How coronavirus will affect SF’s rental market

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

“It will take a huge lack of interest from renters to push down rent prices in SF”

In January, the median market price for a one-bedroom in the city on some platforms was $3,500. It would be awful irony for market rent prices in SF to significantly plunge at a time when most renters weren’t primed to take advantage of it—but that inability to pay is precisely what would drive any price depression.

“If unemployment soars, especially if it’s hitting younger people in their 20s and early 30s hard, […] rents will probably be hit quite hard,” says Patrick Carlisle, an analyst with Compass Real Estate.

Carlisle tells Curbed SF that younger workers who arrived recently in SF in search of high-paying jobs may “pull up stakes” and relocate in the face of joblessness and still-soaring rents. He compares this scenario to the bursting of the dot-com bubble 20 years ago, after which rents dropped quickly and dramatically as landlords had to chase after new renters with far less cash on hand… (more)

SF sees ‘stark and immediate’ revenue losses over coronavirus pandemic

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Report projects $1.7B city budget deficit over next two fiscal years

San Francisco projects losses of up to $288 million in the current fiscal year alone due to the toll the coronavirus have taken on the local economy, according to a new report

Breed wrote a letter to department heads Tuesday morning directing them to begin to reduce spending.

“In order to offset these significant financial losses, I am instructing departments to help identify cost reductions and curb spending immediately,” Breed wrote.

That means that some planned projects may not move forward.

Breed told department heads in the letter to look at “pausing new programs funded in prior budgets that have not started.”(more)

The party is over.

Density, neoliberalism, and COVID

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

SF has allowed developers to build housing and offices for more and more people — without paying for the infrastructure that we need to take care of them.

“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive. It has to stop and it has to stop now. NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density.” @NYGovCuomo8:36 AM · Mar 22, 2020·

The COVID pandemic seems to offer one surprise after another, as state and local governments scramble to fill the void created by President Trump’s daily narcissistic meanderings in cobbling together rational and effective programs to address the new reality confronting them. This is especially true in major urban areas all of which, across the world, have embraced neo-liberal policies that resulted in dramatic increases in density that clearly out-stripped the fragile urban infrastructure (including health care) needed to deal with massive viral infections now literally plaguing them…

The primary task of all government, neo-liberals argue, is to facilitate the development of the un-hindered market by reducing “red-tape” and cutting government regulations in every sphere of life…

Neo-liberalism is closely embraced, of course, by the masters of the tech sector. But far more importantly it is the dominate governing philosophy of both national political parties

The market simply cannot address this crisis, rendering the neo-liberal play book irrelevant. And the dense populations and thin urban infrastructure created by both national and local neo-liberal urban policies have brought cities to a profound crisis…

Cutting regulations, shrinking the public sector and handing more critical urban functions over to market based “disruptive innovators” got us into more trouble than such policies can get us out of. … (more)

It appears that the density bills should be pulled this year, but, you might wan to pay attention to make sure they are. The next step is to figure out what next? How do we live a healthy life without density? Can we more office jobs off-site and cut the commuting down? Can we switch to renewable energy sources and cut emissions?

San Francisco’s Muni Metro, light rail service to shut down amid pandemic

by Alexa Mae Asperin : kron4 – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Starting Monday, March 30, there will be no more subway or light rail service in San Francisco.

SFMTA announced Thursday that the new changes are happening in response to a decline in ridership amid the virus pandemic and to “help us focus resources on routes outside of the downtown area.”

Starting Monday, all Muni Metro and light rail routes will be replaced by buses.

Riders can take bus substitutions for the J, KT, L, M, and N lines using the same bus stops as the early morning Metro bus service.

Muni Metro subway stations will be closed, except for downtown stations which will remain open to customers taking BART during operating hours.

“Closing the Muni Metro underground system will allow us to redirect custodial resources to other, higher-use facilities and minimizes risk to our station agents(more)

Ever wonder why the SFMTA spends so much time and money on tunnels and light rail systems when the buses are more nimble and lead to less breakdowns in transit? Now might be a good time to consider what kind of public transit system best serves the public with the least amount of down time and the least amount of disruption. Plan A is to have rail service, but, when that breaks down they go to plan B, the buses. Why not skip plan A?

In a week, the coronavirus razed U.S. transit and rail systems

By Luz Lazo and Justin George : washingtonpost – excerpt

As recently as a month ago, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was talking about increasing service, having finally turned a corner after years of precipitous ridership declines.

The gains were wiped out in a couple of weeks as the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, shutting down normal life and crippling Metro and transit systems nationwide as people teleworked and stayed home out of fear, by government order or because they had been laid off…

The financial losses for the transit sector are projected to be in the billions and the impacts and disruptions could stretch for weeks if not more, say experts and transit leaders who fear that even when the crisis is over, recovery could take months, if not years… (more)

This crisis points out what many have suspected for years. The public transit model is not financially sustainable in the worst of time and it may not be in the best of times after the virus scare subsides due to three things:

  1. Public distrust in government is at an all time high leading people to seek independence and freedom of movement.
  2. Financial burdens on the public health system will take precedence over other matters.
  3. Many off-site jobs may remain off-site leading to less commuters on streets and public transportation.

Will coronavirus spur a traffic-solving remote-work revolution? Don’t count on it

By Nico Savage : mercurynews – excerpt

Emergency shelter-in-place orders cleared rush-hour freeways. Will that last?

