Nevius: Traffic Isn’t The Problem, Transit Is

December 4th, 2008

Congestion ChargingThe Chronicle’s CW Nevius predictably takes the anti-congestion pricing side of this debate in the Chronicle today, arguing that the problem with traffic isn’t all of those pesky auto drivers in cars, it’s the mass transit systems that don’t provide better alternatives to driving.

Of course Nevius makes a good point, one that we have been talking about for years, that mass transit needs to be competitive in time, cost, and comfort to driving, or else people won’t switch. (That’s why we are supporting the Transit Effectiveness Project to make service faster and more reliable for Muni’s 700,000 daily riders.)

But he completely misses the main point of congestion pricing – to reduce traffic and get the buses moving! In London, the congestion charge led to a 21% reduction in traffic volume compared to pre-charge levels, and a 6% increase in bus ridership due to faster bus travel times and increased service. If the price is set high enough to actually discourage traffic from coming downtown, we should expect similar reductions in traffic and increases in transit use – which is exactly what SF voters have voted for repeatedly in approving the Transit-First Policy in 1999 and 2007.

Every bus rider knows that traffic is a major cause of delays. It’s not the only cause of delays, but it’s at least as important as stop spacing and route layout, which are being addressed via the TEP. Congestion pricing is a proven way to reduce traffic, and by doing so, provide commuters real alternatives to driving.

Update: Transbay Blog has a detailed analysis.

Geary BRT Meetings This Week

December 3rd, 2008

Go GearyWant to influence the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project for Geary Boulevard? The SFCTA and MTA are holding meetings this week to get your input. Attend one and voice your support for this project – and for a rail-ready plan! This is part of the EIS/EIR “scoping comment period” required for environmental review.

Thursday, December 4, 2008, 6-8 pm: Self Help for the Elderly / Jackie Chan Activity Center, 408 22nd Avenue (at Geary)
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 10 am – 12 noon: Tenderloin Community School, 627 Turk Street (at Polk)

Both locations are served by the (non-rapid) 38 Geary bus.

Muni/Transit Town Hall in D5, Wed. 12/3

December 1st, 2008

Rider Alert 1From our friends at the N Judah Chronicles: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and MTA Director Nat Ford will be holding a town hall on Muni, parking, pedestrian safety, and related transportation issues on Wednesday, December 3, from 7-9 pm, at the SF County Fair Building at 9th and Lincoln (71 Haight/Noriega, N Judah, 44 O’Shaughnessy).

Bring your tough questions, recommendations, advice, compliments, complaints, etc. – this is a good chance to advise your Supervisor and MTA Director on issues that matter to you.