November 5 2012 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes





MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2012, 5:00 P.M.




*The Monday, November 12, 2012 Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee was RESCHEDULED to Monday, November 5, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Joshua Arce


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 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Arce and Gravanis; Excused:  Commissioner Wald.


  1. 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. Howard Strassner urged the Commission to take a proactive approach in recommending the reduction of commercial and residential parking in San Francisco that would result in the reduction of vehicle use and in turn would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 


  1. San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Staff Presentation on the San Francisco Transportation Plan.  (Explanatory Document:  San Francisco Transportation Plan Fact Sheet and Presentation) Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director; Speakers: Krute Singa, Commute Smart Program Manager and Liz Brisson, Transportation Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Director Melanie Nutter reported that the SFCTA is in the process of doing outreach for the San Francisco Transportation Plan and is requesting support and advice from different Commissions. Ms. Krute Singa reported that the Department of the Environment Clean Air Transportation team has submitted requests for funding for Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Electric Vehicle (EV) projects to the SFCTA in response to their call for projects.

Ms. Liz Brisson reported that the SFCTA is in the process of updating the San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP) and has been working with the Department of the Environment on needs assessments related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.  These efforts have been closely coordinated with the City’s overall climate action planning and the Municipal Transportation Agency’s development of the climate action strategy for the transportation sector.  SFCTA is required by state law to engage in San Francisco’s transportation planning effort as it is the congestion management agency for San Francisco, and its role is to seek out funding from the region that controls transportation funding sourced from the state, federal, and regional level.  Revenue is being sought for all of San Francisco’s transportation needs in the areas of roads, local and regional transit, and non-motorized needs. Presentation topics included (Reference Presentation):

  • Purpose of the SFTP (1) as San Francisco’s long-range transportation blueprint and (2) to provide input and guidance for related plans (slide 2).
  • How other plans relate to the San Francisco Transportation Plan (slide 3).
  • San Francisco’s projected growth through 2040 and transportation challenge (slide 4).
  • Auto trip growth in San Francisco’s core locations 2011 vs. 2035, forecasts and potential management solutions to reduce auto traffic and achieve goals (slides 5–9).
  • Response from members of the public to San Francisco and Regional Transportation Plans calls for projects (slide 10).
  • Uses of expected transportation funds expected to 2040, funding for maintenance and operations and baseline projects (slides 11-13).
  • Uncommitted revenue, how to prioritize $3.14 billion in the categories of operations and maintenance of existing systems, programs, and capital expansion projects (slides 14 – 17), top tier projects and cost (slide 18), and potential new revenue options and cost savings strategies (slides 19-20).
  • Public outreach activities and request for public input into budget allocations (slides 21-24).
  • SFTP adoption timeline (slide 25).


Commissioners Arce and Gravanis discussed ways the Commission could provide input into the sustainability principles of the Transportation Plan either through development of a Resolution or policy recommendation.  Ms. Brisson stated that the Department of the Environment’s ideas on how to integrate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) would be relevant to the goals of the Plan.  The Department’s commuter benefits ordinance is also relevant to programmatic funding in the Plan for TDM projects.  Director Nutter reported that the Department will be publishing a Climate Action Strategy early next year that will focus on the source of carbon emissions from the transportation sector and would provide input into funding and decisions that are made. She suggested that the Commission play an advisory role to communicate their ideas on the Transportation Plan.

Commissioner Gravanis suggested adding a column on the potential greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) effectiveness for each project being reviewed.  Ms. Brisson reported that a GHG reduction benefit analysis has been prepared as one of the four metrics quantified for analysis, and there are plans to release a comparison for each project by the end of this month.  Commissioner Arce inquired whether there is a way to calculate the GHG benefits that proposals would have if there were to be 412,000 more car trips by 2040.  Ms. Brisson reported that next steps would be to identify several scenarios for different projects and programs and evaluate benefits using a transportation analysis tool. 

Director Nutter inquired about the potential for revenue from the congestion management proposal for San Francisco and whether an analysis is available on greenhouse gas reduction impacts from the proposal.  Ms. Brisson reported on SFCTA’s congestion management feasibility study that was completed in 2010 that studied and brought forward to the SFCTA Board (the Board of Supervisors acting as the Authority) three different scenarios to charge for driving in the city during peak commute times.  Revenue collected would be allocated to reinvestments in transportation to support travel corridors with a majority allocated to fund transit. The Authority Board took action requesting that the SFCTA continue to study congestion management and pursue the next phase to seek funding for environmental analysis and preliminary system design.  Another next step recommended was a proposal that addressed the requests of the business community to evaluate the feasibility of a parking fee on private and business supplies of parking instead of charging for driving during peak hours.  Grant funding has been secured for an analysis that is just now starting.

