City of San Francisco "Restore Transportation Balance" Parking Meter and Traffic Laws Initiative, Proposition L (November 2014)

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A City of San Francisco "Restore Transportation Balance" Parking Meter and Traffic Laws Initiative, Proposition L ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of San Francisco, California. It was defeated

If approved, Proposition L would have established a declaration of policy for San Francisco's parking meters, parking garages and traffic laws. The declaration would have, among other provisions, prohibited the city from:[1]

  • charging parking meter fees on Sundays;
  • charging parking meter fees on holidays;
  • charging parking meter fees outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
  • putting new meters in neighborhoods without consent from the affected residents and businesses; and
  • increasing parking garage, meter or ticket rates for at least five years, with increases tied to the CPI after that.

The proposal would have also required the city to enforce traffic laws "equally for everyone using San Francisco's streets and sidewalks" and required representation for motorists in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).[2]

A group called Restore Transportation Balance was behind this initiative, which would not have directly enacted any binding legislation or directly changed any city laws. It would have, however, established transportation and parking policies for the city and county of San Francisco.[2]

Election results


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This ballot measure article has preliminary election results. Certified election results will be added as soon as they are made available by the state or county election office. The following totals are as of 100 percent of precincts reporting.

City of San Francisco, Proposition L
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No106,34962.42%
Yes 64,034 37.58%

Election results via: City and County of San Francisco Registrar of Voters

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title for this initiative, provided by the city attorney:[1]

Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities[3]

Ballot summary

The following ballot summary was prepared by the city attorney for this initiative:[1]

SanFrancisco2014TransportationInitaitive.jpg

Full text

The full text of the ordinance enacted by this measure is below:[4]

Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco

With 79% of San Francisco households owning or leasing an automobile and nearly 50% of San Franciscans who work outside of their homes driving or carpooling to work, it is time for the Mayor, the Supervisors, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board to restore a balanced transportation policy for all San Franciscans.

Balanced transportation policies would better serve San Francisco motorists, pedestrians, first responders, taxi riders, Muni riders, and bicyclists, and address the unique needs of the disabled, seniors, and families with children.

The Board of Supervisors created a Transit First policy in 1973. in 1999, the SFMTA was created. Its unelected board was granted exclusive authority to dictate the City's transportation policies. Since then, the Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles, to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation. Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety, and freedom of movement.

The City has eliminated thousands of off-street and on-street parking spaces through new construction and the creation of new bike lanes. The City also removed the requirement that one parking space be crated for each new residential unit constructed. To make matters worse, the SFMTA has not constructed a single new parking garage since the 1990s. These out-of-balance policies have contributed to a severe shortage of parking spaces in the City.

By eliminating traffic lanes, the City has increased travel times for motorists, Muni riders, and first responders a like. This has contributed to greater congestion on our street, thereby increasing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The City has substantially increased parking garage fees, meter rates, parking ticket fines, and the costs of residential parking permits, while expanding the days and times when meters are enforced. Today, motorists pay a greater share of the SFMTA's budget than do Muni riders.

Motorists' share of funding the SFMTA will continue to rise if the vehicle license fee is tripled, as proposed; parking meters are expanded into residential neighborhoods; and the City follows through on its plans to introduce variable meter pricing to every neighborhood of San Francisco.

It shall be the policy of the City and County of San Francisco that:

1. Parking meters should not operate on any City and County holiday listed sfgov.org, on Sundays, or outside the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Commencing July 1, 2015, fees for parking garages, meters, parking tickets, and neighborhood parking permits should be frozen for five years, allowing the City to annually adjust thereafter only for Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases.
2. The introduction of parking meters or variable meter pricing into neighborhoods where they currently do not exist should be allowed only upon petition by the majority of the affected households and merchants.
3 A portion of any additional parking or motorists' fees and new bond monies earmarked for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) should go to the construction and operation of neighborhood parking garages.
4 Any proposed re-engineering of traffic flows in the City should aim to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.
5 Traffic laws should be enforced equally for everyone using San Francisco's streets and sidewalks.
6 The seven-member SFMTA Board should include not only four regular riders of Muni, but a fair representation of all transportation stakeholders, including motorists. The SFMTA should create a Motorists' Citizens Advisory Committee in addition to its other advisory committees.
7 The Board of Supervisors shall make every reasonable effort to implement the components of this policy through appropriate legislative and administrative acts, including but not limited to acts relating to enacting, repealing, reconciling, amending, and/or ameliorating the components of this policy with other existing laws, regulations, and policies of the City & County of San Francisco, as well as seeking, encouraging, lobbying for, and promoting appropriate changes in the laws, regulations, and policies of other jurisdictions that may conflict with implementation of the components of this policy.[3]

