Bay Area Council Blog: Transportation Archive

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Voters to Decide on Housing at Brisbane Baylands

The Bay Area would add 2,200 units of badly needed housing at an idle former industrial property located near transit under a proposal the Brisbane City Council approved this week that voters will now decide. The decision was a victory for the Bay Area Council and other groups that for years have been advocating for including housing as part of an overall project that would include 7 million square feet of commercial office space and significant open space and recreational amenities. The city previously had said it wouldn’t allow any housing on the 684-acre site, a position that drew strong condemnation from many housing advocates as the region confronts an epic housing shortage and affordability crisis. Whether voters in the small city will agree to add housing that would about double the size of Brisbane remains to be seen. UPC General Manager and Director of Development Jonathan Scharfman said “we are encouraged by Brisbane’s courageous decision to double the housing stock in their city.”

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Careers Take Flight at Working@SJC

Amid San Jose’s warm and sunny weather Tuesday afternoon, roughly 70 job seekers, educators, and talent trainers on Tuesday (July 17) attended Working@SJC at Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) – an aviation career fair the Bay Area Council co-hosted with Alaska Airlines and SJC. The event attracted a wide array of job seekers ranging from aviation students and recent-college graduates to adults looking for new opportunities to transfer their skills.

Employers in attendance included Alaska Airlines, McGee Air Services, SJC, TSA and airport concessionaries, providing job seekers with a taste of the wide variety of career opportunities available at the airport and across the aviation industry. Attendees also had the unique chance to hear remarks from aviation trailblazers such as Secretary Norman Y. Mineta (via a recorded video), Alaska Airlines Regional Vice President Marilyn Romano and SJC’s Assistant Director of Aviation Judy Ross among other representatives from British Airways, Hainan, LinkedIn, and the FAA.

Tuesday’s event continues the Workforce of the Future’s efforts to connect local talent, regional educators and employers together to build and strengthen sustainable career pathways. For more information on how to get involved with the Workforce of the Future’s initiatives, contact Senior Vice President, Policy, Linda Bidrossian.

What's Next for the Tri-Valley? Tri-Valley Rising Report Rollout Event

New Report: Tri-Valley Rising 2018

There’s a valley in the Bay Area that has been leading the region in job creation over the past 12 years, but it’s not the valley you might be thinking of. A new report the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released Wednesday (July 18) examines the economic juggernaut that is the Tri-Valley, an area encompassing the cities of Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and San Ramon. Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman led a discussion at the release event in Pleasanton with a panel of the Tri-Valley’s business and community leaders.

This isn’t a story, however, about competition with the other valley just across the Bay. It’s a story about connections, the Tri-Valley’s continuing ascendance as a technology and innovation powerhouseand its place at a key intersection of the growing Bay Area megaregion. With a GDP of $42 billion, the Tri-Valley economy is larger than the states of Wyoming and Vermont. The Tri-Valley’s 35 percent increase in jobs since 2006 exceeds San Francisco (31 percent), Silicon Valley (19 percent) and California (8 percent).

The report, which was produced in partnership with Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, analyzes the incredible jobs and economic growth in the Tri-Valley, the factors that are fueling it—including the most educated workforce in the Bay Area—and the challenges that it faces as the region’s housing and traffic crises worsen. The report also highlights the important role of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories in creating a rich ecosystem of investment, entrepreneurs and talent around which the local innovation economy is thriving. It also highlights how employers like Bishop Ranch, which has launched its own technology accelerator and is piloting autonomous shuttles, are leading the charge in embracing the valley’s growing technology sector.
The report also highlights the Tri-Valley’s key role as a job and population center for the Northern California megaregion, and it provides recommendations to ensure the future sustainability of megaregional growth, such as a focus on transit-oriented development and creating new clusters of innovation.

Read Tri-Valley Rising 2018>>

TRAFFIC RELIEF MEASURE HEADING TO SAN MATEO COUNTY BALLOT

Worsening traffic plagues the Bay Area, and San Mateo County commuters suffer from some of the worst of it. A 2017 Metropolitan Transportation Commission report found that “eight of the 10 most crowded commutes (in the Bay Area) are routes to or from the Bay Bridge or Silicon Valley.” San Mateo County voters soon may be able to do something about it.

