Advocates React to London Breed’s Election

Most advocates for safe streets seem pleased, but with some caveats

London Breed with Scott Wiener and Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu. Photo: Breed for Mayor Facebook page
London Breed with Scott Wiener and Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu. Photo: Breed for Mayor Facebook page

It was a tough race, but yesterday candidate Mark Leno finally conceded to London Breed.

“As mayor, I will create more housing and help those struggling with homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness get the support and services they need,” wrote Breed in a tweet about her victory.

Speaking of housing, nobody in the urbanist/safe and livable streets community seemed more pleased with her victory than YIMBY action. That’s because Breed was on board with Scott Weiner’s transit housing bill.

“Breed was alone among the candidates in supporting SB-827 and being honest about what solving our housing crisis requires–building more housing of all kinds, including both market-rate housing and subsidized affordable housing, in large amounts to bring down rents and displacement,” wrote YIMBY’s Laura Foote Clark, in an email to Streetsblog. “No other candidate said anything substantive about building more housing generally, and about building it *throughout* San Francisco.”

The San Francisco Transit Riders also seemed happy with the election outcome. “In our Ride the Vote survey, Mayor-elect Breed committed to taking action that will improve the experience of riding transit, including supporting Bus Rapid Transit, pushing for a regional fare structure, and even working to improve that pesky BART/Muni transfer at Civic Center,” wrote Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the San Francisco Transit Riders. “We really look forward to working closely with the mayor on these types of issues to make transit a top choice for getting around San Francisco.” (Although it’s also worth noting her poor scores in the organization’s 22-Day Muni Challenge a couple of years back).

“Walk SF is looking forward to digging in and continuing our work with Mayor Breed on our city’s goal to end all severe and fatal traffic crashes by 2024. In January, acting mayor Breed held a press conference announcing our record low number for fatalities in 2017. We were pleased to see Breed jump right into the important work of Vision Zero, showing a deep understanding of the seriousness of traffic violence and the need to achieve zero deaths,” wrote Walk SF’s Jodie Medeiros, in an email to Streetsblog.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition was also predictably upbeat, even though Breed was not their first choice. “During this race, London Breed painted a bold vision for the future of transportation in our city, including more transportation funding, many more protected bike lanes across SF, and extending car-free Healthy Saturdays in Golden Gate Park all year long,” wrote the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition on twitter. “We look forward to working with Mayor Breed on these issues and many more, and wish her all the best as she returns to Room 200 in City Hall.”

Breed scored well on the SFBC’s questionnaire; she’s on the record as being in favor of protected bike lanes around the city. The only item on the SFBC’s list that was a negative, in their view, was that she wouldn’t commit to congestion pricing.

That said, SFBC’s board can’t be too happy–the organization’s dual endorsement of Leno and Kim could also be viewed as an anti-endorsement of Breed. And, according to those familiar with City Hall, here’s why: Breed has a bit of a reputation for supporting bike causes when they are highly public and then, at least on occasion, watering down or sabotaging things behind the scenes. Case in point, she supported the highly visible Bike Yield ordinance. And, as she pointed out in a Medium post, she “got the Oak and Fell bike lanes completed ahead of schedule in 2013,” an achievement that prompted this publication to write that she had “emerged as a bicycling champion.”

But she also intervened to have a bike-share station removed near her home because it supposedly made it harder to find parking. And she failed to fight for full transit bulbs on Irving Street, again because it would reduce the amount of city-provided car storage.

Either way, with a victory by a little over 2,000 votes under San Francisco’s Ranked Choice Voting system, she certainly doesn’t have a mandate. And given that this was a special election, where she will be finishing out the late Mayor Lee’s term, the political analysts say she’s only got about six months to make appointments and get a few policies in motion before she’s going to have to start prepping for her 2019 run.


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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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