Opinion: $3 toll hike probably won’t deliver reliable commute

By Marc Joffe : mercurynews – excerpt

Anyone hoping that a $9 rush-hour toll on the Bay Bridge will fix BART and alleviate commuting misery should take a trip to the Big Apple.

It now costs $12.50 to cross the Hudson River into Manhattan ($15.00 if you don’t have New York’s FasTrak equivalent), but public transit is deteriorating. Subways are crowded and frequently delayed; service disruptions — both scheduled and unscheduled — are common.

Meanwhile, Penn Station — the city’s primary intermodal transportation facility — is the “Most Awful Transit Center in America,” according to a recent Bloomberg story. Not only is the station itself unpleasant, but the 107-year-old Hudson River tunnels serving the facility are severely corroded and in danger of collapse… (more)

Marc Joffe, a Walnut Creek resident, is a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation.

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Charter Amendment – Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters

Here is the first draft of the language put forth to as a proposal to amend the charter that establishes the authority of the SFMTA, referred to as the SFMTA Charter Amendment ballot initiative. Please review this and let your supervisors know how you feel about this amendment. Contacts are here.  Read FILE NO. 171309 and follow the updates here.

LEGISLATIVE DIGEST
(First Draft, 12/12/2017)

[Charter Amendment – Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters]

Describing and setting forth a proposal to the voters at an election to be held on June 5, 2018, to amend the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco to eliminate the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s jurisdiction over parking and traffic regulations; to grant the legislative authority over parking and traffic to the Board of Supervisors; to create a new Livable Streets Commission and Department to manage parking and traffic; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Existing Law

Currently the Charter grants the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) exclusive jurisdiction over local public transportation, taxis, and a variety of parking and traffic related functions. The SFMTA Board has legislative authority to adopt regulations related to parking and traffic. The SFMTA Board also serves as the Parking Authority Board with responsibility over a number of garages.

Amendments to Current Law

The proposed Charter Amendment would eliminate the SFMTA’s exclusive jurisdiction over parking and traffic issues, and taxis. It would create a new Livable Streets Commission and Department that would have authority over parking and traffic functions and taxis. The Livable Streets Commission would be comprised of the members of the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors. The Board of Supervisors would have legislative authority over parking and traffic. Under the amendment parking and traffic functions under the responsibility of the Livable Streets Commission include:

  • Setting rates for off-street and on-street parking, and all other, rates, fees, fines, penalties and charges for services provided or functions performed by the Department;
  • Controlling the flow and direction of motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic;
  • Designing, selecting, locating, installing, operating, maintaining and removing all official traffic control devices, signs, roadway features and pavement markings;
  • Limiting parking, stopping, standing or loading as provided by state law and establishing parking privileges and locations subject to such privileges for categories of people or vehicles as provided by state law;
  • Establishing parking meter zones, setting parking rates, and selecting, installing, locating and maintaining systems and equipment for payment of parking fees;
  • Establishing policies for the enforcement of regulations limiting parking, stopping, standing or loading and the collection of parking-related revenues and, along with the Police Department, have authority to enforce parking, stopping, standing or loading regulations;
  • Cooperating with and assisting the Police Department in the promotion of traffic safety, among other things;
  • Having authority over taxi-related functions and taxi-related fares, fees, charges, budgets, and personnel; and
  • Coordinating the City’s efforts to address emerging mobility services.

The proposed Charter Amendment also provides that the Livable Streets Commission would serve as the members of the the Parking Authority Commission. The Livable Streets Commission would have authority over City-owned off-street public parking facilities, except those specified as under the jurisdiction of other City departments.

The proposed Charter Amendment provides for an operative date for the transfer of jurisdiction and the creation of the Livable Streets Commission of July 1, 2019.

(First Draft, 12/12/2017)

The two related stories below describe why government agencies are expanding public transportation programs. It is not about cars, parking, transportation or affordable housing. It is about controlling public access to housing and transportation while increasing land values.

