Transportation Justice Forum: What You Need to Know

By Amanda Ruetten, Public Policy Organizer

This November, SanDiego 350 held a forum on transportation justice. What follows is a writeup of the important information that was discussed at the forum. In case you missed it, video recording is here.

As of 2017, Transportation accounted for 53% of greenhouse gas emissions in the City of San Diego. Additionally, people who take public transit in San Diego are largely people who are transit-dependent. For them, public transit is a necessity. That’s why it’s the most important sector to focus on to tackle climate change and economic justice at the same time. And all too often, like other systemic issues overlooked in the fight against poverty, we have forgotten to look at the implications of poor and failing transportation systems. According to Gillian B. White in The Atlantic, “Access to just about everything associated with upward mobility and economic progress—jobs, quality food, and goods (at reasonable prices), healthcare, and schooling— relies on the ability to get around in an efficient way, and for an affordable price.” Add to this the health and safety issues that affect those who live near transit, and we get a clearer picture of a system that is failing large swaths of San Diego communities. 

On Thursday, November 12, 2020, SanDiego350 hosted a Transportation Justice Forum to help educate members on transportation justice and explore the intersections between transportation justice and climate justice. At the event, we discussed many different topics to educate our members about transportation justice including redlining, local activism in San Diego, and how transportation is connected to racial justice, the pandemic, and climate change. 

The event started by examining some systematic issues in San Diego and how that creates a lack of opportunity for our environmental justice communities. Ricardo Flores, the executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, spoke about redlining policies in San Diego that have affected our neighborhoods for generations and as a result, have affected access to transit. Next, Rio Oxas, co-founder of RAHOK, presented on mobility justice. Their presentation highlighted the connections between climate change, racial justice, and the pandemic. 

Following the presentations, a panel of community activists shared their experience in working towards transportation justice in San Diego and how SanDiego350 members could join the fight. This panel featured Maria Esperanza Gonzalez with Mid-City CAN, Maleeka Marsden, the Co-Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign, Barry Pollard, the Executive Director of The Urban Collaborative Project, and Randy Torres-Van Vleck, Director of Policy and Planning at City Heights CDC. Together they discussed the major failing and success of San Diego’s transportation system, the top priorities when working with our local transit agencies for our environmental justice communities, and more.

About Masada D

Masada Disenhouse co-founded SanDiego350 in 2011 and serves as its Executive Director. She is passionate about engaging volunteers and growing a powerful climate change movement.

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