Alexandria Bordas, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Clarence Dold has been a proud owner of a used Nissan Leaf electric car since 2016. Back when he was commuting to San Mateo from his home in Santa Rosa, being able to slide into the carpool lane and cruise past cars sitting idly in traffic was an added bonus to the smaller climate footprint of his electric vehicle. But as of Jan. 1, Dold and nearly 215,000 zero- and low-emission car owners in the state of California are set to lose their clean-air carpool status. That group is composed of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The state Legislature last year passed a measure that will no longer recognize the white and green carpool decals on clean-air vehicles purchased before 2017. Only vehicles purchased since then will qualify for the new passes, which are red. Those qualifying owners will have to apply to the state for the new passes.
Dold, who learned of the new law only weeks ago, said he felt the change unfairly treats drivers who have long invested in low-emission vehicles.
“What upsets me is that I thought I was going to get to use the decal for three years, and had I waited even just a few months, I would have qualified for the extension,” Dold said.
The new law is an attempt to address the overcrowding of carpool lanes — a result partly of California’s bid to spur the wider adoption of cleaner-burning vehicles 13 years ago by first offering owners of hybrid cars unrestricted access to carpool lanes. Caltrans documented the problem two years ago, pointing partly to increased carpool traffic stemming from clean-air decals.
California has the largest share of low- and zero-emission vehicles in the nation by far.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9089030-181/carpool-decals-set-to-expire?sba=AAS
Dan Sperling and Austin Brown, PLANETIZEN
Studies of New York and other cities, including by our colleagues at UC Davis, suggest that Uber, Lyft, and other app-based car services are increasing congestion by facilitating a shift away from mass transit. That shift is to be expected. App-based car services offer users many of the same advantages as mass transit (the ability to avoid parking, the opportunity to travel without a driver’s license, etc.) at an increased level of comfort and convenience, while remaining relatively affordable. Of course Uber and Lyft will skim travelers from transit.
Though app-based car services may increase congestion in this limited regard, there is even greater—yet largely ignored—potential for such services to reduce net congestion by facilitating multi-passenger pooling. So far, pooling has not caught on widely. Since the 1970s, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested into building a web of carpool lanes in most major U.S. cities. Yet carpooling has steadily declined from about 20% of commute trips in the 1970s to less than 10% now (see figure). Today, each car on the road in the United States contains an average of only 1.6 passengers, and the majority of the time vehicles are occupied only by the driver.
Read more at https://www.planetizen.com/features/97135-how-lyft-and-uber-can-fix-not-cause-congestion?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=dlvr-twitter&utm_campaign=newfeed
Matt Brown, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Many Bay Area commuters will soon have an incentive to get out of their cars and try public transit or ridesharing services to get to work.
A new state law requires Bay Area companies with 50 or more employees to offer commuter benefits to workers, a perk that some companies have provided on their own for years.
The law, which may be the first of its kind in the nation, compels both private industry and public employers, with the threat of penalties, to help ease traffic and reduce greenhouse gases.
via New law boosts Sonoma County commuters | Petaluma360.com | Petaluma Argus-Courier | Petaluma, CA.