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Census Data Shows How Much Less Millennials and Gen-Xers Commute by Car

Change in share of Generation X Commuters (aged 25-54) driving to work, 2007 to 2013. Image: Brookings, from analysis of American Community Survey data

Change in share of Generation X Commuters (aged 25-54) driving to work, 2007 to 2013. Image: Brookings, from analysis of American Community Survey data

Cross-posted from Brookings’ The Avenue blog. This article is the second in a short series examining new Census data on transportation trends.

Nationally, most commuters are still revving up their cars to get to work every morning, but the picture is more complicated when you look across different age groups.

Based on the latest Census data from the 2013 American Community Survey, changes are underway for younger and older commuters alike, especially in the country’s largest metropolitan areas.* By and large, Millennials and Generation X are leading the charge toward a range of alternate modes, including public transportation and walking, while Baby Boomers continue to use their cars at even higher levels.

Indeed, while 82.4 percent of workers ages 16 to 24 — the youngest working Millennials — commute to work by car, that share has fallen by nearly 1.3 percentage points in large metros since 2007 and nearly 4 percentage points less than they did in 1983.

Young Millennials also represent the commuters who most frequently take public transportation (5.8 percent of them commute that way) and walk to work (6.6 percent). They’re not only ditching the car in traditional multimodal hubs like San Francisco but in several smaller metros as well. For example, Tucson ranked first nationally in its transit growth among these workers, seeing their share rise 5.5 percentage points since 2007. Meanwhile, more young workers are walking in other university-centric metros like Syracuse (+3.6 percent since 2007), New Haven (+2.4), and Austin (+1.7).

Still, driving dips aren’t limited to Millennials; Generation X commuters are shifting away from private vehicles in nearly equal numbers. Overall, workers aged 25 to 54 saw their driving rate fall by 0.9 percentage points between 2007 and 2013. That drop equates to roughly 750,000 drivers — about the total number of commuters in Milwaukee — switching to other modes. That might help explain the stalling amount of miles driven across the country.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Sup. Scott Weiner Calls Hearing to Address Near-Term Muni Light Rail Fixes (SF Examiner)
  • Feds Give SFMTA $9M to Buy 12 New Muni Buses (KTVU)
  • Five Years After Google Buses Arrived In Noe Valley, Do Pros Outweigh Cons?
  • California PUC Hearing Will Reevaluate Regulations on Ride-Share Companies (Biz Times)
  • Taxi Companies Prepare for Slow Business This Winter (SF Examiner)
  • Anonymous Man in Safety Vest Directs Traffic at 3rd and Howard (SFist)
  • More on Collision that Ended High-Speed Chase Through Downtown SF (SF AppealDaily Journal)
  • Sunday Streets in Excelsior Welcomed by Some Neighbors (SFGate)
  • New Bay Bridge Already Corroding? (SFGate); People Behaving Badly: Tourists Drive GoCar on Bridge
  • GG Bridge District Strike Means Crowded Buses, Bridge Traffic (ABC, CBS)
  • Van Driver, Passenger Killed After Crashing into SamTrans Bus in San Mateo (ABC, KRON, SF Examiner)
  • Oakland Wins $3.2 Million Grant For Bike/Pedestrian Bridge at Lake Merritt (East Bay Express)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Today’s Headlines

  • High-Speed Chase Ends in Three-Car Crash, Shooting at California and Battery (CBS, SF Examiner)
  • More on Tax Battle With Transbay Developers (SFGate, SF Appeal)
  • Civic Center BART to Get New Bike Station, Tripling Bike Capacity (KQED)
  • BART Increases Security Patrols After ISIS Threatens U.S. Subways (CBS)
  • GG Bridge District Transit, Ferry Workers Go on Strike Today (KQED, KTVU, Biz Times, SF Examiner)
  • Three-Foot Bicycle Buffer, Cycle Track, Bus Rack Legislation Explained by SF Examiner
  • SF Bicycle Coalition Explains How Prop L Would Hurt Bike Safety, Infrastructure, Funding
  • District Attorney Threatens Legal Action Against Sidecar, Lyft, Uber for Misrepresentation (KQED, NBC)
  • SF Apparel Firm Designs Jacket for Germophobic Transit Riders (CBS)
  • SPUR Wants Feedback on Ocean Beach Open Space Designs
  • Bay Bridge Demolition Remains on Schedule for 2018 (KTVU)
  • Burlingame Considers App-Based Parking Management for Downtown (SF Examiner)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Tomorrow: Oakland Drops Protected Bike Lanes on Telegraph Avenue

Oakland’s recommended plan for Telegraph Avenue includes no bike lanes near the freeway ramps at 51st Street. Image: City of Oakland

Oakland has dropped protected bike lanes from its draft proposals to redesign Telegraph Avenue, and the buffered bike lanes that are included would disappear at the most dangerous section, throwing people on bikes into mixed traffic with motor vehicles. The city will hold two open houses this week where the public can weigh in on the draft plan [PDF], on Thursday evening and Saturday morning.

