Voters Support Green Transportation, Bay Area Land Conservation

On Tuesday, voters cast a decisive victory for the environment. Six measures—one statewide and five Bay Area initiatives—passed yesterday to protect open space, create parks, and fund public transportation. Voters chose to create two new train lines to provide alternatives to driving and combat climate change.

“In this election, Bay Area voters chose to preserve the region’s farmland and natural areas. They chose to fight global warming by investing in greener transportation options,” said Jeremy Madsen, executive director of Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s land conservation and urban planning nonprofit. “With this election, the Bay Area has taken important steps toward becoming a more sustainable, self-sufficient region.”

Here are the results of Tuesday’s election on measures dealing with transportation and the environment:

Public transportation backed

  • With 52.3 percent of the vote, Californians voted to pass Proposition 1A,which authorizes a high-speed train to be built from San Francisco and Sacramento to San Diego. This important step will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by providing a real alternative to driving or flying between the state’s major cities. It will be the first high-speed rail line in the nation.
  • In Sonoma and Marin, the new SMART train line and bike-pedestrian path passed; Measure Q won with 69.5 percent, garnering the needed two-thirds vote to win after narrowly missing that threshold in 2006. Greenbelt Alliance was a strong advocate in the grassroots effort to bring a green transportation alternative to the North Bay.
  • In the East Bay, Measure VV, which provides funding for AC Transit to help preserve affordable public transportation, passed by 71.5 percent, easily exceeding the two-thirds vote it needed.

Open space protected, parks funded
In Napa and Solano counties, where farms and vineyards boost the local economy, voters passed measures that protect over 1 million acres from sprawl development.

  • Solano County’s Measure T will renew the county’s Orderly Growth Initiative, guiding growth into existing cities and protects 440,000 acres of open space; it passed with 69.6 percent of the vote. Greenbelt Alliance was a major proponent for the measure, which puts any development on farmlands and natural areas to a vote of the people.
  • In Napa County, 540,000 acres of farmland and watersheds were protected with a 63.7 percent vote for Measure P. Measure P renews the historic Measure J, the region’s landmark agricultural initiative which helped protect the Napa Valley and nurture its wine industry, for another 50 years.
  • In the East Bay, a crucial funding renewal for the park district passed with 71.5 percent, easily surpassing the two-thirds vote it needed. Measure WWprotects land, builds trails, and restores ecological areas, and helps to create new parks, including one at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, one of Greenbelt Alliance’s major campaigns in 2008. 

“This historic election pointed a new, greener way forward for California and especially the Bay Area,” said Elizabeth Stampe, Greenbelt Alliance’s Communications Director. “These victories give us more opportunities to make this region a model for the nation.”

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For 50 years, Greenbelt Alliance has been the San Francisco Bay Area’s advocate for open spaces and vibrant places, with offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek, San Rafael, and Santa Rosa. www.greenbelt.org

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