OAKLAND, Calif.--()--People, projects and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to Bay Area transportation will be honored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday, Oct. 24, during the “Excellence in Motion” awards ceremony. The ceremony, open to the public, is preceded by a reception at 8:30 a.m., with the awards presentation by MTC commissioners beginning at 9 a.m., at Nile Hall in Preservation Park at 668 13th Street in Oakland. The 2012 program marks the 35th anniversary of the Excellence in Motion awards, which began in 1977.
“Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.”
The 2012 Grand Award goes to the Ed Roberts Campus for its extraordinary contribution to the disabled community. The campus, using universal design principles, provides the disabled access to services in a transit-oriented location at the Ashby BART station in Berkeley. Seven disability service and advocacy organizations that were formerly spread around the East Bay are now housed in the Center, along with several other tenants that serve the disabled community.
The Bay Area’s own U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is the recipient of the 2012 John F. Foran Legislative Award for her tenacious leadership in securing the passage of the nation’s new surface transportation law, MAP-21, or “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.” The bill, signed by President Obama on July 6, 2012, authorizes $105 billion for highway and transit programs through FY 2014.
“Our 2012 award winners each went the extra mile to make improvements that benefit the Bay Area,” commented MTC Chair and San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier.
Following is a brief summary of the individual award winners.
Greta Ericson Distinguished Service Award—Dorothy Dugger
Dorothy Dugger was the first female General Manager in BART’s 54-year history. Her career at BART spanned nearly 20 years, ending in 2011. Through some of the most challenging years economically in BART history, Dugger steered a steady course, averting layoffs and reductions in core service. During her tenure, BART opened extensions to San Francisco International Airport and Dublin/Pleasanton and completed its first in-fill station at West Dublin/Pleasanton. She was also deeply involved in the eBART extension to Pittsburg/Antioch, the first leg of the extension from Fremont into Santa Clara County and the Oakland Airport Connector. The 2012 Distinguished Service Award, named after the founder of MTC’s awards program, is given to Dugger in recognition of her career achievement in the transportation field.
David Tannehill Special Employee Award—Chloe Cook, West Marin Senior Services
Chloe Cook, Director of Volunteer Programming for West Marin Senior Services, worked tirelessly to implement a volunteer driver program to serve seniors when they lack access to transportation. Called TRIPtrans, the program encourages seniors to tap friends and neighbors for rides, reimbursing volunteer drivers for taking seniors to medical appointments, the grocery store, meetings and the like or to visit family members. TRIPtrans began in 2010 and has reimbursed its 100 volunteer drivers for over 4,000 miles per month. For her exceptional work in helping to ease the isolation of West Marin seniors, Cook is the 2012 recipient of the David Tannehill Special Employee Award, named for a dedicated and talented MTC planner who passed away in 2001. The award recognizes an employee who exemplifies the day-to-day dedication to duties that are essential to keeping the region moving.
Miriam Gholikely Public Service Award—Roger Matoba
For almost three decades, Roger Matoba drove commuters every workday from the Martinez/Pleasant Hill area to San Francisco. During those 29 years, he traveled approximately half a million miles with 100 different carpoolers. He went through four of what he called his “IchiVans” (a play on the Japanese word “Ichiban,” which means Number One), installing special overhead lights for reading, and put comfort of his riders first, keeping the average number of commuters to about 12 instead of crowding in the maximum of 15. Matoba also picked up or dropped off riders at home if it was raining, waited if someone was late, and adjusted his route to help a rider with a special need. And he created a birthday party policy, where anyone who supplied a meal in celebration of their birthday rode free for a month. Holiday music contributed to the camaraderie, making riders feel more like a family than mere commute acquaintances. For his transportation community service, performed with creativity and a caring spirit of fun, Matoba receives the 2012 Public Service Award, named for Miriam Gholikely, a longtime MTC advisor and community activist.
In addition to the awards named in honor of outstanding individuals in Bay Area transportation, MTC will also present the following Awards of Merit.
