Today’s Headlines

  • Drivers Hit Two Men in Crashes at Washington and Montgomery, on Mission Street Sidewalk (KTVU)
  • DPW Begins Installation of Pedestrian Signal at Crosswalk in Front of City Hall (SFMTA)
  • Chiu Announces Assembly Bill to Allow Muni Cameras to Ticket Drivers Cruising in Bus Lanes (SFGate)
  • Stanley Roberts Catches Scooter and Car Drivers Abusing the Embarcadero Bike Lane
  • Mission Economic Development Association Joins Push for Safer Streets (Mission Local)
  • Poll: Majority of SF Voters Support Moratorium on New Housing in the Transit-Rich Mission (Examiner)
  • Hoodline Recounts the Freeway Revolt That Stopped the Panhandle Freeway
  • SFPD Park Station Captain Raj Vaswani Moves to Bayview After Less Than a Year (Exam, Hoodline)
  • AC Transit General Manager David Armijo Resigns Suddenly (SFGate, SFBay, CoCo Times)
  • Silicon Valley’s Housing Shortage Forces Many to Commute Hours From Cities Like Stockton (KQED)
  • Hit-Run Driver Kills Pedestrian on Hwy 580 in Hayward (ABC); Driver Kills Ped in Martinez (SFGate)
  • Caltrain Kills Tenth Person on Tracks This Year (ABC)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Poll: Majority of SF Voters Support Moratorium on New Housing in the Transit-Rich Mission

    That sound you hear is landlords laughing their assess off as San Franciscans prepare to blindly vote against their own self-interest.

  • baklazhan

    The point, I think, is that they’re not voting against their own self-interest. People who have already secured a place, whether by buying or by renting a rent-controlled apartment, have plenty of reasons to support a moratorium (less noise, no blocked views, a slightly less impossible hunt for free parking, and, yes, higher values for their dwellings). It’s future residents and non-rent-controlled apartment dwellers who suffer– but future residents don’t have a vote, and non-rent-controlled apartment dwellers are a distinct minority.

  • murphstahoe
  • murphstahoe

    Even a rent controlled apartment dweller should worry. A moratorium will increase property values. The higher the value, the more attractive it is to go through the process of removing a rent controlled tenant, or easier for a buyer to amortize the cost of removing a tenant. If it’s gonna cost $30,000 to evict someone from a unit costing $500,000, that will hurt. If the unit costs $2M, the pain is cut by 75%.

  • gneiss

    People are going to continue to move into the Mission regardless of a housing moratorium. They will take on roommates or add family members. People will convert garages into illegal housing units or businesses and granny apartments as the pressure for more space continues and rents increase. As MrEricSir noted, the only people who benefit are owners.

  • murphstahoe

    We get into semantics on “blah kills” – “Cyclist hit by car” as opposed to “by driver”.

    Personally, I do not like “Caltrain Kills”. I consider this more acure in the event of a suicide, but even a driver error with the tracks, Caltrain has done what it’s supposed to do, go up and down the tracks.

    In the event of something like the texting engineer down in LA, perhaps, but even then with the typical streetsblog “policy” it would be “distracted engineer kills”, not “metrolink kills”

  • david vartanoff

    Yup, in many cases you can fool all the people all the time. Although, one should note that artificially limiting increased housing supply raises the value of existing units.

  • That’s not true for many reasons. Think about it:

    * People move because their housing needs change all the time. People get together, break up, have kids, their kids move away, etc. etc.

    * Rent control only helps in the short term. If you live in a rent controlled apartment, have you ever calculated what your rent would be 20 years from now assuming rents don’t decrease and inflation stays the same? I did, and believe me unless I win the lottery I wouldn’t be able to afford living here.

    * People move here because there are job here. Companies have to compensate people more than they would in other regions due to high housing costs. If those costs continue increasing, the companies are going to flee — even Google doesn’t have an unlimited amount of money.

  • lunartree

    If you oppose new housing you oppose the poor, the middle class, and the environment. However, one of the most baffling things about voters across America is how staunchly the poor fight their own interests.

  • thielges

    The suicides also make rail travel seem more dangerous than reality. Not everyone using the fatality stats across different modes will take the effort to treat the suicides different from the unintentional fatalities and only the latter is relevant.

    Even within discussions on the Caltrain corridor the stats have been misused to deny pedestrian at-grade crossings. Yes, grade separated crossings are better but they also cost 100-1000X more than grade crossings and therefore have a hard time getting funded. Caltrain should tolerate judicious implementations of grade crossings at least as a short term measure until a grade separation can be funded.

  • lunartree

    How about “NIMBYs kill tenth person on tracks this year”. If the Silicon Valley and South Bay towns actually invested in grade separation a lot less people would die, and they could stop complaining about traffic as much too.

  • theqin

    I am not sure what you are talking about regarding rent control — the rent increase is tied to CPI. I am pretty sure my uncle who paid $400/month (today) for his one bedroom, which he occupied for the last fifty years would disagree with you. If property values go up and rents increase above inflation you always win as a tenant.