One can only hope. But, here are some thoughts on the subject.

For a region used to organizing daily life around the rhythms of rush hour, last week was downright eerie.

There was no sea of brake lights at the Bay Bridge toll plaza each morning. No caravan of super-commuters inching west on Interstate 580 before dawn. No sardine-can cramming onto BART trains. No hellacious crawl down Highway 101 at 5 p.m.

As the Bay Area races to contain a deadly pandemic that has upended life as we know it, our region is also being thrust into a mass experiment in remote work. Albeit unintended, we’re seeing firsthand how having large numbers of people do their jobs at home instead of in offices could be a solution to the grinding traffic that captured our attention in the days before COVID-19.

Businesses that may have been hesitant to allow employees to work remotely now have no choice. Workers curious about ditching their commute and working full-time from home are doing just that. Whether those habits stick could have big implications for the traffic congestion that fuels climate change while sapping Bay Area residents’ time and money…

“There could be some managers who say, ‘We actually did pretty well,’” Choudhury added, “or stare at the empty offices and say, ‘Why do we need these offices?’”…

But Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino predicted the temporary change could catch on with some companies and workers, spurring “permanent shifts that will lead to positive impacts on traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emission reductions.”

Telework has become increasingly popular as new technology allows companies to create a workplace anywhere, whether with instant messages on Slack or video conferences using Zoom or GoToMeeting… (more)

‘SFMTA will not ticket for street sweeping,’ says mayor

It is the writing Street-Cleaning tickets, while failing to send the Street-Cleaners, that has always pissed me off.

On Mar 17, 2020, at 8:18 PM, zrants <zrants> wrote:

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

Mayor London Breed decided to halt ticketing during the shelter-in-place order, making the announcement this afternoon.

She said, “[SFMTA] will not ticket for street sweeping through the end of the month. Tickets issued today will be waived. However, it is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding,” so do please still move your cars even if there’s no penalty.

Earlier in the day, Supervisor Matt Haney complained via Twitter that people in his district were still being ticketed despite the circumstances…

In short, with most of the city rendered immobile for the next three weeks, parking has gotten slightly easier in SF, especially in some of the busiest areas—but the street sweepers still hold sway in the morning….

Everything you need to know about parking your vehicle during the San Francisco coronavirus closures…(more)

‘SFMTA will not ticket for street sweeping,’ says mayor

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

Mayor London Breed decided to halt ticketing during the shelter-in-place order, making the announcement this afternoon.

She said, “[SFMTA] will not ticket for street sweeping through the end of the month. Tickets issued today will be waived. However, it is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding,” so do please still move your cars even if there’s no penalty.

Earlier in the day, Supervisor Matt Haney complained via Twitter that people in his district were still being ticketed despite the circumstances…

In short, with most of the city rendered immobile for the next three weeks, parking has gotten slightly easier in SF, especially in some of the busiest areas—but the street sweepers still hold sway in the morning….

Everything you need to know about parking your vehicle during the San Francisco coronavirus closures…(more)

Gov. Newsom pushes eviction moratorium statewide Update

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

“Everyone will have to make sacrifices, but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them,” governor says.

[Update: Late Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order
that allows cities to suspend evictions for renters and homeowners,
citing the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak and the related economic
fallout.

“ Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices  – but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them,” Newsom said in a statement, adding “I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians.”

State government cannot suspend evictions itself, so individual municipalities will have to implement moratoriums themselves. Minutes after the order, Supervisor Matt Haney and Supervisor Dean Preston said that the Board of Supervisors will quickly take up an SF plan… (more)

RELATED:

‘SFMTA will not ticket for street sweeping,’ says mayor

Everything you need to know about parking your vehicle during the San Francisco coronavirus closures…(more)

Update: Mayor London Breed decided to halt ticketing during the shelter-in-place order, making the announcement this afternoon.

She said, “[SFMTA] will not ticket for street sweeping through the end of the month. Tickets issued today will be waived. However, it is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding,” so do please still move your cars even if there’s no penalty.

Earlier in the day, Supervisor Matt Haney complained via Twitter that people in his district were still being ticketed despite the circumstances…

In short, with most of the city rendered immobile for the next three weeks, parking has gotten slightly easier in SF, especially in some of the busiest areas—but the street sweepers still hold sway in the morning.…(more)

Eerily empty freeways: A symbol of how the coronavirus has hurt Los Angeles

By Laura J. Nelson : latimes – excerpt

Evening traffic on the 405 Freeway in West Los Angeles was so sparse last week that 24-year-old Jerrold Smith II took out his iPhone and recorded it for posterity.

“Just so no one thinks I’m crazy, it’s 6 o’clock,” Smith said, wonder in his voice, as he drove south toward the 10 Freeway. Normally one of America’s worst bottlenecks, the interchange had barely a dozen cars nearby.

As coronavirus fears have swept Southern California, and reported cases of COVID-19 have surged in Los Angeles County, commuters still going to work have encountered a strangely unsettling phenomenon: a lack of traffic jams.

Free-flowing traffic seems more a cause for mourning than celebration as the region grapples with the pandemic. The dream of traffic getting better, Los Angeles commuters say, didn’t include a scenario like this… (more)

WTF? We hear nothing but complaints about traffic congestion from everyone until the traffic calms down and now that it is gone they miss it? Who is mourning traffic congestion and why? The traffic control departments anticipating millions of dollars to “solve the traffic problem”?