Golden Gate Bridge District Firmly Plants Itself in 20th Century
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.