Director Nutter reported that forty-percent of carbon reductions come from cars and trucks.  The Department of the Environment is most interested in looking at strategies to meet the 25% GHG reduction by 2011 goal.  Ms. Brisson reported that congestion management pricing is the most cost-effective transportation strategy for reducing GHG and would produce a five-percent GHG reduction at the time it is implemented.  A discussion was held on how the five-percent reduction would help meet the city’s GHG reduction goals and the effect of population growth on meeting goals.

Commissioner Gravanis stressed the importance of finding solutions for managing automobile traffic problems that may result because of future growth and improving infrastructure for future development before approving projects.  Ms. Brisson discussed transportation planning efforts that address these areas that can be found in area plans and the potential role of developers in funding infrastructure for developments.  She reported that the SFTP is studying growth areas and considering transportation projects that include potential for growth and contribution levels by different entities.  

Commissioner Gravanis spoke in support of policies that would reduce parking.  She suggested adding ideas on how to reduce car-ownership, e.g. through investments in car-sharing programs or by working with other entities.  She discussed her concern that the state household transportation survey that she received would result in inaccurate data analysis because it did not account for travel choices that the survey taker would make if it were available to them. Ms. Brisson reported that the travel survey is a statewide data-collection effort that is distributed every ten years and is used as a travel forecasting tool and accounts for change in travel preference.

Ms. Krute Singa stated that Transportation Demand Management strategies are commute-related, so the transportation survey points out that there are so many other trips that are made for shopping or recreation that would require TDM policies.  

Public Comment:

Mr. Howard Strassner spoke in support of San Francisco implementing a 25% parking tax that discourages the building of parking structures and would result in fewer car trips and reduction of GHG emissions.  He suggested studying the results of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Plan and to consider implementing a similar plan for all of San Francisco streets.    

Mr. David Pilpel spoke in support of allocating funding to operations and maintenance of existing projects and stated that he was not in favor of allocating funding for new projects.  He stated that the most effective/cost-effective investment is in existing system maintenance of transit, roads, and infrastructure that has an added benefit of creating jobs.  Mr. Pilpel suggested that the Commission provide input and set policy statements for the use of transportation funds.  He requested written articulation of how the SFTP relates to other plans and projects, some of which are committed to and others that are in process.

Mr. Pilpel suggested that the Commission take interest in the Bi-County Transportation Study because the Recology site straddles the line of the study area and would result in zero waste and toxics issues. He requested information on the correlation of the waterfront development project with the Waterfront Transportation Study, the Mission Bay Loop, the T Line, and the SFTP.   He encouraged SFCTA staff to modal a parking tax increase so as to identify what revenue could be generated in addition to the potential for GHG reductions.  He encouraged the Department Director to continue to attend the various Department meetings and bringing messages to other City agencies.  

Commissioner Gravanis inquired what next steps for the Commission should be. Ms. Brisson reported that other Commissions have been providing feedback on the SFTP and suggested that the Commission weigh in on the importance of investments to the environment.  She stated that input for prioritizing funding is open until the end of November and next steps would be to identify, modal, and select from three different scenarios. 

Director Nutter reported that the Department’s Climate Action Strategy will be released early next year and will contain a transportation section with a focus on identifying where the most carbon reduction will come from and will contain recommendations from the Department’s perspective for reducing GHG emissions.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the SFCTA team work with Department staff as closely as possible to incorporate recommendations made in the Climate Action Strategy.

Commissioner Arce suggested researching the feasibility of a cost-effective fleet of electric vehicle cabs as a sustainable solution and as an innovative policy.  Commissioner Gravanis spoke in support of this idea in the effort to reduce car-ownership.  Ms. Brisson reported that the SFCTA will be developing strategic initiatives for the next generation of transportation demand management (TDM) to add to the SFTP.  Director Nutter suggested that SFCTA staff present at a future meeting on staff work on strategic initiatives for different types of mobility.  She stated that the Commission would be able to contribute to the discussion in terms of strategy and policy.  Ms. Brisson reported on a public-private partnership TDM project that SFCTA, the Department of the Environment, and other agencies are involved in to study how to better coordinate TDM within city agencies and partner with the private sector.   Commissioner Gravanis suggested providing an update on the project in writing or sending information on the meeting venue. 

