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San Francisco Considers Charging Drivers to Enter or Leave Downtown

| June 11, 2013
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By Bryan Goebel

If you think rush-hour traffic is bad in downtown San Francisco now, a new report from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority says it’s going to get even worse in the coming decade.

File photo. Traffic before the Bay Bridge. (Craig Miller / KQED)

File photo. Traffic at the Bay Bridge toll plaza (Craig Miller / KQED)

“We’re going to be faced with severe congestion at some point. We’re not able to say exactly when, but it’s certainly within the next, I’d say, 10 years. And if we don’t move decisively now, it might even be sooner than that,” said Tilly Chang with the SFCTA.

Chang said a plan to charge drivers to enter or leave downtown, known as congestion pricing, is again emerging as one solution to alleviate gridlock. She said something more is needed to really slow down the growth of traffic flooding into that area.

“We definitely see parking management and congestion pricing as examples of how we can encourage people to review their choices and to really think about, ‘Do I really need to make this trip in a car?’ ” Chang said.

Congestion pricing would involve a toll for vehicles entering or leaving downtown at certain hours. Drivers would pay a fee — say, $3 a trip — when they drive downtown. They’d be charged automatically, through a device like FasTrak or through a camera system that would record their license plates. The money raised would be used to enhance transit and make the streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Congestion pricing has been talked about before in the Bay Area and it’s a tough sell to both drivers and politicians. But things might be changing.

Jane Kim represents South of Market on the Board of Supervisors. Her district has more than its share of traffic snarls and one of the city’s highest rates of injuries and deaths from vehicle-pedestrian collisions.

“As South of Market grows in density, I think more and more residents are talking about it and switching from saying, ‘This is a terrible idea” to thinking, ‘This may be the only way I can have a livable neighborhood,’ ” Kim said.

With several large developments on tap for her district, including a proposed Warriors arena, she wants to explore congestion pricing.

“We’re going to have to figure out ways to get people out of their cars, and onto other modes to get into the Financial District or downtown,” Kim said. “Or we’re going to have to ask people to pay if they do choose to drive so we can help improve that infrastructure.”

A congestion pricing plan from the city Transportation Authority will soon undergo an environmental review. Any proposal the city develops would need approval from the Legislature.

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Category: Economy, Transportation

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  • Ken Stofft

    It’s the population in SF that is causing this difficulty, not just people driving in from other areas. Why is SF allowing more and more expensive high rise apartment buildings? Reduce the population and improve public transit, and I suspect a major change will be created for the better. Or, simply make SF car-free!!!! Make bicycles free, improve the pubic transit system, and, voila, no pollution and no car grid lock. Maybe bicycle grid lock?

    • lewis

      Cities should not be allowed to exclude legal US residents. It is the right of a legal US resident to live where he or she wishes. It’s the difficult building requirements that make the Bay Area expensive.

      • baller445

        People who make a great living who can pay the high rents, or even buy with having good credit, college students and tourists gridlock the housing, not illegals as you subliminally suggested, they obviously can’t pay the rent either so stop typically blaming foreigners for your problems of short comings.

        • lewis

          I’m not blaming foreigners. I mean that Ken Stofft is wrong to suggest that San Francisco reduce its population to relieve congestion. I mean that San Francisco is not some little country with its own immigration laws. If people are allowed to live in America they’re allowed to live in San Francisco.

      • Ryan Brady

        Attaching a fee to one method of transportation is not an exclusion.

    • Logos247

      More (with affordable intent) housing will make it less expensive. Willie Brown denied many housing projects more than a decade ago in favor of vanity projects (and parking lots). Now we have the Techbubble2 and we are unprepared.

    • Ryan Brady

      That’s a stupid idea. If you had a highrise full of people without cars, who work in San Francisco and walk or take transit, then they don’t contribute to congestion.

      If instead you shift all those people (who work in San Francisco) to suburbs that are 30+ minutes away, you make the problem waaaaay worse.

    • baller445

      public transit is hell to ride in SF. Since it is free more or less, the bus drivers don’t check anymore, all kinds of crazies that harass, smell and carry guns and look to confront passengers enter these in middle of citizens. If I could buy a car I surely would avoid public transit in SF as well, I do not blame automobile drivers at all for opting to drive in SF. Opting for a bicycle is a good idea too, that I agree with but with the hills, it takes a lot of dedication not everyone is willing to do.

