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SFCTA Offering Workshops on Congestion Pricing in San Francisco

You may have heard about Mayor Bloomberg in New York attempting to implement a congestion charge for vehicles entering the lower portion of Manhattan during prime business hours. I believe the New York legislature folded like a lawn chair on that proposal.

In San Francisco, the County Transportation Authority is looking for community input on a congestion pricing system for driving into our downtown area at certain hours on certain days in the hopes of decreasing traffic congestion and the associated benefits that come from fewer vehicles stuck in traffic and exhausting fumes into our air.

The project web site is www.SFMobility.org. There, you can learn more about the concept of congestion pricing and how it might affect us. Since those of us living in Rincon Hill are inside the downtown core of San Francisco by default, this is a topic we should all pay attention to. Questions I have include: Will residents in Rincon Hill have to pay the $x congestion charge to make their run to Safeway for groceries or will residents get a waiver or maybe a reduced rate annual pass? Would the charge apply if we commute out of the downtown area to our jobs in the south peninsula or east bay?

Personally, I like the concept of congestion pricing. It is a shame to see The Embarcadero become a parking lot on Saturday mornings and the traffic on 1st Street and Harrison Street backed up every week day around 5:00 p.m. Then again, I don’t know that the public transit infrastructure is robust enough to handle even more passengers who decide that driving to downtown San Francisco for work or pleasure is too expensive. It should be an interesting discussion.

The San Francisco meetings to discuss Congestion Pricing are as follows:

Wednesday, July 23rd
San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin Street
Open House: 5:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Presentation and Small Group Discussions: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 29th
Mercy High School
3250 19th Avenue
Open House: 5:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Presentation and Small Group Discussions: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Discussion topics include:
– Possible congestion pricing scenario designs
– Potential transportation improvements
– Discount and exemption policies under consideration

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