Posted Monday, September 29, 2014
New Grant Program Available to Local Governments for Car Sharing
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) invites city and county governments and other public agencies within the nine-county Bay Area to apply for grants to help expand car sharing services in their communities. As part of its multi-pronged effort to meet Plan Bay Area’s targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, the Commission in April 2014 committed $2 million of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds to provide an expected four or five one-time grants to expand car sharing around the region.
Public agencies eligible to receive federal-aid funding are welcome to apply for car sharing grants on their own, or as the lead agency in partnerships with businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or community organizations. Applicants must provide a local match of at least 11.47 percent of the total project budget, and must be seeking to establish, expand or improve car sharing service in:
• urban or suburban locations that do not already have robust car sharing options;
• underserved minority and/or low-income communities;
• business parks and transit connections; or
• promote innovative technologies, such as point-to-point car sharing, electric-vehicles, etc.
Evaluation criteria will favor proposals for car sharing projects in the 16 cities taking on two-thirds of the region’s expected housing growth under Plan Bay Area, and in other municipalities taking on a significant amount of growth in the years ahead. Complete information about the car sharing grant program, including an application, may be found here: http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/current_topics/7-14/car_share.htm
Applications are due by 4:00 p.m., Friday, October 17, 2014.
For more information, contact Janice Richards at 510-817-5815.
Posted Monday, September 29, 2014
Employers Now Required to Offer Employees Commuter Benefits by September 30, 2014
San Francisco Bay Area employers with 50 or more full-time employees including public agencies, private businesses, and non-profit organizations are now required to register at https://commuterbenefits.511.org/ and offer commuter benefits to their employees in order to comply with the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program developed pursuant to CA Senate Bill 1339. The program is modeled on local ordinances in several Bay Area cities (Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, and the San Francisco International Airport). Through this program, employers must offer their employees one of four Commuter Benefit options:
What are my options?
1. Option 1 – Allow employees to exclude their transit or vanpool costs from taxable income, to the maximum amount, as allowed by federal law (currently $130 per month).
2. Option 2 – Employer-provided transit subsidy (or transit pass) or vanpool subsidy up to $75 per month.
3. Option 3 – Employer-provided free or low cost bus, shuttle or vanpool service operated by or for the employer.
4. Option 4 – An alternative employer-provided commuter benefit that is as effective as in reducing single occupant vehicles as Option 1-3.
The various commuter benefits outlined are designed to encourage employees to take transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycle and walk, rather than drive alone to work. It is anticipated that employees will be more willing to use commute alternatives when encouraged by their employer’s through this Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program. The program is designed for employers with 50 or more full-time employers. However, some employers with fewer than 50 Bay Area employees may be subject to a local commuter benefits ordinance that have been adopted by the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond, as well as the San Francisco International Airport.
Employers are required to notify employees of the commuter benefit that they will provide and document implementation of their commuter benefits program and make records available to the Air District and/or MTC upon request.
Visit https://commuterbenefits.511.org/ and click on Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program, for more information and to register for the program. To request free assistance or for more information, just click on the “Needs Assistance” section or call 511 and say “Commuter Benefits.” Employer Services Representatives are available in each county to provide free assistance to employers in setting up programs. There is a help line specialists available at (510) 273-3680.
The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program is a partnership of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, managing employer outreach for the Program, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, developer of Regulation 14, Rule 1: Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program and managing compliance for the Program.
Posted Friday, September 19, 2014
Priority Conservation Areas
Revised Application Process
As part of the broader Plan Bay Area Implementation effort, ABAG staff worked with local jurisdictions, the ABAG administrative committee and stakeholders to develop a Priority Conservation Areas (PCA) program update. Adopted July 17, 2014, this update specifically addresses the Open Space and Farmland implementation areas and introduces four categories to recognize the role of different kinds of PCAs in supporting the vitality of the region's natural systems, rural economy and human health.
All new and modified PCAs must apply or re-apply. The revised guidelines for new PCA nominations, review and adoption, and confirming existing PCAs are summarized below.
Updated PCA Application Process and Requirements
The application requires that new PCA nominations include:
1. An adopted resolution of support from the jurisdiction(s) in which it is located
2. A map and text describing the general area and boundaries of the PCA
3. Selection of one or more of the PCA designations described below and text and supporting text and data
4. Discussion of the regional and local importance of the PCA
Sponsors of proposed PCAs are required to complete the applications by May 30, 2015. For more information, go to http://abag.ca.gov/vision/conservation/.
