Policy Committee‎ > ‎2007 Meetings‎ > ‎

11.19 Approved Minutes







*Monday, November 19, 2007, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102 


*The Monday, November 12, 2007 Regularly Scheduled Meeting of the Policy Committee was rescheduled to Monday, November 19, 2007 due to Veteran’s Day.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair); Ruth Gravanis and Jane MarieFrancis Martin




1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment’s Policy Committee meeting was called to order at 5:07 p.m.  Present:  Chair Wald, Commissioners Gravanis and Martin.


2.      Approval of Minutes of the October 22, 2007 Policy Committee Meeting (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Martin, the October 22, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES:  Chair Wald, Commissioners Gravanis and Martin) (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the October 22, 2007 Policy Committee Meeting). 


Item 6 was heard before Items 3-5.


3.      Urban Environmental Accord Action 15. Transportation. Mobility, Access and Pricing Study, an effort to determine the feasibility of using congestion pricing to improve mobility in San Francisco.  The San Francisco Bay Area’s Urban Partnership program focused on improvements in the Doyle Drive Corridor which could bring as much as $159M in congestion management improvements to the region will be described (Informational Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Mobility Access and Pricing Study Presentation)

     Sponsor: Jared Blumenfeld, Director

Speaker: Tilly Chang, Deputy Director for Planning, San Francisco County Transportation Authority


Ms. Chang presented an informational report on the Mobility Access and Pricing Study, a feasibility study of congestion pricing for the most congested parts of San Francisco’s street network primarily in the Downtown, Civic Center and South of Market areas. Ms. Chang also discussed the urban partnership agreement and grant received from the U.S. Department of Transportation from August of this year that is $159 million of funding to demonstrate the concept of congestion pricing on one facility of Doyle Drive, which is the southern access route to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Presentation topics included:


·        Reasons for concern and for studying congestion pricing in San Francisco

·        Transportation action categories:  using revenues from a congestion pricing program to reinvest in transportation action categories and other trip reduction actions to the work place.

·        What is congestion pricing?  Key benefits.  Examples from benefits seen in London, Stockholm, and Rome.

·        What scenarios might work in San Francisco--where is auto and transit congestion the worst; what gateways or routes might be charged, what area could be the focus?

·        Congestion pricing: improve transportation system performance, enhance environment and quality of life; maintain economic vitality, support sustainable growth.

·        Traveler surveys—65% support exploring congestion pricing.  Surveys on benefits expected, concerns.

·        Will San Francisco continue to be competitive?  Effect on businesses and minimizing potential impacts.

·        Study Schedule for Workshops Winter 2007-Summer 2008.  Current Activities that include model development, prepare and evaluate alternatives, economic and financial analyses, technology review.

·        San Francisco Urban Partnership.  San Francisco Bay Area selected as a US Department of Transportation Urban Partner Region to receive 159M in grant funds for a Doyle Drive value pricing program.

·        Doyle Drive replacement project description.

·        Urban Partnership project to help inform pricing decisions for broader implementation in downtown San Francisco and demonstrate value.

·        Regional Goals and Policies: region exploring HOT Lanes Network and congestion pricing to achieve multiple goals.

·        Reasons for improving mobility: discussion of top ten congested areas in the Bay Area.


Ms. Chang requested that the Commission issue a letter of support for the project, especially when the legislature is approached for approval. It was stated that the Mayor has requested support from Senator Perata and it is believed that Senator Yee would be the author of the legislation. SFCTA has until March 31st to receive legislative authority.  Director Blumenfeld suggested that the Policy Committee hear a future presentation on a regional gas tax, and Ms. Chang recommended Ms. Lisa Klein with the Municipal Transportation Commission. 


4.      Urban Environmental Accord 21: Water. San Francisco Wastewater Master Plan Update and Low Impact Design Guidelines (Informational Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Documents: Stormwater Design Guide Presentation and Sewer System Master Plan Project Update Presentation)

   Sponsor:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director and Commissioner Johanna Wald

   Speakers:  Jon Loiacano and Arleen Navarret, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission


Mr. Loiacano presented a project update on the Sewer System Master Plan. It was stated that the SFPUC now has a recommended project and the next step would be environmental review.  Mr. Loiacano reported that the Master Plan included a two step planning process to find the best alternative: Step 1—technical alternatives for aging infrastructure, planned growth, and regulations; and Step 2-Community Value Analysis. Presentation topics included:


·        Technical Alternatives developed to maximize existing assets and to address existing plant and community problems.

