Litigation isn’t the answer for more affordable housing, Mr. Governor, overhauling CEQA is

By Tyler Diep : ocregister – excerpt

In one of his first official acts as Governor, Gavin Newsom has declared hostility against one of the cities that I have the honor of representing in the Legislature: Huntington Beach. Governor Newsom announced the lawsuit this past Friday, along with Attorney General Xavier Becerra, to litigate high density housing into our neighborhoods.

Like many other immigrants, I still believe that owning a home is part of living the American Dream. However, for the Governor to exclusively file suit against Huntington Beach is not only unfair but he also fails to recognize the true impediment to more affordable housing – the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA…

According to Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky’s California Feudalism, the Squeeze on the Middle Class, “Barely 5 percent of the state is developed, including all the suburbs and exurbs, and California has the highest urban densities in the nation, even higher than New York.”… (more)

Dick Spotswood: Larkspur ferry parking structure stalled by ideology

By Dick Spotswood : marinij – excerpt

Golden Gate Ferry statistics show that peak-period boats are at capacity. Likewise, the ferry terminal parking lot off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is jammed. Significantly, there’s demand for increased ferry service on the existing route to the San Francisco Ferry Building and, given water transit’s rising popularity, a new route to South of Market/Mission Bay would be well-patronized.

Expansion of both ferry capacity and parking would enable more commuters to leave their cars before enjoying quick trans-bay travel on new high-speed catamaran ferries. To make that progress happen, an essential component is a new multi-story ferry terminal parking facility. It’ll cost about $35 million. Finance it by issuing bonds and paying them back from parking lot revenue.

It hasn‘t happened because Marin County’s transportation pooh-bahs don’t want it to happen. They dream that new ferry riders will elect to bike to the terminal or take under-utilized but inconvenient ferry feeder buses. The idea of enabling commuters to drive to the ferry is anathema to their purist ideology… (more)

The numbers are in. Public transit is losing ridership. It is time to replace the anti-car attitude and failed system with a user-friendly “the customer is always right” management style. Try catering to the public instead of steering them. If people want parking near transit stations give them parking.

Stop deepening Bay Area transportation, housing crisis

By Daniel Borenstein : mercurynews – excerpt

Tired of subsidizing irresponsible billionaires? Here’s a plan to provide more housing in the right places

Here’s an idea to address the Bay Area’s transportation and housing crisis: Stop making it worse.

Since the Great Recession, the Bay Area has added 722,000 jobs but constructed only 106,000 housing  units.

Little wonder rents and home prices have soared – and even people with jobs live in cars or on the streets. Little wonder freeways are gridlocked and commuter trains are packed.

It’s time to stop digging this housing deficit hole deeper. We need more housing. But we need it in the right places.

Bay Area cities with housing shortfalls – San Francisco, Cupertino, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, for example – should stop adding more buildings for jobs unless they provide commensurate new housing…

The key is to put jobs next to housing and housing next to jobs.

.. (more)

The anti-growth movement being discussed around San Francisco Bay Area is being echoed around the country. In NY City, residents of Brooklyn objected to the Amazon invasion. They lost that battle, but, warning shots are being fired by irate citizens who want relief from the forced density and unlimited growth policies of the last decade.

It is time to support a housing jobs balance policy. Putting housing where the jobs are and jobs where the housing will eliminate the need for more transportation infrastructure and get the taxpayers off the hook for increased development costs.


Falling transit ridership will not dissuade the social engineers

By Steven Greenhut : ocregistrer – excerpt (opinion)

SACRAMENTO – It has been about 15 years since Orange County tried to build a $1-billion light-rail system that would have gone from one suburban parking lot to another. It would have moved around half of 1 percent of the county’s commuters. What I remember most about that incredibly shrinking Centerline was that while it was supposed to reduce congestion overall, it would actually have increased congestion along main thoroughfares.

That was my first up-close encounter with the Cult of Transit. There is nothing wrong with expanding bus service and building new rail lines — provided they actually enable people to get where they are going. However, urban planners’ fixation on transit stems more from social engineering than transportation engineering. The latter develops projects that enable people to get from Point A to Point B. The former builds projects designed to change the public’s behavior, i.e., prodding them into getting around in ways the planners believe is best…

Opening up the marketplace could result in myriad, small-scale alternatives, similar to the way that Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Government planners only understand taxing and regulating and do not understand markets, so they promote overly pricey projects that fail to meet our real-world transportation needs. Until planners figure that out, expect those transit ridership numbers to keep falling.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. He was a Register editorial writer from 1998 to 2009. Write to him at
.. (more)

California construction workers, builders are near deal that could mean a flood of new building

: latimes – excerpt

California developers and construction workers have long been fighting over wages for carpenters, plumbers, electricians and others who build homes. Now, statewide business and labor groups are working on a deal that both sides hope could lead to a flood of new building.

The negotiations, which have been going on for more than a year and now involve Gov. Gavin Newsom, are aimed at writing new state legislation that guarantees minimum pay, benefits and training for construction workers, likely in exchange for relief under state environmental law governing development.

“Instead of us being at odds like we were and going to our respective corners, now we’re on a path to not only make it easier to build but also to grow labor,” said Dan Dunmoyer, president and CEO of the California Building Industry Assn., the state’s largest developer trade group… (more)

Here’s how construction worker pay is dominating California’s housing debate


California sues Huntington Beach to force it to plan low-income housing

: sfchronicle – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — The state sued the Orange County city of Huntington Beach on Friday to force it to plan for more affordable housing, part of a campaign by Gov. Gavin Newsom to boost construction in California as residents grapple with soaring housing costs.

Newsom said Huntington Beach has refused to meet a state mandate to provide new housing for low-income people. He promised that cities that do not do their part will be “held to account.”… (more)

Huntington Beach is not alone. Newsom sued San Francisco over the state’s right to control development on the city shoreline.