RELATED:

Transportation gentrification: How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East Oakland

SB 827 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) will destroy local land use control

“…A dramatic increase in new housing near transit stations could be on its way across California under new legislation proposed by a Bay Area legislator. Subject to some limitations, the measure would eliminate restrictions on the number of houses allowed to be built within a half-mile of train, light-rail, …

A Return to the Ballot

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

June’s local election was expected to be a quiet one — but then the mayor died, the YIMBY party drafted a ballot measure, SFPD pushed for tasers, and an eviction law was introduced that could change the future for every renter in the city…

With only a couple weeks left to file for mayor and the Feb. 3 signature deadline looming for ballot measures, our hilly city is officially in election season. Here’s a quick guide to some of what’s coming…

Leading the pack is Mark Leno, who had already announced his intention to run in 2019… He pledges to fight for “regular San Franciscans — the immigrants, tenants, homeowners, and small businesses.”…

Currently, the other candidate of note is Sup. Jane Kim. As one of the progressives on the Board of Supervisors, Kim offers a stark contrast to Sup. London Breed — should the latter decide to run. Although she’s got less political experience than Leno, as a current supervisor and candidate for the state Senate in 2016, Kim arguably has more city name recognition…

Two other women of note who signed applications so far are Angela Allioto and Amy Farah Weiss. The link to watch for updates: http://sfgov.org/elections/candidates

Potential Ballot initiatives for the June 2018 ballot:

No Eviction Without Representation Initiative: More information can be found at sfrighttocounsel.com

Muni Department Split: Supes. Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai are behind this measure, which would split the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency into two separate agencies. One side would handle Muni, and the other would oversee San Francisco’s parking and streets. Added on would be the ability for supervisors to appoint the Board of Directors, a right that the mayor currently holds…

YIMBY Automatic City Housing Approval: The YIMBY — Yes in My Backyard — party launched its own ballot measure this year, cheerfully titled the “Affordable and Teacher Housing Now Initiative.” More information is at prop.yimbyaction.org...

Flavored Tobacco Repeal: Sup. Malia Cohen spearheaded a ban on flavored tobacco products earlier this year, citing statistics that 80 percent of Black smokers consume menthol cigarettes…

San Francisco Arts and Family Funding: A revival of 2016’s failed Proposition S, this ballot measure would retain part of the city’s hotel tax to fund the arts — particularly the Cultural Equity Endowment, granted to artists and organizations that cater to underserved populations...

Relocation of Professional Sports Teams Initiative: this measure would give San Franciscans a voice for future relocation of professional sports teams. More information can be found at goodneighbor-coalition.org...

SFPD and Tasers: Last but not least is this controversial measure, which would bring the San Francisco Police Department’s desire for Tasers to the voters…(more)

 

 

 

 

SF mayor, supervisor feud over use of site for housing

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The homeless Navigation Center that Aaron Peskin proposed for a North Beach parking lot has led to a power struggle between the supervisor and his longtime political foe, Mayor Ed Lee, who wants to use the site for affordable housing.

Peskin’s Navigation Center would likely interfere with the 178-unit development that’s scheduled to break ground next year at 88 Broadway, now a city-owned parking lot just off the Embarcadero. And last week a sympathetic constituent gave Peskin ammunition that could help him forestall the project, making room for his temporary homeless facility…

One North Beach resident, Marc Bruno, filed an appeal with the city Planning Department to stall the development because it would eliminate 180 parking spaces, which he says would create traffic congestion.

Bruno, who describes himself a fervent supporter of Peskin, told The Chronicle he is also concerned the affordable housing units, which would go to low-income seniors, families and formerly homeless people, wouldn’t serve “the poorest of the poor” in his neighborhood…(more)

 

 

Transit, Vision Zero, Livable Streets, and other Highlights of the “Focus on the Future” Conference

: streetsblog – excerpt

hat if San Francisco becomes the next Detroit?” asked Jonathan Miranda, Director of Strategy at Salesforce.com, during a keynote speech this morning at the “Focus on the Future” conference in downtown San Francisco. Given the region’s meteoric growth, that may seem far fetched–but no more so than Detroit’s fall after the booming years of the auto industry. He said that given San Francisco’s inability to build sufficient housing, that’s a real possibility. “Companies are moving to Austin, Denver, Seattle–what happens if software and Silicon Valley start looking for a different place?”