      • Ryan Brady

        Transit is not that bad. Do you actually take it?

        For the most part, bicycling is pretty easy in the city too. Bike routes generally take you around any severe hills. The one exception, I’d say, is getting to North Beach (Polk is a bit of an incline) or getting from Mission Sunset (without a huge detour).

  • SF

    Let’s wait and see … the worst offenders are those who proposes this fee!!

  • John

    These politicians need to be fired for coming up with such moronic ideas!

    • Logos247

      And your idea to reduce congestion downtown is …?

    • srcarruth

      congestion tolls work in Europe, they reduce traffic.

      • mrwritesf

        People in Europe don’t rely on cars the way we do BECAUSE they have reliable public transportation and inter-city train service. When’s the last time MUNI or Amtrak ran on time?

        • MaxMen011

          Exactly! People in SF in their self-absorbed and vain bubble do not realize the rest of the Bay Area or California do have nearly as good public transit, biking and walking options.

          Not even to talk about how this will scare more families and businesses out of town.

      • Shane

        Exactly the way closing market stree to autos was supposed to?

  • Cyclist

    This sounds backwards. They want to use toll money to both encourage cycling/walking and encourage people to cycle/walk. Those goals are diametrically opposed – if they succeed at getting people out of their cars, they’ll have less money to pay for it.

    Then again, San Francisco overpays for things by such a ridiculous amount that maybe a dwindling tax base would teach them that money isn’t free.

    • Logos247

      I’m trying to understand you Cyclist. How is getting people out of their cars going to reduce taxes (if that’s what you meant)?

      And what specific goals are diametrically opposed? Your second sentence reads tautologically.

      • MaxMen011

        Logos247 i’m trying to understand YOUR logic, or lack thereof. How does charging people who have no other option to drive into SF is going to get them out their cars? BART does not run all night or too well and is even at capacity.

        They’ll just avoid coming to San Francisco all together and then the dwindling tax-base reality that cyclist mentions will REALLY come to fore.

        • Ryan Brady

          There are other options to drive into SF. Golden Gate Transit to North Bay (I use this to commute every day). BART from the East Bay. Caltrain from the Penninsula. You can easily park at a transit center and take public the rest of the way into San Francisco.

    • srcarruth

      the goal of congestion tolls is to reduce congestion. in many places where the tolls exist they are only charged when the roads are congested (regardless of time of day). thus when there is no congestion there is no toll. this often leads to a reduction in congestion. Studies find that easily half of people on the road during high traffic are not regular commuters. These trips can often be made at other times and a congestion toll tends to make those drivers reconsider when they leave the house.

    • Ryan Brady

      Actually no. Driving is heavily subsidized by local taxes. Reducing the amount of driving would be a net benefit. Congestion pricing just shifts the negative externalities of driving onto the people doing the driving.

  • lewis

    This is exactly what’s needed. There is no city in the world that has used public transit to get itself out of congestion, but London, Stockholm and Singapore have managed congestion in their CBD’s with congestion pricing. http://priceroads.vctr.me/videos/

    • MaxMen011

      London, Stockholm and Singapore have excellent public transit OPTIONS that allow people to CHOOSE to not drive. That is not the case here in the US and it is just plain dumb and naive to suggest otherwise.

      • Guest

        not in the US but it is in SAN FRANCISCO which is what we’re talking about.

        • MaxMen011

          Leave SAN FRANCISCO for a change and see the WORLD and know that the Bay Area transit is sub-par compared to the rest of the world.

  • MrBuck

    This would place a fee on driving to the County Courthouse, Federal Courthouse and City Hall. Thus, an effective poll tax (registrar to vote) and a tax to access the legal system. The constitutional implications are questionable.

    • srcarruth

      congestion tolls are not 24/7

      • MrBuck

        Are they in-place during Board of Sups? Is City Hall open when they are not in force? The problem remains, if they impede access to the Courts or Government they are constitutionally suspect.

        • nickv

          Should transit also be free for Board of Sups meetings?

          Why are cars special?

          • MrBuck

            No one is subjecting that parking be made free. And transit is heavily subsidized. While I think it would be stupid, your logic implies that not only should the tolls be dropped but anyone going to City Hall on business should be provide an equal subsidy as is given to those using transit. A REAL BAD idea, in my opinion.

