Twin Peaks partially reopens to cars, as neighbors gear up for a fight

by Camden Avery : hoodlike – excerpt

Last week, the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department announced it would resume allowing vehicular traffic onto Twin Peaks at night. Cars can now visit the overlook through the Portola Gate, which will be open daily between 6 p.m. and midnight.

The move is a reversal of the department’s COVID-19 shutdown plan, which fully closed Twin Peaks to cars to create space for recreation. The space will remain car-free during the daytime.

Rec & Park spokesperson Tamara Aparton said the decision was made jointly by supervisors Rafael Mandelman (District 8) and Norman Yee (District 7), along with the SFMTA, Rec & Park, and the San Francisco Police Department…

A GoFundme campaign, launched last week, has raised double its goal to fund an appeal of the decision under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a broad-reaching and flexible environmental regulation designed to subject any policy changes with a potential environmental impact to review…(more)

It appears like the people who whined against CEQA appeals are going to file them now, even though there may not have been a CEQA determination on the reopening issue. Procedures are not being followed any more so they might get away with it. Filing an appeal in the appeals court might be the proper way to go about it, but, proper is no longer a concern. Shall we blame the loss of rule of law on our the rage erupting out of Washington, or does the fault lie closet to home, and does it matter anyway?

Twin Peaks closure leads to complaints from neighbors

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Twin Peaks Boulevard will no longer be entirely closed to motor vehicles after city officials succumbed to a weeks-long pressure campaign from neighbors unhappy about the move to make the roadway car-free.

As of Tuesday night, the Portola Gate was being open to vehicles from 6 p.m. to midnight for access to the overlook area.

Frustrated residents reported increased congestion and car break-ins, misuse of the partially closed streets for gatherings and littering after The City closed the lookout point to traffic in March.

“Closing Twin Peaks Boulevard has delivered no benefit to curbing COVID-19 including improved social distancing and has severely driven up neighborhood crime, congestion, illegal parking, litter and late night disturbing alcohol-fueled partying,” Gary Russ wrote in an email to the Board of Supervisors last month.

Russ also organized a petition submitted on behalf of dozens of area residents demanding The City reopen the street in order to “shift these adverse impacts back to where they came from, namely the Twin Peaks Observation Deck.”…(more)

A compromise is a good solution. Thanks to the supervisors for their efforts.

Emergency transit-only lanes on Geary could help ease crowding on buses

Working on more arguments. I will post tomorrow afternoon after I talk to someone. If you see any mistakes or typos let me know.

By Carly Graf :
sfexaminer – excerpt

SFMTA proposal intended to help commuting essential workers

Faced with crowded buses, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency wants to add temporary transit-only lanes on Geary Boulevard, a move it says will spur economic recovery and support essential workers.

Geary is one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors, with a pre-pandemic daily average of 56,000 riders on its two major bus lines, the 38-Geary and 38R-Geary Rapid…

“If just a fraction of the people riding transit before the crisis begin driving alone, traffic congestion will be so severe that it could paralyze The City’s economic recovery,” the SMTA’s proposal states.

Enter transit-only lanes… (more)

This is the most “flying by the seat of our pants” management style we have seen so far at the SFMTA. If you know anything about the parts of speech should recognize conditional phrases, i.e.:, “could help” and intended to help”, and find them less than reassuring. In this case the condition is that the voters approve more taxes and other government funding out of their shrinking pockets. The growing number of unemployed and underemployed voters are not likely to feel as generous with their money as they have in the past.

Reading a little future down the page we find this less hopeful statement. “With a robust budget, perhaps SFMTA could flood the zone with more operators and buses.” There is no promise indicated here that any money will be spent on more operators and buses or that SFMT intends to spend it that way, only a vague “perhaps or maybe”, they might. We actually believe this to be a true statement that there is no promise or guarantee.

So, dear readers, will SFMTA wait for the funding to “flood the zone with more operators and buses” or will they boldly put in the white lanes now and hope that the voters will cough up the extra cash in November after they piss them off? Knowing them, they will jump in and do it now and hope for the votes.

This is one of my favorite lines, “These lanes, according to SFMTA, will facilitate economic recovery by enabling essential workers to access their workplaces and bring other riders to nearby commercial corridors.” Judging by the businesses that closed shop and the many threatening to follow, this versions of the economic recovery is a pipe dream. The jobs that will be guaranteed are the government jobs and the pay to play contractors.

