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10/21/2014
San Francisco, California To Vote On Anti-Motorist Bond Measure
Measure funding speed bumps and narrowing of lanes is on the November ballot in San Francisco, California.

Proposition A
Voters in San Francisco, California will be asked November 4 to approve a $500 million "transportation and road improvement bond," but few of the improvements are meant to benefit motorists. The measure advanced by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is designed to discourage people from driving.

The details of the proposal are found in the 28-page legislative text of the initiative and a 36-page description of proposed projects produced by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Though it is a very progressive city, the vast majority of San Franciscans commute to work by automobile. According to the US Census Bureau, 81 percent either drive alone or in a carpool to their place of employment. A total of 9.9 percent walk and 3.4 percent bicycle to work, which is well above the national average of 2.8 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.

If two-thirds of voters approve Proposition A, the majority of the cash would be spent on public transit, which takes $358 million of the total amount borrowed. This includes $39 million for upgrades to the local train, enlarging bus stops and extending the hours during which motorists are prohibited from turning left.

Of the remaining $142 million allocated to "road improvement," $68 million is devoted to pedestrian sidewalks, $52 million to "safer, well-defined bikeways" and $22 million to upgraded traffic signals. Even the traffic signal upgrades are targeted at foot traffic, ensuring the new units feature pedestrian countdown timers and audible cues so the blind know when to cross the street.

Under the heading of pedestrian safety, the initiative incorporates the "WalkFirst" campaign which lowers speed limits from 25 MPH to 15 MPH, sets up a ticketing blitz for motorists at crosswalks and funds the installation of traffic calming devices that include speed humps, speed cushions, bulb-outs, channelization and median islands, traffic circles, intersection islands, road diets and edgelines.

"Projects will be screened to ensure that they collectively address social and geographic inequities, including those related to transit access and reliability, safety, air quality, and crime," the proposal states.

To counter the "transit first" policy of the supervisors, residents belonging to the group Restore Transportation Balance successfully circulated Proposition L. If adopted, the initiative would prohibit the city from operating parking meters on Sundays or after 6pm. Fees for parking and public garages would be frozen for five years.

"Traffic laws should be enforced equally for everyone using San Francisco's streets and sidewalks," Proposition L states.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board, which is currently dominated by transit interests, would have to have representation from motoring groups, under the initiative.



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