          • Sgt Beefeater

            You don’t think roads are heavily subsidized?

            As Morpheus would say, “Do you think that’s air you’re breathing?”

          • MrBuck

            If the following is correct, the subsidy of transit by autos would appear to be higher hen any subsidy of cars. You do indicate where you get your “facts” from. (The source is at the link at the end)

            State Transit Funding Support

            California transportation spending is derived from two main sources:
            gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes, and sales tax on gasoline and
            diesel fuel. Although California, like most states, spends the vast
            majority of its transportation revenue on highways – more than 80% – it
            does set aside a significant amount for public transit as well through
            several methods. One of the earliest and most important was 1971′s
            Transportation Development Act (TDA). The TDA dedicates 0.25% of the
            state sales tax to public transit and is administered by a Local
            Transportation Fund created in each county. The TDA also extended a 5%
            state sales tax to gasoline and used revenues gathered in this way to
            make up for losses to the general fund caused by the diversion of some
            of the state sales tax to public transit.

            full text at :
            http://publictransport.about.com/od/Transit_Funding/a/California-Public-Transit-Funding.htm

      • Sanfordia113

        Road tolls should be 24×7, however, pricing should be cheaper in off-hours. Nonetheless, it is absurd to equate taxing privileged drivers with a poll tax!

    • Vodeeodoe

      I’m not sure about the courthouses, but City Hall isn’t downtown. It’s in the Van Ness corridor. I think what they are talking about is the Financial District and parts of SOMA, on the East side of the City.

      • MrBuck

        Actually, there have been proposals to include the area from Franklin on the west to Embarcadero on the east.

        • Vodeeodoe

          whoa.

    • Ryan Brady

      So… walk? Or take transit?

      • MrBuck

        If transit works AND the person is not mobility impaired.

        • Ryan Brady

          Now you’re just being a naysayer.

          Congestion tolls could make an exception for handicap placard holders. Or the city could set up more polling places. Or the city could set up a special transportation system for the mobility impaired.

          • MrBuck

            Currently, Bridge Tolls that use Fast-Track don’t, but that would be one way to deal with that issue, I agree. However, the base issue, charging to access government remains.

            But as they say, the devil is in the details and they will be interesting to read.

          • Christine Knopp

            Have you not yet noticed the hundreds of cars parked along the Financial with handicap placards already? And seen the perfectly fit young business men get out of them. That just means more people taking advantage of that system, and the rest of us honest people taking the hit for it. (If you weren’t aware, any car with a handicap placard essentially gets free all day parking. )
            Not sure this will help that problem if we also allow that to get free tolls, too.

          • MrBuck

            Define a “fit” person. Because you can’t SEE a physical or mental disability does not mean it does not exist. Can you see a spinal injury that make walking difficult? Assumptions based on what you can see, like race, often lead to discriminatory answers.

          • Christine Knopp

            Well, my dad shattered his shin bone and had a knee replaced and my mom has had multiple back surgeries, fused lombar, bad arthritis in her feet etc, and both of them were offended when I told them that if they used a handicap placard (which they both refuse to get, feeling themselves not worthy of it when there are “actual handicapped people out there”)they’d get free all day parking, because “since when does being handicapped mean you automatically have no money to pay to park?”
            Because… there’s no spot designated for low income people. There’s no spots for students.
            I’d actually prefer that there are special handicapped meters set aside every other block or so in high traffic areas that still require payment, but that can only be used by a handicapped person. That way, Joe Schmoe the business man won’t be taking up a parking spot the whole day as he works in the Financial making three times as much as the poor 80 year old woman who can’t find any spot within walking distance because she didn’t get there at 6 AM.

            I’m not against people who may or may not actually be handicapped as much as I’m against a system that clearly isn’t helping the people it was originally designed to help in the first place.

            (Also, yes, I’m aware not all handicaps are visible. Same mother I mention above almost fainted when I took her to Disneyland after a hospital stay. I had to almost force her to stay in a wheel chair because she felt she looked too healthy to be in one despite the fact that she couldn’t stand without assistance.)

          • Shane

            The eyes roll – if you actually lived in SF you’d understand that the majority of people using disabled placards are using them fruadualently… if they simply eliminated this problem there would be far less congestion down town..

          • Ryan Brady

            I do. I was just savvy enough to ditch my car early enough to not care about handicapped placards.

