The SFBC has endorsed Proposition E on November's ballot because it should result in better Muni service and more balanced policies from the Department of Parking & Traffic (DPT). This charter amendment combines Muni and the DPT, improves DPT's mission, guarantees a certain proportion of funding for Muni, sets high performance standards for Muni, and ties increases in pay for every Muni employee to those service standards. A great deal more is necessary to fix this city's transportation problem, but this is an important and essential first step.
The SFBC helped to insert bicycle-friendly and truly transit-first language into the new and improved DPT mission. The measure, in fact, is exactly what the SFBC called for after the disastrous hearing in July 1998 when most of the Bike Network was rejected. We called for the abolition of the Dept. of Parking and Traffic and its replacement with a Dept. of Transportation. We pointed out that DPT's mission - build more off-street parking and reduce congestion - was contradictory, and that it is inappropriate for the agency in charge of the buses not to be in charge of the streets.
Under the proposal, the city's transportation department is supposed to facilitate "the design and operation of City streets to encourage increased pedestrian, public transit (including taxis), and bicycle traffic, and to reduce automobile traffic, give highest priority to impacts on pedestrians, public transit, commercial delivery vehicles, and bicyclists in evaluating impacts of proposed changes in the use of City streets and develop a safe, interconnected bicycle circulation network." We strongly encourage a 'yes' vote.