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Save the Date: Transportation Choices Summit, Sacramento, April 26-28

WestSacMayor
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon addresses a bike tour at last year's TransForm Summit. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

TransForm, an Oakland-based organization that advocates for sustainable transportation, smart growth, and affordable housing throughout California, will hold its annual Transportation Choices Summit in Sacramento in two weeks, and invites all interested parties to register for the event.

The day-long summit offers the opportunity to connect with agency officials, advocates, transit riders, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, researchers, and policy makers working on transportation, and to influence the outcome of current legislation.

"This summit really is the primary opportunity for advocates to create a statewide collaboration about legislative priorities," said Denny Zane of MoveLA. "It expands the universe of voices in the capitol and coordinates them also. That's a remarkable service and I really appreciate the efforts of TransForm and its partners to put this together."

At last year's summit, participants learned about and worked to influence issues including where cap-and-trade funds should be invested. In 2015, California is facing new possibilities for transforming its future transportation landscape, with a second round of funding for Active Transportation Programs coming online, increased interest in sustainable transportation from Caltrans, and several proposed laws moving through the legislature that could benefit—or compromise—bicycling and walking in California.

"There are some really big opportunities this year," said Zane. He pointed out A.B. 1135, the Building Homes and Jobs Act, authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.  "Maybe not everyone gets the connection between affordable housing and transit, but we do," he said. "If you're going to build a transit system that is both equitable and effective, you need to have high propensity users living nearby. Affordable housing is crucial to our transit system."

This year's summit will have sessions on a range of issues, and a keynote speech from Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and member of the Strategic Growth Council. The full agenda is here [PDF].

The main summit takes place on Monday, April 27. The following day, participants are invited to join teams of advocates to visit legislative staff and discuss transportation issues that lawmakers are working on—or should be working on. TransForm will conduct mini advocacy training sessions and send participants into the halls of the capitol to engage with policymakers on their own turf.

Disability advocate Ben Rockwell plans to attend the summit from L.A., intending to “do whatever I can to learn whatever I can for the disability community,” and he encourages others to participate. “All persons with disabilities need to keep up with laws and regulations so they don't get screwed,” he said.

Optional mobile tours are offered on Sunday, April 26, including bike rides through Sacramento's network of bike facilities.

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