Potrero Hill Democratic Club: D10 Supervisorial Candidates’ Debate

youtube – excerpt – (video)

PHDC’s July 2nd debate at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. Shortly after the debate the club voted to endorse Tony Kelly for District 10 Supervisor.

 

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)

 

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)

Republicans and a Tech Billionaire Want to Make San Francisco More Car-Friendly

By

Over the past few years, San Francisco has become one of the nation’s more bicycle-friendly cities, reserving roads for pedal pushers, turning parking spaces into pop-up parks, and raising meter rates and parking fines on drivers who still insist on braving the city’s increasingly bike-congested streets.

Now comes the backlash….

The Restore Transportation Balance initiative calls for a five-year freeze on parking rates at public garages and meters as well as on parking ticket fees. It also would prohibit new parking meters in neighborhoods absent a request by a majority of affected households and businesses. The nonbinding measure’s backers also want representatives of drivers and the disabled to be appointed to the city’s transit authority board.

“Over the last 10 years, San Francisco’s moved in a really progressive direction in terms of transit prioritization, parking reform, and bicycling,” said Gabriel Metcalf, the executive director of SPUR, a San Francisco urban policy think tank. “What we’re seeing now is the right-wing backlash against those measures.”

Indeed, it was the city’s move in January 2013 to impose parking meter fees on Sundays that prompted the formation of Restore Transportation Balance, according to Jason Clark, a leader of the group and vice president of the Log Cabin Club of San Francisco. (The city rescinded Sunday metering in April.)…

“A group of us got together and said, ‘We’re really mad,’ then crunched some numbers,” said Clark. “Since 2009, parking fines have gone up 40 percent.”

“The city has been crushing people who choose to drive,” he added. “They’ve been enacting punitive measures.”…

Clark, who said he doesn’t own a car and takes the bus every day, counters that the measure—funded with a $49,000 donation from Parker and $10,000 from the San Francisco Republican Party—gathered 17,500 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Its supporters include business owners, neighborhood groups, and civic leaders…. (more)

RELATED:
Sean Parker, Bicycle Hater?
Next for Napster’s Parker: Politics social network

Motorists fight back

By Steven T. Jones : sfbg – excerpt

Ballot measure seeks to prioritize cars and undermine SF’s “transit-first” policy

Believing that they’re somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs last week [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the “Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco” initiative for the November ballot….

“I think it’s been building for a long, long, long time, but the real catalyst was the Sunday and holiday parking meters,” political consultant David Looman — the 74-year-old Bernal Heights resident who is one of three official proponents of the measure — said of the motorist anger that led to the campaign. “That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.”…

“The bike lobby is running transportation policy in San Francisco,” Looman said, even though motorists “are the overwhelming majority and we make this society run.” He said the city needs to do more to facilitate driving “so the economy can continue to function, so people can continue to shop.”… (more)

As with No Walls on the Waterfront, the voters will decide.

There are cities with transportation systems that work. San Francisco is not one of those. If the lack of parking doesn’t get your attention, the traffic jams do. We went from a city that you could reasonably get around in via Muni, car, or BART to a city that is paralyzed by a traffic management system that has spent billions of taxpayer dollars destroying what used to work well for everyone. SF is now has the second or fourth worse traffic in the country, depending on which poll you read.

Listen to the voices of the Directors of the MTA Board, most of whom are members of the SF Bicycle Coalition, to see what their priorities are. Read the agendas and you will see that most of their time and energy goes to figuring out how to oppress motorists and very little attention goes to solving Muni operations issues. They relish the thought of handing over each public parking spots to private corporations and “sharing the profits”.

Read the job listings and you will see far more opportunities for planners, engineers, meter minders, contractors and consultants than for Muni drivers and mechanics.

The city claims Muni is broke but SFMTA can’t buy enough bulbouts, bike lanes, BRTs and road diets. The plan is to sell voters a $500 million dollar bond to finance the capital improvements. Go to your neighborhood SFMTA show to see what they have planned for you. There are plans to tear down the 280 freeway and fill in the separated section of Geary that passes by Fillmore. Good luck getting to General Hospital in an emergency after they install a greenway in the middle of Potrero, guaranteeing a traffic jam during rush hours.

If you trust the SFMTA to get it right in 2030 when it isn’t working in 2014, and given their plans for more of the same, vote against the Restore Transportation Balance initiative in November. If you don’t trust the SFMTA to fix anything vote YES on the Restore Transportation Balance initiative. http://www.restorebalance14.org/

Cars-First “Restore Balance” Measure Funded by Ed Lee Backer Sean Parker

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook and a major contributor to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, has spent $49,000 of his personal fortune to propel a ballot initiative that seeks to enshrine free parking as city policy, according to the SF Chronicle. Parker gave $100,000 to Lee’s mayoral campaign in 2011.

The ballot initiative, which proponents frame as an attempt to “restore balance” to city transportation policy, first surfaced in April. While the measure would be non-binding, if it passes it could further slow much-needed policies to prioritize transit and street safety in San Francisco. One stated goal of the campaign is to kill Sunday parking meters for good. The SFMTA Board of Directors, which is appointed entirely by Mayor Lee, repealed Sunday metering in April, after Lee made unfounded claims about a popular revolt against the policy.

