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Vote Bill Wolpert - October 21 Email

Making Transit Cool

My name is Bill Wolpert.  I’m running for Petaluma City Council.  This is another installment in my continuing conversation with the voters of Petaluma.

In response to a candidate forum question about climate change actions the City could be taking, I expressed concern that City’s recent purchase of thirty vehicles didn’t include any alternative fuel or hybrid models.  Afterwards, I was advised that Petaluma Transit recently acquired three diesel hybrid buses for their fleet and expects their next additions to be electric.

It was typical of the role that transit plays in Petaluma and in many communities, doing the right things with little public awareness.

Over the last decade, Petaluma Transit has nearly tripled their ridership, a remarkable accomplishment for an agency that receives nothing from the City’s general fund and is trying to serve a town that has, for a half century, given little consideration to how it could served by transit.

Further, Petaluma Transit is building a strong complement of young riders, representatives of a demographic segment who are turning away from car ownership and who will carry an awareness of transit into their adulthood.

As I talk with voters, a dominant concern is traffic.  It’s a complex subject without easy answers.  But one answer is that every trip taken on Petaluma Transit (or on a bike) is one less car on the road.  And that every trip taken on the coming SMART train is one less car on Highway 101.

Transit isn’t a magic bullet against traffic congestion, but it can play a role.  We must create a town where transit is frequent, convenient, and on schedule so we can all enjoy transit at least once in awhile.

Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, succinctly captured my philosophy when he said, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars.  It’s where the rich use public transport.”

If you elect me, it’s a philosophy of which I’ll be continually aware.  I don’t expect our patterns to change overnight, but if public transit were safe, convenient, and fun, why wouldn’t you use it?  Today is when we begin building toward that goal.

I've begun sharing what I think about the present and future of Petaluma.  But I also want to know what you think.  You can reply to this email, send me a message from my website, or talk to me at one of the events listed on my website.  I care about your opinions.

Bill Wolpert

Candidate, Petaluma City Council

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Bill Wolpert for Petaluma City Council
40 Fourth St., Box 278
Petaluma, CA 94952
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