Transportation that Works for Everyone

London Breed
13 min readMay 1, 2018

Getting around the Bay Area, and San Francisco specifically, is getting more difficult and more expensive. Our population and economy are growing, and our transportation system is aging and strained. The housing crisis is forcing people to commute from further and further away, exacerbating traffic and placing undue burden on working families. Meanwhile, new technology — from carshare, Uber & Lyft, scooters, and autonomous vehicles — is improving options but often lacks adequate regulation.

San Francisco needs a mayor who understands the connection between land use and transportation, who fights for Transit First, who knows the frustration and joys of riding Muni because she’s done it all her life, who rides a bike and has struggled to pay a parking ticket, who’s frustrated by our congestion, and who embraces well-regulated new technology. We need a mayor with a plan to make transportation work for everyone, a mayor with a track record of fighting for improvements and for the resources we need. I am that Mayor.

My Record on Transportation

Improving transportation in the City has been one of my highest priorities on the Board of Supervisors, and it will be one of my highest priorities as mayor. Here are some of my achievements so far.

Increasing Transportation Funding

Improving Muni Service

I visited the very first new Muni train on the assembly line at Siemens’ factory in Sacramento.
Enjoying the spacious new train interior at Siemens’ Sacramento factory with Mayor Ed Lee, Assemblymember David Chiu, then-SFMTA Board Chair Tom Nolan, and SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin.

Safer Streets for All Users

More Biking & Sustainable Mode Share

Regional Transit

Strong Oversight

My Transportation Agenda

I am committed to making transportation work for everyone: to improving safety for all users, reducing congestion, expanding public transit and bike lanes, cleaning our air, paving our streets, and ensuring we all have a reliable, accessible, and affordable way to get around San Francisco.

  1. Build Transit-Oriented Housing & Closer Communities

As with so many issues our City faces, with transportation, all roads lead back to housing. San Francisco is projected to grow by 280,000 people in the next two decades, part of the 2.1 million in growth projected for the Bay Area. The only way we can accommodate even half that much growth without terrible congestion is by building homes near transit and shortening people’s commutes. As many people have said, I am the only pro-housing candidate for mayor.

I support Assemblymember David Chiu’s Assembly Bill 2923 to build 20,000 homes near BART stations, with a goal of doing the same for Caltrain stations. I am the only candidate for mayor who has stood up for housing near transit. And I recently wrote the San Francisco Planning Department urging changes to the Central SoMa Plan, which envisions adding 40,000 jobs to the area but only 7,000 homes, exacerbating our transportation problems.

I will fight for affordable housing for teachers, police, fire fighters, and families in all our neighborhoods. I am committed to building 5,000 units of transit-oriented housing each year. I will push for neighborhood schools and the Safe Routes to School program so our children don’t have to commute so far either. These measure aren’t just good transportation policy; they make for closer communities too.

2. Close the Transportation Funding Gap

Last year, Mayor Lee and I convened the Transportation Task Force 2045 to identify the City’s transportation funding needs between now and 2045, the gaps in that funding, and how we may fill them. The Task Force’s report is sobering; we have billions in unfunded needs. I am committed to helping fill them. Building on our 2014 success, I will advance another $500M bond to fund transportation capital needs without raising taxes. And I will actively pursue federal, state, regional, and local funding, such as the current Regional Measure 3. We need this funding to repair our infrastructure, pave streets, expand transit service, and build major new projects like subways and a second Bay tunnel for rail and BART.

3. Improve Transit Service

We need to make public transit more reliable and, frankly, a more attractive option for more people. Muni moves through our city at an average of about 8 MPH, with frequent bunches and gaps, and far-too-frequent delays. I will reduce switchbacks, upgrade “Nextbus” arrival predictions, and improve Muni vehicle and station cleanliness. I will champion Muni’s efforts to get buses and trains separated from traffic and to time signals and locate transit stops so Muni can move faster and more reliably. I will support BART’s work to replace its train control system so we can move more trains, and thus more riders, through the existing BART tube during commute hours. And I will hire more police officers and tackle our homelessness crisis, so waiting at a Muni stop is not a harrowing experience.

I will continue our work to make public transit affordable and accessible for everyone, as transportation is often the third largest household expense. And I will support the California State Transportation Agency’s call for a statewide integrated ticketing platform allowing seamless travel across local and regional boundaries, and leveraging smartphones to streamline ticket purchases and use across transit agencies and modes, while also supporting those without access to bank accounts or smartphones. Travel on local and regional transit should be easier to plan and more affordable, and riders shouldn’t have to navigate multiple different payment systems.

