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  1.  

    Telstar401

    Amen. There’s absolutely nothing new in Fran’s argument above, except more of the usual excuses for doing nothing, combined with more of the usual Boomer self-congratulation.

  2.  

    AuntieTom

    I repeat, if the workers don’t like taking public transit then they can move closer to their work. The planet simply can’t afford excessive pollutants from transportation. Over 60% of global warming is coming from transportation. Source: http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/global-warming-caused-by-the-transportation-sector-could-devastate-the-transportation-sector

  3.  

    Gezellig

    “The real problem here is that tech companies were pushed to locate in suburban office parks which will never be easily accessible by transit. This was due to anti-development activists in both SF and the peninsula cities who did not want increased growth in downtown SF, downtown Menlo Park, downtown Palo Alto etc, and enacted height limits and office space caps to prevent development. Ironically, in SF many of those anti-development activists are also anti-shuttle activists.”

    Yup! At a generational level the “Mine-Mine” Bay Area Boomer m.o. seems to be:

    Step 1) oppose transit infrastructure for decades (“we can just drive! a train will ruin MY property value! MY taxes are already too high! squalor!”)

    Step 2) oppose new multiunit housing for decades (“it’ll ruin MY view! MY street parking! traffic! MY property values! squalor!”)

    Step 3) while the predictable and totally self-inflicted housing and transit shortage crisis has been emerging and affecting more and more people in the background for decades, don’t say anything until it actually starts to affect you and people you know.

    Step 4) Then have a photo-op in front of a shuttle.

    Just to be clear this isn’t an attack on any individual but on the kinds of collective actions a whole generation has taken for decades leading us to this situation.

    By the way, there are lots of cities in the world that have chosen to preserve their historic centers intact–more or less as living museums–while concentrating new office and modern housing developments in smart clusters outside the historic centers. There are various pros and cons to this, but my experience living in Amsterdam showed me that this is at least viable when you cluster all the suburban growth in smart targeted areas all linked by excellent transit to the city center. For me it took living in the Netherlands to realize that suburbia doesn’t have to suck per se, especially when it’s designed smartly.

    Our land use + transit policies have got to change, but undoing decades of poor (and self-serving) decisions which are still ongoing is tough. Standing in front of a tech shuttle (which itself is a coping strategy for the unfortunate status quo the Boomers have bequeathed the next generations) is not doing anything remotely close to addressing the actual problem.

  4.  

    jonobate

    Caltrain will never attract a significant number of people who currently use the shuttle buses, because the Caltrain stations in SF are not close to where most people live, and the Caltrain stations in Silicon Valley are not close to where most people work. You’d need a connecting bus on both ends, and a Bus + Rail + Bus journey will never be able to compete with a door-to-door shuttle.

    Just Google Map a few examples if you don’t believe me. Travel times from most SF addresses to Google, Apple, or Facebook HQ come in at 2 – 3 hours on public transit. You might shave 15 mins of those times with better connections – not enough to make transit competitive with the shuttles.

    Sadly, you won’t be able to create a more attractive transportation alternative to the tech shuttles with current land use patterns. The only way to get people to stop using the tech shuttles will be to ban them. And if you ban the tech shuttles, the people who currently use them will choose the next most attractive form of transportation – driving alone.

    The real problem here is that tech companies were pushed to locate in suburban office parks which will never be easily accessible by transit. This was due to anti-development activists in both SF and the peninsula cities who did not want increased growth in downtown SF, downtown Menlo Park, downtown Palo Alto etc, and enacted height limits and office space caps to prevent development. Ironically, in SF many of those anti-development activists are also anti-shuttle activists.

    Resolving this land use problem is key to solving the affordability crisis.

  5.  

    murphstahoe

    “A sensible schedule to accommodate all the buses at all the bus stops, down to the Caltrans (sic) station”

    You lost me at “Caltrans station”, but I’ll bite.

    Do you have any data showing that a “gas-guzzling bus” is more polluting than a train (which guzzles diesel by the way…)? Remember that the buses are going point to point and require little to no last mile transportation that may also guzzle gas.

    I think there are a few quotes that might enlighten you.

