Transit First defined
|Transit First in San Francisco|
Except for "affordable housing," transit first may be the emptiest term used in San Francisco's political discourse. Take a look below at how the term is defined in the City Charter.
Most would expect "transit" to mean buses and/or trains---or cable cars in San Francisco. Instead City Hall's definition must of course include bicycles---it even requires "secure bicycle parking"!---and "the safety and comfort of pedestrians," sidewalks, parking, and "transportation investment."
In short, City Hall's definition of transit first means whatever it wants it to mean to justify whatever it wants to do to city streets.
(a) The following principles shall constitute the City and County's transit-first policy and shall be incorporated into the General Plan of the City and County. All officers, boards, commissions, and departments shall implement these principles in conducting the City and County's affairs:
1. To ensure quality of life and economic health in San Francisco, the primary objective of the transportation system must be the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.
2. Public transit, including taxis and vanpools, is an economically and environmentally sound alternative to transportation by individual automobiles. Within San Francisco, travel by public transit, by bicycle and on foot must be an attractive alternative to travel by private automobile.
3. Decisions regarding the use of limited public street and sidewalk space shall encourage the use of public rights of way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit, and shall strive to reduce traffic and improve public health and safety.
4. Transit priority improvements, such as designated transit lanes and streets and improved signalization, shall be made to expedite the movement of public transit vehicles (including taxis and vanpools) and to improve pedestrian safety.
5. Pedestrian areas shall be enhanced wherever possible to improve the safety and comfort of pedestrians and to encourage travel by foot.
6. Bicycling shall be promoted by encouraging safe streets for riding, convenient access to transit, bicycle lanes, and secure bicycle parking.
7. Parking policies for areas well served by public transit shall be designed to encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation.
8. New transportation investment should be allocated to meet the demand for public transit generated by new public and private commercial and residential developments.
9. The ability of the City and County to reduce traffic congestion depends on the adequacy of regional public transportation. The City and County shall promote the use of regional mass transit and the continued development of an integrated, reliable, regional public transportation system.
10. The City and County shall encourage innovative solutions to meet public transportation needs wherever possible and where the provision of such service will not adversely affect the service provided by the Municipal Railway.
(b) The City may not require or permit off-street parking spaces for any privately-owned structure or use in excess of the number that City law would have allowed for the structure or use on July 1, 2007 unless the additional spaces are approved by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors may reduce the maximum parking required or permitted by this section.
(Amended by Proposition A, Approved 11/6/2007)