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San Francisco Audited Itself and Can't Decide Whether It's Doing a Good Job on Housing Issues

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But it is sure it wants buses to hit fewer people this year

San Francisco wants you to know that it’s pretty darn happy with how it fixes streets, not at all happy with how often its buses hit people, and that it just plain doesn’t know what to think about housing prices.

That’s the takeaway from the city scorecards issued earlier this week, a new kind of self-performance review conducted with public data. Admittedly, it feels like a conflict of interests for the city to rate its own performance, but it’s just a measure of whether City Hall was able to meet the goals and benchmarks it set for the year.

On housing and real estate, for example, the city has decided…it has no idea how it’s doing. Because it doesn’t really know what it’s going for.

It does tell us that in Q3 of 2015, the average San Francisco home was worth $1.2 million, up 15.6 percent from the previous year, and the average San Francisco rent was $3,623, up 13.2 percent. But on the city’s red-yellow-green light scoring system, those stats are issued no score at all. The city doesn’t have any goals about what rents and home prices should be (officially, anyway), so it can’t say whether it met any.

The office vacancy rate was 8.4 percent last year, down from 10.4 percent the previous year and 9.1 percent the previous quarter. The average class A commercial lease charged $68 per square foot, up 5.3 percent from 2014. The 10-year low was $35, back in 2006.

Again, the city has no opinion on whether this reflects well or poorly on its own performance—although people at City Hall probably think the same things we do when they read stats like that—but it’s handy to have the numbers. Note that there is no category about new construction, residential or commercial.

In categories where the city does have goals, it’s quite pleased that it responds to 90 percent of street cleaning requests within 48 hours, 90 percent of pothole complaints within 72 hours, and that it’s mostly on track to get the roads fixed up by 2025.

It’s less happy that it never manages to clean up the parks as quickly as it would like. The worst maintained parks in the city are Park Presidio Boulevard, Margaret S Hayward Playground, Visitacion Valley Playground, Bayview Playground, India Basin Shoreline Park, and Justin Herman Plaza. Although most San Franciscans probably gave up expecting much out of that last one a while ago.

The scorecards also put the city through the wringer on public transit, getting a green light in only one category (service hours delivered). Probably the most alarming statistic is that the city gives itself a failing mark on preventing Muni-related traffic accidents.

It would like to have fewer than 4.07 hits per 100,000 miles driven, but the only time it’s come even close to that was May of 2009, when it managed a 4.1. How they feel about the horrifying irony of the traffic signal grading system in this context isn’t indicated.

You can see the rest of the data and ratings here. Points to San Francisco magazine for spotting it first.

San Francisco City Hall

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