Transit Equity Day 2023

Transit Equity Week is January 30th - February 4th in Santa Cruz County. Organize like Rosa Parks: Safe Streets and Public Transit for Civil Rights and a Healthy Planet
  • Lack of access to robust public transportation is a major barrier to education, jobs, and opportunity and is a top predictor of future poverty.
  • Traffic violence has skyrocketed here and across the US.
  • Traffic accounts for more than 1/2 of our greenhouse gases and other toxic chemicals.

**What can we do?

Join us at 4 community events to share ideas, learn, and activate a better transportation future for everyone in our community and a just transition for labor.

Click on the event boxes to sign up to attend each event. Learn details about the events below. We urge people to ride the bus or bike to all our events if possible. Check out the Metro Route Map here.

Bus Metro offered FREE FARES on all routes for Transit Equity Day Feb 4th!

Public Transit, Safe Streets and Urban Design Expert Panel

Monday January 30th 6PM. A rich conversation on Public Transit, Safe Streets, and Urban Design: Making Cities better for Everyone at the Resource Center for Non-Violence

Meet our Distinguished Panelists

Justin Cummings

Justin Cummings is the newly elected Santa Cruz County District 3 Santa Cruz County Supervisor, Co-Founder and Associate Director of the UCSC CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research, and on-call Project Scientist with Integral Consulting, Inc. Justin holds a BA in Spanish and a BS in Biology from Eastern Illinois University and a Ph.D. from the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a designated emphasis in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Justin served as a Santa Cruz City council member and was Mayor in 2020 as the Covid pandemic hit communities hard. Justin grew up in Chicago where robust public transit system allows equitable access to opportunity for the many who cannot afford to drive.

James Sandoval

James Sandoval is the Chairperson for the California State Legislative Board of SMART Labor Organizer, Vice President at Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, and General Chairperson for SMART Local 0023. James is a formidable advocate for labor rights. James grew up in Watsonville and graduated from Watsonville High School and then went on to study radiology at Cabrillo college. James is a bus operator for Santa Cruz County Metro in addition to his labor organizational leadership work. James is a loving husband and father of 2 beautiful children.

Miriam Greenberg

Miriam Greenberg is professor and chair of the Social Sciences Department at UC Santa Cruz. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and is the author of  Branding New York:  How a City in Crisis was Sold to the World  and Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans, co-authored with Kevin Fox Gotham; and The City is the Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Tactics in an Urban Age, co-edited with Penny Lewis (Cornell, 2017). Miriam is also Director of The Critical Sustainabilities Project centered around competing discourses in urban development in California and No Place Like Home, focused on the housing crisis in Santa Cruz County.

Adam Millard-Ball

Adam Miller-Ball is professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and Acting Director of the UCLA Institute for Transportation Studies. His research and teachings focus on transportation and climate change. Trained as an economist, a geographer, and an urban planner, Adam analyzes the environmental consequences of transportation and land-use decisions, and the effectiveness of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Adam holds a PhD in Environment and Resources from Stanford University and an MA in Geography from the University of Edinburgh. You can listen to an interview with Adam at UCLA on How Housing Shapes Transportation Choices.

Michael Tree

Michael Tree is the new CEO and General Manager of Santa Cruz Metropolitan District (Bus Metro) and he has a positive vision forward for Santa Cruz public transit. He has jumped into collaborating with the community Michael most recently served as the Executive Director for the Tri-Valley–San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority. This new rail authority was created to deliver the Valley Link commuter rail project, a 42-mile, seven-station project. He was also Executive Director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, where he focused on increasing transportation options and improving ease of use and rider connectivity. Michael has been building bridges with the community, working hard to hire new drivers and ramp up service while at the same time, providing evacuation services, with the support of Metro Drivers, to the community during the recent destructive storms.

Student Transit Rider

It is important for us to ensure the voices of our young transit riders are represented at the table of local governance overseeing public transportation services. The largest percentage of Metro riders are UCSC students. Many youth and high school students rely on public bus transportation to access important activities beyond their neighborhoods, school, part time work, and social connections as well as summer full time jobs. Many students from Watsonville ride the bus to work at places like the Boardwalk in the City of Santa Cruz during the summer.

Transit, Urban Design, Safe-Streets Panel Mon Jan 30, 6pm. Resource Center for NonViolence

Please register here for updates. In-person seats are limited.

Transit & Tactical Urbanism Movie Night Wed Feb 1

Safe Streets, Tactical Urbanism, History of Public Transit (In)Equity

Wednesday Feb 1, 6PM @ the Live Oak Grange.

Come join us in community for a Movie Night and discussion about actions we can take to make our streets safer and understand how our history of transit inequity impacts us still today. Snacks provided..d.

Links to the movies we watched

The Street Project: Worldwide, more than a million people die in traffic-related crashes each year. Half of those deaths are pedestrians and cyclists. The Street Project is an inspiring story about a movement to reclaim our largest public spaces, our streets.

Transform Your City With Tactical Urbanism: Worldwide, more than a million people die in traffic-related crashes each year. Half of those deaths are pedestrians and cyclists. The Street Project is an inspiring story about a movement to reclaim our largest public spaces, our streets.

Freeways almost ruined San Francisco: During the 1950s and 1960s, the federal government steamrolled communities with large scale highways that systematized racism and classism in this country and launched our environmental catastrophe. San Francisco fought back!

Taken for a Ride – The USA once had the #1 public transit system in the world. The destruction of our once world class systems was led by corporate interests that benefited from ripping out and destroying once great trolley lines. The federal government, with the help of the corporate lobbyists, steamrolled communities and build large scale highways through the bedrooms and backyards of Black and Brown communities that systematized racism and classism in this country.

Movie and snacks at the Live Oak Grange

Wed Feb 1st, 6pm.