Posted Thursday, August 28, 2014
ABAG Response to South Napa Earthquake
ABAG sends its sympathy and concern to the North Bay communities hit by the South Napa earthquake, especially to those that have been injured, and have sustained damage to their homes and businesses. We are working together to provide as much support as we can. ABAG recognizes the outstanding work, effective coordination, proper support and strong community spirit of the City and the County of Napa.
At 3:20 AM (local time) on Sunday, August 24, 2014, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck, centered near American Canyon in Napa County. Unreinforced masonry buildings, mobile homes, single family homes, and infrastructure systems all sustained damage in the earthquake.
The California Earthquake Clearinghouse immediately organized teams to survey and report on the damage from the earthquake. Reports and photos from the field can be found on the virtual clearinghouse. ABAG also responded by participating in the field reconnaissance efforts, sharing lessons learned from Napa with ABAG’s elected officials from other communities, and will be working with local governments in the coming weeks to support resilience building efforts for future earthquakes.
The link, http://quake.abag.ca.gov/projects/south-napa-earthquake-portal/, provides a list of actions that local governments and residents can take now to prepare for earthquakes, and a digest of the pertinent media coverage compiled for members to use. At http://quake.abag.ca.gov there is alos a toolkit compilation of disaster recovery and resilience policies, regulations and materials to support current planning, the latest on housing and community risk assessments, and a section on infrastructure and airport resilience.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, ABAG is sponsoring a public policy symposium, Loma Prieta 25: Still on Shaky Ground—Building Bay Area Resilience, on Thursday, October 16th, at Oakland's Kaiser Center.
Visit the conference site for more information and to register: www.lomaprieta25.com
Community and business leaders are encouraged to join this critical regional gathering and support the policy recommendations for safer communities that ABAG and its partner agencies have developed for implementation.
Posted Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Save the Date
Loma Prieta 25: Still on Shaky Ground
Building Bay Area Resilience
Conference on October 16, 2014
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the Structural Engineering Association of Northern California (SEAONC) will convene the Loma Prieta 25 Symposium on October 16, 2014, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. This public policy symposium will be held at the Kaiser Center in Oakland at 300 Lakeside Drive. Expert speakers will include panelists from local Bay Area jurisdictions, and state, federal and regional agencies. Critical analyses about strengthening Bay Area communities, lifeline systems, and policies since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake will be presented.
Speakers—policy experts, community leaders and local, state, and national elected officials, and engineering and mitigation/resilience experts-- will examine resilience progress accomplished in the last twenty-five years; discuss infrastructure interdependence; review best ways to finance community safety; and explore how cities apply implementation for a safer, smart future, as well as recommendations for community resilience building for future regional earthquakes.
Visit the conference site for more information and to register: www.lomaprieta25.com
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014
New Bay Area Water Trail Web Map Launches
Looking to spend some time this summer on the Bay in your kayak or other small watercraft and don’t know where to go? The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail is launching a new web-based interactive map! This trip planning tool for non-motorized small boat users showcases Water Trail launch and destination sites. Boaters can view information about each designated Water Trail site, complete with description, photos, directions, and a link for more detailed information about each site. View the Water Trail map at sfbaywatertrail.org/map/.
The nine-county Water Trail program is intended to promote recreational water access opportunities and increase an appreciation of the Bay and its unique resources. Trip planning resources give boaters information about where they can go to access the Bay. This valuable information is featured on the Water Trail website, which also includes links to real-time water and weather conditions, information about the Bay’s wildlife, and a list of outfitters and clubs where people can rent boats, take classes, or go on guided trips. The Water Trail web map complements the information already provided and is designed to grow as more Water Trail sites are added. Future updates could include the location of waterfront lodging, camping, or boat rental locations.
The base map used to create the Water Trail web map is the same one created and used by the San Francisco Bay Trail Project. The Water Trail map has Bay-side details that are of interest to both Water Trail and Bay Trail users and having both trails share the map is a good example of different programs working together to leverage funds and share resources. The State Coastal Conservancy provides funding for both trail programs. For more information, visit the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail website at http://sfbaywatertrail.org.
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail program is a four agency partnership led by the State Coastal Conservancy, in close collaboration with the Association of Bay Area Governments, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and Division of Boating and Waterways (now part of the Department of Parks and Recreation).
