No New Street Projects

Mayor Ed Lee –
Board of Supervisors –
Hillary Ronen , District Supervisor –
Aaron Peskin, District Supervisor –
Malia Cohen, District Supervisor –
Ahsha Safai, District Supervisor –
Jane Kim, District Supervisor –
Katy Tang, District Supervisor –
London Breed, District Supervisor –
Norman Yee, District Supervisor –
Sandra Fewer, District Supervisor –
Mark Farrell, District Supervisor –
Jeff Sheehy, District Supervisor –
MTA Board 


October 20, 2017


After watching the last few meetings at SFMTA, SFCTA, and the Board of Supervisors Committee hearings and meetings, I have a suggestion for you to consider to solve some of the congestion problems and perhaps save yourselves from the angry voters who are calling you daily to complain.

“Don’t let SFMTA or PUC or DPW start any new street projects until they finished the streets they have torn up now. Van Ness and the Central Subway projects are not the only problem, just the biggest. There are many problems with smaller street alterations that are being slapped onto the streets without notice or engagement with the public.

Besides killing business, enraging residents, and everyone else who moves through the city, SFMTA is creating a huge mess by constantly starting new work before finishing anything. The pace of street work on top of all the other construction has outstripped the labor market, resulting in really high labor costs. The contractors can’t hire subcontractors to do anything immediately because they are already booked. Look for that problem to escalate since many contractors will be needed to repair the fire damage. You can fix that problem.

What is the rush? Pushing a huge, complex construction project like the Van Ness BRT through as fast as possible is probably not the best approach to getting a quality job. Remember you always choose between fast, cheap and quality work.

Why do you think labor costs are so high? Because there is a labor shortage and you are partly responsible for that shortage by allowing non-stop street projects and other city-funded projects to be started before finishing the ones that are under way.  The shortage of construction workers has also hit the private markets, and is part of the increase in housing costs. No one can hire a plumber, electrician or contractor because they are competing with the city. Many contractors were pushed out to make room for housing and many prefer to work outside the city near their new quarters. Why drive into the city to work under current stressful conditions when you can drive a few blocks to work near your new home?

Consider treating labor shortages the way you treat housing shortages and cut back on expansion of construction projects to relieve that shortage. Remember if you build enough housing the costs go down? Well, if you hire less people, the labor shortage will subside and your contractors and subcontractors may be able to do their work in a calmer less stressful manner. Do you really want contractors working longer shifts? It will certainly put less pressure on you from the public if you slow the pace.

You, supervisors can solve this problem for everyone by ceasing any new starts for six months and give the citizens and visitors of San Francisco a big bonus present that will not cost a dime. Stop work on contiguous streets. Clean up Powell while Van Ness is down. Slowing the pace will certainly put less pressure on you from the public and might save your jobs the next time you run for office.


Mari Eliza, concerned citizen