Vision Zero, Transit First: Shaping Transportation in San Francisco
February 10, 2017
Tom Maguire- Director, Sustainable Streets Division, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
For four decades, San Francisco has committed itself to sustainable transportation policy. This talk will review three key milestones in the city’s policy evolution: the 1973 Transit First charter amendment, the 1999 creation of a multimodal Municipal Transportation Agency, and the 2014 commitment to Vision Zero. In each case, San Francisco was a national leader in setting overarching goals meant to move the city’s transportation system toward sustainability.
However, once policy direction is set, the long challenge of implementation remains. Changing a city’s traffic and transit systems requires innovative design and planning, sustained attention to public finances, and frequent tradeoffs among stakeholders who are not always on board with the larger policy vision. For these reasons, the path to achieving the vision set out over the last forty years has not been linear. Moreover, San Francisco sits within a fast-growing, congested Bay Area, and must find ways to cooperate with regional partners whose interests often diverge from the city’s. Finally, the city’s vision of sustainable transportation has evolved to encompass livability, urban design, and safety. Can it continue to evolve to meet current demands for greater equity, and the pressures of disruptive technological change in transportation?