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.

BART starts enforcing ban on stretching out at Powell Street

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

BART police on Monday began enforcing a ban on sleeping, lying or sitting with legs extended at the busy Powell Street Station and said they plan to expand the crackdown systemwide.

The enforcement action, which involved as many as nine BART police officers Monday, is a safety measure intended to ensure that stations can be evacuated in four to six minutes in an emergency, said Jeffrey Jennings, BART’s deputy police chief.

Jennings said the campaign is not intended to target the homeless, though BART police are aware that’s how it may be construed.

“Everyone’s going to spin it as an attack on the homeless,” he said. “It isn’t. It’s about getting everyone out in an emergency.”… (more)

 

Sweetch Parking App Adapts to City’s Demands

By missionlocal – excerpt

NBC Bay Area reported on how two major parking apps -  ParkModo and Sweetch - have adapted to the city’s rules and regulations. Meanwhile, the parking app MonkeyParking was forced to suspend their operations altogether.

In particular, Sweetch launched “Spot Angels,” a new service that provides free information to users about street closures and street clearings…

In accordance with the city’s demands, Sweetch will now be completely free to users. The app’s creators released the code they developed as open source technology called Freetch. Freetch has received international attention from transportation experts and entrepreneurs who are excited to use the free code to help them solve parking problems in other cities… (more)

 

Nobody Wants My Spot: An Hour in Haystack’s Nonexistent Predatory Marketplace

By Austin Tedesco : boston.com – excerpt

The Haystack parking app launched in Boston last week, and to test out the service I did exactly what the city doesn’t want. I used it. Or, I tried to use it.

I held two public parking spots hostage creating a “predatory private market,” as a San Francisco city attorney called it, that would benefit almost nothing except my credit card balance. That was the goal, at least. It failed miserably…. (more)

This is one of many stories about the “sharing economy”. Stay tuned for more, including a graphic illustration of how it works and what it does and does not mean.

D10 Supervisor Candidates Weigh in on Muni, Parking, and Bike Lanes

by : sfstreetsblog – excerpt

The candidates running for District 10 supervisor this November gave some telling responses to transportation questions last week. The first debate of the D10 race was held at the Potrero Hill Democratic Club and moderated by SF Chronicle reporter Marisa Lagos, who asked some pointed questions on issues around Muni, parking, and bike lanes in SF’s eastern and southeast neighborhoods…

The five candidates, as seen seated from left to right in the video above, included Ed Donaldson, Marlene Tran, incumbent Malia Cohen, Tony Kelly (the close runner-up in the most recent election), and Shawn Richard. The video was provided by Kelly’s campaign… (more)

Fee Increase for Commuter Tech Shuttles Using SF Muni Stops Approved

By Bay City News : nbcbayarea – excerpt

Companies using San Francisco city bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers on commuter shuttles will have to pay more than triple the cost to the city.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors voted to approve a fee increase from $1 per stop per day to $3.55 after realizing that the cost of enforcing the pilot program was more than originally anticipated.

The new fee would take effect later this year and rise to $3.67 next year.

The pilot program, which went into effect on July 1, allows companies operating shuttle buses to use San Francisco Municipal Railway bus stops for a fee to limit the impact of the shuttles on city bus service… (more)

 

Supes Vote Next Week on Wiener’s Backup Transportation Funding Measure

by : sfstreetsblog – excerpt

Supervisors are expected to vote next week on Supervisor Scott Wiener’s backup plan for transportation funding — a charter amendment that, with voter approval, would increase the share of the city’s general fund that gets allocated to Muni, pedestrian safety, and bike infrastructure. That share would be tied to the city’s growing population.

Wiener introduced the measure as a safeguard that would increase transportation funding even if Mayor Ed Lee dropped his plan to put a vehicle license fee increase on the ballot. Lee subsequently did drop his support in June, at least until the 2016 election, so Wiener proposed his stop-gap measure. The legislation includes a provision that would allow the mayor to remove the charter amendment if the vehicle license fee increase is passed in 2016, according to Wiener… (more)

The Streets Of San Francisco

By : motorblogger – excerpt

With the news that our government is considering making some of our streets 15mph, no-overtaking zones where the car will play second fiddle to the bicycle it would not be unreasonable for British drivers to cry, ‘Why is it always us?’