    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Agendas/2014/8-7-14+JPB+BOD+Agenda+Packet.pdf

    Public Comment

    Greg Conlon, Atherton, said as former commissioner and President of the California Public Utilities Commission he believes corporate buses, such as Google ,are taking ridership away from Caltrain. He is not sure if there is an issue or a concern of staff and the Board.

    Mr. Scanlon (Caltrain CEO) said it is good these buses are taking ridership away because of the capacity issue on Caltrain.

    From Palo Alto

    Kate Downing, also urging more housing, suggested
    that the city do more to address the needs of its less affluent
    residents. She lamented the transformation of Palo Alto into a city
    exclusively for millionaires.

    “If we don’t allow for growth, Silicon Valley as
    we know it today will cease to exist,” Downing said. “We will have
    priced out all the young workers and all the new companies.”

  6.  

    coolbabybookworm

    Yeah I laughed at that a bit as well. It’ll be interesting to see if Palo Alto does end up allowing any kind of development…

  7.  

    murphstahoe

    They (not you) complain they aren’t engaged. Then suddenly the techies engage and OH NO! http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/08/05/new-voices-join-palo-altos-growth-debate

  8.  

    jim

    This is ridiculous. SF is a city, not a village or town. There is a housing crisis because we aren’t building enough housing. That’s it. Simple. I’m sorry your waterfront view was blocked, that’s life. They’ve figured this out in more or less every major city. More housing, even luxury housing, lowers prices for everyone.

    The Muni is terrible. But to afford a better transit system, we need more density. Eg, more housing.

  9.  

    Gezellig

    Hah–who knows, maybe! Either that or a Rupert Murdoch/Roger Ailes/Frank Luntz-type obfuscator wannabe.

  10.  

    AuntieTom

    If the amount of money spent by the tech companies running these private corporate buses were put into the Muni and Caltrans coffers to add transit service to accommodate these workers, wouldn’t that solve the problem? A sensible schedule to accommodate all the buses at all the bus stops, down to the Caltrans station, would be worked out, the Peninsula workers would pay into the Muni fair box for their public transit just like all the rest of us and they could ride on the less-polluting trains instead of in gas-guzzling buses down to the Peninsula. And if it’s not so cushy, too bad — maybe then they’ll decide to live nearer their work and not crowd local residents out of San Francisco by inserting themselves into their homes.

  11.  

    coolbabybookworm

    I did not neglect to factor in productivity on buses, you made that assumption. The people I know taking private shuttles are generally gone for at least 12 hours a day, 10 hours if they leave early. No one I know takes the 10:00 AM bus south and the 3:30 PM bus north in the same day (thereby working 8 hours 10-5). Even if they don’t do a full 8 hours on campus, it’s unknown in my experience that the entire bus trip duration would be knocked off the work day.

    As to lowered productivity from crowding Caltrain, it’s stretching it to say it is going to have that much direct impact on revenue and therefore taxes. I do think that Caltrain needs better funding and to find ways to relieve the crowding.

    My point this whole time is to say that it’s hard for most people (not just tech workers) to work the hours demanded by their jobs, plus often 1+ hour commutes one way, and still have time and energy to be engaged locally. Although, as you said, there are different ways people do get engaged that may not be in person or may be different than other ways of building community. It’s not a value judgment, it’s an observation. I think we’re being asked/coerced to work too much and it’s hard to maintain a work-life balance, especially when work is 40 miles away from life.

  12.  

    thielges

    East Side neglect is an ongoing issue. The west side of the valley gets all of the goodies. This is partially due to the makeup of the VTA BPAC which is weighted towards the west.

    There’s also some political inertia on the East Side. I tried contacting the east side district council members to get support for closing a few key gaps in the bike/ped infrastructure (101/Ocala for example) but there was no interest. Maybe they have different priorities.

  13.  

    murphstahoe

    You neglect to factor in that for many of these employees, their work day starts the second the board the bus, and ends the second they get off the bus, allowing them to compress their work days. This can’t happen – at least not as well, if they are on public transit. While I have seen people writing what is surely confidential software on Caltrain, and even making phone calls that should be private – while on the company bus you are effectively on company property and can work away.

    This brings up another Caltrain point. An argument for Caltrain funding regarding the current crowding – in the less crowded days it was a lot easier to work on the train. That is falling by the way side, which is a hit to worker productivity, which is a hit to local/state/federal tax revenues… that fund things like Caltrain.

