We hope you’re staying safe and healthy as we all shelter in place. Thank you to everyone who joined us at Manny’s this month for our event with Jeff Wood and Greg Shill, How the Car Lobby Rewrote Our Laws And How We Can Reclaim Cities for People. We have an update for everyone on important actions you can take to help save transit, our online book club on Sunday afternoon, and an Intro to YIMBY webinar on Monday - scroll down for more info.
And don't worry if you missed our March event. You can check out the highlights in our live tweets, and listen to Jeff Wood’s other great podcasts. He’ll be posting our event podcast around April 9, so stay tuned.
Today’s Action: Support Bay Area Transit During Covid-19
Today and over the weekend Congress will be deliberating about emergency funds for the COVID-19 crisis. The government is considering emergency funds for the oil industry and airlines. We need a functioning transit system for essential trips now and to restart our economy in a way that tackles the climate crisis. Please tell our representatives in DC that we need emergency funding for public transit, especially "transit operations" - the funding to keep service running.
And if you haven't yet taken action at the state level you still can. Governor Newsom has $500M of discretionary funding to use for the COVID-19 emergency - tell your legislators and the Secretary of Transportation that we need to save public transit for essential work during the emergency and our low-carbon future.
Administrators like Secretary Kim don't tend to hear much from the public, so your comments will be powerful. Please be polite.
Please speak up to support public transit, its riders, and operators with emergency funding as quickly as possible.
YIMBY Action Book Club, 4 PM on March 22: Golden Gates, with author Conor Dougherty
This Sunday, join our friends at YIMBY Action for a Zoom-based book club meeting! Golden Gates details the rich history of the intersection of housing and environmentalism in California and unearths gems like The Environmental Protection Hustle, a 1979 book that identified some environmentalism as thinly veiled NIMBYism that encouraged sprawl. Please join us via Zoom for some thoughtful discussion with the author, Conor Dougherty, and check out the Facebook event page for more info.
Intro to YIMBY Webinar, 7 PM on March 23
On Monday YIMBY Action is also hosting an "Intro to YIMBY" webinar which is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about some of our housing-related advocacy. Please join us via Zoom and find out more on the Facebook event page.
The first week of March is going to be a busy one for Urban Environmentalists!
How the Car Lobby Rewrote Our Laws And How We Can Reclaim Cities for People
Join us for a conversation with Greg Shill and Jeff Wood at Manny's!
Monday, March 2 at 7 PM we'll be joined at Manny's (3092 16th Street, San Francisco, CA) by Greg Shill (author of "Should the Law Subsidize Driving") and Jeff Wood (host of the "Talking Headways" podcast) titled "How the Car Lobby Rewrote Our Laws And How We Can Reclaim Cities for People." We're looking forward to a deep dive on the law and transportation!
Check out the event details on Manny's website or go straight to the Eventbrite page (tickets are $10).
Remember to vote!
Every election is now a climate election, but environmental voters have historically not turned out to vote as much as other interest groups' voters have (www.environmentalvoter.org). If you live in California, during the March 3rd presidential primary election, we have an opportunity to elect candidates who prioritize climate and housing at all levels. If you are lucky enough to live in San Mateo or Santa Clara Counties, it's so easy to vote that there's almost no excuse not to. Either:
We recommend the following sets of endorsements for voters in the Bay Area:
Transbay Bus Lane Petition
In a previous newsletter, we told you about a developing initiative to bring a bus lane back to the Bay Bridge (see our blog post on Bay Bridge Bus Lanes). That campaign is now live and Assemblymember Rob Bonta has introduced legislation in Sacramento, AB2824! Sign the petition to show your support.
We Support Enhancing California's Density Bonus
For our monthly meeting on Monday, February 3rd Urban Environmentalists welcomed Colin Dentel-Post and Paige Miller to present on the San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s current efforts to study possibilities for implementing “congestion pricing” in downtown San Francisco. The presentation to Urban Environmentalists was the first presentation to a community group, following two Policy Advisory Committee meetings.
On Monday, March 2nd at 7 PM we'll be hosting an event at Manny's (3092 16th Street, San Francisco, CA) with Greg Shill (Associate Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and author of "Should Law Subsidize Driving?") and Jeff Wood (principal at the Overhead Wire and host of the "Talking Headways" podcast) titled "How the Car Lobby Rewrote Our Laws And How We Can Reclaim Cities for People."
