CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Monday, May 12, 2008, 5:00 P.M.
City Hall, Room 421
One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Jane MarieFrancis Martin
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Public comment will be taken before the Committee takes action on any item.
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:03 p.m. Present: Chair Wald and Vice-Chair Gravanis; Excused: Commissioner Martin.
2. Approval of Minutes of the April 21, 2008 Policy Committee Rescheduled Meeting (Discussion and Action). Commission Secretary Monica Fish announced that Commissioner Martin had requested a revision to the wording on one of her recommendations to read “Commissioner Martin spoke in favor of unbundling parking from residential units and questioned the format of the large-scale retail at the south end of the project, recommending that the project not include a conventional destination shopping mall.” Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Gravanis and second by Chair Wald, the April 21, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved with the amendment as noted (Absent: Commissioner Martin) (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes of the April 21, 2008 Policy Committee Meeting).
3. 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. There was no public comment at this time.
Item 6 was heard before Item 4.
4. Resolution supporting the evaluation of congestion pricing through the Mobility, Access, and Pricing Study and utilization of the San Francisco Urban Partnership grant to develop environmentally beneficial congestion management programs. Approval of Draft Resolution for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document: Draft Resolution File 2008-13-COE)
SPONSOR: Commissioner Ruth Gravanis
SPEAKER: Zabe Bent, Principal Transportation Planner, San Francisco Country Transportation Authority
Vice-Chair Gravanis reported that the Commission had been asked by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) to consider a Resolution endorsing congestion pricing programs. Ms. Zabe Bent from SFCTA was introduced, and it was reported that Ms. Tilly Chang, SFCTA had previously presented to the Committee several months ago.
Ms. Zabe Bent reported that the SFCTA is conducting two different efforts on the congestion pricing initiatives. One focus is to look at improving congestion within the Doyle Drive and Golden Gate Bridge corridors and the other focus is on the Mobility Access and Pricing Study, which is looking at whether to develop a Congestion Pricing Program for San Francisco. The idea is to determine whether or not congestion pricing is right for San Francisco, what shape it might have, what the price points might be, what the necessary improvements to the overall transportation network should be, and what would need to occur in order to support a congestion pricing program. It was stated that a baseline analysis has been completed to identify how congestion pricing impacts San Francisco and the region today.
Ms. Bent reported that the SFCTA is moving forward with developing two different scenarios, one focusing on a particular area in San Francisco that is the most congested, which is Downtown South of Market and Civic Center, and the other is focusing on gateways into San Francisco, which are the northern and eastern gateways (the bridge entries), and the benefits and impacts to the southern gateway. The program is also evaluating the different discounts, benefits, and exemptions and what the transportation improvements would be. Ms. Bent reported that there would be public outreach events scheduled this summer so there would be an opportunity to review the different scenarios, determine what the potential benefits and impacts might be, and provide feedback as to how the scenarios should be adjusted. The public outreach and technical analysis will help define whether or not there are preferred alternatives and identify a feasible alternative. There will be additional community events in the fall to wrap up and make recommendations on next steps for congestion pricing.
Vice-Chair Gravanis asked how the two projects would intersect. Ms. Bent explained that one project is the Mobility Access and Pricing Study, which is a feasibility study looking at the concept of congestion pricing and what it might look like for San Francisco. The Urban Partnership Program would look at a particular demonstration project in order to demonstrate what the benefits and impacts of congestion pricing would be. The focus would be on a small corridor using a very detailed way of implementing congestion pricing. Pricing impacts and benefits, transit improvements, and improvements for MUNI service would be reviewed. Another form of congestion pricing that the Urban Partnership would be reviewing is variable ways of parking that can help improve access to parking and occupancy rates. Coordination is being done through advisory and policy committees that meet with the two organizations and the two study teams to understand what is going on. It is hoped that the Urban Partnership Program would be an opportunity to see how congestion pricing might work on a broader scale.
