Bicycle Rental Company Gets Caught With Bikes Parked Where They Shouldn’t Be

Spin, a stationless bike rental startup, might be catching some heat from the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency soon as someone snapped a photo of the app-unlockable bikes parked where they shouldn’t be, complete with a missing wheel because hey, it’s still a bike parked in the city and all. Such is the tax for riding a bicycle in San Francisco.

According to Hoodline’s report on Spin and their wayward bikes, the startup has a “partial” agreement with the SFMTA and co-working space WeWork, allowing them to provisionally operate in the city. The stipulations of that agreement require Spin to only allow their bikes to be parked on WeWork property grounds. Thus far, there are only about 50 Spin bikes in operation around the city (49 if you knock off the one with the missing wheel in the photo above), all of which need to be parked in one of WeWork’s 10 San Francisco locations.

If they fail to comply with this rule, the company could be hit with some serious fines. Hoodline also shared the above photo with SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose, who commented, “The two bikes on the left—side-by-side cluttering a very busy sidewalk between a sign pole and outdoor seating—represent the type of situation we seek to avoid by requiring the operator to comply with conditions of our permit.”…(more)

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Merchants Affected By Construction Projects Could Receive Loans & Grants

by Teresa Hammerl : hoodline – excerpt

As major construction and streetscaping projects in the city have brought traffic jams, blocked parking and limited visibility for small businesses, merchants across San Francisco are frustrated.

Now, the city’s supervisors are looking at how they could better support business owners, including with loans and grants.

The Board of Supervisors Government Audits & Oversight Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the economic impact of construction.

“We’re in a construction boom in the private sector and public sphere—with more investments going into capital improvements—than we’ve seen in years,” said District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, whose district includes West Portal and parts of the Inner Sunset. “What we’re discussing today is the unavoidable impacts these projects have on our merchants and commercial corridors.”…

Kim said that her office had already secured $100,000 add-back for construction mitigation, as well as an additional $95,000 dedicated to merchant assistance.

She also said that she was considering a fee for private developers that would go into a larger citywide fund to help support business owners during private construction projects.

“I know we have a lot of fees on our private developers, but we should consider a small one based on the cost of construction,” she said… (more)

Getting between motorists and their cars has become the new third rail of California politics

By Kerry Cavanaugh : latimes – excerpt

For all the talk in California about leading the world on climate change and resisting President Trump’s anti-environment agenda, the state has a third rail of environmental policy. Touch their cars and Californians will revolt.

Any effort that limits, constrains or makes driving one’s car more expensive or inconvenient — no matter how civic-minded the proposal — is immediately controversial in California, and often a nonstarter. Getting between Californians and their cars can spell the end of a political career. Just ask former Gov. Gray Davis, who was recalled in large part because of his decision to triple the vehicle license fee.

Two separate, unrelated efforts launched last week are a reminder of just how difficult it is to make public policy when it involves peoples’ cars.

At the state level, a group calling itself “Reform California” announced that it was launching an initiative drive aimed at repealing the new gas tax and vehicle fee increases. Those increases were approved by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature in April after years of negotiations over how to pay for an estimated $73 billion in deferred road repairs and infrastructure maintenance. The 12-cent-per-gallon increase will take effect Nov. 1.

In Los Angeles, a group of Westside residents have begun a campaign to recall City Councilman Mike Bonin for his support of so-called road diets that have eliminated traffic lanes. Bonin has been one of the council’s most outspoken advocates for Vision Zero, the city’s plan to reduce traffic deaths by slowing traffic speeds. But two projects in his district — one in Playa del Rey and one in Mar Vista — have created a huge backlash, with residents complaining that the road diets have created clogged streets, slower traffic and longer commutes…

But as the Bonin recall campaign and the backlash to road diets in other neighborhoods demonstrate, drivers do not like this change. What does the political pressure on Bonin portend for other elected officials? Are they going to stick by their commitment to a more walkable, bikeable, sustainable city. Or back away from the third rail?…(more)

$4.4 Billion Bay Area Transportation Plan — Paid for by Higher Bridge Tolls — Sent to Governor

: kqed – excerpt

We’ve reached the home stretch of the legislative year at the state Capitol, with little time left until Friday’s midnight deadline to pass bills.

