Blog » transportation
- July 14, 2009BY MARY
Should you be driving on the highway in rural northwest Norway keep your eyes peeled for more than just the natural beauty. The Norwegian national road agency is in the midst of a $1.6 billion project that attempts to lure tourists to this often over-looked area by highlighting the landscape with architecture--in the shape of viewpoints, rest stops, benches, winding foot bridges and stairs leading you to the sea. It has already hired more than 45 architects, landscape architects and artists to create these eye-catchers. And you don't need a car to enjoy it! Some of the projects include resting shelters for bicyclists.
A rest house for cyclists.
- May 27, 2009BY DAVE SNYDER
Only five members of the Board of Supervisors today voted to reject the SFMTA budget, two short of the supermajority of seven needed to reject it.
The supermajority requirement was put in the City Charter by Proposition A and Proposition E (both in part crafted by SPUR) to create a balance between the need to defend the SFMTA from political influence and give the city's elected leaders a chance to reject the budget if it seriously misrepresents their values.
In the current budget debate, where the Supervisors were asked to approve a replacement 2009-2010 budget to deal with $129 million in cuts (fully 1/6 of the budget), it is no surprise the Supervisors came closer to rejecting the budget than they ever have since Proposition E passed. SPUR initially supported the motion to reject the budget. Some changes since that time improved the budget and SPUR sat out the debate during the second round.
Cutting 1/6 of the budget was bound to be unpopular. While SPUR doesn't agree with every aspect of the SFMTA budget (what independent government watchdog would?), we do credit SFMTA executive director Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. and his team for proposing a budget that avoided the worst possible cuts. We will work with the SFMTA as they continue to adjust their budget and prepare for the 2010-12 budget proposal.
Click here for SPUR's proposals for an improved SFMTA budget.
- May 21, 2009BY DAVE SNYDER
The Alliance for Biking & Walking, a national coalition of advocacy organizations, is working the Congressional Bike Caucus. The Caucus represents a majority of members who support an increased federal role in promoting bicycling as a solution to our nation's transportation crisis, not to mention our health and environmental crises.
In the attached letter from the Bike Caucus Chair, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland, OR), you'll see what the national bike movement is up to. The letter calls for four policies:
1. an increase in safe routes to school funding. (This will help us traffic-calm many SF streets)
2. a complete streets requirement (that all streets be designed for safe use by all, a policy already in place in San Francisco).
3. an "active transportation investment fund" to provide large grants for ambitious nonmotorized transportation plans, and
4. better data collection.
All in all, if the bike caucus (which is comprised of a slight majority of congress) supports this agenda, it bodes well for the urbanist transportation system SPUR is pushing.
- May 19, 2009BY DAVE SNYDER
The Transportation Authority today released the draft Strategic Analysis Report on "Transportation Options for a Better Market Street."
SPUR has long considered potential improvements to Market Street, and advised the Transportation Authority on the scope of this SAR. We urged the agency to be bold, but positive. That is, we emphasized that a study of Market Street ought to focus on the goals first before proposing solutions such as banning car traffic. We cited five goals:
- speeding transit vehicles by 20%, at least.
- a contiguous, carfree bicycle path of travel
- elegant bus stops, that are comfortable and more like "stations" than "stops."
- more convenient and safer pedestrian conditions on the north side, where the "pork chop" intersections damage the walking experience
- beautiful streetscapes with plenty of options for sitting
How did they do? Plesae review the study and give them, and us, your feedback.
- May 14, 2009
Since the Madrid-Barcelona leg of Spain’s AVE high-speed rail system opened last year, air travel in the corridor has been cut by half. But bullet trains aren’t just changing the ways Spaniards get around: according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, they are literally uniting the country, and revitalizing rural areas. Spaniards historically have been reluctant to travel, but “the AVE has radically changed [the younger] generation’s attitude,” a professor noted. Meanwhile, the once-forgotten town of Ciudad Real, now a 50-minute commute to Madrid (a distance of 120 miles), is booming as new residents take advantage of sudden proximity to the capital: new students from other regions are enrolling at the once isolated university; businesses have moved in; and an airport is being built next to the town’s train station, marketed as a cheap alternative to Madrid’s.
- May 7, 2009
SPUR's Transportation Policy Director today will tell the Board of Supervisors that the SFMTA budget approved by the SFMTA Board last week does not do enough to maintain quality transit service in these tight budget times. The SFMTA is leaving too much on the table in the form of new revenue and cost savings, at least $20 million of budget space that could be used to stave off cuts that will reduce the system's improving reliability.