#MadeInTheBay: TransForm GreenTRIP Connect Helps California Plan Smarter

How many parking spaces does your building offer? Out of those spaces, how many are currently being used?

In California, there is an overwhelming amount of unused parking spaces in rental units — and an underwhelming amount of available housing.

TransForm is looking to change that. Their GreenTRIP Connect tool is a new approach to urban planning, offering affordable housing and traffic reduction strategies that provide a wide range of social, environmental, and economic benefits.

GreenTRIP’s certification program first launched in 2008 as a program to help developers, cities and community advocates to shape great developments in city planning with real, long-lasting impact. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Reducing the parking space in residential facilities to provide more space for more residential units at affordable costs
  • Encouraging building owners to provide residents with transit passes and/or free memberships in bike and car sharing

GreenTRIP now has over 30 buildings that are GreenTRIP certified, reducing 204,000 miles of car travel each day, and providing our transit systems with more riders and more consistent revenues. Through these projects alone GreenTRIP helped leverage $22.7 million in private investment for public transit over the next 40 years. This also contributes to less traffic on our major highways, less vehicle emissions, and overall savings for building owners. Here’s a recently updated map of all GreenTRIP certified projects around the Bay Area:

This year, GreenTRIP just certified Station 1300, a new mixed-use facility adjacent to the Menlo Park Caltrain station, which was unanimously approved by the Menlo Park City Council. This project provides 183 residential units (11% are affordable to below market rate), office, and retail space with a household driving projection of only 30 miles per day, a low car parking ratio of 1.3 spaces per unit, and 100% unbundled parking (separating the cost of parking from rent). GreenTRIP also convinced the developer to offer Caltrain Go Pass for residents and employees in the first year, a new ZipCar pod on-site, a shared electric bike, 220 bike parking spaces and provide marketing and education on travel choices. Future residents at Station 1300 are predicted to drive 40% less than the Bay Area regional average, and produce 39% less greenhouse gases.

Station 1300 is just one example of residential facilities that are planning with people in mind, rather than vehicles. Developments like Station 1300 offer affordable options and opportunity, setting a new standard for housing in the Bay Area — and soon, beyond.

Most recently with Center for Neighborhood Technology, TransForm developed GreenTRIP Connect, an online tool that unleashes the power of GreenTRIP at a greater scale. It allows anyone — community members, city staff and government officials, and developers — to identify land being considered for development and evaluate the impact of adding more affordable homes and strategies like free transit passes or carsharing. Now, GreenTRIP Connect includes a comparison of expected traffic outputs to the county, city, or regional averages. This allows for better implementation of SB 743, a bill that refocuses environmental review standards to air and non-vehicular environment protections.

So where is GreenTRIP heading next? We’re seeing it adopted throughout the Valley — and the state:

  • Last summer Sunnyvale adopted a new Multi-family Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program inspired by GreenTRIP Platinum and encourages certification in the TDM toolkit.
  • Richmond and Emeryville have adopted ordinances requiring all new multi-family homes to either be GreenTRIP Certified, or providing the same set of strategies as GreenTRIP.
  • Also adopted development standards for urban station areas to require GreenTRIP certification standards at the highest level at the urban stations: GreenTRIP Platinum.
  • In 2015, AB 744, another statewide law, directly referenced the GreenTRIP Parking Database to gain passage in late 2015. This rule reduces parking minimums for all housing developments that include affordable, senior and disabled homes, significantly reducing construction costs. The City of Los Angeles recently collected parking data to expand the geographic range of the database.

Soon, we’re hoping to see GreenTRIP standards implemented in urban planning and housing developments in all communities with public transit. We can’t wait to see how GreenTRIP can help TransForm our communities.

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TransForm is California’s leading transportation advocate and an award-winning nonprofit organization working in the San Francisco Bay Area and California. This year, TransForm is celebrating 20 years of innovation to provide equitable, affordable, and sustainable transportation and housing solutions. Support the next 20 years of TransForm.