No Easy Solutions For The Bay Area’s Congested Roadways

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – If you think your daily commute is getting worse, you’re right.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there are more than 160,000 new vehicles registered to owners in the Bay Area than there were in 2011.

That breaks down to 27,655 new registration in San Francisco, 56,330 in San Mateo and 86,211 in Contra Costa County.

“What the data shows is that more and more people are choosing to drive their car,” Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Committee told KPIX. “Public transit per capita has gone down… Driving is faster for most people – and time is very valuable.”

In an effort to make public transportation more attractive, San Francisco officials have spent $2.4 million on new bus lanes in the Mission District to improve service.

“There are times when the system just breaks down and we need to stop that from happening,” said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner.

But Roberto Hernandez of the Mission Merchants Association says the bus lanes have come at a cost to local street parking.

“For over 300 businesses, revenue has dropped drastically in the last five months,” he told KPIX.

But Muni Executive Director Ed Reiskin said the price if well worth the improvement.

“There are 65.000 people who ride in the Mission Corridor every day,” he told KPIX.

Weiner said more transit options are needed.

“Transit first is not about torturing people out of their cars,” he said. “It’s about giving people great alternative options. We need more subways. We need to get Caltrain to the downtown. We need a second Trans Bay tube.”

At the same time as Mayor Ed Lee is backing the Golden State Warriors new 18,500-seat arena in Mission Bay, he’s also floating the idea of tearing down Highway 280 where it lands in San Francisco and into the Mission Bay neighborhood.

“It’s all about balancing everybody’s needs,” Lee said the of the transit plans. “We are trying to get the use of cars in a way in which they are shared… I really hate seeing individual drivers in their cars…I give rides to as many people as possible.”

More from Phil Matier
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