          • MrBuck

            IF people, use them fraudulently, they need to be prosecuted. Fraud should be treated like any other crime. Since many pedestrians walk into traffic in the middle of the block, should walking be illegal? I see no reason to penalize someone for other peoples crime. (wait, isn’t that “profiling”? Another activity that is just wrong..)

          • Shane

            Well if you have eyes in your head you can see that people use them fruadualently – alot – for what ever reason SF refuses to go after them.. Even if they get caught the fine is only 1400 – (which they won’t).

          • MrBuck

            People the use them fraudulently need to be prosecuted. And if the fine is not sufficient to cause them to follow the , increase the fines. No one should be allowed to break the law and not have a very real penalty for that conduct. However, law enforcement is a major issue outside of just placards. Let’s enforce ALL the traffic related laws and start fining everyone that breaks them. A good use for these fines is more subsidy for transit which might help with the underlying problem.

          • Sanfordia113

            Or they can do what most people do: VOTE ABSENTEE!

  • San Mateo County

    I suggest San Mateo country put up their tool booths to charge SF residents to leave SF to enter San Mateo county. Start the fee at $20 dollars.

    • baller445

      Why would they pay 20 dollars to enter San Mateo? You are failing to see the point. SF is the head of the monster, cut that off and you too will bleed out.

  • Eric Greenfield

    The Marina will not allow this

  • Lyn

    I wouldn’t need to make the trip in a car if Muni was remotely reliable.

  • Aldous Cullen

    Maybe, just maybe if you left bart running later I would consider this an option. Why am I supposed to pay two tolls just for going to work? How is that helping? Oh so now I get to waste more of my paycheck and time on tax returns just so i get too an from work everyday and I still get to sit in traffic? Sounds like a f***ing pleasure cruise to me

  • Ibby_dibby

    Oh goody, the downtown streets will be devoid of anyone in a car except for wealthy people and the poor saps that cannot really afford this TAX but must drive downtown for work. Great thinking…we should just make all the streets in SF this way….awesome idea!

    • Ryan Brady

      The poor already take transit.

      • Ibby_dibby

        And the transit is sooo reliable too…the poor are subsidized and get a break on their passes. The middle class will pay the new TAX and not buy something else to do so…and the well-to-do wont notice it EXCEPT for the nice wide open streets for their luxury cars to cruise through.

        • Ryan Brady

          Drivers are already subsidized by local taxes. The registration fees and gas taxes do not begin to pay for road maintenance.

          • MaxMen011

            They actually don’t. But okay, sure. Make up whatever crap you believe.

          • Ryan Brady
          • MaxMen011

            LOL! Can you read? The links you posted is the city taking out a BOND to pave the roads. Do you know what a BOND is? Even i that sense, do you not realize the fiscal incompetence of taking out a Bond just to pave your own roads?

            And did you miss the part where it said: “$50 million for pedestrian and bike safety enhancements, $20 million to improve Muni’s traffic signal infrastructure”.

            Just stop while you’re ahead.

          • Ryan Brady

            Yeah, do you know how bonds get repaid? Through taxes.

            Do you know why the bond was necessary? Because road use fees don’t cover the maintenance.

            And did you miss the part where it said $148 million for repaving?

          • MaxMen011

            You said earlier:”Drivers are already subsidized by local taxes.”

            Newsflash: Paying back debt in the form of this bond to do essential street maintenance that the buses and bikes need to use too, is NOT subsidization. The city is owing money to a bank and using taxpayer funds to pay it back.

          • Ryan Brady

            Bikes don’t cause road damage in any appreciable account. It would take 8000 bicycle riders to do the same damage as a single Escalade.

            Buses do, but a majority of the damage is caused by the vastly greater number of cars.

          • MaxMen011

            I like how you’re changing the argument away from your absurd suggestion earlier that drivers “subsidize” the roads.

            More idiocy coming from you is this suggestion that cars “damage” the roads. Are you kidding? Ever heard of these words called “maintenance” and “upkeep”? Buses and other factors like PEOPLE and the WEATHER wear down roads too and need to be MAINTAINED.

          • Shane

            The diffrence in lbs per square in excerted on the road is very mimumal from a bike to a car.

