Faster track for transit-friendly housing

editorial board : sfchronicle – excerpt

BART’s oft-delayed trains look downright speedy next to the painful pace of housing development around its stations. Take the affordable-housing complex Casa Arabella, the second phase of which broke ground on a parking lot near Oakland’s Fruitvale Station last week. The occasion, as The Chronicle detailed, arrived nearly a quarter-century after plans for the area transit village took shape.

Housing around BART stations and other mass-transit hubs, as it turns out, isn’t so different from housing throughout California: disdained by surprisingly plentiful, powerful and vocal constituencies and therefore in all too short supply. And yet neighborhoods served by train stations are among the most logical places for high-density housing development that won’t compound traffic and pollution.

Promising new legislation by Assemblymen David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, seeks to address the relative scarcity of BART-accessible housing by requiring the system to adopt zoning standards that promote residential development and forcing cities to go along with them. The bill, AB2923, also would mandate that developers devote at least 20 percent of projects to affordable housing and, in a potentially counterproductive concession to organized labor, pay union-level wages… (more)

Chiu is aligning his political future with Wiener’s. They appear to be taking their marching orders from the YIMBYs and their developer backers instead of listening to their constituents.

Chiu’s AB2923 would force development on BART parking lots. Wiener’s SB 827 and its cousins, if passed, will impose state zoning on all of California’s local governments. Both are extremely unpopular with citizens around the state and neither of these bills have been vetted by their constituents, or the local governments they are being imposed upon. Cities and counties around the state are opposing SB 827.

After the last decade of government by developers, we have no less traffic, cheaper housing, or happier citizens. We have more workers with longer commute times, thousands of displaced people living on dangerous crime-ridden streets, and the highest cost of living in the world. Our local businesses are closing and the disruptive on-demand delivery industry is at a crisis point, as delivery services do not perform as promised. The effects of the entire SMART plan need to be evaluated before we continue down this path.

If you oppose dense stack and pack development, attacks on private vehicle ownership, and/or the state takeover of local jurisdictions, you may want to vote for some new representation in Sacramento when you get the chance. Stay tuned for details on how you can fight back.

Lawmakers introduce transit development bill for BART stations


Fragranced products to blame for smog as much as cars, study finds

By Peter Fimrite : sfchronicle – excerpt

In another blow to vanity, a new study finds that shampoos, moisturizers, colognes and other household products people use every day cause just as much smog as the exhaust spewing out of car and truck engines on the streets and highways.

The study, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UC Davis, establishes a stronger link than ever before between air pollution and the lotions, perfumes, hair sprays, and other grooming and cleaning products that Bay Area residents use every day…

Cappa and his colleagues said the amount of petroleum in fuel is far greater — about 15 times more by weight — than lotions, paints and other household products. But the fuels used in cars are much cleaner than they used to be, meaning fewer smog-producing pollutants waft into the air in the exhaust.

“When we use these other products, a lot more of the volatile organic compounds end up in the atmosphere,” Cappa said. “In the case of perfumes, the purpose is to create odors, so when you put it on your body, the molecules are also in the room around you. And what’s inside gets outside. It doesn’t really go away.”… (more)

I am posting this for my friends who are particularly sensitive to anything scented. Cigarettes were early targets but, now scientists are reporting problems with many household products. Construction dust and cleaning supplies are huge contributors to the particulate matter in the air.

Bus-only lanes drive fears of displacement in East Oakland

: kalw – excerpt (includes audio)

AC Transit is building a faster, more reliable bus line on International Boulevard in East Oakland. But some locals are worried that the project will be one more thing forcing them out of the city…

My analysis is that they don’t care about us,” says Buford. “They made plans but we weren’t in those plans.”

The bus line was billed as a way to serve low income residents. But to Buford, it looked like it was designed to skip over the poor neighborhoods as quickly as possible.

“In order to do that you’ve got to fly by a whole lot of stops,” says Buford... (more)

Transportation gentrification How Bus Rapid Transit is Displacing East Oakland

Cars remain popular because they are vastly superior to transit alternatives

By Gary Galles : ocregister – excerpt

The Los Angeles Times has recently reported that public transit agencies “have watched their ridership numbers fall off a cliff over the last five years,” with multi-year decreases in mass transit use by up to 25 percent. And a new UCLA Institute of Transportation study has found that increasing car ownership is the prime factor for the dive in usage…

Many things are already in motion to solve transit agencies’ problems. For instance, in 2015, Los Angeles began a 20-year plan to remove auto lanes for bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, diverting transportation funds raised from drivers and heightening congestion for the vast majority who planners already know will continue to drive.