Parking Near Transit Increases Ridership During Peak Commute Hours

By Tom Rubin­

Transit is not always an alternative to parking capacity.

The ridership for the Los Angeles Subway (now Red and Purple Lines) was
projected at 298,000 in 2000, the year it opened. In the best years, the
total barely got over half of that. What is interesting is that the stations South of the Hollywood Hills have always been far under their projections, but the two in the San Fernando Valley have far exceeded theirs. The ONLY stations with parking are the two in the Valley and Union Station and Metro had to increase parking in North Hollywood, and charge for it.

Sound Transit (greater Seattle) constructed its first light rail line without any parking, under the belief it was not necessary, because those that wanted to use transit would walk, bicycle, take a bus, or kiss-and-ride.  Unfortunately, initial ridership was far under the projections.

Parking is important to make transit work.

Particularly for suburban commuter rail stations, parking is essential. There is simply no way to run transit through low-density single-family detached subdivisions that can offer low-walk distance, frequent service to stations. If there is no parking, people will simply not use transit.

It is very fair to charge for parking at transit stations because such parking can be very expensive to build and operate.  However, if the charge is too high, it may restrict demand. A frequent tactic is to start with “free” parking, but announce that this will be reconsidered based on demand. It is very common to have to, or at least want to, add parking at transit stations as demand builds. Sometimes this is possible, sometimes it is very difficult or very expensive, or both, but, parking capacity should be part of the consideration when the transit line is first planned and approved. For older lines with demand, see what can be done and do what can be done.

If there is not enough parking at a transit station, drivers will make do by parking anywhere they can find a place to park nearby, in shopping center lots, on residential streets, and any and all other places you can think of. This tends to make the neighbors and businesses upset, so, it is important to understand that as demand increases you need to have a plan in place to respond.

This is a different way to think about pubic transit. Focus on reducing commute traffic during peak hours by increasing parking capacity at the stations. That was the thinking behind the parking garage hubs. Let people drive themselves home. How many double parked delivery vehicles could be eliminated if people did their own shopping on the way home? More people might go out at night if it was less of a challenge to get around.


Making the Most of Transit: Density, Employment Growth, and Ridership around New Stations

By Jed Kolko, with research support from Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Davin Reed, and Eric Schiff : (excerpt) Public Policy Institute (pages 21-22)

Summary In 2008 California adopted Senate Bill (SB) 375, which requires the integration of land use and transportation planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle miles traveled (VMT). A prime example of such activities is transit-oriented development (TOD), the targeting of residential, commercial, or mixed-used development to areas around transit stations…

“Employment Patterns Affect Transit Use More Than Residential Patterns Do”(more)

Continue reading “Parking Near Transit Increases Ridership During Peak Commute Hours”

Three Top Regional Government VPs/Presidents get De Throned for lack of disclosure.

From a concerned citizen:

Susan Adams Marin County Supervisor,ABAG Vice President voted out of office when the people of her district discovered that she recommended her community for a Priority Development Area and then denied it. He duplicity to the voters was repaid with recall campaign and landslide loss in 2014.

Steve Kinsey, Marin County Supervisor, MTC President resigned in 2016 while the subject of massive breach of ethics for 200+ meetings with developers while also serving on the California Coastal Commission. He was sued for $5 million dollars but settled for a lower amount with taxpayers footing the bill.

Jake MacKenzie, Rohnert Park Councilman current MTC chairman , de throned on 1/22/2019 after his fellow councilpersons discovered that he had failed to report about the CASA Compact which may cost his community $15 million dollars in housing funds. He then did not report back the concerns of his community to ABAG where he also serves on the CASA Committee.

LESSON: Represent the best interests of your local community and be honest and transparent in your dealings lest you “get the boot”. Serving regional interests is the shortest path to political oblivion.

Payback is a b*tch. Rohnert Park de thrones Jake MacKenzie.

News from a concerned citizen:

Jake McKenzie was passed over for nomination to the Sonoma County Transportation Commission and the SMART board. at the January 22, 2019 Rohnert Park City Council meeting. Jake MacKenzie, long time council member and chairman of the MTC CASA Compact committee shocked the community on 1/8/2019 when he approved the CASA compact which among other things could cost Rohnert Park 15 million dollars per year…

This marks the end of an era in Sonoma County regional politics for Jake MacKenzie even though he will still serve his term as director for MTC.

You may recall the councils negative reaction to Jake MacKenzie “forgetting” to regularly inform his board during the 2 years of negotiations of the CASA compact.

California Supreme Court Finds Fresno County EIR Deficient

A recent California Supreme Court decision reminds project proponents and lead agencies of the need for substantive analysis in an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). On Christmas Eve 2018, the California Supreme Court published its opinion in Sierra Club et al. v. County of Fresno et al. (Dec. 24, 2018) __Cal.5th__ (Case No. S219783). The Sierra Club challenged the adequacy of Fresno County’s EIR for failing to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)…

In taking up the case, the High Court answered four important questions:

  1. How should courts determine the adequacy of an EIR’s analysis; what standard of review should the court apply?
  2. Does CEQA require an EIR to connect a project’s air quality impacts to specific health consequences?
  3. Did the County incorrectly defer mitigation when it kept the discretion to substitute later measures that may be technically superior?
  4. May a lead agency adopt mitigation measures that do not reduce the significant and unavoidable impacts to a less than significant level?

Implications: The court clearly lays out the fundamental review criteria: the “ultimate inquiry, as case law and the CEQA guidelines make clear, is whether the EIR includes enough detail to enable those who did not participate in its preparation to understand and to consider meaningfully the issues raised by the proposed project.”… (more)

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