Twice each year, the states housing, climate, and transportation agencies hold a joint meeting - the perfect venue for some urban environmentalism! (That's HCD, ARB, and CalSTA, for those of you who enjoy getting into the weeds.)
At this November's meeting, a key item on the agenda was review of a progress report on implementation of the state's Climate Adaptation Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI), recently released by CalSTA. We called in to make public comment, and also submitted written comments to CalSTA. Here's an excerpt of what we said:
As state agencies' own studies and reports acknowledge, we cannot meet our greenhouse gas and vehicle miles traveled reduction goals, not to mention address our housing affordability crisis, without building more infill housing. Infill housing is thus an essential issue that requires policies and programs with teeth across multiple agencies, and not just aspirational goals or process requirements
The CAPTI report suggests that work on infill housing (S7.1) is "complete." However, as with many other elements of the report, the implementation to date is insufficient and would better be described as "in progress." To more effectively incentivize jurisdictions to be pro-housing, additional implementation could include:
No other commenters mentioned infill housing, an indication of how far we still have to go as a movement in bringing infill housing to the forefront of the climate action narrative. We invite you to join us in this activism, and hope our state agencies start listening!
Last month our executive director, Joanna Gubman, had the pleasure of being interviewed by our friends at Modern Power about our work here at Urban Environmentalists (and her previous work in clean energy and transportation at the California Public Utilities Commission).
We kept being focused on technology substitution. Let's take our gas cars and turn them into electric cars… Those things are great and they need to happen. And they are not enough.
If you've been wanting to learn more about what we do at Urban Environmentalists and how you can get involved, this interview is a great introduction -- take a look!
This morning, the SF Chronicle published an opinion piece by Urban Environmentalists Lead Zack Subin and UCLA Professor Michael Manville. In their article, they call on Governor Newsom to sign AB 2097, a parking reform bill that would prohibit local governments from mandating excessive parking near transit:
Parking policy is both climate policy and housing policy; done right, it can also make California a more affordable place that offers more opportunities to more people.
Urban Environmentalists has supported AB 2097 throughout this legislative session, sending support letters to the Legislature, calling representatives, and more. We're excited and proud of how far this bill has come, and call on the Governor to sign AB 2097 now!
At Urban Environmentalists, our bread and butter is grassroots advocacy. But it's important to advance thought leadership in our field, too! We're honored that our peer-reviewed paper on Energy Efficiency, Land Use, and Equity was accepted into the conference proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, a leading national conference that takes place biennially.
The paper was written by our executive director, Joanna Gubman, and lead volunteer Vanessa Boehm. Joanna presented at the conference this past Friday, where we were able to meet and learn from a number of potential new coalition partners. We look forward to jointly exploring how energy efficiency programs and policies can actively pursue land use justice, not just technological solutions, to better help both people and planet.
On Apr 26, SF made permanent a car-free JFK Promenade. Urban Environmentalists joined a broad coalition of San Franciscans that helped spur legislation from the mayor, ultimately supported by 7 of 11 city supervisors after a 12 hour meeting. This is a key step, but only a first step, towards creating the complete active transportation network that will be needed to meet the city's climate action target of 80% trips on active or shared travel modes by 2030. Walk SF has a recap of more ways to celebrate in the coming weeks.
We've been busy with other advocacy and events:
Letter campaign to the SF Planning Commission in support of more homes in the SF Housing Element Update
Urban Environmentalists have created an action letter to send to the SF Planning Commission demanding more housing and greater equity in the Housing Element Update. Join the campaign here.
As part of its Vision Zero Strategy update, the SF MTA has proposed weaving together the city's protected bike lanes with nascent Slow Streets and car-free streets into a connected network. We could not be more excited about this concept, but it will take sustained political support to make it a reality. Read more and sign our petition.
Urban Environmentalists has had three Meet & Greets with candidates for State Assembly district 17, corresponding to Eastern SF. We have hosted Bilal Mahmood, David Campos, and Thea Selby, and the final event with be with Matt Haney on Dec 13. We have cohosted with Streets for People and SF YIMBY. You can catch the event videos at Streets for People's YouTube page.
SF-based Urban Environmentalists will be participating in SF YIMBY's endorsement process: stay tuned for their endorsements by early Jan 2022.
We're proud to join over 200 other organizations in calling on COP26 leaders to commit to boosting bicycling as a way to quickly and effectively make progress on our climate goals. Learn more and sign your organization on too!