Man screaming death threats terrorizes BART train

 By Otis R. Taylor Jr. : sfchronicle – excerpt

Imagine settling in for your morning commute on BART when a man yells this at the top of his lungs: “I’m going to kill you.”

Mike Hohndorf and dozens of other passengers got a body-shaking jolt, not unlike a train lurching out of a station, during their commute early Friday morning from a belligerent rider who terrorized a train car for seven stops — even though Hohndorf said the man first made threats at the North Concord/Martinez BART Station and that he told a BART police officer about the man at the station.

“I’m going to stab all of you,” the man yelled as the passengers clustered waiting for the station gates to open. The officer allowed the man to board the train, where he continued to threaten passengers. Hohndorf and another passenger contacted BART officials to report the problem. BART told them they would mobilize at the 12th Street Station in Oakland — several stops later. By then, the man had gotten off… (more)

Keep this in mind the next time you see a BART cop. “There is nothing he can do.” Why are we hiring police to patrol BART if there is nothing they can do about a man yelling threats at people aimlessly? The Richmond Mayor witnessed an attack at a BART station last week. BART and the city cops claimed confusion over “jurisdiciton” of the area. Who is running this zoo?

We all know that Muni is not safe and the streets and sidewalks are not safe. Now we have to worry about BART too?

Supervisor Sheehy testified at the SF County Transit Authority meeting this week, that is made of of the Board of Supervisors, that “Muni is not safe” as he was speaking in behalf of parents who drive their children to school and need a place to pull over to let the kids out at their schools.

Before SFMTA gets away with any more parking or drop-off eliminations, the city authorities need to deal with this issue of safety at and around stations and on the public transit. This lack of safety could be a large factor in the drop-off of Muni riders, along with the loss of seats on buses and the reduction of bus stops. SFMT is pushing people off the public transit into car-shares, Ubers and Lyfts. Is this what SF residents want out of their public transit system?

Congress Advances Proposal To Preempt Calif. Regulations On Self-Driving Cars

By  Daniel Potter : Capitol Public Radio – excerpt (includes audio)

Congress is advancing a proposal to preempt some California regulations on self-driving cars.

States like California have traditionally regulated how cars are operated, but the federal government regulates their design.

“The trick here is now the vehicles are becoming the operators, so there’s a little blurring of those lines,” says Law Professor Bryant Walker Smith.

He also says the bill would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more authority over autonomous vehicle design. That could preempt current requirements in California for things like an emergency switch to shut off self-driving mode.­

“But that preemption would not preclude states from enacting all manner of other laws related to automated driving,” says Smith.

Registration and insurance would still be left to the state. The Department of Motor Vehicles wouldn’t comment on the bill, which is up for a vote in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee this week… (more)

 

1,000 Parking Spaces To Be Reserved For Car-Sharing Services

by Fiona Lee: hoodline – excerpt

Last week, SFMTA’s Board of Directors approved a full permit program for car-sharing companies after a 2013 pilot that allowed companies to use 200 public parking spaces.

Under the plan, 1,000 parking spots will be converted into car-sharing spaces.

“Each permitted parking space served many people, rather than just one private vehicle at a time,” wrote SFMTA in its report. It also revealed that a car could be used by as many as 19 people if it was part of a car-sharing service, compared to a private car, which usually only has two users…

During public comment, some residents opposed the move.

“This policy basically gives public parking spaces, the gray spaces that everybody uses,” said Patrick Mayley, who felt that the car-share companies should use private lots. “We’re essentially looking at giving public spaces away to large private corporations…This is not an example to me of sharing.”…(more)

This is wrong on so many levels. The public was not warned about this program. Pieces of it were sprung on us at a series of SFMTA Board meetings where the details were confusing and difficult to understand or comment on.

More members of the public would have expressed opposition if the public knew about the hearings. This article doesn’t mention the Scoot program, that was set up to allow the private Scoot rental company a special deal for their scooters that is not extended to all scooter rental companies. SFMTA is picking winners. Scoot is a winner. So were Uber and Lyft before they became a problem. City authorities should put a stop to these special deals that SFMTA is cutting with preferred corporations.

We have been warning about privatization of public property for some time. This is the corporate takeover of our streets, or the selling of our streets by the SFMTA. If you disapprove of this, now is the time to let the supervisors know. They can do something to stop this selling of our streets if enough people complain. You may also want to consider boycotting the corporations that are taking over our streets. If there is no demand for their services, they may rethink their position.

City Attorney files injunction to force Uber, Lyft to disclose driver data

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco just upped the stakes to legally wrangle driver data from Uber and Lyft.

The City Attorney’s Office Friday morning filed a court order in San Francisco Superior Court to compel Uber and Lyft to comply with subpoenas filed against the companies early last month.