  14.  

    Upright Biker

    Is it run by Rob Anderson and SFParkRipOff, by any chance?

    ;-}

  15.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    re: Muni Diaries … maybe we can ask Siemens for a reinforced front end and a setting on the throttle for “ramming speed”.

  16.  

    aslevin

    at Palo Alto Council last night for the Comprehensive Plan discussion millennials outnumbered no-changers http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/08/05/new-voices-join-palo-altos-growth-debate

  17.  

    coolbabybookworm

  18.  

    coolbabybookworm

    That’s true, there are a lot of different types of engagement and ways of being part of the community. At the same time, spending 10-14 hours working or commuting has an impact, and I’m not just referring to the tech bus riders. It has an impact for anyone doing a super commute, especially if it’s by car.

  19.  

    HappyHighwayman

    So where in the article does she address the specific issue of shuttle buses?

  20.  

    murphstahoe

    As we know, only a “select” few amongst those who don’t have a commute can make it to Board of Supervisors meetings. These days a lot of the organizing and advocacy is done online – see for example this forum – and this particular demographic is particularly suited for it. I successfully pushed Caltrain to imitate weekend bullet service from my cellphone.

    Add in a flexible schedule and my experience is that many carve out the specific chunks of time for key public meetings. The Polk Street meetings were like a shuttles convention.

    More critically – a large number are car free or car light and when they are home, they are in their neighborhood, not hopping in their car to head to Tosca or Serramonte.

    The knowledge of issues and problems at the ground level requires actually being on the ground level – this problem can be solved in an accelerated manner via the crowd source.

  21.  

    gneiss

    In Massachusetts the outer ring suburban and city leaders have got the message that people *want* to live in walkable communities, and developers are repsonding: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/west/2014/08/02/town-center-developments-sprouting-suburbs-west-boston/dj7vVNGaRVLpYUa8YrMRBO/story.html?event=event25 If only the political classes in the cities and towns to the south and north of SF could actually see a different way to grow then just ‘build housing’, they might have a sense of how to maintain the character of their communities while relieving price pressure on their existing housing and rental stock. It doesn’t have to be either densify or maintain character. It can certainly be both.

  22.  

    coolbabybookworm

    It can be hard to be part of a community with the demands of work and a 3-4 hour commute on top of that. Not to a (wo)man, but many people I know who take the shuttles don’t have time or energy for civic engagement, let alone for doing their own laundry.

  23.  

    bob tobb

    “Younger readers may not appreciate how much of what they take for granted comes thanks to our rebellious generation. We’re used to fighting back and not letting big money dictate to us.”

    This is yet another example of Baby Boomers crowing about how much better they are than everybody else while conveniently forgetting that they spent their lifetimes building unsustainable infrastructure. Perhaps if the Boomers had built adequate public transit throughout the Bay these shuttles wouldn’t need to exist at all.

    “The people who came here in these earlier migrations came for freedom and community, not to make money and sneer at the poorer people already here.”

    I bet Fran has never met somebody who rides these shuttles, or she’d know that they don’t actually “sneer” at poor people. They live here for the same reasons: they want to be a part of a vibrant, diverse community. The job is just a job, and the shuttles are the path of least resistance to get to it.

  24.  

    OctaviusIII

    By the way, if Muni functioned like other transit agencies outside the employment center – Golden Gate Transit, SolTrans, VINE, WestCAT, etc. – it would buy luxury buses and run these shuttles themselves.

  25.  

    OctaviusIII

    There are things to listen to in Fran’s piece, but first to the shuttle situation itself:

    Marin and Sonoma’s high cost of living is thanks to access to finance jobs in SF enabled by Golden Gate Transit. By the logic of the shuttle protestors, housing advocates in Marin should block GGT commuter routes because Marin’s towns haven’t built enough affordable housing.

    Sure, these buses can be used by all rather than just the elite few, but they are what enable money and power to spill northward, ruining the once-legendary hippie character of Marin.

    As for the rest:

    There is a gross housing injustice being perpetrated upon San Francisco. The Ellis Act the weapon of a cornered capitalist, and the capitalist has wielded it with ease.

