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Friday Jobs Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Communications Associate, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New York, NY
The communications associate will manage TSTC’s website, blog, social media, and online advocacy campaigns. Duties include writing and editing news and opinion articles for the organization’s blogfact-checking, drafting and coordinating press releases, writing public testimony, conducting media outreach, participating in advocacy campaigns, and keeping current with tri-state area transportation news.

Assistant to TransForm Executive Director, Oakland, CA
This is a temporary, three-month position to assist TransForm’s executive director with a higher than usual number of presentations, issue briefs, program expansions, etc.

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Thursday Jobs Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are this week’s listings:

U.S. Communications Manager, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York, NY
This position will raise the profile of ITDP’s US program as ITDP begins to play a larger role in BRT efforts in the US. The primary responsibility will be press and public relations, but the position will also include event planning and writing.

Legislative Affairs Manager, Cascade Bicycle Club, Olympia, WA
In collaboration with departmental staff and key organizational leadership, the Legislative Affairs Manager informs, develops, and implements Cascade’s legislative efforts. The Legislative Affairs Manager is expected to influence major non-motorized policy and funding decisions in Olympia to support Cascade’s vision of more bikeable and livable communities.

Executive Director, PedNet Coalition, Columbia, MO
The PedNet Coalition of Columbia, Missouri is conducting a national search for an experienced and visionary Executive Director to lead a dynamic team of advocates implementing PedNet’s local programs and policy campaigns, its nationwide training and consulting business, and its participation in the active transportation movement.

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The Strain of Job Sprawl on Two-Income Households

When Mark Lampert was a kid, his mom stayed home with him and his brothers. His dad was out the door by 4:30 every morning, driving to the commuter lot in their distant Houston suburb to take the bus in to the city for work. He had friends whose parents both worked, and when those friends came home from school they had the house to themselves – “which is why we went over there to build pipe bombs,” Mark said. At Mark’s house, dinner was ready and everyone was home by 6:00 every night.

Young people don't want to work in corporate campuses like this. And with more and more two-income households, it's just not practical. Photo: Indiana County

These days, Mark is living very differently. He lives in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC with his wife, April. She works long days as a journalist, biking or riding the metro a short 10 to 15 minutes to her downtown office. His dream job as a video game sound designer has him commuting far beyond the reaches of the metro red line, over an hour each way. They often don’t manage to sit down to dinner until 9:00.

He normally takes the train, but things get complicated during his months-long crunch times at work, when he’s up against a video game release deadline. The Ride-On bus he takes from the metro doesn’t run late, so he has to drive during those times — and lengthen an already painfully long day, circling around endlessly when he gets home to find a parking spot. It gets even hairier when they think about having a family, which they’d like to do soon. It’s hard to imagine a child care situation where they could equitably split drop-offs and pick-ups.

April and Mark used to live out in the suburbs, closer to his work, but they ached to get back into the city. “We knew it would be a lot harder for him time-wise,” April said, “but there’s so much vibrancy about living in the city.”

Their situation is shaped by three coinciding trends: the rise of the dual-income household, the increased desire for urban living, and the spread of job sprawl.

In the 1950s, 57 percent of residents and 70 percent of jobs were located in central cities; in 1990, they were about 37 and 45.

When Mark’s parents were graduating from high school, 35 percent of married women worked outside the home. By the time Mark graduated from high school in the late 1990s, it was 61 percent, which is about where it is now. That means that rather than locating a household to be convenient to one person’s job, families are now struggling to find the sweet spot where two people will have a reasonable commute to two different workplaces.

Sometimes they choose to live between the two. Anecdotally, I see more people making the choice April and Mark made: living where one can have an easy, car-free commute, and the other has a much longer haul. The lack of parking in their inner-city neighborhood is no problem for her, but it causes him no end of headaches.

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Brookings: Inadequate Transit and Sprawl Cut Off Workers From Jobs

Transit access to employment is especially weak in the Midwest and South. Source: Brookings Institution

If there’s a problem connecting workers with workplaces, it stands to reason that there’s a problem connecting workplaces with workers. A new report from the Brookings Institution has teased out the subtleties of this side of the transit/jobs equation.

Last year, Brookings found that, on average, 70 percent of jobs in a metropolitan region are inaccessible to a typical resident via transit. Or at least, it would take over 90 minutes each way to get there.

This time around, Brookings looked at how large a pool of potential employees each employer has access to, assuming those employees would use transit to commute to work. And just as only 30 percent of jobs are accessible to most workers, only 27 percent of workers are accessible to most jobs, they found.

In terms of general access to transit, 70 percent of people in metropolitan areas live in neighborhoods that are served by transit and more than 75 percent of jobs are served by transit. Not surprisingly, the big divide is between suburban and urban locations within those metro areas. In cities, 95 percent of jobs are in transit-served neighborhoods, while in suburbs, only 64 percent of employers have transit service.