This week, the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) Board of Directors voted to place a measure on the November ballot that will reduce traffic congestion on Highways 101, 280, and others in the county; repair potholes and address local traffic; improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities; expand regional transit connections; and construct grade separations where Caltrain tracks intersect with local streets. If voters pass the measure, the half-cent sales tax would generate $2.4 billion in revenue dedicated to improving transit for years to come. The county Board of Supervisors, which is scheduled to meet July 24, still must approve the plan before it goes on the November ballot. The Council worked with a coalition of companies the corridor to help develop the measure, and we applaud the SamTrans Board of Directors for its efforts to relieve congestion and address transit challenges in the region.

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Statement Denouncing Misguided Regional Measure 3 Lawsuit

The Bay Area Council today (July 10) issued the following statement responding to a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Regional Measure 3 (RM3), an initiative approved by almost 54 percent of Bay Area voters on June 5 to invest $4.5 billion to ease the region’s worsening traffic and expand and improve mass transit. The Bay Area Council partnered with Silicon Valley Leadership Group and SPUR to run the successful campaign for RM3.

“This misguided lawsuit is a little bit like someone arguing that fixing a leaky pipe has nothing to do with saving water,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Bay Area bridges are swamped with some of the worst traffic we’ve seen in generations, traffic that is largely the result of the 70 percent and more of commuters who every day drive alone to work. Getting commuters and others out of their cars and into mass transit, including BART, Caltrain, local buses and ferries, provides a direct and powerful benefit to everyone who uses the region’s seven state-owned bridges. Regional Measure 3 draws a clear and indisputable nexus between tolls and traffic by addressing some of the most critical bottlenecks in the bridge approaches. In addition, RM3 effectively will add greater capacity to our bridges by directing 75 percent of funding to improving and expanding critical regional mass transit systems and providing other good alternatives like bicycling and walking. We’re confident this lawsuit will be quickly dismissed or defeated.”

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BART HOUSING BILL ADVANCES

The Bay Area would add 20,000 units of new transit-oriented housing, including 7,000 units designated as affordable for lower and middle income residents, under legislation the Bay Area Council is supporting that passed key state Senate committee votes on Tuesday (June 26). AB 2923 authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (San Francisco) and Assemblymember Tim Grayson (Concord) would require BART to adopt zoning standards for transforming more than 200 acres of parking lots and other land the mass transit agency controls within a half mile of its stations into a mix of housing and commercial developments. The bill comes on the heels of legislation by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (Fremont) that the Council supported that extended from a quarter mile to a half mile the distance from stations that BART could undertake transit-oriented development on its properties. AB 2923 next moves to Assembly Appropriations. To add your company to our list of supporters, please contact Senior Director of Government Relations Cornelious Burke.

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COUNCIL’S THREE HOUSING BILLS ADVANCE

All three of the bills the Bay Area Council is sponsoring to address California’s housing crisis advanced this week. The Council is sponsoring more housing-related bills this session than any other organization in the state. SB 1227 by Sen. Nancy Skinner would allow student housing builders that meet certain affordability and other requirements to exceed local limits on the number of units allowed by 35 percent and exempt them from costly parking requirements. SB 831 by Sen. Bob Wieckowski would build on the huge success of his earlier legislation the Council sponsored in 2016 to make it faster, easier and less expensive for homeowners to add accessory dwelling units, aka granny units. SB 831 would eliminate most of the fees that add tens of thousands of dollars to each unit. SB 828 by Sen. Scott Wiener would strengthen accountability rules for cities to meet their local housing obligations. All three bills still have a couple legislative committee stops in the coming weeks. To find out how you can help in advocating for passage of these bills, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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CONDOLEEZZA RICE, DAVID BROOKS & #METOO LEADERS WOW PACIFIC SUMMIT

The timing was ideal. As President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, guests at the Bay Area Council’s 2018 Pacific Summit on Tuesday were sitting down to hear from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on what it all meant. In a lengthy conversation with Andrew Westergren, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Strategy and Corporate Development for Visa, in front of almost 200 top executives and other leaders, Rice candidly acknowledged the unconventional way in which the summit came together but also said it was worth a try given the failure of past efforts. Rice also gave her insights and analysis about the tumultuous G7 meeting in Canada, talked about U.S.-China relations as a trade war looms and provided insights into the motives and agenda of Russia President Vladimir Putin.