Such less than effective attempts to cut driving by creating gridlock purgatory suggest we ask a largely ignored question. Why do planners’ attempts to force residents into walking, cycling and mass transit, supposedly improving their quality of life, attract so few away from driving?

The reason is simple — cars are vastly superior to alternatives for the vast majority of individuals and circumstances…

As Randal O’Toole noted: “Anyone who prefers not to drive can find neighborhoods … where they can walk to stores that offer a limited selection of high-priced goods, enjoy limited recreation and social opportunities, and take slow public transit vehicles to some but not all regional employment centers, the same as many Americans did in 1920. But the automobile provides people with far more benefits and opportunities than they could ever have without it.”… (more)

This article fails to mention the Uber Lyft factor. As some city dwellers have given up car ownership due to gridlock and parking challenges, private enterprises have replaced private owned cars with “shared” cars so there is no net reduction of traffic. Citizens are fed up.

Non-partisan grassroots organizations are uniting to replace politicians, repeal the recently imposed state gas tax increase, fight future taxes. Environmentalists, affordable housing proponents, and displaced residents know how they have been played and they will not be tricked again by state orchestrated land and power grabs.

Mountain View starts collecting waste from RV dwellers

by John Orr : mercurynews – excerpt

Complaints pouring in about sewage being dumped illegally on lawns, parks and storm drains.

The City of Mountain View in January began a pilot program to collect waste from recreational vehicles, in response to the increasing number of people who live in such vehicles in the city. The service is free, with vouchers distributed by the police department…

With more people living in recreational vehicles on Mountain View’s streets, the need for them to safely empty their wastewater tanks is becoming increasingly important…

In response to the growing problem, the City Council in March approved “the sanitary waste dump pilot RV waste disposal program,” said Kimberly S. Thomas of the city manager’s office. “The goal was to both offer waste disposal services to residents living in RVs, and test whether a permanent sanitary waste dump in Mountain View is viable.”

That program began in earnest on Jan. 16, when the first of two phases began in parking lot A/B at Shoreline Amphitheatre… (more)


“Parking Management and Vehicular Habitation” presentation at the February 6 Board meeting

Preview the SFMTA Oversize Vehicle SlideShow: Slide_presentation.pdf
Perhaps this is a good opportunity to consider a program for San Francisco like the one they are using in Mountain View to handle the problem if such a program does not yet exist.


King of the Roads: Uber takes the crown with this deal.

Op-Ed by Zrants

Uber partners with JUMP after SFMTA handed them an exclusive e-bike deal, sort of. It looks like Motivate/GoBikes will be adding some e-bikes to their stations soon. How they will handle the battery charging program appears to be up in the air at the moment.

Market Share: Uber, Apple and Amazon are driven by the same lust for power and dominance that drove GM, GE and Philip Morris to conquer their markets. I don’t trust Uber any more than I trust Elli Lilly or Bank of America. These corporations are expert at hiding their holdings.

Holding Companies: This article on Motivate describes some of the corporate entities in back of GoBikes and leaves no doubt what motivates them to invest in bike share companies.

Corporate Deals: According to articles in streetsblog, and SF Examiner, Uber not only made a deal with JUMP, but, SFMTA negotiated a compromise between Uber and Gobike/Motivate, to would assure they did not have to compete with each other. Will it take a Charter Amendment for the San Francisco voters to get this level of attention and concern for our well-being?

How do taxpayers feel about paying for Ed Reiskin’s time and attention to these corporations who are taking over our public streets for profit? SFMTA officials are focused on supporting corporate interests and planning for our future in 2045 instead of finishing the major capital projects that are behind schedule, way over budget, and disrupting our lives. Could this be why the Central Subway and Van Ness BRT projects are so screwed up and we have grid-locked streets? Ed spends his time making deals?


Uber’s latest venture is a bike-sharing service in San Francisco. It’s working with dockless bike-sharing startup Jump.

