Transit planners want to make your life worse

By Joel Kotkin : dailyreeze – excerpt

In our system of government, the public sector is, well, supposed to serve the public. But increasingly the bureaucracies at the state and local level increasingly seek to tell the public how to live, even if the result is to make life worse.

This became glaringly obvious recently, when the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Phil Washington, reeling from data showing a steady drop of transit riders, decided that the only solution was to make driving worse.

“It’s too easy to drive in this city,” said Washington. “We want to reach the riders that left and get to the new ones as well. And part of that has to do with actually making driving harder.”

Now let’s consider what that means. L.A. County is hardly a paradise now for commuters — 84 percent of whom drive to work — while the Orange County and Riverside-San Bernardino areas, where transit dependence is even less marked, are no great shakes, either. All suffer among the longest average commutes of anywhere in the nation…(more)

Kotin’s article ties in rather well with my theory that the authorities are beginning their heads agains the wall of public opposition in eager anticipation of breaking it down, instead of accepting defeat, and changing direction. We need new priorities and politics to solve the problems of today. We don’t need more worn out tired and failed torments and torturous manipulations from government bureaucrats. When the bus does not arrive it is rather hard to take it. The solution is to put more buses in service, not to remove parking spaces and raise the ticket price for public transit systems. the solution is not to make deals with corporations intent on controlling the streets. More money for Muni is not working when the money is misspent. It will be difficult for the net round of bonds to pass when the pro transit people are not wholly supportive of Proposition D.

OMG: The Central Subway Has Been Delayed Again, Pushed to 2021

By Jay Barmann : sfist – excerpt

The Central Subway now will not be opening until mid-2021, a full three years behind schedule, and a year and a half later than we were last told. Construction isn’t even set to be finished until the middle of next year, and then a year of train testing begins.

We learned in July that another delay was imminent on this cursed, $1.6 billion project, even though back in April an SFMTA spokesperson was still talking about a possible December 2019 opening, and saying that February 2020 was more likely. We’re now hearing from KPIX and the Chronicle that those dates had to have been complete hogwash, and that construction is much further behind than anyone previously admitted…

The latest delay seems like it will inevitably send the project further over budget, though those details haven’t yet been shared. …(more)

Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Wizard? Then you might believe this latest update on the every-extending deadline for the opening of SF’s notorious Central Subway. Good luck on that.

This project sounds more and more like the Millennium Tower. No one admits to having seen that agreement either. I give both odds of not happening before the next big one and never happening.

Muni diverts Bayview buses to supplement Chase Center concert shuttles

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni officials diverted buses from San Francisco’s southeastern neighborhoods and elsewhere to buttress bus service to Chase Center arena Tuesday night, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The diversion of Bayview buses in particular — which serve 33,000 daily riders — drew a sharp rebuke from Supervisor Shamann Walton, who represents the neighborhood. He called the move “racist” against a historically black community and one with many Asian Pacific Islander residents.

“This is unacceptable, institutionally racist and we need to identify solutions that will not impact our residents’ commute home,” Walton told the Examiner in a statement. Referring to the supervisoral districts encompassing San Francisco’s east and southeast neighborhoods, Walton added, “residents in D9, D10 and D11 will be heavily impacted by this evening commute decision.”… (more)

SFMTA told us they were diverting Muni to fulfill the promise of “free Muni service” for all Chase Center ticket holders. This is what you voted for right? More sports arenas to bring in the crowds and more jobs and a dense living environment and less public service for the citizens.

When there is a plan to divert the buses, from SF neighborhoods, SFMTA cannot claim hey have a robust transit system in the neighborhoods where Muni services are cut on a regular basis. SF cannot base expansion plans on that basis. The question for voters is, how much more Muni money are you willing to cough up for more Red Lanes and less service?

Muni red lanes on 16th Street would hurt us, some businesses say

By Abraham Rodriguez : missionlocal – excerpt

Nearly a dozen businesses along 16th Street said that the addition of transit-only red lanes along the two-mile stretch between Church and Mission Bay will lead to increased congestion, drive customers away and make it difficult to accept deliveries.

“It’s already crowded with two lanes,” said Art Herzallah, a manager at Stanza Cafe.“All these changes, they’re for the ballpark and the new arena, not for us.”

Mission Street businesses have criticized how the red lanes on that thoroughfare have affected their bottom line.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to start construction in Spring 2020, turning one lane between Bryant and Church Streets in the westbound direction into a bus-only lane. The area most affected by the lane changes will be in Potrero Hill, where two lanes of the street will be converted to transit-only lanes starting at Bryant Street all the way until Missouri near 7th Street. The agency will also install new underground piping and add new trees… (more)

Parking lots stay off-limits overnight for homeless community college students

By Felicia Mello : calmatters – excerpt

The demise of a high-profile proposal to let homeless students sleep overnight in community college parking lots illustrates just how much California has struggled to solve the student housing crisis.

