San Francisco agencies have re-introduced the Transportation Sustainability Program, a bureaucratic overhaul that could dramatically expedite improvements for walking, biking, and transit, while discouraging car parking in new developments.
In developing the program, SF planners are also nearing completion of the nation’s first major study showing that dedicated car parking encourages driving.
The TSP is three-pronged: It would overhaul SF’s development fee system to fund sustainable transportation upgrades, set mandated targets for developers to reduce driving caused by their projects, and replace the automobile-centric metric known as Level of Service (LOS), which would make environmental reviews both faster and more “meaningful,” planners say.
“If you’re moving people out of cars, you need to have the infrastructure for them to do things otherwise,” said Sarah Jones, the SF Planning Department’s director of environmental planning. “Each of these components can operate on its own, but we are working on them in an integrated way, because each of them really enhances the other.”
Originally expected to be adopted in 2013, the program has been fine-tuned since it was put on hold in late 2012 primarily for two reasons. At that time, the Board of Supervisors rejected a new fee system after a misinformation campaign, and the California legislature since passed a bill calling for the replacement of LOS as the state’s transportation metric.
The SFMTA, the Planning Department, and the SF County Transportation Authority are preparing to launch public outreach on the TSP within the coming months and institute the program in stages by the end of the year, said Jones.