Several veteran opponents of transportation reform in San Francisco are aligned with the ballot initiative. And, in addition to the backing from Parker, another $10,000 for the measure reportedly came from the San Francisco Republican Party… (more)

We’re not sure about the accuracy of these claims, but metermadness tries to cover all traffic and parking stories.

RELATED:
Measure To “Restore Transportation Balance” Qualifies For Ballot

Sean Parker gives $49k to make life easier for other San Francisco parkers  The measure would also roll back Sunday parking meter fees, except that already happened. As I wrote last week, the San Francisco Mass Transportation Agency has an avowed policy position of limiting the number of cars on San Francisco streets and incentivizing the use of mass transit, shared vehicles, bicycles and other transportation efforts that alleviate environmental harm and congestion.

The initiative, found here, would push back against that position by reasserting the interests of drivers and ensuring those interests are represented in city government, as part of a broad “balanced transportation” policy. Other backers of the measure include the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods, the Libertarian Party of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Republican Party… (more)

In pilot scheme, San Francisco gives away public parking to carsharing companies

By : pando – excerpt

A few mornings ago I chanced on a 9”x11” slice bearing the emblem of the Municipal Transportation Agency, on a phone pole outside my apartment.

It concerned an MTA pilot project currently underway which will commercialize a public resource and grant special permission for its use for a select group of local disruptive companies, providing them competitive advantages

And it had nothing to do with Google buses. Sounds like a story, I thought, greedily, submitting to the subsequent chain of Pavlovian reactions.

Yet, it wasn’t quite the story I thought it was.

The notice announced a public hearing for two parking spots on my block that were proposed to be taken over by Zipcar, the preeminent carsharing company owned by Avis. Those spots are among 900 currently intended to be converted to car-sharing use over the next two years, divided equally among Zipcar, City Car Share and Getaround.

Another MTA Pilot, the Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Project, emerged this spring to infamy and outrage. That program, which charges commuter shuttles $1 per use of city bus stops, has been operational since June 1st, so far without incident. The wave of bus blockades and protests that preceded it have also subsided.

The newest surge of tech-revulsion in San Francisco has centered on apps like MonkeyParking and ParkModo, which propose to pay some users to occupy parking spots until other users need them. The outrage these apps have induced has made it all the way to City Attorney’s office, and hinges on the unseemliness (and illegality) of private companies profiting off of public parking, an already scarce resource.

One would expect that news of the city giving away parking spots to a select group of companies would provide a healthy dose of grist to this rage-mill. Perhaps oddly, that hasn’t really been the case…

City Carshare is the elder statesman in the car-sharing market. And I don’t use the word ‘statesman’ lightly: the organization is a non-profit that, in addition to providing a service nearly identical to that of Zipcar, receives grants and donations to influence policy and legislation around “shared mobility”, and develops programs to the ensure the social equity and environmental sustainability of car sharing…

In 2011, City Carshare funded and implemented a similar but smaller pilot in partnership with the MTA. The current program derives from the lessons learned and data gathered during that first experiment. City Carshare and the MTA both point to the success of Zipcar and emergence of other competitors as proof of principle. By opening the playing field to other car sharing outfits and collecting the same data from each, the MTA hopes to better understand the effectiveness of different models.

Of the three chosen, Getaround may raise the most question marks. As a peer-to-peer car sharing network, Getaround users rent cars by the hour, as they do with Zipcar and City Carshare. But Getaround’s fleet of vehicles are private cars owned by other users. While car owners will have to pay to use the spots provided by the MTA (as do Zipcar and City Carshare), they also get paid to do so. Getaround estimates that owners make an average of $500 per month, with top earners clearing a grand…

The MTA will be hosting public hearings for spaces requested by the three organizations throughout the summer, after which the proposed spaces will be sent to the MTA’s (mayor-appointed) Board of Directors. By which I mean to say, speak now or forever hold your peace. A map of the spots requested can be found here.

The absence of backlash until now suggests either that the combatants in the so-called “culture war” in San Francisco are maturing or that the program is successfully flying under the radar. Either way, the atmosphere seems hospitable for public engagement.

Any cogent argument about the MTA’s current public-private programs has to rise above the level of “It’s capitalism and if you don’t like it, you can leave” or “Corporations are evil”, to address the complexities of the City’s efforts to reduce the number of cars in its streets and the validity of its mandate to do so.

For any still-unconvinced, self-proclaimed anarchists, I suggest consulting the American anarchist canon before taking up thy bullhorn. In particular, have a look at Paul Goodman’s 1961 essay “Banning Cars in Manhattan,” in which he proposed substituting private cars with increased mass transit and electric taxicabs. Ask yourself, anarchist, whether shared car services deserve parking spaces in your utopia… (more)

Thanks for the detailed information on the program.

Most of the effort so far has been to get an initiative on the ballot in November. Now that is secured, there is time for a broader discussion about the “shared economy”.  The public space giveaway to corporations program just feeds more anger and bitterness toward the SFMTA.