Join us for an urban hike following the "Stairways to Heaven" route from Urban Trails SF. This walk will showcase some beautiful pedestrian oriented alleys and streets in a part of the city built before car-centric planning became the norm. It includes well known attractions like Coit Tower as well as gems like Macondray Lane, the inspiration for Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City.
Near the end of the hike (about 12:30pm), we will relax in Washington Square Park for lunch and write postcards to our elected officials asking to sustain Car Free JFK and extend a citywide network of safe places to walk and bike in the city.
This event is cohosted by Northern Neighbors and Walk SF.
San Francisco is having a special election for our State Assemblymember! Several candidates have announced their campaigns, and Urban Environmentalists wants to give you the opportunity to meet each one. We'll be starting with Bilal Mahmood at 6pm on October 27.
Bring your questions - this is your chance to get past the campaign ads and learn where the candidates stand on the issues that matter most to you. This event is cohosted with Streets for People.
Sign up for this virtual event at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAuduCsqTkuGdd4BX4lpqMcGCf1ri7D7VvC
Please join us for a thoughtful discussion of residential street parking, happening this evening at 7pm! The event is hosted by our friends at the Richmond Family Transportation Network, and we're thrilled to be on the panel. Register for free, bring your questions, and we'll see you at 7pm!
Update: If you missed the event, you can now watch it on video! https://youtu.be/sFDSzq4Y_4I
While legislation is essential to climate action, the work doesn't stop there. We need thoughtful, ambitious implementation by our state agencies, too.
Lately, we've been busy spreading the word about urban environmentalism at the California Air Resources Board, which is updating the state's 2045 carbon emissions roadmap (the Scoping Plan Update). This roadmap is hugely impactful, so we need to get it right.
This past month, we submitted comments on draft roadmap targets. We argued for:
Want to learn more? Here's a look at our entire public comment. Or visit the California Air Resources Board website to learn more about the Scoping Plan.
Congratulations to Urban Environmentalists Travis Close and Venessa Boehm for getting their fantastic op-ed published in Berkeleyside! In their piece, Vanessa and Travis eloquently call for the California Legislature to pass SB 9, which would legalize duplexes and lot splits statewide. Read their op-ed here.
Opinion pieces are an essential part of getting the word out about urban environmentalism. If you would like to write your own op-ed about a topic you're passionate about, please get in touch with us at email@example.com, or become a member and find us on the Slack at #environment. We'll help you refine your idea, provide writing tips and edit suggestions, and help you get placed in a local paper. Publishing an op-ed is surprisingly easy, we promise!
Want some inspiration? Check out some other op-eds written by Urban Environmentalists here:
Please join us in Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park for the Urban Environmentalists Summer Picnic! If you haven't yet checked out Car-Free JFK, this is a great opportunity to arrive by foot, bike, or scooter via JFK Drive.
Due to the pandemic, this is a BYO event: make sure to bring your own food & drink, picnic blanket, folding chair, etc. For everyone's safety, fully vaccinated attendees only.
Sign up today, and we'll see you there!
We are thrilled to announce that Joanna Gubman, a long-time volunteer lead with Urban Environmentalists, has signed on as our first-ever Executive Director!
Joanna comes to us from the California Public Utilities Commission, where she served as an Administrative Law Judge and Commissioner's Advisor, among other roles. She brings to Urban Environmentalists her expertise in clean energy and transportation policy, energy programs for underserved communities, and of course, navigating complex government bureaucracies. In her free time, Joanna serves as a member of the board of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Her several research fellowships in Germany have also inspired Joanna to become ever more committed to urbanism here in the Bay Area. She wishes everyone had the opportunity to live in a city with mixed-use multifamily development, transit that runs every 4 minutes, protected bike lanes on nearly every major street, and playgrounds every few blocks.
If you haven't yet met Joanna, we hope you'll join us for our Summer Picnic on August 29 and say hi! You can also reach out anytime with your thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you enjoyed our bike parking panel last Thursday, with helpful ideas for how to make biking more practical for SF residents and workers, especially tenants and gig economy workers. If not, stay tuned for the recording on our Youtube channel, or read our livetweet thread.
Please support our priority bill AB 1401 THIS WEEKEND
AB 1401 is a clear statement of Urban Environmentalist values, and its fate in the legislature may be decided this week.
