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  1.  

    Sanfordia113

    A Progressive’s remedy for a failing “progressive” policy is always “more of the same at twice the cost.”

  2.  

    Sanfordia113

    That is privatization. Pernicious privatization, because fuzzheads can’t recognize it. I am in favor of banning all parking n streets, but giving a single party exclusive rights to use public property without putting it out to bid at public auction is cronyistic privatization.

  3.  

    Sanfordia113

    If SFPD is going to start ticketing pedestrians for entering crosswalks with red blinking hand with 25 seconds left on the countdown, this will be on SFMTA. The blinking red timing seems random. Sometimes it is appropriate for a disabled nonagenarian, whereas other times, it is appropriate for the other 90% of pedestrians out there who don’t need an eon to cross.

  4.  

    Sanfordia113

    Mayor Lee is not on-board with Vision Zero. He barely even pays lip service to it. Please vote him out of office next election: Anyone – a Republican, Green, or other Democrat would all be better than Ed Lee.

  5.  

    Sanfordia113

    The only way to make SF safer is to underground cross-city vehicular traffic lanes, and reduce surface street speed limits to 15mph.

  6.  

    UrbanUndead

    “terrorists” – the new “meddling kids”

  7.  

    Marco

    Wish they’d get rid of the sidewalk stops, mid-Market. The 71, for instance should stop on the islands; allowing the right line to be completely for bicycles.

  8.  

    Upright Biker

    The really good things about these lanes is that they make infractions obvious and hard to get out of using the “how could I have known?” excuse.

    As long as the cops are willing (and have the resources) to enforce these lanes, it should help.

    But, honestly, isn’t there a better solution than having to paint all our roads like it’s Christmas?

  9.  

    helloandyhihi

    This is great. Along Market, people block the box, which holds up many of Muni’s key lines. It’d be awesome if they also put in camera light enforcement on every intersection along Market.

  10.  

    twinpeaks_sf

    This is great progress, but they’re using all the wrong words. If I hear “expert bicyclist” again, I swear.

    But “bicycle fan” was by far my favorite.

  11.  

    Aaron Bialick

  12.  

    baklazhan

    South SF’s Downtown Plan Aims to “Provide Connectivity Without Favoring One Form of Transit”

    Link is broken.

  13.  

    Able Ben

    Is there a reason we’re not talking about replacing the wheels with ones that don’t stick out?

  14.  

    helloandyhihi

    Now the public must be pursued to vote for it. I wish the SF Transit Rider’s Union or another group had the money and expertise to sell voters on why this is important right now.

    As a transit activist, when I talk to people they agree that Muni needs more money. But with all the crazy stuff that will be on the ballot, including the soda tax and another initiative that will bring more money to transportattion, without a good campaign this amendment could easily blur in in people’s minds.

  15.  

    rickbynight

    Amen to this. Tying funding growth to population growth literally maintains status quo—anything different is a decrease. I’m glad we’re setting this baseline though. It’s time to move forward with funding.

    A fascinating model is the Versement Transport in France—a payroll tax based on mid-large-sized businesses that varies based on transit access. We’re in an economic boom for business, but many residents are struggling to afford the city. The Versement Transport is a great way to recognize the service a public transit agency provides to businesses getting employees to and from work. South bay tech companies pay a much higher per employee cost to get their employees to/from work in their buses than the this would cost—and the benefits extend to the public, not just to a private company.

  16.  

    Salts

    I don’t understand why nearby residents would be upset to have so many smiling faces just feet from their doorsteps.

  17.  

    mike3k

    Why does the inbound N stop a full car length away from the exit stairs in the Powell station, yet the outbound stops right at the exit?

  18.  

    mamiel

    Good job! Killer choreography

  19.  

    voltairesmistress

    It is sad that in Mayor Lee’s San Francisco, a measure that simply keeps transportation funding at its current per capita share can barely pass the BOS and be disdained by the mayor himself. Even it it gets the nod from voters, Wiener’s measure will fund the status quo, nothing better. Transit will remain slow, crowded, unpunctual. But at least it won’t get worse. Don’t get me wrong — I am grateful Wiener is doing everything he can to structure a better San Francisco. But this is poor porridge to feast on.

  20.  

    theqin

    The link is broken

    If Congress Doesn’t Reauthorize Federal Funds by Aug 1, Bay Area Transit Could Be in Trouble

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/07/21/congress-could-delay-bay-area-transportation-planning-by-holding-up-federal-funds/

  21.  

