February 1, 2011

The Vast Conspiracy to Raise Peninsula Real Estate Prices

And, lower East Bay prices too!  Win-win-win!

Officials push for higher tolls during rush hours on San Mateo, Dumbarton bridges

By Mike Rosenberg, The Oakland Tribune

Posted: 01/31/2011 07:23:07 AM PST, Updated: 01/31/2011 09:26:52 AM PST

imageDrivers crossing the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges would pay higher tolls during rush hours under a plan Peninsula officials are urging Bay Area leaders to adopt.

A group of city, county and transportation officials this week released the new San Mateo Countywide Transportation Plan, which includes support for congestion pricing on the two bridges that connect the Peninsula and East Bay.

"I think it’s a shame they haven’t done congestion pricing," said Rich Napier, executive director of the county’s congestion management agency, which is overseeing the transportation plan. "It does work."

(Photo, above right: Drivers crossing the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges would pay higher tolls during rush hours under a plan Peninsula officials are urging Bay Area leaders to adopt. File photo, The Oakland Tribune.)

Now, some readers of this site are really clever people, and will simply glance at the headline above and figure it out immediately.  Others of you need to be taken by the hand and have a few things spelled out really slowly and carefully.

Congestion pricing, in case you haven’t tried driving across the Bay Bridge during commute hours, means that the toll is higher during rush hour when everyone else is going to work.  At present, Bay Bridge congestion pricing is $6 during peak commute hours and $4 other times.  The San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges have a $5 toll at all times, rush hour or not.

Now, here’s the part you should have already worked out:

Drivers at the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges typically wait less than two minutes to get through the toll booth, according to the Bay Area Toll Authority.

Still, officials said traffic data shows many of the logjams on Highway 101 are caused by commuters who take advantage of cheaper housing in the East Bay and cross the bridges for their jobs in the Peninsula. Slowing traffic on the bridges during the commute could have a ripple effect on Highway 101, where officials have struggled for years to ease bottlenecks, they said.

Ooooh, ripple effect!  Double rainbow all the way!  Across the sky!  By making commuting more expensive or more inconvenient, homes on the Peninsula close to jobs will become even more valuable.  Meanwhile, “cheaper housing in the East Bay” won’t be such a bargain once the commute costs more time and money.  Expect that desirability deficit to work itself into pricing homes in the East Bay if congestion pricing moves to Peninsula bridges.

In related bridge toll news, the Golden Gate bridge authority is getting rid of all their human toll-takers and switching to an all-electronic system.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

15 Responses to “The Vast Conspiracy to Raise Peninsula Real Estate Prices”

  1. madhaus Says:

    Any Burbed readers cross either of these bridges for your work commute? What do you think of this?

    Is two articles overkill when there’s a news story like this? I didn’t want to deprive readers of an actual house on a weekday. But if I combined the two articles I’d be hearing rumblings about Teal Deer.

  2. nomadic Says:

    Um, this doesn’t make any sense:

    Still, officials said traffic data shows many of the logjams on Highway 101 are caused by commuters who take advantage of cheaper housing in the East Bay and cross the bridges for their jobs in the Peninsula. Slowing traffic on the bridges during the commute could have a ripple effect on Highway 101, where officials have struggled for years to ease bottlenecks, they said.

    The toll is collected when traveling WEST, so the backup would be on the morning commute from the East Bay. People coming off 101 have almost no delay.

  3. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    You’re right, Nomadic. Once you’re through the toll both, you gas it until you hit the backup for getting off the freeway at 101. That typically takes about 20 feet. Are they implying that they’ll slow the traffic on the bridge to a trickle so there are fewer cars per minute popping off the bridge and onto 101? How does charging more for the bridge slow traffic coming off of the bridge? Maybe they are only accepting giant stone wheels as coinage for the toll?

  4. nomadic Says:

    Sounds like they want everyone who lives in the East Bay to stay over there to work, or move closer to 280 so they can clog it up to relieve congestion on 101.

  5. madhaus Says:

    You two are going to have to sit in the back with the giant stone dunce caps. 101 is already backed up, even without bridge traffic, so anything that reduces or shifts it to non-commute hours is a win. The question is, will East Bay property drop more than Peninsula property will rise if this happens? And depending on the different demand for Peninsula versus East Bay housing, will that increase or decrease traffic on 101? If 101 gets bad enough, how many people will say, eff it, I’ll work in Emeryville?

    Google is hiring, my friends. Another 2000 cars on 101!

  6. PerfectAngel Says:

    Sounds like they want everyone who lives in the East Bay to stay over there to work, or move closer to 280 so they can clog it up to relieve congestion on 101.
    —-

    Considering the fact that 280 is wealthy people’s highway, don’t even dream about it. They will slap $50 toll for driving on 280 so that Larry Ellison can go to work on time.

  7. PerfectAngel Says:

    Actually it is very funny and ironic. When San Francisco was considering slapping $6 toll for entering into city, San Mateo officials were against it. Now, probably same people want toll from Alameda county residents :)

  8. nomadic Says:

    101 is already backed up, even without bridge traffic, so anything that reduces or shifts it to non-commute hours is a win.

    How dare you cast aspersions on our special freeways in the RBA? 101 is a prime example of a wonderful artery serving the masters of technology.

    Rush hour commute clogs? Pshaw. All of the eggheads work noon to midnight!

  9. nomadic Says:

    BTW, I don’t believe that raising bridge tolls would make any discernible impact on 101 traffic. Maybe it would clog 237 a bit more if people go around instead of taking Dumbarton, but that makes 101 worse.

  10. madhaus Says:

    Everything makes 101 worse. Solution: subsidized broadband. Work from home during commute hours, and then come in at noon and stay until midnight.

    Why do you think Google gives you free lunch and dinner? They don’t want you to leave and stop working!

  11. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    On a slightly serious note, flex hours solve this issue pretty handily. Before I had kids and had to start subscribing to the 8-5 schedule, working 10-6 or 7 made commutes a breeze. I don’t know how you’d institutionalize flex hours thoroughly enough to make a huge impact, but it’s great on an individual level.

  12. CB Says:

    I cross the Dumbarton at 6 am, and would probably save a few bucks on toll. It’s frustrating that bridge commuters pay for unrelated transit projects, and are now blamed for unrelated transit problems.

    Why not add a $1 toll at northbound 85/101 from 7-9 am? Why is this any different then putting the onus on the East Bay?

    I am definitely attending public meetings on this.

  13. nomadic Says:

    Why not add a $1 toll at northbound 85/101 from 7-9 am? Why is this any different then putting the onus on the East Bay?

    Because my house in LG costs more than one in Hayward?
    ;-)

  14. PerfectAngel Says:

    Why blaming only bridge people? I suggest $1 toll on every freeway entry ramp (hey, I don’t use freeway to go to office, so works for me).

    Read the History of BART

    1961: San Mateo County supervisors vote to leave BART, saying their voters would be paying taxes to carry mainly Santa Clara County residents. Real estate agent David Bohannon influenced the supervisors to drop out, fearing it would affect planned development along I-280.

    Priceless. These same group of elected officials did not want BART in San Mateo county. Now they are complaining about CONGESTION.
    No wonder that bay area transit system is in such a mess.

  15. MrBEE Says:

    As Californians we LOVE to pay the highest fees and taxes anywhere. Except maybe for property tax, so I say bring it on! It’s what makes California great!


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