Tag Archives: MTC

Joyce Roy: Senate Public Hearing on Regional Governance in SF this Thursday

6 Dec

This guest post was written by Joyce Roy. As a retired architect, Joyce has raised her sights (or sites?) to the whole city of Oakland and so has been active in advocating for better transit, the right development in the right place and the reuse of existing structures.  She is an active member of ULTRA.

This is for those of you who were disturbed by the recent decision of MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) to leave the headquarters they share with ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) and use Bridge toll funds for real estate speculation by purchasing a too-big warehouse in a transit-challenged location. It was not just in itself an unwise, and possibly, illegal action, but a loud and clear symptom of the Bay Area’s transportation/land-use disconnect due to the difficulty of comprehensive planning without regional governance which would combine the functions of MTC, ABAG, the Air District and BCDC.

Here is your chance to have your concerns heard by our State Senate:

Senate Transportation & Housing Informational Hearing-
SUBJECT: Regional Governance and Bay Area Economic Development

December 8, 2011
10:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Legislative Chamber of San Francisco City Hall, Room 250

You can be assured that your comments will be given serious attention because the Chair of the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee, Mark DeSaulnier, has served on MTC, ABAG, and the Air District so he understands the dysfunctional separation of those regional agencies. Continue reading

Good news & bad news: Damon Slough & MTC

20 Oct

Blogging’s been a bit light here lately because I’ve been super busy and I was in Chicago last week for a much-needed vacation. I’ve been working on a long blog post (or possibly series of blog posts) about the County’s Measure B transportation reauthorization plan, but you’ll have to wait until next week for that. In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of updates on issues I’ve blogged about – Damon Slough and the MTC headquarters relocation.

I’ll start with the bad (though unsurprising) news. The MTC voted last Wednesday to purchase 390 Main Street in San Francisco for their headquarters. Here’s a report from Joyce Roy: Continue reading

MTC poised to purchase San Francisco building, but Senator DeSaulnier not backing down

10 Oct

Two weeks ago the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to move their headquarters to San Francisco, despite an ongoing state audit initiated by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Mark DeSaulnier. At the time, one bit of hope was that MTC might be outbid by another entity because staff claimed that there was now competition for the building and that if the MTC didn’t move quickly, they might lose out on the opportunity to buy it.

Who knows if others were bidding on it, but it now seems as if MTC is close to making the purchase. This Wednesday they will meet in closed session to negotiate the purchase, and then in open session to discuss the deal and financing.

In my last blog post on this issue, I mentioned that Senator Mark DeSaulnier is not so pleased that MTC is moving forward with the building purchase and questionable use of toll funds. He said at the time that he would hold hearings and introduce a bill to drastically overhaul MTC. Since writing that, I saw another article where he explained in a bit more detail what he plans to do: Continue reading

MTC approves move to San Francisco, triggering Senator DeSaulnier to commit to drastically overhaul the agency

29 Sep

Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted yesterday to approve the purchase of 390 Main Street in San Francisco for their new headquarters. I attempted to listen to the audio of the meeting while it was happening yesterday, but once again the MTC’s audio feed was faulty (the same thing happened during their last meeting about the move) so I was unable to.

I was able to follow the meeting yesterday on Twitter, thanks to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Michael Cabanatuan @ctuan. (If you’re not following him on Twitter, you should.)

And thankfully, Joyce Roy attended the meeting and wrote this report: Continue reading

Despite ongoing state audit, MTC poised to move to San Francisco; ABAG unlikely to join them

27 Sep

You might remember that two months ago, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to move their headquarters from Oakland to San Francisco. After the City of Oakland raised questions of Brown Act violations in this initial vote, the MTC voted in August to rescind its initial vote and to create a committee that would review the decision and return with a recommendation to the MTC within 60 days.

To recap, in case you missed the excellent guest blog post from Joyce Roy about this issue a month ago, the MTC has been searching for a new headquarters for MTC and the Associations of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) – who currently share offices next to the Lake Merritt BART station – as well as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District). The plan for the three agencies to locate together makes total sense, as they work together frequently and it would make it easier for the public to interact with the three agencies. MTC narrowed down their location search to two options – building a new building on top of the 12th Street BART station in downtown Oakland at 1100 Broadway or purchasing a 1940’s warehouse half a mile from BART in San Francisco at 390 Main Street. At the meeting in August, East Bay officials and advocates turned out in force, advocating for the Oakland site, and State Senator Mark DeSaulnier – chair of the Senate Transportation Committee – sent a letter informing the Commission that his committee would audit their proposed use of bridge toll funds for the move to San Francisco.