    J

    The problem is that you’re thinking about this as a bus upgrade, and not as a bus rapid transit corridor. You want better service but want to do it on the cheap. Yes, you can save money by cutting things here and there and not dealing with certain issues, but each time you do, it comes at the expense of service and the prospects of future BRT.

    The advantage of BRT over light rail is that it can provide a comparable and often better service for a much cheaper price. However, when you water down a project like this, BRT starts to fall short of LRT in terms of service quality and speed, and people stop caring about the cost savings and focus their attention on the service deficiencies.

  22.  

    Bruce

    Unfortunately the boy hit by the minivan driver has died. May he rest in peace.

  23.  

    jonobate

    “One diesn’t have to follow the other, and if you like urban canyons, San Jose and San Francisco have plenty of tech. In fact, you could live in those places and take transit to Menlo if you don’t like living in low-key suburbs with open space, trees, sky, and views of the hills.”

    Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Those of us who prefer to live in the city can’t just take transit to Menlo, because the jobs in Menlo are not in places that are easily accessible by transit. The biggest employer in Menlo Park, Facebook, is over 2 hours from my apartment in the city by transit. (I know they run shuttles, but most tech employers don’t.)

    As Facebook are located far outside of downtown, it will *never* be possible to serve them efficiently by public transit, so the majority of people who work there will have to drive. That creates increased traffic in Menlo and throughout the region, which is why this issue is bigger than just Menlo Park.

    By contrast, your second biggest employer SRI is a more manageable 1hr 15 from my apartment, because they are located downtown within walking distance of Caltrain. Your third biggest employer TE is close to Facebook and also has a 2 hour commute time. (I’m using my apartment just because it’s representative of where many tech workers live.)

    This is the crux of the problem. Menlo needs to either locate it’s jobs in an area that is easily accessible by transit, or not allow employers to locate in Menlo at all. Either way is fine by me – the point here is that office park development on the edge of Menlo causes regional traffic problems, and to fix those problems the jobs need to be closer to transit. That could mean moving jobs to downtown Menlo, or downtown SF, or somewhere else with decent transit.

    Unless you address that problem, your ballot initiative does not provide a solution to traffic congestion and the pollution it causes.

  24.  

    SteveDombek

    Aaron, that opening line is fantastic.

  25.  

    PJC

    Aslevin: “If as you say, the goal is more to encourage retail and hotel than to
    discourage office, than the messaging on the signs and the posters that
    the measure is all about traffic reduction is bogus. Retail generates
    more cars than offices do.”

    On three (3) occasions, I have posted my response to this at the “reply” level and oddly, it never persists on the blog. Here is that response again. Maybe it will stick this time.

    I’m a former public official in Menlo Park who correctly predicted in 1998 that office would crowd-out retail and sales tax producers both downtown in and M-2. We initiated moderate zoning then to help protect retail. I have taken consistent public positions since 1998, resistant to large office, protective of retail and sales tax producers. I have no issues with smaller, diffuse local offices downtown, other than too many of them.

    The author of the Initiative is a former Planning Commission appointed by our council, whose public policy track record spans the same time frame. Together we have worked on this issue for nearly two decades.

    We are not “SaveMenlo” (see below) any more than you are “Menlo Park Deserves Better.” It won’t help your case to impugn the motives or dismiss thousands of people who signed the petition for many different good reasons.

    Since 2000 Menlo Park’s sales tax base has been decimated. Its largest single sales tax producer in M-2 is now leaving.

    The Wise report now finally admits, that the proposed large offices will gobble so much space under the non-residential cap that, when built out, no matter how, the Plan will create a net annual loss to the Menlo Park General Fund, something the public has never been told honestly before, something I believe they shouldn’t and wont’ tolerate.

    Briefly on traffic. “Trip generation does not correlate with impacts. It is not legally valid traffic analysis under CEQA as you should know. True “analysis” involves peak hour trip assignment, route determination, origin-destination determination, and then computing LOS delays at route intersections and volumes on local segments.

    Retail profiles do generate more trips, but the pattern is predominantly local, and off peak. It can time shift, mode shift, and route shift.

    Office traffic is 92% from out of town, 76% from freeways SR84, US101, I280, through three (3) access points, and then CONCENTRATES East-West peak hour traffic to a few neighborhood arterials to get downtown. The largest single segment comes from the Dumbarton Bridge. It has no transit alternative.

    Save Menlo started in the neighborhood directly facing the proposed
    Stanford office complex. Their concerns for significant peak hour
    commute traffic in their neighborhood streets is factually based, and
    not all “bogus”. Diffuse retail traffic, would not have those impacts ON THEM.
    Nor would housing/hotel traffic. Hotel was planned for the site, but got
    changed to large scale office/housing.

