Transit First or Car First? Yes on I, No on J by Robin Levitt

As we approach the next millennium, there are four transportation-related initiatives on the November 2nd ballot that will have a dramatic effect on future transportation policy in San Francisco. Props E, H and both I & J deal with Muni, Caltrain and the Central Freeway respectively. E, H & I would strengthen San Francisco's "Transit First" policy and all deserve your support. Proposition J, on the other hand, would set in motion a "Car First" policy advocated by people like Rolf Mueller, organizer of the recent "Car Critical Mass" debacle and sponsor of J, who think we need wider streets for cars, fewer lanes for bicyclists and narrower sidewalks for pedestrians.

Octavia Boulevard Project detail.
Proposition J would repeal the Octavia Boulevard plan voters approved last year to replace a portion of the Central Freeway. Instead it would authorize Caltrans to retrofit, widen, and rebuild that section of overhead freeway. The Proposition also would repeal a ban on new freeway construction north of Fell Street, paving the way for freeway expansion.

If Prop J is the WICKED Central Freeway witch, Prop I is the GOOD Central Freeway witch. Prop I would establish a community planning process for the construction of nearly 1,000 new units of housing, much of which would be affordable. It would also establish a process to plan $30,000,000 in new transportation improvement projects. The housing would be built on nine acres of surplus Central Freeway right-of-way land from Market to Turk Street that would be freed up by the Octavia Boulevard project. The proceeds from the sale of that land would provide $30 million for Muni improvements, bicycle lanes and facilities, traffic calming, neighborhood street improvements, and other transportation projects related to the Boulevard plan. Should Prop J pass, however, neither the land for housing nor the funding for transportation will be available!

This fall we have a choice: better transit, more housing, improved neighborhoods OR more cars, more parking lots, more traffic and a less friendly city. The YES on I, NO on J campaigns need YOUR help to win in November. To volunteer or for more information, call 415-263-6898.