Golden Gate Bridge District Firmly Plants Itself in 20th Century

Golden Gate Bridge
District Firmly Plants Itself in 20th Century

10/09/14 Filed in:

The Golden Gate Bridge,
Highway and Transportation District’s Transportation
Committee voted unanimously today to provide more
auto parking for passengers of the Larkspur Ferry.
They voted to give notice to the Marin Airporter to
vacate the Larkspur Landing site it leases from the
District. The District’s plan is to use the parking
spaces currently used by Airporter customers for its
ferry passengers.

TRANSDEF’s
President was the only member of the public to speak
on the item. His suggestion that the District show
leadership on climate change by encouraging its
passengers to arrive at the Ferry Terminal by ways
other than solo driving was ignored by the Committee.
The text of his comments follows.

Let me start by congratulating you: having too many
ferry passengers is a good problem to have to solve.
The proposed solution is straightforward and
realistic.

The problem is that it is based on the obsolete
notion that to get more customers, we need to provide
more parking. We are now in the post SB 375 era,
where that thought process is inadequate. An agency
like yours can no longer simply increase auto access.
It’s become far more complicated.

First of all, you would have a serious CEQA problem,
due to increasing peak hour traffic in a setting that
already fails to meet its Level of Service standards.

More important, though, is the failure to recognize
that the District is now operating in the era of
climate change, where it is state policy to reduce
GHG emissions through planning that reduces future
driving. This proposal flies in the face of that
policy direction.

As a public agency, you have a responsibility to not
make emissions worse. Clearly, your transit services
are very beneficial to that mission. The question
before you today is whether you will go all the way.
Will you create alternatives that would allow your
new riders to not drive to LFT? The other option
would be to accept a half-loaf: namely, reducing only
part of the solo auto trip to SF. Your decision on
this question will determine whether the District
becomes a climate leader or remains stuck in Business
as Usual.

Someone has to go first in initiating a wholesale
shift from solo driving to transit. We’d like to see
the District take that leadership role.

This proposal accepts as a given that your passengers
insist on driving alone. The cumulative consequences
of those private decisions on mode of travel are
negative. They result in traffic congestion and GHG
emissions.

Like it or not, the District finds itself on the
bleeding edge of cultural change. The question before
you today is whether you will accommodate the solo
driving habits of your potential customers. Those
habits contribute to driving being the largest source
of GHG emissions in the region. Or, do you have a
responsibility to attempt to modify those habits, by
providing incentives and disincentives?

TRANSDEF firmly believes your District has a moral
and legal responsibility to intervene in the private
travel decisions of your passengers, to motivate a
collectively less harmful outcome.

We believe a better answer than the current proposal
would be to add more ferry shuttles. We think you
should seek RM 2 funding to support more shuttles,
under the rationale that reducing ferry passenger
traffic will improve access to the Richmond Bridge.

We also suggest that you switch over the parking fee
payment process to Clipper or Fastrak, as soon as the
infrastructure can handle it. Every day then, an
automatic license plate reader would collect the
plates of those parked and charge their accounts,
requiring no input on the part of the user. The
elimination of the monthly pass would encourage a
daily revisiting of the travel mode decision,
resulting in more spur-of-the-moment shuttle riders,
bike riders and kiss-and-riders.

We urge you to reject this proposal.

Comments are closed.