    It doesn’t need to be this way. A web of anti-housing acts, ordinances, and actions throughout the Bay Area but especially San Francisco has choked off the supply of new housing. Money should be flowing into new luxury apartments erected on parking lots and tennis courts, but instead its only outlets are Ellis Act’d homes and sprawl in Contra Costa.

    Basically, we can erect barriers to protect the poor from being in competition with the rich, but if there’s nowhere for the rich to live capitalism will find a way to displace the poor. Mixed-income housing that includes a luxury component is vital to preserving low-income housing. The rich WILL move in, whether via the Ellis Act or into new apartments. The key is to make sure they have somewhere to go. As many commentators have said, that means taking your fight to Peninsula town halls and to San Francisco City Hall.

  26.  

    murphstahoe

    Or – it enables them to live in a community they want to actively be a part of, just like their co-workers who do live on the peninsula live in a different sort of community that suits their needs.

    To a man, every person I know who takes the shuttles is very well informed about what is going on in their neighborhood and participates in civic life. Including several commenters on this thread.

  27.  

    Bruce

    My point exactly.

  28.  

    BBnet3000

    They hired the buses that were available for hire. AFAIK Google et al. dont own these buses, theyre chartered from private bus companies.

  29.  

    Nicholas Littlejohn

    Caltrans seems super corrupt, all about pushing highways. It’s time to clean house.

  30.  

    Andy B from Jersey

    Hey! Don’t complain too much about those steep, helical bridge ramps. I’m rather jealous of all those ramps I see out in the West. They were built before ADA and if you had to build them today the maximum allowable 8.33% grade would require the ramp to be much longer and likely not fit into the site. I’ve see too many bike/ped bridges not built simply because they couldn’t get the ramps to fit on site and elevators where not a practical option.

  31.  

    Gezellig

    People also conflate density with Manhattanism or unfortunate 1960s blunders such as the Fontana Towers in SF. In a lot of minds it’s either single-family homes or that– they fail to be able to imagine any middle ground.

    One little case study–yesterday I discovered the sad hilarity that is the second result on Google when you query “marin urban planning.”

    http://citizenmarin.org/priority-development-areas/

    It’s a scaremonger Anti-Plan-Bay Area site that misleads people to believe that someone is proposing Manhattan-style density in Marin, which–approximately speaking–0 people in reality are doing (ya know, just approximately speaking).

    It’s Fox News-level absurdity, yet for decades anti-ALL-growth Marinites have eaten and continue to eat this stuff up (and again, this ain’t the millennials…just sayin’).

    They oppose office projects being built in their communities but then also oppose the infrastructure that would enable people to get to their far-flung jobs via rapid transit. Then they have the gall to complain about the resulting traffic, which leads them to oppose any subsequent growth all the more. It’s entirely self-inflicted insanity.

    And while it’s easy to poke at Marin’s particularly loony brand of NIMBYism–places on the Peninsula, Silicon Valley, East Bay and even SF are often not far behind.

  32.  

    gneiss

    When you look at the history of ‘densification’ in the peninsula cities you can understand why people don’t want them. All those communities zoned commercial and business to be so far removed from residential that is requires a car to get anywhere, and the ‘dense’ housing developments are nothing more than two or four stories townhouse buildings with gated walls all around and parking garages on the bottom to facilitate this. We have totally failed to build the types of places where people can get around without a 2 ton prosthesis, and where there’s nothing to walk to, even if there are sidewalks.

    What we really need is an honest discussion about how to build communities, not just housing. How to better integrate housing with jobs and commercial districts and build them on a human scale rather than that designed just for getting around by automobile.

  33.  

    Gezellig

    “They want their lives to be meaningful as well, and the suburbs that Fran’s boomer compatriots built just ain’t cuttin’ it.”

    *Ding ding ding* you got it!!!

    “Get out of the way of the buses. Get into the faces of the politicians — just like you used to when you were younger.”

    Yup.

  34.  

    Gezellig

    “To do that, you first need to take a hard look in the mirror and realize that all the battles over the years that have been fought by you baby boomers and your ilk to preserve rent control for the lucky in San Francisco, the low density form (they call it community ‘character’) on the peninsula, and the excruciatingly painfully long (and in some cases impossible) planning and building process to create dense walkable communities in the bay area has done nothing but made it harder and more expensive for the marginalized to find housing.”

