Will San Diego’s High-Speed Rail Survive Slow Urban Growth?

By Joshua Emerson Smith : governing – excerpt

The two hundred miles of high-speed railway rely upon dense urban growth around transit stations to achieve long-term success. But as California and San Diego birth rates and population decline, some worry it’s too costly a risk…(more)

Marin supervisors push back against huge state housing mandate

By  : marinij – excerpt
Only Mill Valley, Corte Madera built enough during last 8 years to be exempt
Marin supervisors said this week they are gravely concerned about a looming state mandate to build over 14,000 new housing units throughout the county between 2022 and 2030.

“Marin County recognizes the need for more affordable housing. We are pursuing a number of strategies to achieve that goal,” Supervisor Damon Connolly said. “But residents are justified in being alarmed by these numbers that we’re seeing out of the state.

“Marin is not alone,” Connolly said. “Jurisdictions both large and small from around the region are pushing back. Most recently even San Francisco.”

Connolly made his comments after county supervisors were briefed Tuesday about the status of the mandates… (more)

What if the counties said “no thanks, you can keep your transit funds”? What could the state do other than cut off the funds for the public transit systems they are pushing to force more housing development? Would they run less buses, quit building bike lanes, removing traffic lanes and parking if the funds were cut? rick

Coronavirus Impact: Santa Clara Co. proposal would allow more employees to work from home after pandemic

abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

Board president Cindy Chavez is laying the groundwork for what some are calling a visionary plan.

“Let’s be as creative and innovative as we can. Let’s not let all the suffering that we’ve had for the last eight weeks go to waste,” she said.

After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Chavez is looking for a commute-free commitment from large Silicon Valley companies, when and where it’s possible.

The proposal would start with the 22,000 employees county-wide, and if approved by the board, departments would be asked to look at ways to support as much telecommuting as possible…

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a diverse public policy organization representing more than 350 companies, supports the idea and says the more participation the business sector can have in formulating the plan, the more it’ll be embraced by others.…(more)

In my opinion working closer to home is the key to making stronger more independent cohesive neighborhoods. If more people work at home they will have more family time and more leisure time and that will translate into more time spent in their neighborhoods. The more time they spend in the neighborhoods the stronger the local communities will be.

Andy Yan, the analyst who exposed Vancouver’s real estate disaster

by Terry Glavinmacleans – excerpt (includes interactive map)

Hated by politicians, speculators and money-launderers, Andy Yan’s data on Vancouver housing has earned him the right to say, ‘I told you so’

Andy Yan is a 42-year-old East Vancouverite who came up out of the proud working class ranks of Van Tech high school, toiling on weekends in the kill tank at the old Hallmark Poultry Factory on Clark Drive. He set out on a career in urban regeneration and applied demographics that took him to projects in New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.

Nowadays he’s the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, and while he’s too modest to boast about it, along the way he’s picked up a couple of exceedingly rare civic distinctions.

The first is the enduring enmity of all the politicians, real estate speculators, white-collar currency pirates and money launderers who have turned Vancouver into a global swindler’s paradise for real estate racketeering, a city that is now also one of the world’s most hopelessly pathetic urban landscapes of housing affordability. The second thing Yan has earned is an unfettered and unimpeachable right to say “I told you so.”(more)

Suspect Hunters Point shipyard contractor did similar work at Treasure Island

Corporate managers accused of directing an extensive fraud in the cleanup of San Francisco’s toxic shipyard led similar projects at nearby Treasure Island — work that apparently has never been rechecked since fraud at the shipyard was discovered, even as a $5 billion real estate development on the island speeds ahead.

Tetra Tech EC, a subsidiary of the government contracting giant Tetra Tech Inc., is being sued for fraud by whistle-blowers and the Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors say the firm cut corners and falsified radiation tests while serving as a cleanup contractor at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, a mothballed naval base tainted with radioactive substances that last for thousands of years and can cause cancer… (more)

Treasure Island not only is a superfund site tied to the clean-up scandals at Hunters Point, the island has a rash of complaints of health problems and power outages. Not the island paradise it is being sold as.

When we say there is a lack of talented labor we are not kidding. What else explains the new contract awarded Tetra Tech to clean up the Camp Fire sites? There are not a lot of contractors who can pretend to do the job.

RELATED:
Frequent power outages leave Treasure Island residents out in the cold

 

‘Incentive to create havoc’: Self-driving cars set to turn streets into gridlocked hell – study

RT – excerpt

Driverless cars could spark a gridlock nightmare to avoid paying for parking, a new study warns. Autonomous vehicles could even gang up to create traffic delays, allowing them to continuously cruise around instead of park.

The idea sounds like a smart one: Avoid ever having to pay for parking by getting your car to simply continue to drive around the block until you’re ready to take off again. However, this seemingly savvy hack could turn our urban streets into traffic-clogged hellscapes, roads flooded with driverless cars, making it a challenge to actually get anywhere…(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 sgreenhut@rstreet.org. rstreet.org.
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