SF follows Oakland’s lead, closes some streets to cars during pandemic

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City is following The Town’s lead — San Francisco’s streets are about to run “slow” in the name of social distancing…

The streets closed to most vehicle traffic — while still allowing local vehicle traffic for those living in the neighborhoods — are as follows: 17th Street from Noe to Valencia, 20th Avenue from Lincoln to Ortega, 22nd Street from Valencia to Chattanooga, 41st Avenue from Lincoln to Vicente, Ellis Street from Polk to Leavenworth, Holloway from Junipero Serra to Harold, Kirkham from the Great Highway to 7th Avenue, Phelps from Oakdale to Evans, Ortega from the Great Highway to 14th Avenue, Page from Stanyan to Octavia, Quesada from Lane to Fitch, and Scott from Eddy to Page… (more)

There is a map and a warning that not all the listed streets will be closed, etc. Good luck once again in figuring this out.

California Air Resources Board Sued By Minority Activist Group

By John and Ken Staff : iheart – excerpt

UPDATE: As of January 15, 2020 “CARB previously unsuccessfully tried to get the lawsuit thrown out but Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jane Cardoza issued an order in October ‘allowing it to go forward.’

The lawsuit lists CARB’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting new housing construction as something that is harming the community. The activist group, The Two Hundred, say the plan is driving up the cost of housing, worsening poverty and victimizing minority communities.

The group originates from the Bay Area and is made up of longtime civil rights activists who particularly fight against discrimination.

The plan, the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, committed California to a goal of reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Air Resources Board was then required to write “scoping” plans every five years detailing how the specified GHG reduction targets would be met. Well, the 2017 scoping plan includes “guidelines” for new housing that the lawsuit is calling “staggering, unlawful and racist.”…(more)

Sweeping Civil Rights Lawsuit Alleges Racial Bias In Implementation Of California Climate Policies

By Michael Shellenberger : forbes – excerpt

Top civil rights leaders are suing California for climate policies they say disproportionately harm its poorest residents, particularly Latinos and African Americans.

“California politicians are using anti-racist and environmentalist words to hide the regressive impact of their climate policies on the poor and people of color,” said John Gamboa, the co-founder of The Two Hundred, a coalition of prominent civil rights leaders, which filed a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in Superior Court…

“California’s climate leaders have decided to intentionally increase traffic congestion — to lengthen commute times and encourage gridlock — to try to get more people to ride buses or take other forms of public transit,” the legal complaint alleges…

Lefcoe, who is not involved in the case, said the lawsuit’s challenge to transportation policies is particularly powerful. “Automobiles are the survival mechanism for low-income people,” noted Lefcoe. “If you try to increase the cost of automobiles, you hurt low-income people...(more)

This is one of the most interesting lawsuits to come out that ties low and middle income earners to private vehicles. Given the new distancing guidelines and the importance of drive-through services this is an important case. Allegations of misuse of the cap and trade funds is an interesting component.

Essential Trip Card: Helping Older Adults and People with Disabilities Navigate Reduced Muni Service

By Bradley Dunn : SFMTA – excerpt

With a shortage of operators, car cleaners and other key personnel, Muni has implemented significant reductions to Muni service. We know that for many older adults and people with disabilities, walking farther to an alternate bus or paying for other transportation simply isn’t possible. To address this need, the SFMTA is announcing the Essential Trip Card (ETC) to help older adults and people with disabilities pay for essential trips in taxis. We are thankful that taxis have stepped up to serve this critical need.

The ETC will provide two to three round trips per month at only 20 percent of the cost of a regular cab fare. All taxis in San Francisco will accept the card to pay for essential trips like going to the grocery store or the doctor during the shelter-in-place period. Customers who pay $6 will receive $30 value or $12 for $60 value for taxi trips on a debit card. Cards can be re-filled once a month for each month of this special temporary program until the SFMTA announces its end…(more)

Gaggle of Emotional Service Geese Refused Entry on Muni

: sfweekly – excerpt

The geese’s owner had her feathers ruffled by the SFMTA’s treatment of her service animals.

Gertie Ganderson, 62, took her 16 Canadian geese on a tour of Coit Tower Friday afternoon. Together, they perused the colorful murals that line the interior walls and climbed the winding staircase for the views (and excellent flying bug collection) at the top. But upon leaving the popular tourist attraction and attempting to make her way home, Ganderson encountered a problem: The driver of the 39-Coit bus refused her and her geese entry, despite the fact that each goose is individually registered as an emotional service animal…(more)

Happy April Fool’s Day! Because we all need a laugh sometimes. 


Could cars emerge with a better image when SF emerges from coronavirus emergency?

By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt

Ten weeks after Jeff Tumlin mounted a bicycle to celebrate the debut of car-free Market Street, San Francisco’s director of transportation used a televised mayoral briefing on COVID-19 to deliver a much different message.

“Please do not ride Muni for the duration of the public health emergency,” Tumlin said last week from behind the podium, where Mayor London Breed and other department heads had just appeared. “If you have the ability to drive or walk or ride a bicycle, please choose those modes.”

The message aims to prevent overcrowding on the city’s remaining bus lines, a condition that could spread the coronavirus. But it also served as a tacit reminder that private automobiles have a role to play in large cities — even ones like San Francisco, where public policy in recent years has focused on trying to carve out space for as many transportation options as possible while also making streets safer and more enticing for pedestrians…(more)

Coronavirus Update: San Francisco Muni Facing Questions About Crowded Buses Amid Social Distancing Requirements

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Muni officials were facing questions over an image of bus passengers crowded shoulder-to-shoulder during the coronavirus public health emergency requiring physical distancing.

The image, taken at around 12:15 p.m. on the outbound 38 Geary, shows passengers crowded in standing-room only conditions. It appears many of the passenger are elderly, and most are wearing masks…(more)

Better to stay off the bus if you can and give friends a ride if you can. It is obvious the SFMTA is not prepared for a pandemic, but then, who is? How will a system function during disaster is a true test o the system. Small, less crowded options are the safest and the healthiest and that can be accomplished by a public system that is designed with customer service and safety in mind.

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?