Here are a few streetsblog news nuggets to start your weekend off.
The city of San Francisco is committed to car-free JFK
For some time now, the powerful de Young Trust has been trying, through its paid lobbyists, to destroy the dream of a car-free JFK ride in Golden Gate Park. The city has been talking about this issue but it seems that things are moving in the right direction again.
From an SFMTA version:
Starting January 5, 2022, you will find new signage along the promenade route reminding users to be friendly, share space, move slowly and say hello to each other. Through over 50 outreach events by the Golden Gate Park Access & Safety Program team this fall and over 10,000 survey responses we received, the San Franciscans have overwhelmingly said they had the place to walk and roll along the JFK Appreciate Drive – but also want to see more Instructions on how to use the space. In response, the SF Recreation & Park Department and SFMTA jointly developed this courtesy campaign to encourage park users to put safety and friendliness first when navigating the boardwalk.
The editorial staff of the San Francisco Chronicle is now also heavily responsible for the boardwalk. From “JFK Drive is for people, not car commuters. So that it stays that way in 2022 and beyond “:
Before the pandemic, JFK was one of the most dangerous and deadly streets in San Francisco. From 2014 to its closure in 2020, there were 91 crashes. This is mainly because 75% of the people who travel with JFK had no intention of visiting the park; they just used it as a puncture. This would be a political failure for any city; however, for a supposedly transit-oriented city like San Francisco, this was an inexcusable display of incompetence.
To ensure JFK remains a safe and enjoyable place, worthy of one of the most beautiful city parks in the world, it should remain closed to cars in 2022 and beyond.
It must sting the de Young Trust a bit to know that the newspaper that originally built its fortune is now officially written in the face. Of course, without a doubt, de Young will never stop stepping on the gas – pretending it’s a stock issue or that there isn’t a huge underground parking lot for people arriving by car. It is for this reason that the hard-working supporters of Walk SF are continuing their postcard campaign to protect the car-free JFK.
Register here as a volunteer service.
California’s high-speed rail project is getting more good news from federal agencies
A French high-speed train that travels at 200 miles per hour and draws power from the overhead line. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Streetsblog readers may recall that HSR opponents, including the chief of the railroad disaster, Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times, predicted for years that the state would miss construction deadlines and receive $ 2.5 billion in federal matching Fund related to the Obama-era American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Well, this week the agency officially met its eligibility requirements.
From a California HSR publication:
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has notified the California High-Speed Rail Authority that it has fully met its state funding requirements for federal dollars a year ahead of schedule. Today’s action meets an important requirement of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund the grant.
“Federal government investment in this transformative project has doubled dollar for dollar a year ahead of schedule,” said Brian Annis, chief financial officer for the agency. “With a strong, committed federal partner, we are able to further advance the provision of electrified high-speed trains to the Californian population.”
The agency has spent the $ 2.5 billion in federal ARRA funds by the September 2017 legal deadline. Funding benefited the 119 mile long backbone of the state’s high-speed rail system in the Central Valley, a historically deprived part of the state notorious for its poor air quality. The FRA asked the agency to match federal spending with state funding for qualified spending by December 2022.
This is big news. And it’s good news. Waiting to read your concise coverage, LA Times. Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.
Oakland launches “Universal Basic Mobility” pilot project
File photo of an AC transit bus
One of the main tenets of this blog is that mobility is a basic human right. Because of this, Streetsblog argues that building cities where residents have to buy an expensive car and wait to get around is inherently unfair. And everyone should be able to move regardless of their economic status. It appears that the City of Oakland is in agreement with its Universal Basic Mobility plan.
From an OakDOT version:
As part of its innovative Universal Basic Mobility pilot, the Oakland City Department of Transportation (OakDOT) announced today that it has successfully distributed 500 prepaid debit cards to East Oakland residents and employees. These cards are limited to the purchase of journeys or passes for public transport, bike sharing and shared e-scooters. Program participants started with $ 150 available on their cards. After recipients complete a survey in January, the second and final withdrawal of $ 150 will be loaded onto their cards. The goal of the Universal Basic Mobility pilot project is to increase walking, cycling, public transportation and shared mobility journeys in East Oakland while reducing private vehicle journeys.
“The Universal Basic Mobility Pilot is capitalizing on the huge investment in East Bay’s first Bus Rapid Transit Line (BRT) by providing participants with free rides on public transport, bike rentals and e-scooters,” added OakDOT- Director Ryan Russo added. “Removing financial barriers to mobility is critical to meeting the needs of East Oakland residents, who are most grappling with the dual costs of housing and transportation.”
For further information, click here.