This article was originally posted on MTC News.
Caltrans has recognized the Bay Area’s Spare the Air Youth Program with an Excellence in Transportation Award in the Public Awareness Campaigns category. Caltrans received nearly 100 entries for this year’s program from within Caltrans, public agencies, private contractors and consultants across the state, choosing 13 projects to receive awards.
Spare the Air Youth encourages youth in the San Francisco Bay Area to choose active transportation through coordination programs that aim to reduce transportation emissions. Spare the Air Youth helps greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction efforts through regional coordination, outreach and a grant program and is led by MTC in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The program got its start when MTC adopted an $80 million Climate Initiatives program to seek and evaluate various GHG emission-reduction strategies In response to state legislation. A portion of the funds was dedicated to programs and strategies that targeted youth with the goal of encouraging youth and their families to opt for walking, biking, carpooling and taking transit as their primary mode of transportation. Preliminary data of the Spare the Air Youth program shows that over 30,000 students in the Bay Area have been reached, with a 22 percent shift to active transportation and a reduction of nearly 72 miles driven per student annually, for a total of 2 million miles of reduced driving to date.
MTC was also a party to two other projects honored in the awards program. The Jameson Canyon Road Widening Project won in the Rural Highway category. The project involved widening a 5.8-mile stretch of State Route 12 along Jameson Canyon Road from a two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway, and required property acquisitions from 27 property owners, and over 40 electrical and telephone pole relocations. And an MTC affiliate, the Bay Area Toll Authority, was recognized for its role in the Pier E3 Implosion, part of the ongoing process to demolish the old East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The activity was a demonstration of how to remove a marine foundation by implosion (using highly controlled charges) rather than by much slower, mechanical means, and the process is now being used to remove other piers along the structure. Recognized under a category labeled as Transportation Innovations to Improve Mobility Across California, the removal of the pier restored approximately 17,000 cubic yards of SF Bay that are now marine habitat.