Anyone who has ever lived in a city knows how bad traffic congestion can be. Yet some cities have it worse than others. Over the past couple of years as San Francisco has become an increasingly popular place to live and to work, traffic in the city by the bay has only gotten worse. It’s a fact of living in the United States—when a city is doing well it attracts more people and by extension more vehicles. A recent study has also found that all of the city’s construction is actually making traffic worse. If that’s not bad enough, the study points out that “the Bay Area recently ranked as the fourth-most-congested metropolitan area in the world” (Guzman).
In the beginning of this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors decided to take some steps to reduce traffic in the city. How? Through real estate.
Reducing Traffic With New Properties
San Francisco doesn’t want to be an anti-vehicle city, but it does want to reduce the amount of time that people spend driving in their cars and improve life for the city’s residents. Under the Board of Supervisors’ plan, if developers want to offer free parking, they will also have to offer perks that promote less driving. The proposed perks will be things like subscriptions to Zipcar, bikes for every resident, and public transportation schedules displayed in the building. Every perk will earn the developer a certain amount of points. If developers want to include free parking on their property, they will have to score a particular level of points first.
Data and Time
The plan gives developers flexibility when it comes to choosing the kinds of perks to include on their properties. Throughout the entire process, the board will collect data on everything related to the new initiative. Then they’ll use this data to refine the process over time. Unfortunately, the process will take at least one decade before useful data can be examined. The buildings that will be built under these new rules won’t be erected for at least a year.
It’s very likely that properties built under the new transportation ordinance will be popular with San Francisco residents. One of the perks that developers can gain points for is building a childcare center on the premises. A perk like that will definitely be attractive to potential residents who are parents. San Francisco is one of the largest cities in America to attempt something like this. As a result, other cities are eagerly watching the process as they think about how to reduce traffic congestion.