SF's Congestion Pricing Plan Advances

Three possibilities for tolling San Francisco's downtown have been advanced by the Board of Supervisors; two involve tolling the 'Southern Gateway', the only entrance to the peninsula city that is untolled. However, Prop 26 could doom the plan.

The plan centers on the Northeast 'Cordon' also, as it should since that section includes the congested downtown. Drivers who enter or leave from the city's southern border avoid the northern Golden Gate Bridge and northeastern Bay Bridge - both of which are tolled (the latter having congestion pricing) explaining the emphasis of the Southern Gateway in the scenarios.

The scenarios the supervisors will select from:

"-- Charge motorists $6 to leave the northeast sector between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. ...
-- Charge $3 in each direction to cross San Francisco's southern border.....
- -Charge to cross the southern border and include an extra fee to park in private lots in the northeast sector during the peak commute times....."

From SF Weekly: Congestion Pricing Likely To Be Killed By Prop. 26: "The Chron did note that "The plan may need voters' support" -- and this may end up being the real story. While the paper doesn't mention Proposition 26, the just-passed measure could very well kill congestion pricing -- and any number of fees local governments use to balance the books."

Thanks to Paolo (Paul) Pezzotta, AICP

Full Story: S.F. may hit drivers with variety of tolls



View from east of the Bay

I lived in NYC when congestion pricing was proposed in 2007 and I live east of the Bay Area today. As an ardent transit/walk/bike advocate, I was in favor of the proposal in NYC, but I am opposed to this proposal. Why? Because San Francisco does not have anywhere near enough transit service for this to make sense.

Let's make a few quick comparisons.

Rapid transit: NYC subway lines cross the proposed charging boundary at 15 different points, serve hundreds of walkable neighborhoods outside the boundary, with every line running 24 hours per day. San Francisco's rapid transit crosses to boundary at a single point, mainly serves suburban parking lots, with service ending at midnight.

Commuter rail: New York: 20+ lines depart in every direction from centrally located terminals in Midtown Manhattan, with last departure at 2AM. San Francisco: a single line runs south to San Jose from an inconvenient terminal south of downtown, last departure at midnight.

Passenger rail: New York: hourly trains up and down the northeast corridor, 5am to midnight. San Francisco: not served by passenger rail, although you can take an unreliable connecting bus to Emeryville if like ending your evenings in one of the world's great cities at 8PM.

Bicycle access: New York: four bridges from Brooklyn/Queens into the charging zone, all of which allow bikes. San Francisco: one bridge which doesn't allow bikes.

I could go on, but the bottom line: from the perspective of living outside Manhattan and then outside San Francisco, and being a person who already actively prefers not to drive when visiting the city, I found Manhattan several orders of magnitude more accessible without a car than San Francisco. If the congestion pricing proposal went down in flames there, I don't see how this one is going to work.

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