  26.  

    PJC

    See above: It adopts definitions only for the purposes of counting “office” in the Office cap and “open space” used in Zoning RULES. It does not impact the Zoning rules themselves.

    The Wise Report states clearly that the Initiative has “no impact” on the Zoning Ordinance.

    What’s not clear about that?

    In the Plan Area, the city can determine “how much” (ground-level) open space is allowed in each zone, but it may not redefined what “open space” means.

    Which is exactly what I wrote before you spammed the blog.

  27.  

    PJC

    It “adopts” the “map” as an overlay only for the purpose of determining which parcels’ development counts towards the Initiative meters, not for the purposes of zoning.

    The Initiative does not impact the Zoning rules that regulate the Initiative counting area.

    The Wise Report states clearly that the Initiative has “no impact” on the Zoning Ordinance.

    What’s not clear about that?

  28.  

    aslevin

    The taller buildings step back on the upper stories, so it doesn’t block out the sun.

  29.  

    WingGirlKim

    At least it’s not like New Jersey traffic circles where drivers stop while in the circle, not entering.

  30.  

    petercarp

    “The city of Menlo Park is free to change the map of the plan area if it wants, to rezone parcels into and out of the area, and its free to allow or disallow whatever uses it wants in whatever zones it wants, but if cannot change which parcels are counted toward the Initiative cap and it cannot change which uses are counted toward the Initiative cap.”

    NOT TRUE. Sec 3.1 defines the Specific Plan area:

    3.1. ECR SPECIFIC PLAN AREA DEFINED. When referring to the “ECR Specific Plan Area,” this initiative measure is referring to the bounded area within the Vision Plan Area Map located at Page 2, Figure I, of the El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, accepted by the Menlo Park city Council on July 15, 2008, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to this measure and hereby adopted by the voters as an integral part of this
    initiative measure.”

    And Section section 4.1 it states:

    “4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
    accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter adopted
    development standards AND DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election.”

    What is not clear about that?

  31.  

    petercarp

    “Let me also address the mistaken notion that all of these rules and definitions would need a vote of the people to change” since many versions of this claim have surfaced and none have been shown to be true.”

    But it is TRUE. In section 3 of the initiative there are 12 separate definitions and in section 4.1 it staes:

    “4.1. Except for as provided at Section 3.4.4 above regarding the City’s ability to approve without voter ratification an amendment to the Specific Plan to
    accommodate development proposals that would call for an increase in the allowable number of residential units under the Specific Plan, the voter adopted
    development standards AND DEFINITIONS set forth in Section 3, above, may be repealed or amended only by a majority vote of the electorate of the City of Menlo Park voting “YES” on a ballot measure proposing such repeal or amendment at a regular or special election.”

    What is not clear about that???

  32.  

    Justin

    I meant to say you should never “EXPECT” not assume, that your town will stay the same in the long term

  33.  

    murphstahoe

    As do hotels. A resident of Menlo Park is far more likely to find non car base routines for work/shopping than a tourist

  34.  

    murphstahoe

    San Jose is not substantially more dense than Menlo Park. I read your statement as “San Jose has brown people – I don’t want that”.

    Menlo has that reputation – the one part of Menlo with lower income residents – north of 101, the rest of Menlo tried to eliminate the bike/ped bridge between the two areas.

  35.  

    Bruce

    I’m still upset they took protected bike lanes through the Broadway Tunnel and down to the Embarcadero off the table so early in the planning process. Broadway should be so much more than just another traffic sewer.

  36.  

    Guest

    I’m still upset they took protected bike lanes through the tunnel and down to the Embarcadero off the table early in the planning process for this. Broadway should be so much more than just another traffic sewer.

  37.  

    Fay Nissenbaum

    I’m re-reading this blog and there’s a fundamental flaw in the word “public” in Aaron’s argument: “Today, there is no more widespread private use of public space than free car storage.” The public parking on a street is not “private”. A space designated for a commercial entity is a private or business use. So me parking my motorcycle on the street can never be a private use – knock off the bullshit double-speak, respectfully, sir.

  38.  

    Justin

    No the purpose of that comment that the Santa Clara Valley going from all orchards to the most tech savvy region, was just to let you know that times change sometimes, towns or places go through changes and that can be inevitable sometimes, i never meant to say that to justify denser development. My point is that you can never assume that your town will stay the same the way it is without changes in the long term that’s all, that’s where my example is going at. There were probably some people who wish the Santa Clara Valley didn’t go through these changes in land use and prefer that area remained undeveloped but of course it was developed anyways

  39.  

