Going Forward in 2021 - pandemic and all #SVTU
So, it's now 2021. If you haven't heard already, we are still in a global pandemic. A global pandemic wrapped in a burrito of climate change, within a sandwich of open racial and class division not seen in this country since the 1960's.
Monica the Rising Star
Despite all of this, and with the stroke and ultimately death of my own mother, public transit advocacy in Silicon Valley has continued to move forward. Its biggest such mover: our own Monica Mallon of San Jose. Here's what she's done, especially over the last 18 months:
· Worked with the Mothers Out Front Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action to get VTA to pass a "climate emergency" declaration
· Helps run the Voices For Public Transportation Coalition to help procure federal COVID-19 relief funding for VTA and other transit agencies.
· Continues to help secure proper VTA bus & light rail operations funding. (See last email post for more details.)
Ms. Mallon: please tell us more about you're doing now. Also, tell us how we can all work together to make VTA better and more equitable for everyone.
Adina Levin has played a huge role in helping to save Caltrain from severe service cuts. These cuts at Caltrain would have possibly ended all commuter rail service on the Peninsula between San Jose and San Francisco - service that started in 1850. This was achieved by having voters in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara pass Measure RR last year. That ballot measure, now passed, gives Caltrain a dedicated funding source it has never had (est. $108 million/year for 30 years, via a 1/8-cent sales tax in all 3 counties.)
Also, Adina helps manage Seamless Bay Area, whose goal is to unite all 27 Bay Area transit agencies to have a common fare structure, management, planning, and service philosophy. This in addition to running the Friends Of Caltrain.
Adina: please tell us how we can all help you help make public transit better and more equitable for everyone.
In eastern San Jose, our own Danny Garza is working with his neighborhood group to ensure VTA has a future light rail stop at Ocala and Capitol Expressway. Mr. Garza reminds us that nearby Reid-Hillview Airport will soon become a mixed use housing/educational development; hence, a light rail station will be needed to support the redeveloped area.
Danny: please tell us more of your Ocala future light rail station fight. Inform us what we can do together to help make it happen.
Jim's Better Bike Paths
Finally, our own Jim Stallman notes a social equity and social justice issue with VTA's Highway 85 lane adding project. Mr. Stallman noted that it comes at the expense of two walking paths thru several poorer areas of San Jose. Particularly, he wants VTA to spend $9 million in our 2016 Measure B funding to correct this.
Jim: Please tell us more on what's truly going on with the Highway 85 corridor, and social equity violations occurring. Inform us how we can work together to have VTA correct this.
Now, Your Story
Given all of this, tell us:
· What are YOUR public transit priorities in 2021, even with this global pandemic?
· What are YOU willing to learn via our group in 2021 to help make it or them happen?
· What are YOU willing to do with our group in 2021 to help make it or them happen?
Self, "loner" and "do it for me" guarantees you learn nothing, ensuring nothing gets better. Together has the best chance of better for all.
Let's ensure we make better together in 2021.
Pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects - here is a marked up map showing what Measure B Ped Bike money is funding for the next decade. The red shaded areas are Community of Concern neighborhoods. Note that only half the projects got funded (shown as solid outline/circle) - County and some cities didn’t get theirs funded. The dashed locations did not get funded but could if VTA included corridor bike ped safety as part of freeway projects being funded. It is MTC policy to do so. If MTC 3765 was complied with, then not just the dashed CofC safety projects, but all of the Ped Bike projects - which are all priority projects - would get funded.
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