Those administrative subpoenas, filed on June 5, would require the ride-hail companies to hand over four years of records, including miles and hours logged by drivers, incentives that encourage drivers to travel to San Francisco from far-flung cities like Los Angeles, driver guidance and training, accessible vehicle information and driver routes within San Francisco… (more)

RELATED:
SF takes Uber, Lyft to court for GPS traffic data

 

 

Supervisors vent frustrations over reportedly slow, unnecessary roadwork

By Joshua Sabastiani : sfexaminer – excerpt

upside-down

This sign on Bryant and 16th Street illustrates the lack of direction and focus we feel as we navigate the “complete streets” projects springing up in patches all over the city. The anger and frustration is boiling over and being directed at the supervisors. Photo by zrants.

City agencies responsible for roadwork were in for a bumpy ride Wednesday as supervisors aired their frustrations over such issues as sluggish pothole repairs and allegations of wasting $40,000 on an unnecessary bulb-out project at one intersection.

The frustrations built up during a hearing Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee over a road condition report. But the hearing quickly turned into litany of complaints from members of the board. (See meeting transcript Item 1. Update on Street Resurfacing Program and Analysis of the 2016 TRIP Report.)

The tension comes as The City is increasingly investing in repaving roads and changing streetscapes to make them safer for pedestrians and bicycles and more efficient for Muni, in addition to greater investments in sewer and water infrastructure. Complications arising from a private sector development boom have also added to such frustrations…(more)

The Supervisors appear to have divided up the job of investigating various coplaints.

Supervisor Breed complained about an popular $40 K bulbout, but, she missed the extremely expensive sidewalk extensions along the bus stops cost upwards of $250 K. The bulbout campaign to slow the cars is capturing the Muni buses and fire trucks, slowing down instead.

Supervisor Peskins took on the potholes and discovered that the 311 coplaints are marked completed when they are passed to other city departments to be fixed, not when they are completed. He also complained about multiple digs in one area.

Supervisor Fewer voiced her concern that the SFMTA plans to put off pothole repairs on Geary until they start the BRT project. The heavy filled buses do as must damage to the streets as the trucks, so the more buses you have the more larger potholes and Geary is full of heavy full buses.

The hearing comes as Mayor Ed Lee’s budget, which was approved on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, includes $90 million in roadwork investment during the next two years. That investment will fund the resurfacing of at least 600 blocks annually…

“Given this huge investment in our streets, we need to get things right, and that includes investing in and prioritizing coordination,” Peskin said…

Thomas said the coordination is occurring with weekly design meetings among the agencies, bi-weekly meetings with PG&E and a project database charting out work five years ahead.

“Coordination is the key to everything that we do,” Thomas said.

But Fewer said they need to look for ways to augment it.

“We are seeing this added need for greater coordination,” she said…(more)

Residents would say this coordination needs to come with public scrutiny, input and prioritization. the five year plan needs to be a two0-year plan that matches the budget allotment.

RELATED:
Analysis: Traffic-slowing construction projects have doubled in SF in past decade

Transit agency ‘mistake’ reveals extra parking removed from Potrero Avenue

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Sometimes, San Francisco makes mistakes…

Like not listening to the neighbors who know the street…

…neighbors are also concerned that the Potrero Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project was designed before Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital built its new trauma wing — and that those 2014 transportation plans reportedly block emergency vehicle access…

That allegation from neighbors was later expressed by Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which heads the project.

These concerns prompted the SFMTA Board of Directors to approve the project in a limited capacity Tuesday and carve out a hole in their plans directly in front of the hospital so that portion can be studied…(more)

Here is something for the next SFMTA study.

We opened this story with the last article we see on the Potrero Project and the warnings from neighbors that this new road configuration is dangerous. So far we have seen no mention of the 4-car pile up that draw ambulances and stopped traffic yesterday, June 20, during rush hour, in front of the entrance to SF General, as residents on the 900 block of Potrero Avenue predicted.

So far as we know the accident was only recorded by the neighbors, who seem to be more vigilant than professionals in documenting the problems on Potrero. It was no-doubt witnessed by a lot of commuters stuck in the street, who were probably grateful they were not the victims of this folly.

Hours of wasted time in this one accident will not be made up soon by the faster buses we are told will go soon whizzing by on transit only lanes. Since the SFMTA did not consider the victims of this accident worth noting, we doubt they will end up in their count.We are here to fill in the media gaps. This marks the second story we scooped this month. More videos and links will follow and hopefully some of our press partners will take this story up, when they finish reporting on the latest Trump tweets.

Witness statement:

I’d say southbound traffic was diverted onto 21st Street for at least half an hour.  I came out onto my front steps to smoke at about 6:20pm and saw the police SUV and diversion already happening to my left, then noticed all the emergency vehicles and the aftermath of the accident to my right, just south of the 22nd Street east offset.  I got to the scene within a couple of minutes, shot video (that I still haven’t watched) on my cell phone, which then immediately died, then ran home to get my iPad and was back shooting video by 6;27, first of the accident, next of the intersection of Potrero Avenue and 21st Street.  Then I went back inside to post the videos from my iPad while my phone continued to charge.  By 7(?)pm, the streets were open again.

Before and maybe after, I was listening to music through headphones in the back of my house, hence missing facts.