 

Update, 10:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15: Bridge Toll Measure Would Raise Billions for Bay Area Transportation; Passes Over Objections from East Bay Legislators

If you live in the Bay Area, you’ll be hearing a lot about Senate Bill 595 over the next year or so. The bill by state Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell, won final Senate passage Thursday and now awaits the governor’s signature.

SB 595 provides for a vote in the nine Bay Area counties next year to raise tolls on the region’s state-owned bridges — that’s all of them, except the Golden Gate — by as much as $3. If the Bay Area Toll Authority, the agency that oversees the bridges, seeks that maximum $3 increase, tolls on the bridges would be $8 to $9. (We still wouldn’t be in Verrazano-Narrows Bridge territory, though; the cash toll on the span between Brooklyn and Staten Island rose to $17 earlier this year.)

The higher tolls would raise something like $375 million a year, according to the latest legislative analysis, and pay for nearly three dozen transit and highway projects totaling $4.45 billion…

Several Contra Costa County legislators — Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier among them — opposed SB 595, saying that it’s 1) a regressive tax and 2) a ripoff for the residents of the East Bay.

Their main argument — both DeSaulnier and Grayson penned op-ed pieces for the East Bay Times — is that residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties will pay significantly more in increased tolls than their communities will get back in benefits… (more)

The new gas tax is supposed to fix the roads. Lets see what that tax is used for. By the time this new bridge toll bill comes up, We will probably have seen the results of the tax bills on our cost of living. There will also be a number of recall efforts to replace the reps who supported this bill and a recall on the gas tax. Stay tuned.

SoMa Merchants Also Claim Losses Due to Central Subway Construction

: streetsblog – excerpt

But Will Less-Well-Organized Businesses Get Money from Mayor’s Newly Announced Program?

Business in San Francisco’s Chinatown could receive up to $10,000 from the city to help bring back customers ostensibly lost due to construction disruption from SFMTA’s subway project, according to a release from Mayor Lee’s office about a new “Central Subway Mitigation” program. Along the same tack, the mayor is asking SFMTA, Public Works, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to develop a Citywide Construction Mitigation Program.

Although the Central Subway Mitigation program is reportedly in response to lobbying from Chinatown advocates, businesses in Union Square and on 4th Street, along the subway’s route through the South of Market neighborhood, are equally impacted.

“Business is down forty percent,” said Angela Jigmed, owners of Panta Delux Cleaners on the corner of 4th and Bluxome. Her business has been there for ten years. “For us it’s been very hard. Customers can’t stop here because of the construction.”… (more)

What did we say yesterday? There is no way the city can afford to continue the pace it is on that is harming businesses all over the city. We are calling for a halt to new projects and planning and on-going contract negotiations for new capital projects until all holes in the ground are filled. If this is a radical approach, it is more pragmatic than the non-stop destruction of our streets that is killing our businesses. It is a lot cheaper and easier to do nothing than to be on constant damage control and the taxpaying citizens are not buying the more money needed to fix it excuse. They turned down the last request for increased taxes. If you agree send a message to City Hall to stop this madness.

San Francisco Considers Surge Parking Prices

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A new plan proposes bringing surge parking prices to San Francisco.

In time, parking rates could go as high as $8 an hour in some areas under the plan.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehey said, “It just starts out with the assumption that everybody in San Francisco is rich.”…

The idea is that people will move faster if they are paying more for parking and thus free up parking spaces… (huh?)

Karnilowicz said, “I don’t see how it is going to make the turn overany different, just because you are increasing the price.”

And John Nazzal, owner of the Marina Deli, which is located in one of the neighborhoods where they tested the new pricing, agrees.

Nazzal said, “A lot of my friends and customers tell me that the reason they don’t come in anymore is that they don’t want to spend $2 or $3 to get a sandwich.”

It should be noted that in San Francisco, parking is a moneymaker. The city took in about $38 million from parking meters last year. Which begs the question: How much of this is about making more money?… (more)

Say no more. The SFMTA wants more money and is trying to convince us they have our best interest at heart. That would be a first.
Get those letters to the Mayor, SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors. Let them know you support the merchants and residents and visitors who are being gauged already by the high prices in this city. SFMTA doesn’t need any more money to use against us. They are creating the problems to begin with and we don’t trust them to fix the problems they are creating. There was a vote a few years ago that stopped the spread of parking meters into the neighborhoods. It is time to revisit that action again.