    Yes! The problems Fran mentions are largely borne of decades of incredibly selfish and quixotically myopic battles Boomers have fought and continue to fight. No, we can’t convert this lot to rowhouses because…urban squalor. Can’t have a train come through town because…urban squalor. Oh, but we will take that freeway…everyone *has* to drive, right?!

    I’m not normally one to be generational-warfarey, but let’s be real clear here–our current status quo of income/transit/housing inequality was not engineered in the slightest by twentysomething techies.

  35.  

    murphstahoe

    Every non-subsidized (to the buyer/renter) housing unit is by definition market rate.

    You can put a mansion in New Holland Illinois and you won’t be able to sell it for 5% of the cost of construction.

    Crappy old Marina Style houses in disrepair are going for $4k/month – what is luxury?

  36.  

    Upright Biker

    Golden Gate Transit runs essentially (not exactly, I know, bus wonks, before you start listing the differences between a VanHool 338B-5 and a WhatchaMaHoosit662-B) the same rolling stock, and pays the same fees as the tech buses, and transports a “different class of people,” but nobody’s protesting them.

    Fran’s frustration is understandable, but this activism is misguided in its target. Point at the ridiculous zoning and planning regulations that make it difficult to build housing. Point at the way the suburbs are able to skirt infrastructure responsibility for all the commercial development they’re encouraging. Point your fingers at our politicians and the way they kowtow to wealthy campaign donors and their Maseratis.

    People like to work. They like to get paid for work. They don’t want their work to negatively impact the environment. They want their lives to be meaningful as well, and the suburbs that Fran’s boomer compatriots built just ain’t cuttin’ it.

    Get out of the way of the buses. Get into the faces of the politicians — just like you used to when you were younger.

  37.  

    jonobate

    Correlation is not causation.

  38.  

    Gezellig

    Yes. This. All of this. 110% agreed.

    I wish people would direct their anger at multi-decade problems such as anti-all-growth NIMBYism, Prop 13, transit cuts, etc. Ya know, the problems that actually caused this mess and which incidentally long predate the birth of twentysomething techies.

  39.  

    gneiss

    I’m afraid, Fran, that you’ve fallen right into the trap that the people responsible for the housing crisis (primarily NIMBY property owners and their political enablers) wanted you to. Blaming tech workers who represent less then 8% of the population of the city and the companies they work for is entirely misplaced.

    Even the people who originally protested the Google buses knew this. They had originally been fighting against City Hall about the crisis, recognizing full well who was responsible. But, when the press got wind of a group blocking a Google bus, suddenly a symbol was born.

    But since it’s misplaced, it won’t solve anything to do with the housing crisis. To do that, you first need to take a hard look in the mirror and realize that all the battles over the years that have been fought by you baby boomers and your ilk to preserve rent control for the lucky in San Francisco, the low density form (they call it community ‘character’) on the peninsula, and the excruciatingly painfully long (and in some cases impossible) planning and building process to create dense walkable communities in the bay area has done nothing but made it harder and more expensive for the marginalized to find housing.

    Why aren’t you attacking the hospitals, law offices, banks, or financial firms that also employ far more people in the city whose wages are increasing at rates far faster than blue collar workers? Why aren’t you lobbying your fellow neighbors who can’t stand to lose a gas station or off-street parking space in favor of new homes? Please – direct your anger to where it belongs – towards the people who are making it harder to create new places people want to live, not the ones just trying to live here.

  40.  

    David K

    When I graduated from college in 1971, if you fogged a mirror, you could get a job; housing was cheap and easy to find

    Yes, housing was cheap because we built lots of it. We don’t build as much as we used to compared to the 1960s, even in the boom time of today.

    http://www.spur.org/sites/default/files/migrated/images/f1.png

    I’m sorry, but your solution to the housing crisis is to reduce demand by banning the Google bus, instead it needs to be about adding supply so that people who want to live in San Francisco have a place to live here.

  41.  

    Gezellig

    Thank you!

    The elephant in the room is that for decades places all over the Bay Area like Menlo Park have been fine benefiting from a larger, prosperous economy but still have refused to build the housing or transit infrastructure to support it.

