the Competition:
- All applicable techniques should be considered to meet the objectives including: A) traffic demand reduction measures without a new feeder transit system, B) paratransit / mini buses, C) dedicated busways, as well as D) personal rapid transit. Traffic demand measures include: guaranteed ride home, car sharing, personalized RIDES consulting services including carpooling & transit trip consulting, and parking cash outs.
- Non-profits must have a "seat at the table" when it comes to forming the Design Competition Committee and selecting judges. This will ensure the best solution and maximize political support. TALC member organizations have developed extensive expertise in transportation and land use issues over the years and are enthusiastic about assisting the competition. TALC will not engage significantly until the triad of Palo Alto, Stanford, and Stanford Research Park companies come on board.
- We believe strongly in social justice issues. The winning proposal must not take VTA or SamTrans operating budget away from buses and bus drivers. Page Mill companies should pay their share of the cost. The winning proposal must not end up as a "yuppie subsidy" at the expense of low income, transit-dependent commuters (See "yuppie subsidy" below for further details). The more private funding and the less local public funding, the better.
- The proposed bike / pedestrian improvements are an essential part of the plan and will provide a dramatic improvement for the office park.
- The transportation allowance scheme (or parking cash out) is an essential element of the plan to change commuter behavior.
- The affordable housing component with mixed use retail is crucial. We must stop isolating jobs from housing.
- Eliminating auto commutes reduces green house gas emissions, asthma inducing particulate emissions, and run-off water pollution into the Bay. The Bay Area must comply with the Clean Air Act, which has been repeatedly violated.
- The overall impact of mixed use affordable housing and advanced feeder transit must decrease total car trips in the corridor. Performance should be measured quarterly. If performance goals are not met, then traffic demand reduction measures should be triggered.
- The housing mix should address pressing concerns such as providing residences for teachers. The mix should have aggressive percentages of moderate, moderate/low, low, and extremely low income housing. These housing units will qualify for Location Efficient Mortgages, which allow a higher percentage of monthly income to apply towards the mortgage because auto expenses are lower.
"Yuppie subsidy" explained by Professor Richmond in "Transitory Dreams: How New Rail Lines Often Hurt Transit Systems:"
"Capital expenditures on new rail systems often drain resources from lower-cost but more effective alternatives. Nowhere has this been more clear than in Los Angeles, where the damage to bus ridership from the diversion of resources to rail far exceeds any ultimate benefit expected to be derived from rail, a situation that recently provoked a civil-rights lawsuit.
The suit was brought on behalf of low-income and ethnic minority citizens and bus drivers, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority is now under federal court order to quit beggaring service and raising fares for low-income bus riders while lavishing resources on up-scale train riders. It must put hundreds of buses back into operation, improve service, and reduce bus fares. The roughly 15 percent of LA MTA patrons on the trains [average income $65,000] have been the beneficiaries of 45 percent of the subsidies, while the 85 percent on the buses [average income less than $15,000] have received 55 percent - or roughly one-fifth the level of per-ride transit subsidy."