Today’s Headlines

  • SFMTA Workers Halt Knife Attack (NBCBayArea, SFGate)
  • Random Acts of Kindness on Buses and Bikes (SFChron)
  • Muni Tunnel Cell Service on the Way (Hoodline)
  • More on BART Bond (CBSLocal)
  • Cable Cars: Expensive and Impractical, but Still Loved (SFExaminer)
  • Cable Car Turnarounds to Get Anti-Slip Treatment (SFExaminer)
  • Biking Bay Area Bridges (SFChron)
  • Streamlining Creation of Public Spaces (SFExaminer)
  • Could Construction Costs Exacerbate Housing Crunch? (BizTimes)
  • Room for Housing (Curbed)
  • When Will Warm Springs BART Open? (EastBayTimes)
  • Commentary: Green Roofs for San Francisco (SFExaminer)

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • RichLL

    As well as the CBS piece, another article critical of the BART bond here:

    Is it possible that these BART breakdowns in the last few days aren’t as accidental as they appear, but rather are designed to push people to vote for RR?

  • That happens with MUNI too. OTP improves dramatically prior to a fare increase, then reverts to the usual garbage system.

  • Flatlander

    I’m sure neither of these could have anything to do with confirmation bias. Definitely a conspiracy.

  • PaleoBruce

    > Could Construction Costs Exacerbate Housing Crunch?

    Just opposite of the common narrative that a shortage of new construction is the cause of the housing crunch. Meanwhile the new construction going so strong that the contractors cannot find enough skilled workers and subcontractors.

  • david vartanoff

    Okay, assume (which I don’t) that workers and management are in cahoots to scare us with service glitches. Do you fantasize that entropy has been repealed? Things break down, wear out, fail. How long since your last hard drive crapped out? Even my granddad’s Leica from 1936 needs periodic maintenance. As was evident during the strikes, BART is necessary to keep our region functional.
    That said, if you want to clean up the waste, the route to go is referendum driven restrictions on wages, perks, strikes, which I for one, would support; not refusing to fix the deteriorating system.

    I will add that I said to a BART director that if the bond fails, it should be resubmitted in pieces county by county. Contra Costa originally voted down BART. The votes were “averaged” across the 3 counties to get 60.1%. (by state law in that case the bar was 60 not 66 2/3 % )
    When resubmitted in segments, and CC Cty says no, then, NO repairs should be done on that part of the system so that trains can then creep along because tracks are no longer fit for 80mph as now. Maybe that will wake up the citizens.

  • RichLL

    “the common narrative that a shortage of new construction is the cause of the housing crunch.”

    It’s more that the shortage of old construction causes the housing crunch because it means there are not enough homes for the current population.

    New construction should be measured against the net gains in population due to inward net migration.

    Either way, we have a housing crunch for the only reason that ever explains it – demand exceeds supply.

  • RichLL

    Agree that things fail. But usually an enterprise is sustained because ongoing revenues pay for the bread-and-butter maintenance. And bonds (or equity, if appropriate) is issued for genuine capital improvement and expansion.

    What we see with BART is that it is asking for new capital just to pay the bills, and not for expansion or improvement. It’s like gradually selling off your assets to pay the utility bills, or burning your furniture to keep warm

    Also agree we need a no-strike rule. That should either be in this measure, or achieved first in Sac if that is how it works.

    The way the votes vary by County is interesting. Generally Alameda approves because it is the hub of the system with the most benefits. CC Cty says no because it’s peripheral. So it is SF Cty that decides and it’s always surprised me that SF voters go for it given that not so many SF voters commute by BART

    Then again, 2/3 of SF voters are tenants and figure they don’t pay property tax (even though they really do).

  • thielges

    They’re actually tied together. High housing costs mean that fewer construction workers can afford to live locally. In a normal environment workers live close to projects so the availability of workers generally scales with demand. But not here. The only workers left are those protected by rent control or Prop.13, and their numbers dwindle as they retire, cash out, and move to Grass Valley.

    For one recent project I observed that the GC searched far and wide for subcontractors. He brought his subs in from as far as Sacramento and Santa Cruz. That came with increased cost.

  • mx

    Not to mention that if construction crews and equipment are in high demand and the supply is limited, prices will rise. Even the big GCs can only do so many jobs at once, and they’re going to pick the ones that can make them the most money.

  • RichLL

    But the main reason developers give for not building more is not because they cannot find the workers, but because the city’s regulations, zoning, taxes and fees make so many projects not viable.

    There are two projects going on near me and I can hear the workers talking about stuff. In one case they all talk in Spanish. In the other in Chinese.

    Where there is money there will always be available workers. The real issue is zoning and NIMBYism

  • gneiss

    Point of fact – the cost of construction on Treasure Island for affordable housing there is going up by $380 Million, largely due to the increase in per-foot construction costs of about 50% since 2011. People who are in the building trades are saying that the numbers the city are quoting for the cost increase are in line with what they themselves are experiencing.

  • RichLL

    But the rule of thumb for the cost of a new home is generally reckoned to be one third for the land, one third for the build, and one third profit.

    If construction costs are up 50% then that’s equivalent to about 17% extra in total. Meanwhile RE values in SF have almost doubled in that time.

    Clearly therefore it is not the most significant factor.

  • njudah

    good points, but dont’ feed the troll. this blog is virtually unreadable as one person tries to dominate the comments. Like most commenters , he should get a blog or something. As it stands, Streetsblog is only readable via Feedly.

  • Dexter Wong

    “Cable Cars: Expensive and Impractical, but Still Loved ” is a SF Gate article, not SF Examiner!