We all need to move, and how we move influences our quality of life. Unfortunately, not all communities have the same access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation options such as public transit and biking and walking paths. That means some communities don't have access to the same quality of life just because of where they live.

Transportation justice is the equal access of all people to transportation options and in turn, an equal chance for a healthier life.

Here, a few of our community members define transportation justice in their own lives.

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To get involved, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, come to our next community meeting and contact Monique López at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (619) 474-0220 ext. 130.

When the San Onofre power plant shut down, San Diego had an opportunity to power our city with clean energy that makes our communities healthier and builds thousands of local jobs. Instead the California Public Utilities Commission voted to meet two thirds of our new energy needs with a polluting natural-gas power plant in Carlsbad, and only one third of our energy with clean sources. 

This recent decision locks San Diego into at least 40 years of air pollution, high energy bills, climate change and a minimized opportunity to create thousands of local jobs. Of the five commissioners on the California Public Utilities Commission, only Commissioner Sandoval voted against the polluting power plant. Sandoval acknowledged that there is no legal basis to support a rushed approval of a dirty gas plant at the expense of clean energy solutions. 

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According to Policy Advocate Kayla Race says, “The Commission says they’re moving us toward a clean energy future, but it’s hard to believe when so many of their decisions takes us three steps backwards. This power plant locks San Diegans into higher energy bills for more pollution, which doesn’t make sense when we have cleaner options available that create local jobs and make our communities healthier.”

We need programs and policies that invest in local communities to create career-track green jobs and create a new clean energy economy. Maximizing energy efficiency and conservation, rooftop solar and other forms of local renewable energy should be California’s first priority in meeting the state’s energy needs. Only after all clean resources are exhausted should new, polluting power plants and transmission infrastructure be allowed.

Join the fight for climate justice by:

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and Caltrans have proposed a plan to expand the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway (SR 94) that benefits none of the communities that it damages. Children who live in adjacent communities will likely have more asthma episodes as a result of the increased car pollution and the plan offers very minimal improvements to make biking and walking safer for people who live and work in and visit these communities. The freeway will carry a new transit line without a single bus stop in the communities it runs through.

The irony of the plan is glaring. The freeway named after one of greatest champions of equality is being expanded at the expense of lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words could not be any truer today than they once were. He said,

“Urban transit systems in most American cities, for example, have become a genuine civil rights issue – and a valid one – because the layout of rapid-transit systems determines the accessibility of jobs to the black community [and other communities of color]. If transportation systems in American cities could be laid out so as to provide an opportunity for poor people to get meaningful employment, then they could begin to move into the mainstream of American life.”

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This injustice may continue if the community’s voice is not heard by SANDAG.

Better plans exist that benefit all San Diegans.

We should apply innovative community-based solutions by turning existing freeway space into transit only lanes or convert an existing general purpose lane for carpool and transit-only use.

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We should improve transit options for all by having bus stops in all communities.

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We should adequately invest in adjacent communities to improve safety conditions for people walking, biking and transit use.

SANDAG and Caltrans will give an update on the plan and its impacts to surrounding communities on May 20th at 2 p.m. If you believe in transportation justice and clean air for all communities, sign our letter, contact Monique at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and attend the meeting.

Did you know: Every time you purchase a non-food item at the store, a percentage of the taxes you see on your receipt go to fund local transportation projects?

This sales tax is called "TransNet." The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), collects the tax and distributes a small amount of that funding to cities in San Diego County.

The City of San Diego gets close to 30-million dollars each year, in addition to other federal and state funds, to decide what type of improvements to local streets and sidewalks.

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Start Here - Overburdened Communities Need Help Most

We recommend that the City prioritize transportation projects in communities that are:

  • most impacted by air pollution due to cars and trucks on local streets and freeways;
  • have greatest percentages of children with asthma; and
  • have the greatest risk of being hit by car while walking or biking.

These communities include City Heights, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, Barrio Logan and San Ysidro.

Start Now - Here's How

So how can the City of San Diego use its funds for transportation justice? It can begin by transforming streets and public space into a place where it is safe for people to walk, bike, take transit and drive, or as we like to call it: "Complete Streets."

Complete Streets means streets are not just built for cars, but for all modes of transportation. When a city builds infrastructure that accommodates more than automobiles, it's been shown to increase other modes of transportation drastically.

Complete Streets have roundabouts to slow down traffic, wide sidewalks to encourage walking, protected bike lanes to separate bicyclists from traffic and streetlights to name a few.

The City needs to dedicate funding to make Complete Streets possible.