4. Re-envision Rail Travel

I will get the Central Subway extended to Fisherman’s Wharf, and as Scott Wiener says, make sure we are always digging a new subway. I will partner closely with the State and our regional rail partners to advance the California State Rail Plan — with a fully-electrified Caltrain operating in a blended system with the future California High Speed Rail. And we will begin planning for a rail tunnel under the Bay so that Caltrain, the Capitol Corridor, and ACE (Altamont Corridor Express) can operate as part of an integrated, statewide rail network that connects to our regional and local systems, including BART and Muni. We can make seamless and fast regional — even statewide — rail travel a reality for San Franciscans.

5. Build Safe, Complete Streets

Our streets should be inviting and safe so anyone can feel comfortable choosing to ride a bike, walk, or take transit, and so it is clear which space is for which mode of travel. I will accelerate the construction of protected bike lanes throughout San Francisco and expand our bike network. I will fund street repaving to continue improving our street conditions (the Pavement Condition Index), and coordinate repaving with Vision Zero and complete streets improvements. And I will be vigilant with our departments and contractors to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget. I want the Fire Department and the SFMTA to have one dedicated staffer work with stakeholders throughout the complete street design and review processes to prevent delays.

Safe, complete streets save lives, improve driving conditions, and encourage a walkable and cyclist-friendly atmosphere to increase sustainable modes of travel.

6. Regulate & Embrace New Technology

Technology is rapidly changing our transportation systems, and if we craft smart regulations, these changes can be for the better.

Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft provide convenient rides, but accessibility for disabled riders remains a problem, and the volume of TNCs is worsening our congestion. On an average weekday, TNCs make up 15% of all trips within the City, travelling about 570,000 miles, and representing over one quarter of the car trips Downtown. I will ensure we study TNCs’ impacts and am open to a TNC business tax and studying a congestion tax. I also believe taxis remain an important element and deserve a level playing field. And we need to provide safe passenger loading zones on commercial corridors to stop double parking, ease congestion, and reduce impacts on cyclists and buses.

Electric scooters can be a fun and clean new transportation option. But they need to be regulated and stay off our sidewalks. Bike share, electric bikes, and other cycling options are exciting and we should continue expanding the bike network they need.

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to reshape not only transportation methods but our public spaces. The average privately-owned car is parked unused for 23 hours per day. AVs, which don’t need to be privately owned or which could drive themselves to park elsewhere, could massively reduce our need for parking and create room for more public spaces (like a Piazza) and bike lanes. I will make sure our streets are not laboratories for untested technology and will work with companies so AVs can benefit our city.

Transportation technology companies need to share data and plans with the City, and we need to provide the right regulations to protect public safety, and ensure technology reduces congestion and inequity, rather than increasing them.

7. Create a Clean Fleet

Muni’s electric trolley buses and trains are some of the cleanest vehicles on the road. They’re powered by gravity, with water from Hetch Hetchy spinning generators that power electric motors. We need to build on that success and create the cleanest fleet of vehicles — both public and private — of any city in the country. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, and we can’t meet our climate or transportation goals without facing this head-on.

I will work with Muni to phase out diesel fuel and get ALL of our buses running on 100% clean electricity. I will set an ambitious goal to make EVERY City vehicle zero emission by 2030. If the climate deniers in Washington follow through on their outrageous plans to roll back emissions requirements, I will work with City Attorney Herrera to defend California’s standards and make sure San Francisco does not buy any vehicles from companies that don’t meet our higher emissions standards.

England and France have set goals to stop selling new diesel and gasoline cars by 2040. San Francisco should disincentivize and phase out the registration of new diesel and gas cars even sooner than that. As Supervisor, I led the fight to start our clean energy program, CleanPowerSF. As Mayor, I will do the same for clean vehicles.

8. Reduce Congestion

I will be dedicated to building transit-oriented housing, funding our transportation systems, improving transit service, expanding rail, building complete streets, embracing technology, and cleaning our fleet. If we do all of these things well, we can and will reduce congestion, even in the face of significant population and job growth.

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I have been a transportation leader and advocate my entire public career. I am a lifelong Muni rider, a bicyclist, and a driver who feels the same parking and traffic exasperation that you do. I believe in big ideas and big projects. And as your Mayor, I will work every day to create transportation that works for everyone.

Read more about my record and plans for San Francisco:

Housing: An Affordable City for ALL of Us

Homelessness: A Bold Approach to Homelessness

Public Safety: Making a Safer San Francisco

Education: Making Our Schools Worthy of Their Students