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CP&DR News Briefs December 11, 2017: Parking in S.F.; A's Stadium Opposition; Santa Rosa Housing; and More

Noemi Wyss on
Dec 10, 2017
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved, 5-0, "surge pricing" for every parking meter in the city starting in 2018. The hourly rates at the city’s 30,200 meters would vary depending on demand and fluctuate based on time of day and location. The approach is intended to convince drivers to park farther away, remain for shorter times, or leave their cars at home and use an alternate source of transportation – or pay the higher rates. The city will become the first in the nation to have citywide demand-based parking rates. The program would set hourly meter rates within three daily time bands –9 a.m. to noon,noon to 3pm, and3 to 6 p.m. The program was already in use in about 7,000 meters in the busiest neighborhoods: downtown, South of Market, the Mission, the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Mission Bay, the Fillmore, and the Marina.

New Oakland A’s Stadium Site in Peril
The Peralta Community College District’s Board of Trustees decided in a closed-door session last week to break off discussions between themselves and the A’s. The team was hoping to build a privately financed baseball stadium on land owned by the district in downtown Oakland. The board says it is not ruling out the idea of a ballpark, but wants to evaluate the “best” uses for the site. The A’s team says there is no plan B, and is not interested on renovating or building on the current Coliseum site. Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan is in favor of keeping the A’s at their current home saying “the fact that environmental clearance is already completed for the Coliseum site would also provide cost savings and time savings for development at that site” and that the site could be upgraded with more shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels.

Santa Rosa Reconsiders Housing Policies in Wake of Fires
The City of Santa Rosa is holding meetings to revise key housing policies after the Tubbs Fire incinerated 5 percent of its already limited housing stock. The first meeting is a community workshop to revamp its Housing Action Plan that will focus on density bonuses to incentivize developers to build more housing types. Consultant M-Group was commissioned by the city to analyze how it should change its density bonus rules and a 62-page white paper was produced. The city has also been working on updating its permit processes and inclusionary housing ordinance. The second meeting is a study session before the City Council to discuss immediate housing needs in the city. This includes the people displaced by the 3,000 homes lost in the two fires and the huge workforce required to rebuild.

Official Study Ups Projected Impacts of San Diego SoccerCity
The San Diego Association of Governments released a study (pdf) of traffic impacts for the proposed SoccerCity mixed use development on the former Qualcomm Stadium site and it found on average 97,000 daily trips. SoccerCity’s developers estimate 71,500 daily trips and are disputing the findings of the SANDAG study. The SDSU Mission Valley proposal would generate 55,140 daily trips. The SANDAG study was paid for jointly by FS Investors and a coalition of Mission Valley developers: Public Land, Public Vote. Critics contend that implementing the SoccerCity proposal would make it difficult for San Diego to reach its goals in its Climate Action Plan. City voters next year will decide the whether the proposal to build 4,800 homes, office, retail, river park and soccer stadium will happen.

California Reaps Cap-and-Trade Windfall
Revenues from cap-and-trade credits soared in the second half of 2017 leading to $1.5 billion for clean energy program and the high-speed rail project. However, state regulators, academics, and analysts agree that businesses are stocking up on credits and holding them for future years. This past July, lawmakers extended the cap-and-trade program through 2030, and the state sold every available credit even though emissions are lower than regulators expected. As Energy Innovation wrote in a report last month: “Left unaddressed,oversupply and the resulting banked allowances (credits) threaten California’s 2030 emissions reduction success.”

San Diego Considers Locations for Increased Density
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office unveiled a new strategy for choosing which neighborhoods in the city would be the focus of increased job and housing density. The goal is to create denser, more walkable neighborhoods that will in turn cut down emissions. Engineering firm Fehr & Peers is developing a new mapping tool would assign communities individual targets for increasing residential and commercial densities in an effort to place new development close to public transit and jobs centers. Critics of the program say this will not make homeowners more accepting of increasing density in their neighborhoods. The new tool is expected to be completed next winter, and be applied to all community plans moving forward.

