About 130 advocates from across the state turned out for this year’s Transportation Equity Summit May 16-17 in Sacramento, a first-ever combination of our annual “Bicycle Advocacy Day” with our ally TransForm’s annual “Transportation Choices Summit.”
The half-day conference and full day of legislative meetings kept the pressure on legislators to deliver a ‘yes’ vote on a package of bills that will increase investment in biking, walking, and public transit and prioritize low income Californians in the distribution of transportation resources. Acknowledging the history of transportation investments that benefit privileged communities while damaging low-income communities and people of color, the event sought to catalyze action for proposals that reverse that historic discrimination.
The opening plenary featured a smart discussion on equity in transportation moderated by CalBike’s Jeanie Ward-Waller and led by U.S. Department of Transportation Chief Opportunity Officer Stephanie Jones (pictured above). California Department of Transportation chief Malcolm Dougherty and Deputy Secretary for Transportation Kate White joined the discussion. Workshops helped participants understand the intersections among transportation and equity and walking and bicycling and transit and housing and shared mobility.
A half-day of workshops and networking on Monday was followed by a reception honoring three legislative champions of transportation equity. At a fun party at the elegantly beautiful and historic Sacramento International Hostel in downtown Sacramento, CalBike and Transform presented awards to Assemblymembers Chris Holden, Eduardo Garcia, and Richard Bloom.
On Tuesday, advocates teamed up by region to meet with their representatives to urge their support of the bill package. Ward-Waller and TransForm’s Josh Stark briefed participants on the bills (pictured below). Organizer Katie Valenzuela Garcia maintained HQ in the capitol’s sixth floor cafeteria where participants came to report on the results of their meetings and any necessary follow-up actions.
This event represented the first time that the California Bicycle Coalition collaborated with TransForm on a Sacramento summit and lobby day addressing a broad range of interests. Previous Bicycle Coalition events were restricted to bicycling interests. It was also the first to specifically highlight equity as the primary concern.
“Linking with a broader agenda definitely improved our event. It made us more relevant, more powerful, and made the event more exciting. It also helped to inject bicycling more strongly into the transportation equity discussion,” said California Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Dave Snyder.
Snyder and TransForm Executive Director Stuart Cohen met briefly after the event to share their impressions and concluded they should do another one next year.