SF Voters Reject Measure to Enshrine Free Parking and Stop Livable Streets

In case you need a little pick-me-up this morning, here’s some good news out of San Francisco. Voters resoundingly rejected Proposition L, a local ballot measure designed to halt the city’s progress on improving streets for walking, biking, and transit. As of the most recent available count, with nearly all precincts reporting, 62 percent of San Francisco voters had said “No” to Prop L.

The Prop L contingent, backed by internet billionaire Sean Parker and the local Republican Party, framed their measure as a way to “restore balance” to San Francisco streets by enshrining free parking and elevating traffic flow as a decisive factor in street design. This in a city that has only taken modest steps to reclaim street space for transit, biking, and walking, and where the mayor recently reneged on a shortlived policy to charge for metered parking on Sundays.

While Prop L was a non-binding policy statement, it could have put a serious chill on livable streets policies in the city. The campaign strategy was to turn car-based populism into votes — handing out flyers in parking lots was the most visible tactic.

As the closest thing to an up-or-down vote on transit-priority lanes, bikeways, and pedestrian improvements ever put before the electorate, the Prop L results are going to make an impression on local officials who decide the fate of those projects. Instead of rejecting the nascent reforms happening on the streets of the city, voters sent a signal that they want more.

For more on the Prop L vote and its implications, check Aaron Bialick’s reporting at Streetsblog SF later today.


Transit vs. Highways: Which Came Out on Top in Local Elections?

There were several local ballot measures with big implications for streets and transportation yesterday, and results were all over the map. Here’s how three of the most notable votes turned out. Seattle’s property tax increase to fund walking, biking, and transit Voters have spoken and they decided to enact Move Seattle, the $900 million property tax levy for transportation. […]

Transit Vote 2016: California’s Transportation Funding Ballot Initiatives

We continue our overview of what’s at stake in the big transit ballot initiatives next week with a look at California. Previous installments in this series examined  Indianapolis, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, and Raleigh. All three of Streetsblog’s west coast editors contributed to this article: Melanie Curry of Streetsblog CA, Roger Rudick of Streetsblog SF, and Joe Linton of Streetsblog LA. Twenty of 58 California […]

San Francisco: Reclaiming Streets With Innovative Solutions

Tom Radulovich, the executive director of the local non-profit Livable City, describes the recent livable streets achievements in San Francisco as “tactical urbanism” — using low-cost materials like paint and bollards to reclaim street space. That willingness to experiment was a big reason that the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) gave its 2012 Sustainable Transport Award to San […]

CA Voters Reject Measures With Lots of Highway Money and a Dash of Transit

On Tuesday night, voters approved major transit improvement plans in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Raleigh, and Seattle. There were other types of transportation measures on local ballots — they focused on highway expansion and lumped in transit funding as a secondary consideration. TransitCenter reports that in California, highway-centric packages didn’t have the same appeal as transit-focused ballot measures: Consider California. While […]

Winning a Campaign for Better Walking and Biking at the Ballot Box

While transit groups have been campaigning for, and winning, ballot measures for years, walking and biking advocacy groups are newer to the ballot referendum game. But as demand for safer streets grows in cities around the country, more and more active transportation groups are seeking voter support for special funding measures. Living Streets Alliance in […]