It hasn’t been 60 days yet, but the committee appointed at that August meeting has apparently completed its work and recommended that the MTC move forward with its initial plans to move to San Francisco. The MTC will be voting tomorrow, Wednesday morning, September 28th on whether to move forward with the San Francisco building purchase (meeting details at the end of this post). Continue reading

Tomorrow (Thursday): Learn the truth about MPOs

24 Aug

I’ll have some more substantive posts up later this week, but today I received an email from the Transportation Equity Network about a free webinar they’re holding tomorrow that I thought Living in the O readers might be interested. It’s called “The Truth about Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs)” and will be held at 1pm PST tomorrow (Thursday, August 25th). With all the action going on at our MPO – the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) – this seems like a worthwhile opportunity to learn more about MPOs.

Here’s the description from their email:

Tomorrow, 8/25, at 4pm EST, TEN will host a free educational webinar entitled The Truth About Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), the second in our new series of free monthly seminars. This Thursday’s webinar will cover the importance of MPOs, the ways in which current legislation shapes MPOs, and stories of actual engagement with MPOs from TEN leaders and organizers. Continue reading

MTC does the right thing, rescinds vote to move to San Francisco

19 Aug

I’ll have a more complete update in the coming weeks, and I realize most have already heard what happened, but I wanted to give an update on Wednesday’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) meeting. I attended most of the meeting and spoke but had to get to work before the commissioners spoke or voted. Luckily, others were able to stay and shared the good news that the MTC voted to rescind their July vote to purchase 390 Main Street in San Francisco and to set up a committee to further research the relocation of their headquarters.

This is huge and I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen. Thanks to Joyce Roy for writing an excellent guest blog post here that mobilized dozens to write the commissioners or to speak on Wednesday. Thanks to everyone who spoke on Wednesday, including many elected officials and advocates. And thanks to State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and the several senators who signed on to his letter to the MTC questioning this purchase and the use of bridge toll funds.

Now on to the updates. The first one is from Joan Lichterman: Continue reading

Joyce Roy: MTC stealth action contradicts sustainability policy

16 Aug

This guest post was written by Joyce Roy. As a retired architect, Joyce has raised her sights (or sites?) to the whole city of Oakland and so has been active in advocating for better transit, the right development in the right place and the reuse of existing structures.  She is an active member of ULTRA.

With little public knowledge or input, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted on July 27 to purchase a 1940’s warehouse in a desolate San Francisco area, a half-mile from BART, for a new headquarters to share with other regional agencies.  This violates their own land use policy of locating ”job centers within a quarter mile of transit.”  And it will take many years and more than the $180 million allocated to transform this 8-story humongous plug-ugly warehouse into humane habitable office spaces. No matter how much money is sunk into this building, it is doubtful it can be rated a Class-A office building because of its location.

MTC has another choice, a superbly sustainable one, for $153 million—a proposed new, fully entitled, 20-story Class-A office tower above the 12th Street BART Station at 1100 Broadway in downtown Oakland which will be LEED Platinum certified! With 310,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of public/retail space on the ground floor, it would more than meet the needs of all three (or four?) regional agencies—it would become a signature regional center.  And the façade of the attached Historic Key System building, the birthplace of Bay Area mass transit, would be restored! What better demonstration of sustainable development could there be? Continue reading

Coming soon… an Oakland voice on the MTC

28 Jan

I’d been hoping to write another real blog post this week, but it’s just not going to happen. In the meantime, I wanted to share the exciting news that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted Wednesday morning to approve a proposal that will likely lead to Oakland and San Jose representatives being added to the Commission. I tweeted the meeting, so here’s what happened:

Woo hoo! Finally got the MTC feed to load. @jeanquan was speaking but didn’t catch what she said. #oakmtg

Ugh, item on expanding MTC moved to later in agenda because not all commissioners present. #oakmtg

MTC’s executive director mentions Barbara Boxer sitting with Transpo Chair John Mica & hopes they’ll work together on transportation #oakmtg

MTC now talking about Haggerty’s proposal to add Oakland & San Jose commissioners. Report here: http://bit.ly/fPHAD6 #oakmtg

If MTC votes in support of this today, will need to be approved by state legislature (that shouldn’t be a problem). #oakmtg

