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  1.  

    NoeValleyJim

    Progressives don’t believe in socializing everything, the right word for that point of view is socialism.

    Progressives believe that government should do the things that governments do best and that free enterprise should do the things that it does best. Some things definitely need to be priced by market mechanisms for Progressives.

    You might feel otherwise and that is fine, but just call yourself a Socialist then.

  2.  

    aslevin

    The “Homer Tunnel” in Palo Alto, about a mile up the road, works just fine. It is short, well-lit, clean and well-maintained.

  3.  

    neroden

    Oh, just build MUNI rail. This route needs rail anyway.

  4.  

    Justin

    Oh and speaking of you don’t have the right to change Menlo Park into San Jose suit to “my taste” you got to remember that half a century ago or somewhat Silicon Valley use to be in area with orchards, in other words there use to be farms out there and now it has grown and changed into the most tech savvy area in the world. I understand there are somethings you don’t want to change, but sometimes, times change and anything could happen, sometimes change is inevitable whether you or I likes it or not, and of course in most parts I’m not advocating that or suggesting that I want to see a small town like Menlo Park become another San Jose, it doesn’t have to be either or and sometimes it doesn’t have to be a all or nothing approach.

  5.  

    Justin

    I wouldn’t classify that development like the photo above showing the proposed building as a “high rise,” it’s more of a low to mid-rise somewhat of a development. I can understand and do agree that yes like any other developments it will have an impact on the existing infrastructure no doubt about that. Though it might slightly change the character maybe of the El Camino Real Corridor, I still just don’t see how the character of the entire town of Menlo Park changing in a big way. I would assume that most of Menlo Park would remain the way it is with the town still consisting of Single Family housing.

  6.  

    vcs

    But it wasn’t a big deal.

  7.  

    PAltan

    I have answered you. If you don’t know how to define the word “character” look in a dictionary. If you want to understand how it applies to land use, read your City’s general plan.

    Maybe it will help you to read about land use law?
    http://ceres.ca.gov/planning/planning_guide/plan_index.html
    Citizens guide to planning and land use law from the state of California.

    The residents of this town do have a right to keep their town from being turned into San Jose.

    “The local general plan can be described as the city’s or county’s “blueprint” for future development. It represents the community’s view of its future; a constitution made up of the goals and policies upon which the city council, board of supervisors, and planning commission will base their land use decisions. To illustrate its importance, all subdivisions, public works projects, and zoning decisions (except in charter cities other than Los Angeles) must be consistent with the general plan. If inconsistent, they must not be approved.” (Residents can also go to court to have inconsistent land uses stopped.)

    And,

    “Development must not only meet the specific requirements of the zoning ordinance, but also the broader policies set forth in the local general plan.”

    So apparently in Menlo Park, which is not a charter city like Palo Alto, the way around having to obey land use law is to make specific plans like this one. Well, luckily, there are some democratic ways residents can fight for their rights.

  8.  

    PAltan

    http://ceres.ca.gov/planning/planning_guide/plan_index.html

    Citizens guide to planning and land use law. Luckily the people who put forward this initiative and the residents of this town are more intelligent than the trolls hired by the developer.

  9.  

    aslevin

    the so-called high-rises include buildings with 2, 3, 4, and 5 stories. Even a 5 story building is not a high-rise. Buildings in San Jose can go up to 27 stories. There is a difference between 5 and 27.

  10.  

    Zmapper

    “changes the character of the place”
    Again, you have still failed to define this terms in concrete terms. What does “character” as it applies to a city mean to you?

    Additionally, you have provided no basis as to why a hypothetical actor “[doesn't] have the right to change Menlo into San Jose.”

  11.  

    Zmapper

    You are aware that zoning is based off of police powers, not contract law? Gub’mint owes you no promises about the future.

  12.  

    Neil

    Palo Alto zoning laws also had provisions to exclude blacks and jews, so try not to get all nostalgic about it.

  13.  

    PJC

    The short answer is that “trip generation” does not equate directly with “impacts” and the trip profiles between regional office and local retail are very different regarding peak times, routes, origins -destinations, and time.

