Here’s Another Chance for You to Pay More for Better Buses and Safer Roads

: sfweekly – excerpt

Funding for public transportation has never been based on population in San Francisco, believe it or not. That might all change in November if a new charter amendment passed by the Board of Supervisors this week makes it to the general ballot. This bump in cashflow won’t just fund Muni – it’ll also help finance street safety measures that benefit cyclists and pedestrians.

Until now Muni and other transportation funding has come from the federal government and the city. While the fares that riders pay helps to adjust for population, it’s not all enough money to run the buses and the streets. With the recent rapid growth citywide, both Muni and the streets (and BART, but that’s another matter) struggle to keep pace with the demand. To put all this into content: San Francisco has grown by about 100,000 residents in the last two decades, and 20,000 residents in the last four years.
The additional cash would add up to about $23 million, with 25 percent going to pedestrian and cycling-related infrastructure. The rest would go to increasing Muni capacity. That roughly $5 or $6 million in cycling infrastructure could buy plenty of bike elevators or some new sidewalk bulb-outs, bike lanes, green boxes — all things that would make streets safer for the more vulnerable road users (bikes, moms with strollers).

That figure would dramatically increase the money that’s currently earmarked for bike and pedestrian projects by about 15 percent. According to the city budget, San Francisco spends some $24.9 million on bike projects and $3.7 million on pedestrian safety projects.

Jeff Cretan, legislative aid for Supervisor Scott Weiner, who proposed the charter amendment, said that, based on the City Controller’s estimates, funding from the ballot measure would pump in $22 million initially, and increase up to $25 million in the following two years. Cretan said that this measure was effectively a stop-gap to get more money to public transportation in lieu of the Vehicle License Fee(more)

$24.9 million on bike projects and $3.7 million on pedestrian safety projects seems like a rather unbalanced distribution given that there are so many more pedestrians that cyclists, but, then both biking and walking used to be free, so we’re not sure why they are so expensive.

Railyard Alternatives and 280 Boulevard Feasbility Study Among Projects Funded Through Community Grant Programs

 

MEDIA RELEASE

RAILYARD ALTERNATIVES AND I-280 BOULEVARD FEASIBILITY STUDY AMONG PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH COMMUNITY GRANT PROGRAMS

More than One Million in Funding
Will Benefit Second Phase of Analysis

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The San Francisco Planning Department announced today that its Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study (RAB), a multi-agency program studying transportation and land use alternatives around the existing 4th & King Caltrain Railyard, received grants totaling $1,190,000 from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to continue the second phase of the Study, projected to begin in 2015. The RAB study areas also include the interface of Mission Bay, South of Market, and Showplace Square/Lower Potrero Hill.
“With the multitude of projects currently underway in San Francisco, it is imperative that we create a coordinated vision for the future of this area; one that links state of the art transit systems with future growth,” said San Francisco Planning Director John Rahaim. “These grants allow us to continue our efforts on behalf of the future of transportation and land use. We are grateful to the MTC and SGC for these grants, and in recognizing the importance of this work to the future of the city and the Bay Area.”… (more)

This is where the transit funds are going. To plan things like tearing down the 280 Freeway. How many of these plans are given priority over Muni operations and services? Can you add them up and figure it out?

Let you Supervisors and Mayor know how you feel about spending millions on plans to tear down the 280 Freeway while asking voters to take on $500 million more bond debt.

The Unpopular SFMTA Used to Poll Neighbors Before Permanently Installing Traffic Circles, But Not Anymore – Why’s That?

sfcitzen – excerpt

I’ll tell you why.

It’s because the SFMTA dramatically overestimated its popularity and the popularity of traffic circles being plopped down in the middle of intersections.

Isn’t that pathetic? It held all these mini-elections and it lost every last one.