Well, if it makes you feel any better, it isn’t. The motorists of San Francisco, in the USA, are also under the sanctimonious cosh of the car-hating fraternity. Unlike British motorists however who protest meekly and then shrug, our American friends are not going down without a fight.

In this Californian city drivers have become, in their view, totally marginalised by their authorities in favour of the bicycle and there is now a burgeoning backlash from motorists. In fact, there is now in fact a growing political movement being mobilised to fight for drivers’ rights. Why, they even have a manifesto.

Basically they are sick of having roads narrowed to allow for cycle lanes and the loss of parking spaces to make cycle routes and pavements wider. They have also complained vociferously that while drivers are being penalised for breaking the rules of the road, bike riders are getting away with it without penalty. One rule for them and one for us, would seem to be the motto.

This organised protest has produced a list of demands under the less than catchy title of ‘Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco’. These demands have been presented to the City Attorney and have caused a community-splitting stir in the city that bought us the greatest car chase ever in the movie Bullit.

One embittered driver even went on to say, “The sleeping giant has awakened. Making the roads more congested for cars… by taking out parking spaces and removing lanes increases greenhouse gas emissions and pollution… If biking is such a great alternative, why are so many of them so surly?”

It is not the place of Motor Blogger to take sides. Our view is that it should be ‘fair play for all’. Nevertheless it has become a very contentious issue in the USA – more so even than here. With our typical British reserve we may not go to these lengths but it may well be time for drivers to speak up before the car is totally marginalised… {more}

Parking Shared Cars Instead of Private Cars Isn’t Exactly “Privatization”

The SFMTA’s endeavor to reserve on-street car parking spaces for car-share vehicles has yielded complaints from some car owners who, ironically, decry the “privatization” of space currently used to store private cars.

But the greater point that some folks seem to be missing is this: No use of public street space is more “private” than dedicated storage of private individuals’ automobiles. To decry converting comparatively few of these spaces to welcome a much more efficient form of auto storage – making each space useful for dozens of people, rather than one or two – is absurd.

Yet that’s what Calvin and Michelle Welch argue, in flyers they distributed that protest two on-street car-share spaces in the Lower Haight, as Hoodline recently reported. ”It would privatize a shared, currently free, scarce public resource making it available only to paid members of a car share program,” the Welches wrote. (It’s worth noting that Calvin Welch is a longtime activist who opposes the construction of new market-rate housing (more)

The comments on this article are off the rails. We need a serious discussion about the privatization of public property among people who know the legal facts.

 

SF’s War on Motorists

By Former Supervisor Tony Hall : westsideobserver – excerpt

My last column dealt with the foolishness of some of our City “leaders” who want to narrow some of our streets and procure smaller and less equipped emergency response vehicles, all at the expense of Public Safety.

… 79% of San Francisco households who own or lease a motor vehicle have been the target of bad transportation policy for the past 15 years, as determined by the radicals who have taken over the SFMTA Board and espouse a “car-less” San Francisco…”
In this column, I want to encourage you to consider supporting the initiative Restoring Transportation Balance, (web stie: http://www.restorebalance14.org), which is a Declaration of Policy calling for the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and the SFMTA Board to restore transportation balance, as opposed to their current “Transit and Bicycle Only” Policy….

Not only are motorists and their passengers under attack, but also the City’s War on Motorists has caused collateral damage, adversely affecting a broad cross section of San Franciscans, for example, first responders such as police, fire and medical services, whose response times have increased due to difficulty navigating the City’s re-engineered and narrowed streets. Seniors and disabled who depend upon automobile transportation are finding it increasingly difficult to get around the City and have lost hundreds of white and blue curbs and the ability to get curb to curb service because of bike lanes. Small businesses and merchants operating on a 1% to 3% profit margin are losing money because their customers can’t find nearby parking, and instead shop in Daly City or Tanforan. Families can’t drive their kids to school on a timely basis because of the City’s re-engineered streets, traffic calming obstacles, increased traffic congestion and slower commute times. Even members of the Faith Based Community have to look at their watches repeatedly rather than worship unimpeded for fear that their cars may be ticketed or towed…

Tony Hall served twice as Supervisor for District 7… (more)