On Friday, June 25, I had the pleasure to lead a White House Outreach Roundtable in Los Gatos, California, where I met with an impressive group of community leaders from Silicon Valley synagogues, the Jewish Federation, interfaith working groups and transit providers.
The discussion focused on improving transportation options for older Americans who can no longer drive, which is a top area of concern for local Jewish congregations. The service providers in the area report the demand for transit and ride services greatly exceed the supply, especially in more rural areas.
We also discussed ways that communities could encourage more walking and biking and make local streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages through better street design, using many proven low-cost solutions like prioritizing pedestrian crossings through better traffic light timing and street markings.
The group was very interested in learning about USDOT’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Partnership seeks to better integrate transportation, housing, economic development and environmental investments and policies, which has become a statewide priority in California since the passage of that state’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008.
Both at the White House Roundtable, and earlier in the day at the Commonwealth Club of California, I was proud to describe how the Obama Administration and USDOT are working to promote safe, accessible, sustainable and affordable transportation options in communities across the U.S., including many great initiatives in California.
For example, we are investing in major new projects like the Crenshaw Metro Line in Los Angeles that will link low-income populations with major employment centers in the Westside Region and Downtown LA, while reducing congestion and improving air quality.
And USDOT has provided funding to Oakland to help plan for the redevelopment of West Oakland and the old Oakland Army Base, which was closed in 1999. The project will create a framework for redeveloping blighted land and include strategies to better link transportation with new housing and employment opportunities for area residents.
It was such a pleasure to spend time in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, meet community leaders and local residents, and I look forward to finding ways we can continue to work together.
Polly Trottenberg is Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the Department of Transportation.