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Amanda Eaken, Deputy Director, Urban Solutions, San Francisco

Amanda Eaken
I work at the intersection of land use, transportation and climate change, especially in cities. I am deeply concerned about our climate and believe we have the answers to our challenges; we just have to implement them. We complain about traffic, but the average car on the road has just one person inside. We circle mindlessly looking for parking, clogging roads, but only use our cars for 5% of the day—while they sit unused on city streets and in expensive parking lots. I believe the sharing economy opens up huge opportunities for us to move toward a smarter, more efficient and more responsive system. I live for the win-win of improving our quality of life while cutting needless oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. I am a cyclist, a former New Yorker and a lover of cities. I live in San Francisco with my partner and two daughters and we are JUST ABOUT to become a car(e)free family.

Recent Posts

Serial Part III: We know where the transportation money is going, and we're not impressed ... yet

Posted May 8, 2015 by Amanda Eaken

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Money talks. It sways decisions and alters behavior, from the choices we make at the grocery store to how often we turn off the lights when leaving a room. Such decisions can have long-lasting effects, which is why the way...continued

Part two of our serial: Caltrans and sustainability get friendly

Posted April 28, 2015 by Amanda Eaken

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"Sustainability is often misconstrued as only an environmental issue," says Steven Cliff, the sustainability assistant director for California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Do you agree? Listen to an interview with Cliff in the second installment in our series on California's...continued

Listen to our new serial: California's transportation transformation

Posted April 15, 2015 by Amanda Eaken

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In a state struggling with infrastructure costs, furiously figuring out how we can pay for road maintenance, and working towards achieving ambitious climate goals that require a reduction in car travel...we're still building more roads. Slowly but surely, that is...continued

Car(e)-free 17 days and counting

Posted March 26, 2015 by Amanda Eaken

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My recent decision to sell my car got some re-postings on the internet, and helped to draw attention to something very near to my heart - the first-ever Live.Ride.Share shared-use mobility conference in Southern California. But ditching the old Prius...continued

Accelerating Our Climate Progress One "Share" At A Time

Posted March 4, 2015 by Amanda Eaken

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Reflections on the Live.Ride.Share Conference California's carbon pollution and climate change goals are the most aggressive in the world, calling for 30% less GHG by 2020 and 80% less by 2050. During last week's Live.Ride.Share conference, I asked the audience...continued

Why I've Just Decided to Sell My Car

Posted February 10, 2015 by Amanda Eaken

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Comments (10)

Hi. My name is Amanda Eaken and I'm a walking, biking, transit-riding hypocrite. All this time I've been advocating sustainable transportation choices and shared mobility, and yet I still own my own car. At least for the next few weeks....continued

Setting the record straight on the Governor's CEQA reform proposal

Posted October 1, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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The draft update to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines on transportation-related environmental impacts is the best kind of policy-making: evidence-based, elegant in its simplicity, and transformative. The draft Guidelines are not perfect, and NRDC is working closely with...continued

How three little letters can make such a big difference: LOS, meet VMT.

Posted September 2, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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If you prefer listening, or want to learn more, check out this Urban Solutions podcast. Jeff Tumlin of Nelson Nygaard, Chris Ganson of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and I connect the dots between California’s climate change laws AB32, SB375,...continued

Strategic Growth Council affirms its role as lead agency implementing cap and trade revenues for sustainable communities

Posted July 16, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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“We definitely know both in statute and because of agreement among the Council that the Council will retain all important authority over this program and all responsibility for the success of this program.” – Mike McCoy, Executive Director of Strategic...continued

'Cause how many of you that sit and judge me, ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Posted June 26, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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It seems only appropriate to invoke Buck Owens' classic if we're going to talk about Kern County. One week ago this evening, the Kern County Council of Governments (COG) voted unanimously to adopt the region’s first ever Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable...continued

Budget Deal a Shot in the Arm for California Sustainable Communities

Posted June 16, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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With less than 6 hours left before the constitutional deadline, California lawmakers passed a budget last night that includes substantial new revenues for implementing California’s landmark Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Law (SB 375), both this year and into the...continued

California still failing to invest in sustainable transportation choices

Posted March 19, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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Tomorrow morning at 10:00 am, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) will meet in Santa Ana, Calif.  to decide which transportation projects will receive priority funding over the next five years in the State’s Transportation Improvement Program, better known as the...continued

Ending California's Love Affair with Bad Planning Practices

Posted February 14, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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This Valentine’s Day, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) is giving California the chance to end its ill-fated love affair with Level of Service (LOS), an antiquated method of measuring the transportation impacts of projects under the California...continued

Caltrans must align its mission and investments with California's climate goals

Posted January 31, 2014 by Amanda Eaken

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An external review of CalTrans released by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) yesterday found that the department has fallen far behind the times in its priorities, particularly in light of the environmental challenges that the transportation system needs to...continued

How did sustainable communities fare this leg. session in CA? Turns out, pretty well.

Posted September 24, 2013 by Amanda Eaken

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UPDATE (9/27/2013): Governor Brown has just signed SB 743 into law. “From the standpoint of sustainable transportation, this is the most significant new provision to pass in California since AB 32 and SB 375.”            ...continued


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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