Support

Restore Transportation Balance logo

Supporters

The group called Restore Transportation Balance was behind the initiative and collected signatures during the petition drive.[5]

The Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods also endorsed the transportation policy found in the initiative.[5]

Other supporters of the initiative included:[5]

Official proponents:

  • Claire Zvanski - Past President, District 11 Democratic Club
  • David Looman
  • Jason P. Clark - Vice President, Log Cabin Republicans of San Francisco

Organizations:

  • Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods (CFSN)
  • West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WTPCC)
  • East Mission Improvement Association (EMIA)
  • Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF)
  • Libertarian Party of San Francisco
  • San Francisco Republican Party
  • Log Cabin Republican Club of San Francisco

Community Leaders

  • Judge Quentin L. Kopp (Ret.) — Chairman, California Senate Committee on Transportation, 1987-1998
  • Hon. John L. Molinari — President, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 1979-1982, 1984-1985
  • Hon. Barbara Kaufman — President, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 1999-2001
  • Hon. Anthony P. (Tony) Hall — San Francisco Supervisor, District 7, 2001-2004
  • Hon. John Bardis — San Francisco Supervisor, District 11, 1980-1981.
  • Hon. Robert P. Varni — Member, San Francisco Community College Board of Trustees, 1989-2001

Arguments in favor

Supporters of the initiative argued that the city had been using "transit first" priority planning and policy to dictate city development for years and that it had produced a city in which it was very hard to drive an automobile, despite the fact that 79 percent of San Francisco households owned or leased a car in 2014, and nearly 50 percent of San Francisco residents who worked outside of their homes drove or carpooled to work. Proponents cited the elimination of parking spots and parking garages, increased parking ticket fees, parking garage fees and parking meter rates, the expansion of parking meter zones into residential areas, the expansion of bike lanes and the elimination of car lanes as evidence that the city had been developing in an unfair, anti-motorist direction.[6]

Restore Transportation Balance spokesperson Jason Clark said, "People are getting fed up that a 'transit first' policy means making people who use a car so miserable that they have to use other, less desirable options. We're proposing a policy to change that."[6]

The coalition behind the initiative stated, “We realize that motorists contribute a disproportionate share of the funding to the SFMTA while receiving next to nothing in return... The Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation. Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety and freedom of movement.”[7]

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) eliminated parking meter charges on Sundays at the behest of Mayor Ed Lee, some said it was an indication of motorist representation with regard to transportation policy. The RTB responded, “We hope to repeal Sunday parking meters forever, not just as a gimmick to encourage motorists to support higher taxes and fees this November and in future elections."[8]

Opposition

No on L campaign logo

No on L: San Franciscans Against Gridlock was the organization heading up the opposition to Proposition L.[9]

According to the No on L website, the following individuals and organizations opposed Proposition L and endorsed the No on L: San Franciscans Against Gridlock campaign:[10]

Opponents

Elected officials

  • State Senator Mark Leno (D-11)
  • State Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-17)
  • State Assembly member Phil Ting (D-19)
  • John Avalos, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • London Breed, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • David Campos, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Malia Cohen, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • David Chiu, President San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Jane Kim, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Eric Mar, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Scott Wiener San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Rachel Norton, Board of Education
  • Hydra Mendoza, Board of Education
  • Matt Haney, Board of Education
  • Kim-Shree Maufas, Board of Education
  • Tom Radulovich, BART Board of Directors
  • Alix Rosenthal, Vice-Chair, Democratic County Central Committee
  • Rafael Mandelman, Democratic County Central Committee
  • Hene Kelly, Democratic County Central Committee
  • Kelly Welsh Dwyer, Democratic County Central Committee

Organizations:

  • San Francisco Democratic Party
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
  • San Francisco League of Conservation Voters
  • San Francisco Labor Council
  • SPUR
  • Senior & Disability Action Network
  • San Francisco Examiner
  • Bay Guardian
  • FDR Democratic Club
  • Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
  • Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
  • The San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
  • San Francisco Women's Political Committee
  • Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club
  • District 5 Democratic Club
  • District 8 Democratic Club
  • New Avenues Democratic Club
  • Potrero Hill Democratic Club
  • Richmond District Democratic Club
  • CC Puede
  • Livable City
  • SF Bicycle Coalition
  • SF Transit Riders
  • Walk SF

Arguments against

The No on L website featured the following arguments in opposition to Proposition L:[11]

Proposition L is a policy advisory measure that attempts to change San Francisco transportation policy by putting more cars on the road and building more parking garages in our neighborhoods. It would make your trips worse whether you drive, walk, take transit, or ride a bike because it would put more cars on our already crowded streets, take money away from public transportation and safety projects, and build more parking garages for out of town visitors, rather than focusing on helping San Francisco residents. It was put on the ballot by the Republican Party without taking into account what would work in San Francisco and would greatly increase congestion by cutting Muni service and clogging our streets with far more cars.[3]

No on L campaign[11]

The San Francisco League of Conservation Voters website featured a video that argued the following:[12]

Proposition L is a step backward, a return to outdated policies that created the congestion on San Francisco's streets to begin with.