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Transit Funding Cuts Are Putting Bus Drivers in Danger

Attacks on transit drivers are not a new problem. But it seems to be getting worse.

A spike in violence has compelled Seattle area buses to carry this PSA. Photo: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr

A bus driver now gets assaulted every three days in the United States, estimates the Amalgated Transit Union. Headlines abound of drivers getting kicked, punched, stabbed and shot, while the lower-profile offenses – spitting and verbal harassment – have almost become part of the job description.

For many transit workers, it’s plain to see how the recession has inflated a trend that already existed. Working alone and dealing with money, drivers have always been vulnerable. Mix in a more frustrated, downtrodden population of passengers with a host of service cuts and fare increases, and you get combustion.

“People who are poorer than they were, … who rely more on transit than they did, who are waiting longer at bus stops for the bus to come because the service has been cut,” said Larry Hanley, president of the ATU. When they board the bus, “the driver’s sitting there in a uniform, representing the government, telling them, you got to pay a higher tax for this service,” he said.

Nationwide statistics are lacking, but many jurisdictions have reported recent increases in driver attacks. The Philadelphia Transport Workers Union local reports that assaults there more than doubled in 2011 compared to 2010. New York City has seen a 30 percent increase in 2012. There’s also not a lot of hard data linking an uptick in assaults to fare increases or service cuts, said Robin Gillespie, program director of safety and health at the Transportation Learning Center. But “people feel that way,” she said.

And attacks occur most commonly during fare collection. “The conflict is over money,” said Hanley. “It’s people who have a pocket full of empty and have to get to a place.”

As the problem gets more prevalent, transit unions are getting more organized in their efforts to deal with it.

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Boehner Masks GOP Attack on Safe Streets By Opposing Flowers

House Speaker John Boehner spoke to reporters yesterday morning. His message: “Republicans Relentlessly Focused on Jobs.”

John Boehner says there will be no more flowers on his watch. Photo: Human Flower Project

“House Republicans want to get a highway bill done,” he said. “We want a bill, and our colleagues are working toward producing a bill. We just want to make sure it’s a bill that includes real reforms, to ensure that taxpayer funds are paying for legitimate projects that support economic activity – not planting more flowers and beautification projects around the country.”

Of course, Boehner is hiding behind the “no flower” argument to mask the House GOP’s real objective — dismantling the Senate transportation bill’s provisions for street safety programs, which are funded from the same pot as “scenic beautification” projects. The GOP’s true target — the Cardin-Cochran amendment — gives local agencies control over funds from programs to make streets safer for walking and biking, including Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements. Those funds go toward transportation projects that save people money, reduce congestion, improve air quality, and combat obesity.

Not only does that money go a long way in terms of building infrastructure and getting results, it also produces more construction jobs per dollar than highway spending. So maybe Boehner is not really focused on jobs — “Relentlessly Focused on Fossil Fuels” is more like it. In his comments, Boehner added that the House GOP also supports “bipartisan, job-creating initiatives like the Keystone pipeline” — which is expected to create about 6,000 jobs. (Hardly enough to have a real impact on the nation’s unemployment, when last month’s job growth of 69,000 was considered extremely weak.)

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Boxer Changes Her Tone, Adopts a Fighting Stance

The transportation bill conference committee negotiations have been difficult and contentious, by all accounts — all except Senator Barbara Boxer’s account. The EPW chair has been optimistic when others have been bitter, consistently focusing on how much the two sides agree rather than the places where they’re still far apart.

Barbara Boxer sharpened her rhetoric yesterday about the House Republicans' foot-dragging on a transportation bill. Photo: Tanya Snyder.

But that seemed to change with her fighting words at a press event yesterday.

“I’ll be candid,” she said. “There is only one group standing in the way of a bill, standing in the way of three million jobs, standing in the way of thousands and thousands of businesses struggling right now — and those are the House Republicans.”

The seven other senators who joined her at the podium used even stronger words. New York Democrat Chuck Schumer decried the “militants, radicals, and extremists” among the House Republicans — not all Republicans, he was careful to note — who don’t believe the federal government should even be involved in building transportation infrastructure.

Do the math, said Sen. John Kerry. Every billion dollars invested in infrastructure yields an estimated 27,000 to 35,000 jobs. This is a $109 billion bill — “that’s several million jobs.” He echoed a point Schumer had made, that the economy is recovering but is being held back by lingering high unemployment in the construction sector. “Those folks would go to work tomorrow if this bill were passed,” Kerry said, adding that it was “an utter disgrace that people would say they’re with the American people and then refuse a bill that would put them back to work.”

“Where’s the speed bump? Where’s the road block?” asked Delaware’s Chris Coons. “It’s right there,” he said, pointing to the southern wing of the Capitol building, “in the House of Representatives.”