Compromise in this proposal – Alameda & Santa Clara wouldn’t be eligible for ABAG seats so couldn’t have more than 3 reps. #oakmtg

Chair Haggerty stresses the importance of 3 largest cities – Oakland, San Jose & San Francisco – having seat at MTC table.#oakmtg

Haggerty under the delusion that Jean Quan has president’s ear because she was at a state dinner! #oakmtg

Jon Rubin, SF’s MTC rep asks for a continuance of this issue so SF can study it further. Won’t support proposal today. #oakmtg

Haggerty doesn’t want to continue item but praises Rubin for his involvement in the process of creating this proposal. #oakmtg

Woo! Public speakers list sounds good – rep from San Jose mayor, rep from Jean Quan & @TransForm_Alert staffer. #oakmtg

Carli Paine of @TransForm_Alert says this is a good government issue – populations need fair representation. #oakmtg

Sharon Cornu on behalf of @jeanquan explains the importance of Oakland in region – airport, port, housing, etc. #oakmtg

MTC now arguing over Robert’s Rules about whether motion to continue constitutes substitute motion… fun stuff. #oakmtg

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates says that though commissioners come from diff places, it’s important to think about whole region. #oakmtg

Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover opposes proposal – says Contra Costa is growing too & needs equal representation. #oakmtg

Hah! Contra Costa rep Amy Worth says Oakland Airport Connector example of MTC coming together & respecting all localities.#oakmtg

Glover & Worth are basically just whining that Contra Costa doesn’t get a third seat too. Don’t seem to have other arguments. #oakmtg

Haggerty – this isn’t about Oakland or San Jose getting new projects. It’s about having a better discussion at MTC. #oakmtg

MTC voting on 30 day continuance of item to add Oakland & San Jose seats. Motion fails. #oakmtg

Woo hoo! MTC votes to add Oakland & San Jose seats – 9 yes – 3 no – 1 abstention. Now this goes to the Assembly. #oakmtg

Next stop is the Assembly – I’ll keep an eye on the bill and will put up an alert if letters and calls are needed. If all goes well in the Assembly and Senate, we could have an Oakland seat on the MTC starting in 2012! Thanks to Supervisor Haggerty for bringing this proposal forward and making the case for why it’s necessary.

I agree with Scott Haggerty 100% – Oakland needs representation on the MTC

25 Jan

UPDATE: Woo hoo! The MTC voted for this proposal (9 yes – 3 no – 1 abstention). Next it goes to the Assembly.

Wow. For a long time transit advocates have complained about the geographical inequity of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and other metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country. While Oakland and San Jose have no representation on MTC, cities as small as Rohnert Park do! That’s because most of the Commission seats are divvied up by counties, with the smaller counties having one representative and the larger counties having two representatives. (Alameda County is currently represented by Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.)

This could all change tomorrow. As Denis Cuff reports, the MTC is considering adding two commissioners to its 19 member board. These commissioners would represent Oakland and San Jose and be appointed by the mayors of the two cities. This makes an immense amount of sense, not only because Alameda and Santa Clara are the two largest counties in the region, but also because it’s ridiculous that two of the largest Bay Area cities have no representation on the Commission.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had about the absurdity and unfairness of Oakland not having a representative on the MTC. I even asked Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood abut this at Netroots Nation. If you’ve ever talked to me about transit, chances are you’re sick of hearing me talk about this issue.

It’s impossible to know, but I think the MTC discussions about the Oakland Airport Connector would have been very different with an Oakland representative on the Commission. Beyond the OAC, Oakland has important transportation needs, like equitable funding of AC Transit and funding for the Broadway Shuttle. Plus, we have a Port and airport that demand careful attention and planning.

I can hardly believe I’m writing this but I agree 100% with Scott Haggerty, who wrote a persuasive memo on this issue that’s worth reading if you’re unconvinced.

Of course, not everyone agrees that adding these two seats is a good idea. I don’t know where the other commissioners stand, but Cuff reports that the two Contra Costa County commissioners, Federal Glover and Amy Worth, oppose the proposal.

The vote is tomorrow, Wednesday, January 26th. The meeting starts at 9:30am at 101 Eighth Street in downtown Oakland (across the street from Lake Merritt BART). This is the first item on the agenda so if you’d like to speak, you should be able to do so quickly and then leave.

It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to make it, but I’ll listen online and will do some live tweeting.

This proposal won’t fix everything that is wrong with the MTC, but it will be a big step in the right direction. Let’s hope that Oakland will soon have the representation it deserves on the MTC!