California Agencies Award $20 Million for “Clean Mobility” Projects
3:22 PM PDT on June 24, 2021
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Over twenty nonprofits, transit agencies, and tribal governments were awarded up to $1 million each under the new Clean Mobility Options program, funded by California's cap-and-trade system. The grants will bring clean transportation options - including electric bike-share, car-share, and transit - to low-income communities where resources are limited and exposure to pollution and traffic tend to be high.
Among the communities awarded grants is almost $1 million to Rancho San Pedro, near the L.A. ports, which houses over 1,400 residents in an affordable community. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), which operates the housing, to create an electric bike-share program for the residents. The grant will also allow the partners to extend an electric car-share pilot project they have been running for the last year or so at Rancho San Pedro.
The e-bikes will be available to residents at four hubs within the Rancho San Pedro complex, and they will be able to use them to more easily access nearby services and shopping. "We expect they will be used for trips of less than five miles," said Meg Arnold, Senior Vice President with Cleantech Incubator. When the project planners asked residents what they need, they found that people wanted more transportation options to get to nearby shopping, to do errands, and to get to afterschool programs.
The existing car-share program maintains two electric vehicles for residents' use at the complex, and the e-bikes will expand those options.
"We see this as a fabulous service for this community," said Arnold. "We are delighted to be in partnership with HACLA, and to provide this value on the ground to this community. But we also see this as a specific model for something that could have much broader applicability statewide," she added.
The partnership with HACLA "represents the kind of partnership you could scale to multiple public housing sites across the nation, and radically change transportation emissions in public housing communities," she said.
Another project that received a $1 million grant is the first bike-share program for Redding--and the first in California north of Sacramento. Downtown Redding has a high proportion of low-income residents, and is home to two of the largest housing projects funded by the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program from the California Strategic Growth Council.
The Clean Mobility Options grant will fund seventy bikes and stations within the downtown area, increasing the clean travel options for residents and workers there. The bike-share program will be run by Shasta Living Streets, a local nonprofit that worked with the McConnell Foundation to plan the kind of bike-share system that would work best for Redding. Now that they have been awarded this grant, they can begin looking for a vendor and iron out the details.
Anne Thomas of Shasta Living Streets and Rachel Hatch of the McConnell Foundation have already done a lot of work looking into such questions as how a nonprofit runs bike-share (there are examples across the nation) and which vendors can provide flexible, small-scale stations that will work in the downtown setting.
"This is new for our city, and I think it's going to be transformational," said Thomas. The city is about to complete a five-mile downtown loop connecting to the existing river trail - "something we started talking about fifteen years ago!" said Thomas.
"We already have people biking," she said, "and when we get bike-share, I think it's going to explode in terms of the number of people who see biking as a real option. Redding is already a place people come to to be outside and active," she said. Bike-share, along with the soon-to-launch downtown bike depot "will hang the welcome sign out for bicyclists."
"It seems intangible," but the long-planned bike depot "will be key" to the successful running of the bike-share, said Thomas. Bike-share users, especially new users and new riders, will benefit from proximity to the hub and the help that will be available there.
The Clean Mobility Options grants are funded by California Climate Investments, formerly known as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which receives its funding from cap-and-trade. Various agencies, including the Air Resources Board, CALSTART, the Shared-Use Mobility Center, GRID Alternatives, and the Local Government Commission administer the grants. There are two types of grants: for planning and needs assessments and for projects. Both are aimed at improving clean mobility options within under-resourced communities, which tend to be subject to outsized health and safety impacts from pollution, traffic, and climate change.
"Disadvantaged communities bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and climate change impact," said Arnold. "That's why we are working in communities like Rancho San Pedro, and also why this work is a powerful complement to the work we and many others are doing to reduce emissions in the nearby ports. Both are an approach to addressing localized community needs, while also addressing the larger picture within the ports."
Applicants for Clean Mobility Option grants can be cities, transit agencies, tribal governments, and nonprofits; several entities frequently work together. While the two projects described above are bike-share programs, other recent grants will fund electric car-share, on-demand shuttles, carpooling, and e-bikes.
These recently announced grants are for fiscal year 2020 funding. More information, and updates on future funding, can be found here.
The complete list of grants:
- 50 Corridor Transportation Management Association: $1 million for electric vehicle carsharing for low-income families in disadvantaged communities in the Sacramento region.
- Cahuilla Band of Indians: $1 million for a zero-emission car-sharing program, providing residents with six electric plug-in vehicles.
- City of Chula Vista: $997,833 for an on-demand community shuttle service in northwest Chula Vista focused on the local senior community.
- National City: $999,996 for a zero-emission shuttle program, the Free Ride Around National City (FRANC) Program.
- City of Rialto: $1 million for the city's first e-bike share program, which will provide low-income residents within City limits access to a fleet of shared electric bicycles.
- City of Richmond: $1 million for Richmond On Demand, a citywide, on-demand shuttle program in collaboration with Via using shared, plug-in hybrid electric shuttles (the city will host a community contest to name the shuttle to aptly reflect Richmond’s spirit).
- City of Riverside: $1 million for a one-way, first- and last-mile car-share system that will allow users to pick up and drop off hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at any one of seven StratosShare parking hubs.
- Community Economic Development Corporation and Institute for Maximum Human Potential: $1 million for SankofaCity, a zero emission, multimodal transportation "ecosystem" in Greater Leimert Park Village and the Crenshaw Corridor which will provide zero-cost, zero-emission, demand responsive shuttles and low-cost e-bike library rentals using co-operative and revenue-sharing business models.
- The Energy Coalition: $999,972 for an electric car-share program in South El Monte.
- Fresno Metro Black Chamber Foundation: $599,500 for the expansion of e-bike share in Fresno.
- Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA): $1 million for a “vehicle lending library” program that will provide access to charging infrastructure and 13 electric vehicles and for its clients.
- Imperial County Transportation Commission: $998,875 for Calexico Mobility On Demand, the city's first zero-emission, microtransit program, powered by Via, utilizing three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
- The Latino Equity Advocacy and Policy Institute: $1 million to expand the existing Green Raitero program and add 30 e-tricycles, powered by solar stations, creating the Green Cruiser Ride Sharing program in Huron.
- Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator: $926,318 to continue electric car-share and launch an e-bike share program in Rancho San Pedro.
- The McConnell Foundation: $1 million to create Redding's first bike-share with seventy bikes and stations in downtown.
- Oakland Department of Transportation: $1 million for the Oakland E-Bike Library, including cargo bikes and adaptive bikes and scooters, while supporting community-run bike shops that will do maintenance and education, in West Oakland, Downtown, Chinatown, San Antonio, Fruitvale and East Oakland.
- Oakland Unified School District: $485,592 for a fleet of three on-demand, electric school buses to serve the over 1,300 students currently served by the district, many of them from low income, black neighborhoods and having special needs.
- Omnitrans: $1 million for a zero-emission, on-demand mobility service in the Bloomington area of San Bernardino County, expanding the reach of existing transit.
- Richmond Community Foundation: $1 million for Richmond Community Carshare, an affordable, round-trip car-share using battery-electric vehicles.
- San Joaquin Council of Governments: $998,614 for the Stockton EV Car Share Program in Stockton and the French Camp community, in conjunction with the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin.
- Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians: $993,300 for an EV car-share program service in the southern region of the Band's reservation in Coachella.
Streetsblog California editor Melanie Curry has been thinking about transportation, and how to improve conditions for bicyclists, since her early days commuting by bike to UCLA long ago. She was Managing Editor at the East Bay Express, and edited Access Magazine for the University of California Transportation Center. She also earned her Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley.
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