·        Community outreach through Commission workshops and updates, Citizens Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Committee meetings, and public workshops.

·        Alternatives/Technologies Considered.

·        Master Plan objectives and levels of service.  Recommended projects to ensure seismic and structural reliability for all treatment facilities; ensure operating reliability and flexibility; minimize neighborhood impacts; protect the environment and public health; and minimize consumption of natural resources.

·        Recommended Program: Treatment facility improvements—(1) new digester (biosolids) facility.  New digester facility site options that include Caltrans, Pier 94 backlands; and Islais Creek Parcels A&B; and (2) Southeast Plant Architectural Improvements.

·        Recommended Program: Collection System Improvements-replace/repair aging sewers; minimize flooding, and prevent backflow into near shore discharge points due to rising sea level.

·        Recommended Program:  Green System Improvements--Low Impact Development Program, Water Reuse, Renewable Power Program and New Biodiesel Facility.

·        Recommended Policy Changes: New and Redevelopment Projects and Revise Citywide Sewer and Drainage Design Standards, Low Impact Development, Side Sewers.

·        Current System comparison with the Recommended Program as it relates to engineering, environmental and social criteria.

·        Recommended Program and Objectives.

·        Master Plan Estimated Costs for Treatment Facilities and Collection System.

·        Next Steps: Schedule for Draft and Final Master Plan Report, Draft and Final Environmental Review, and New Digester Facility planning and site selection.

·        November 2007—conduct public meetings; January 2008-complete Draft Master Plan report; February 2008-Commission approval to proceed to EIR process.

·        Estimated Employment Opportunities and Initiatives.   


Ms. Navarret, Regulatory Manager, presented an overview of the Stormwater Design Guidelines for municipal separate sewer systems and how it integrates with the Master Plan and the combined system.  Presentation topics included:


·        Description of City Combined and Separated Systems and City MS4 Areas.

·        Regulatory Framework

·        Stormwater Design Guidelines and Objectives

·        Overlapping Goals with Other City Processes (Better Streets Plan and Sewer System Master Plan)--Low Impact Design Efforts in San Francisco.

·        Best Management Practices Design—Stormwater Detention Ponds example.

·        Best Management Practices in an Urban Environment.—proposed Low Impact Design solutions.

·        Stormwater Design Guidelines (SDG) approach to guide users through the selection and implementation of stormwater management controls.

·        Connecting Projects and Tools.

·        Toolkits for High Density Residential and Open Space/Natural Areas and Components of the Toolkit.

·        Example of Technical Documentation.

·        Estimated Project timeline.


Commissioners Martin and Gravanis expressed support for the PUC's efforts on groundwater retention and urged that even more efforts be undertaken.  For additional information on presentation topics, reference the explanatory document web links listed above.


Public Comment


Mr. Adam Scow, Food and Water Watch, stated that he is currently working on a campaign to pass a future Clean Water Trust Fund.  Mr. Scow asked how the $3.5 billion Master Plan would be financed.  Mr. Loiacano stated that it would be financed through rate increases.  Mr. Scow asked whether there is a plan to ask for state or federal assistance.  Mr. Loiacano indicated that a request would be made for whatever funding might become available, but it would not be to the extent received for the Clean Water Program.


Mr. John Aiken, Conservation Director, San Francisco Zoo, presented a San Francisco garter snake, stating that there are only 1200 in existence and that the San Francisco Zoo is the only zoo in the United States that has one. Mr. Aiken reported that these snakes evolve to live in slide ponds in earthquake zones.  It was recommended that slide ponds with water runoff be recreated in order to create wetlands for these types of creatures.


Chair Wald left the meeting at this time and asked to count her vote in support of the GGNRA 2008 Endangered Species “Big Year” Campaign.


5.      Resolution supporting the GGNRA 2008 Endangered Species “Big Year” Campaign (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution)

   Sponsor:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director and Commissioner Johanna Wald

   Speakers:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis and Brent Plater, Representative Big Year Campaign


Commissioner Gravanis introduced Mr. Brent Plater who requested the Commission’s support of the campaign at the November 14 Commission meeting.  Mr. Plater introduced Mr. Aiken who brought a San Francisco garter snake, one of the species that is featured in the 2008 Endangered Species “Big Year” campaign and Ms. Victoria Reeder, campaign volunteer.


