This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
San Francisco County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Improving Public Transportation

By Alix Amelia Rosenthal

Candidate for Member, Board of Supervisors; County of San Francisco; Supervisorial District 8

This information is provided by the candidate
Public Transit must be a convenient, fast, and reliable alternative for both the commuter and casual driver. Reducing unnecessary car trips and increasing commuter usage of public transit are essential elements for air quality improvement and easing traffic and parking congestion.
The Problem

In a geographically small city where people should be able to walk, bike or ride public transit, short-sighted or misguided policies conspire to force people out of public spaces and into their cars, choking the streets with traffic, the air with pollution and the lifeblood out of San Francisco's communities.

Muni's staggering fiscal problems resulted in a 7% decrease in service last year. If Muni can't stop the fiscal bleeding, San Franciscans can expect worsening public transportation as a desperate Muni reduces service and hikes fares even more. And the worse it gets, the more people take to their cars, which compounds the area's traffic congestion and ensures Muni's downward spiral.

Furthermore, city policies often favor traffic engineering -- how to move more cars more quickly -- over urban planning for livability. Our city streets and sidewalks are public spaces. They should be safe and aesthetically pleasing for pedestrians, conducive to bicycling, and overall, inviting places that contribute to -- not detract from -- our communities.

The Solution

The heart of any livable city should be its municipal transportation system, which includes transit as well as opportunities for walking and biking. I am committed to creating a San Francisco where public transit, walking and bicycling are attractive alternatives to driving. Create a World-Class Muni System

Muni must become faster, more frequent and more reliable. The following changes, well-tested in other cities, could go a long way to improving Muni's service and attracting riders:

  • Speed up boarding with lowered bus floors, prepaid fares, and expanded Proof of Payment methods
  • Free Muni from traffic by creating more transit-only lanes and installing traffic signals that stay green longer when a bus is approaching
  • Speed up trips by increasing the distance between stops, where appropriate
  • Concentrate Muni resources where people use it most to create flagship routes, then expand scope

In addition to increasing ridership, we must fix Muni's financial woes. The city should bring together stakeholders such as riders, business interests, and transit advocates to develop creative consensus-based solutions to the funding shortfalls and permanently rescue Muni. Develop Increased Opportunities for Walking and Biking

Hilly terrain notwithstanding, a city as small and dense as San Francisco is perfect for walking and biking short distances to work or the grocery store, or for fun and exercise. I support good urban planning for people, not just cars. I will work to:

  • Ensure that pedestrian improvement projects (sidewalk widening, "bulb" crosswalks, and traffic-calming measures) are well-represented in the City's public works budget
  • Complete the Citywide Bike Network to fill the gaps in bike access, and to create marked or separated lanes for bicycles
  • Support Supervisor McGoldrick's "Healthy Saturdays" legislation, which would close part of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to automobile traffic, as it is on Sundays
  • Ensure the improvement of pavement quality throughout the City, which can be a major hazard for bicyclists

Better Manage Parking and Congestion

In San Francisco's communities, the more parking you build, the more cars you attract and the worse congestion gets. City policies that favor traffic engineering and ease of parking should be de-emphasized in favor of livability. I will lead the Board of Supervisors in eliminating the parking requirements in new construction that drive up housing costs, and subsidized rates for public parking that deprive the city's General Fund of critical resources that could be used for transit, parks, health care, or education.

The City has many wide, multi-lane and one-way streets that were designed to move cars quickly through what were primarily non-residential areas. Yet automobile capacity in the downtown areas will need to shrink in order to accommodate transit, bicycling, and pedestrian improvements. Reducing automobile traffic to downtown will help District 8 as well, as much of the traffic bound for downtown travels through the District's residential and historic neighborhoods. To create more livable communities and preserve efficient automobile travel for those trips that are best made by car, San Francisco must better manage the cost and supply of parking, particularly commuter parking, to help reduce automobile travel downtown. Specifically, I support congestion pricing for downtown, as well as policies that limit excessive parking supply.

Candidate Page || Feedback to Candidate || This Contest
November 2006 Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter

ca/sf Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 12, 2006 14:12
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.