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
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
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
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
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
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
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