TopeNews-March 2012
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Only Two Weeks Left to Nominate Candidates for "Excellence in Motion" Awards


Fannie Mae Barnes, Cable Car Grip Operator (2008 Merit Award Winner)  
Has an organization in your community worked hard to promote alternatives to driving alone, boost smart growth or encourage climate-friendly behavior? Are you wowed by local efforts to improve and promote public transit service? Is your bus driver exceptionally friendly and helpful? Now is your chance to nominate an organization or individual for an MTC award - but only two weeks remain until the March 31 deadline.

Now in its 30th cycle, the biennial "Excellence in Motion" awards program recognizes individuals, projects and organizations making a positive impact on transportation in the region. Winners will be selected by a jury representing MTC and the community. See listings of past winners here and visit the MTC Excellence in Motion Awards page  to submit an application online. Self-nominations are acceptable. The deadline is Saturday, March 31, 2012. Contact Terry Lee (510-817-5952 or [email protected]) if you have any questions.

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Draft Preferred Lane Use Scenario Now Available  


Plan Bay Area LogoThis winter, MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) solicited input from Bay Area residents on various land use and transportation investment strategies. Nine public workshops were held, one in each of the Bay Area counties, that drew some 1,100 participants, along with a companion virtual workshop with 1,300 responses. In addition, 10 focus groups were conducted with community-based organizations to assist with public involvement in low-income communities and communities of color, and a statistically valid telephone survey involved some 1,600 residents. And finally, four focus group sessions, with a mix of urban, suburban and rural Bay Area residents recruited from the poll, were held in San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Novato.


The resulting draft preferred land use scenario, titled Making the Jobs-Housing Connection, seeks to demonstrate how the Bay Area's diversity of communities and natural resource areas can retain and enhance their unique qualities and characteristics supported by a strong, globally competitive economy with housing opportunities located near job centers and transit services. It provides an overview of past and projected trends: how the region grew over the past thirty years and expected economic and demographic trends; housing access and production challenges; and the relationship of housing, employment centers and transportation infrastructure. The scenario includes projected jobs, population and housing distribution by 2040 for the region, counties, cities and priority development areas.   


Coming in April is a draft preferred transportation scenario and investment strategy that, together with the draft land use scenario, will be considered by MTC and ABAG in May. A draft Plan Bay Area is slated for release in late 2012, and MTC and ABAG are expected to approve a final plan by spring 2013.  


Read more about the interagency Plan Bay Area effort here  


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Smartphone App Released by 511

With just one app, Smartphone users can plan trips on trains, buses and ferries offered by more than 30 public transit agencies. 511, the Bay Area's traveler information system, is now offering its first smartphone app for transit users. The 511 Transit App is currently available for Android and an iPhone version will be released soon. The free 511 Transit App is a multiple-agency public transit trip planner using GPS-based location tools for smartphones. Ideal for a weekend errand, occasional trip or daily commute, the app serves both residents and visitors who are planning transit trips within the nine-county region.

The new app provides door-to-door transit trip planning and scheduled departure times for transit routes near your location or from a location you specify. It includes information for 720 routes and more than 23,700 transit stops throughout the region. An interactive, dynamic map shows routes and stops along the way, as well as your current position while on the move. Walking directions to and from stops and fares (including transfers) are also displayed.

The 511 Transit App includes data from SF Muni, BART, AC Transit, VTA, SamTrans, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, County Connection, Vallejo Transit, LAVTA, Sonoma County Transit, VINE (Napa County) and more than a dozen additional agencies. For a complete list of all transit agencies included in the 511 Transit app, visit the trip planning page.


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Plans Unveiled for Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Anniversary 


Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge at the Golden Gate Festival, a two-day event slated for Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27, 2012. The festival is the center point of the Bridge's year-long 75th anniversary program and will include a historic watercraft parade, multiple music and dance stages, art installations, history and educational presentations, and the display of cars from 1937 to the present. Bridge-themed activities will span the San Francisco waterfront from Fort Point (located below the Golden Gate Bridge) to Pier 39, including the Fort Mason Center, Ghirardelli Square, the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and Fisherman's Wharf. The weekend will conclude with a fireworks display and grand finale at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 27.

For additional information, go to


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Bay Area Households Invited to Take Statewide Household Survey

Bay Area households are receiving letters in the mail inviting them to take part in a statewide survey of household travel behavior. If you receive an invitation from the "California Household Travel Survey," then we encourage you to participate.


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which is conducting the one-year survey, started sending out letters in February and will continue the survey until February 2013. It is part of an effort to help government agencies plan for transportation investments. MTC is contributing additional funding to increase the Bay Area survey size to about 10,000 households. Note that, because of demographic targets that must be met, only randomly selected households that receive an invitation containing a pin number can participate. For more information, read the press release here.


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Pilot Study Finds Alameda County Shoreline and Transportation Infrastructure At Risk to Sea-Level Rise 

According to a recent multi-agency pilot study, some of the Bay Area's most important transportation infrastructure is vulnerable and at risk to sea-level rise. The study, Adapting to Rising Tides, focused on the Alameda County shoreline between Emeryville and Union City and found that the Posey and Webster tubes connecting Oakland to Alameda, BART's Transbay Tube between Oakland and San Francisco, and the eastern approach to the Bay Bridge in Oakland, are all at risk.

Conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Caltrans, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), with assistance from AECOM and Arcadis, the study gives new urgency to efforts to further assess the vulnerability of transportation infrastructure to sea-level rise and to begin a rigorous adaptation planning effort to respond to sea-level rise in the Bay Area. It was completed with funding from the Federal Highway Administration.

For additional information, go to

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Variety of Art Shows Exhibited at the MetroCenter

"Fantasy Flight" by Linda Ruggieri
Now through April 30, more than 100 works by artists from Marin are featured on the third floor of the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter at 101 Eighth Street, Oakland. The Marin Artists Invitational includes acrylics, watercolors, oils, chalk pastels, pencil sketches, 3-D collages and archival and digital photographs.

Meet the 22 artists at a reception on Tuesday, March 20, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on the third floor of the MetroCenter. The show is available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Hold That Note, featuring the recent paintings of Ira Watkins, has been extended through March 30, 2012, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in the MetroCenter LunchStop Cafe and adjacent lobby area.

Larry Clark's paintings are featured in Southern Exposure, on exhibit through March 30, 2012, in the offices of the Association of Bay Area Governments and adjacent lobby area on the first floor of the MetroCenter. ABAG office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and lobby hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Three new shows are coming in April:
  • BART paintings by Elizabeth Ennis will be featured in the LunchStop Cafe.
  • The paintings of Judy Gittelsohn will be on exhibit in the offices of the Association of Bay Area Governments.
  • Transbay Terminal Archaeological Artifacts will be on display in the MetroCenter Lobby through June 29, 2012. This exhibit showcases artifacts uncovered during archaeological investigations at the Transbay Transit Center project site in San Francisco.
Most art work is for sale; contact Brenda Kahn, Community Art Coordinator, at [email protected], or Georgia Lambert, Assistant Art Coordinator, at [email protected], for more information.


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