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.

RELATED:
Lawmakers introduce transit development bill for BART stations

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Love Citi Bike? You Have A Real Estate Developer To Thank

By Sarah Kessler : fastcompany – excerpt

17thArkansas

Citigroup sponsors Citi Bike, but its existence and expansion are due to a powerful real estate developer’s interest in keeping it alive.

This article was posted January 12, 2016 by Fastcompany, and became the catalyst for some investigations into Ford GoBikes, that are popping up like unwanted pimples all over our streets. Oddly we heard about the Scoots deal at a surprise SFMTA Board meeting, but, the GoBikes arrived without warning and are, so far, much more prevalent and annoying than the station-less Scoots. Read this article to see where our story started. We are working on some of the details, that, it appears the SFMAT staff and director are not quite clear on and were unable to answer at today’s SFMTA September 5 Board meeting. Although to be fair, the transmission from City Hall was not good so it was hard to follow the live events. We will post a link when it comes up.

It would be a logical guess to believe that financial giant Citigroup owns New York City’s bike sharing system. It is, after all, called “Citi Bike,” and every Citigroup-blue bike is plastered with the bank’s branding.

But the company—which has a $111.5 million sponsorship commitment to the program—does not own it. Navigate to the Citi Bike website, and you’ll see that “Citi Bike is operated by NYC Bike Share LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Motivate,” and that “Motivate is a unique company focused solely on operating large-scale bike-share systems.”

This might look like an answer. But NYC Bike Share LLC is actually just the first in a nesting doll of nomenclature that—intentionally or not—obscures a brilliant business move by one of the country’s largest real estate investors… (more)

But why?

Bike sharing systems carry with them the promise of more sustainable, accessible cities and healthier city residents. But perhaps more compelling to the CEO of a real estate company is the possibility that they will raise property values. These aren’t necessarily competing motives. “As cities do well,” Related CEO Jeff Blau told Fast Company, “we do well.”… (more)