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Treasure Island Transportation Plan unveiled

Public Transportation infrastructure emphasized

By Aldrich M. Tan

May 25, 2006

Developers of the Treasure Island Redevelopment Plan presented the proposed transportation plan at a Land Use and Economic Development committee on Thursday.

The plan is progressive and promotes extensive public transit while providing multiple disincentives for private auto use, said Jack Sylvan, Treasure Island manager for the Mayor's Office.

"We're looking at mitigating auto use," Sylvan said, "not taking cars completely away."

Paul Menaker, senior vice president of Lennar Corporation, said 100 percent of the residents will be within five to ten minutes walking distance from a transportation center.

One of the first goals of the transportation plan is to develop a transit hub centered on commercial activities, Menaker said. Various transit outlets in development will include ferry and bus systems and on-island shuttles.

Transportation from the island to the city via the ferry will take 15 minutes, Menaker said. The agency estimates there will be 1,900 passengers during the day and 2,400 passengers in the evening.

The development team will also work with MUNI and AC Transit to improve bus connections between the island and the greater Bay Area. MUNI currently does run to Treasure Island, but AC Transit does not. The developers plan to contact AC Transit to develop a bus system between Treasure Island and Oakland.

Four shuttles will transport individuals around the island, Menaker said. The shuttles will be clean-air vehicles running every five to ten minutes and will be disability accessible. The shuttle services will be privately run, Menaker said.

"MUNI would have to increase its circulation times or split service routes, which would increase wait time and headways," Menaker said.

The transportation plan aims to discourage private car use by placing several costly incentives, Menaker said. The development will charge residential autos traveling on and off the island during peak periods. The plan installs ramp metering; a traffic signal will allow cars to get on the bridge based on demand of cars and the volume of the bridge itself.

Parking will also be pricy on the island, Menaker said. The development will ultimately limit residential parking to one parking space per housing unit. Metered parking can go up to $1.50 per hour.

"Basically, there will be no free parking," Menaker said.

The estimated cost of the transportation project will be $84.9 million in capital costs and an annual operating cost of $29.3 million. However, the estimated annual revenue will be $30.5 million.

Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval expressed concern that the transportation plan may someday call on the General Fund. The profit from parking and the other car-free incentives will help maintain the Treasure Island transit systems, Menaker said.

"Our revenues will be higher than our expenses," Menaker said.

Eve Bach from Arc Ecology isn't sure about Menaker's statement.

"What if the revenues don't pan out and what if the revenue is less than the costs?" Bach asked. "Where's the back-up plan?"

Pricy parking may discourage customers from coming to the island, Bach said.

"The businesses that will be on the island aren't going to be happy campers if you keep raising the fees," Bach said. "We need to go beyond the pretty pictures and visualize a backup for the plan."

The fees aim for a self-sustaining transportation system, Sylvan said. The Treasure Island Development Authority is looking at integrating a comprehensive transit pass that residents will pay for through their housing so that the transit funding is a guaranteed stream of income.

However, it is not feasible to eradicate autos or auto use from the island, Sylvan said.

"It's a great place to raise a family," Sylvan said, "and families will need to have cars."

Sandoval said other groups may also be interested in driving.

"We want to make sure the spaces are available for customers, homeowners and the occasional visitor and not the business owner who can easily take the ferry," Sandoval said.

Sandoval said oversight is needed to make sure that the transit plan maintains its sustainability.

"Democracy will naturally come into action to change the structure once the island is inhabited," Sandoval said.

To oversee the plan, the agency will develop a transportation agency that will set various parking and congestion pricing rates, collect the revenues and disburse the revenue to the support the transit, Menaker said.

The Treasure Island Development Authority is still developing the structure of this agency, Sylvan said.

"It will be similar to the Transportation Authority," Sylvan said.

Sandoval also expressed concern about delivery vehicles and double parking on the island. Menaker said that various commercial activities will take place in different locations from the transportation hubs.

Concerned citizen Ruth Gravinis said the shuttles in the transportation plan expands to the recreational areas, but it still doesn't go to the historical admiral houses, which would be an important attraction.

Gravinis said this plan is an improvement from the plan that the Treasure Island Development Authority presented in January.

"Incremental steps have been made and we need to continue pushing this plan in the right direction," Gravinis said.

Sandoval said he wants to hear transit expert approval of this plan. Sylvan said the Treasure Island Development Authority is working with Jose Luis Moscovich, Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and consultants at Nelson/Nygaard, an agency that specializes in transportation.

Sandoval requested for the various transportation authorities to send opinion letters expressing their opinion about the transportation plan.

"I want them to put their name and reputation behind this plan," Sandoval said. "I don't think people are willing to do that unless the assumptions are reasonable."

The proposed Treasure Island Redevelopment Plan includes 5,500 homes, approximately 235,000 square feet of retail, 420 hotel rooms, historical hangars, a new marina, and a series of major public open spaces on Treasure Island, Sylvan said.

The Treasure Island Development Authority should have a completed version of the plan to present in the summer, Sylvan said.




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