Impacts on the housing market from transit corridors – rising rents.

Oped: by zrants

The astronomical rise in property values is caused by removing height limits and zoning restrictions. Add massive evictions and foreclosures and create a new disruptive quasi-hotel business for transient citizens and you can easily create a housing shortage to boost property values even higher.

Forcing people to give up their cars is one of many tools the new building industrial complex uses to force dense stack and pack housing on a population that hates it. City Hall uses your tax dollars to market their vision of your future by trying to shame you into accepting what they have plan to do to you.

Don’t you want to live in a cool condo over a coffee shop with a gym and a cleaning service instead of in a single family home with your own private yard and garage? No? What’s wrong with you? Are you a NIMBY? No one deserves parking, a car, a yard, a view, or protection from shadows and wind.

Don’t you want a nice clean loud obnoxious sports arena instead of a wide open space next to the bay? We’ll decorate a big public yard with public art and plants, and you can hang out in the shade of our arena. We may even let you sit down and rest if you can afford one of our expensive new brews or tasty treats. Just don’t think of parking anywhere nearby. Bring your smart phone so you can figure out how to get in and out of the area. If you don’t have one, stay home.

Back to the bike paths: The anti-car brigade claim their priority is taking dirty cars off the road to improve air quality, but, the car industry is transitioning into clean electric vehicles. It is all the demolition and dirt from construction sites that is clogging our lungs and pores and making us sick, not the cars. Do you want to breath all those obnoxious fumes while pedaling down a clogged street full of angry motorists and bus drivers? I don’t.

The climate control argument is a lie. Scientists say the main thing wrong with electric vehicles is that there are not enough of them. They want to see more electric powered vehicles and 4 or 5 story homes independently powered by today’s solar technology. Every tall building that goes up puts more shadows on more rooftops and keeps those us dependent on the public power grid system. As many people have stated, follow the money.

How Atlanta’s greater emphasis on biking impacts the housing market

… Turns out, there are just as many reasons to love biking as an adult. It’s flexible and affordable, it’s great exercise, it’s good for the environment and it makes you feel like a kid again. It’s no surprise, then, that biking has emerged as a favorite alternate mode of transportation for many Atlantans who are tired of spending so much time behind the wheel, stuck in traffic.

What is perhaps surprising, though, is how a love of biking can translate into higher values for properties along or near a bike path. A 2011 study from the University of Cincinnati found that homebuyers there were willing to pay a premium of up to $9,000 to be within 1,000 feet of their 12-mile rails-to-trails line.

Studies from other U.S. metropolitan areas have come to similar results. While we don’t have that sort of quantifiable data for Atlanta, we are noticing rising interest and values for homes in close proximity to trails. Whether it’s the long-distance, Georgia-to-Alabama recreational route of the Silver Comet Trail or the around-town connectivity of the Beltline, Atlanta’s bike paths are becoming the latest sought-after address… (more)

Once again bizjournals calls it. This time in Atlanta. Watch the rents go up along those transit corridors as the government removes parking and forces people onto public transit the developers build higher buildings and raise the rates, claiming they need to put more people on the public transit system, which now includes bike lanes. Makes no sense but, that is what they claim.
Not surprising to those of us who saw it coming when they started claiming that parking isn’t free and parking is a privilege not a right. We knew that parking was step one in the developers’ plans to create scarcity so they could raise prices.

First they took our street parking, then they took our off-street parking, and now they want our back private yards and views. Next they will want us to leave so they can tear down our homes to rebuild the little boxes we refer to as stack and pack housing. And they call us NIMBYS because we object to being displaced?

Bay Area traffic getting worse before sunrise

by Vince Cestone : KRON – (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — More and more Bay Area commuters are hitting the road long before sunrise.

The early birds are looking for something far more precious than worms. The traffic nightmare is already developing, while most of the Bay Area is sleeping.

