San Francisco’s Transit First Policy


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is governed by Charter Section 8A. This includes the Transit-First Policy:

(a)   The following principles shall constitute the City and County’s transit-first policy and shall be incorporated into the General Plan of the City and County. All officers, boards, commissions, and departments shall implement these principles in conducting the City and County’s affairs:
1.   To ensure quality of life and economic health in San Francisco, the primary objective of the transportation system must be the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.
2.   Public transit, including taxis and vanpools, is an economically and environmentally sound alternative to transportation by individual automobiles. Within San Francisco, travel by public transit, by bicycle and on foot must be an attractive alternative to travel by private automobile.
3.   Decisions regarding the use of limited public street and sidewalk space shall encourage the use of public rights of way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit, and shall strive to reduce traffic and improve public health and safety.
4.   Transit priority improvements, such as designated transit lanes and streets and improved signalization, shall be made to expedite the movement of public transit vehicles (including taxis and vanpools) and to improve pedestrian safety.
5.   Pedestrian areas shall be enhanced wherever possible to improve the safety and comfort of pedestrians and to encourage travel by foot.
6.   Bicycling shall be promoted by encouraging safe streets for riding, convenient access to transit, bicycle lanes, and secure bicycle parking.
7.   Parking policies for areas well served by public transit shall be designed to encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation.
8.   New transportation investment should be allocated to meet the demand for public transit generated by new public and private commercial and residential developments.
9.   The ability of the City and County to reduce traffic congestion depends on the adequacy of regional public transportation. The City and County shall promote the use of regional mass transit and the continued development of an integrated, reliable, regional public transportation system.
10.   The City and County shall encourage innovative solutions to meet public transportation needs wherever possible and where the provision of such service will not adversely affect the service provided by the Municipal Railway.
(b)   The City may not require or permit off-street parking spaces for any privately-owned structure or use in excess of the number that City law would have allowed for the structure or use on July 1, 2007 unless the additional spaces are approved by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors may reduce the maximum parking required or permitted by this section.

(Amended by Proposition A, Approved 11/6/2007)


Proposition A

 Proposition A, titled “Transit Reform, Parking Regulation and Emissions Reductions,” was adopted by the voters on November 7, 2007. Proposition A amended the San Francisco Charter to give the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency additional authority in several areas, such as approving contracts, hiring, setting employee pay rates and proposing revenue measures.
  Proposition A also expanded MTA power to adopt many parking and traffic regulations, and to install many traffic control devices that had previously required the approval of the Board of Supervisors. Proposition A provides that actions related to stop signs, bicycle lanes, preferential parking zones, parking meter zones, parking time limits, and disabled parking privileges may be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors if the Board of Supervisors enacts an ordinance establishing review procedures for those items.
   Proposition A required the Board of Supervisors to enact implementing legislation within 90 days of its effective date to repeal all of the provisions of the Traffic Code that were inconsistent with Proposition A. Accordingly, Transportation Code Division I was passed by the Board of Supervisors on March 18, 2008, and approved by the Mayor on March 24, 2008 (see Ord. 45-08, File No. 080236).dsc05638
   Proposition A gave the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors legislative authority to enact any parking and traffic regulations that are not preempted by state law or reserved to the Board of Supervisors. The Municipal Transportation Agency took advantage of this opportunity to update the parking and traffic laws that had been initially enacted in 1940.
  Pursuant to the authority granted to it by Proposition A, the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors enacted Division II of the Transportation Code on July 1, 2008 (see SFMTA Bd. Res. 08-120). Together, Divisions I and II make up the San Francisco Transportation Code, which took effect on July 2, 2008, and superseded the former Traffic Code in its entirety.dsc05628

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