The senators were joined by a convoy of five large construction trucks behind them (breaking DC’s three-minute idling law), symbolizing the idling construction sector, one assumes.

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Five Ex-Secretaries Map Out a Communications Strategy For Transportation

Former Transportation Secretaries Mary Peters, James Burnley, Rodney Slater, Samuel Skinner, and Norman Mineta participated in the conference that produced a report and communications strategy. Photo from Miller Center.

If 80 percent of the American people agree that federal infrastructure investment will create jobs, and two-thirds say better infrastructure is important, why is the call for a robust transportation bill being made in whispers? And why is Congress already two and a half years late in producing one?

There are many political reasons — from the earmark ban to wariness of “Bridge to Nowhere” projects to the anti-spending frenzy that’s taken over the House — that it’s been a tough time to pass a transportation bill. But five former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation have said that the voice for change has to be louder. They released a report yesterday, with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, calling for a new communications strategy. (See “Is Transpo Funding Fundamentally a PR Problem? Five Ex-DOT Chiefs Discuss,” Dec. 2, 2011, for more on the conference the report is based on.)

The communications strategy is both visionary and tactical. Its more nuts-and-bolts elements include social networking campaigns and election-year news hooks to bring attention to the issue and make candidates talk about infrastructure.

The strategy is aimed at both leaders and the public. After all, both say they want better transportation infrastructure (and the jobs that will be created to build it), but no one wants to pay for it. The American people haven’t woken up to that contradiction. “Seventy-one percent of voters oppose an increase in the federal gas tax,” the Miller Center report says, “with majorities likewise opposing a tax on foreign oil, the replacement of the gas tax with a per-mile-traveled fee, and the imposition of new tolls to increase federal transportation funding.”

That’s a pretty comprehensive list of funding mechanisms, and the public has rejected them all. Part of a communications strategy, therefore, has to explain to the American people – not just about transportation but about all government services – that you can’t get something for nothing.

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Friday Job Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are this week’s listings:

Membership Manager, Transportation Alternatives, New York, NY
The Membership Manager will be responsible for developing and leading membership drives and executing events and outreach strategies to significantly grow Transportation Alternatives’ membership base.

External Communications and Marketing Manager, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York, NY
This position will help lead ITDP’s external communications, including public relations and social media, as the organization scales up its efforts to address climate change, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

Communications Manager, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Washington, DC
The coalition is seeking a person with a passion for advocacy, writing, and making a difference in the Washington D.C. region to join a team that makes a real difference on smart growth issues in and around our Nation’s Capital  – from saving Metro to creating bicycle and pedestrian-friendly communities and protecting open space.

Principal Planner, Modeling/GIS, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Francisco, CA
The Transportation Planner Series-Technology Services Division includes three levels of professional Transportation Planners who prepare complex travel demand forecasting model applications for planning studies; maintain the model; and manage the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database.

Youth Cycling Instructor, Bike New York, New York, NY
Bike New York works with established youth organizations to teach basic bike handling and traffic safety skills to young cyclists and to lead rides in New York City Parks and Greenways. The organization is seeking instructors who can teach in either the spring after-school program, the summer camp program, or both.

Bike Fleet Manager, Bike New York, New York, NY
Bike New York’s education department seeks an energetic, organized person with bike maintenance and bike mechanic skills to manage a growing bike fleet and Community Bicycle Education Centers. In 2012, Bike New York’s eight Community Bicycle Education Centers will house a total of nearly 300 bicycles.

Business Networking Intern, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco, CA
Gain valuable business networking experience while promoting bicycling to San Francisco businesses. Because the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is the primary organizer for San Francisco’s Bike to School Day and Bike to Work Day, you will have the opportunity to help execute these citywide events coordinating hundreds of volunteers.

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Thursday Job Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are this week’s listings:

Grassroots and Outreach Fellow, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Anywhere
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is seeking a Grassroots and Outreach Fellow to grow the Safe Routes to School movement at the local level and engage them in grassroots advocacy. This opportunity will provide fellows with hands-on experience in coalition-building and grassroots lobbying.

StreetsMedia Development Intern, StreetsMedia, New York City
We are seeking a StreetsMedia Development Intern for Winter-Spring 2012. StreetsMedia is the online advocate for better transportation, smarter cities, and urban sustainability, and includes Streetsblog and Streetfilms. StreetsMedia is currently diversifying our funding strategy and the intern will play an integral part in supporting this effort.

Bicycle Valet Coordinator, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco
The SF Bicycle Coalition is looking for a highly motivated, talented individual to manage the Coalition’s world famous Valet Bicycle Parking program.

Safety Educator, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City
Safety educators serve as a traffic safety outreach program coordinator/educator, conducting and assisting with the development of a variety of traffic safety educational presentations and creative art and theater projects for children, youth and older adults. Multiple positions available.