    One of the many side effects of these decades of compounded selfish decisions is inadequate and unequal distribution of housing. I’m kind of tired of this complex set of issues being simplistically blamed on tech shuttles, which wouldn’t have even been necessary in the first place if places like Menlo Park had built BART and sufficient housing.

  42.  

    planning5

    Actually regarding earlier migrations, Fran is right – in the 70s and later if you moved here from Los Angeles or New York, you did take a salary cut – the “quality of life” was supposed to make up for the difference. There was also the idea of eqalitarianism or a “complete community” in San Francisco, though that might have always been more in theory than in practice.

    I think what the Google buses symbolize is a kind of ostentatiousness and overkill. Why are big white luxury buses designed for freeways and long distance drives trying to wind their ways along the narrow streets and steep hills of Glen Park or Noe Valley? Why didn’t Google, modest in so many other things, use buses more approprate for the task at hand?

    And you have the same disconnect regarding the word “housing”. What is being freely built on Van Ness Avenue, on Market Street and in the Mission is not housing or shelter but primarily investment property.

    None of it is “affordable” or really “market rate” except by international standards and NIMBYism is not the cause. Part of the problem is that the money which was supposed to subsidize affordable units from Prop C is going to the maintenance of aging public housing, according to this SF Business Times article of December 31, 2013:

    “While the city has thousands of units under construction right now, much of it targets the city’s highest wage earners. The imbalance between the supply of chic glassy towers and the kind of housing middle-class residents can afford is fueling the type of anti-development sentiment that San Francisco hasn’t seen since the dot-com boom.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/print-edition/2013/12/20/affordable-housing-facing-a-crunch-in.html

    Another Biz Times take, on the new gold rush:

    “Nolan said the buyers at 3500 19th St, represent ‘new money, old money, techies, finance.’ Of course young entrepreneurs, already living in the Mission, are well-represented in the pool of interested buyers. But so are their suburban parents.

    “’Their kids live in the neighborhood and they want to live there too,’ he said. ‘The market is craving this.’”

    Oct 14, 2013
    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2013/10/valencia-condos-show-mission-district.html

  43.  

    Gezellig

    Exactly! If previous generations hadn’t created such breathtakingly sucky bastions of wasteful selfishness that typify the Bay Area suburb then more people could actually live there. Both in the sense of preferring to live there but in the literal sense of there being adequate housing and transit to serve them.

    The average Bay Area community loves the benefits of a prosperous economy but bristles at the idea of housing and transporting the people who work in it.

    “ROWhouses?! And a…train?!?! In *my* precious little community??!! Well, I never! We must fight this proposed urban squalor at all cost!”

    –every speaker ever at a every Mill Valley/Mountain View/Milpitas/Albany/etc. council meeting

  44.  

    Chris

    I wish more effort would go into calling attention to the abject failure of Silicon Valley suburbs to provide anything remotely close to their fair share of housing. If Menlo Park wants Facebook’s headquarters, it should start allowing much more multi-family housing. I won’t hold my breath for that to happen, but at least their planning commission and city council should face some political heat.

  45.  

    Jason Thorpe

    Indeed. The current pilot program seems set up to ensure the shuttles fail. In the mornings, I used to board one at 18th/Castro. I arrived there by taking MUNI from the Inner Sunset (3 bus options to Forest Hill, one subway stop) and walking a block. Now? 18th/Church, which is much less well-connected to other transit (fewer lines, longer walk). It’s the same with very other stop in the pilot program, as far as I can tell. And the routes the shuttles must now take in order to satisfy SFMTA’s requirements add significant time due to their absurd diversions onto streets ill-equipped to handle such vehicles (the shuttle I take used to essentially follow MUNI routes on the theory that those streets could handle bus-sized vehicles, but now that’s not really possible).

  46.  

    94103er

    Our city’s tattered public transit runs parallel with luxury liners on wheels, a two-tiered system that smacks of apartheid.

    I mean, where do you start. First of all, come on, you need to compare the bus system to Caltrain, not Muni. Caltrain: Not exactly ‘luxury,’ but guess what, nobody actually cared if the dumb seats were cloth or leather when companies procured the Van Hools. They’re just easier to clean.