            >>Contact patch. A road bike tire has maybe three square inches of rubber touching the ground. With a two hundred pound rider/bike you get about 34 pounds per square inch force. My car, at 3200 pounds, has contact patches around 18 square inches. This gives about 44 ppsi force

            Interestingly enough MUNI who actually does the most road damage Pays zero to use them…. Interestingly you put a 200lb man on a bike with

          • Sanfordia113

            dubious claim that 8,000 bike trips would cause the same amount of damage as a single Escalade trip. Probably more like 800 Critical Mass rides… or 800,000 bicycle trips.

          • Shane

            every driver pays 62cents per gallon tax for the roads (highest in the nation), 20 buck in additional registration fees for SF to fix it’s roads… We pay far more than our share.

          • Ryan Brady

            Mostly goes to highways, which only motor vehicles get to use.

          • Shane

            the 20 buck fee added to my registration is SF only – I have bikes too.. 3 of them.. but it’s time that everyone gets to pay…
            Van Ness for instance is 101 eligiable for an reciveing federal highway funds – it’s one of the worst roads in the city, Why – because the majority of it hasn’t been repaved in the 20 years that I lived here.

          • Sanfordia113

            Van Ness is truly a road that needs to be undergrounded. Doing so would dramatically:
            * Enhance transit safety for bikes & pedestrians;
            * Reduce transit times for automobiles;
            * Enhance reliability of Muni;
            * Reduce vehicular traffic along adjacent streets;
            * Enhance livability along the corridor;
            * Pay for itself via road tolls and land leases.

          • Franklin41

            How absurd. Of course it mostly goes to highways, it’s a tax paid by highway users. Subsidizing yourself is not a subsidy. It’s a user fee and it’s the most reasonable form of taxation. If transit users actually paid their full share for rail capital, road maintenance for heavy buses, and capital bus costs, that would be a real win. It’s not going to happen because everyone else subsidizes them and it’s become an entitlement. It wasn’t always that way. If San Francisco actually put the entire amount of money that drivers pay into actual road improvements, it would be impressive how many bottlenecks they could fix. Instead you get proposals like this — more taxes/tolls from car drivers to subsidize other people — the smug, self-righteous urban planning elite.

  • Ryan Brady

    Drivers are already subsidized by non-drivers. Time to make things a little more fair.

    • Ibby_dibby

      Fair…that’s a good one. We should tax anyone clogging 19th Avenue just to make things “fair”.

    • Franklin41

      Oh yeah? How much are drivers subsidized by non-drivers per mile? Now contrast that to how much transit riders are subsidized by drivers per mile? Who’s really subsidizing whom? (Hint: The drivers pay far more than their fair share).

    • scott_lewis

      Totally disagree. Whenever there is a transportation bond a disproportionate share of the money goes to public transit. And I guarantee you it costs * A LOT * less for me to drive my own car downtown at night than to run a bus with 2-3 people on it, or a BART train that’s 90% empty.

      • Ryan Brady

        This charge is during rush hour, when the pollution cars create is even higher due to stop and go traffic, and public transit is easily full enough to be the most efficient means of getting people from place to place.

  • Irving Ortiz

    This makes no sense. So on top of paying for parking now citizens who do business in San Francisco and all tourist have to pay to come and leave your city? If thats the case whyt not provide free parking to at least the people who work in the area? Why not build parking strutcures outside city limits and provide free or cheap transportation with in San Francisco’s city lilit or downtown area? The hard working people of San Francisco do not deserve this new fee.

    • Ryan Brady

      The downtown area is well served by public transit. Your commute creates negative externalities – costs to society that *you* do not pay. All a congestion toll does is make you pay for the costs you create.

    • http://www.mrericsir.com MrEricSir

      Why should the city pay for your poor choices?

  • mrwritesf

    Annnnnnnd when companies LEAVE SF so their employees can get to work more cheaply, what then?

    • Ryan Brady

      Google, Genentech, etc. already bus their employees everywhere.

      • MaxMen011

        Which they would have to pay this fee too. Meaning that, they’ll start encouraging employees to move out of SF.

        • Ryan Brady

          If it’s a per vehicle fee, I assure you, they will not give a single whit about it.

      • mrwritesf

        And everyone in the Bay Area works for either one or the other so problem solved?

        • Ryan Brady

          Complaint was about companies leaving SF. I know a lot of startups that move *to* San Francisco so that their workers can be better served by transit.

          The *big* companies, have the funds to bus their employees out of the city.

          Y’all are complaining about a problem that doesn’t exist.