    Andy Chow

    The issue is whether it is worth the cost and hassles to solve the problem. Essentially, you need dedicated buses with bridge plates to make it ADA compliant. You won’t be able to run other buses and they will have to stay on the main roadway and use curb stops, denying them with the benefit of exclusive busway.

    Dedicated vehicles mean additional maintenance cost and removing operational flexibility.

    The benefit of level boarding is marginal compared to the current boarding situation with only 1 step. The time saving is very little for most abled bodied folks, as well as for people with strollers and luggage. For the disabled folks, level boarding means changing doors when they board or exit at a BRT stop and a non-BRT stop, and that they still need to have a ramp deployed (whether it is a standard bus ramp or a bridge plate) to board or exit.

  40.  

    Zmapper

    After a second glance I replied to inaccuracies in Nate’s post. Note that at no point was he writing about you specifically; he was speaking about what he terms “NIMBYS” in general.

    I never insulted your intelligence at any point. I ask you to refrain from putting words in my mouth.

    Yes, in addition to governmental bureaucracy structured against development, zoning is often jobs-killing government regulation. Keep in mind that Steve Jobs using his garage not for the purposes of storing a vehicle but for starting a very successful business like Apple was a violation of zoning code. Zoning imposes high transaction costs on hard working Americans wanting to start their own business, from a person wanting to repurpose their garage into a small hair salon to entrepreneurs wanting to start the next multinational corporation.

    As petty actions taken in one place have a copycat effect nationwide, zoning issues of one city are of national economic concern. Plenty of Americans would want a job rebuilding our cities; it is past time to remove governmental barriers preventing economic activity for the betterment of this country.

  41.  

    ladyfleur

    Locked at dusk? Uh, people don’t stop walking and biking at night any more than people stop driving. As Adina says, they can design it to be less of an attraction for misuse.

  42.  

    Gezellig

    Yeah! It’s definitely not a hill for quick and easy commuting. The detour over to the route by Highway 101 is doable but it’s also not exactly flat, runs along a highway, and adds quite a bit of distance.

    As for the cycletracks-on-arterials thing, broad question but does anyone know of any progress on that front? It seems I’m not the only one to notice this:

    http://thegreatermarin.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/a-radical-proposal-for-biking-in-san-rafael/

  43.  

    Zmapper

    Nate, not all Republicans or conservatives oppose development projects, and not all that oppose development projects are Republican or lean conservative. Associating developers with greed (in essence, profit motive) is an argument often made by liberals or Democrats in opposition, not conservatives or Republicans.

  44.  

    Nicasio Nakamine

    100% this. I hope the evaluations show that the tunnel is in decent shape because this could mean so much for commuting. I love going over Camino Alto or Horse Hill on rides for pleasure, but they seriously slow down down travel when trying to get anywhere. I can only imagine a rider less strong than I would just not even bother.

  45.  

    PJC

    You say, “The single biggest factor … is having a job close to transit. So limiting office near the train station, and increasing retail, when fewer people get to shopping by transit, is a step in the opposite direction.

    But its the same job density in the corridor if the Initiative passes. Office JOBS are replaced by retail/hotel JOBS.

    The Wise Report says that the Plan, under the Initiative will be fully built out, and that the Initiative will have “no impact” on the projected jobs/housing of the Plan.

    Why can’t retail EMPLOYEES commute via transit to their jobs? Only office employees commute using transit?

    You seem to be comparing apples to oranges — retail CUSTOMER trips to office EMPLOYEE trips, rather than retail employee trips to office employee trips. Retail customer trips would be an additional opportunity for transit.

    When did un-mixed use replace mixed-use in the Smart Growth mantra?

  46.  

    J

    Crying ADA seems like a poor excuse for a problem that many many cities have solved. You can maybe have station platforms with multiple boarding areas for different level buses. You can maybe get new wheels that don’t have lugnuts that stick out 6 inches or new lugnuts. You can SOLVE the problem instead of making excuses.

    By building sub-standard BRT, you’re not only doing a disservice to customers, you’re giving BRT itself a bad name in the area. When people experience significantly slower boarding times, they’re not going to think, “yes it’s slow, but the lugnuts and ADA meant that this was best they could do”. No, they’ll think, “this sucks, i wish they’d built light rail”, a much more expensive solution that takes longer to build and has less service possibilities.

  47.  

    PJC

    I’m a former public official in Menlo Park who correctly predicted in 1998 that office would crowd-out retail and sales tax producers both downtown in and M-2. We initiated moderate zoning then to help protect retail. I have taken prominent consistent public positions since 1998, resistant to large office, protective of retail and sales tax producers. I have no issues with smaller, diffuse local offices downtown, other than too
    many of them.

