A multi-billion-dollar ‘mega measure’ to fix Bay Area traffic for good heading your way

By Erin Baldassar : mercurynews – excerpt

Imagine a Bay Area with highways that flow instead of grind to a halt. With trains that ring the bay, some running 24 hours a day. With ferries that stop at more than a handful of terminals and autonomous buses cruising in their own lanes, blasting past cars on the freeway.

If that sounds like a fantasy, just wait. The dream may be closer to reality than you think.

A coalition of Bay Area business leaders represented by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council, along with the urban planning think tank SPUR, say that dream is the answer to traffic congestion on Bay Area roads, which grew 84 percent between 2010 and 2016. The average commuter now spends more than 29 hours a year slogging through highways at speeds of 35 mph or slower.

“People are wasting hours of their life in traffic,” said Gabriel Metcalf, the president and CEO of SPUR. “Conversations started all over the Bay Area asking the question, can we do something at a bigger scale than we have done before? Big enough to actually solve the problem? Big enough to actually get us a different regional transportation system than we have today?”…

“The voting public has got to connect the dots that if they want the transportation issues solved, if they want access to housing solved, they’ve got to do this,” he said. “And they should want to do it, and they should even be excited about it.”...(more)

The one thing we can count on is a daily Muni meltdown.

Let’s face it, the grand experiment failed and it is time to stop the bleeding.
We used to have some Muni meltdowns every now and then. Now we have them daily. We also have the daily updates on where and when the Muni will stop and the route of the day musical chairs. No one is happy with the system. We need a new method of managing transportation based on the real world and the needs of today’s residents.

The SFMTA spends way too much time envisioning and trying to sell the perfect design for the future (They are planning for 2045). while ignoring the needs of the public today. Any agency that ignores its customer base, blames everyone for their failures, and can’t get by on 1 billion dollars a year, deserves a quick timely demise before they do any more damage or sign any more bad contracts.

Hopefully, the Board of Supervisors will not dole out any more money to start any new projects until they finish the ones they are already in the middle of. If you agree let your supervisors know this is your first priority.

If you missed the hearings on impacts of SFMTA poliicies and procedures and handling of contracts and fund, you should watch tapes of some of the hearings that have been conducted recently at City Hall in various committees meetings.

The SF Board of Supervisors has been the brunt of thousands of complaints, petitions and angry public comments. Bad decisions on the part of the SFMTA management are costing the city possibly hundreds of millions of dollars. It is past time to cut our loses and change the program.

The reason the Supervisors cut themselves out of the management and legislative process is that they didn’t want to have to deal with the complaints, same as they did for the street trees. Hopefully the street tree management program will go better the SFMTA experiment did. The Supervisors are getting more complaints than ever and feel like they have no control over the issue they are blamed for. At least that is one of the comments we have heard so far to explain the latest proposal to split the SFMTA between Muni and the other departments. In this version, the Board of Supervisors would have control and final say on the local street and traffic issues.

Stay tuned for details as they come in.

Mountain View approves nearly 10,000 homes by Google’s North Bayshore project

by Janice Bitters : bizjournals – excerpt

Mountain View’s North Bayshore Precise Plan got a unanimous stamp of approval early Wednesday morning, a culmination of more than six years of planning and nearly three years of public meetings.

The vote, taken shortly after midnight, came after City Council members worked for hours ironing out the fine details of a plan that readies the area — home to search giant Google — for a wide array of new uses, including nearly 10,000 new homes.

A cast of regional planning and development leaders showed up to voice support for the plan or witness its passage, including representatives from Google, prolific South Bay developer Sobrato Organization, Foster City-based affordable housing developer MidPen Housing and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

“I think this is a cutting-edge plan that sets a standard not just for the Bay Area, but for much of the country,” Mountain View Vice Mayor Lenny Siegel said minutes before the vote. “We aren’t just building housing, we are building it the right way to create a new kind of community for our area.”… (more)

Careful what you wish for. You just might get it. Looks like the “live near your work” experiment jut got a shot in the arm. Will the folks who work at Google live next it the campus the way the developers plan or will the housing go to non-workers? Some day we will find out.