“The number of people on the move between 4 and 5 o’clock is up and up strongly,” Metropolitan Transit Commission spokesman John Goodwin said…

There are far fewer surface parking lots in San Francisco,” Goodwin said. “These folks may be racing to get to work, so they can find a place to park.”

And it’s not just the transbay bridges that are getting crowded. The MTC reports that the Benicia, Antioch and Carquinez bridges are also seeing more traffic before 5 a.m… (more)

Thanks to the Bay Area Transit Authorities, MTC and ABAG, now locked in a fierce power battle and blaming game, SF that has created the mess. How is it done? Their first job (in this minds) is to get you out of your cars. How is that working? Maybe their methods are flawed. In SF fhey support more housing next to already full BART stops, standing room only during peak hours) and cut back or refuse to increase parking capacity near outlying BART stops.

One other important factor in the increase in numbers of commuters is  that SF employees have been forced to move out of the city and now must  commute in to work, while the new arrivals do not work in the city and  are commuting out to work. This is exactly what the planners claimed
they would fix by building high-density stack and pack housing next to  public transit. That is why we need a new plan as the folks in the Mission District are requesting with Prop I

Well, just about any transit project is eligible to apply for Federal funds.

(Quick clarification – the Bay Area gets a lot of “formula” funds for transit.  How they are used are up to MTC and the transit agencies, but, in general, these are all spoken for – if they were transferred for other purposes, such as a major capital project, then that means a whole lot of over-the-hill buses would not be replaced at the ends of their useful life, a lot of rail lines will not be given required maintenance, etc.  In addition to the transit programs – of which 49 USC 5307 is by far the largest – there are also three highway “flexible” funds, with CMAQ and STP being the vast majority.  These can be used for transit, again, pretty much at the option of MTC, but, given the extreme underfunding of Bay Area road maintenance, unlikely to occur.  What we are probably talking about is the Federal discretionary capital grant program for transit, which is mainly 49 USC 5309 “new starts.”)

Since the Obama administration has pretty much changed the rules so that factors like ridership, etc., aren’t really part of the evaluation process any more, so, if the Bay Area made this a high priority, it would likely have a chance.  However, there is only so much money to go around nationally, and there is a limit to how much money any region is going to get, and there is an unlimited amount of other requests for this funding, so the real question is, how far up to the top of the list this will be.

The other interesting factor is that it is getting real questionable how much money for transit programs there is going to be.  With the Republicans controlling both houses, and the D’s not really into the program, there hasn’t been a new transportation authorization bill for quite a while, just short-term extensions and, right now, it is difficult to see how there will be a long-term extension any time soon.  Without that, not a whole lot of money for any new projects.  Not saying impossible, am saying makes it more difficult.

OK, let’s step back and take a wild turn.  Let’s say that the objective is to create a transit system that will carry the most people, get it done the quickest, and do it at the lowest cost to taxpayers.  Not really the way things are done, of course, particularly in the Bay Area, but, just as a thing to think about.  OK, going down that road, the way to go is to run long-haul commuter buses on an I-580 HOT lane from the Central Valley to the existing BART end station.  Such lines can be started within two years (the biggest time-taker is getting the buses delivered, now that the roadway is getting close to completion), there are just about no costs for the right-of-way, and this is the type of transit service that has the highest farebox recovery ratio – over 90% is not at all uncommon, although I’m not going to make that kind of prediction without a lot of study.

This would have also been the right way to go before BART went over the hill to the Tri-Valley.  Of course, it was never even considered as an option.

– TR, Transit specialist

This pretty much back up what many of us have been saying for some time. The SFMTA and other municipal transit authorities are not in the transportation business, they are in the construction business. They are also in the empire building business. The more the construct the bigger the public debt to the industry grows since the maintenance and operations costs escalate accordingly. This is why many people are saying NO MORE MONEY for the bottomless pit that claim, “if we build it they will come.”

To the desert valley where there is no water?

