SFMTA approves parking, traffic for Van Ness BRT

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

he Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project moved a step forward after transit officials Tuesday approved the necessary parking and traffic changes along Van Ness Avenue to accommodate the $125 million bus rapid transit system.

The changes unanimously approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s directors Tuesday include restricting most left turns on Van Ness Avenue and removing parking spaces where the agency plans to put center bus boarding platforms…

Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Stations

  • Market Street
  • McAllister Street
  • Eddy Street
  • Geary Boulevard
  • Sutter Street
  • Sacramento Street
  • Jackson Street
  • Vallejo Street
  • Union Street … (more)

Arts Commission won’t block BRT over shelters

By Jerold Chinn : SFbay – excerpt

he San Francisco Arts Commission will not impede The City’s transportation agency from moving forward with the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project and the Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. transit shelters originally opposed by commissioners.

Commissioner Cass Calder Smith, who is the chair of the commission’s Civic Design Review Committee, which opposed the shelters being used for the project, said in a statement to SFBay Monday:…

The SFMTA board will take up the parking the changes related to the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project at its meeting on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Room 400, City Hall….  (more)

Not that we thought they could, but… they won’t try.

By the way, the live feed of the meeting appears to be down today. What is up with that?

Say Goodbye to Van Ness Avenue, Broadway and Haight Street

What do drivers, Muni riders, Muni operators, taxi drivers, elderly and disabled people, parents, emergency personnel and many families long time residents of San Francisco have in common? A growing distrust for the SFMTA.

Thanks to everyone who voted No on A and B and Yes on L. The voters who were duped into trusting the SFMTA can now enjoy their next bold move. Tomorrow they plan to approve removal of traffic lanes and parking on Van Ness, Broadway, and Haight Street. For details of the plans you can try to read this week’s SFMTA agenda. The meeting is tomorrow, so you have one day to prepare your protest.

RELATED:
Van Ness Avenue next on list for traffic tie-ups in S.F.

 

Brief Reveals Flaws with San Francisco’s Transportation Task Force Report

by Wendell Cox : pacificresearch – excerpt

Today PRI released a brief reviewing San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Transportation Task Force Report: 2030. The brief is a supplement to PRI’s earlier study “Plan Bay Area Evaluation” (June 2013), which critiqued the plan developed by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).  Both the brief and the study were authored by Wendell Cox, a PRI fellow and consultant on public policy, planning, and transportation issues.

Mr. Cox writes, “Even if all of the required funding recommended by the Task Force Report is obtained, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is unlikely to be able to deliver on the promises of the 2030 transportation plan.”

Mr. Cox believes that the plan gives little or no attention to the potential for increasing truck and automobile congestion on the city’s streets: “Street improvement programs will give greater priority to transit, cycling, and walking, and will have a necessary effect of slowing general vehicle travel. Similarly, the implementation of additional exclusive bus lanes and taking of capacity from streets for cycle lanes would likely have the same effect. Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

In addition, Mr. Cox believes that escalating costs will also present difficulties:

1)    Most of the costs of the 2030 transportation plan are for capital improvements.  In the public sector, capital improvements are inherently susceptible to substantial cost overruns.

2)    The Task Force Report indicates little or no commitment to cost effectiveness.  Muni’s costs over the last 15 years have risen far more than inflation.  This occurs because there is no competitive influence to keep transit costs under control.

Mr. Cox writes that it seems unlikely that the city would be able to deliver on the expensive capital projects in the 2030 plan without significant strategies to ensure that projects stay on budget.  He suggest that the plan might be accomplished through “design-build” contracts with winning bidders that obligate them to deliver the finished projects within budget, making up for the additional expenses from their own resources.  He adds that there are public policy solutions that can bring transit costs under control, which make it possible to maximize service levels for the public and keep fares low — for example, competitive contracts that involve the use of private and public companies to operate individual routes of the transit system for the lowest cost.

Download full report

To learn more about “Evaluation Plan Bay Area: Transportation Task Force Report: 2030” or to arrange an interview with author Wendell Cox,, please contact Rowena Itchon (ritchon@pacificresearch.org) or Laura Dannerbeck (dannerbeckconsulting@gmail.com) at the Pacific Research Institute… (more)

So we aren’t all crazy when we claim that “

Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

The experts agree with us.

 

S.F.’s Prop. A is first step on road to put driving last

By Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

There’s a lot more to San Francisco’s $500 million Proposition A than fixing roads — it’s really the first step in a master plan to put buses, bikes and pedestrians on the fast track and move cars into the slow lane.

A close look at the projects that would be funded by Prop. A shows the overall plan calls for reducing miles of traffic lanes for cars, removing an unknown number of parking spaces and reducing stops on several Muni lines to enable the buses to cross town faster.

