San Francisco’s confusing ballot, explained

Prop D: Expedites approval timelines for housing developments deemed to be affordable. D is backed by pro-housing group YIMBY Action, the mayor and Housing Action Coalition. Prop D aims to allow significantly more housing to be built in the city. San Francisco is currently under investigation by the state for making it so difficult to build housing. Prop D will shorten approval times by requiring that the City approve eligible projects within six months of filing.


Prop E: Expedites approval timelines for housing developments deemed to be affordable, though using a tighter definition of affordable, making it harder for developments to meet the threshold and remain profitable. It does so by having a higher threshold of affordable units required to qualify. In a lawsuit filed with the City, Housing Action Coalition alleges that the inclusion of the proposition on the ballot is illegal and that it only exists to confuse voters and kill prop D. Prop E does not streamline or protect projects that are 100% affordable. Sponsored by Supervisor Connie Chan.


Prop I:

Prop I would return cars to JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway, eliminating the ability for the City to restrict auto access to those roads (including Upper Great Highway) without first going to the voters. I is funded primarily by the de Young Museum and Dede Wilsey, a wealthy museum trustee and Trump donor. Critics say that, among other things, the passage of I would prevent the City from acting on its “planned retreat” plan, which includes closing the Upper Great Highway to vehicles in order to protect the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant from falling into the ocean. According to a report from the city controller, the impacts of Prop I on Upper Great Highway and the Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation Plan would cost the City $80 million in the next 20 years. 


Prop J: Solidifies car-free JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.

Before JFK was closed to private vehicles during the pandemic, it was one of San Francisco’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians. The wide road, previously used as a commuter cut-through, resulted in high speeds and 91 crashes between 2014 and the road’s closure in early 2020. The passage of Prop J ensures that JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park stays as it is currently, with no cars on the road between Kezar Drive and Transverse Drive. Prop J does not close any new roads to cars. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said that since the closure of JFK Drive to cars, there has been a 36% increase in pedestrian and cyclist activity in the park and that there has been no noticeable impact on traffic in surrounding areas. Political group Access For All authored a study claiming that equitable access to the park has been reduced by the closure to private vehicles, though SFMTA disputes their findings. The closure has also decreased travel times for those using transit on the 44 O’Shaughnessy and the 5 Fulton buses. SFMTA has also built an additional 29 dedicated accessible parking spaces, and there is a free shuttle bus during the day. 


Prop L: Transportation .5% Sales Tax Reauthorization

L will extend the half-per-cent sales tax, originally authorized by voters in 1989, that funds SFMTA’s paratransit services and capital projects in San Francisco. Projects include freeway maintenance, rail and bus fleet replacements and other street maintenance. SFMTA, the agency that runs Muni, says that without Prop L funds, they will not be able to continue to provide subway service, and regular Muni bus service would face cuts to fund paratransit.