“New bikeways need to be ‘continuous’ and not force you to continually mix with cars and trucks that travel up to 35-40 mph,” wrote Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay in a blog post. “Buffered bike lanes improve the experience and make it safer for people who currently bicycle and want to ride on Telegraph Avenue, but buffered bike lanes between parked cars and moving cars do not attract new people to bicycling or encourage others to replace one or two car trips a week with a bicycle trip.”

Bike East Bay is urging people to attend the workshops and tell planners they want continuous protected bike lanes along Telegraph. They are also calling on the city to create a pilot project for protected bike lanes using temporary paint and planters materials, similar to the block-long demonstration the organization created on Bike to Work Day.

When Oakland city planners held initial workshops on Telegraph “Complete Streets” project in the spring, a few local business owners complained about losing on-street parking spots, but much of the public strongly supported a much calmer, safer street for walking and biking.

city survey of people who use Telegraph found that 60 percent wanted protected bike lanes on the street, including 53 percent of “frequent drivers.” The city initially included parking-protected bike lanes as an option for most of Telegraph, but that option is apparently being abandoned.

The latest plans [PDF] include improvements to pedestrian crossings, raised medians, bike boxes, and bus stops configured so the bike lane runs between a boarding island and the sidewalk. But the bike lanes disappear completely where they’re needed most, near the intersection at 51st Street where drivers heading to and from Highway 24 ramps cuts through the area.

At most intersections, like Telegraph and MacArthur seen here, bike lanes become protected briefly at bus stops but then throw riders between parked cars and moving cars. Image: City of Oakland

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SF Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee Meeting

Agenda

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Forum: The Future of San Francisco Transportation

From Business Council on Climate Change:

The Future of San Francisco Transportation: What Can Green Teams do to Help?

Join colleagues from other San Francisco Green Teams on June 18th for a special event and webinar on sustainable transportation and commuting. Learn about cutting-edge ideas for building a stronger, greener transit system and discuss ways that you can get involved.

When
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
9:00-10:00 AM (Presentation and Discussion)
10:00-10:30 AM (Networking Time)
Where
Attend in Person: Wells Fargo Learning and Events Center
333 Market St., Annex Building (2nd Floor, Clementine Room)
Attend via Webinar: Please join the Webinar at this link.

Speakers
Timothy Papandreou, Deputy Director, Strategic Planning and Policy, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Timothy Papandreou directly oversees a team of 30 planning, engineering and policy staff tasked with implementing the SFMTA’s sustainable mobility goals through integrated, multi-modal (bicycle, walking, transit, car-sharing, parking and taxi) transportation plans, street design projects, and complete street projects. Previously Papandreou spent nearly nine years with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he served as Transportation Planning Manager.

Employee Panel (Participants TBA)

Following Timothy Papandreou, an employee panel will share everyday experiences navigating different low carbon transit options in the Bay Area.

Details

  • Light breakfast will be provided.
  • Our room can accomodate 75 people; webinar participation is not restricted.
  • We encourage you to use public transportation to reach this event. The Wells Fargo learning center is adjacent to the Embarcadero Bart/Muni stop.
  • The event will begin promptly at 9:00 AM.

About the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3)

BC3 is a network of San Francisco companies dedicated to working together to secure a vibrant future for our city and our planet. Learn more at bc3sfbay.org. This event is part of a new initiative focused on empowering employees across local corporations to collaborate in advancing sustainability in San Francisco.

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How Silver Spring, Maryland, Outgrew Its Parking Lots

Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, has seen growth while reducing the need for parking. Photo: Dan Reed for GGwash

Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, has grown while reducing the demand for parking. Photo: Dan Reed for GGwash

In healthy urban areas, people always complain that there’s not enough parking. And they still do that in Silver Spring, Maryland, says Dan Reed at Greater Greater Washington.

But they’re wrong. The city’s downtown parking supply is only about 58 percent occupied on an average day. Even as the city has grown, more parking is sitting unused thanks to the efforts of local leaders. Here’s how they did it:

In 2011, [Tom] Brown led a team at Nelson\Nygaard, where I now work, that recommended ways Montgomery County could better use its parking to promote and strengthen its downtowns.