    There are many scenarios where the Initiative will reduce some impacts, but … not always, and of course, not all impacts. People who don’t want regional commute traffic on local streets and neighborhood arterials are not wrong to want that.

    The longer answer is that “we” are not SaveMenlo, any more than you are “Menlo Park Deserves Better”, many who are, as you know, anti-housing.

    Confusing us with SaveMenlo won’t help Menlo Park learn about some of the other really vital issues.

  14.  

    PJC

    The Wise Report confirms that the SP will obtain full (employment) buildout under the Initiative and there will be no impact to jobs/housing in the corridor.

    If the use of transit into the corridor is simply a function of the number of jobs in the corridor, I don’t understand why it matters what kind of jobs they are, office or retail? The same number of retail employees work in retail stores, and they commute.

    The logic seems to confuse customer trips with employee trips. Customer trips represent an ADDITIONAL chance to attract transit ridership above the same raw number of commute trips.

    And why build 680 isolated new housing units and force people to drive somewhere to get retail goods? What is the benefit of un-mixed use housing?

  15.  

    SanFrancisco Professor

    “Ped-bike tunnel” beneath the tracks? Wouldn’t a tunnel quickly become a latrine for the constant camps of transients next to the tracks, that no-body else would venture through? Then a nightly winter camp out of the rain? How can so important a social issue for Menlo and Palo Alto be ignored? On the other hand, a pedestrian bridge like many in RWC would avoid all that.

  16.  

    JB10

    The whole “center of the road” BRT concept is flawed and a massive waste of public money. Not to mention all the mature trees to ripped up on Van Ness.

    A more cost-effective solution would be to make the current route a “red route” ie, no parking within the red together with limited parking bays. This is what they do in London and it works pretty well.

    So a few cans of red paint versus years of digging up the road…

  17.  

    aslevin

    The city hasn’t taken a position against Caltrain electrification. Sure hope it doesn’t, that would be dumb and self-destructive.

  18.  

    aslevin

    There is no direct connection between the use mix on El Camino and going from 4 lanes to 6 (which is a terrible idea). There is a good argument to make that if there are offices, the people working there will want to easily cross the street to go to the supermarket, stores and downtown – having a street that is harder to cross makes the place less appealing to office workers also.

    The Specific Plan does take steps to reduce vehicle use, although not as aggressive as it could. The Plan requires developments to have TDM plans to reduce vehicle trips, and the council gave direction to accelerate the creation of a Transportation Management Association for the city to pool resources for trip reduction programs. It would have been better if they had set a trip goal for downtown/El Camino already. The Plan also enables shared parking and unbundled parking.

    The single biggest factor in the use of transit 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. The city pushing office development out to the freeway instead of in the transit corridor makes it harder to reduce trips.

    As for the undercrossing, Stanford is doing less than it should – it was good to see Mayor Mueller pushing them to specify their contribution to a feature that would greatly increase the value and quality of their development. But cutting down the development would seem to make getting contribution to the undercrossing harder, not easier.

  19.  

    PAltan

    In case you hadn’t noticed, more high-density new housing commands really high rents, which push up average rents and put pressure on existing housing, forcing out, not helping existing low-income residents. Look at the mobile home park in Palo Alto, those 400 low-income residents are being evicted for an allegedly transit oriented high density development on El Camino, that will use high -density bonuses to create a lot of luxury rentals and a handful of BMR units no one who lived there before could afford.

    Anyone who doesn’t roll over for developers and allow Menlo to be turned into a high-density nightmare is a NIMBY Republican what name are you developer shills calling now? I got news for you, 300 million people in the US can’t all pack into Menlo Park. At some point, there is a limit. Where is that limit? Packing in more people in a desirable place only makes it high density, it doesn’t make it cost less. If you don’t believe me, try Manhattan. When people buy a home, the zoning is a legal promise of what will be there in the future. It’s not okay for the City to give that away to enrich a developer. Your calling names won’t change that, nor will it make me into whatever name you have to call me.

  20.  

