Right now my work in the Bay Area region is at a very exciting phase. While earlier in the year our efforts were concentrated on our metropolitan planning organization (MPO)—the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)—our work now needs to focus on the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. We need to track how the counties are spending the money from MTC, and how they are showing their commitment to active transportation.
We worked last May to secure Regional Safe Routes to School funding, tied to Complete Streets policy requirements, as part of the One Bay Area Grants program from MTC. A total of $20 million of funding over four years was programmed to Safe Routes to School. It’s the second cycle of such funding. Each county gets a portion of that funding, and is in charge of deciding how to spend the funds. For the most part, we think counties will support efforts they began with the first cycle of funding. Even so, it’s important to keep track of that, and help ensure the money is spent for comprehensive Safe Routes to School programs that include infrastructure plus non-Infrastructure elements like education and training. As part of these efforts, we have been working to bring the practitioners of Safe Routes to School programs in the Bay Area together to discuss how their counties are programming the money, to share ideas and best practices and to keep on top of the regional programs.
We also need to track the programming of One Bay Area Grants across the counties. Each county’s allotment of funds will be put out for a Call for Projects. It’s up to advocates for active transportation to ensure that they are talking to their public works departments, who are then applying for a good number of active transportation projects. If there aren’t a good number of high quality projects put into the pipeline, it’ll be hard to call for each county to account for their commitment to active transportation. Additionally, tracking One Bay Area Grants is important because MTC has required each local jurisdiction pass a Complete Streets policy resolution in order to be eligible for One Bay Area Grant funding. We’ve been working to ensure advocates in the counties are aware of the Call for Projects and the need to jump on them.
The Safe Routes Partnership Bay Area Region has created a tool to help monitor the process in each county for programming their regional Safe Routes to School and One Bay Area Grant funding. Please see our spreadsheet to track some key information, including the counties’ calls for projects.