World Series Update: “FUCK SFMTA” – “Only in SF Do People Hate the Transit Agency More Than the Cops”

San Francisco Citizen Blog – excerpt

Word on the Street

Hey, how’s Prop A doing? The last polling I saw it wasn’t doing so hot, but that was a while ago.

Oh look, media coverage:

The Ides of “May”: The Language of the Mayor’s Pet $500 Million Bond “May” Alarm You

Meanwhile, the people at the SFMTA claim to be offering, “Excellent Transportation Choices.” And they ask the public for advice about MUNI can become “more perfect.”

Something’s gotta give here – I suppose we’ll find out next week… (more)

Chronicle Watch: Some S.F. drivers still feed meters on Sundays

By Kurtis Alexander : sfgate – excerpt

Street parking in San Francisco is now free on Sundays, but you wouldn’t know it from the 6,500 or so meters that still warn of enforcement — and ably take your cash.

Signs that demand payment from noon to 6 p.m. Sundays have not been removed from about a quarter of the city’s meters since San Francisco stopped charging for Sunday parking in July, according to records from the Municipal Transportation Agency.

While the digital displays on meters have been changed to say there’s no parking charge, the conflicting claims are creating confusion for drivers already prone to anxiety over the city’s patchwork of colored curbs, permit zones and street-cleaning signs…

“As they upgrade the meters, they’re updating the signs on the sides,” said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the Municipal Transportation Agency.

Rose said it would be too laborious to change the listed hours at every meter, only to return in coming months to replace the entire device… (more)

That sounds about right. It is too much trouble for the SFMTA to let you know when parking is free. It is too much trouble for them to put up signs that you can read before you park letting you know what the parking rules are. It is too much trouble for SFMTA to set up an easy method to appeal illegal tickets. It is too much trouble for SFMTA to serve the public that supports their exorbitant salaries, but, it is not too much trouble for SFMTA officials to dream up new ways to drive us mad.

Is this what you voted for when you voted to give the SFMTA total control over the streets of your city?

San Francisco’s Prop. L: Are motorists being put at the back of the bus?

: KALW – excerpt – (includes audio track)

San Francisco paints itself as a green city, a city of walkers and bicyclists, a transportation friendly city. But some say San Francisco has taken its pro-pedestrian stance too far.

A group called the Restore Transportation Balance Coalition wants to take back the roads. That’s the goal of Proposition L, a declaration of policy to make the city’s parking meters, garages and traffic laws more car-friendly. But at what cost?

San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood recently debuted a glam pedestrian-friendly makeover. The main drag of Castro Street now has palm trees, rainbow crosswalks and wider sidewalks.

But there were some trade-offs for this fresh new look. On-street parking was monopolized by the construction, and now the much narrower street makes it harder for Muni and delivery trucks to get through…

“If you live in San Francisco ask yourself, has traffic gotten worse within the last 10 years? Have my buses? Has ontime wait for Muni increased? Has my bus service improved? Do I feel safer navigating the streets of SF?” he asks.

“The answers almost universally to those questions are no, so obviously what’s going on right now is not contributing to the solution, it’s part of the problem so we need to change things,” Clark says.

And that’s something both sides can agree on. San Francisco hasn’t found an effective solution to the increasing number of cars, and people, on the streets. So it is fitting that the solution itself is at a bottleneck… (more )

Bulb-outs, other traffic measures to help cut 9-San Bruno travel time

By sfexaminer - excerpt

 

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Muni’s 9-San Bruno line providing service between downtown San Francisco and Visitacion Valley is expected to see its overall route travel time drop by three to five minutes thanks to eight recently approved bus bulb-outs and other projects on the horizon.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors this month approved the bulb-outs and relocation of certain bus stops and parking spots along the route. The stop at Folsom and 11th streets will be eliminated. Three of the bulb-outs will stand as islands, allowing bikes to travel between the bulbout and the curb.

Bulb-outs, which are essentially sidewalk extensions, are planned throughout the 9-San Bruno route — one at Market and 11th streets, one near the U.S. Highway 101 underpass as Bayshore Boulevard becomes Potrero Avenue, two at Harrison and 11th streets, two at Bayshore and Oakdale Avenue, and two at Bayshore and Cortland Avenue… (more)

The SFMTA plans to move the bus stop right in front of one of the busiest night clubs where the patrons congregate on the sidewalk. There are a lot of bike and motorcylce parking spots in that area, and a thriving pizza place. Where will the delivery people park? Has SFMTA sent out any notices or done any public outreach on this one? Costco is right across the street. and there is a busy intersection at 11th and Bryant.  This plan is guaranteed to create more gridlock. Vote No on A and B and Yes on L and stop this madness.

Walnut Creek: BART Transit Village parking garage approved, construction likely to start soon

By Elisabeth Nardi : Contra Costa Times – excerpt

WALNUT CREEK — The first phase of the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village will not be retail stores or apartments, but rather a new five-level parking garage.