Bay Area lawmaker introduces legislation to end regional transportation agencies

By Mark Prado : mercurynews – excerpt

Marin Assemblyman Marc Levine has introduced a bill to eliminate a powerful regional commission, saying it’s not accountable to the public and has been largely ineffective in improving traffic.

Levine, D-San Rafael, this week introduced legislation that would do away with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and its sister agency, the Bay Area Toll Authority. The commission is the Bay Area’s transportation planning agency, while the authority oversees seven state-run bridges.
In their place a new Bay Area Transportation Commission would be created. Unlike the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — created by the state Legislature in 1970 — whose members are appointed, the new commission would be elected, under Levine’s bill.
Levine said the change would benefit commuters in Marin and around the Bay Area. “Our traffic is some of the worst in the nation. We need a transportation commission that will put their energies into eliminating traffic gridlock,” Levine said in a statement. “The new Bay Area Transportation Commission will be responsive and accountable to our communities’ needs rather than operate as an appointed board. … This commission will provide the transparency and accountability that Bay Area commuters need and deserve.”
 MTC response Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said the agency’s board will likely take up Levine’s bill at its meeting next month… (more)
This could be the year of voter rebellion. Look at Washington and Sacramento is starting to get the message that the voters have had enough disfunction in government. Trust is at an all-time low. Let’s get some letter going out to our representatives.
Comments at the source and here are welcome.

Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

A new twist in the power struggle over Bay Area planning

48hillsabagcommuteflows

This fancy ABAG graphic shows the commute flows into and out of the nine Bay Area counties.

The power struggle between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments got a lot more complicated over the past week.

Since MTC voted in late June to fund ABAG’s planning staff for only the first half of fiscal year 2015-16—an action followed by revelations that the regional transportation planning agency wants to take over ABAG’s land-use planning functions before their joint December move into fancy new digs in San Francisco—the two entities seemed destined to consolidate by the end of the year. Only the Sierra Club had registered its opposition to a merger.

But with ABAG’s Executive Board meeting on September 17 and MTC convening on September 23, several other influential parties, including SPUR, the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area, SF Planning Director John Rahaim, and ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport, have come out against hasty action, if not against consolidation, while the SF Labor Council has warned MTC not to take over ABAG’s planners, period.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature could be dramatically changing the entire regional planning picture. A bill by Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Marc Levine, ABX1-24, would turn MTC into an elected board, forcing the organization to accept a level of democracy that has never remotely existed in the past.

The bill would re-name MTC the Bay Area Transportation Commission and replace the body’s current 21 appointed members with commissioners elected by districts of about 750,000 residents. Each district would elect one commissioner, except a district with a toll bridge, which would elect two. A citizens’ redistricting commission would draw the district boundaries, and the campaigns for commissioners would be publicly financed. Elections would be held in 2016, with new commissioners taking office on January 1, 2017.

“It’s time to take a hard look at reforming this agency,” Ting told us. “We need to make it more accountable to the voters, the state, and the region.”… (more)

Continue reading

At 17th and Mission, a “gentrification bomb”

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Planning Commission sets terrible precedent, allows tech office space to displace artists in the Mission

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 – There was a lot of discussion and obfuscation around a plan to retrofit and restructure the space of a large building at 17th and Mission, but the bottom line was clear:

The owners of the building, where Thrift Town occupies the lower floor and artist studios dominate the upper stories, want to replace art space with tech offices.

It would be the first time that the city allowed tech offices to move into space in the Mission where that type of office use has always been illegal. And it would (be) business space and an influx of high-rent office space that would radically transform the business mix in that part of town.

The same issues are coming up in Chinatown, and if the city decides that tech offices, which typically pay much higher rent than many other traditional uses, can move into neighborhood commercial districts, no part of the city will be safe.

As one person put it, “what happens if you fill the building with people who make more than $100,000 a year? You will be dropping a gentrification bomb. People in the neighborhood are scared as hell.”…

Commissioner Dennis Richards asked Rick Holman the central question: Didn’t you know when you bought the place that it had all these problems, that it needed seismic work?