Public Comment:  Ms. Victoria Reeder spoke in support of the campaign, and stated that she works full time on conservation issues and environmental law and volunteers on this project with the GGNRA Big Year survey that is starting January 1.  Ms. Reeder asked for adoption of the Resolution supporting the campaign because it would bring the community together, and there are people in San Francisco that are not aware of the GGNRA boundaries as well as the 33 endangered species that can be found within the boundaries.  It was stated that in light of community events surrounding the oil spill, it is even more important to get the community out to understand the species that were effected and help people understand why it is we won’t be able to see some of these species, and what we can all do to help protect them and to conserve resources.


Commissioner Martin asked whether support materials would be provided for the public who are interested in creating backyard habitats.  Mr. Plater stated that there is information being produced on topics that increase awareness about the endangered species of the GGNRA, postcards, a checklist with the conservation action items and a list of species, and a series of posters to raise awareness.  Mr. Plater indicated that there isn’t a specific action for creating endangered species habitat on private property as a component of the “Big Year” campaign; however, there are other similar projects that are being worked on.  It was stated that each species has a specific conservation action item that directly helps that species, and there are a wide variety of ways that people can participate even on their own to protect these endangered species.  .  


Commissioner Gravanis discussed an effort that is underway to do a backyard habitat program that she, Department staff, and Nature in the City have started to work on, which is the idea of a pilot project at the San Francisco Zoo where the public can come and get ideas for what they can do in their backyards.  It was stated that this project would be part of the Commission’s implementation of Urban Accord Action 12. 


Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin and second by Commissioner Gravanis, Draft Resolution File No. 2007-07-COE in support of the 2008 GGNRA Endangered Species “Big Year” Campaign was approved for recommendation to the Commission of the Environment to be considered at their January 22, 2008 meeting.  Chair Wald requested that her vote be counted in support of the Resolution before she left the meeting.


6.      Resolution supporting the Green Roof Bus Shelter Demonstration Project (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution).

Sponsor:  Commissioners Johanna Wald and Ruth Gravanis

Speaker:  Ms. Diane Lovedio, Green Roof Bus Shelter Demonstration Project


Commissioner Gravanis introduced Ms. Diane Lovedio who would be presenting on the Green Roof Bus Shelter Demonstration project in place of Mr. Parker who was unable to attend. Commissioner Gravanis stated that the project is consistent with the Urban Environmental Accords and is a part of sustainability and green building that the Department and Commission have been supporting. The Commission Secretary reported that the Municipal Transportation Authority issued a request to postpone this agenda item until January 2008 in order to review the project (Explanatory Document: MTA Letter).


Commissioner Gravanis reported that the Policy Committee would take no action on the Resolution at today’s meeting.


Ms. Lovedio reported that the proposal was to originally green the roofs of 40 bus-shelters down the length of Market Street from the Embarcadero to the Castro Street station, but has since changed to greening the rooftop of just one bus shelter in front of the Public Library as an education and outreach project.  The timeframe of the project has also been scaled back from one year to a two-three month installation.  Ms. Lovedio requested the Commission’s support in working with the Municipal Transportation Authority in order to obtain their approval so the project could be implemented expeditiously. Commissioner Martin inquired about the project’s watering requirements.  Ms. Lovedio indicated that the shelter would initially be up for two-three months, and they would be hiring an outside watering firm or working with the City to water twice a week or more as needed.  Commissioner Martin suggested that there be an understanding that the rooftop would be watered for the duration of the prototype installation, but not long-term. Ms. Lovedio stated that the plants would be the same ones used for the Academy of Science building’s rooftop.  Director Blumenfeld stated that he would contact the Director of the Municipal Transportation Authority to express support for the project and would report back at the December 10 Policy Committee meeting.   Continued to the December 10, 2007 meeting.


Public Comment:  Mr. Jake Sigg spoke in support of the Academy of Sciences green roof but questioned the idea of resources going towards a project he felt would not produce a great payback for the investment when there are so many other projects that have higher priorities.  Ms. Lovedio stated that the source of funding would be from private resources and not from City funding.

7.      New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion).  There was no new business/future agenda items discussed at this time.


8.      Announcements.  There were no announcements made at this time.


9.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  Mr. Adam Scow asked for the Committee and or Commission’s endorsement of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act trust fund idea.  Commissioner Gravanis requested that additional information be forwarded to the Commission Secretary to forward to Chair Wald.  The website referenced for this program www.Waterwatch.org 


10. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee Meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.


Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393


** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Committee’s website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/policy-committee as attachments to the meeting agenda or minutes, (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].


Approved:  December 10, 2007

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