Mayor Lee Proposes $248 Million Bond Measure for Street Improvements

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proposed a $248 million bond measure today that he hopes will make the city’s neglected streets smoother and safer for all users.

“Regular citizens are suffering from our inaction on this,” Lee said at a City hall press conference. He was flanked by backers from the Board of Supervisors along with pedestrian, bicycle, disability and labor advocates.

“The statistics will continue to show that of the 850 miles of streets we have, almost half of them are in deterioration, and they get more expensive over time,” the Mayor said. “That affects the people who ride bikes, the people who drive, and the pedestrians that use our streets.”

The Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond [pdf] would gear $50 million to pedestrian, bicycle and streetscape projects, $148 million to repaving roads, $22 million to provide accessible curb ramps, $20.3 million for transit priority traffic signals, and $7.3 million for improvements to other structures such as bridges, tunnels, viaducts, and stairs.

The bond would prioritize street projects by providing advanced funding and making it easier to obtain grants from federal, state, and local agencies.

Improvements to the pedestrian realm would include constructing visible crosswalks, fixing broken sidewalks, expanding public space, and installing new curb ramps to comply with the American Disabilities Act. New transit-priority traffic signals would speed up Muni along with repaving projects that would create safer roads for bicycling. Other bike projects could help appease the growing demand for separated bikeways.

“To the extent that our public rights of way, our streets and sidewalks are not in good condition, not safe, or not accessible, we are not as mobile as a society as we need to be,” said Department of Public Works Director Ed Reiskin.

Reiskin said $50 million that would be dedicated to pedestrian, bicycle, and streetscape improvements would not be subdivided.

The measure needs to be approved by the Board of Supervisors as well as by voters in November, but it already has the sponsorship of Supervisors Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi, David Campos, Scott Wiener, John Avalos, and Board President David Chiu.

“I have to tell you, it’s a normal routine existence for any one of us on the Board of Supervisors to be fielding complaints literally every single day about the conditions of our streets,” said Mirkarimi, noting the piecemeal way in which streets are typically fixed. “That reactive strategy has got to stop. Now it’s time the city gets ahead of the game.”

SF Bike Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum pointed out that members complain about the dangers of potholes to the same extent they do speeding motor traffic.

“This is a great opportunity to not just bring our streets back up to par, but to actually bring some of our good streets to great streets, because there is funding here,” said Shahum. “We have the opportunity to spread that throughout the city and make sure that walking, biking, and transit are wonderful experiences in all our communities.”

  • mikesonn

    Once paved, I’d suggest limiting private auto access to many of these roads so that we won’t be right back here with our hands out asking to repave again.

    Also, are curb extensions and bulb outs included in making intersections ADA compliant?

  • Anonymous

    Rock on Ed Lee!

  • peternatural

    Wait, why do they need a bond measure? I thought vehicle license fees brought in all the money needed to pay for the streets?

    (Kidding 😉

  • Anonymous

    Congestion pricing is projected to raise $60-$80 million each year, IF IMPLEMENTED. Why do we need a bond that tops out at $248 million? That’s 3-4 years of congestion pricing revenues.

  • Cfsggf

    $6.6 billion budget, but not enough to pave the roads. Incredible.

    A bond for what should be a basic city service? What an absurdly inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.

  • Guest

    yea.. unfortunately cars dont actually pay for the roads they drive on, the street lights, the signs, the signals… etc.  hrmm pay per use? Sorta like a gas tax?  =P  and we still haven’t fully funded transit… HRMMMM… everything is intrinsically linked but market forces have not brought everything into a natural balance. 

  • Anonymous

    Since the mayor wants to exempt businesses from paying taxes and asking drivers to pay for the wear and tear they place on the roads would be unconscionable, he’s got to find some other way to pay for nessacery infrastructure.

  • PoorSanfranciscan

    At one time, these things used to be basic services provided by the City.

    Slowly, you’ll see “bond measures” for other basic services.

    The tax revenues, meanwhile, will be barely enough to pay the bloated salaries and cushy pensions of the City’s elite employees. 

  • Anonymous

     Another fail from Mayor Lee and the Business As Usual Gang. We apparently can find money to give away land and assets to a billionaire who got tax cuts, we can find money to give away to startups that are likely to fail, but we can’t find money to fix the roads so we have to BORROW MONEY. The real cost of this bond is far more than a quarter billion dollars – there’s the massive interest we’ll have to pay. This in addition to the many many bonds we’ve passed already. I realize that people think this is “free” money but in fact it is the most expensive money you can acquire for projects.

    Maybe we can get Larry Ellison to buy the bonds and agree to an interest rate of .01%?


  • John Henn79

    I wouldn’t vote for this anyway, but after their tax excemption for Twitter I am going to vote agaisnt anything and everything put on the ballot by the Mayor or board that does not raise taxes on the rich, businesses or gas.


Streets Bond Measure Headed to November Ballot

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of occasional stories on the “2011 Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond.” A $248 million streets bond measure being pushed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other electeds is on its way to the November ballot after being approved this week in a 9-2 vote […]

With or Without Mayor Lee, Wiener and Advocates Push to Keep VLF Alive

Just because Mayor Ed Lee withdrew his support for restoring the vehicle license fee doesn’t mean it’s dead. Sustainable transportation advocates are building a campaign to get the measure approved at the ballot this November with the help of Supervisor Scott Wiener, who may introduce the measure at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, which […]

Election Results Open Thread

The results are in from yesterday’s election – well, most of them are. The mayoral race won’t be finally called until 2nd- and 3rd-choice votes are counted, but 1st-choice results put Ed Lee in the lead at 31 percent followed by John Avalos at 18 percent. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition had endorsed Avalos as their […]