Walk to the Future

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If you’ve driven across San Francisco lately, you’ve noticed that traffic is congested enough that bicycles zoom past you and pedestrians will catch up with you at each light. If you think traffic is un-fun right now, just imagine 2040 when our streets will make room for 102,000 new city residents and 191,000 new jobs. […]

If you’ve driven across San Francisco lately, you’ve noticed that traffic is congested enough that bicycles zoom past you and pedestrians will catch up with you at each light. If you think traffic is un-fun right now, just imagine 2040 when our streets will make room for 102,000 new city residents and 191,000 new jobs. Enter “Shift”, the evolution of the city’s Transit First policy which has played a role in bringing you buildings like 388 Fulton and 1 Franklin in Hayes Valley that are newly built with zero car parking.

What is Shift? It’s the planning department’s catchy moniker for transportation demand management (TDM), which is just a fancy way for saying: what can we do to get people to drive private cars less and rely more on public transit, walking, and biking?

Under the current policy, developers are rewarded for implementing any of the following policies to get people to drive less:

Current developer transportation demand management (drive less) options

Current developer transportation demand management (drive less) options

Under the new policy, developers will have a whole lot more flexibility and creativity in implementing programs that will incentivize people to drive less. The options range from offering less parking than the neighborhood average to subsidizing transit commuter funds, providing shuttle services, and offering bicycle parking and bike-related amenities.  Here’s the entire proposed menu:

Developer incentives and rewards under proposed updates to TDM program in SF

Developer incentives and rewards under proposed updates to TDM program in SF

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: The neighborhood is the amenity.  People often think that this applies to what is viewed as “traditional” amenities such that you spend free time at parks instead of at a spa or pool at your building and at restaurants and coffee shops instead of a rooftop terrace but this concept can also be expanded to transportation where instead of relying on your own asset (ie the vehicle) for transportation you rely on the neighborhood (or in some cases the city at large) to provide that amenity to you.

The Shift program is part of the city’s Transit Sustainability Program, which focuses on investing in transit, aligning current laws to be more transit friendly, and reducing demand (ie, drive less). You can learn more about the overall program or the Shift program.

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