Mr. Norman Rolfe, Transportation Chair, San Francisco Tomorrow, provided explanatory documents and brought the Committee’s attention to the letter to state legislators and the attached map “Travel to Downtown SF” that shows that 6% of the trips to Downtown San Francisco originate from the North Bay so putting this program in place is not going to relieve congestion to Downtown San Francisco. Mr. Rolfe stated that the purpose of the fee and toll as proposed by the SFCTA is not to relieve congestion but is to raise money to pay for freeways. It was explained that Doyle Drive does need seismic upgrading and rebuilding, and that it could be rebuilt to meet present day seismic requirements at a fraction of the cost of what is proposed. Mr. Rolfe recommended implementing congestion pricing as described in the San Francisco Tomorrow letter to members of the State Legislature and as done in other cities, on the perimeter of the downtown areas. Mr. Rolfe urged the Committee to table the Resolution in order to develop one that will be in accordance with his proposed recommendations that the area would be the perimeter of downtown, that all the money would go to fund public transportation, and the program should be administered by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Mr. Gerald Cauthen stated that congestion pricing worked very well in London, Stockholm, Rome and Munich and explained that these cities are using a cordoned approach. It was stated that in San Francisco, when congestion tends to extend beyond commute hours, you could find heavy congestion on Van Ness Avenue at 1 p.m., so a cordoned approach would address anybody who drives inside the congested area during the off peak and peak hours. Mr. Cauthen stated that the worst congestion is downtown, and that there is no logical linkage between congestion pricing and the Doyle Drive reconstruction project. Mr. Cauthen stated that usually when you employ congestion pricing, you use that money to improve your transit system so people have an alternative way of getting downtown. In this case, the Golden Gate Bridge District would be applying funds to improve its bus and ferry boat systems. Mr. Cauthen spoke against funding for the Doyle Drive project and indicated there was a cheaper and better way to solve the Doyle Drive problem other than spending more than a billion dollars to build a new freeway. (Explanatory Document: Public Comment memo).
Mr. Howard Strassner, Transportation Chair, speaking for the Sierra Club, spoke against charging toll on a freeway to reduce congestion. It was stated that the Commission should be more concerned with reducing driving because that reduces greenhouse gases. Mr. Strassner stated that the problem with this program is that once you are committed to it, you have to keep traffic up to a high enough level so you have enough money to pay your bonds. Mr. Strassner suggested deleting all references to Doyle Drive and to concentrate efforts on a project that would reduce congestion and driving which would be centered in downtown San Francisco. When you do it with a cordon, you can set a price that is high enough to really reduce congestion and actually reduce driving just like London has done in its downtown. Then you would have more money to put into transit, not into building more highways which would increase driving. Mr. Strassner stated that congestion management pricing should be to try to get people out of their cars; but in this case where there is a small amount of people coming into San Francisco over the bridge, you are much better off with a cordon with a set price.
Chair Wald asked whether there would be an exemption for physically challenged individuals. A discussion was held on whether business and commercial transportation would receive exemptions. Ms. Bent discussed discounted rates or a fleet rate that would be implemented for business and commercial transportation but there would still be a fee as there would still be an impact on the environment and transportation network. Ms. Bent confirmed that an exemption would most likely be implemented for physically challenged individuals.
Ms. Bent explained that the Urban Partnership Program, specifically the Doyle Drive/Golden Gate Bridge toll, is focused on improving congestion in that corridor, not in downtown. It was also explained that the cost of rebuilding and retrofitting Doyle Drive is very similar to the other alternative considered, and this alternative was decided on after many years of consensus building with five different agencies and through community and advocacy input.
Ms. Raphael stated that she is a resident of Marin that commutes every day to San Francisco by car and explained that the congestion is not going into the City in the morning--it is coming home at night, when Doyle Drive backs up. Ms. Raphael felt that with the congestion pricing limiting the flow in the morning, it would be Van Ness and the city streets that would be congested, not Doyle Drive. Ms. Raphael asked if this program would help her commute from San Francisco to Marin. It was explained that her reason for driving is because Golden Gate Transit cut back on their routes to the Civic Center and inquired whether this program would help in adding additional direct routes.