    I have a hard time believing Google or any other large tech employer is going to flee. Their CEOs don’t want to move. There is nowhere else with the amount of tech knowledge available to create their business. Google and Apple both are in the process of building new campuses. The thought that high housing costs is going to force them to relocate is a pipe dream. Their employees will just be forced to commute from a further distance if it is not affordable to live close by their work.

  • aslevin

    Caltrain supports grade separations. San Mateo County has a pot of funds that’s being incrementally used for more grade separations, and there is a current design competition for the next set of funding. Santa Clara County has almost no money set aside, hopefully an upcoming ballot measure will help. Also High Speed Rail will need the grade separations and provide an additional source of funding.

  • That’s fine for your uncle, but I’m paying $100 more per month at my apartment since I moved in 6 years ago.

    You can see a list of the historical rent increases here. Not entirely sure what your point is about CPI — CPI is just one way to calculate inflation.

    As to the idea that people are willing to spend hours and hours commuting every day, the recent housing bubble is evidence to the contrary. People just aren’t buying suburban houses 50+ miles away from their job anymore.

  • Andy Chow

    It is more accurate to say “10th person died on Caltrain tracks this year.”

    From a social responsibility angle, this deserves no reporting at all. We know well that news coverage on suicides can spur more suicides. Suicides in general doesn’t get news coverage unless the person is prominent. For that reason, you don’t see individual news stories about suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge.

    See the link below from Caltrain’s Mark Simon about recent events including news coverage:

    https://www.facebook.com/mark.simon.96/posts/10205021208983552

    I recommended Caltrain to consider some kind of alert system with different stages (like forest fire alert) for significant delays that can give passengers on the severity (whether they should wait or seek other transportation) of the delays but without having to give specific nature of the delays. Media on the other hand, as part of the coverage on traffic, can provide the public about the alert but without having to report on the incident which is contributing to the problem.

    http://blog.transitunlimited.org/2015/03/vision-zero-for-caltrain/

  • There are many reasons why blocking more housing in San Francisco is deeply misguided. I will give three.

    1) Climate change is the number one moral, economic and survival issue of our time. Living in a dense urban environment like San Francisco makes a small carbon footprint possible. Living in San Francisco in particular, with its maritime climate and adequate (yes, it could be better) public transit, makes a very small carbon footprint possible. San Franciscans emit just 5.8 million tonnes of CO2 per person. California as a whole emits 9.2, the US as a whole emits 17.3. (2012 data.) One way to drop carbon emissions in this country is to make room in low carbon cities for people who want to live a low carbon lifestyle, not force them to live in the suburbs. I am not arguing for Hong Kong density, but five or six stories in the transit-rich Mission is more than appropriate.

    2) Many people (especially young ones) live in San Francisco for a time and then move somewhere else. This is okay. It’s even good. They often take what they experience living here and then apply it somewhere else. For example, I lived in San Francisco in the mid 80s just after college. San Francisco had one of the first curbside recycling programs in the country. I then moved to Iowa City, Iowa. (Lasted there six years.) One of the first things I did there was write my city council and ask why there was no curbside recycling. The answer I got back was that it was too expensive. But, lo and behold, nine months later, Iowa City instituted curbside recycling. I doubt this was entirely due to my letter, but I wouldn’t underestimate the influence San Francisco emigres can have. (I also annoyed people there yakking about racial diversity, gays and lesbians, and so on.) People around the country may think we here in San Francisco are largely crazy, but they do notice what we do. And young people who live here a couple years and then go on somewhere else take the values and ideas with them. And then things like composting, and parklets and plastic bag bans starting springing up in other places.

    3) If we say we only want old-timers in San Francisco and no one new, we’re not only denying ourselves important new energy, passions, and influences, we are fundamentally discriminating against young people in an effort to protect the entitlements of the old. Trying to preserve San Francisco in amber just the way it was the year we ourselves arrived (whatever year that was) will calcify this city and prevent it from doing what it has always done so well–reinvent itself time after time in a dance with youth, ideas and the future.

  • Jimbo

    a moratorium on housing will making housing prices skyrocket. what are these people smoking? anywhere along the BART line in SF is the BEST place to build new dense housing that will temper the growth of the pent up demand for housing. most of SF has awful public transit, but the Mission does not. if units arent built here, they will be built elsewhere and more people will drive leading to high emissions, and the price of the “encased in stone” mission will go through the roof. some of our supervisors could use an update in economics.

  • murphstahoe

    If my rent in SF was only $100 more than it was 6 years ago – I’d still be living in SF. Instead it was raised $1750, it became obvious that this wasn’t too far off market price, and I headed for the hills.

  • murphstahoe

    “People just aren’t buying suburban houses 50+ miles away from their job anymore.”

    I invite you to visit US-101 in Petaluma some AM.

  • Andy Chow

    Grade separation can eliminate the risk of certain incidents (cars on the tracks, unintended deaths) and reduce access for those who are suicidal, but quite a few have occurred outside of grade crossings.

  • baklazhan

    I don’t disagree, but I think that the politics today are such that the people who are worried about that don’t fight for additional apartments to be built (they’ve given up hope that it’ll have any significant effect), but instead fight to make it more difficult and expensive to evict. In fact, there are a significant number of people making the argument that building more will have no effect at all, or will (somehow) cause rents to rise even faster.