The biggest chunk — $142 million — would go into new traffic signals, crosswalks and other projects to speed Muni and make it safer to cross the street.

Market Street would get $90 million for rehabbing and upgrading Muni boarding islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic signals and bus and streetcar service between Castro Street and the Embarcadero.

Prop. A would also provide $30 million to help repair or replace 40 escalators and elevators that are forever breaking down, many of them at stations shared by BART and Muni Metro… (more)

Don’t know if this is the first step, it is definitely the next step. SFMTA and their supporters are really on the block. Most critics of Prop A point to language that states the SFMTA “may” spend the money this way, which is not the same as saying the money “shall be spent this way.”

According to the city controller, passage of this bond will result in higher property taxes and those taxes may be passed through to renters.

The bottom line is do you trust SFMTA to do what it promises based on past performance? If the answer is “no” and you want the right to own a car, you will want to vote No on A and B and Yes on L. For more on why go here: http://savesfmuni.wordpress.com/

RELATED:
San Francisco, California To Vote On Anti-Motorist Bond Measure

Prop. A aims to help city with transit upgrades

by sfexaminer -excerpt

One of three transportation measures on the November ballot, Proposition A would allow San Francisco to borrow up to $500 million by issuing general-obligation bonds to go toward improving its transit infrastructure and aging roads…

Prop. A permits a property-tax increase to pay for the bonds if necessary, and landlords could pass up to 50 percent of the tax increase to tenants. According to projections from City Controller Ben Rosenfield, the highest estimated annual property tax for a homeowner with an assessed value of $500,000 would be about $91.02.

Groups including Save Muni, the San Francisco Taxpayers Association and Libertarian Party of San Francisco allege the proposition will raise property taxes and rent. Save Muni founding member Howard Wong said the proposition would incur $1 billion in new debt over a few decades with no guarantee of making Muni more reliable…

SFMTA funding, parking fees are on ballot with Props. B, L

Joining Proposition A, which transit officials and advocates are counting on for a reliable source of funding for infrastructure work, two more transit measures are on the November ballot. These, propositions B and L, seek to take The City’s transportation system in different directions.

A transit-funding measure like Prop. A, Proposition B would amend the City Charter to allocate a greater amount of the general fund toward the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency each year, based on population growth…

Opponents argue Prop. B would take general fund money away from other programs.

Prop. L was sparked in April from a dozen San Francisco residents who wanted to reboot transit policies back to 2009, before Sunday parking meters and demand responsive meter pricing went into effect and meters got installed in certain neighborhoods.

“It’s simply getting back on a balanced course in San Francisco which we have had for 50 years in The City until then,” said Chris Bowman, 68, a Twin Peaks resident and one of the original proponents of the proposition… (more)

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)

S.F. tries to vote its way out of chronic traffic jam

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

The question about transportation being posed to San Francisco voters this fall might be summed up this way: Do you want to get on the bus and be on your way, or do you want to stand there and keep waiting?

Transportation, always a topic of complaint or debate in San Francisco, stands front and center on the November ballot. Voters are being asked to decide on three propositions that test the city’s commitment to transit, how it should be funded and the direction of its transportation planning.

The trio of propositions consists of a $500 million bond measure, a plan to increase the Muni budget to keep pace with population growth, and an advisory measure that would ask decision-makers to freeze parking rates and make cars and driving a higher priority…

David Looman, who led the drive to put Prop. L on the ballot, says it’s “simply a way for people to have their voices heard that city policies on parking and traffic are out of control.”

Officials at the MTA and City Hall may wish for a world in which everyone bikes, walks or rides Muni, he said, but 79 percent of residents still own cars and should be accommodated…

“This is a very transportation-heavy election cycle,” Jawa said. “The sense that we need to start doing things differently in transportation is alive and well in San Francisco.”… (morei)

 

SFMTA Secures Grant Funds to Expand Muni’s Bus Fleet

sfmta – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, including Municipal Railway (Muni), announced today that it will receive grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. These funds will allow Muni to add twelve, 60-foot buses to help meet the growing demand of the city of San Francisco’s transit needs, address existing crowding, improve service reliability, and increase economic opportunity by improving access to jobs and services.

“New larger buses will help us expand service for a growing San Francisco. Thank you to Secretary Foxx and the Department of Transportation for their more than $9 million investment in our City’s public transit system,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “While these new vehicles are very important to Muni’s fleet, the infrastructure they run on is equally important, and this November, voters have the opportunity to approve a $500 million transportation bond that will provide critical infrastructure improvements, including $358 million dedicated to infrastructure projects that will make Muni faster, more frequent and more reliable.”…

The new 60 foot buses are projected to be in service by end of spring 2015… (more)