SFMTA and City College Trustees Can’t Agree On Frida Kahlo Way

Students and faculty at City College’s Ocean campus walk across Frida Kahlo Way. Photo by Emilio Lopez-Molina/The Guardsman.

By Jacob Silverman 

City College’s Board of Trustees unanimously passed a motion on Feb. 23 opposing the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) plan for a Quick Build Project on Frida Kahlo Way. 

In a media alert released on Feb. 27, the Board of Trustees announced their opposition to the plan, “unless and until there are amendments to the plan that resolve the concerns raised by members of the CCSF community.” 

Trustees cited community concern over “the safety of proposed protected bicycle lanes, blue zones, loading zones, drop-off zones, the revised bus stop, and loss of parking spaces” in their motion. 

The initial plan would remove 33 parking spaces that are primarily used by students at City College.

SFMTA’s plan for Frida Kahlo Way. Graphic courtesy of SFMTA.

“The loss of parking will reduce educational opportunity for hundreds of CCSF students,” the City College Higher Education Action Team said. “Many need their cars to get to class and other destinations on time.”

“It was very strange to us that the Board of Trustees took action on this without having us there in the room to talk about their concerns,” SFMTA Director Jeffery Tumlin said.

SFMTA’s current proposal is based on nearly a year of public outreach and with input from City College organizations and community members.

“We know that most City College students have complex lives and for many of them that means the only reasonable way to get to City College is to drive,” Tumlin said.

Simultaneously, Tumlin cited City College’s recent adoption of a Green New Deal Plan as reason to decarbonize transportation, with a particular focus on walking, biking, and MUNI.

“We have been able, I think, to address every single one of the concerns that we’ve heard from the community,” Tumlin said.

“I think with one exception, and that is the project does remove 33 unregulated parking spaces,” he added. “We were able to reduce the number of parking spaces removed by 15.”

The Board of Trustees are at least the seventh group to publicly oppose the Quick Build plan, in addition to a petition opposing the project that had almost 150 signatures as of Feb. 27. 

Director Tumlin assured The Guardsman that at least two more rounds of public engagement would take place that could potentially modify the current Quick Build plan.

“Our board does not just overstep staff recommendations,” Tumlin said.

SFMTA presented to the City College Board of Trustees on Mar. 28 to outline the current plan for the Quick Build Project as well as the project’s future.

The second round of engagement will be an agenda item at SFMTA’s May 7 board meeting.

SFMTA responded to student backlash in an Op-Ed written by Director Tumlin, reiterating SFMTA’s commitment to safety and accommodating all parties impacted by the changes.

City College’s Board of Trustees meets tomorrow evening, at 4:30 p.m. April 25 in MUB 140. The meeting will also be available to watch virtually. Due to tensions between the City College community and SFMTA, public comment about the plan is expected. The Quick Build update is also listed as the first item to be scheduled for a future board meeting. 

Cars sit idle in the west-end of the Multi-Use Building’s parking lot at City College’s Ocean campus just off Frida Kahlo Way.
Photo by Emilio Lopez-Molina/The Guardsman.

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