With national attention intensely focused on the issues of sexual harassment and discrimination, the timing was also perfect for a lively conservation with two leaders of the #MeToo movement. Janet Liang, President of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, moderated the discussion with Adama Iwu, Vice President of State Government and Community Relations for Visa, and Tina Tchen, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and Partner at Buckley Sandler. Iwu was honored as a Time magazine Person of the Year for her work in founding We Said Enough, a group focused on exposing and changing a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination in the California legislature. Tchen is a leader of Time’s Up, which works to support women who have suffered sexual harassment or discrimination. The three gave their personal insights on the #MeToo movement and the cultural and institutional changes that must occur in order to end sexual harassment and discrimination.

The audience also was treated to sobering and humorous remarks from renowned New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks, in his comments and in a Q&A with McKinsey & Co. Senior Director and West Coast Regional Manager Kausik Rajgopal, talked about cultural and political divides in the U.S. and how a sense of community that has united people in the past has been replaced by tribalism, which by its nature divides people.

See photos of the Pacific Summit>>

The conversations continued later in the afternoon in smaller group discussions, with PwC Managing Partner Jeanette Calandra moderating a conversation with Tchen, UPS Northern California District President Rosemary Turner leading a discussion with Dr. Rice and TMG Partners leader Denise Pinkston guiding a talk with Brooks. Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman opened the summit with insights about the Bay Area’s run of economic success and the housing and transportation challenges that threaten to pull the rug out from under it.

The Bay Area Council extends its thanks to Visionary sponsor Kaiser Permanente and the many other sponsors whose support is critical to funding our public policy and advocacy. See a full list of all Pacific Summit sponsors. Our thanks also to the Kohl Mansion for hosting us.

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2018 BACPoll: Can Transportation Tech Solve Bay Area Traffic?

Bay Area voters are embracing new automobile and transportation technologies, from ride-hailing apps to responsive traffic signals, drones and electric and self-driving cars, to combat the region’s awful traffic, according to the 2018 Bay Area Council Poll.

The poll found a significant 69 percent of voters want traffic signals upgraded with technology that makes them responsive to actual traffic conditions, even if that means diverting money from other transportation priorities. Such technology has been tested in recent years in several Bay Area cities, including San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Rosa and Hayward, but hasn’t been put into widespread use.

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Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft continue to be a popular choice for commuters. The Bay Area Council Poll found that from 2015 to 2018 those who have never used a ride-hailing application dropped from 68 percent to 39 percent, although there was little change from last year. Still, 74 percent said these services are an important part of the Bay Area’s transportation system and 56 percent say they have made it easier to get around.

“We need to put the pedal to the metal in developing and deploying new advanced transportation technologies that can improve our region’s mobility,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “It may be a number of years before some of these new technologies are fully proven, but that should not delay us in continuing to invest, experiment and learn how they can help solve one of our most intractable problems. With companies like Tesla and Proterra, the Bay Area has quickly become a leading global center for innovation in the automobile and transportation industry. It’s extremely exciting to think about how these technologies will transform the ways in which we get around.”

See the results>>

Many Residents Not Ready for Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars is one of those early-stage technologies, and they continue to intrigue Bay Area voters. The poll found 46 percent of voters willing to relinquish control of the steering wheel, down from 52 percent in 2017, but consistent with the previous two years. Almost a quarter of voters said self-driving cars can solve the Bay Area’s traffic problem, but the poll found 65 percent of voters remain unconvinced about their traffic-busting ability.

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That may have something to do with the fact that many voters in the survey still think it will be awhile longer before self-driving cars outnumber human drivers on the road. While 31 percent say self-driving cars will be the majority plying the roads within the next 10 years, 45 percent say self-driving cars won’t rule the roads for 11 to 50 years or more and 8 percent don’t see them ever taking over. The overall average time is 16.36 years.

Electric Vehicles Gain Traction

As California pushes to meet an aggressive goal set this year by Gov. Jerry Brown of putting 5 million zero emission vehicles on the streets by 2030, voters appear willing to spend a little bit more to help make that happen. The Bay Area Council Poll found that 55 percent would dig a little deeper to drive an all-electric vehicle. Still, voters harbor concerns about the range of electric vehicles, with 40 percent saying they wouldn’t use an all-electric car because they don’t go far enough on a single charge.

The support for all-electric vehicles is mirrored in voters’ attitudes about a proposal to ban all fossil-fuel powered cars in California by 2040. The poll found 52 percent of voters agree California should do away with gas-powered vehicles.

On several of the questions involving self-driving, ride-hailing and electric vehicle technologies, younger voters generally showed higher support.

