Metropolitan Transportation Commission Bulletin for March 2015

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  • by BPC Staff
  • on March 20, 2015
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IN THIS ISSUE | New MTC Leadership | High School Internships | Bike Commuters of the Year | Bay Lights Fade | Reports to Congress & Legislature | Express Lane Update | Express Lane Survey

NEW LEADERSHIP AND NEW FACES AT MTC
Article 1

Incoming MTC Chair Dave Cortese honors outgoing Chair Amy Rein Worth with a resolution of appreciation. Photo by Peter Beeler.
There was a passing of the leadership baton at MTC in February when outgoing MTC Chair Amy Rein Worth turned her gavel over to Dave Cortese, who has served as MTC’s vice chair for the past two years and was unanimously elected by the 21-member regional Commission to serve as the chair for the two-year term running from February 2015 to February 2017. Cortese has been an MTC commissioner for eight years representing Santa Clara County, where he is president of the Board of Supervisors. February also brought the start of a new four-year term for MTC’s governing Commission, which counts among its 21 members several new members and two big-city mayors — San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Read More
HIGH SCHOOL INTERNS TEST DRIVE CAREERS
Article 2
High school interns and their supervisors gather at MTC for a show-and-tell about their summer projects. Photo by Kearey Smith.
Bay Area high school students can test-drive a career in transportation this summer and get paid while gaining valuable job experience. MTC is sponsoring approximately 40 summer internships for local high school youth who will be at least 16 years of age by mid-June. Jobs are located in city and county offices and transit agencies in all nine counties of the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma). This year’s interns will assist with a variety of engineering tasks, such as designing a bike path and collecting traffic counts, as well as other aspects of planning and delivering transportation, including conducting surveys, reaching out to the community, building web pages, writing for agency publications, working with databases and posting to social media. Some jobs involve training in GIS or other programs. Internships pay $12.25 per hour and the deadline to apply is Sunday, March 22, 2015. Read More
SHINING SPOTLIGHT ON CYCLING HEROES

Article 3

Cyclists get into the spirit on Bike to Work Day 2014. Photo by Noah Berger.

Do you know a cycling hero — someone who is committed to making every day Bike to Work Day? Someone who lives and promotes the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of bicycling? Please share his or her story with us by submitting a nomination for the Bay Area’s Bicycle Commuter of the Year awards by April 20. We’re selecting a winner from each of the nine Bay Area counties in preparation for Bike to Work Day, which falls on May 14 this year. Winners will receive gift certificates for dinner for four at Chipotle plus rechargeable bicycle headlights and boxed map sets for the San Francisco Bay Trail. Gear up for Bike to Work Day 2015 and submit a nomination at YouCanBikeThere.com.

BAY LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK, FOR NOWArticle 4A crowd gathers to soak up the Bay Lights before they go dark for several months. Photo by Kingmond Young.

Fans and supporters of the Bay Lights gathered at San Francisco’s waterfront in early March to bid farewell to the art installation that turned the north face of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into a canvas for a nightly display of dancing lights. The lights ignited joy in locals and tourists alike during their two-year run as a temporary installation. Now Illuminate the Arts, the sponsors of the project, and artist Leo Villareal have pulled the plug so they can replace the 25,000 LEDs with more robust equipment. MTC’s Bay Area Toll Authority has committed to covering the $250,000 annual cost of operating the lights once they come back on in early 2016. View Photo Gallery

 MTC MAKES PITCH TO D.C. AND SACRAMENTO
Article 5An original cover illustration by Jack Desrocher underscores the crossroad decisions facing Congress.

With the federal surface transportation law set to expire this spring, Congress faces a difficult decision about how to fund the nation’s highway and transit infrastructure. Issued in March, MTC’s 2015 Annual Report to Congress makes a strong case for raising the federal gas tax and steering more funds to metro areas, our nation’s economic engines. Funding is also a major focus of MTC’s 2015 Annual Report to the State Legislature, in which we call on legislators to approve new funding for all modes of transportation while also advocating for a temporary license plate program. According to the report, California is the only state in the nation that allows vehicle owners to drive for as long as 90 days without a license plate. The lack of a way to identify new vehicles not only results in millions of dollars in unpaid tolls, but also presents public safety issues. Read More

COMING TO A FREEWAY NEAR YOU: EXPRESS LANES
Article 6Express lanes are already in operation on State Route 237. Photo by Noah Berger.

Beginning this fall, solo motorists on Interstate 580 through Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore can cruise in the carpool lane if they’re willing to pay their way out of congested lanes. This innovation is part of a plan to convert existing high-occupancy vehicle lanes on many Bay Area freeways, including the Tri-Valley corridor, to express lanes — specially designated highway lanes that are free for carpools and other toll-exempt vehicles, but also allow solo motorists to choose to pay tolls for use of the lane, with the toll varying depending on congestion levels. Express lanes are already available on Interstate 680 southbound from Sunol to Milpitas, and from Milpitas to San Jose on State Route 237. MTC is working with local and state partners to eventually develop a total of 550 miles of express lanes in the Bay Area by 2035.  Read More

DO YOU SPEAK FREEWAY SIGNAGE?Article 7Illustration by ©2015 LACMTA

With express lanes cropping up around the country, the Federal Highway Administration is seeking guidance on signage. You can help by taking a 10-minute survey that tests your understanding of different express lane signs. Take the Survey

NOTABLE QUOTE
“I am honored to be steering MTC during this time of tremendous challenge and opportunity for the agency and the region. On the one hand, the Bay Area is blessed with renewed economic growth, but on the other, we must contend with the transportation impacts of this growth, and work to ensure that people at all income levels have access and mobility options.”
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese upon his induction as MTC’s new chair for 2015-17. Read More
ON THE CALENDAR
Parking Policy Workshop: April 3
As part of MTC’s ongoing Parking Pricing Project, the agency is hosting a free workshop for city planning and engineering staff and other interested parties at the MetroCenter Auditorium in Oakland. The first session will focus on using the new Regional Parking Database, while the second session will explore parking policy issues. Read More

MTC: Metropolitan Transportation Commission

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