CASA Ignores Cause and Effect

This article appeared in the SF Examiner on April 7, 2019

CASA

Photograph Provided by Livable California

Sacramento’s CASA approach to solving the housing crisis is all wrong. What follows shows how the state’s hastily put together program would damage the Bay Area. Prodded by eager residential builders who want free rein, the state legislators have ignored the rapacious high-tech moguls who build their empires and make their billions with nary a thought given to external adverse effects. As things stand large and powerful entities are continuing to entice high paid, hi-tech talent to flood into the Bay Area, overwhelming its housing stock and its roadways in the process. These huge corporations and their billionaire insiders should be called upon to pay for the housing and transportation agonies they are causing.

And then there are the false premises upon which CASA is being sold. Here are four: Continue reading

Optimizing the Use of Both Passenger Trains and Bicycles

To: Theresa MacMillan

Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Re: Bicycles on trains

The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) supports connection to public transit by bicycle and other non-automotive means. But we also recognize that rail systems, especially, are becoming increasingly crowded throughout the entire day.

The current policy of allowing bicycles on trains reduces the space available for other riders.   BATWG suggests a number of ways to support bicycling while freeing up space on crowded trains : Continue reading

Tackling our Housing and Transportation Problems in a Practical Manner

BATWG Strongly Opposes SB 50 and CASA.  Stoked by people and groups like Developer Michael Covarrubia, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Steve Heminger, SPUR, and the Bay Council, the Californa State Legislators are rushing ahead with thirteen separate bills, all intended to address Bay Area and other housing shortages. If the current mad scramble persists it will plunge the Bay Area and other parts of California into chaos.   SB50 is unreasonable, unfair and impractical. It is unreasonable and unfair to weaken local zoning controls and then, in the case of the Bay Area, to tap into the fund-raising powers of its 101 cities.  It is unreasonable to permit powerful regional agencies, bent on picking up the pace of housing construction by whatever means necessary, to tear apart the fabric and framework of stable residential areas.  It is impractical to disregard price when locating new housing.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, SB50 and the CASA Compact  are based firmly on the following false assumptions: Continue reading

The Decline and Fall of the Bay Area’s Transportation Agency

The State Legislature created the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (hereinafter MTC) in 1970. At the time it was widely anticipated that MTC would put an end to parochialism and bring a regional perspective to what was already recognized as a serious regional problem. As set forth in Title 7.1 of the California Government Code, the underlying reason for bringing MTC into existence was simple and to the point: Article 66502 of Title 7.1 reads as follows: “There is hereby created…. the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to provide comprehensive regional transportation planning for the region comprised of the City and County of San Francisco and the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.”

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But this didn’t happen, and as a result both the Region and MTC have fallen on hard times. Ridership on buses and trains is declining and an ever increasing flood of cars is overwhelming Bay Area roadways. With respect to MTC people are increasingly asking: “Where’s the Beef” and, “Is there any content…...or is it all process? These problems didn’t develop by accident and they weren’t inevitable. Here’s a part of what happened: Continue reading