    • MaxMen011

      I know. Let alone the tourists. SF’s lifeblood.

  • Sam

    this is a dumb idea. That is all.

  • Michael Toleikis

    Funny how the answer to everything here is more fees and tolls. How about that.

  • btsfsu27

    I think the focus should be on better muni, with it working later and more efficiently. I agree that cars are a problem in the city but the main problem is taking the bus has to be one of the worst experiences in the city. Slow, barely on time and it takes an hour to go 3 miles. Why would you not take a car if you had one? Seems to me to be a misplacing the problem on something that has nothing to do with the real problem. Cars are used in excess because the ability to get where you need to go is impeded by horrible public transit.

    • Sanfordia113

      You forgot to add dirty and full of smelly drug-using disease-carrying criminals.

  • vetipie

    Well first you have to improve public transportation A LOT, run bart all night, and stop the ridiculous 12 midnight end time. Extra buses, and some other type of fast rapid transit is needed. Our city does not do a good job in public transportation, more price hikes and tolls just adds to the frustration of people trying to get around. Be a visionary San Francisco and imagine a city with amazing public transportation that eliminates traffic congestion.

    • Ryan Brady

      You realize this proposal is just for during rush hour, right?

      • vetipie

        and? We need a decent public transport system before we need their toll system, period.

        • Ryan Brady

          and night time BART has nothing to do with rush hour usage.

          Look, I live in San Francisco, but I grew up in Napa. When we used to visit, we didn’t know anything about transit, and so we didn’t use it.

          Now that I live here, and ditched my car, I realize the transit is actually not too bad. The only real problems I see are that certain areas of the city are underserved. The financial district is *not* one of them.

          • Franklin41

            How self-righteous you are, Napa boy. Not everyone can afford to live in San Fran and bike to work with a daily capuccino. Grow up, have a family, and live outside your bubble. You’ll see that real people who actually labor for a living are just as important as you and they drive cars. Nothing wrong with that, Mr. Hipster.

          • Ryan Brady

            I worked hard to get where I am, and for the last three years I’ve taken a public transit commute to Marin.

            YOU DON’T KNOW ME

        • Matt Laroche

          Since much of the public transit into downtown is on city streets (AC transit, GGT, SamTrans, Muni), charging a congestion charge would improve public transit.

  • SF Transplant

    Maybe if SF (and the close outlying suburbs — the city property is pretty small) had frequent public transit that operated 24/7 well outside the dense areas (See Chicago and NY for public transit examples) people wouldn’t feel the need to drive. Muni doesn’t get you anywhere except within the city limits (where the congestion charge is proposed) and BART would solve a lot of this if it ran 24/7 and more frequently in the evening.

    • Ryan Brady

      Look up Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans and AC Transit. Or just plan your trip on http://511.org/

  • Cody

    This is so incredibly dumb. If paying $40 to park for the day doesn’t discourage a driver why would a $3 toll make a difference? All this is going to do is create even more congestion while traffic backs up to pay the toll.

    • Ryan Brady

      It’s automated.

  • Guffie

    the harder and costlier it is for people to drive, the less people will. speaking on experience, i used to drive all around the city and then it just became too expensive for parking and gas and i realized i really didn’t need to drive. now i muni/bart, walk or ride bike everywhere. i think there should be leeway made for elderly/handicap but everyone else? pay or walk. :) besides, all of these people complaining about cost will complain much more about how much traffic there is and accidents you’ll get into.

    • No Way

      And you get nowhere on time now.

    • scott_lewis

      I pay the expensive of driving because it saves me an hour a day. Public transit is notoriously inefficient. BART can’t decide whether it’s a commuter rail or a homeless shelter and Muni is an outright joke.

  • sebra leaves

    How will all the new retail outlets going to get deliveries? Since there will be less customers shopping there, it may make no difference. Has nobody paid attention to the Examiner article “S.F. boom leaving many behind”, that lists the downtown residents in Districts 3 and 6 as struggling to pay the bills now? How will increasing the costs of living help the citizens living in poverty in District 6?
    http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/sf-boom-leaving-many-behind/Content?oid=2350150

    • Christine Knopp

      I live on Treasure Island and shop SF just because it’s a short drive, and relatively local. I can guarantee I’d no longer be spending my money in the city if it costs me money to get there. And it’s not like you can really carry a whole new bathroom set on the bus. It’s a terrible idea for business. Considering that literally 50% of the SOMA traffic is caused because of the Giant’s games, maybe they should rethink that Warrior’s Arena instead of taking out the money on semi locals who just want to shop in the city or I dunno, drive to work.

