Proposition K sales tax provides resources for livability.
Bicycle and pedestrian safety, maintenance and improvement of the existing transit network, streetscape enhancements and urban greening,and coordination of transportation and land use planning are the hallmarks of 2003's Proposition K, the measure which renewed our current 1/2-cent sales tax. An extension of Caltrain into a rebuilt Transbay Terminal, the extension of Muni's Third St. light rail into Chinatown, and a rebuilt Doyle Drive are also planned.
If you believe that a city thrives best when its people can meet most needs with a safe and pleasant walk, and have the choice to take a safe and easy bike ride or fast and efficient transit for most other trips, you should be really happy with this proposal.
TLC achieved all three of its goals for the sales tax campaign:
1) a network- and systems-based approach as opposed to a "glamorous ribbon-cutting projects" approach;
1) Network Approach
This sales tax budget puts a solid 36% of Muni capital expenditures into the rapid bus network and transit priority treatments to reduce transit travel times. It also dedicates fully 40% of the entire sales tax budget to transit system maintenance. Such dedication to the citywide network will reduce transit times citywide, and be most effective at helping people live car-free lives. The bicycle network is well-funded in the plan, and the city's planned integration of all traffic signals into a single computerized network also receives substantial funding.
2) 10% for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
If the sales tax generates between $2.35 billion and $2.63 billion -- the conservative and moderate revenue estimates -- bicycle and pedestrian projects receive about 8.9% of revenues. If the sales tax generates the optimistic projection of $2.82 billion, bicycle and pedestrian projects receive 10.6%! [See below for a discussion of various revenue projections.]
3) Land Use & Transportation Connection
TLC suggested language to tie transportation investments to improvements in land use emphasizing existing and future residential and employment density. The Transportation Authority responded by requiring agencies to consider land use in their prioritization of projects: before funding, projects must "demonstrate compatibility with existing and planned uses, including urban design standards and pedestrian amenities, and support for planned growth in transit-friendly housing, employment and services."
Also, there is $20 million specifically dedicated for coordination of transportation and land use, money that will be used for planning and for providing the local match to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's "Transportation for Livable Communities" program that incents housing next to transit and bicycle and pedestrian amenities in transit-oriented developments.
Finally, there's also $13.2 million for improving the management of parking supply in San Francisco, to make better use of existing open space dedicated to parking. One of TLC's main priorities in 2004 is to change parking policies to reduce traffic and create more opportunities for housing and usable open space, and we look forward to working with the Transportation Authority on new parking policies.
A Word on Assumed Revenue Projections in the Plan
This plan projects three scenarios for revenue collection, $2.35 billion if revenue collection is less than expected, $2.62 billion if revenue projections are correct, and $2.82 billion if revenue collections are a little higher than projected. The most optimistic scenario is actually fairly likely if the Bay Area gets its land use under control and directs residential and commercial growth to the already developed areas including San Francisco. This scenario got a boost recently when the Association of Bay Area Governments published its "smart growth" forecast for regional development, showing more housing growth in San Francisco and less destructive suburban sprawl.