So these days, there are no more mini-elections and the SFMTA is free to spin however it wants…

See how that works? Instead of trying to win community support the way it did ten years ago, today’s SFMTA simply assumes whatever it does has “community support.” ‘Cause if the SFMTA had any more neighborhood plebiscites about traffic circles, it knows that it would lose once again…  (excerpt)

That is why voters are expected to vote for the Restore Transportation Balance initiative and vote against the $500 million dollar bond measure. Cutting off the money supply is the only way to stop them. It stopped the escalation of parking meters and is the only thing, short of a Charter Amendment, that voters and Supervisors can do to stop the SFMTA.

When you vote in November support Supervisors who share you opinions on the SFMTA.

Muni gets red carpet treatment on Market

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Market Street drivers are going to start seeing red on the roadway very soon.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will start painting red transit-only lanes Friday night on Market Street between Fifth and 12th streets to let drivers know that the lane is for Muni use only.

Work for the $1.8 million project will begin from 10:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. on Saturday, which will require a partial lane closure of the eastbound track lane of Market Street between Fifth and Mason streets…

The westbound center lane of Market Street — currently open to all vehicles between Steuart and Eighth streets — will become transit-only from Fifth to Eighth.

The SFMTA has already painted red transit-only lanes on Church Street, Third Street and on Geary Boulevard and O’Farrell Street transit-only lane… (more)

Drivers are already seeing red. They will get to have their say in November when they vote to Restore Transportation Balance to the city. Having learned not to trust the SFMTA to do the right thing with bond money, many will not support the $5oo million bond measure either. That one needs a two thirds  majority to pass.

Here is a good example of what SFMTA does with bond money:  5 Fulton Capital Improvements

Separated bikeway along the Embarcadero

Can you envision a separated bikeway along the Embarcadero?

A bike lane laces most of the roadway of the Embarcadero in either direction, but it’s not complete, and sections like the Third Street Bridge are less than ideal, to put it mildly.

Casual riders and family-style tourists often don’t feel safe on the bike lane, so they ride along the promenade itself. This is perfectly legal, btw: The promenade along San Francisco’s waterfront is a shared-use path, which means both pedestrians and bicycles are allowed to use it, from Third Street to the south going north to Powell and Jefferson streets. (There is some signage that declares this, but not enough.)

Cyclists and peds usually co-exist on this popular stretch without a second thought: the path is expansive and there’s plenty of room.  But in some parts it can get congested, with cyclists traveling in both directions trying to weave around pedestrians.

This situation can be improved —  and you can attend an open house meeting Thursday, July 24 at 6 PM, to find out what might be in store for the Embarcadero:

The Embarcadero Enhancement Project Open House

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
  • 6:00 PM
  • Pier 1 – The Embarcadero (map)
  • The Embarcadero & Washington
  • San Francisco, CA 94111

You might recall that for a short time during the America’s Cup races, a section of the Embarcadero was temporarily cordoned off into a separated two-way path from The Ferry Building to the Cup’s main public pier.

Below are a couple rendered images from SPUR that give an idea of what a separated bicycle pathway might look like. More ideas can be found in their document building the emBIKEadero waterfront bike path (PDF)… (more)

Let ‘s make driving on the Embarcadero more difficult than it is now, eliminate more parking spaces, and spend more money while asking the citizens to take on another half a billion dollars in debt to wreak more havoc on our streets.

That is the plan, but voters who are fed up with it can vote to Restore Transportation Balance in November instead.
Now is the time to let the contestants for Supervisor in District 6, and Supervisor Chiu of District 3, know how you feel about the plan. District 3 and 6 Supervisors should have a say about what happens in their districts. The Eastern Neighborhoods stopped the parking meters when our Supervisors said NO.

RELATED:
Coping with the throngs on S.F.’s beloved Embarcadero
July 9 Port Commission Meeting – (video) Item 12B Embarcardero Bike Lane Project – The presenter claims this project will require an EIR and additional design reviews. The public can participate and should let the Supervisors know how they feel.