    • Ryan Brady

      If this has the stated effect of reducing congestion, the retail outlets will probably save more money on labor time than they will lose to the fee.

  • OT

    Using traffic cops to ticket people when they block intersections would be better start to keeping traffic flowing. The 80 ramps in SOMA are the worst offenders. NYC has been doing this for years.

    • Ryan Brady

      SFPD doesn’t enforce traffic violations… like ever.

      • Sanfordia113

        Nor does SFPD obey stop signs themselves… ever!

      • scott_lewis

        This is sadly true. As a fairly safe driver, this annoys me.

  • BARTmeetsclockworkorange

    Sounds like things are breaking down the same way they do in other cities; the people in the zone are generally in favor (because they have to put up with it), the inner suburbs (who help create the problem) are against it.

    Any city that has regular traffic jams and does not have a congestion charge is fundamentally mismanaged. You suburban visitors and commuters will get faster smoother traffic, surely it can’t be that much fun to sit in a traffic jam.

  • Christine Knopp

    I guess I’ll just have to stop grocery shopping, clothes shopping and seeing movies, etc in the city anymore.

    • Ryan Brady

      Why would you drive into a city to do grocery shopping. Are you crazy?

      • Christine Knopp

        I live on Treasure Island. My choices are East Bay and pay a toll, or SF. Before this, SF was the clear choice.

        • Ryan Brady

          That… is actually the one answer that makes sense. And there is no transit to Treasure Island that I know of. So…. damn.

          • Matt Laroche

            (To Ryan) Muni 108 goes to Treasure Island. Though it’s not fast to get from Treasure Island to anywhere away from the Transbay Terminal.

          • Christine Knopp

            Yeah, as the person said, the 108 runs through Treasure Island, but it’s the least convenient thing when my single shopping trip I could make in a car would take me many multiple bus rides to accomplish.
            That and taxis won’t take you to the island 50% of the time. Or they just charge you $35.

  • Shane

    Wasn’t this exactly what closing market street off was supposed to accomplish? See any improvement? If you wanna clear the streets down town – solve the fruadulant use of handicap parking placards, and using congestion pricing on FedEx etc.. that’s at least 70 percent of the vehicles down town.
    The answer to everything transportation related is “more money” from drivers yet we never ever seen a one Iota of improvement on anything..with a budget that’s increased from 700mm to 830mm in just the last 5 years…. this would be no diffrent.
    Isn’t the 25% tax they charge garages already a big enough dis-incentive not to drive down town? I won’t drive my car in F/D unless is’s absolutely life or death…

  • d -b

    I experienced congestion pricing in London and it really sucks. The only people that drive are the very wealthy.

  • sfparkripoff

    SFMTA Boardmember Cheryl Brinkman has been pushing this absurd idea for years. http://livablecity.org/pipermail/carfreeliving_livablecity.org/2005-November/000414.html

    Like so many other plans hatched by our insulated administrators, this one
    is based on a demonstrably false set of beliefs about who we are and how
    we live. If city bureaucrats are going to make it punitive to enter downtown then private companies should pull out of San Francisco and move to more affordable and “car friendly” places like Foster City and Palo Alto, and Mountain View.

    The SFMTA has an 820 million dollar annual budget and 5000 employees with unfunded pensions. Where is all of the money going? San Francisco is headed for a municipal bankruptcy. The tech industry is already starting to falter and more layoffs will further weaken the business community. The key element to the economy is the sales tax. The more revenue from this source, the better the economy. High business costs and burdensome taxes have squeezed the middle class out of San Francisco and now they are killing off businesses.

    Major employers such as Wells Fargo, Chevron and Levi Strauss have moved thousands of jobs out of the city exactly for this reason. The next crash will take the tech jobs, crash the housing bubble, and kill off the remaining tax revenue. The urban planners will finally get their “congestion free” streets and the U-Hauls will be leaving the city like they did in the 2000′s. I get all giddy thinking about what else government will give us for our good.

    • scott_lewis

      Exactly. People who work in S.F. pay enough already. Businesses outside of S.F. all provide more than ample free parking. S.F. should be trying to lure people in, not drive them away (no pun intended).