Holman said that he didn’t know all the problems. He said that if he had known how problematic the place was, he wouldn’t have bought it. But he said he’s not going to sue the owner who sold it to him “for what happened before.”… (more)

Sort of shocking and also terrifying at the same time. Being in the room where these things are happening is an experience in itself. If there was any doubt as to why we need the moratorium in the Mission, there is none now.

San Francisco is no longer a destination for artists because the can’t afford to be here. The only hope for us is to pass Prop I and “save the Mission” and then save the rest of the city that is left, by re-writing the laws to give them more teeth. We must turn this gentrification thing around.

Report: Report: California’s drivers are the nation’s most stressed

By Gary Richards : contracostatimes – excerpt

California’s improved economy has brought commutes to an unprecedented slowdown from one end of the state to the other, making drivers here the most stressed out in the nation.

A nationwide report released late Tuesday found that motorists in California’s congested population centers spend nearly two work weeks a year stuck in creep-and-crawl traffic — nearly double the national average.

According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and a West Coast traffic organization called Inrix, which surveyed traffic on 471 urban streets and highways across the country, an estimated $160 billion is lost annually in wasted fuel, lost income and lost time across the country while motorists cling to a steering wheel instead of a computer mouse.

The worst area is Washington, D.C., at 82 hours of lost time, but the top 10 is a roadmap from Northern California to Southern California: Los Angeles comes in No. 2 with 80 hours of delays, followed by San Francisco-Oakland with 78, New York at 74 and the San Jose area at 67. Riverside rounds out the top 10 at 59. Compare that to the national average of a measly 42 hours.

The California numbers have jumped five hours since 2010 and are expected to steadily creep higher over the next several years.

A number of solutions are in the works to ease some of the gridlock and encourage solo commuters to carpool or take public transit to work: Later this year BART will open a new line to the Santa Clara County border, a “Smart Highway” project on Interstate 80 from Richmond to the Bay Bridge will offer route alternatives, and the Interstate 880 carpool lane will be extended south of Oakland. Double carpool lanes are planned for Highways 85 and 101, and Interstate 580 in the Tri-Valley will get those plus express lanes… (more)

The three pronged approach sounds like what got us where we are. The only new idea is to stagger the work hours. At the rate we are robotizing jobs there won’t be many left soon anyway. All we will do is sit at home and wait for delivery. Stop removing traffic lanes and eliminating parking and you can clean up the traffic much faster. In fact, just replace all the lanes you removed and all the parking you took out and we would be much better off.

You can start spending the money on maintaining the fleet of municipal vehicles you have and quit hiring managers to clog things up. Fire the entire complete streets crew that is moving mature trees from the side of the street on Van Ness to the middle of the street, and putting in a BRT in the middle of the street. That little project is designed to make a lot of wealthy contractors more wealthy and cost the taxpayer billions of dollars while clogging the major North South state highway that connect s the Federal Freeways through San Francisco for years. Nothing they are planning will relieve the traffic.

SFCTA to Test Variable Road Pricing on Treasure Island

by  : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Treasure Island will serve as San Francisco’s proving grounds for road pricing that adjusts in response to traffic conditions, as the city looks to minimize Bay Bridge car congestion generated by residents expected to move to the development site.

When the first housing units on the man-made mid-bay island, formerly owned by the Navy, are occupied in 2019, the SF County Transportation Authority plans to implement a fee to use the Bay Bridge ramps to drive on and off the island. The fee would rise and fall in response to car congestion as well as transit service, which would be dramatically increased with new Muni and AC Transit lines, as well as a new ferry line to SF that would launch in 2021.

As the “car-light” development adds 8,000 residents by 2030, SFCTA planner Rachel Hiatt said the agency’s goal is for at least 50 percent of trips on and off the city-owned island to be taken by surface transit or ferry.

