San Francisco hasn’t built nearly as much residential development as it ought to have in recent, well, decades. Lately whatever housing has emerged downtown received an enormous benefit: developers weren’t required to pay a fee for the congestion they added to the city’s public transportation network. So a luxury tower could advertise transit access as a perk, then dump all these new residents onto a bus and rail system that was already overloaded.
A new plan would right that wrong. Several civic agencies have teamed up to develop a “Transportation Sustainability Fee” that officials hope will help offset the impact that new residential development imposes on public transit. If demographic projections hold true, and San Francisco gets the 101,500 or so households it’s expected to add in the next 25 years, the new fees will go a long way toward making sure transit not only survives the new arrivals but serves them well.