  • Derf Defard

    I don’t go into the city for squat anymore. Crap like this will pretty much end my desire to even visit. What’s next, a breathing fee?

  • http://www.sfmoby.us/ Moby D

    The more you force middle class workers out the city thru extremely high rents and home prices, of course the traffic will increase.

  • Jack Tbr

    This will remain a terrible idea until there’s a compensatory improvement in the quality and coverage of MUNI/BART.

  • S

    transit is reliable during commuting times – that’s probably the best time to take it! Downtown SF is the most accessible place in the Bay Area and it’s ridiculous that people feel the need to drive there on a daily basis.

    • scott_lewis

      Maybe if you work downtown during normal 9-5 hours it’s ridiculous, but for someone like me with a reverse commute and somewhat off hours driving is the fastest way. Muni to downtown from my house–1 hour. Muni to BART to downtown from my house–45 minutes. Bicycling downtown from my house, 30 minutes. Driving downtown from my house, including parking in one of the garages, 15 minutes.
      I generally just go downtown on weekends, but prefer to drive rather than bike because I can go shopping.

  • KO

    Does that mean I have to pay to drive to my house in SoMa? I live in South of Market and have a car, and find that it’s the most convenient way to get around. The parking is a pain, but it is easier. Why does it take 45 minutes to get to the financial district on MUNI when it’s onIy two miles away? Residents still have to pay for parking and even more now for the meters that were just installed, as well as thousands of dollars in property taxes. Focus on better transportation, then we wouldn’t have to jump in our cars.

    • Matt Laroche

      London provides a 90% discount to residents residing in their congestion zone. It’s not written in stone that residents of the zone would have to pay.

      Muni would be better with less road congestion. It’s not feasible to say that we can only expect people to switch to public transit after it’s perfect.

    • Ryan Brady

      Assuming you aren’t disabled… can’t you just walk two miles?

  • Sanfordia113

    This is a great idea, so long as the money is used to build UNDERGROUND tunnels for cars to swiftly exit the city, away from pedestrians, cyclists, shoppers and restaurant patrons on the street. Underground 280, 101, 19th Ave, Van Ness, Geary, Cesar Chavez… just for starters. Then add a Townsend/Howard/Folsom/(or whichever street) option.

  • http://district5diary.blogspot.com/ Rob Anderson

    Chang has been trying to sell this idea for years. Fortunately public opinion polls show that the people of San Francisco are overwhelmingly opposed to Congestion Pricing. She works for the SFCTA, which is financed by Prop. K sales taxes. Prop. K money was supposed to be used to pave city streets, among other things. Instead it pays for anti-car policies, like Bike to Work Day and Chang’s years-long effort to charge people for driving downtown in their own city.

    The city already collects more than $170 million a year from motorists with parking meters, parking tickets, and parking garages. The SFCTA itself collects $90 million a year in sales taxes for transportation projects on city streets.

    The $248 million Prop. B street bond city voters passed a few years ago, when the bonds are paid off in 20 years, will have cost city taxpayers $248 million plus $187 million in interest. Such a deal!

    http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-street-bond-is-bad-deal-for-city.html

    Instead of Congestion Pricing, the supervisors should revisit the dumb idea of allowing 19,000 people to live on Treasure Island, which now has 2,300 residents. This is called “smart growth” by SF progressives!

  • scott_lewis

    After being attacked by a homeless person on BART, I started driving. Fortunately, I have a reverse commute and have to say it is *MUCH* more pleasant to sit in a comfortable, climate-controlled car, listening to the music of my choice without being harassed for spare change 3-4 times per trip, or worse, physically assaulted.

    The *fact* that driving takes 15 minutes while BART/Muni would take 45 is icing on the cake. Saving 5 hours a week, or the equivalent of six work weeks in one year, is a huge deal.

    As for congestion pricing, if I have to pay more to drive downtown than the fairly high parking fees at the garages I’ll just start doing my shopping/entertaining elsewhere. It’s not like there’s anything so special about downtown San Francisco vs. other parts of the Bay Area.

    I, too, am upset about the scam that Prop K turned out to be. Some roads are atrocious and, while potholes damage cars, they can be disastrous to people on bikes. I used to bike as well as drive, but lately have confined my biking to trails and off-road since it’s generally safer.