By Mallory Locklear : engadget – excerpt

Uber’s piloting a new service in San Francisco alongside dockless bike-sharing startup Jump. Uber Bike will let users rent one of Jump’s 250 bikes, charging $2 for the first 30 minutes and an additional per-minute fee thereafter. Jump was granted a permit by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency earlier this month, which made it the first company to operate a dockless bike-sharing program in the city. Jump’s 250 bikes should launch around the city between now and March and the SFMTA may allow the company to release 250 more after nine months, depending on how things go. The permit was issued for 18 months, during which the SFMTA will evaluate the program and the public’s response… (more)

Uber partners with JUMP on electric bike share pilot in San Francisco

by Monica Nickelsburg : geeklwire – excerpt

SINGAPORE — If Uber Technologies Inc. is planning a retreat from Asia, no one told Brooks Entwistle, head of the ride-hailing company’s business in the region.

The San Francisco-based company is planning an expansion in Japan and is offering faster booking and cheaper rides to gain share in Singapore, Mr Entwistle said in an interview…more)

For Uber, the trade-off is scale. If it pulls out of markets like India and Indonesia, that will improve profitability immediately — but it would sacrifice long-term growth. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said recently the company would continue to be aggressive about expansion in 2018 as he sees Uber as being “everywhere for everyone.”… (more)


SFMTA is outdoing themselves this week

There are so many pages of details of street changes and parking and traffic alterations that it is hard to list them all. Here is the agenda.

Note the extra long pages and the fact that there are six of them.  A letter arrived from London Breed’s district regarding a mass of parking removal and plans to install more of those GoBikes in the Haight. I will share a slightly edited version here:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

MTA is planning to remove parking spaces at the corners along Fell Street and at the intersections of Fell with the cross streets from Baker through Shrader.  There will be a hearing before an MTA hearing officer on Friday, February 2, at 10 AM at City Hall, Room 416.  We are very concerned about the loss of yet more parking spaces in our neighborhood.

Even if you have a garage, you may be impacted because eliminating these parking spaces would make it more difficult for guests, babysitters, employees, contractors, visitors, delivery people, housekeepers, movers, etc. to find parking.

Here’s a link to an article on Hoodline that describes the plan and neighbors objections. You might also want to let Supervisor Breed know how you feel about the SFMTA when you see her on the campaign trail.

If you oppose the loss of these parking spaces around Oak and Fell Streets described in this article, please attend the hearing and/or submit written opposition to the following officials. Always copy your supervisor:
Ed Reiskin MTA Director
MTA spokesman
MTA Livable Streets
MTA Livable Streets
Supervisor London Breed
legislative aides to Supervisor Breed

Concerned Neighbor

There are many objectionable projects on this agenda.

This week’s projects include two more Bike Share Stations near freeway access points. One on Berry and King Street that will remove 4 metered parking spaces. Another one is planned for the sidewalk at Indiana and Cesar Chavez Street. Few cyclists ride on Cesar Chavez. The Mission specifically opposes the corporate takeover of our streets.

There is one full page of reversing projects that must not have worked as planned. Traffic circles, left hand turns and tow-aways that appear to be in District 11 will be rescinded. That would be the supervisor who is working on the Charter Amendment. He appears to be getting the attention of the SFMTA.

I wonder how much the traffic circles cost to install and how much it will cost to take them out. I heard the ones in District 2 are really a problem for pedestrians and bikes because the streets are not wide enough to accommodate them. Maybe our new Mayor or the Supervisor he appoints can do something about that. Maybe he can even get rid of some of the GoBikes stations that residents oppose.

Pruned Panhandle Parking Protects Pedestrians, Says SFMTA




Gas tax repeal sponsored by Assemblyman Travis Allen fails to qualify, but another effort could reach the ballot

By Casey Tolan : mercurynews – excerpt

A ballot measure to repeal California’s controversial new gas tax sponsored by Assemblyman and Republican governor candidate Travis Allen failed to submit signatures by its deadline this week. But voters could still have a chance to have their say on the law in November, as a separate ballot measure to repeal it continues to gather signatures.

Allen’s campaign was unable to collect signatures due to a series of legal battles with Attorney General Xavier Becerra last year over the wording of the ballot measure, Allen said in an interview Friday afternoon…

separate ballot measure campaign to repeal the gas tax — sponsored by Allen’s Republican rival for the governor’s office, businessman John Cox, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — is still collecting signatures and has a May 21 filing deadline. That petition has gathered 400,000 signatures of the necessary 585,407, the campaign said in a statement Friday.