The proposed tolls would apply from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. From 2019 until 2021 (pre-ferry service), the toll would be $1 during off-peak hours, and $3 during peak hours (which have yet to be determined). Those rates would increase to $3 and $5 after 2021, when ferry service will be introduced.

Livable City Director Tom Radulovich said that the tolls will need to be high enough to keep traffic moving on the Bay Bridge, which doesn’t have bus-only lanes on its main stretch. The SFCTA is also banking on the toll revenue to fund much of the new transit service and incentive programs to encourage island residents to get around without driving.

“It’s imperative that we protect the transbay transit service,” said Radulovich, “because we’re going to need to rely more and more on it as San Francisco’s developing and not investing in more BART capacity.”

In a presentation [PDF] last week, Hiatt told an SFCTA committee comprised of city supervisors that the agency recommends providing free transit passes for many residents, a free shuttle, and abundant car-share that’s provided at a discount for low-income households. The agency also plans to limit and charge for all parking spaces, and envisions Bay Area Bike Share on the island… (more)

Hope all you who voted against Prop L are happy now that the SFMTA is taking over the city streets. They have no restraint until someone restrains them.

Finding a home on Hotel 22

By Isabel Angell : KALW – excerpt (audio)

I’m on the Valley Transportation Authority’s Line 22 bus somewhere between East San Jose and Palo Alto. It’s 2:30 a.m., and it’s raining. I start a conversation with a man sitting down, and ask him if he’s heard the nickname for the bus.

“Yeah, well there’s the Motel 22 or Hotel 22. That’s the big one I’ve heard.”

I ask him what he calls the bus.

“I call it home.”… (more)

City proposing new housing development fee to expand transit

By J.K. Dineen and Mi : sfgate – excerpt

Mayor Ed Lee’s administration is looking to tap into the city’s housing boom to help bankroll $1.2 billion in transit improvements over the next 30 years.

A proposed transportation sustainability fee announced Tuesday would apply to new market rate condominium and apartment projects and would add $14 million to the $24 million a year already collected from other types of developments.

The money would be spent on expanding the Muni fleet with new buses and railcars, improving reliability on the busiest routes, retrofitting existing trains, investing in the electrification of Caltrain, and making streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The proposed fee, introduced at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting by Scott Wiener, was crafted by the mayor’s office, the city Planning Department, the Municipal Transportation Agency and County Transportation Authority after years of study.

“As our city grows, we must ensure that our transportation network grows along with it,” the mayor said in a statement from Rome, where he is at a meeting with the pope on climate change. “That is essential to meet the needs of our residents and workforce.”…

The new transit fee is needed to strengthen public transit and get commuters out of their cars at a time San Francisco, which has added 100,000 jobs since 2010, is growing by 10,000 residents a year.

The proposed fee underscores what has become a hot-button issue around the city: complaints that the proliferation of high-end residential towers in neighborhoods such as Dogpatch, SoMa and Rincon Hill has not been accompanied by adequate improvements in open space and transit, not to mention sufficient levels of affordable housing.

While the idea of a transit impact fee is not new in San Francisco — the city’s current Transit Impact Development Fee applies to commercial developments and PDR (production, design and repair) facilities and produces that $24 million a year in revenue — the big difference is that the new fee adds builders of market rate apartments and condos. Making market rate housing developers part of the fee structure increases the amount collected 40 percent, from $720 million to $1.2 billion over 30 years… (more)

Anyone who is watching what goes on at City Hall would have to ask a few questions about the intent of collecting the fees. When will the fees be collected, and will they be turned into in lieu fees as the current ones are? How will this effect the price of housing? When ABAG and MTC can’t agree on a transportation scheme, (or how to figure out the best way to describe their goals), who will determine what the money is spent on?

Adding open space of transit in Dogpatch, SoMa and Rincon Hill is a joke. There is no room left to put any.

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