Ms. Bent stated that the whole premise of the program on the transit side is to reinvest the funds into transit service. An evaluation is being done as to what extent additional transit service would be provided, which would depend on the rate of the toll. Most people feel that the congestion on Doyle Drive is predominantly in the morning. The additional toll would be during the morning and evening peak hours. It was explained that the Mobility Access and Pricing Study is looking at different corridors to charge to address congestion issues. Ms. Bent stated that congestion had been noticed as Van Ness is approached, so that street would be addressed as part of the Golden Gate Bridge toll and potentially the Doyle Drive toll as well.
Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that there is consensus that congestion management pricing is a good thing, but there is controversy about using the federal grant for the Doyle Drive rebuild. It was recommended that (1) there be more effort in reducing parking spaces and making it more expensive to park, which was not included in the original resolution; and (2) not to just manage congestion, but to reduce it. Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that the problem with congestion management pricing is that the main goal is to reduce congestion, but congestion is an exacerbation of the problem and is not the problem itself, which is traffic and reliance on the private automobile.
Vice-Chair Gravanis indicated that she would be prepared to move forward on the kinds of things in the Resolution that discuss the conditions of how we would define a sensible congestion pricing plan and making sure that those things are taken into account as we move forward with the pricing study, but would be reluctant to support the Doyle Drive Value Pricing Program.
Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Gravanis and second by Chair Wald, Resolution File 2008-13-COE was approved with amendments to delete all references supporting the utilization of the San Francisco Urban partnership grant to include the Doyle Drive Value Pricing Program. This Resolution would be forwarded with recommendation to the Commission to consider at their July 22, 2008 meeting (Explanatory Document: Resolution File 2008-13-COE as amended on 051208).
SPONSOR: Director Jared Blumenfeld
SPEAKER: Dana Haasz, Water Conservation Administrator, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Director Jared Blumenfeld introduced Ms. Dana Haasz, an integral member of the Green Business Program and who has transformed PUC’s water conservation program. Ms. Haasz spoke in support of the Resolution that she stated enhances the portfolio of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC) existing conservation activities. It was explained that the current program activities uses a combination of education, incentives, and regulation to target all of the PUC’s customers with conservation opportunities; e.g. commercial, industrial, residential, single-family, and multi-family customers. Ms. Haasz stated that this Resolution would offer the PUC another opportunity to address multi-family customers which is a more difficult customer class to address. It was reported that the PUC is on track to meeting the United Nations goals of reducing water consumption ten percent by 2015 as the Commission had selected an aggressive conservation package, and this Resolution would offer another kind of tool to meet those goals.
Chair Wald reported that the amended Resolution contains an additional whereas clause that expands the focus from just landlords and tenants to all users in San Francisco. Director Blumenfeld recommended that the PUC have a workshop for homeowners or renters on how to fix their dripping faucet or shower. Ms. Haasz reported that the PUC does respond to multi family units when called directly and inspectors are sent out. It was reported that the PUC has a plumber’s handbook available and stated that a workshop would be something to consider.
Ms. Haasz reported that there is a meeting on Friday, May 16 to talk about different types of options and legislative opportunities. It was explained that there are different types of customers, commercial, new construction, existing construction, and the PUC is trying to get to all of these types of customers to see if there is an appropriate ordinance or program that would work for them so that they could install efficient fixtures to reduce water use. Vice-Chair Gravanis asked if there is an ongoing stakeholder process. Ms. Haasz stated that part of the discussion on Friday would be to determine if it should be an ongoing process, and indicated that environmental stakeholders were invited to discuss legislative opportunities.