    Steve Schmidt

    It’s difficult to believe this article was written by a cyclist. It’s full of misleading & biased “information.” It ignores that Menlo Park’s Specific Plan is opening the door to adding a third lane to El Camino Real (ECR) and a new exclusive right hand turn lane at a heavily used connector street. There will be few accommodations for cyclists who chose ECR as the town’s most direct north/south route.

    The Specific Plan allows for 680 new housing units and the initiative does not touch that goal. The office construction allowed on 2 developments on ECR, thanks to the Specific Plan will reach 400,000 sf and the Initiative supporters believe that should be reduced to 200,000 sf for these 2 developments.

    There is nothing in the Specific Plan being modified by the Initiative that will boost transit ridership. The City is actually promoting policies and projects that will impede access to the Caltrain Station, make it more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists on and around El Camino and prevent modernization of Caltrain.

    The highly touted Plaza in one of the two big developments (Stanford University) is actually a series of automobile driveways leading to surface and underground parking with little space left for usable public access, pedestrians or bicyclists heading for a possible undercrossing of Caltrain, which would have to be about ten feet below grade. Consequently the cost will be in the neighborhood of $10M and Stanford University should be paying all the costs but the Council never required it.

    The undercrossing design, described by City staff 5 years ago as “a pedestrian undercrossing that will accommodate bicyclists at walking speed”, was rejected by both MP’s Bicycle and Transportation Commissions at that time. This location will be of benefit primarily to the occupants of the Stanford housing units and to City employees on their lunch hours; it is of little help to cyclists due to its distance from bike routes and its proximity to a busy & large intersection, heavy traffic on El Camino and unprotected ingress and egress from Alma street.

    A more convenient and much less expensive location near Cambridge and El Camino was rejected 12 years ago.

    Needless to say, I am surprised and disappointed in Mr. Boone’s apparent alliance with individuals who routinely dismiss transportation and smart-growth alternatives and a City Council with its collective head in the sand. The current council majority joined a law suit against California’s High Speed Rail and has opposed an elevated track that would provide safe vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian circulation. Worst though is the City’s lack of support for Caltrain electrification.

  21.  

    aslevin

    True, some of the prominent supporters of this ballot measure have in the past strongly supported environmental initiatives. I can’t see how this measure is helpful to the environment, though.

  22.  

    Andy Chow

    What the Menlo Council should do is to put a competing a measure with more moderate language and use it to fight this one.

  23.  

    aslevin

    The limit on office space of both types requires a vote of the people to change, and the limit on housing only requires a vote of city council to change. The measure is intended to discourage office more than housing.

    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.

  24.  

    PAltan

    Building high-rise dense housing in a small town like Menlo changes the character of the place, blocks sunlight, strains infrastructure (see Doug Moran’s post) and resources like water, and creates a character more like downtown San Jose. If you like those places, be my guest, you can move there, and even live near transit. You don’t have a right to change Menlo into San Jose to suit your taste in order to enrich a developer at the expense of existing residents.

  25.  

    PAltan

    LMAO. Anyone who doesn’t roll over for developers and allow Menlo to be turned into a high-density nightmare is a (whatever demonization you make up)? I got news for you, 300 million people in the US can’t all pack into Menlo Park. At some point, there is a limit. Where is that limit? Packing in more people in a desirable place only makes it high density, it doesn’t make it cost less. If you don’t believe me, try Manhattan. When people buy a home, the zoning is a legal promise of what will be there in the future. It’s not okay for the City to give that away to enrich a developer. Your calling names won’t change that, nor will it make me into whatever name you have to call me.

  26.  

    Steve Schmidt

    It’s difficult to believe this article was written by a cyclist. It’s full of misleading & biased “information.” It ignores that Menlo Park’s Specific Plan is opening the door to adding a third lane to El Camino Real (ECR) and a new exclusive right hand turn lane at a heavily used connector street. There will be few accommodations for cyclists who chose ECR as the town’s most direct north/south route.

    The Specific Plan allows for 680 new housing units and the initiative does not touch that goal. The office construction allowed on 2 developments on ECR, thanks to the Specific Plan will reach 400,000 sf and the Initiative supporters believe that should be reduced to 200,000 sf for these 2 developments.