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Everyone Wants Clean Air

Currently, the City of San Diego has a draft Climate Action Plan that sets goals to increase biking, walking and public transit. This is important because 55 percent of the pollution contributing to climate change comes from people driving alone in their car.

To reach our goal of more walking, biking and taking public transit, the City should at least match their transportation budget to the amount needed to build the streets and sidewalks it takes to accomplish climate goals.

Your Community, Your Voice

There are a number of projects that need to move forward in our communities to make it safer and more convenient to walk, bike, or take public transit. If you know of a transportation need, such as a dangerous intersection, missing crosswalks or bike lanes in your community, contact Monique Lopez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We must work together to ensure that our community priorities are included in the City's budget and build #healthyhoods one bike lane, sidewalk and transit stop at a time.

You may have heard the buzz about the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, but what does it mean and why does it matter? We’ve broken it down so you can understand how our city is handling climate change and how to get involved.

The problems with climate change

Climate change hits our neighborhoods first and worst

What is a Climate Action Plan?

What does the draft Climate Action Plan leave out?

Our solution

Take action

What they’re saying

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The problems with climate change

Climate change can't be seen or touched, but every day our families are affected by it and the pollution that causes it. The thick, dirty air from cars and industries harm our environment and make us sick. And climate change effects, from sea-level rise along our coast, to extreme heat waves and drought, impact our region and our lives more each day.

Learn more about the harmful effects of climate change in San Diego here.

Climate change hits our neighborhoods first and worst

All neighborhoods in San Diego are impacted by climate change, but not all neighborhoods are impacted equally. As the effects of climate change worsen, some urban neighborhoods such as Barrio Logan, City Heights, and southeastern and southern San Diego suffer significantly more.

Climate change hits hardest in the neighborhoods that:

Without immediate action in our communities, we will see more heat waves, drought, worsened air quality, increased energy bills and more freeway pollution. The time to start is now, and the place to start is here.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

The City of San Diego is developing a plan to reduce the pollution that causes climate change--which mostly comes from cars, trucks and dirty power plants—and boost our resilience in a changing climate. San Diego’s plan will reduce pollution by relying more on clean energy, increasing transit, walking and biking opportunities, increasing our urban tree coverage and reducing waste.

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What does the Climate Action Plan leave out?

The current draft of the Climate Action Plan falls short in two major areas:

  1. It fails to prioritize neighborhoods most impacted by climate change for transportation and energy benefits, and
  2. It doesn’t do enough to reduce energy use in buildings.

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Our solution: Start here, start now! Put our neighborhoods first in the Climate Action Plan!

The City of San Diego should take action on climate now, starting in the neighborhoods impacted first and worst by climate change. Sign our letter to tell the Mayor and City to strengthen and approve an enforceable and comprehensive Climate Action Plan that achieves:

  • Transportation justice: Invests in transit, bicycling, and pedestrian infrastructure in our neighborhoods first, and puts people before freeways
  • Energy justice: Puts solar in our neighborhoods, gives San Diegans a clean energy choice, and makes new and existing buildings energy efficient
  • Good jobs: Creates good-paying jobs for local residents
  • Climate change resilience: Protects our natural resources, wildlife, coastline, infrastructure, and public health from the harmful impacts of climate change
  • Bold goals, state laws and the City General Plan: Achieves the draft climate plan’s goals to cut carbon in half, use alternative transit for half commutes, use 100 percent clean energy, increase our urban forests, and reduce waste

Put Our First

Take Action

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What They’re Saying

City Councilmembers join the community in demanding the City’s Climate Action Plan start here and start now, in our urban neighborhoods most impacted by climate change.

Irma Ortiz, resident of Logan Heights, said:

“Residents in my neighborhood already suffer from air quality that’s damaging to breathe, energy bills that are difficult to pay and public transit that’s hard to access. My community has needed the City to act on climate and pollution for a long time, and I hope the mayor’s plan ensures we will see action soon.” 

Councilmember David Alvarez said:

“Neighborhoods in my district and others like it have been waiting their turn for investments in solar energy, affordable and convenient public transit, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, efficient and healthy homes and improved air quality. We can’t afford to wait any longer. We need to act here and now to ensure our neighborhoods are resilient against climate change impacts.”

Councilmember Marti Emerald said:

“I positively support the adoption of a strong Climate Action Plan for the City of San Diego. Climate change impacts disadvantaged communities, including many in District 9, hardest. We need to make sure that the economic, transportation and public health needs of the citizens in disadvantaged neighborhoods are adequately addressed by the plan.”

Councilmember Myrtle Cole said:

"San Diego's working families must be equipped to be resilient in a changing climate and create healthy, sustainable investment and quality jobs in communities that have historically been underserved.” 

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