Video links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd8iskKgxg8

 

 

The unelected bureaucracies that keep us stuck in traffic

By Jackie Lavalleye : californiapolicycenter – excerpt

Inadequate roads are leaving Californians stuck in traffic. According to a 2016 study by Inrix, a data company that specializes in traffic-related analytics, Los Angeles, California has the worst traffic in the United States. San Francisco takes the number three spot, and San Diego comes in number 14. In all, 17 California cities rank among the 100 most congested cities in America.

Traffic congestion has many negative effects on cities and people, including reduced economic growth as well as adverse health effects for the people sitting in traffic. So who is responsible for our terrible traffic? A group of little-known public agencies have a federal mandate to plan and implement transportation-related projects – but they aren’t getting the job done for Golden State commuters.

In 1962, the federal government created Metropolitan Planning Organizations, usually called “Associations of Governments”, as part of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962. The purpose of these agencies is to bring together elected officials from various cities and counties within a metropolitan region for the purposes of planning regional transportation efforts. Further, the intention of this Act was to increase collaboration and cooperation among local governments within a region.

The boards of these organizations are not directly elected. Instead, local elected officials from member cities are appointed to serve on their boards. Day to day decisions are made by unelected bureaucrats.

Legally, many of the Associations of Governments in California are enforced by a Joint Powers Agreement. Per Nolo’s plain-english law dictionary, a Joint Powers Agreement is a “contract between a city and a county and a special district in which the city or county agrees to perform services, cooperate with, or lend its powers to, the special district.”… (more)

More data on the process that was used by the people who took over control of our lives may be found in the fourty year plan that was written and published by some familiar names and organizations that have taken control of our lives. Read the plan and see who has been involved from the start and how they planned and executed the disaster we are living in now, and what may be done about it. http://livablecity.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/tlc_path.pdf

Employers warned to offer commuter benefit to workers in Bay Area

By Denis Cuff : eastbaytimes – excerpt

80 Shuttle buses staging on 24th street twice a day idling, spewing out toxic air and running loud engines for air-conditioners are not tenable for residents on the narrow residential neighborhood. This is not a green commuter solution.

An air pollution rule requires large Bay Area employers to offer incentives or pre-tax benefits to workers to take van pools, car pools, public transit, or bicycles to work.

Air pollution regulators are warning thousands of Bay Area employers they could be fined for failing to comply with a rule requiring them to offer a commuter benefit to employees who get to work via van pool, bus, train or bike.

Under the 2014 rule made permanent last year, employers with 50 or more full-time workers must offer them a benefit encouraging commute methods that reduce gridlock and air pollution.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has estimated that about 8,000 employers are covered by the rule, but only about 4,200 have registered with the air district and demonstrated they offered a benefit, officials said Tuesday…

The benefit can save employees several hundred dollars a year, as well as lower payroll taxes for employers, according to the air district and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Continued noncompliance could result in companies being cited and fined, said Tom Flannigan, an air district spokesman.

“Our first option will be working with companies to get them to comply,” he said, “but companies at some point could be cited for violations just like businesses that pollute.”

Companies can register at 511.org, and find more out more information about it at http://511.org/employers/commuter/news... (more)

REPEAL THIS LAW – “Employers also can offer workers a free or subsidized bus or shuttle service such as buses offered to Google workers.”

 

Does this look like the source of the problem we are having with commuter shuttles to anyone else?

It is time to fix the shuttle bus problem by repealing this law or re-writing the rules to allow for more local control over the shuttle option. If the point of this program is to clean the air, and the idling shuttle buses are adding to the problem, this is not the solution to the clean air problem.

How the Bay Area took over the self-driving car business

 By David R. Baker and Carolyn Said : sfchronicle – excerpt

The small white cars topped with what look like stubby metal antennas swarm in and out of an unmarked San Francisco building like bees around a hive.

They’re a daily sight in their South of Market neighborhood, to the point that smartphone-obsessed pedestrians rarely even notice them. Passersby also may not realize that much of the time, the cars are driving themselves.

These cars, equal parts Detroit and Silicon Valley, are the creation of a San Francisco startup, Cruise Automation, and General Motors, which bought Cruise last year for well over half a billion dollars. They are just one component of a burgeoning autonomous vehicle industry that has developed with startling speed, one that could, very soon, fundamentally reshape our economy, our cities and our society.

For close to a century, vehicles that could drive themselves belonged to a future that forever seemed a few decades away, a jet-pack dream just out of reach. Now the technology is advancing fast enough that many of those developing it predict human-driven cars will be obsolete within a generation…

The creative engine for this world-shifting technology, its main laboratory and testing ground, is the Bay Area. More than 60 companies in the region — some based here, others drawn from as far away as China, France and Japan — are chasing the dream of robotic driving.

They include some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names: Tesla, Apple and, of course, Google, the Internet search giant whose willingness to throw its vast resources into self-driving research over the past decade forced skeptical automakers to follow.

.. (more)

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