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Local Governments Honored with Growing Smarter Together Awards
View Videos of these Award Winning Projects
ABAG’s Eighth Annual Growing Smarter Together Awards were presented during its Spring General Assembly to the cities of Redwood City, Walnut Creek, Campbell, Richmond, Fremont, South San Francisco, and Vallejo. The role of the cities’ public private partners was also recognized with representatives praised for their contributions. Video presentations of the projects were a special highlight, visually documenting the cities’ innovative collaborative efforts in revitalization, planning, innovation and technology to create sustainable communities and promote conservation and green community.
Redwood City received the first Powering Forward—Innovation and Technology Award for their milestone social media and Police Public Safety Campaign. Two Public Private Partnership Awards were presented, with the City of Walnut Creek and Habitat for Humanity-East Bay Silicon Valley recognized for their innovative collaboration to create Pleasant Creek Homes with its affordable home ownership units. The City of Campbell, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Summerhill Homes received the second Public Private Partnership award for their groundbreaking work together to develop Maravilla affordable workforce housing.
The City of Richmond was honored with two awards in the categories of Start It Up for its sustainable, healthy community-driven General Plan, and a Preserving and Protecting the Environment Award with Marin Clean Energy (MCE) as a Community Choice Aggregator. The City of Fremont was praised for its implementation of its Downtown Fremont-General Plan with an On the Ground-Getting It Done award. The groundbreaking development by South San Francisco with MidPen Housing for creating 636 El Camino, affordable housing for families offering a full range of services and amenities, exemplified the Sharing the Benefits award. The City of Vallejo and Domus Development received the special Urban Design award their adaptive reuse of Temple Arts Loft into residential-commercial artist lofts and strategic redesign of surrounding downtown area into an arts and entertainment district.
The cities’ award winning projects exemplify the goals of the Growing Smarter Together Awards to strengthen and support existing communities and create a better connection between jobs, housing and transportation to address residents’ daily needs. These local government efforts help create a sustainable community protecting our Bay Area environment while also creating a strong economy and supporting social equity through innovation and collaboration.
View videos at http://www.abag.ca.gov/smarter.html.
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014
View PowerPoint Presentations from ABAG Spring 2014 General Assembly Sharing Opportunity in the Bay Area: Access to Jobs and Housing
Jed Kolko, Chief Economist and Vice President of Analytics, Trulia
Dena Belzer, President, Strategic Economics
Kate Sofis, Founding Executive Director, SFMade
Ada Chan, Board Member, Eastside Cultural Center
Julien Gervreau, Sustainability Manager, Jackson Family Wines
Meea Kang, President, Domus Development
Carlos Romero, Director, Urban Ecology
Posted Monday, November 25, 2013
Rebates for Energy Upgrades Come to Bay Area
New Website Connects Homeowners with Free Home Upgrade Advisor Service
The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) has announced that Bay Area homeowners now can get rebates and special assistance for making home improvements that increase energy efficiency. Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade offers rebates to single-family homeowners (one to four units) in the nine Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Details about the rebates and a free Home Upgrade Advisor service are at BayAreaEnergyUpgrade.org.
Homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements are eligible for incentives from $1,000 to $4,500, plus an additional $300 for completing a home energy assessment. Eligible home improvements include air sealing; duct sealing; attic insulation; high-efficiency furnaces, cooling systems, and water systems; wall insulation; and more.
In addition, a free Home Upgrade Advisor can provide direct one-to-one assistance to help homeowners through every step of the upgrade. Home Upgrade Advisors are Building Performance Institute certified energy efficiency professionals who can inform homeowners about their energy efficiency options, help them select an appropriate participating contractor, and help them navigate project installation and financing processes.
Homeowners can contact a Home Upgrade Advisor by calling 866-878-6008 or by submitting a brief form on the BayAreaEnergyUpgrade.org site. The site also features a list of participating contractors in the Bay Area. Homeowners who are ready to begin their upgrade can contact a participating contractor directly.
“There’s never been a better time for Bay Area homeowners to complete energy-efficient home improvements,” said Jennifer Berg, BayREN Program Manager. “Energy upgrades not only help you save energy and money but also enhance indoor air quality, making your home healthier and more livable and your family more comfortable all year round. And these rebates and personalized assistance from a Home Upgrade Advisor make it easy to get all the benefits of energy efficiency upgrades plus get cash back.”
BayREN is a resource for local governments to implement large-scale, cross-sector energy management strategies on a regional level. Led by the Association of Bay Area Governments, BayREN is made up of public agencies representing all nine counties in the Bay Area. BayREN is one of only two regional energy networks in California and represents 20% of the state’s population and half the population within the Pacific Gas and Electric Company service territory. For more information, call 866-878-6008 or visit www.bayareaenergyupgrade.org.
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