Tuesday, April 07, 2015

San Francisco's definition of "Transit First"

San Francisco Citizen objects to Supervisor Wiener's calling bikeshare "transit." He provides a dictionary definition of transit to support his argument. But the reality here in Progressive Land is that City Hall has defined "transit-first" so broadly it means whatever transportation "mode" anyone uses, including bicycles---except of course for "individual automobiles." Below is the definition in the city charter (emphasis added). In short it's perfectly legal for the city to do whatever it wants to make driving in the city more difficult and expensive:


(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. 

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At 12:16 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

I like how the very first point of the system's primary purpose is to efficiently move people and goods pretty much ignored every time we put in a parklet, or a curb bulbout, remove a road from service (I'm looking at you, stretch of Kezar Ave near the police station that is now a "bicycle learning zone"). Every time we make the changes to promote the least used form of transport, we become less efficient. City Hall is in violation of their own transit first policy!

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, very clear their goal of moving many people efficiently is counteracted by removeing auto lanes for bikes. 90% of the bike lanes already in SF are empty 90% of the time

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True of 90% of roads too.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Rkeezy, I also took note of the primary purpose stated in the first item and how it has been mostly disregarded in the civic conversation and in the MTA's recent efforts (the Transit Effectiveness Project would be an exception here. Like it or not, at least it is a good-faith attempt at efficiency and value).

That being said, if City Hall could ever wean itself off of doublespeak the name of this resolution would be the "Anything but Private Motor Vehicles" policy.

I say motor vehicles rather than cars to honor City Hall's silence and inactivity regarding a form of transit that uses a fraction of the space and hydrocarbons that cars use, is much more practical in all weather than bicyles and requires licenses and registrations from users. That would be motorcycles and motor scooters.

Of course, motorcyclists, unlike bicyclists, do not constitute themselves as a noisy, discontented, evangelical special interest that can't sleep at night until all non-motorcyclists become motorcyclists.

So, instead of civic leaders droning on about re-making San Francisco into a moto-burg like Florence, Saigon or Bangkok we have listen to endless comparisons with Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah it's much better to use those lanes for parking which stores a car 95% of the time.


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