In fact, regardless of what form of transportation you take every day, Prop L will start to make your life worse.

If you drive, Prop L will make your life worse by encouraging many, many, more drivers on our already crowded streets.

Remember that as a driver, every person who takes transit or walks or bikes is a person not taking your parking spot or clogging the lane ahead of you.

For drivers, Prop L means gridlock.

If you take Muni, Prop L will make your life worse in 2 different ways. First, by diverting desperately needed transportation funds to building garages, Prop L will make Muni service much worse. Secondly Prop L will make Muni buses run even slower, by clogging our streets with more cars. For Muni riders, Proposition L means fewer and slower busses.

And, finally if you walk (as we all do at some point) or bike, Prop L makes your life worse by making our streets more dangerous. By prioritizing traffic flow above pedestrian safety, Prop L will lead to more dangerous accidents in San Francisco. For pedestrians & bicyclists, Prop L means more danger.

In the end, Proposition L simply does not reflect our values as San Franciscans. We care about creating less pollution and fighting climate change, not making our environment worse. We care about making transit better for everyone, not making it slower. We care about making our streets safer, not more dangerous.

We urge you to vote No on Proposition L on November 4th. Thank you for your time. [3]

—San Francisco League of Conservation Voters[11]

Reports and analyses

Ballot simplification

The Ballot Simplification Committee provided the following statement explaining Proposition L:[13]

THE WAY IT IS NOW:

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) operates Muni, the City’s public transit system. The SFMTA also manages most of the City’s parking meters and City-owned parking lots and garages. It also has the authority to install additional parking meters and build more parking facilities.

The SFMTA sets the hours, days, and rates for parking meters and parking garages under its jurisdiction. It also determines the fines for violations of parking restrictions. Most on-street parking meters operate only Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and do not operate on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

The SFMTA has introduced demand-responsive pricing for some parking meters in several neighborhoods in an effort to increase turnover of parking spaces. Demand-responsive pricing adjusts the price for parking according to demand in specific areas.

The SFMTA administers the Residential Parking Permit program, which allows residents in some neighborhoods to purchase a permit to park in their neighborhood for longer than the posted time restrictions. The SFMTA sets the price for these permits in accordance with state law.

The City Charter requires the SFMTA to spend revenues generated from its parking garages and parking meters to support SFMTA operations, including public transit. The Charter also requires that a certain amount of the City’s General Fund be allocated to the SFMTA. The City may allocate to the SFMTA additional revenues from other sources.

The SFMTA is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor; four must be regular Muni riders and the other three must ride Muni at least once a week.

The City’s Charter includes a Transit-First Policy that emphasizes the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. Top transportation priorities are public transit, bicycling, and walking.

THE PROPOSAL:

Proposition L would establish the following as City policy:

  • Parking meters should never operate on Sundays, holidays observed by the City, or outside the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Starting on July 1, 2015, the SFMTA should freeze fees for City-owned parking garages, meters, parking tickets, and neighborhood parking permits for five years, after which the City is allowed to annually adjust prices based on the Consumer Price Index;
  • The SFMTA should not install any parking meters or parking meters with demand-responsive pricing in any neighborhood where they currently do not exist, unless a majority of households and businesses in that neighborhood have signed a petition supporting the changes;
  • The SFMTA should use a portion of funds generated by new parking, vehicle fees, or the sale of new bonds for SFMTA purposes, to construct and operate neighborhood parking garages;
  • The goal of any proposed re-engineering of traffic flows by the City should be to achieve safer, smoother-flowing traffic on City streets;
  • The City should enforce traffic laws equally for all users of San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks;
  • The SFMTA’s Board of Directors should include a representation of all transportation stakeholders, including motorists, and
  • The SFMTA should create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee.

A “YES” VOTE MEANS: If you vote "yes," you want the Board of Supervisors to adopt these changes in parking and transportation policies.

A “NO” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “no,” you do not want the Board of Supervisors to adopt these policy changes.[3]

—San Francisco Ballot Simplification Committee[13]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

On July 7, 2014, the coalition called Restore Transportation Balance submitted 17,500 signatures to the San Francisco elections office. Since the elections office certified that at least 9,702 of the submitted signatures were valid, the measure went before voters on November 4, 2014.[5][2]

See also

External links

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Suggest a link

Support

Opposition

Additional reading

References