Ms. Laura Spanjian, SFPUC, reported that the May 16 workshop is an in-depth legislative effort on water conservation, and that there are three pieces of legislation that the PUC is either participating in or leading the efforts on. The reason for bringing the Resolution to the Policy Committee is to discuss one of the legislative efforts that is being called “Sharing the burden of the water and sewer increases and at the same time encouraging water conservation.” Ms. Spanjian explained that when the water and sewer rate increases were passed last year, one of the objectives that is currently being worked on now is to create legislation to get a pass through from landlords to tenants of the increase if they replace their appliances with low-flow appliances. Discussions are being held with all stakeholders to make sure that the replacement of appliances requirement would meet the lowest acceptable efficiency standards and possibly going further to require higher efficiency appliances.
Ms. Spanjian stated that another effort being worked on is the Green Building Ordinance for new construction. The requirement would be that there doesn’t have to be a change out of all the specific appliances, but would require reducing water usage by 40%. In order to reach that goal, you have to use all low-flow appliances. The last piece is reaching buildings that are single-family or multi-family homes where appliances haven’t been changed out, and there is no incentive to do so. The idea would be a retrofit on resale. Director Blumenfeld discussed the Resource Efficiency Conservation Ordinance (RECO) that the Department of Environment had worked on that contains this requirement. Ms. Spanjian stated that all stakeholders would be involved in putting legislation together that will actually get passed and is currently looking at other jurisdictions’ efforts for examples. It was reported that another effort underway is to update the Housing Code which still says that you should have a 3.5 gallon toilet.
Vice-Chair Gravanis urged implementation of separate metering in apartment buildings. Director Blumenfeld suggested researching examples from other jurisdictions or countries that have implemented a pass through successfully. Ms. Haasz reported on a national study that was done two years ago, but is the only one that she is aware of at this time.
Ms. Jennifer Clary, Policy Analyst, Clean Water Action provided a memo addressed to the Commission and expressed her concern with the original resolution before it was amended as she felt that one group had been singled out and this action would have the potential of polarizing people. It was stated that expanding the resolution takes care of her concerns and that she would submit an official letter for the full Commission. Ms. Clary reported that she has reviewed the Ordinance as proposed and has questions as to how it could function as a conservation measure. Vice-Chair Gravanis asked Ms. Clary if she would like to recommend conservation measures that the Commission on the Environment or the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission should be working on. Ms. Clary suggested working on a stronger bill for the retrofit on resale idea, which Clean Water Action and Tuolumne Trust have been working on since 2001, but have not been able to get passed. Additional recommendations included:
Ms. Janice Sitton, Good Green Graces, asked if old toilets can be recycled. Ms. Haasz stated not at the present time, but that PUC is working with Norcal to set up recycling for toilets that could be implemented as early as July. It was explained that the toilets at this time go to landfill. Ms. Sitton stated that her apartment currently has a five-gallon toilet so she reuses and refills water bottles and puts those in the tank to reduce water. Ms. Sitton stated that there are immediate simple tips that are low cost that landlords, renters, and homeowners could implement that would reduce water consumption without having to change out fixtures. It was suggested that education and outreach be provided on how to fix dripping faucets and how to immediately reduce water use. Ms. Haasz stated that the water bottle in the toilet is not a great solution as it may cause leaks but recognizes the fact that there is a cost to replacing appliances so high rebates/subsidies are offered to try to mitigate those costs. Chair Wald asked if it were feasible for the PUC to purchase toilets and sell them to people at a lower cost or give them to people in order to achieve the reduction goal. Ms. Haasz reported that it took a huge amount of resources to implement the program and that the rebate program is a better way of implementation.
Vice-Chair Gravanis commented that she would like to see an ongoing stakeholder process and urged that this be the start of an ongoing relationship with the PUC, moving into other conservation issues besides water efficiency, such as those presented by Ms. Clary; e.g., grey water, purple piping, etc. Vice Chair Gravanis stated that this is a wonderful start and is enthusiastic about things that are being worked on at this time.