While the village was approved by the city two years ago, design approvals needed to begin work are just now occurring.

Developers Walnut Creek Lifestyle Associates, a joint venture of Essex Property Trust and Transit Village Associates, were at the city’s Design Review Commission earlier this month getting final approval on the garage, planned for the southwestern portion of the BART property on Ygnacio Valley Road… (more)

Walnut Creek city officials are listening to BART riders when they say, parking is an element of mass transit that needs to be addressed. Maybe SF will get the message. We need more parking near BART stops.

 

Sharing the roads in L.A.

editorial : latimes – excerpt

Motorists unite! An advisory initiative on San Francisco’s November ballot urges city leaders to reverse their public transit and bicycle-friendly policies. Because 79% of households in the city have a car, proponents argue, wouldn’t it make more sense to dedicate more money to helping cars move faster and making it easier and cheaper to park them? Why have local transportation authorities created a “war on motorists” by removing street parking and traffic lanes for bike routes, while hiking meter rates and parking ticket fines? Enough already!

Sound familiar? It should. Los Angeles has been hearing some of the same complaints as it begins a transformation from car-centric sprawl to what planners hope will be walkable, bikeable “urban villages.” Several projects designed to give Angelenos more transit choices and make streets safer have faced angry push-back from residents, businesses and politicians…

Redesigning the urban landscape demands patience and consensus-building. That means listening to communities and building a record of success that can persuade even die-hard drivers that there are benefits to the proposed trade-offs, such as safer roads and reduced reliance on fossil fuels. It also requires a firm commitment by the city’s political leadership — as well as the countywide Metropolitan Transportation Authority — to planning and funding a vision of L.A. that puts pedestrians, cyclists and transit users on equal ground with drivers. Hopefully, Angelenos can avoid a war on motorists and simply learn to share the road… (more)

 

Apartment owners take on Ed Lee, pour in $50k to defeat transportation bond measure

: sfgate – excerpt

It’s looking like the fight over an otherwise hum-drum ballot measure has turned more interesting — and immensely personal.

The San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents landlords and usually spends its time fighting City Hall over housing issues, has poured more than $50,000 in recent weeks into the fight against Proposition A.

Yes, that Prop. A — the $500 million, nearly universally popular transportation bond that Mayor Ed Lee has staked his political future on and every single supervisors is backing.

Some of the money went toward two mailers sent out by a group called the San Francisco Taxpayers Association that claim the ballot measure authorizes a “billion-dollar blank check” and “could raise taxes on homeowners and renters.” The mailer is signed by a number of groups, including the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and the San Francisco Green and Republican parties…

“We have lost faith that this administration is able to lead the city, and if you look at the reasons why — you will see huge contributions by the tech industry into this (measure),” she said. “Something is broken, and until all parties are brought in to formulate policy through his leadership, we will oppose a continuation of this.”…

“The reality is we have a congested city and we have to have a better transportation system,” he (Mayor Lee) said. “What about the $250 million in Proposition A we are willing to spend on pedestrian safety?”… (more)

I am laughing so hard at the Mayor’s comments I can hardly write.  “The reality is we have a congested city, (duh?) and we have to have a better transportation system,” he said.
The Mayor answered his own question. The SFMTA was given sole responsibility for fixing traffic problems over the last two years and they have only succeeded in creating gridlock and confusion and pissing everyone off, including their drivers and riders.

Their tactics are backfiring on them BECAUSE THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for the gridlock and everyone knows it. You don’t reduce traffic lanes and street parking to ease congestion, and we suspect the voters are smart enough to figure that out.
Money will not win this argument. The people who are mad as well and aren’t going to take it anymore will.

Twitter conference blocks off scores of parking spaces for no apparent reason

: sfgate – excerpt

There’s an oft-repeated claim these days that San Francisco is up for sale to the highest bidder. We’d say that seems to be the case when scores of parking spaces in the Civic Center are closed off for a Twitter conference, but payment to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is a mere $1,194.

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was the site Wednesday of a one-day conference called Flight, put on by Twitter for mobile developers. At the request of conference producer Another Planet Entertainment, the SFMTA gave the go-ahead for signs to be posted notifying drivers they’d be towed if they parked on Grove between Larkin and Polk streets or on Larkin between Grove and Hayes.

The spaces were reserved for set-up Tuesday, the conference Wednesday and clean-up Thursday, though almost all the parking spaces Thursday morning were empty or dotted with just a neon green cone. Just three small trucks were parked in front of the auditorium. Meanwhile, some people driving to City Hall circled for 30 minutes before finding a spot — far away.

Copies of the permits for temporary signage restricting the parking spaces show that Another Planet paid the standard rate,  which, it could be argued, is the first time in history any city fee has ever seemed low.

Eric Sainz, operations manager for Another Planet, said his company requested the number of spaces Twitter said it would need. He acknowledged they weren’t really needed all day Thursday, but the signs remained up.

Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, e-mailed, “We had all the proper permits for the spaces, just like any of the other large event-holders in that area, like Salesforce. In fact, we were required to keep many of those spaces open as part of the security protocols.”

Paul Rose, spokesman for the SFMTA said, “Based on the information presented, this was an appropriate plan.”… (more)

Looks like it is time to re-visit the protocols.  Hopefully Supervisors Cohen can include these reports into her legislative efforts to free up overly broad toe-zones for construction sites. The problem appears to lie in some regulatory code that was probably sneaked in while no one was looking. Let’s start by requesting a copy of the security protocols that require blocks of reserved parking when none is required.

Cutting off blocks of traffic always impacts Muni as well as everyone else. How far behind schedule did this event put Muni? And how many Muni riders missed out on their regular routes because of this?

How do you find out about the route changes if you don’t have a computer or smart phone to refer to? If SFMTA is going to send out notices that way, they should hand out phones to everyone who can’t afford them so they can check from home to see if their routes have changed.

CalBike Looks Back at This Year’s Legislative Efforts–and Ahead to the Next

by : CalBike – excerpt

The California Bicycle Coalition–CalBike–supports local bicycle advocacy efforts to build better bike networks. It does this in part through its work on state legislation that promotes bicycling and via its efforts to increase the amount of funding available for building better bike infrastructure.

California is poised to become one of the most bike-innovative states in the nation. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) got a new mission and vision statement this year that is more bicycle friendly, and endorsed progressive street designs. A new State Transportation Agency is shaking up how California traditionally thinks of transportation, and we got to see the first rounds of the Governor’s new “Active Transportation Program.”

While the 2014 legislative session wasn’t ideal in every way, our policymakers took huge steps forward, most importantly with exciting advances toward modern street design. You can find links to exact bill language, fact sheets, and letters to and from lawmakers at the California Bicycle Coalition website here

More Funding Approved, but Not Much
More funding is essential to building the infrastructure California needs to get more people to ride bikes. It is also key to economic sustainability. Active transportation infrastructure creates more jobs during construction and supports the local economy during its lifetime.

At $129 million, or barely 1 percent of the state’s transportation budget for biking and walking combined, funding for bike infrastructure is paltry at best.

We had limited success this year with our efforts to increase bicycle funding. Despite our advocacy, there was no increase in the Active Transportation Program (ATP). The formulas for spending cap-and-trade revenue did make active transportation eligible for about $65 million this year and up to 10 percent ($200-$500 million) in future years, but there are no guarantees that it will be spent on active transportation. Increasing and protecting the amounts eligible for active transportation in the ATP, in cap-and-trade funds, and from other sources is a goal for next year

The Governor did indicate support for more bike funding by signing AB 1183, which allows a $5 vehicle registration surcharge dedicated to bicycle infrastructure. Originally proposed as a tax against bikes, the bill was amended — thanks to our work and that of Senate Governance & Finance Chair Lois Wolk — to become a vehicle license surcharge.

AB 1183 is more of a symbolic statement than a practical funding source, because local agencies would need two-thirds voter approval to impose the surcharge. Until the minimum threshold to pass tax-related ballot initiatives is lowered, this surcharge is most likely not going to be a viable source of revenue… (more)

Lack of parking drives many away from mass transit

B : latimes – excerpt

Los Angeles County has funneled billions of dollars over the last two decades into new rail lines to lure commuters out of their cars and off the region’s overcrowded freeways. But many would-be train riders are struggling with how to start.

One of the biggest barriers to attracting new riders to Metropolitan Transportation Authority trains is not the price of fares or the frequency of service. It’s the lack of parking…

Half of Metro’s 80 rail stations have no parking. And at the stops where there are spaces, riders frequently complain that there aren’t nearly enough. In North Hollywood, where the Red Line subway ends, the MTA estimates that it loses as many as 1,500 riders a day because the parking lot fills up by 7:30 a.m…

Scott’s daily dilemma illustrates an often overlooked but significant choke point in the ambitious growth of L.A.’s light-rail system. Metro’s six-line network, which has seen steady ridership gains over the last five years, now carries about 350,000 people on work days. Parking shortages could complicate Metro’s goal of shifting hundreds of thousands more drivers to public transit in coming decades.

Planners say it’s impractical, perhaps impossible, to build enough free parking. Train station lots have low turnover because most commuters leave their cars all day. To meet demand, Metro lots would have to sprawl far beyond the station—or, in dense urban areas, rise several stories.

Studies from several U.S. cities show a direct link between parking and ridership, suggesting that full lots discourage some people from riding the train. But limited land availability and high construction costs constrict Metro’s ability to add spaces…

Northern California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system faces similar questions. A recent study there estimated a dozen new above-ground parking garages in Oakland, Berkeley and nearby suburbs would cost nearly $250 million to build—about $36,000 per space…  (more)