California readies pay-as-you-drive tax test, coming soon to a road near you

By Justin Hyde : motoramic -excerpt

It won’t happen immediately, or even within the next year, but not too far into the future you might pay a tax for every mile you drive — thanks to California.

Three weeks ago, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the first test of mileage-based road taxes in the Golden State. The bill, which passed the state legislature with the backing of transit agencies, environmental groups and most major automakers, creates a 15-person panel to oversee a pilot of pay-by-the-mile taxation by 2018.

The move makes California the largest state to explore how modern technology might replace the dwindling money from gasoline taxes used to build and maintain roads, thanks to ever-more efficient vehicles and less driving overall. Congress has been forced to fill the gap at the federal level with billions of dollars in temporary funding; in California, where residents pay 48.5 cents on the gallon in state gasoline taxes worth more than $3 billion a year, the state has borrowed from those revenues in recent years to cover shortfalls elsewhere… (more)

This gets into so many areas that we find repugnant. Do we want our every move tracked? Why don’t they just raise the gas tax and get it over with? People are using less gas which is what they wanted. Now they are punishing us for using less gas. There is something wrong with this plan.

Measure seeks to raise revenue for Alameda County transportation improvements

By Sierra Stalcup : dailycal – excerpt

In November, voters will decide the outcome of Measure BB, which would increase the county sales tax by 0.5 percent in order to raise revenue for Alameda County transportation improvements.

If approved, Measure BB would secure the sales tax for 30 years with revenue allocated to transportation groups such as BART and AC Transit in order to modernize and improve transportation options within the county…

Jerry Cauthen, a transportation engineering consultant and volunteer for the Bay Area Transportation Working Group, said he does not support the measure because the plan fails to set concrete, reliable goals.

Community groups supporting the measure, however, emphasize the importance of improving and expanding access to public transportation in Alameda County…

“Berkeley used Measure B money for bicycle boulevards which provide a safe crossing to a busy street,” said Dave Campbell, program director of Bike East Bay. “Even a parent with a kid feels comfortable. If cyclists think it is safer, they are more likely to ride.”… (more)

This has a familiar ring to it. Could be because it is part of the Plan Bay Area.

Postseason baseball made parking rates near AT&T Park skyrocket to $100

By Mike Oz : sports.yahoo.com – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — With the Giants making a run at another National League title, October baseball is all the rage here. Fans are skipping work for day games. Black-and-orange T-shirts are being hawked all over the place. And parking-garage owners are making out like bandits… (more)

Higher parking rates will drive more people into cabs.

Parking control officers in a huff over violent public, want city protection

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

photo of a San Francisco parking control officer on the hood of a moving car that went viral last month seems to have captured the mood of The City’s parking enforcement officers.

Things are so bad, the workers and their union picketed outside of the Hall of Justice on Thursday afternoon — along with nurses who work for the city — to pressure city leaders to do something. Dealing with assaults and attacks on these city workers are increasingly becoming a part of their jobs, nurses and officers say, and they want The City protect them.

Even though there is no indication that such violence has increased dramatically recently — there were only 12 reported incidents of parking control officers facing assault or battery this year, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — workers feel too little is being done… (more)

Chicago Quietly Allows .1 Second Shorter Yellow Lights, Makes $8M Off 77,000 New Tickets

By Elliot Hannon : slate – excerpt

How long is a yellow light? Most people would—reasonably—have no idea the exact length of time before a traffic light goes from yellow to red. The answer is: A minimum of three seconds, according to federal safety regulations. What happens when a mere tenth of second is shaved off that time and a yellow light lasts 2.9 seconds? If you thought, not much, you’d be wrong.

The city of Chicago and its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, are taking heat—thanks to a Chicago Tribune investigationfor ever-so-quietly sanding that measly tenth of a second off of the length of yellow lights in the city this past spring. The impact was substantial: 77,000 additional red light camera tickets were issued, at $100 a pop, which added up to nearly $8 million forked over by unsuspecting drivers.

Yellow Light Time Standards

shortyellowlights – excerpt

Legislation mandating proper yellow light times is mostly non-existent. It is one of the goals of this project to establish national standards to protect motorists.

For the purposes of this project, we have put together a general guide to appropriate yellow light durations.

This guide is intended to help identify potentially dangerous short yellow light times. Whenever possible, suspicious timings will be confirmed by a trained, objective traffic engineer.

Recommended Yellow Light Times
Three seconds should be the absolute minimum time for any intersection.