Upon Motion by Vice Chair Gravanis and second by Chair Wald, the Amendment-of-the-Whole Resolution distributed at the meeting was passed with an amendment to the second Further Resolved clause that replaces “…urges the SFPUC to work with stakeholders…” with “…supports the SFPUC in its work with stakeholders…” This Resolution would be forwarded to the Commission on the Environment to consider and vote on at their July 22, 2008 meeting.
(Absent: Commissioner Martin). (Explanatory Document: Draft Resolution File 2008-14-COE Amended 051208).
SPONSOR: Director Jared Blumenfeld
DEPARTMENT STAFF SPEAKERS: Chris Geiger, Ph.D. Green Purchasing and Integrated Pest Management Programs and Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager
Ms. Raphael reported that at a previous Policy Committee meeting, Department staff presented a list of criteria that would be used for selection of products that would be most applicable for this accord. The criteria considered included the product’s environmental and human health impacts, exposure potential, and ability to affect change.
Ms. Raphael distributed a “Survey of Bisphenol-A in Baby Bottles Used by San Francisco Hospitals” sheet that is categorized by the name of the San Francisco hospital, the type of product that is being used, brand name, model number, product name, whether it contains BPA, source of information for product material, and bottle material. It was explained that this survey was conducted by Department staff member, Ms. Jessian Choy, who contacted hospitals directly for information. Ms. Raphael stated that there is a movement in the non-profit world to contact CEO’s of all the big manufacturers of baby bottles to ask them to voluntarily remove Bisphenol-A. As a City, a letter could be written to the same manufacturers quoting the requirement of the environmental accord.
Chair Wald recommended coordinating with other cities that have signed on to the accords. Vice-Chair Gravanis suggested moving forward, to work on education, and to outreach to the private sector to take the example from City public facilities. Chair Wald recommended expanding private outreach and to contact Walgreens, who is a supplier of many products, to lead in this effort. Chair Wald also recommended that legislation be considered on a national level on this product. Ms. Raphael advised that State Senator Migden has a bill on Bisphenol A now in California. Chair Wald stated that the City could support the bill and round up other cities to do the same.
Ms. Raphael distributed a sheet on “Disinfectants” and explained that disinfectants are registered pesticides and are by definition toxic as they are designed to kill. A discussion was held on active ingredients contained in disinfectants and that the focus would be on quaternary ammonium compounds and hydrogen peroxide. Ms. Raphael explained that training would be provided to City custodians in order to minimize the use of disinfectants and on proper use. Ms. Raphael stated that the directions for use of the product may not always be followed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions so the end result may not be what is intended. It was reported that an extensive “Green Cleaning” training was done and that 250 City custodians had been trained. The expectation is to reach 400 custodians from various City departments and to conduct a future training with a focus on disinfection.
Ms. Raphael reported that staff has partnered with the Asthma Task Force in order to review disinfectants not only for their acute toxicity, but for how much they cause asthma. It was explained that disinfectants are respiratory irritants and some are known to cause asthma. Ms. Raphael stated that there is nationwide interest in green cleaning and that San Francisco can lead the way.
Vice-Chair Gravanis discussed societal messages that everything has to be disinfected and stated that she strongly supports banning what can be banned and minimizing the use of other products that cannot be banned. Chair Wald recommended contacting a recently started group, the Asthma Foundation, who may be interested in participating.
Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Gravanis and second by Chair Wald, the Policy Committee approved Department staff’s selection of Bispenol-A and Disinfectants as the two products to prioritize work on in order to reduce or eliminate its use by the municipal government for recommendation to the Commission for their July 22, 2008 meeting (Absent: Commissioner Martin).
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. There was no public comment at this time.
10. Adjournment. The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 6:52 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 meeting website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/policy-committee with each agenda or meeting minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected].
Approved: June 9, 2008
Policy Committee > 2008 Meetings >