Greg's scholarship on transportation law and policy has been covered in a number of media outlets, including his own piece in The Atlantic. With renowned podcast host Jeff Wood along for the ride expect a riveting discussion on some of the biggest issues facing cities today, followed by a question and answer session.
Check out the event details on Manny's website or go straight to the Eventbrite page (tickets are $10).
If you want to get a head start on the discussion you can join us on Monday, February 3rd for a presentation on congestion pricing from the SFCTA at 1260 Mission Street!
Full disclosure: The author (Nathan Chan) has already canvassed for Shelly Masur.
On Wednesday, January 15, the leading candidates to replace Senator Jerry Hill of California’s 13th Senate District came together to debate climate change. The event was remarkable, both in terms of its attendance and organization. Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer Alan Mattlage had originally thought of the panel just two months ago. Hundreds of people turned out to hear what the candidates for SD13 had to offer regarding climate and environment for California. The event was sponsored by 350 Silicon Valley, Acterra, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Midpen Media Center, and Sustainable San Mateo County, and also included 20 other participating organizations, including Urban Environmentalists.
This month, there is an opportunity to hear from the SFCTA on congestion pricing, and an effort to reintroduce bus lanes on the Bay Bridge that transit riders are organizing for.
Learn about Congestion Pricing from the SFCTA
For Urban Environmentalist's next meeting on February 3, we will be hosting the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, who will be presenting their Downtown Congestion Pricing Study and Congestion Management Program efforts. The program will begin at about 6:30 with a 20 minute presentation followed by Q&A.
The SFCTA describe the benefits of Congestion Pricing on their project website:
Congestion in San Francisco has reached record levels. A rising population and job growth—combined with a growing presence of ride-hail vehicles—has resulted in clogged streets, particularly downtown and in SoMa. This impacts not only people who are traveling, but also the surrounding residents’ quality of life, safety, and health, and disproportionately affects low income communities of color.
Please RSVP here. If you want to participate remotely, please let us know and we will send you the info to join.
Bay Bridge Bus Lanes
Urban Environmentalists are also joining with other groups in organizing to bring bus lanes back to the Bay Bridge. Arielle Fleisher, transportation policy director for SPUR, sets out the case in the SF Chronicle:
Now is the time for action on transit efficiency across the Bay Bridge and beyond. Climate change is nearing the point of no return. Passenger vehicles are the single greatest source of carbon emissions produced in the Bay Area and California. Too many neighborhoods, particularly those traditionally housing vulnerable communities, have been hurt by the volume of cars pouring onto and off of highways. We have a governor who is serious about delivering on climate goals. BART and AC Transit are in agreement that our regional express buses can and need to do more. This is the moment to forge the state, regional and transit partnerships necessary to demonstrate great freeway- and bridge-based bus solutions.
If you would like to get involved, please reach out to us!
Our January meeting is Mon, Jan 6 at the YIMBY Action Clubhouse in SF, at 6pm. We will discuss heat pumps, solar panels, and building codes! RSVP if you want to participate remotely as well and we'll send a Zoom link. For the new year, we hope to make the first Mon of the month a regular meeting time and include many substantive discussion topics for meetings, while continuing to do organizational work largely online.
The group leads have been busy working on our platform.
Happy Holidays, and we'll leave you with two news items:
Our December meeting is Monday, Dec 2 at the East Bay for Everyone space in Oakland, at 6:30pm. We will also have a social and networking happy hour on Tues, Dec 17 at Cafe Flore, at 6pm. We especially invite folks working and volunteering in other environmental, housing, or transportation-focused organizations to come say hello and share ideas!
It has been a busy month for news on the climate and housing front.
We had an incredible turnout and audience engagement at our panel last Thursday! Our panel received over 100 in-person attendees and 160 online registrants, and our livestream got interest from as far away as Australia! If you want to check out the event, you can watch the livestream, see slides to be posted on the Connecting Communities webpage, and review the livetweet thread. Check out the info below about ways to get more involved with our panel hosts and participants.
We will have an organizational meeting next Tuesday in SF to discuss our draft platform and group structure, and we will have additional events next month that will be relaxed and fun for newbies as well.
American Planning Association Northern California Chapter
Commute with Enterprise
San Mateo Office of Sustainability
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Spare the Air Resource Teams