Safe and livable streets start with smart street design reflecting the needs of all users. Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved my legislation to adopt the official street design policies of the National Association of County Transportation Officials (NACTO). For San Francisco to have a more sustainable future, we need an environment that encourages and allows people to safely and enjoyably walk, bike, and use transit, in addition to driving.
Our misguided City policy to transfer ownership of streets trees to private property owners isn't working. Two years ago I held a hearing where we reviewed potential solutions to this problem, but nothing has been done since then other than to transfer more trees to property owners who didn't plant the trees, don't necessarily know how to take care of the trees, and didn't ask for maintenance responsibilities of these trees.
Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt the assessment district for the Transbay Transit District. As part of the creation of the Transbay Transit District - with massive up-zoning of heights - the developers in the district agreed to, and are required to, participate in an assessment district through which the developers pay impact fees to help fund both the transit center and the train extension.
Pink Saturday is an important event that should be a celebration of the Castro neighborhood and the LGBT community. However, over the last few years we have encountered significant challenges, including bouts of violence that have marred the festival. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have done a tremendous job managing the event in the past, but they are understandably frustrated with the current state of Pink Saturday.
Street design is an important part of ensuring we have livable streets in San Francisco. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (which our own MTA head Ed Reiskin is the current President of) is an organization that brings together the transportation departments of cities all across the country to share ideas on transportation ideas and best practices. Their official guidelines put forward are the embodiment of progressive transportation policies.
Our city's streetlights have suffered from neglect and underfunding for years. Part of this stems from our system that divides ownership and maintenance responsibilities between the City and PG&E. This leads to overlap and insufficient coordination. I've introduced a City Streetlight Policy that will establish clear city policies like switching to LED lighting, creating pedestrian scale lighting, and establishing a requirement that burned out streetlights be fixed within 48 hours.
Preserving our building stock and keeping people safe when - not if but when - the next earthquake hits must be a top priority here at City Hall. This includes our private schools, which educate 1/3 of our city's children. The Mayor has moved forward with legislation -- which I have co-sponsored -- that will require private schools to undergo a seismic evaluation within the next three years, so that the city and the schools will have a better understanding of what, if any work, needs to be done to improve the safety of these schools.
Producing new housing and seismically strengthening our existing housing stock are two pressing priorities for our city. To address both these issues, I am introducing legislation to allow in the construction of new in-law units in buildings undergoing seismic retrofits. This will provide a financial benefit to building owners going through our mandatory soft-story retrofit program, as well as encourage them to do more robust retrofits.
Having your car stolen is a painful process, and the city is not making it any easier on victims by making them pay large fees when these stolen cars are towed. These fees are set in a contract between MTA and Auto Return -- the private entity that runs the tow yards. This contract is up for renegotiation in 2015, so I have called for an oversight hearing now to explore how MTA, SFPD and Auto Return handle stolen vehicles and what we can do to make this process less onerous on victims of car thefts.
Today I attended the unveiling ceremony of the new Rainbow Honor Walk on Castro Street, which recognizes 20 amazing LGBT leaders with sidewalk plaques. Famous LGBT icons like Oscar Wilde and Frida Kahlo and local heroes like Tom Waddell and Randy Shilts will now grace our iconic boulevard. This new walk of fame -- which will eventually be extended down Market Street to Octavia -- is a wonderful celebration of our LGBT community.