Development first, infrastructure second

“Southern bayfront needs transit,” The City, Aug. 18

Development first, infrastructure second

On Aug. 18, the Examiner ran an article about San Francisco’s transportation and increasingly aggressive land use development ongoing along the waterfront between Hunters Point and AT&T Park. Billions of dollars in new development is expected to be approved in the next three years. The information provided to your writer shows clearly why San Francisco’s special blend of land use development and transportation improvement increasingly ties The City in knots.

As always in San Francisco, the obsession with development leads. Despite the estimated doubling of the current number of people currently working in the area and the five major development projects in the works, the southeast part of San Francisco is destined to receive only marginal transportation improvement.

The area is already overloaded with auto traffic. Massive traffic jams are already experienced during every afternoon peak period, especially when Giants games are scheduled. The Lee administration’s frantic efforts to squeeze in a Warrior’s Arena between the Bay and two hospitals on the west side of Third Street would only make things worse.

In San Francisco, transportation infrastructure lags land use development by two to four decades, which is the main reason San Franciscans continue to experience both poor transit service and excessive traffic congestion.

Gerald Cauthen


“Cyclist licenses: Great crankbait, bad policy,” In My View, Aug. 18

All for bike licenses

Andy Thornley’s column condemning Joel Engardio, who astutely and logically advocates licensing and registration for bicycle riders, just like motor vehicle owners and drivers pay, demonstrates an embarrassing lack of historical knowledge.

Bicycle riders use California highways, roads and streets created by gasoline taxes from motor vehicle drivers as user fees — a simple, understandable concept. Those highways, roads and streets are “freebies” for bicyclists. We don’t “all pay for bicycle infrastructure through sales taxes and other indirect sources,” which are unidentified by Thornley, and his notion that riding a bike subsidizes motor vehicle drivers boggles the mind.

Since 1922, California has used gasoline taxes to build city streets, county roads and state highways on the sensible principle of those who use them should pay. As State Senate Transportation Committee Chairman for 11 years, I pointed out the contradiction of not charging bicyclists an user fee comparable to that charged motorists, who also pay for the Department of Motor Vehicles and California Highway Patrol from registration and licensing fees.

Good for Engardio.

Judge Quentin L. Kopp

San Francisco

“Time to mandate bicycle licenses,” In My View, Aug. 14

Historically a good idea

Joel Engardio’s article was certainly interesting but ignored some very important history. I grew up in The City in the 1940s and ’50s. Bicycle licenses were a legal and enforced requirement. We moved to Burlingame in the ’60s, which also had a mandatory bike license law.

Somehow, over the years, these license requirements were either quietly revoked by the cities or perhaps they’re still on the books but not enforced. The article would have been much more useful if the history of licenses had been researched, which obviously was not the case.

By the way, the suggestion of mandatory minimum insurance associated with the licenses is worthwhile consideration.

Vic Rich


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