When Assemblyman Marc Berman introduced the bill in the Legislature earlier this year, it was met with equal parts applause and ridicule. Homeless students said they desperately needed safe places to park the cars that double as their bedrooms. Community colleges worried about security. And everyday Californians wondered, “How did things get this bad?”

Now Berman, a Democrat from Palo Alto, has decided not to move the bill forward after the Senate Appropriations Committee added amendments that delayed it until 2021, made it easier for colleges to opt out, and exempted colleges within 250 feet of an elementary school…(more)

Watch out for Chase Center’s ‘ride-hail blackout zone’ when taking Uber and Lyft

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt (includes maps)

Traffic congestion — and lots of it.

That’s the worst case scenario for Chase Center arena’s opening Friday night.

That fear has prompted a push from Mayor London Breed and other Warriors leadership to get event attendees onto Muni, even making Muni free for ticket holders.

But should attendees end up snubbing Muni to take Uber home from Chase Center, they’ll have to contend with a “blackout zone” crafted by transit officials to funnel Uber pickups before and after events.

Pickups will only be allowed at designated points near the arena — elsewhere, there’s a ban on pickups… (more)

What Urban Sprawl Is Really Doing to Your Commute

By Bruce Schaller : city lab – excerpt

Urban traffic congestion is growing dramatically, according to a new report. So why aren’t drivers taking longer to get to work?

A new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute about commuters’ traffic woes is a doozy. The big takeaway: Drivers are wasting more time than ever “stopping and going in an ocean of brake lights” (to quote one news account). Since the Institute’s first Urban Mobility Report was issued in 1982, the number of hours per commuter lost to traffic delay has nearly tripled, climbing to 54 hours a year. The nationwide cost of gridlock has grown more than tenfold, to $166 billion a year.

This series of reports has become sort of infamous in transportation circles: It’s been the target of scathing criticism for focusing solely on driving and traffic to the exclusion of public transit, walking, biking, sprawl, pollution, injuries, deaths, or carbon emissions.

But the report’s biggest deficiency is simpler: Commuters are not actually spending all that much more time getting to work…

The process starts when people accept a slightly longer commute into the city in exchange for a suburban house and lawn. Jobs soon follow to the suburbs, shortening the commute for many residents(more)

Transportation troubles Chase Center ahead of opening

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Chase Center attendees can’t park in 800-space UCSF garage across the street, but transit may save the day

Directly across the street from Chase Center Arena, the new home of the Golden State Warriors, sits a massive 800-space parking garage owned by the University of California Berkeley.

Not a single Warriors game attendee will be allowed to park there.

Nor will most of the estimated 18,000 Chase Center Arena attendees of games or events be able to park in the 900-space parking garage at the arena itself.

Those spaces are exclusively for Warriors players, their immediate support staff, and for a smattering of season ticket holders — including those who purchase tickets to the Warriors’ $2 million “Chase Club” lounges adorned with wall-size TV screens.

For everyone else, there’s public transit. A lot of it — and only a smattering of nearby parking garages…(more)

Chase Center: A giant roomba that is still a bad idea

By Stuart Schuffman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Given this incredible propensity for screwing up huge projects, none of us should be surprised that The City went ahead with this absurdly placed arena.

With the official opening of the Warriors’ new home, the Chase Center, just a few weeks away, I’d like to take this moment to remind the Bay Area what an absolutely stupid idea it was to build this thing. For a town that likes to pride itself on being on the forefront of everything, San Francisco is irredeemably shortsighted when it comes to urban planning…

Given this incredible propensity for screwing up huge projects, none of us should be surprised that the city went ahead with this absurdly placed arena, despite plenty of public outcry…

From when this arena was first announced, much of the opposition to it centered around not just the fact that we’ve somehow decided to make traffic even worse for 50+ extra days a year, but the question of “How can emergency vehicles get through.”… (more)

For the last 10 years the Port and the SFMTA have conspired to turn SF into Battery Park West. Nothing they have done to improve the Bay or access to it has improved anything. We now have complete gridlock as planned. And that is not just private vehicles we are talking about. Try moving on the T-Line, The L-Tarval, or the BART. People are tired of the game. What is going to happen if PG&E shuts down service for a day? Five days? Better have an exit plan. It will not be pretty.

Safe parking site up for approval

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Neighbors, Planning Commission to weigh in on facility for homeless living in vehicles

The San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday will weigh a proposal to temporarily use a parking lot near the Balboa Park Bart Station as an overnight rest stop for RV and car dwellers, complete with services.

Pending the commission’s approval, the city planning code would be amended to allow long-term parking and overnight camping in vehicles, as well as the addition of restrooms and showering facilities at a current parking lot near the Balboa Park Bart Station that is slated for the construction of 100 percent affordable housing next year.

If approved, city officials estimate that the Safe Overnight Parking Pilot program could launch at the site for one year as early as November. The program aims to provide sites for eligible homeless people currently living in their vehicles to park and sleep and receive case management and social services…(more)