SF looks to better manage transit plans for new development

Managing transportation options for new development projects in San Francisco could become more streamlined under a proposal set to go before the Planning Commission today.

City planners have proposed a planning code amendment that would include a set of requirements for managing transportation in new projects, including for the first time mandating that The City monitors and follows up with developers to ensure project developers actually uphold their promises to manage transportation.

Currently, developers are required to meet transportation demands generated by new projects, but how the plans are implemented is scattered and inconsistent. Some projects may include a transportation management program as part of an Institutional Master Plan, while others will include the program as part of its California Environmental Quality Act analysis.

A handful of existing transportation management planning codes have been implemented since 1978, including off-street parking, bicycle parking, car sharing and parking costs.

“Those kind of get thrown in or agreed on as you’re getting toward the [Planning] Commission, and they aren’t something that’s thought out strategically, or an integral part of the project description,” said Sarah Jones, director of environmental planning for the Planning Department. “They’re very ad hoc.”

The proposed transportation demand management program would unite those efforts into a single process, and developers would have to submit a transportation management plan with a project’s first development application. City planners would also have to monitor the plans after they go into effect to ensure compliance.

The new requirements would apply to most development projects, including those that change use, with at least 10 homes, at least 10 beds in group housing or a residential care facility, or at least 10,000 square feet of space for nonresidential uses.

The new planning code is designed to further encourage other types of transportation than driving.

“The whole idea of transportation demand management is that for any trip that someone takes, you’re giving them choices and making it easier for them to opt for something other than a car,” Jones said.

The Planning Commission today is scheduled to initiate the ordinance, and it will be voted on at a later date.

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