New Development Fee Could Benefit Streetcars

Streetcar No. 1055, wearing its original 1946 Philadelphia livery, passes new condos on Market at Buchanan. Michael Macor photo for the Chronicle.

Streetcar No. 1055, wearing its original 1946 Philadelphia livery, passes new condos on Market at Buchanan. Michael Macor photo for the Chronicle.

The City of San Francisco is proposing a new fee on new market rate condo and apartment construction that will raise an extra $14 million per year for transit.

The Chronicle used an F-line streetcar passing a new upper Market development to illustrate the article about the fee. More than fitting, since every single new proposed residential development along Market for the past few years has used F-line streetcars in the illustrations of their proposed project.

Clearly, the developers think the historic streetcars are a valuable amenity.  Now they get to put some money where their artists’ conceptions are.

The article quotes a long-time supporter of Market Street Railway, Oz Erickson of Emerald Fund (who serves on our advisory council) as saying, “…for the whole city to work, everybody has to pay their fair share.”

Thanks to this legislation, carried at the Board of Supervisors by strong F-line (and Muni) supporter Scott Wiener and widely expected to pass, it looks like everybody will indeed pay more of a fair share.

The money that comes in from the new fee will be spread around a variety of areas at Muni to improve and expand service. It would be logical to apply some of it to expand streetcar service along Market in congested times, given the thousands of new units now under construction or planned along the F-line.

Though it will take a couple of years before the money starts coming in, this is a new long-term funding source for Muni, which is always welcome.

We thank Scott, the Mayor’s Office, the Planning Department, and SFMTA, which the article says worked together for an extended period to pull together this plan.