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Transportation for the 21st Century

By Susan King

I am a transportation activist and lifelong cyclist who does not own a car. I am dedicated to changing the way we view transportation and promote a more sustainable way of getting people around. To these ends, I propose, and will vigorously work to implement, the following transportation improvements.

1. End the dominance of the automobile in transportation planning. To move towards sustainable transportation planning, we need to challenge the status quo and implement policies that accommodate all modes of transit:

A. Eliminate one to one parking requirements for new housing throughout the city. Emphasis should be placed on new developments in transit rich areas, and creating car-free and/or reduced car developments. The proposed housing at the UC Extension site in the lower Haight, and the new Octavia Blvd. developments are prime opportunities to build housing for car free households.

B. Change the environmental review process as required by California's Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to streamline the approval process for transit, pedestrian and bicycle projects by exempting them from lengthy Environmental Impact Reports (EIR).

C. Create Level of Service (LOS) standards for pedestrians and cyclists. Planning should take into account pedestrian movement by creating wider sidewalks (and prohibit the narrowing of sidewalks for any reason), and improvements that increase safety for cyclists.

D. Charge fair market value for parking, redirecting these additional funds to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects.  Parking fee increases include: raising the parking tax from 25% to 35%, charging market rate for residential parking and limiting the number of permits per household, implementing local parking assessment districts to fund neighborhood beautification projects.

E. Step up enforcement of traffic and parking laws for infractions that impede pedestrians’ and cyclists’ safety and slow public transit. This includes vigorously ticketing for parking on sidewalks, in bike lanes, and double parking along transit corridors.

F. Redesign intersections to aid the safety of pedestrians. Improvements include zebra striping intersections, creating bulb outs and medians, increasing the crossing time in large intersections, adding pedestrian right of way signals with separate left and right turn signals for cars at busy intersections.

G. Implement a city wide maximum speed of 25 MPH, and create traffic calming measures, such as re-timing the timed lights, narrowing streets, adding bulb outs to slow traffic down. Where feasible, return one-way streets to two-way.

H.  Redesign city streets to accommodate transit more efficiently. Improvements include: creating transit only lanes for Muni with barriers like a raised curb to discourage cars from using these lanes, enabling Muni to control stop lights, and removing stop signs on Muni routes that impede efficient Muni travel. 

I. Call for a moratorium on the building of new parking garages citywide. Parking induces traffic, and we need to improve the way we manage our public space by ensuring that we are not overrun by cars. Instead of building more parking, we should be developing ways to improve transit and induce more people to walk, bike, or take Muni by making these options safer, cheaper, and more convenient than driving.

J. Enforce current laws regarding large vehicles on city streets. According to Section 28.1 of the City's third traffic article, SUVs and other vehicles weighing more than 6,000 lbs. are prohibited on more than 100 segments of San Francisco's streets, including most of Market Street. This law should be enforced to discourage the use of needlessly large vehicles crowding our streets.

2. Create a bicycle friendly, walkable city. Improvements include:

A. Finish the city wide bike network, making it easy and safe to traverse the city by bicycle. Ideally, we should have separated bike paths, painted bike lanes, and traffic calmed, bicycle preferred streets.

B. Implement plans to reduce, and ultimately eliminate private automobile traffic on Market Street.

C. Create safe bike parking throughout the city. Commission artists to develop artistic bike racks (like ones in front of City Hall), and place them throughout the city. Bike parking pegs can also be added to parking meters, enabling cyclists with small u-locks to use these racks.  Bike racks need to be installed in a safe location (not behind the dumpsters) in every garage. Provide secure, enclosed bike parking adjacent to transit stations, car share pods, and near large venues (such as Kezar stadium).

D. Allocate more funds for long term bicycle planning and infrastructure to achieve the goal of 10% of all trips in the City being made by bicycle within 10 years.

E. Implement traffic calming throughout the City. Traffic calming measures have the added benefits of improving our public space, creating more greenery, and opening up areas dominated by cars for other uses.

F. Promote cycling as a healthy, safe option for transportation. Work with non-profits like the Bicycle Coalition to teach children how to ride and provide helmets and other safety gear. Help fund bike coops that encourage bike ownership for all people of all income levels.

G. Prioritize the redesign of the most dangerous intersections and thoroughfares to increase pedestrian safety throughout the city.

3. Planning for a livable city.

A. Oppose any cuts in Muni service or fare increases. We need to increase service and keep fares affordable, and roll back rates to $1 per ride and $35 for Fast Passes.

B. Reform the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and bring this body under the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervisors.

C. Require Transportation Demand Management (TDM) for large events in public parks, stadiums, and venues.

D. Make San Francisco truly "Transit First." Improvements include creating a Bus Rapid Transit system to enable travel to anywhere in the city in less than 30 minutes, synchronizing bus schedules for passengers traveling on more than one line, rolling back fares, and increasing OWL service on major lines.

E. Advocate for better regional transit planning. Ensure that the Transbay Terminal plans for a regional transit hub moves forward. Lobby for San Francisco to get more regional transit dollars and greater representation on regional planning committees for our high daytime population due to commuters who use our transit systems.

F. Increase transit, bicycle, and pedestrian funding through creation of local fees that accurately reflect the true cost of driving an automobile. Fees include the creation of a local vehicle registration fee (based on engine size and car value), increasing the share of transit costs paid by developers, such as the Transportation Impact Development Fees (TIDF), and the creation of a downtown transit assessment district to charge the businesses who benefit most from our transportation system.

G. Promote and expand alternatives to private auto ownership through City Car Share and improved taxi services.

H. Eliminate privately operated city owned cars for employees, and replace the fleet with a municipal cooperative car sharing modeled after City Car Share. Provide free Muni Fast Passes to all city workers instead of free parking.

I. Create more car free space in SF, particularly in our parks. Add Saturday closure of JFK drive in Golden Gate Park, and demand that the Concourse Authority follow the law in regards to the 1998 Golden Gate Park Revitalization Act that calls for the creation of a pedestrian oasis in Golden Gate Park. Ensure that other city parks are protected from the further invasion of the automobile. I strongly oppose the garage being built in the park. We need to work to make sure our other city parks are protected from this kind of invasion.