Award of Merit – Genentech’s gRide Program, Google’s Transportation Services and Oracle’s Bay Area Commute Program
Three of the Bay Area’s top tech firms are sharing an Award of Merit for their exemplary commute alternative programs that reduce congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gases. Genentech’s gRide program brings employees to the South San Francisco headquarters on 34 luxury motor coaches. The high-tech firm also has shuttles from nearby transit stations, bicycle facilities and monetary incentives to reduce solo driving. The results? The drive-alone rate to Genentech’s campus has dropped from 79 to 63 percent of employees since 2006.
At Google’s Mountain View campus, almost half of the employees arrive at work without driving alone. One-third of “Googlers” are on board one of the 105 Wi-Fi-enabled shuttle buses. Other employees practice “self-powered” commuting by bicycling or walking to campus, thereby earning “stamps” that are turned into dollars to donate to their favorite charity. On campus, the car-sharing fleet includes the latest electric and plug-in vehicles.
At Oracle, with four Bay Area locations, 35 percent of employees are eligible to telecommute and, using the company’s software, can see and talk to their co-workers through a computer interface, making them as efficient at home as in the office. Oracle also offers shuttles from nearby transit stations, preferential parking for carpools, online ride-matching, bicycle lockers and an emergency ride home program.
Award of Merit - New Ways to Park & Play – SFpark and San Francisco Sunday Streets
Two programs in San Francisco aim to make the streets more user-friendly for people looking for car-free entertainment and for drivers looking for parking.
SFpark is improving the quality of life for San Francisco residents and visitors by increasing the availability and predictability of parking, freeing the streets from circling drivers and double-parked cars. At SFpark’s website – or with a mobile app – drivers can receive real-time information about available parking. The pilot program covers eight areas of the city in major transit corridors with heavy traffic volumes. Longer parking times are also available and hourly fees vary based on current demand. The Award of Merit for SFpark is presented to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which runs the program.
Sharing the Award of Merit is San Francisco’s Sunday Streets, a program which closes particular neighborhoods to motor vehicle traffic on Sundays, creating vibrant car-free public spaces to promote community interaction. Sunday Streets programs often include free bike repairs and rentals, dance classes, a skating rink and other exercise opportunities. Sunday Streets began in 2008 with two events and in 2012 expanded to ten events throughout the city. The Award of Merit is shared by Livable City, the fiscal sponsor and manager of the program, and SFMTA, the lead city agency behind Sunday Streets.
Award of Merit—Steven Grover and BikeLink
Steven Grover’s ingenuity revitalized bicycle parking at BART stations with a safer, better design that allows for sharing of bike lockers and uses an electronic BikeLink card for payment of rental fees. BikeLink has helped thousands of bicyclists connect the first and last miles of their transit commutes.
Previously, BART’s bicycle locker system called for rental of lockers on an annual basis, leaving them empty much of the time and used inappropriately at other times. Grover’s eLockers can be rented on a first-come, first-served basis; payment is made with the swipe of an electronic “BikeLink” card. Bicyclists now park their bicycles for the time needed, as motorists do with parking meters, paying just pennies per hour. BikeLink has blossomed in the Bay Area, with over 1,700 spaces in 98 Bay Area locations, from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz, and has spread to 28 other locations nationwide. Grover is a Berkeley-based architect, engineer, inventor and bicycle enthusiast.
Award of Merit—Sunol Grade Express Lane Project
Northern California’s first Express Lanes are being recognized with an Award of Merit. The pioneering project along a 14-mile stretch of southbound Interstate 680 — from Highway 84 in Alameda County to Highway 237 in Santa Clara County — transformed an existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane into Express Lanes. Vehicles with two or more people can continue to use the Express Lane for free. But in order to decrease traffic congestion and speed up travel time, solo drivers can also pay a toll to use the Express Lane. The toll price depends on the law of supply and demand. It can range anywhere from $.30 to $7.50 for the trip. By varying tolls based on real-time measures of traffic flows, Express Lane speeds are generally 7 to 10 mph faster than the speeds in the general-purpose lanes during the morning commute.
Awards of Merit for the project, which is the result of the work of a coalition of agencies, go to the Alameda County Transportation Commission, California Department of Transportation and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
MTC is the regional transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. For additional information on the awards program, visit our website at http://www.mtc.ca.gov/about_mtc/awards/.