“Fixed App” Parking App Secures Funding

excerpt

The mobile app that helps fight parking tickets, Fixed, recently closed $1.2 million in seed funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include Y Combinator, Merus Capital, and more. Fixed is based in San Francisco and launched this January.

Users of the app can snap photos of their parking tickets using an iOS device. Fixed then checks for errors before writing a customized contest letter on the user’s behalf, serving as a method of fighting the payment process. It is then sent to the city. Since opening, Fixed has seen 35,000 users sign up for its service, and has opened its waitlist to the San Francisco metro area.

However, San Francisco itself hasn’t been “cooperative,” which may have caused the lack of pushback by citizens.

“San Francisco doesn’t have a way to submit a contest electronically, they insist that you mail it in,” said co-founder David Hegarty in the article. “After one or two contests got ‘lost in the mail’ we started faxing our submissions so we’d have an electronic record of delivery.” The city, however, then put a stop to the faxes.

Currently, Fixed sees 1 percent of the city’s 28,000 weekly parking tickets being filtered through its app – about 300+ tickets per week. Since March, it has been growing its volume at 25-35 percent per week, even moreso since removing the waitlist.

For tickets themselves, “win rates are at 20 percent to 30 percent,” depending on what type of violation… (more)

Around 30% of the complaints on the Stop SFMTA petition are about the tickets. LA citizens are demanding a cap of $23 on their tickets and the mayor is listening to their threats. California citizens are in rebellion. SF voters will send a strong threat to city authorities by passing the Restore Balance Transportation Initiative in November. We already stopped the expansion of meters in the neighborhoods and got them to roll back Sunday parking. D-10 Supervisor candidates support more parking garages in that district because that is what the voters want. Raise your voices and complain loudly to your supervisors if you want changes in parking policies such as honest enforcement of the laws and help pass the Restore Transportation Balance initiative in November. http://www.restorebalance14.org/

RELATED:
Fixed Raises $1.2 Million For A Mobile App That Fights Your Parking Tickets For You

This app will guide you to parking — and may get you a ticket, too

SAN FRANCISCO — A parking app that reliably helps find open spots in this congested city was coded on a turn-of-the-century tugboat in Sausalito.

The Terrapin served David LaBua as a coding den for VoicePark, a free app that uses sensors to monitor parking spots. It’s the only one we’ve tested to date that guided us to viable public spots on the busy streets of San Francisco.

“Parking is probably San Francisco’s biggest stressor, and writing about it has been very therapeutic for me,” says LaBua, who holds a master of science in psychology. “I had no intention of getting into the app game, but there was a real need for it.”

LaBua became a self-taught expert on parking in the town known for its hills, restaurants and arbitrary parking laws while living in the notoriously hard-to-park North Beach neighborhood. Such was his obsession that he penned a book about parking titled Finding the Sweet Spot and writes a gripping column where readers ask him for advice on their most pressing parking conundrums.

San Francisco’s parking pinch is a sign of the city’s tech-fueled growing pains. While the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency counts more than 442,000 free and paid parking spots, it’s evident from a map the city produced that most spots are concentrated downtown, not in tech-boom areas like the Mission, where workers often circle pointlessly searching for a spot in a neighborhood that’s part residential, part industrial.

A bunch of parking apps — including the transportation agency’s own app, which gauges availability and pricing — aim to smooth over the bumps in finding a spot. Push came to shove recently when the city attorney cracked down on parking apps based on the concept of drivers selling spots, which means the race for the best parking app is still on.

