Press Release: MTC is Uniquely Unqualified to Take on Housing!

HousingHow and why did the commutes get so long? How did the Bay Area become the first or second most congested region in the country? Was this because of a regional problem or a local problem or both? What accounts for the repeated “disconnects” between the regional results of expensive studies laboriously vetted and discussed and what actually gets financed and built? Why did more than $100 billion in state, federal and Bridge toll funds pass through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC’s) hands over the last half century and yet do so little to either reduce congestion or strengthen the Region’s public transit systems? Was the current transportation malaise inevitable? Could it have been avoided? What steps can be taken to make things better? Does it make sense to place the Region’s future housing and transportation under a single super-agency controlled by MTC? Continue reading

SB50 is Fatally Flawed

Updated Excerpts from BATWG Letter sent to the BART Board on May 8 2019:

Unfortunately, no matter how many times the mantra is repeated, there are no credible metrics to support the notion that building housing near a rail or bus stop would materially affect either traffic flow or transit ridership.

To those who claim otherwise, ask them for backup statistics. Ask them how many of today’s Bay Area commute trips are transit trips (actually about 15%). Ask about the 75% of trips that are NOT commute trips, much less transit commute trips. Ask how many of the thousands of families slated to crowd into transit-oriented housing are expected to give up their automobiles. Ask for statistics showing how many non-commuters taking their kids to preschool or to a distant soccer match, or buying groceries, or running errands, or rushing a sick relative to a hospital, or heading to the gym or the hair stylist, etc., are expected to spend the 3 to 5 hours and make the 4 to 10 transfers required to make these trips by train and bus. Continue reading

Lost Angeles Sets Dramatic New Goals

Mayor Garcetti’s plan may or may not gain traction. But at least he’s taken a strong stand.

It’s called leadership.

Union Station
Union Station (LA County’s central train station).

Excerpts from Sammy Roth’s May 6, 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles sets dramatic new goals………

Los Angeles — Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a sweeping plan for a more sustainable Los Angeles on Monday, calling for dramatic changes to the car culture, built environment and air quality of America’s second-largest city. Continue reading

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

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