Screenshot taken from Just Transit.
The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation that connects organizations with good information on how to develop a more responsible relationship with the world's resources, partnered with Just Transit for the second year in a row to bring climate-friendly transportation solutions to cities through the Just Transit Challenge.
This year’s challenge set out to find “affordable, accessible, and greener transportation solutions that meet our communities’ ever-evolving needs,” Jamie Dean, program director for Renewable Energy & Climate at The 11th Hour Project, said in a statement.
From more than 30 proposals, six applicants—three from Fresno and three from Long Beach—were selected to receive a combined total of $400,000 to see their near-term solutions for transit in their city become a reality.
Fresno and Long Beach were selected as the focus cities for this year because of their unique transportation challenges, yet the immense opportunity for innovation and transformation they present, according to the announcement.
Pedal Movement was given the most funding, to convert four shipping containers into a network of bicycle service facilities. Targeting new urban riders, including youth, families and low-income commuters, the containers will be outfitted to offer bicycle education, low-cost repairs and parts and a place to acquire a bicycle for little to no cost.
Pedal Movement LLC was formed in 2016 as a bicycle services provider and is owned and run by Evan Patrick Kelly, Graham Baden and Johnny Tully, three Long Beach locals deeply immersed in and partially responsible for creating the bicycle culture that exists in the city today.
You may have seen the team at myriad events offering free bicycle valet, leading the increasingly popular Moonlight Mash monthly bike rides and teaching basic safety techniques out of their recently converted upstairs classroom at Bikestation in downtown Long Beach.
A lot has gone on in the past year for the company, and it’s just the beginning.
“Then the grant came along and I knew exactly what we needed to do, create a network of locations to provide expanded, ongoing, regular support services,” Kelly said. “And the container concept meant it could be done quickly, at relative low-cost and placed where it was needed most. Tactical urbanism at its finest.”
The four shipping container facilities will ideally be spread across the city to provide as much coverage as possible, with the current downtown facility, Bikestation, to serve as the main hub. Currently, Pedal Movement is also working with the city to integrate the facilities into “some other projects coming down the pipeline,” Kelly said.
With $100,000 from Just Transit, plus funds from a couple other entities, the build outs and placement of the containers are expected to be completed by the end of this year. Pedal Movement is seeking further funding for ongoing operations, said Kelly.
Walk Long Beach
With the $25,000 from Just Transit, as well as other existing pedestrian safety program and healthy community funds, Walk Long Beach (WLB) will update and complete the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project in one year.
The SRTS aims to reduce vehicle emissions, congestion, build neighborhood cohesion and safety awareness, according to the announcement.
WLB’s interest in SRTS was sparked after serving as host for the biennial California Walks statewide conference, Pedestrians Count! In 2016, when they and City Fabrick provided walk audit training and an update to an SRTS map for Walk San Jose. Additionally, WLB was currently organizing “it’s cool to walk to school day” in Long Beach, to take place next week on Wednesday, March 29.
“From those two efforts, we became more aware about SRTS, reached out to the National Partnership for SRTS for more information, and wanted to undertake an update project,” said Steve Gerhardt, executive director of WLB. “Just Transit was a good fit for the funding request.”
Walk Long Beach will review the existing maps, conduct field work and walk audits with the community near each school, draft an updated map and revise it after it has been reviewed by the public. The organization will also create an outreach and promotion campaign and events to encourage more students to walk and bike to school.
Century Villages at Cabrillo
Attached to Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC)’s recently finished 50 million, 120-unit complex, Anchor Place, is a bus stop located just outside the campus. The $75,000 Just Transit grant will go toward moving the Westside Transit Hub onto the campus, so that buses will be routed through it.
“[...]Which is a big sea change for us because it’s going to open campus up to the community, and it’s going to make the bus stop more accessible,” said Rene Castro, director of Community Engagement at CVC. “[...]It’s going to be really nice, really activated and central.”
Additionally, a bike corral, live screens displaying bus schedules and a social hall will encourage operators, employees and the 1,300 formerly homeless and 600 veterans who are residents there to use public transportation more often.
The goal is to reduce vehicle trips to the campus by 15 percent within the first six months, starting with the approximately 300 employees of the 20 nonprofits located on campus, that provide services from childcare, to meals, to after school tutoring. Those staff choosing to use an alternative mode of transportation, such as riding a bike or taking the bus, just once per week would accomplish that goal, hence the project’s title, “Once Per Week.”
Lastly, a portion of the grant will go toward the USC Dominguez Hills occupational therapy program, which has a curriculum for training special needs populations in how to use the bus, said Castro, who added, “They’re actually going to ride the bus with the residents.”
“[...]What we want to do is reduce those vehicle trips as much as we can,” Castro said. “Number one because we want to improve air quality and we want to do that for our residents, and number two, it’s really connected to health for us, so we really want to encourage all of the employees on the campus to really use the bus. And not only the staff people here, but the residents as well, so we’re going to start it with the staff.”