Jersey City moves toward closing parking authority

AP : sfgate – excerpt

Jersey City is moving closer to realizing Mayor Steven Fulop’s goal of abolishing the city’s autonomous parking authority.

Fulop announced Friday that New Jersey’s Civil Service Commission has granted his request to have parking authority employees given civil service status.

The approval allows the city to move forward with its plan to abolish the authority and have its functions absorbed by other departments.

Fulop plans to present an ordinance to the City Council on Sept. 10.

The parking authority’s enforcement functions would come under the Department of Public Safety, while administrative functions would be handled by city staff who already perform these duties.

Fulop says the dissolution of the parking authority will save taxpayers millions of dollars.

(more)

There’s an idea on how to save Muni money. Abolish the SFMTA by repealing Prop E. What voters create they can dismantle.

Pelosi, Lee tout Central Subway as model economic development project

By sfexaminer – excerpt

The yearslong creation of the Central Subway is a prime example of how large infrastructure projects in cities can boost the economy, create local jobs and increase commerce in the U.S., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.

Amid the roar of construction of Muni’s future Yerba Buena-Moscone station, Pelosi, Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Transportation Director Ed Reiskin touted The City as a key pillar of the Middle Class Jumpstart agenda launched by House Democrats last month to ensure “good-paying jobs” for workers nationwide… (more)

If incumbent Democrats claim that controversial projects like the Central Subway are a good way to generate jobs around the country they are in trouble.

They will have a hard time convincing transit riders faced with higher fees and cutbacks in Muni services and maintenance.

Forget counting on any further support from California motorists who are being gouged by higher fines, fees and an increase in the state gas tax, (unless a bill now running in Sacramento passes in time to save them).

Everyone who is trying to get anywhere on the jammed streets in San Francisco, LA, and elsewhere in California cities where local authorities have implemented restricted parking and traffic policies before establishing workable alternative transit systems.

The major benefactors of these projects are the land owners along the transit corridors who have all their building height limits lifted and the banks and bond holders.

And some of the young, fit, cyclists who demand more bike lanes but refuse to stay in the ones they have.

Transportation imbalance: City taxpayers support the Bicycle Coalition

A reader writes : district5diary – excerpt
A reader writes:

Rob,

City agencies collect tons of data that is available in many databases at http://data.sfgov.org. I’m experimenting with it for the first time today. Takes some time to understand how to search for data, gather, organize, and sort the information. Looks like other cities in the US are using this Open Data system to be transparent with residents.

You can look at various crime statistics, payments to vendors. Data is collected from 2007 on.

The Bicycle Coalition gets lots of money from Dept. of Public Health, the MTA, Neighborhood Development, and the PUC in the form of grants, continuing projects, operating costs.

The database on Vendor Payments lists all the money paid in vouchers to SFBC. Don’t know what the vouchers are for.

I added up how much was paid to SFBC for these fiscal years:

2007: $ 54,088
2008: $ 143,537
2009: $ 127,700
2010: $ 120,103
2011: $ 180,459
2012: $ 202,407
2013: $ 239,427
2014: $ 223,460
2015: $ 7,992

The fiscal year just started for 2015, and the SFBC is already on the payroll!

 

Rob’s comment: The city gives the Bicycle Coalition $49,000 every year to stage Bike to Work Day, and it even hires people from that special interest group: here, here, and here. And the city pays $188,000 a year for a police escort for Critical Mass.

 

Our comments: Taxpayers Subsidize the SF Bicycle Coalition. The Bicycle Coalition, along with other political action non-profit 501(c)4’s, sucks up bond money (voters approved to fix potholes and expand Muni services), and uses it to write anti-car legislation against drivers.
Related article describes one of the bills they passed.

City agencies hire SFBC to conduct studies that show the need for more bikes lanes and traffic calming. Then they design streets that remove parking and traffic lanes.

 

If you want to change the way things are going, vote NO ON A and YES ON L. If you really want to send a message to the city officials to let them no what you think, sign the Stop SFMTA petition.