 

Citizens have the right to design their own reality

Op-Ed by Zrants
 MissionReds
Red Lanes have hurt businesses on Mission Street, where residents and merchants have been most vocal in their objections. Some demands were met, but there is a lot of anger in the Mission over SFMTA policies – photo by zrants
The article that ran in the SF Examiner, “SF Parking Meters may soon feature Uber-like surge pricing” is non-news to people in Mission Bay and neighborhoods where these meters have been used.
 
This program, along with the “complete street improvements” has been used to manipulate people for some time and the results have put a chill on our local economy. Many businesses are not recovering after construction projects are completed. There are empty storefronts all over town. Regardless of how you feel about gentrification of neighborhoods, streets and cities, the loss of traditional businesses is a serious matter. We need to maintain a balanced economy.
 
Documentation is what city authorities like to see, so a number of neighborhoods are gathering data to prove falling revenues and empty storefronts follow in the path of complete street projects that create congestion and remove parking.
 
Once generated, these reports can go to City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Commission, the media, and anyone else who may be concerned about the condition of the local economy.
 
City policies are not only hurting local businesses. Big box stores and corporate giants like The Gap, Whole Foods, and Sears are feeling the pinch. How many brick and mortar businesses will succumb to disruptive policies before we take action? Local businesses provide necessary services to the public. As each business dies, it becomes harder for residents to conduct their lives.
 
Another matter of urgency is arising. In the aftermath of major security breaches we need to review the “anti-cash” attitudes and policies being pushed by the government and it’s agencies. Cash is the safest currency and should be encouraged, not discouraged.
 
The government works for us and we must demand that it serves our needs.
 
Mari Eliza
 
 

Mayor Lee to give $1.45M in aid for merchants struggling due to subway delays

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Struggling Chinatown merchants, as well as merchants from Union Square and other areas affected by Central Subway construction, may soon see relief to the tune of $1.45 million from San Francisco… (more)

Regardless of the dumb proposal of paying to clean the streets and spruce up buildings that difficult to access, this is an admission that the City’s street maintenance and construction projects are causing harm to merchants and that harm has financial consequences.

LimeBike Hopes To Roll Out Dockless Bike Rentals

by Fiona Lee : hoodline – excerpt

Red and Blue, and soon green. How does this not feel like a living ad on our streets? Photos by zrants.

If it yells does it sell? What happened to our sedate San Francisco fashions and architecture? How are these brightly colored, blue and green monstrosities with their blaring logos allowed to clutter our streets when merchants’ street signage is so heavily regulated? Must we be constantly accosted by ads on the Muni, BART floors, bus shelters and streets? Is this what happens when a city loses its artistic compass?

Joining Ford GoBike and Jump, another company plans to enter the San Francisco market; based in San Mateo, LimeBike aims to bring dockless bike rentals to the city.

The company—backed by venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz—does not yet have a launch date and is still working on the permit process put in place after locals found bikes from Bluegogo, a Chinese company, reportedly dumped on city streets(more)

 

 

SF ambulances arrive late to life-threatening calls during sweltering weekend heat

By and : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco was so short on ambulances during the record-setting heat last weekend that it took about an hour for them to respond to some life-threatening calls, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

San Francisco Fire Department records obtained by the Examiner show that fire engines waited more than 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of 28 life-threatening calls. The goal is for an ambulance to arrive at a life-threatening emergency within 10 minutes 90 percent of the time…

Supervisor Aaron Peskin called the response times “entirely unacceptable.”

“The city and county of San Francisco was caught flat-footed,” he said.

Peskin said he will continue to push for San Francisco to improve its emergency response times at upcoming hearings.

“If we can’t get a heat wave right, we are in big trouble,” Peskin said, alluding to the potential for a major earthquake shaking The City… (more)

People have been warning about ambulances stuck in traffic for a long time. Maybe now something will done to move traffic instead of stall it. Other cities are doing a better job according to the PBS story linked below. In Pittsburgh they are using actual traffic flow to control the traffic signals.

At any rate, we understand that there is a state agency that may step in if the situation does not improve. We expect the SF Department of Emergency Management will be concerned about these matters.

How Pittsburgh is test driving tech to make your commute smarter

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/pittsburgh-test-driving-tech-make-commute-smarter/