Montgomery County, Maryland's downtowns have too much parking. Image: Dan Reed

Montgomery County’s downtowns have lots of empty parking spots. Image: Dan Reed

Montgomery County has had its own municipal parking authority since the 1940s. A 1952 spread in the Washington Post’s “Silver Spring Advertiser” section boasted, “Look at all the parking space!” in downtown. But downtown Silver Spring couldn’t match the sea of free parking at new suburban malls like Wheaton Plaza, and it began to languish.

When Silver Spring started competing on place, not parking, it started to take off as an urban destination for the entire region. And a funny thing happened: as more homes and offices and shops were built around the Metro station, filling downtown’s gaps and vacant lots, the demand for parking actually decreased.

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Supervisors Hearing on Bicycle Strategy Funding

Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee Agenda: [PDF]

Item of Note:

2.  130873   [Hearing- Funding the Municipal Transportation Agency's Bicycle Strategy]
Sponsors: Mar; Chiu
Hearing regarding funding the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Bicycle Strategy.

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Friday Jobs Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are the current listings:

Transit Community Relations Officer, City of Santa Monica, California
Develops, organizes, directs and evaluates a comprehensive program to inform the community and the public of the activities and objectives of the Big Blue Bus. Consults with and advises top management on the community relations implications of the Department’s activities.

Policy Director, Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle
The Policy Director is a senior member of the staff leadership team and will lead our policy strategies at the regional, state, and (limited) federal level work. Transportation Choices Coalition is a statewide non-profit advocacy organization working to expand transportation choices for everyone.

Coaching Fellow, Scoot Networks, San Francisco, California
This is an opportunity to work with a fun, exciting, and rapidly growing start-up in San Francisco. Scoot Networks is looking for an enthusiastic and dependable intern to help execute some of the day-to-day logistics and tasks of our business.

Civil Engineer II (TFT), City of Vancouver, British Columbia
This position is responsible for managing projects and related studies dealing with the City’s active transportation network, including separated bike lanes, local street bikeways, public realm design, pedestrian accessibility improvements, and the promotion and enabling of active transportation modes.

Operations Manager, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco, California
the Operations Manager ensures organizational effectiveness and sustainability by overseeing the organization’s financial and operations functions. Areas of responsibility include financial management, bookkeeping, contract administration, reporting, budgeting, human resources, and office management.

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Cesar Chavez: A Traffic Sewer Transformed Into a Safer Street

As part of the newly-completed redesign of Cesar Chavez, there’s a new plaza at the corner of Mission and Capp Streets. Photos: Aaron Bialick

Western Cesar Chavez Street has been transformed after decades as a dangerous motor vehicle speedway that divided the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods. City officials cut the ribbon today on a redesign of the street, nearly nine years after residents began pushing for safety improvements.

Cesar Chavez was widened in the 1930s and 40s at the expense of safety and livability to serve as a thoroughfare from the 101 and 280 freeways to a planned Mission Freeway that was never built. As a result, it became a virtual no-man’s land for walking and biking, and crossing the street was a huge risk.

Fran Taylor speaking at the ribbon cutting today.

Fran Taylor speaking at the ribbon cutting today.

“Our neighborhoods were cut in two by this dangerous street that was in no way worthy of the man it was named after,” said Fran Taylor, who helped found CC Puede to push for a redesign of the street. “It’s taken a long time, and the efforts of many, but we finally have a Cesar Chavez Street to be proud of.”

With the redesign, the six traffic lanes on Cesar Chavez (known as Army Street until the nineties) were reduced to four. In place of those two lanes are unprotected bike lanes, bulb-outs with rain gardens, and a center median lined with palm trees. With fresh pavement and markings like continental crosswalks, the treatments have made the street calmer and more habitable for people.

The ribbon cutting was held on Si Se Puede! Plaza, which was created at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Mission Street, where Capp Street ends. Drivers can still pass through at the end of Capp, but permeable, textured pavement raised to sidewalk level signals that they are guests.

“We finally have a street that’s going to protect families and reflects what we value, which is safety, first and foremost,” said D9 Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes Cesar Chavez. “It took longer than it should have.”

The project snowballed from a simple re-paving planned by Department of Public Works into a full redesign as residents pushed for safety improvements, and city agencies sought to coordinate those changes with the re-pave to save costs. Andres Power was the project manager for the Planning Department until 2012, when he became an aide for Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“On one hand, it’s unbelievable that it takes this long to get anything like this done. On the other hand, it’s such a transformative project, and I think the wait was well worth it,” said Power. “We wanted to do something that was not just a street project, that was about bringing the neighborhood together, and encouraging people to use the street outside of their cars.”

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