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.

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Wiener proposes major fundraising legislation for transportation agencies statewide

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

oon, the threshold for passing local transportation bonds in California could be far lower, unlocking funding for countless transit needs across the Golden State.
A new transbay tube. Caltrain electrification. Miles of new subways in cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

State Sen. Scott Wiener’s newly introduced state constitutional amendment would make funding projects like those far easier, by lowering the threshold to pass transportation bonds from a two-thirds voter majority to 55 percent.

That threshold is determined by the California constitution. The state constitutional amendment, which Wiener plans to introduce Monday, is still in its infancy. But if it succeeds, its effects could be far reaching.

“We have massive unfunded transportation needs on public transportation, roads and bridges,” Wiener told the San Francisco Examiner. “We need to empower local communities to fund these needs.”

Those needs include more than $59 billion in deferred transportation maintenance statewide, according to draft background language of the bill. Those needs are in the Bay Area, too…

“San Francisco’s unfunded transportation needs are billions and billions of dollars,” he said, “This money is absolutely needed.”…(more)

There is no SLUSH fund in the taxpayer’s pockets. Voters opposed the last tax hike because they can’t afford it. Government has lost the trust of the people. The SFMTA claimed they would improve traffic and transit and the opposite has happened.  Many don’t want the future being planned and more cannot afford to pay for it. The solution is a moratorium on hiring and major cuts to new projects until the current ones are completed and paid for.

Bike riders costing more than they contribute

marinij – excerpt

For months now, we have been hearing about bicycle paths and how they will benefit everyone by getting people out of cars, causing less congestion on the roads, benefiting the environment.

Now, let’s look at reality.

Recently, there was a path constructed through San Rafael to Greenbrae.

It cost millions and gets very little use — an unjustified taxpayer expense.

There was a bike path built from South Novato Boulevard to Ignacio. It cost millions and its use? I personally, over a span of at least a year, have seen three pedestrians walking on it. I have never seen a bicycle on that path.

Now, we are being asked to spend multiple millions more of tax dollars for a path across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge for bicycle commuters.

Seriously?

Do you realize how steep the incline is on that bridge, how windy it is and how much fog traverses that span? It would be a daunting task for even the most experienced of bikers…(more)

2 property tax bills: 1 for condo, 1 for parking space

By C.W. Nevius : sfchronicle – excerpt

When a tax measure to help pay San Francisco Unified School District teachers was proposed in 2008, Richard La Rose was an enthusiastic supporter. As a teacher at a private institution, La Rose wouldn’t directly benefit, but he didn’t mind paying the annual fee, which he says is $259.20.

He just didn’t expect to pay it twice.

La Rose, like some other residents, is taxed once for his one-bedroom condo and a second time for his parking space. Since the parking spot was sold separately it has its own deed, which is now a common practice among developers. That means he is considered to have two parcels.

“I went to the tax office, and I said I didn’t see why I should have to pay twice,” La Rose said. “They said, ‘Yeah, we get that complaint all the time, but there’s nothing we can do.’”… (more)

RELATED:
An Unintended Consequence of Unbundling Parking from Housing
Transportation and affordable housing advocates advocate unbundling parking from housing to provide an incentive to own fewer vehicles while reducing housing costs and increasing supply. But should parcel taxes be applied to parking spaces?... (more)

District 10 Supervisor Candidates Respond to View’s Questions

Sara Bloomberg : potreroview – excerpt

The View asked the five candidates running for the District 10 Board of Supervisors seat this November the six questions listed below.  Their responses were only lightly edited, mostly for typos. Candidates appear in reverse alphabetical order.

1. The Transportation and Road Improvement bond, Measure A, would allocate $500 million to improve Muni, bicycle and street infrastructure, and pedestrian safety. Do you support this measure?  If it passes in November what would be your funding priorities for District 10? Please identify specific examples.

2. Measure E, “The Soda Tax,” would impose a levy of two cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened drinks sold in San Francisco. Revenue from the tax would fund programs to improve food access, physical fitness, health and nutrition. Bayview-Hunters Point has the City’s highest concentration of diabetes-related emergency room visits, according to the proposed ordinance. Do you support this measure? Why or why not?

3. District 10’s poverty rate is upwards of 18 percent, according to 2010 Census data, compared to the City average of 11 percent. As supervisor, what specific programs and/or policies would you support to help individuals and families emerge from poverty?  Are you in favor of increasing the minimum wage?

4. Are there any specific City expenditures that you believe are wasteful?

5. Do you believe that the taxes and fees San Francisco levies on its residents and businesses are too high, or too low?  Please explain your response.

6. How would you handle the onslaught of development occurring in Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and Showplace Square?… (more)

AC Transit Director Faces Tough Fight

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor : Eastbayexpress.com – excerpt

Saying that the AC Transit board needs “progressive leadership,” Bartlett lists her three top issues as reducing emissions, improving labor protections, and increasing ridership. In her official ballot statement, she stated that “AC Transit is in crisis. Fares are up while service has declined. Aging buses contribute to poor air quality and some of the highest child asthma rates in the state.” She promises to “champion clean, renewable energy facilities and equipment that reduce pollution and global warming” and to “focus on data-driven budget solutions and improve effectiveness of transit service while respecting the rights of AC Transit workers.”
When asked in a phone interview how she could accomplish those goals in an era of budget problems for the transit district, Bartlett said she would focus on removing inefficiencies and soliciting additional funds from the Bay Area’s regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the federal Department of Transportation, and by “renegotiating the district’s debt terms with banks so that we can decrease the yearly debt-service payment.” Bartlett said that she was “not in favor of cutting bus service” as AC Transit has been doing for the past several years as a cost-savings measure, and only saw such actions as a “last resort.”… (more)

Contrast that method with the following idea

Daily Journal staff report – excerpt
Transit district explores tax Budget and service cuts, fare increases and even increasing ridership will not be enough to bridge the San Mateo County Transit District’s ongoing structural deficit so officials with the agency are exploring whether it should go straight to the voters to ask for additional support.
If a ballot measure is judged necessary, district staff is recommending a potential vote in 2014, the next general election, according to a staff report.
What form the tax or fee will take or whether it will be a three-county vote to support Caltrain has yet to be determined, since it has no dedicated funding source… (more)