Adding further insult to injury, unlike the emergency eviction protections with solid end dates, SFMTA emergency projects will get a 4 month extension after the emergency is lifted, leading many to doubt the true nature of the emergency.

This half million dollar “temporary emergency money would be better spent elsewhere, but, let the voters speak in November or within the next few days as the ballots are going out soon.

Newsom calls for California ban on new gas-fueled cars by 2035

By Colby Bermel : politico – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for California to ban new gasoline-fueled vehicles within 15 years in a bid to combat climate change and make the state the first in the nation to stop sales of cars with internal combustion engines.

The Democratic governor on Wednesday signed an executive order that directs the California Air Resources Board to establish regulations requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California in 2035 be zero-emission vehicles…

California has long been a leader on fuel economy, forcing automakers to build more efficient vehicles than required by federal standards. The Golden State is the world’s fifth-largest economy, with more than half of its emissions stemming from the transportation sector, so the move is expected to significantly help reduce tailpipe pollution from vehicles with internal combustion engines…

While environmentalists embraced his call to ban gas-powered vehicles, some questioned Tuesday why he wasn’t doing more to stop fracking.

Newsom announced he was asking state lawmakers to implement a fracking ban by 2024, but stopped well short of directing his own oil and gas regulators to stop approving fracking permits. Environmentalists have increased their criticism of Newsom on fracking in recent days, especially as the governor has emphasized California’s role in fighting climate change…(more)

Will ABAG take this into account in their new 2050 plans or will they ignore this like they ignore anything that doesn’t support their goals?

City Hall corruption: S.F. HR manager resigns after allegedly forging fake payout deal

By Michael Williams : sfchronicle – excerpt

A manager in San Francisco’s human resources department resigned this month after admitting to forging a fake settlement agreement for a city employee who had complained of discrimination, city officials said…

Callahan said Sherman admitted lying to the employee who filed the discrimination complaint. The employee, who was not named in Callahan’s email, worked for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency…

All settlements of pending litigation involving the SFMTA must be approved by the SFMTA’s board of directors.

Sherman’s promises caused the employee to dismiss pending litigation she had filed over the complaint, Callahan said.

“While the City Attorney’s Office will work with the employee to reinstate the lawsuit, that cannot undo the impact of this deceit on the employee who filed a claim in good faith and had every reason to believe that complaint was being resolved,” Callahan wrote…(more)

One more corruption charge re: employment, this time with the SFMTA.

Church Street Closure

By Don Ford : cbsnews – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Muni has closed half-block of a busy street that crosses Upper Market to cars in order to create space for riders while getting on and off street cars.

With Muni Metro service shut down indefinitely, some residents and business owners are calling on the agency to reopen the block.

Shops and restaurants in the area have already had to endure the COVID-19 pandemic climate and a deteriorating business climate.

Muni has closed Church Street to traffic from Market to 15th Street. Dozens of parking spaces have also been removed. The block is the new last stop for the modified J Church street car line

Merchants said Muni officials tell them the Church Street closure is part of a pilot program and may last through November….(more)

Muni said this is pilot program. That may come as a surprise to some of the people who have been claiming it is an emergency, and therefore exempt from CEQA or public review. It certainly looks like a pilot project and appears to be financed as one. The structures going in appears to be quite extensive and costly.

This purposes of this “program” will no doubt come up in the MTA CEQA Appeals scheduled for Tuesday at the SF Board of Supervisors meeting. The emergency aspect of the work is questionable along with assumptions that the changes everyone hates are making pedestrians and Muni riders safer.


SFMTA CEQA appeals are scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, at the Board of Supervisors Meeting. Anyone who is concerned about the way the SFMTA has handled the streets this year should consider supporting this effort. See the details on the actions you may take to support the appeals:

We are  requesting a continuance to give the public more time to prepare the appeals. We understand the SFMTA Board was scheduled to make a decision about the Church/Market project last week but decide they needed to spend more time on public outreach before making a determination.

Hopefully the Board of Supervisors will take a similar approach and continue these appeals to give the SFMTA more time to conduct more public outreach before passing judgement these appeals. All we can do is ask. Keep up with this and other action items:

SFMTA CEQA appeals

SFMTA CEQA appeals are scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, at the Board of Supervisors Meeting. Anyone who is concerned about the way the SFMTA is managing the streets and Muni should support these appeals.