Right now, the VoicePark app monitors 18,000 parking spots in eight pilot areas with about 11,000 of those spots on the street. Each spot knows its built-in rules (street cleaning times, passenger loading zones) so the app will never guide you to a spot that’s not legal. “Ideally, someday, it’ll drive you to every spot in the city,” LaBua says… (more)

Many SF residents differ as to why the parking in SF is such a problem. Many blame the SFTMA not the techies, for eliminating  parking spaces all over the city.  Their latest scheme is to privatize the streets by selling or leasing parking rights to corporations who “share” their profits with the SFMTA. That is where the “sharing economy” concept comes from. Only apps that “share” their profits with the SFMTA are allowed.
If you feel as many do that privatization and commercialization of our streets is wrong and want to  change that, vote yes on the Restore Balance Transportation Initiative in November. Passage of this ballot will send a strong message to city authorities that the citizens disagree with the SFMTA program of eliminating public parking from pubic streeets and are demanding a halt to these practices.

Potrero Hill Democratic Club: D10 Supervisorial Candidates’ Debate

youtube – excerpt – (video)

PHDC’s July 2nd debate at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. Shortly after the debate the club voted to endorse Tony Kelly for District 10 Supervisor.

 

Will San Francisco voters give Muni more money to serve a growing population?

By : sfbg – excerpt

…The Board of Supervisors yesterday [Tues/22] voted narrowly to place Sup. Scott Wiener’s Muni funding measure on the fall ballot. It would increase General Fund contributions to the SFMTA as the city population increase, retroactive back to 2003 when the current rate was set, giving the agency an immediate $20-25 million boost to serve the roughly 85,000 new residents the city has added since then…

A $500 million general obligation bond transportation measure backed by Lee and the full Board of Supervisors will also appear on the November ballot, but it will go mostly to cover Muni’s capital needs, not the growing demands on its operating budget.

Wiener’s Muni funding measure yesterday barely got the six votes this charter amendment needed to qualify for the ballot: those of Wiener and Sups. London Breed, David Campos, David Chiu, Malia Cohen, and Jane Kim (Sup. John Avalos was absent).

In recent years, there’s been a rift in the city’s progressive coalition between environmental and transportation activists on one side and affordable housing advocates on the other, who sometimes battle over city funding they see as a zero sum game. So it will be interesting to watch how the politics surrounding this measure shape up going into the fall campaign season…. (more)

District 3 Street re-designs

Supervisor David Chiu July/August 2014 Newsletter – excerpt

Broadway Street Design Advances
For years, Broadway, particularly from the tunnel to Columbus Avenue, has had significant safety and quality-of-life issues as motorists speed from the west to the east side of our district, through the heart of one of the densest residential neighborhoods on the West Coast.  We have seen too many traffic-related collisions in a mixed-used corridor where residents of all ages live, play, go to school and work.

As reported by the SF Examiner, we have made good progress at planning a Broadway Chinatown Design project to transform Broadway into a more vibrant and multi-modal street for all users. The two-year interagency effort has completed its planning phase and the Department of Public Works is now preparing construction documents for the new Broadway. The Final Report on the street design and design website contains more details on the context, history, and planning process thus far. You can also view and provide feedback through August 4 on new public artwork proposals that are part of this exciting project.

Lower Polk Community Benefit District Vote Coming Up
After three years of hard work and extensive outreach led by a steering committee of local residents and businesses, this month, the Board will vote on establishing a Community Benefit District for the Lower Polk neighborhood. Lower Polk is a diverse, wonderful neighborhood that faces a number of challenges. Public safety, vacant storefronts, homelessness, and lack of green space are common concerns. The new CBD would use its $800,000 annual budget and any additional funding to provide services above and beyond the City’s current level. Lower Polk will see additional capital improvements, sidewalk cleaning, graffiti removal, tree maintenance, and safety and social service outreach ambassadors, among many others.

It’s impossible to write about the potential Lower Polk CBD without remembering and celebrating the contributions of Shell Thomas, who for years spearheaded the efforts to make it a reality. He also championed other important projects in North Beach, Chinatown, Broadway and Polk Street with dedication and humor. Shell passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago, and will be dearly missed by many in our northeast neighborhoods… taken from Supervisors Chui’s newsletter July

Stay tuned for upates on neighborhood meetings to voice your opinions on these these designs.