San Lorenzo Express News


Transportation Needs Identified in Ashland and Cherryland


DECEMBER 15, 2003


The Ashland, Cherryland, and South Hayward communities are finding solutions to transportation problems or, if necessary, inventing them. These communities are involved in a ground-breaking Community-Based Transportation Planning Program developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

Therese Knudsen, the program manager at MTC, says that the program's goal is to identify ways to fill transportation system gaps in low-income neighborhoods. It also aims to facilitate collaborative decision-making that includes residents, community-based organizations, transit operators, and the couinty Congestion Management Agency. The result should be solutions better suited to community needs and community groups that understand how transportation decisions are made so that they stay involved in the future.

The Community-Based Transportation Planning Program is an outgrowth of two earlier MTC studies that were incorporated into the 2001 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The Lifeline Transportation Network Report identified transit routes critical to the regions low-income communities and recommended community-based planning to find solutions to both distance and timing service gaps on these routes. The Environmental Justice Report outlined new ways for MTC to include low-income and minority communities in transportation planning.

The MTC established the program in October 2002 with the following guidelines:

Based on the findings of the two earlier studies and the program guidelines, MTC launched a pilot program in March 2003. The purpose of the pilot projects is to identify and fill transportation gaps in selected neighborhoods, and to find 'best practices' that can be used in future projects.

For the communities of Cherryland, Ashland, and South Hayward the CMA hired a consultant who teamed with several community groups to conduct community outreach efforts. Throughout the fall of 2003 they solicited ideas and handed out surveys at regularly scheduled meetings of community stakeholder organizations. The project team developed preliminary strategies in November. Community open houses were scheduled for December and January to refine the strategies further. They will finalize the plan by February 2004.

For more information contact Therese Knudsen of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (464-7767, tknudsen@mtc.ca.gov) or Diane Stark of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency (836-2560, dstark@accma.ca.gov).

Source: Bay Area Monitor (League of Women Voters)