    The author of the Initiative is a former Planning Commission appointed by our council, whose public policy track record spans the same time frame. Together we have worked on this issue for nearly two decades.

    We are not “SaveMenlo” any more than you are “Menlo Park Deserves Better.”

    It won’t help your case to impugn our motives, or dismiss thousands of people who signed the petition for many different good reasons.

    Save Menlo started in the neighborhood directly facing the proposed Stanford office complex. Their concerns for significant peak hour commute traffic in their neighborhood streets is factually based, and not all “bogus”. Diffuse retail traffic, would not have those impacts. Nor would housing/hotel traffic. Hotel was planned for the site, but got changed
    to large scale office/housing.

    Since 2000 Menlo Park’s sales tax base has been decimated. Now that its largest single sales tax producer in M-2 is now leaving, we once again highlight the financial gravity of this phenomena: high-rent paying offices displacing and crowding out sales tax and TOT tax paying producers and local services.

    The Wise report also finally admits, that the proposed large offices will gobble up so much space under the non-residential cap that, when built out, no matter how, the Plan will create a net annual loss to the Menlo Park General Fund, something the public has never been told honestly before, something I believe they shouldn’t and wont’ tolerate.

    Briefly on traffic. “Trip generation” does not correlate with “impacts”. It is not legally valid CEQA analysis. True “analysis” involves peak hour trip assignment, route determination, origin-destination determination, and then computing LOS delays at route intersections and volumes on local segments.

    Retail profiles do generate more trips, but the pattern is predominantly local, and off peak. It can and does time shift, mode shift, and route shift.

    Office traffic is 92% from out of town, 76% from freeways SR84, US101, I280, through three (3) access points, east west into downtown through neighborhood arterials. The largest single segment comes from the Dumbarton Bridge. It has no transit alternative, other than future Dumbarton rail terminus into M-2 if that is still alive.

  48.  

    PAltan

    Wow Zmapoer, I didn’t see you come to my defense above when Nate called me a NIMBY Republican in drag for daring suggest the residents of Menlo Park have a right to see the zoning laws respected.

    If you don’t want your intelligence a subject here, don’t insult my intelligence by trying to equate developer exploitation of Menlo Park with some kind of patriotic nationbuilding.

    You think zoning is “jobs-killing government regulation”?

    Why fight an expensive battle here, then, where residents do not want their town turned into San Jose? Why not take the development to all those suffering places that could really use the job creation? We really do not have the need or the capacity to pack every one of 300 million people in this nation here, and in fact it’s not

  49.  

    Gezellig

    Re: Marin bike commuting, the Alto Tunnel will be a very important link in the Marin bikeway system:

    http://www.marinbike.org/Campaigns/Infrastructure/AltoTunnelLogo1200.jpg

    http://www.marinbike.org/Campaigns/Infrastructure/AltoFAQs.shtml

    Currently to go between Corte Madera and Mill Valley you have to either bike over that big hill or take a major detour east to bike alongside 101.

    Another big-scale project that will really help will be getting a bikeway on the San Rafael/Richmond bridge.

    Besides big-scale projects Marin could also really benefit from a network of high-quality protected cycletracks along arterials. Right now Marin does fairly well with the whole intercity biking thing but very much has a “last-mile” problem with safe bikeable routes. For example 4th St in San Rafael, Sir Francis Drake in San Anselmo, Blithedale or Miller in Mill Valley, etc.

    I’d be willing to bet that 90% or more of Marin County residents live within a mile or two of the North-South Bikeway so even getting protected cycletracks on just a handful of adjoining arterials would make a huge difference in terms of utilitarian, accessible bikeability throughout the county.

  50.  

    Zmapper

    Attacking the intelligence of anyone, as well as asserting that anyone in this discussion has ties to developers is an ad hominem attack that does little to further discussion. Please refrain from ad hominem attacks.

    Additionally, by attacking developers you are attacking the jobs of the men and women who have built this great nation. While your region has been relatively sheltered from the recent recession, many parts of this nation have yet to recover from high unemployment. Removing jobs-killing governmental regulations such as zoning not directly linked to clear expressions of police powers allows for greater economic mobility. Developers build a stronger America, both by creating short-term construction jobs as well as providing the housing necessary for residents of this nation to relocate to where jobs meet their skill set, such as the Silicon Valley.

    In short, while the jobs and economic mobility advantages a single project offers are negligible, it is a microcosm of how jobs-killing regulations nationwide that inhibit developers from rebuilding in our cities harm the economic future of America.