    There is nothing in the Specific Plan being modified by the Initiative that will boost transit ridership. The City is actually promoting policies and projects that will impede access to the Caltrain Station, make it more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists on and around El Camino and prevent modernization of Caltrain.

    The highly touted Plaza in one of the two big developments (Stanford University) is actually a series of automobile driveways leading to surface and underground parking with little space left for usable public access, pedestrians or bicyclists heading for a possible undercrossing of Caltrain, which would have to be about ten feet below grade. Consequently the cost will be in the neighborhood of $10M and Stanford University should be paying all the costs but the Council never required it.

    The undercrossing design, described by City staff 5 years ago as “a pedestrian undercrossing that will accommodate bicyclists at walking speed”, was rejected by both MP’s Bicycle and Transportation Commissions at that time. This location will be of benefit primarily to the occupants of the Stanford housing units and to City employees on their lunch hours; it is of little help to cyclists due to its distance from bike routes and its proximity to a busy & large intersection, heavy traffic on El Camino and unprotected ingress and egress from Alma street.

    A more convenient and much less expensive location near Cambridge and El Camino was rejected 12 years ago.

    Needless to say, I am surprised and disappointed in Mr. Boone’s apparent alliance with individuals who routinely dismiss transportation and smart-growth alternatives and a City Council with its collective head in the sand.

  27.  

    Justin

    I kinda don’t see how building dense housing near transit corridors would turn a small town like Menlo Park into San Jose when SJ is a much BIGGER city with more people living in it. Also there are parts of San Jose that resemble a low density residential neighborhood like the ones out in Menlo Park, maybe not exactly though but similar. And of course don’t forget there are also people who might also enjoy living in a city like San Francisco as well, just saying…

  28.  

    PJC

    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.

    The Initiative seeks to limit office in the downtown area and to properly define open space. To limit office to a numerical limit, for accounting purposes it must define, “the downtown area”, and it must define “office.” When it does so, it does so *ONLY* for the purpose of accounting, not for the purpose of superceding existing zoning controls.

    The Wise Report found that the Initiative had “no impact” on the Specific Plan zoning ordinance.

    It turns out that advertising and graphic design are both included in the SP definition “J” for office. And ultimately staff gets to decide when a particular use not explicitly included in “J” (and another section) constitutes a “professional office” use as in the sense of “J” or not, but cities make these kinds of determinations routinely on behalf of council authority.

    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.

    It’s really that simple. The initiative seeks to limit the amount of allowed non-residential development in the plan area to insure balance between professional office and retail/hotel (and ultimately protect the City’s revenue sources.)

  29.  

    PJC

    The ballot measure is not written to restrict office to encourage housing, its written to restrict office to encourage retail and hotel uses.

    Its actually housing neutral, since the bucket of 680 housing units is independent of the bucket of 440sf of commercial which the Initiative seeks to sub-partition as approximately half office and half retail/hotel. The Initiative says nothing about housing.

    Here, the post confuses DEFINING “open space” with determining HOW MUCH is allowed in a zoning district. The Initiative defines “open space” as being essentially on the ground, not a balcony or a roof. Voters will control that definition in the Plan Area, but voters do not control how much open space is allowed in a zone in the Plan Area. If current small properties are in zones where the open space definition under current zoning would limit housing, then COUNCIL can change the minimum and maximum amount of (ground level) open space required to zero if it wants, it simply cannot change what is counted as open space.

    We know of two small parcel project being proposed that contain housing.

    We are reaching out now to have knowledgeable people in Menlo Park more fully explain this.

    The Initiative simply asks for an honest use of the English language without zoning trickery. Tricking people doesn’t work. Honest government counts for something. If Menlo Park wants to create zones with no open space then let it say so so openly to see if people support that.

    What is also not covered in this post is the fact that during the Visioning process in Menlo Park, public representations were made, and we can show the pictures and the City brochures, that if people supported taller and denser development they would get more GROUND BASED open space around the building. The consultant slides show green ON THE GROUND next to the taller building masses. Surveys showed that an overwhelming number of people would accept higher density (4 stories) but as an honest trade off for more “open space”. It was quite a shock for them to see zoning districts in which the entire parcel footprint is covered with 5-story, 60′ high residential buildings with no ground based open space, but with podium parking whose roof was counted as open space.