    Second, what ‘smacks of apartheid’ to you is everywhere in our society. Your bias is just pointed at what you see walking around when you get from point A to point B. So do you want to hold court next on how unfair it is that we have cushy private universities when compared with community colleges around here? Or fancy clubs versus community centers? Top-notch restaurants vs. soup kitchens?

    Or can we agree that the above turn of phrase is a tad ridiculous and, you know, insulting to people who actually lived under true apartheid? Barriers to entry and real state-sponsored oppression: Kind of not the same thing.

  47.  

    Jason Thorpe

    Another way to look at it… the shuttle routes weren’t created in a vacuum… the routes were chosen based on where the demand was. The shuttles didn’t bring people to the Mission, the shuttles came to the Mission because that’s where people wanted to live. This has all happened before (see mid-to-late-90s; there weren’t any corporate shuttles to Google and elsewhere back then, but there sure were a lot of evictions).

  48.  

    Gezellig

    Exactly. The consequences of these shuttles going away would be more cars. It’s pure naïveté to think that the outcome would mean more people moving to, say, Silicon Valley (which itself has a housing shortage due to decades of NIMBYism).

  49.  

    murphstahoe

    The shuttles follow the population, not the other way around. The shuttle stops are located near the addresses seen as most desireable to the upper middle income demographic to start with. That has jacked up real estate prices in those locations giving the landlords incentive to cash out by selling the house towards and Ellis or OMI.

    The evictions were coming regardless. The shuttles are there by coincidence.

  50.  

    Gezellig

    Fran, your post identifies symptoms of a very complex set of national and local issues–really a broader set of issues all strongly influenced by the ongoing toxic hangover of Selfishness Capitalized: Reaganism, Prop 13, NIMBYism, car-centricism, etc.

    If the generational blame-game must be played, though, you don’t mention how on a policy level a *lot* of these problems–particularly those related to inadequate housing supply and transit infrastructure–are *entirely direct* results of decades of Me-First Me-Generation selfish decisions made by Boomers (and pre-Boomer) generations to almost always prescribe sprawling single-family homes and freeways at the expense of transit and density in the Bay Area.

    To boil it all down to tech shuttles is an easy but intellectually disingenuous attack on a (comparatively) minor symptom of these huge (and decades-old) problems, not the problems themselves.

    To take one example, let’s imagine if Boomers (and before) had actually followed through with this:

    https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2607/4080507945_e85ef64379_b.jpg
    We might by now have this:
    http://jakecoolidge.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/bartdiagramatic_webdec2011.png?w=900&h=1391
    Talk about transit justice!

    Your anger is understandable. However, I don’t understand why none of it is directed at the *decades* of previous and current policymakers and NIMBYs from Mill Valley to Cupertino to Walnut Creek–and, yes, absolutely San Francisco–who’ve all along basically flat-out *refused* to allow new housing or transportation infrastructure to be built. And all too often when growth has been allowed it’s overwhelmingly been low-density sprawl connected by endless freeways.

    Your post also doesn’t seem to to address what would happen, if, say, tomorrow there were no tech shuttles:

    –> The freeways (and Caltrain–facing historic crowding) would become even more clogged, and SF itself more bogged down by private autos.

    –> Sure, a few people *might* move to, say, Mountain View (where they’d probably drive a LOT more than they do here in SF), but the housing shortage crisis is acute, there too. Back to the whole NIMBY thing. This is a problem borne of Bay Area and especially decades of Bay Area Boomer selfishness, not just an SF problem.

    –> Sadly, low-income people are increasingly being forced out of Silicon Valley, as well, so that problem would only be further exacerbated if more high earners from SF relocated there. See problem above.

    By the way, just because someone works in tech doesn’t mean they’re a high-paid software engineer. Just as with other industries long established in SF (say, banking–just because you work for a bank doesn’t mean you’re a 1% hedge-fund manager) there are throngs of more middling tech professionals whose comparatively modest salaries almost invariably mean they can only afford to live with roommates. Yet they take the shuttles too, which can really represent important savings.

    Sure, it’s still a perk, but it’s one that no one would ever have thought to offer if previous and current Bay Areans had allowed for a comprehensive transit network and smart housing solutions to be built.