  1. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Nutter highlighted the green cleaning event to unveil green cleaning training videos created in conjunction with City custodial staff and supported and funded by an Environmental Protection Agency grant.  She reported that the Department and Toxics team received a “Collaborative Champion” award from the Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative for its work to protect worker’s health.   The Board of Supervisors approved the Department’s resolution for Expansion of Authority Regarding Lease - 1455 Market Street to authorize amortization of $123,790 over the life of the lease to complete the requirement tenant improvements. The Budget and Finance Committee approved with recommendation to the Board of Supervisors the Department’s Resolution authorizing the department to accept and expend a one-time grant in the amount of $2,977,000 from the California Public Utilities Commission, through PG&E, to augment the Energy Watch program particularly to update LED lighting.  Upcoming events are Greenbuild the week of November 12 that will include staff and mayoral presentations, staff speaking at the Greenbuild PACE premier event at City Hall on November 13, and Director Nutter will be participating in the VERGE at Greenbuild Conference on November 13.

Commissioner Arce inquired whether there has been input from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) setting an official strategy for the Department’s involvement with outreach for the CleanPowerSF program.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired as to what formal agreement could be made to identify joint efforts for outreach and for initiating the involvement of EnvironmentNow staff in this effort.  Director Nutter reported that a work order would serve this purpose, and that the Department is actively submitting proposals to SFPUC and receiving feedback.  The EnvironmentNow team is a critical portion of Department resources that will be allocated to Community Choice Aggregation outreach.  Director Nutter reported that a report with more information could be provided at the Policy Committee’s December 10 meeting.  

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested that the Department with the Commission’s approval enter into a formalized agreement such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SFPUC for CleanPowerSF outreach.  He suggested that Energy Watch funding be an additional topic of discussion at a joint meeting.  Mr. Pilpel reported on the Rate Board’s discussion on CleanPowerSF rate setting, low-income discounts, and how it would work for the generation versus transmission and distribution portion of the bill.  Discussion was also held as to what low-income discount and energy-efficiency programs low-income customers would have access to.  He suggested that more discussion be held on how the Department’s and SFPUC’s programs could be augmented for CleanPowerSF.

  1. Communications.  (Information and Discussion)  Commission Secretary Fish reported that there has been no communications received to date for the Policy Committee.


  1. Announcements. (Discussion) Commissioner Gravanis announced that the Planning Department is holding discussions about Eco Districts and asked for an update to the Commission.  Director Nutter reported that the Department of the Environment Energy Manager, Cal Broomhead, has been involved in Eco Districts with the Planning Department as the lead. Commissioner Arce reported on Solar Task Force meeting discussions on budgetary cuts for the GoSolarSF program and resulting availability problems faced by potential customers and installer-worker employment issues.  He suggested that the Commission be provided with an opportunity to provide input either through a joint SFPUC meeting, advocacy involvement, or a separate discussion.  

Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Policy Committee hold a future meeting and formulate a recommendation to the Commission to possibly influence future City budgets to reinstate additional funding for the solar rebate. Director Nutter reported that the Department’s Renewable Energy program is built around the solar rebate being in place and is of interest to the Department.  The City has made a huge impact on renewable energy through 700 installations before GoSolarSF, and now there is over 3000, which is more than 29 states.  In addition, there is a solar energy map for people to type in their address and access rebates and the solar potential of their home.

Public Comment:  Mr. Strassner requested a definition for Eco Districts.  Director Nutter reported that Eco Districts is a framework for greening at a neighborhood scale, and that there are different approaches being considered at this time.

  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion) Requests for the December 10 Policy Committee meeting include (1) GoSolarSF discussion or possible action for recommendation to the full Commission on recommendations to reinstate full funding for the program.  Commissioner Arce requested direction from the Mayor’s Office and announced that the SFPUC is working on legislation; (2) Commission’s Annual Report and Commission accomplishments; (3) Climate Action Strategy, and (4) update on outreach for CleanPowerSF.  Additional topics discussed included Commission work priorities, progress on bottled water, and Eco-Districts. 

Public Comment: 

Mr. Strassner reported on water jug fillers that are located at the Chicago airport.

Mr. David Pilpel suggested that staff provide more background memos as part of meeting presentations or as a substitute for meeting presentations.


  1. 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.


  1. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 6:35 p.m.


The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 10, 2012 at 5:00 p.m., in City Hall, Room 421.


Respectfully submitted by

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Telephone (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 Policy Committee’s website with each set of minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].   


Approved: December 10, 2012