Allen said he would support that campaign, and that all funds raised by his ballot measure campaign — $87,188, as of the latest filing in September — would go to the Howard Jarvis campaign and to legal costs. His campaign will send all of his donors a form to sign to support the other anti-gas tax ballot initiative. “The movement to stop Jerry Brown’s massive tax increase is larger than any one person or any one group,” Allen said…

poll conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies last month found that 52 percent of likely voters in California backed the repeal… (more)


Transportation gentrification: How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East Oakland

by youth scholars at Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine : sfbayview – excerpt

We youth scholars from Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine submitted 14 FOIAs – Freedom of Information Act requests – to 14 departments in the City of Oakland, only to receive a series of messages from two of the departments saying, “We have no documents,” and no word from the others.

On Jan. 16, we will be making a demand to the City of Oakland and AC Transit that, with the money they received for BRT, they support Oakland residents to be able to stay here as reparations for the millions of dollars they are receiving to displace us out of here. If you would like to join us, please email

This article basically sums up what we have been observing and reporting on for the last five or six years. Public transit funds are being used to displace “vested” residents here and on a world-wide basis. The gold standard has been replaced by the biggest LAND GRAB in history. Instead of relying on cornering a commodity, the robber barons are rapidly grabbing up the one truly limited resource on earth.

They started by grabbing control of our public streets, claiming our once free streets “streets are not free”. Once they “take” our streets, they take our homes, that they refer to as “housing”, claiming we can’t afford  any more.

Unfortunately, our early warnings were correct. Now what can we do about it? This series of articles offers helpful information and suggestions on ways to fight back.Let your political leaders know that you know what they are doing,and who they are serving whether they know it or not.

Some action items and contacts at the state and city level:

Low-income housing units lost in Oakland, study shows Anti-eviction Mapping Project shows how housing for poor people is being replaced with housing for tech workers…(more)

2 Efforts to Repeal the New California State Gas Tax that our State Legislature passed last year are gathering signatures

They both repeal the Gas Tax but this one includes a requirement for voter approval of future gas and car taxes.

Download Your Petition to End the New Gas & Car Tax

Initiative Language


SECTION 1. STATEMENT OF FINDINGS AND PURPOSES (a) California’s taxes on gasoline and car ownership are among the highest in the nation. (b) These taxes have been raised without the consent of the people. (c) Therefore, the people hereby amend the Constitution to require voter approval of the recent increase in the gas and car tax enacted by Chapter 5 of the Statutes of 2017 and any future increases in the gas and car tax.

Section 3 .5 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution is added to read:

Sec. 3.5(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Legislature shall not impose, increase or extend any tax, as defined in section 3, on the sale, storage, use or consumption of motor vehicle gasoline or diesel fuel, or on the privilege of a resident of California to operate on the public highways a vehicle, or trailer coach, unless and until that proposed tax is submitted to the electorate and approved by a majority vote. (b) This section does not apply to taxes on motor vehicle gasoline or diesel fuel, or on the privilege of operating a vehicle or trailer coach at the rates that were in effect on January 1, 201 7. Any increase in the rate of such taxes imposed after January 1, 2017 shall cease to be imposed unless and until approved by the electorate as required by this section.

SB 1 was passed by a slim margin in Sacramento. Almost immediately after passage the opponents was working to repeal it. If you want to see this on the ballot, you may download and follow instructions on how to send in your signature.

Technically I believe that local governments are in charge of determining how their share of the gas taxes are spent, so, one could lobby the local government to spend it on road repair if one chose to do so, but, there are no guarantees any potholes will be fixed with the tax money, or any bridges and roads will be repaired.


1830. (17-0033A1) Eliminates Recently Enacted Road Repair and Transportation Funding by Repealing Revenues Dedicated for those Purposes. Requires any Measure to Enact Certain Vehicle Fuel Taxes and Vehicle Fees be Submitted to and Approved by the Electorate. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Summary Date: 11/20/17 | Circulation Deadline: 05/21/18 | Signatures Required: 585,407 – (25% of Signatures Reached 12/15/2017 (PDF)

Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures

Initiatives referenda cleared for circulation