Voters Embrace Ferries and Flying Drones

Ferries may not meet the strict definition of advanced technology transportation, but voters see them as a popular alternative to the region’s clogged roadways and other overburdened mass transit systems. The poll found that 66 percent of voters would take a ferry if it took them where they wanted to go. That should be strong encouragement for the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which operates the regional SF Bay Ferry service, as it works on an ambitious plan to dramatically expand regional ferry service along traditional east-west routes and new routes connecting with Silicon Valley and Richmond.

Flying drones may not carry commuters (yet), but they offer the chance to remove cars and trucks from the roads. That’s appealing to voters in the Bay Area Council Poll, which found 54 percent support the use of drones if it means delivering packages faster, cheaper and with fewer carbon emissions.

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The 2018 Bay Area Council Poll, which was conducted online by Oakland-based public opinion research firm EMC Research from March 20 through April 3, surveyed 1,000 registered voters from around the nine-county Bay Area about a range of issues related to economic growth, housing and transportation, drought, education and workforce.

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BACPoll: Voters Say They’d Pay to End Awful Traffic

Bay Area voters are so frustrated with the region’s horrific traffic that they are willing to dig deep—really deep—into their pockets to solve the problem, according to 2018 Bay Area Council Poll released today (June 4).

The poll found that 42 percent of voters would pay from $3 up to $11 a day to eliminate traffic completely from their daily commute. With an estimated 3.4 million automobile and mass transit commuters in the region and 261 business days in the year, that hypothetically would translate into between $10.2 million and $37.4 million a day or up to $9.76 billion a year to do away with gridlock.

“Traffic is taking a huge toll on our quality of life, our economy, our environment, and voters are fed up,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Voters want solutions and they are willing to pay for it, to get back valuable time to spend with their families, in their careers and doing other activities that is being stolen from them as they sit in stop-and-go congestion.”

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See the results>>

Some voters were willing to pay even more. The poll found 9 percent of voters would pay from $11 up to $21 a day to do away with traffic and another 4 percent said they’d fork over from $21 up to $51 for clear sailing on the Bay Area’s roads and highways.

Of course, voters also wouldn’t mind getting paid to help solve the problem, according to the Bay Area Council Poll. Asked how much it would take for them to give up their car and join a carpool, the poll found 44 percent of drivers who commute alone would give it up for carpooling if the price is right. And that price appears to be about $5, with the poll finding that 55 percent of all commuters say they would switch to carpooling for a little more than the cost of a couple gallons of gas.

It’s little wonder voters are willing to open their wallets. The poll found 64 percent of voters say getting around the Bay Area has gotten more difficult over the past year. That’s up from 25 percent in 2014. Voters also mentioned the Bay Area’s notoriously bad traffic as the region’s second biggest problem behind high housing costs.

While Bay Area voters may be willing to pay to end traffic, they were also very clear on who they think is most responsible for fixing the region’s transportation travails. The poll found that 66 percent say government agencies bear primary responsibility for improving traffic and transportation.

Negative views about the worsening commute were generally consistent across county lines, although San Francisco saw a considerable spike in voters who say the city’s traffic is making it harder and harder to get around. The percentage of voters who said San Francisco’s traffic is getting worse jumped from 47 percent in 2017 to 61 percent in 2018, the biggest increase among the region’s nine counties.

The region’s congested roadways and public transit systems are also taking a big bite out of commuters’ time. According to the Bay Area Council Poll, 50 percent of voters say their daily commute to and from work consumes from one to two hours, with one third of voters saying their two-way commute sucks 90 minutes out of their day. Contra Costa County voters spend more time than others stuck in traffic, reporting that their daily commute can stretch to 48 minutes each way.

“Our freeways are packed on a regular basis, not just at commute times. The overflow into our communities during commute periods have (sic) impacted local residents from moving around in their own communities,” said one poll respondent.

The poll results will be tested on June 5, when voters will decide on Regional Measure 3. RM3 will appear on ballots in nine Bay Area counties and asks voters to approve a plan for investing $4.5 billion on a variety of projects to ease traffic and improve mass transit. The projects would be paid for by a $3 toll increase phased in over six years on seven of the region’s state-owned bridges. The Bay Area Council is helping lead the campaign with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and SPUR to pass RM3 and advocated for the state legislation that authorized putting it on the ballot.

The 2018 Bay Area Council Poll, which was conducted online by Oakland-based public opinion research firm EMC Research from March 20 through April 3, surveyed 1,000 registered voters from around the nine-county Bay Area about a range of issues related to economic growth, housing and transportation, drought, education and workforce.