We understand the SFMTA Board decided they need more time to conduct more public outreach. The appellant is requesting at least two weeks continuance to prepare briefs and give the public time to prepare meaningful comments. Details here:

Muni getting new rider-information system at $89 million, while ancient, floppy-disk computers route trains

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

Muni is on track to award an $89 million contract for a new, state-of-the-art system to inform riders when the next bus or train will arrive. At the same time, the downtown Muni Metro train routing system still runs on floppy disks and is so antiquated that managers can barely find spare parts or qualified technicians to keep it running.

“It’s like a bridge that is being held together by bubble gum and duct tape,” said San Francisco County Transportation Authority chairman and Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Muni spokeswoman Kristen Holland took a softer tone, likening the aged system to a vintage car.

“Just like a vintage car, as the system passes a certain age it gets increasingly difficult and costly to maintain,” Holland said. “Parts become scarce, and the number of people who have the expertise in maintaining the system dwindle over time.”…

“The train control system isn’t a looming crisis,” Tumlin said. “Yes, it runs on DOS loaded from 5¼-inch floppy disks, but it’s still serviceable.…(more)

Who decided to spend the 89 million on the next’s instead of on fixing the DOS computer system that run the trains? I guess we should not be surprised that the trains are being run on floppy disc since the EDD runs on COBOL. SFMTA sets their own priorities, City Hall rubber stamps them and the public lives with them, or has up until now. What percentage of Muni’s budget is spent on planning for the future and what percentage is spent on running the system riders are trying to rely on today?

What will it take to turn the taxpaying voters against funding more Muni projects now that many don’t feel safe taking it?

Has SFMTA gone too far already with the non-emergency emergency conditions they are pushing on the public during the shutdown and the recovery from the crises of 2020? Who is left after the tech exodus to support their high tech plans? They may find less friendly voters this year that oppose RR and prop 15…(more)

SFMTA appeals bring emergency projects to a near-halt

By Carol Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Critics say programs such as Slow Streets and transit-only lanes should undergo environmental review

The Coalition of Adequate Review and David Pilpel have collectively filed five appeals asserting SFMTA and the Planning Department violated state laws by implementing programs such as Slow Streets, bikeways and transit only lanes without environmental review required by the California Environmental Quality Act…

While the Slow Streets appeal was unanimously rejected by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 1, four others have yet to be heard.

The appeals have been succesful in halting work on these efforts since the end of July, in some cases. Local law requires a pause on projects in question, barring a health or safety hazard, once a CEQA appeal is filed until the Board of Supervisors votes…

The Board of Supervisors is tentatively set to hear the appeals on these projects on Sept. 22.

Detractors, however, have a litany of concerns over the cumulative street changes: increased congestion, deleterious impact on small businesses that rely on car traffic, and emergency vehicle access, among numerous others…

Both the Board of Supervisors and SFMTA officials have emphasized these projects are approved only as temporary measures. They would end 120 (4 months) days after the local state of emergency is lifted…

The Board of Supervisors is tentatively set to hear the appeals on these projects on Sept. 22…(more) Comments… (here)

How much power and authority should a body of un-elected appointees have to control the lives of citizens in an American city through social engineering?

Why is there no end date certain for these “emergency” SFMTA projects? Renters eviction protections had an ending date. Supplemental unemployment payments had an ending date, yet, SFMTA Board, an un-elected body of appointees, has the authority to impose conditions on the citizens of San Francisco under the guise of an emergency with no end date, and no public discussion or notice re: any of the blocks they are targeting? What kind of nightmare world have we slipped into?

SFMTA is cutting service and making sure that people who have a private vehicle cannot easily get around town either. This control of movement feels uncannily reminiscent of past systems of population controls that we would rather avoid.

If you object to the way the SFMTA is handling us by obstructing our movement about the city, or object to the lack of due process, a 4 month extention of conditions past the “emergency”, feel that this is not relevant to the emergency, and want to see a full EIR, or just want to be left alone to deal with this difficult time in peace, you should consider supporting this appeal – Details on the case are here: File No. 200903. Write the Supervisors:
More details and action items to come.