    It was an act of true mendacity and I promise you, you don’t want to be a part of it or support a process that tricks and exploits people who were already willing to make honest trade offs.

    Nevertheless, the Wise Report finds that Maximum residential build out is not impacted by the Initiative and that the full housing build-out WILL occur over the 30 year period, and that neither the projected number of jobs or houses will be impacted in the Plan Area.

    The Initiative really does

    1. substitute retail/hotel for office in the commercial bucket by limiting office to half the commercial bucket,

    2.) limit the size of a single office project to distribute the office bucket fairly,

    3.) defines open space as ground-based,

    and

    4.) puts voter in charge of the size of the buckets in 1,2, and the definition 3.

  30.  

    Andy Chow

    That Muni map is just conceptual and may contain opinions of the artist rather than an actual policy.

    All these Muni BRT corridors will feature very local stop spacings (although normal Muni stop spacing is closer than most transit systems), unlike more suburban systems like LA and VTA where the stops for the rapid service is a half-mile to a mile apart. The L designation is to differentiate the line from local service on the same corridor.

  31.  

    jonobate

    Yeah, it’s much better than everyone having to struggle up three tall steps to get into the bus, which really slows down boarding for seniors and people who have trouble walking. And for people in wheelchairs, boarding using a ramp deployed from a low floor vehicle (see image) is much quicker than boarding using a lift into a high floor vehicle, as is the current procedure.

    This is also why low floor LRVs would be a great upgrade to the J/K/L/M/N lines, even without building any new platforms on the surface streets. Low floor platforms (about 15 inches) could be gradually added to those lines to provide true level boarding; but even without new platforms, the boarding experience would be greatly improved. Only downside is that you’d need to convert the 9 subway stations to low floor platforms.

    http://www.riconcorp.com/upld_images/1to4_Ramp_150.jpg

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/83/Protram205_ramp.JPG

  32.  

    runn3r85

    This is the plan to delay Van Ness BRT even more! 2025 here we come!

  33.  

    Sprague

    Thanks for the explanation. With such or with similar low floor buses, boarding should generally be fast and if a wheelchair ramp is deployed it should be a faster operation than the current wheelchair lifts require.

  34.  

    aslevin

    Actually, one of the goals of the ballot measure is to restrict commercial office use so as to encourage housing. This intent is good.

    Unfortunately, the way the measure is written, it may well not do that. The measure has lots of categories of businesses, some of which are limited more strictly than others. Offices are strictly limited, but professional services businesses like advertising businesses and educational services are not as strictly limited. So the city could wind up with just as much business space downtown.

    Also, the measure has rules that could make it harder to develop housing, particularly on smaller properties, and for affordable projects. The measure says that open space that counts against the open space requirement must be at ground level or no more than 4 feet up. Balconies and common space decks don’t count as open space. If there’s a small property, there’s not enough room for surface parking and the mandatory ground floor open space. So townhouses would need to put parking underground ($$$) and affordable developments might not be feasible.

    Plus, all of these rules would need a vote of the people to change. Want to exempt small properties from the open space rule – a new ballot measure! Want to change the definitions of the businesses in the categories with different limits – a new ballot measure!

  35.  

    Guest

    The real “tax base” comes from retail sales tax and hotel TOT which also pays roughly equivalent amounts of property tax as office on a square foot basis. These uses are being replaced or crowded out by office. So here’s the real facts…

    Justin, the Wise Report confirms that

    · More office space yields declining and eventually negative net annual General Fund revenues.

    · The Initiative Prevents excessive Office space from crowding out new revenue-generating businesses like hotels and retail/restaurants

    The Initiative saves· ,or generates, for the General Fund, between $282,000 to $2,253,000 revenue annually because of the Initiative’s cap on Office space.

    · Without the Initiative, approved and pending office projects already consume the hotel space needed to achieve the Specific Plan’s positive revenue projections.

    · Improves the City’s debt capacity, important for
    funding major infrastructure improvements

    · Won’t impact revenues or expenditures of Special Districts

    or School districts

    Will lead to increased public benefits opportunities

    Most of the comments on the blog seem uninformed.