AB 1401 eliminates parking requirements in neighborhoods near high-quality transit, which will make housing more affordable, make our cities healthier and more livable, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only does mandating parking inherently raise the price of new housing, but the requirements preclude some of the best "Missing Middle" home types we learned about in last fall's Beyond Towers and Sprawl event, capable of providing more affordable housing without subsidy. They certainly preclude exciting projects like Culdesac's new car-free neighborhood in Tempe, AZ.
Worst, recent research has shown a large, direct connection between building parking and more car ownership, and car ownership is a top predictor of household carbon footprint. California is at risk of falling behind in meeting its climate goals, and car-dependence is the biggest reason.
Support AB 1401
June 7: Fair Housing Elements + East Bay Candidate Meet & Greet
For our June meeting, hear from Jes McBride about the Campaign for Fair Housing Elements, how fairer Housing Elements support our values as Urban Environmentalists, and how you can help. Stay on for a meet & greet with Janani Ramachandran, a social justice lawyer, activist, and artist running for special election in State Assembly District 18 (Alameda and neighboring East Bay cities). RSVP here.
We co-present a guest post by two UC Davis law professors, exploring an idea raised in The True Cost of Residential Street Parking, a SPUR Digital Dialogue held in November, co-hosted with Urban Environmentalists. Watch a video of the original conversation. Many thanks to Professors Elmendorf and Shanske for diving into the question of whether California cities can legally charge market rates for parking, and to SPUR for co-publishing this post with us, excerpted below.
How to Solve the Transit Budget Crunch: Price the Private Use of Public Streets
Written By Chris Elmendorf and Darien Shanske, UC Davis, Dec 18, 2020.
Read the full piece on SPUR's website.
COVID-19 has been catastrophic for public transit. Plunging fare and tax revenues are forcing drastic cuts. San Francisco’s transit agency could lay off more than one in five workers. Los Angeles is cutting service by 20%. Washington, DC is proposing to shutter 16% of its stations and eliminate weekend rail service. State governments can’t provide stopgap funding because they’re constitutionally constrained to balance budgets (though there is some room for creativity). Congress ought to step up, but Mitch McConnell stands in the way.
We think there’s a solution right under our feet: Make private drivers pay market rates to use the public’s roads. Traditionally, transit customers have had to fork over hefty fares, while private drivers go for free. The result is congestion, endless circling for parking spaces, Ubers and Lyfts blocking bike lanes and bus stops, and, at this precarious fiscal moment, a huge pot of potential revenue waiting to be claimed.
The place to start is residential parking. San Francisco has 275,000 curb parking spaces, only 10% of which are metered. Another 80,000 are in restricted residential parking zones. For a trivial annual fee, residents park without limit in their zone. Meanwhile, garage parking in the city costs on the order of $200 to $500 a month. Street parking isn’t worth as much as garage parking, and the value of a curb space would vary a lot from one neighborhood to the next. But even if the average curb space in the city were worth only $100 per month, the city could be earning $300 million a year from the street parking it now gives away. That’s almost double the transit agency’s forecasted deficit next year...
The authors conclude:
Here’s the bottom line: The question of what and whom to charge for using the curb lane is a political and policy question for California cities, not a legal matter. Yes, someone will probably sue if a city raises the price of parking—but they’re not likely to win. Making drastic cuts to the transit budget is a choice, not an inevitability. There is a better way.
Read the full piece on SPUR's website.
Thanks for joining us for The True Cost of Residential Street Parking, co-hosted with SPUR and Streets for People.
Street Parking Video & Brainstorm
Watch the video: Missed the discussion on residential parking? No worries. Catch parking expert Donald Shoup, urban planner Anna Muessig, law professor Chris Elmendorf, and moderator Raynell Cooper from SFMTA on Urban Environmentalists' YouTube Channel.
Share your ideas: Send us your ideas for how we could better use residential curb space. We'll include our favorites in the next newsletter, and share them with SFMTA! Just take 30 seconds to draw a picture of how we could better use residential curb space (bike parking? tiny houses? you tell us!). Snap a photo of your drawing and email your photo to us, or tweet it to @UrbanEnviroCA. (Words are OK too, if you don't like to draw.)
Building Bike Networks in SF & Berlin - Dec 14
What does it take to get a complete network of protected bike lanes, without gaps or choke points? On Monday we heard from Berliner Peter Broytman (Coordination Office Cycling) about how the city rapidly expanded its bike network during covid, and discussed how SF can grow its bike network with local bike lane mapper Peter Belden. Contact us to connect with Peter Belden with your ideas about growing SF's bike network.
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