25 MPH — 3.0 Seconds
30 MPH — 3.5 Seconds
35 MPH — 4.0 Seconds
40 MPH — 4.5 Seconds
45 MPH — 5.0 Seconds
50 MPH — 5.5 Seconds
55 MPH — 6.0 Seconds

For your information, a technical explanation of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) formula for calculating yellow light times is included below (source): … (more)

Yellow Light time standards are largely missing. Some people are calling for some new standards. This is an important issue for a number of reasons so we will post a number of articles.

RELATED:
http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/yellow-lights

SFMTA Proposes New Car Restrictions, Extended Bus Lanes on Lower Market

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Last week, the SFMTA presented its proposal to ban private auto drivers from turning onto Market Street, between Third and Eighth Streets. The move would be complemented with extended transit-only lanes, plus a new system of wayfinding signs aimed at keeping drivers off of Market.

The new plans, named “Safer Market Street,” would be implemented over nearly a year, beginning next spring, and would represent a major step towards a car-free lower Market – a longtime goal of many livable streets advocates, and some city officials (more)

Good reason to vote No on A and B and Yes on L. If you don’t like it vote against funding it. Stop this insanity before it gets any more out of hand.

What The Hell Are Are These New Bike Guidelines San Francisco Adopted?

By Leif Haven : sfweekly – excerpt

Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors officially adopted the NACTO guidelines with as much glee as if they they were taking home the cutest puppy from the humane society.

Never mind the cute puppy, what the hell are NACTO guidelines, you ask, and why are we adopting them?

NACTO, or the National Association of City Transportation Officials, is exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of people who think that they can tell us how to make cities better …and surprise: the NACTO Designing Cities Conference, is happening October 22-25, so the PR timing couldn’t have been better…

There are two relevant aspects to these new guidelines — the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide. They overlap a bit, but the goal of both is to plan streets that are “safe, sustainable, resilient, multi-modal, and economically beneficial, all while accommodating traffic.”

That’s a tall order, especially in bike-friendly, car-friendly and pedestrian-friendly San Francisco…

Lane Width: NACTO recommends a lane width of 10 feet. Lanes in San Francisco range from around 8 feet to around 13 feet. Wide lanes promote speeding, believe it or not, but narrow lanes do not decrease flow or capacity according to NACTO, so narrower lanes are actually better.

Bike Lanes: NACTO says that bike lanes should be at least 6 feet wide, and whenever possible wide enough for two cyclists to ride side-by-side. They also believe things like bicycle safe gutters and grates (thank God) and no parking signs will discourage cyclists from parking in bike lanes… (more)

At least bring back the 10 feet minimum lanes. Remember there are wide buses, truck and shuttles that must use the streets as well as cars. If you want bike lanes, wider sidewalks might not be the solution.

You can get wider lanes by eliminating the costly, unnecessary, and often dangerous trees down the middle of the road that create the worst blind zones and make maneuvering wide buses and emergency vehicles really difficult. See some photos here.

 

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

By sfweekly – excerpt

Well, it’s October again. The Giants are in the playoffs. We’re blessed with the sundress weather that enables million-dollar median home prices. And ’tis the season when every area chiropractor offers up a silent, thankful prayer, knowing he or she will soon be visited by legions of ailing letter carriers, hobbled by the reams of political mailers and the Tolstoy-length election materials facilitating San Franciscans to vote on damn near everything

Voters, it was argued, would be put off by this onslaught of revenue measures. But voters may yet be put off by another element of the big Muni bond — its very language.

The key word here is “may.”…

“Shall” and “may” do not mean the same thing, period. In legal parlance, “shall” is “prescriptive” language and “may” is “permissive” language.

The language in Prop. A is permissive. Everything listed within it is something that “may” be funded, “may” be done…

So, per Reiskin, this bond “will” enable great things. It “may” all work out well.

It “shall” certainly work out well for somebody (more)

Compare SF (Most Expensive Parking Tickets in the Western Hemisphere) with Downtown San Mateo (50 Cent/Hr Parking Meters)

sfcitizen – excerpt

Compare A with B, as seen in the City of San Mateo:

But the SFMTA wants more more more, so it’s hatched a plan called Prop A, to raise your rent (literally) and/or take your property taxes to pay for, among other things, cost overruns on the entirely unnecessary pork-barrel project called the Central Subway.

Hey, speaking of which:

“During a pair of recent presentations at city political clubs, MTA commissioner Cheryl Brinkman, arguing on behalf of Prop. A, stated that a City Attorney’s opinion concluded that, when it comes to bond language, the terms “shall” and “may” are identical.
Huh.
Brinkman now says she’s not entirely sure what she said. Multiple witnesses are more certain: ‘She did say that!’ recalls Potrero Hill Democrats president Joni Eisen.”… (more)