    The Menlo Park Downtown specific plan calls for two separate buckets of independent and non-interchangeble kinds of development, “residential” consisting of 680 dwelling units, and “non-residential” consisting of 474,000 sf of various commercial

    The Initiative sets a limit, basically equivalent to area wide Ground Floor Retail, that limits the office portion to approximately half. The remainder is for retail shops and hotels, which is what the community asked for.

    The Initiative redefines “open space” so that private balconies and garage rooftops can no longer be counted.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why environmenalists would care about whether Menlo Park builds shops or offices in its downtown area.

    The only thing I ask of you now, is rather than running your mind on conditioned auto pilot turning this into bad NIMBY’s trying to stop growth, is that you make no decision, and become informed. Numerous respected individuals in the environmental community including former elected officials helped design this and are supporting it.

  36.  

    Justin

    I think it is time and I think past time for the south bay communities and other communities with sparse populations and abundant land to step up to the plate and just take some of the additional population growth. These communities need to quit assuming that city and county of San Francisco can take all the new housing growth given to the fact that our city is faced with the realities of natural growth boundaries that prevents us from exponential growth. These south bay communities home to most of the best tech industries in the world need to provide more housing for the people working in these great industries. As these industries create more jobs, these communities with these industries should and must create more housing for them and one of the best ways to do it is to build dense housing near transit corridors, it makes so much sense. I can understand that homeowners in that area don’t want more people and eye soar developments, but I assume its not being built in those areas. It makes sense again to build dense housing near busy streets like El Camino Real and other major transit corridors and NOT in residential neighborhoods.

  37.  

    PAltan

    Some people may enjoy a city more like San Jose than Menlo Park or Palo Alto. But that’s why zoning exists, so that people who have chosen a more low-key place like Menlo don’t have to see it turned into mini-San Jose for the benefit of developers short-term profits.

    The best place to get a more concrete idea of the folly of alleged “transit-oriented development” in relationship to Palo Alto is probably Doug Moran’s blog http://www.paloaltoonline.com/blogs/p/2014/07/01/public-transit-follies

  38.  

    Justin

    You can also add the fact it also improves the tax base of that community as well as that same community getting more revenue due to more taxes collected which i assume to could be put back into the community and basic city services EVERYBODY needs

  39.  

    Zmapper

    “…code for high-density, congestion-causing, ugly, and built right up to the street with no setback.”
    Other than the word “ugly”, which is an opinion, could you please define in concrete, measurable terms why the other elements are inherently negative?

    “future quality of life”
    Could you please define this phrase in concrete terms?

    “and character of your town”
    Again, could you please define this term in concrete terms?

  40.  

    jonobate

    I think it’s pretty likely they will. According to current plans (the approved TEP), the two Muni routes on Van Ness will be 47L and 49L. However the 5L is marked as 5R on the snippet of the new Muni map that was released recently. If they are going to rename the 5L to 5R and brand it as “Rapid”, it’s very likely they will do the same with the 47L and 49L.

  41.  

    Nate

    The conservative mentality expressed above is exactly why NIMBY’s in the Bay Area are just Republicans in drag. They want a particular low-density city character etched in stone despite the enormous hardship this puts on low-income people who suffer high housing costs and long commutes just to work in these areas. Not to mention the environmental costs this imposes when people move to Houston because they can’t afford to live in Menlo Park.

    PAltan: pursuing your vision of an ideal neighborhood means you play a key role in sprawl that develops elsewhere. In essence, your entitlement is building the sprawl that occurs elsewhere.

  42.  

    thielges

    Ballot measures like this just enable the interests of a few to hobble the bay area’s sustainable growth plans. Anytime a local group is asked “do you want to attract more residents?” the answer is uniformly “no”. Duh. The folks backing NIMBY measures like this can’t look beyond their own self-interest.