RELATED:
California Has Officially Ditched Car-Centric ‘Level of Service’
California will no longer consider vehicle delay an “environmental impact.
Now, thanks to legislation passed last year and a yearlong effort by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), California will no longer consider “bad” LOS a problem that needs fixing under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) . This won’t just lead to good projects being approved more quickly and easily, but also to better mitigation measures for transportation impacts. – sfstretsblog

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

Letter to barbarycoastnews – excerpt

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The Ordinance’s legal language makes no definitive commitment to any specific work:  “Projects to be funded under the proposed Bond may include but are not limited to the following: 

Then, for eight project types, all eight begin with:  “A portion of the Bond may be allocated to…” 

In financial decisions, never sign a contract when the terms and deliverables are ambiguous.

Throwing billions of dollars at bad Muni projects hasn’t worked... (more)

Are San Francisco voters likely to raise their property taxes and rents to pay for more Muni projects?

San Francisco Transportation Funding Ballot Measure

by alevin : greencaltrain – excerpt

On July 22, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to place a transportation measure on the ballot, supported by Supervisor Wiener, to fund Muni and active transportation in proportion to population growth…

The San Francisco ballot in 2014 will also include a $500 Million General Obligation (GO) bond to pay for transportation capital improvements, improving Muni reliability and speed, planning for the downtown extension and funding pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure…

Meanwhile, opponents of transit and active transportation have launched a ballot measure to end San Francisco’s transit-first policy, freeze parking rates and build more parking supply… (more)

Three ballot measures on the November ballot. Two asking for more money and one asking for more balance. Voters will cast their opinions on SFMTA priorities that have created gridlock and eliminated thousands of parking spaces in the last two years. Citizens and public officials are demanding accountability.

 

Read the memo detailing Mayor Ed Lee’s punishment of supervisors who supported Muni

By : sfbg – excerpt

The story is snowballing.

Mayor Ed Lee is furious at supervisors who voted for Sup. Scott Wiener’s Muni funding measure, and told reporters Monday he would hold them “accountable.”

News of the mayor’s retribution has circled round, and the timing of a memo issued by Kate Howard, the mayor’s budget director, has raised eyebrows. The memo directs city departments to prepare for budget cuts she said are called for due to Wiener’s measure.

The Guardian has obtained the memo and is embedding it… (more)

Why doesn’t SFMTA finish, and pay for, one big project before starting another one. If Muni needs more trains, drivers, and mechanics, don’t spend any more time and money on bulbouts and bike lanes. Muni money should be Muni only money. If Muni is broke, why are they spending millions to study the effects of taking down the 280 Freeway? We saw the effects when they closed it down for a few days. It sucks!

Residents are fed up with SFMTA priorities. There are three ballot issues involving Muni money and management. The bond measure is being sold as a 500 million dollar bond, but it will cost 350 in interest. That means it is a 850 million dollar bond, none of which will be used to improve Muni service or maintenance.

Transportation Ballot Measure Fails to Balance Transportation Needs

By : sfweekly – excerpt

A bunch of people have collected 17,500 signatures to push an initiative onto the November ballot dubbed Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco. You’d assume with a name like, the measure might actually address balancing transportation needs of the city’s population… (more)

Gridlock drove this demand for change. Sitting in traffic makes people angry and they get real creative when they are angry. They think about who is to blame. They blame the SFMTA and swear they will not be fooled again. They cut off the money being used against them.
All the claims that there are vast numbers of people biking who need more bike lanes fall on deaf ears when we see very few bikes in the bike lanes and a lot of stalled and double-parked cars on the road.
Car owners are not the only ones fed up with the SFMTA. One of the proponents doesn’t own and car, and many of the supporters of the effort to “Restore Transportation Balance” ride Muni or bikes. If you think the transportation system sucks, join the battle to restore balance:
http://www.restorebalance14.org/

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.

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)

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)