Santa Cruz Safe Streets Bike Ride Party!

Friday Feb 3rd

Bring your bike. Bring your Friends. Join the Fun!

Safe Streets Belong to Everyone!

Friday Feb 3, 5PM Meet at Spruce and Pacific Avenue by the Bike Church

Equity Transit is partnering with Ecology Action to host a Safe Streets Bike Ride Party starting in downtown Santa Cruz!

Join us 5pm Fri Feb 3rd for a whole lotta bike riding fun!

Bring your friends, bike lights, and helmet!

Transit Equity-Rosa Parks’ Day Family Fair Feb 4th Watsonville!

Safe Streets and Public Transit for Civil Rights and a Healthy Planet

Live national coverage of Transit Equity Day by National organizer Labor Network for Sustainability interviewing our local team at around time 1:01:19

Local leaders from Watsonville and Santa Cruz speak at the National Transit Equity Day 2023 event through the pouring rain!

Rosa Parks !

The date of National Transit Equity Day is chosen in honor of the birthday of Rosa Parks, which falls at the beginning of Black History Month, for her pivotal role in combating racial segregation on public buses, trains and trolleys.

Tracks were torn out, and ever-widening highways were laid down through the bedrooms and backyards of Black and Brown communities suddenly cutting off access to opportunity and systematizing racism and classism across the country while contributing to the the worst pollution near these underrepresented communities.

Kids bring your bikes to the free Bike Rodeo!

Sat Feb 4, 2023, Watsonville Central Plaza 10am – 3pm!

** Ride Bus Metro to the event for FREE!

Meet Community Leaders speaking at 1:45pm Feb 4th Central Plaza Watsonville

Felipe Hernandez

Felipe Hernandez is our newly elected Santa Cruz County Supervisor for District 4, primarily covering Watsonville. Felipe was born and raised in Watsonville and graduated from Watsonville High School after which he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served our country in Desert Storm. Felipe is a former Watsonville City Council member and Mayor, former Cabrillo College Trustee. Felipe helped bring the Vision Zero program to Watsonville and is a member of the Community Traffic Safety Coalition, helping to make the streets of Watsonville safe for everyone as our county faces the highest traffic violence rates in the State of California. Felipe is excited about building bridges with community members and organizations throughout the county and strengthening our relations with our state representatives.

Vanessa Quiroz-Carter 

Vanessa Quiroz-Carter is a member of the Watsonville City Council and has dedicated the past 21 years to public service, community building and education including, Americorps, SCC Women’s Commission, the City of Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission, and as VP of the Board for Families in Transition and works as an Adjunct Professor at Hartnell College. Vanessa is a descendent of immigrants from Mexico and a third generation Watsonville resident. She attended Cabrillo College for two years before transferring to University of California, Berkeley, where she received her B.A. in English Literature, and Master’s in Communication from California State University, East Bay. Vanessa knows personally how public transit is access to opportunity. She is working to make sure community members that do not have a car have equal access to the same opportunities of those people that do.

Veronica Elsea

Veronica Elsea is an accomplished professional composer and performer, who is fortunate and daring enough to remain self-employed! She is a member of American Federation of Musicians local 153 and a writer member of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Veronica received her B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles and her M.A. from the University of Iowa both in viola and music composition. Veronica is a very active leader and participant with a number of organizations and governmental agencies, including Chair of the Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee, fighting on behalf of the rights of the elderly and people with disabilities. Unbeknownst to many, Veronica is completely blind! Veronica can be seen walking all over town, with her trusty cane. Her upbringing as a young child helped support a life of empowerment and independence and advocacy for others to enjoy the same. For people like Veronica, public transit serves as a lifeline and access to vital services.

Jose Castillo

Jose Castillo is Senior at Pajaro Valley High. Jose has been part of Community Bike Collective for two years. He started out as a participant and quickly moved into a mentor role and then joined the Community Bike Collective as a staff member. Jose loves biking with his friends. Jose is also a part of the Fire Cadet Program and is an inspiring young leader in the Watsonville community. Jose knows first hand about the dangers of biking on the county streets and wants to help make our streets safer for all young people so they can bike to work, school, and for fun with friends. Jose will share his story with the community on Feb 4th.

Lani Faulkner

Lani Faulkner is the Founder and Director of Equity Transit, working with organizations and people across the county to bring Safe Streets and Public Transit for Civil Rights and a Healthy Planet! Lani coached youth biking for 7 years and has seen traffic violence and aggression increase to a point where kids, and their parents, no longer feel safe biking to school and around town. Lani works to be a voice for the growing number of people who rely on public transit but who are often not heard in important conversations at the local governmental meetings. Lani hopes to bring awareness that prioritizing transit oriented infill development and advances in Safe Streets Infrastructure seen in other cities serves to strengthen local economies while growing vibrant thriving communities.

Chris Davis

Chris Davis is a local entrepreneur and proud business owner and resident of Watsonville. He is a founding Director of Santa Cruz Black and a member of the Black Kings of Santa Cruz County. Chris is passionate about the the importance of public transit serving his community and people from all walks of life, giving equal access to opportunity. Chris co-owns My Mom’s Mole and cooks up righteous healthy meals for the community and can be seen in their amazing fiery food truck at events throughout the county. My Mom’s Mole will be serving delicious food at the Watsonville Central Plaza for National Transit Equity Day Feb 4th.

Volunteer: Click the button to get involved and be a part of the fun helping these events happen!

Transit Equity Week 2023 is Supported by these great Organizations

Events will be streamed Live Feb 4th from 9 am – 11 am Pacific time by National Organizer, Labor Network for Sustainability, on their YouTube Channel. You can see last year’s livestream there as well.

Contact Us

1840 41st Ave Ste 102, #227
Capitola, CA 95010