    Major transportation resources like Caltrain and BART stations are regional, not local concerns. But here we might allow local opinion to overrule the needs of the majority. Read Paltan’s response who makes subjective and negative comments on what could be a positive change for downtown MP. Another way to describe the project is that it is an attractive structure bringing in more residents who add to the vibrancy of downtown. There’s no need to be so negative about improving the quality of life and accommodating population growth,

    Adding more residents might make it harder to get a table at Cafe Barrone. But more residents also makes it viable to open more cafes. Look beyond the status quo because it might not be the best that Menlo can be.

  43.  

    Prinzrob

    I don’t really see the car share agreements as a wholly public or private use of parking spaces, but more of a grey area. The city isn’t selling the land to the company, just renting it to them for a specific period of time at a cost higher than the current free rate but still well below market rate. I don’t know the length of the contract agreement but once it is up the agreement is either renewed or the land is available for alternate uses.

    I think the main point of this article isn’t to say that the car share agreements are NOT akin to privatization, in some respects, but that the current use as private vehicle storage IS.

    Could there be even better uses for this public resource? Yes indeed. Are those other uses always politically feasible? Unfortunately, no. However, allowing more residents to rely on car share services in the meantime instead of needing to own a private car can help build support for projects down the road that will require an even more substantial reallocation of roadway space.

  44.  

    ComradeFrana

    I’m pretty sure that’s actually a pretty normal curb, which usually means ~200 mm height, so obviously not much level boarding. These are much better examples:
    http://tournefeuille-leguevin.eelv.fr/files/2013/01/exemple_BHNS_small.jpg
    http://www.transbus.org/construc/solaris_urbino18_bhns_demo.jpg

    Notice especially how the wheels don’t protrude and royally f**k things up.

  45.  

    Andy Chow

    No one is talking about South American style high floor buses and high platforms. The discussion is about whether the platform be several inches higher to match the floor of the bus. The problem is not the matching height but more about the gap. If a bridge plate is needed and that the front door cannot be used with level boarding (as the case in Eugene) then it would be inconsistent with the rest of Muni’s experience.

    In Seattle, buses share the downtown tunnel with light rail and that the stations have 14 inch platforms to provide level boarding for light rail. The buses have to use taller tires to clear the higher platform (make it not level boarding) and to allow deployment of standard wheelchair ramp. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Sound_Transit_DE60LFR.jpg

    If level boarding with the bus is actually easy why wouldn’t Seattle have embrace it rather than the opposite?

  46.  

    twinpeaks_sf

    And as for the ~5 inch gap the result of wheel lugs, I don’t see why the SFMTA couldn’t work with the bus fabricators to develop a narrower profile wheel hub.

  47.  

    jonobate

    Fair point – I was just thinking of the Muni buses.

  48.  

    jonobate

    The car share parking spaces are being made available to all car share companies who are interested in renting them, so the analogy to taxi ranks is totally valid.

    There are only two options when if comes to parking: either you allow the market to determine the cost of parking, or you set it at an artificially low level, which is the status quo and amounts to a public subsidy of private vehicle storage. The real question is not why I think parking should be priced at market rate, it’s why you think parking should be subsidized by the City.

    (I guess you could also set parking at an artificially high level, which would be fine by me, but no-one is seriously proposing to do that.)

    I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who knows some basic economics. My opinions are not determined by emotional reactions to scary phrases such as “market pricing”. If that leaves me out of your “progressive” club, I’m fine with that.

  49.  

    NoeValleyJim

    I rented a room in the rec center at the local park to throw my daughter’s birthday party. Was this “privatization” to you? Why or why not?

    This is the same thing. It is just being rented for a while to a private company, ownership is not being transferred. It is not privatization.

  50.  

    twinpeaks_sf

    One cannot forget that these 47/49 buses will still continue on their extended routes after leaving the dedicated Van Ness BRT ROW. How would that be possible if they used high-floor buses, built for level boarding at BRT platforms? Would people prefer to transfer to low-floor buses once outside the BRT zone (i.e., south of Market St)?

    I think the low-floor models, so long as the buses are guided close to the the platform edge, will provide a sufficiently level surface. These buses will not only be compatible with the rest of the Muni system, but particularly the rest of the 47/49 lines. Also, while not as optimal as fully-level boarding for ADA access, Muni’s wheelchair lifts have gotten better over the years and should suffice. Other creative solutions might be available.