Orange County Transit Ridership Rises after Overhaul
OCTA launched an overhaul of its bus system, called OC Bus 360, last year, and has recently seen increases in bus ridership on key routes. Ridership had declined three percent countywide, but ridership on routes in core areas improved by up to 19.6 percent. Some of the improved routes include the Bravo! and X lines, which offer increased bus frequency and fewer stops. Part of the overhaul last year was cutting service in southern parts of the county and adding service to north county routes with highest ridership. The agency has plans to pilot on-demand transit service next summer in Huntington Beach, Laguna Niguel, and Mission Viejo. A new addition to the program is the OC Bus mobile-ticketing app which allows riders to buy passes on smartphones which has led to an average of 300 new app users per week. OCTA has released its Transit Master Plan for the decade, which highlights 11 heavily-used corridors that are candidates for BRT, rapid bus, or a new light-rail line. Two such corridors are north Harbor Boulevard between Fullerton and Garden Grove, and 17thStreet/Westminster Avenue, which would connect Westminster to UC Irvine.

Federal Watch: House Approves Brownfields Funds
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3017, the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 that would allow up to $250 million to clean up brownfield sites each year. US EPA’s Brownfields program has created thousands of jobs and helped communities prevent, assess, safely cleanup, and sustainably restore over a million acres of contaminated land. The act improves brownfields program by funding the program at an annual level of $200 million through 2022, expand grant eligibility to nonprofit groups and partnerships, and allow the EPA to award multi-purpose grants up to $1 million to cover different activities or remediation, and increase maximum amount for other grants to $500,000 per site with a cap of $750,000 per site.

Quick Hits & Updates

Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved new neighborhood community plans for South L.A. and Southeast L.A. after years of discussions with residents about protecting their neighborhoods against gentrification. The plans include guidelines for what can and cannot be built in local areas. The group, United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement, has worked with the city over the last decade to create incentives for developers to include affordable housing in the new community plan. In an effort to stop Measure S, council members pledged to approve the city’s 35 community plans every six years. These two plans are the first to be updated since that pledge was made.

The Strategic Growth Council awarded nearly $34 million to fund 25 agricultural conservation easements and two strategy and outcome grants through theSustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) program. The winning projects were located in 19 counties. 

Apple Inc. donated $1.8 million to the City of Cupertino to help fund the first leg of a protected bike lane project on Stevens Creek Boulevard. The city plans to start work early next year with a consultant to design bike lanes separated from vehicular traffic or Class IV lanes.

Elon Musk released detailed engineering plans for an “express” high-speed underground public-transportation system its detailed engineering plans for the Long Beach Airport to Sherman Oaks Loop. The all-electric system would transport passengers inside rectangular pods attached to autonomous skates more than 30 feet below ground.

San Francisco will compensate Chinatown merchants whose businesses have slowed down due to the construction of the Central Subway. The $225,000 Mayor Ed Lee set aside for parking and other services in Chinatown was frozen during budget negotiations in June. The board’s Budget and Finance Committee released that money last week after months of negotiations between Supervisor Peskin and the mayor. The project has already been delayed a year, and is now expected to be completed in 2019.

The City of Santa Ana is the only Orange County city to date to authorizethe sale of recreational marijuanastarting January 1.Under new city regulations, the 17 existing legal medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell commercial marijuana to people over 21 once the businesses sign new agreements with the city. The city will allow 10 more recreational marijuana businesses, for a total of 30 citywide.

The $1.5 billion six-station Foothill Gold Line extension from Glendora to Montclair broke ground last week. The 12.3-mile extension is expected to take nine years to complete. The project is also the first Measure M-funded rail project to move forward to construction.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced his office has filed a civil enforcement action against Uber over its massive October 2016 data breach that led to 600,000 US drivers’ names and license numbers to be stolen. The lawsuit alleges that under California law, Uber was required to promptly notify the affected California drivers but instead paid the hackers to destroy the data and then pressured them to enter into a nondisclosure agreement. Uber made the breach known 13 months later. 
French architecture firm Agence Ter and Gruen Associates released new renderings of their planned Pershing Square redesign. Some of the key items include removing the walls along the park’s perimeter and lowering the top of the parking garage to allow the park to be level with the surrounding sidewalks. The design also includes a great lawn, pergola, gardens, and promenade.

San Francisco will
conduct a survey on local businesses and transit riders on banning private vehicles on Market Street. The draft environmental review for the project and the conceptual engineering report would be released in late 2018 or early 2019. The Municipal Transportation Agency is studying merchants along Market Street who depend on loading zones.