Land Use Development & Transportation Integration

Why it makes sense for San Francisco

Integrating transportation and land use planning is essential to meet the ever growing needs of a vibrant city like San Francisco.  Research has proven that development patterns (and their related parking needs) heavily influence transportation choices, and the city’s current and future needs cannot be accommodated through roadway expansion and separated land uses alone. These traditional ways of planning take up precious city land and create a host of negative public and private costs and impacts on our economy, environment infrastructure and society. Compact, mixed-use infill development with streets designed to prioritize transit, walking and bicycling has proven to meet multiple quality of life objectives and is part of a suite of critical strategies to reduce transportation emissions, waste and noise and improve public health through more active lifestyles while minimizing severe and fatal traffic related injuries.

While this type of development ensures that many destinations can be reached through walking, public transit, car-sharing and bicycling, strategic investments will be needed to ensure that the transportation network can meet this demand. Locating new housing and employment centers along transit corridors is only the first step; creating partnerships that identify and provide the needed tools to make these plans and projects successful is vital. These tools include increasing transit peak-period capacity (including fleets and fleet storage) and reliability; walking and bicycling safety and comfort, and travel demand management tools like parking needs for bicycles and car-sharing and household transit passes. By coordinating land-use and transportation planning early in the design stage, we can create better outcomes that meet our city’s overall quality of life goals.

Why it makes sense for San Francisco...(more)

In their own words  SFMTA lays out their plans for the San Francisco they envision, and it doens’t include many of us’ – “Locating new housing and employment centers along transit corridors is only the first step; creating partnerships that identify and provide the needed tools to make these plans and projects successful is vital…By coordinating land-use and transportation planning early in the design stage, we can create better outcomes that meet our city’s overall quality of life goals. “

PARTNERSHIPS being the key word here. So far who have SFMTA partnered with? Not the neighborhood groups or the Muni riders. They appear to prefer to partner with Ford, GoBikes, Getaround, Scoot, Uber, Lyft and tech buses, developers and contractors instead.

SFMTA is laying out their plans to privatize the streets and gentrify the city by partnering with more corporate entities and excluding more residents from the decision making process, although it is hard to know how they could exclude too any more people when they ignore the requests of Supervisors and hundreds of citizens that object to bus stop removals.

If you object to handing over mover power to the SFMTA and their friends and allies, please take the time to let our city leaders now how you feel about this top down planning program that would merge the SFMTA with the Planning Department, creating a really big autocratic system of government.

Knowing where this is going you might want to sign the petition to repeal the gas tax and not approve any more taxes or bonds at this time. Staring the monster is a good way to cut down the damage it can do.

To Improve Transit Quality, 2 Supervisors Propose Breaking Up SFMTA

by Teresa Hammerl : hoodline – excerpt

As the Chronicle reported yesterday, the Central Subway‘s main contractor claims that the $1.6 billion project won’t be completed any earlier than 2021—a year after the city’s expected completion date, and three years later than the original target.

Contractor Tutor Perini Corporation also notes that the project will be tens of millions of dollars over budget.

In a report the contractor published for the Board of Supervisors, it noted that infrastructure delays are to blame for the later date. Because Tutor Perini was asked to relocate power lines near the Central Subway’s Chinatown station, at least 15 months were added to the project timeline, it claimed.

Phase 1 and 2 and of the T-Third expansion | IMAGE: SFMTA

Earlier today, the Examiner also reported that two Supervisors announced their own proposal for the future of the city’s transit agency.

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai may introduce a June 2018 ballot measure to split the SFMTA into Muni and a separate agency that handles parking and traffic management.

The proposal would give supervisors the ability to make their own appointments to the SFMTA’s Board of Directors. Currently, that power is held only by the mayor… (more)

The one thing we can count on is a daily Muni meltdown. Let’s face it, the grand experiment failed and it is time to stop the bleeding. We need a new method of managing transportation based on the real world and the needs of today’s residents. The SFMTA spends way too much time envisioning and trying to sell the perfect design for the future while ignoring the needs of the public today. Any agency that ignores its customers, blames everyone for their failures, and can’t get by on 1 billion dollars a year deserves a quick timely demise before they do any more damage or sign any more bad contracts. Hopefully, the Board of Supervisors will not dole out any more money to start any new projects until they finish the ones they are already in the middle of. If this move surprises you, you should watch some of the hearings that have been conducted recently as the entire Board has been the brunt of thousands of complaints, petitions and angry public comments. Bad decisions on the part of the SFMTA management are costing possibly hundreds of millions of dollars. It is past time to cut our loses.

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