Miranda’s warning was part of a theme at the conference about how important it is for the Bay Area to address issues such as housing costs, transportation, and the safety and livability of our streets. The conference is run by the “Self-Help Coalition,” an organization of 24 different California transportation authorities and government organizations which share planning and policy intel. The event also featured tours of the Central Subway, the Transbay Transit Center, and a discussion of the Better Market Street plan. (more)

GENTRIFICATION is the word that is making the rounds these days to describe the economic disparity that is plaguing the nation. Pretty much everyone is concerned about it but no one is attempting to solve the problem of extreme cost of living increases that are exasperating the homeless crisis and causing much of the stress in our cities.

GROWTH has limits and inviting disruptive high tech industries to experiment with our society is exacerbating the conflicts between the top and bottom levels of society as everyone scrambles for empty units like empty seats in a game of musical chairs.

DISRUPTION is not a game to be taken lightly, but, it is the new tech mantra that is being sold to cities that want to partake in the technology revolution. Citizens get no say in the matter and many are unaware that they are being sacrificed on the corporate alter of progress until it is too late.

COMPANY TOWN is the title of a movie that Investigates Tech Industry’s impact on tow of SF’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. There is a new attempt to mitigate some of the housing crisis by creating “company towns” that include housing on the corporate campus to alleviate some of the housing crunch.

Facebook is dropping $35 million to lease a beautiful, earthquake-resistant skyscraper in San Francisco

By Melia Robinson : businessinsider – excerpt

Thousands of Facebook employees are about to experience a much more pleasant commute.

The social-media giant has signed a lease at 181 Fremont, a mixed-use skyscraper that will be the tallest residential building on the West Coast once it’s completed later this year. The tower rises 70 stories over San Francisco’s Financial District and will house between 2,000 and 3,000 Facebook and Instagram employees across 33 floors.

The 436,000-square-foot office space will be Facebook’s first outpost in San Francisco. The company currently shuttles thousands of employees from the city to its headquarters in Menlo Park, which is about 35 miles south. The jaunt can take up to two hours in traffic.

The blockbuster deal, which was first reported by the San Francisco Business Times, marks San Francisco’s largest office lease in three years. The Business Times didn’t report the duration of the lease but said the asking rent was “around $80 per square foot,” which would total $35 million for the entire space. Facebook declined to confirm details of the lease.

Facebook employees will share the stunning new skyscraper with some well-heeled residential tenants — the upper floors hold 67 luxury condos… (more)

Hopefully they will move their SF workers to the SF office and eliminate their tech shuttles.

Strangest thing: Some agreement in SF housing debate

Special by Joel Engardio : sfexaminer – excerpt

Not-so-odd Couple: SPUR director Christine Johnson, left, and Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods president George Wooding are supposed to represent opposite sides of the housing debate, but they agree on more issues than anyone expected.

In the simple version of San Francisco’s housing crisis, two giant generations are fighting over limited space in a peninsula city that isn’t configured to fit both.

Baby boomers bought up scarce housing decades ago, created their own piece of paradise and worked to preserve low-density neighborhoods by resisting new development. Now, there’s no room for millennials, who want to reshape San Francisco into a denser and less car-centric city.

The boomers won’t yield quietly.

“Neighborhood character is the hill I will die on,” said George Wooding, 61, president of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods. “As more height and density becomes the norm, we’ll start to look like the row houses of St. Petersburg, Russia. There is a beauty to San Francisco worth saving.”

But millennials see preservation as a losing prospect…

Wooding and Johnson lead very different constituencies in the debate over what San Francisco should look like and who should live here. Yet, their personal views are less simplistic than their public roles suggest…

“We want the same thing — a city that’s livable and comfortable — but we have different ways to get there,” Wooding said…

CARROTS OR STICKS?

San Francisco has an unknown number of vacant units that add to the housing crunch. Some people fear renting out empty space in their homes. Strict tenant protections can make it difficult to reclaim the unit when the owner needs it for an aging parent or adult child.

Wooding supports giving skittish homeowners an incentive to rent to longer-term tenants and not just Airbnb tourists.

“I believe in rent control, and we can create a new option just for those empty units: a three-year contract with an escape clause at the end,” Wooding said. “There is great potential in older people sharing their larger homes.”

Johnson said a tax abatement program would be the right carrot to encourage people to open their homes to renters. She also backs a stick approach that would tax vacant units… (more) 

CLARIFICATION BY GEORGE WOODING: “Yet Wooding, who lives on the Westside, remained firmly opposed to new construction that encroaches on single family housing, RH-2 and RH-3 housing.”