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


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

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

BATWG’s Response to the Proposed CASA Compact

Mr. David Rabbitt, President of ABAG
Mr. Greg Scharff, Vice President of ABAG

Dear Mr. Rabbitt and Mr. Scharff:

Your help in making certain that this BATWG position reaches all members of the ABAG General Assembly would be much appreciated. Thank you!

BATWG opposes the CASA Compact in its present form for the following reasons:

The CASA Compact is based upon the false premise that piling high-density housing around bus stops and rail stations will substantially increase transit use and therefore materially decrease freeway backups and urban congestion. Less than 5% of the Bay Area’s total trips are transit commute trips. Therefore, even if housing close to bus stops and train stations caused some commuters to switch to transit, it wouldn’t count for much. The elephants in the closet are a.) the significant  number of commuters who will continue to drive and b.) the non-commuters, which in the Bay Area account for at least 95% of total daily trips,who will most certainly also continue to drive. Will those rushing their kids to pre-schools and soccer matches, or seeing their doctors, or running errands or heading for Big Box stores exchange their car trips for a series of bus and train trips? No, they will not. Transit-oriented housing will neither significantly increase transit use or materially reduce automobile use.  As have been outlined elsewhere in these pages, there are other much more practical ways of achieving these ends. Continue reading