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 )

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.

 

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.

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)

 

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)

Finally, L.A. Is Working On ‘Simple And Obvious’ Parking Signs

laist – excerpt

For Angelenos, it seems like it’s a daily activity to try to decipher enigmatic, totem pole-like parking signs throughout the city. But there’s a glimmer of hope that we could one day get signs that don’t require a decoder, as the city is now testing out new, simplified parking signs.

During a committee meeting on Wednesday, City Council members asked the Department of Transportation to test out easier to understand signs designed by a local graphic artist, according to the L.A. Times. Instead of confusing, mile-high signs, transportation officials said they’ll be trying out over the next month-and-a-half “simple and obvious as possible” ones. These signs would use grids that divide the times by day and hour, with green and red blocks of time that show drivers when they’re allowed to park and not. (Maybe they’ll look something like these signs that were created by a Brooklyn designer.)… (more)

RELATED:
This Woman Is Doing God’s Work: Trying To Design A Better Parking Sign
Fastcodesign.com

Oakland mayor candidate Tuman’s theatrical approach to campaign

By Chip Johnson : sfgate – excerpt

Mayor-Tuman

The Grand Lake Theater’s marquee, has a message endorsing Joe Tuman and takes aim at his rivals who are also running for Mayor in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday October 4, 2014, claiming they are responsible for the “Parking Racket Extortion” in Oakland.

In San Francisco we blame the SFMTA, but there are steps our city officials could take to reign them in. The November ballot will determine who the voters blame for gridlock in San Francisco, and how important the parking regulations are in Oakland’s Mayoral race. LA drivers are also demanding the ticket rates be capped at $23.

Union Square merchants not digging new subway

It may have been the most fashionable meeting ever held at City Hall — as representatives of Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Barneys New York, Dior, Bulgari and Arthur Beren Shoes met Wednesday with Mayor Ed Lee to tell him that the Central Subway construction was killing some of Union Square’s best-known high-end stores.

At issue is the tearing up of Stockton Street to make way for the Union Square Station — and the loss of parking, deafening noise and dust from the heavy machinery that go along with it. Combine those with narrow and often unlighted walkways in front of the stores, and customers are staying away in droves.

Lee promised a personal look at the situation, but overall the news was not encouraging… (more)

The Union Street merchants will probably want to vote No on A and B (to limit the damage SFMTA can do by limiting their funds) and Yes on L to restore sanity to the transportation system that is wreaking havoc in the city and will be the source of our downfall. http://www.restorebalance14.org/

Neighbor Claims Mark Zuckerberg Hired People To Save Parking Spots Overnight Near His San Francisco House

 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is doing some pretty extensive renovations on his house in San Francisco, and it’s really annoying his neighbors.Round-the-clock construction work has led to disruptive noise, and no-parking signs have blocked off portions of the street, nearby residents have complained. Parking in this part of the city, near hip Dolores Park, is already notoriously difficult.

And now, according to CBS San Francisco, neighbors say they’ve noticed something else going on near Zuckerberg’s house.

According to one neighbor, pairs of people have been spotted sitting in parked cars near Zuckerberg’s house late at night. When one neighbor went to ask what they were doing, several of the people said that they had been hired by the Facebook billionaire to save parking spots for construction workers who would be arriving in the morning… (more)

Do we need any more proof that the privileged few are taking over the city? Do we accept the theory that parking is a privilege not a right? If you do not accept the privilege theory, Vote NO on A and B and Yes on L. Let City Hall know that if they don’t hold the SFMTA accountable the voters will.

The Week This Was

Not much is going well this week for the heads-in-the-sand SFMTA and friends. While SFMTA supporters make false allegations against Prop L proponents, and play the blame game, the headlines tell the stories that best explain why residents and commuters are demanding change.

Media blitz September 25, 2014:
How a $900 parking citation became a $25,000 federal lawsuit against SF
No Free Rides: Finally, Inevitably: Muni Is Suing Muni
Rank-and-file S.F. firefighters call for chief’s ouster
S.F. supervisor makes case for fire chief’s ouster
How Transbay Transit Center deal’s collapse would alter S.F.
Possible Golden Gate Bridge District Strike Would Cripple Commute
Carshare reserved parking not favored by everyone
Despite Free Parking, San Francisco Meters Continue Collecting On Sundays
SEIU Local 1021 backs motorist measure and a Republican. WTF?!?!

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