Taxi drivers, disability-rights advocates oppose new Market St. traffic plan

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The Municipal Transportation Agency is meeting Tuesday/19 to discuss a new plan for Market Street that would limit through traffic to buses, bicycles, and paratransit vehicles – and the beleaguered taxi industry and disability-rights advocates are strongly opposed…

From the beginning of the discussion about Market Street, cabs were considered a form of public transportation – and they still are, particularly for people with disabilities…(more)

What does SFMTA have against taxis? Who convinced them to kill an essential industry that people depend on? SFMTA knows taxis are essential services. They set up the essential trips program to help people who need taxi service. Now they want to kill them?

Taxis installed plastic shields and set up safe protocols. Riding in a taxi is the safest public transportation you can get. Taxi drivers are helpful. Unlike the bus drivers who are glued to their seats, taxi drivers may get out and help with carrying packages and other simple tasks.

Will the supervisors please put an end to our misery by taking Taxis out from under the SFMTA thumb? Can we get an emergency order that declares them an essential service and starts to work on a permanent solution? I remember a promise that has not yet been kept that could be timely now.

Fourth Street Bridge to Close to Northbound Traffic

By Bettina Cohen : potreroview – excerpt

As the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) prepares for the return of T-Third Street Muni Metro service, the agency plans to implement temporary emergency transit lanes in both directions over the Fourth Street Bridge this month. The idea, which drew a barrage of public comment from an estimated 60 attendees of a virtual community meeting SFTMA hosted in December, would address a bottleneck between Berry and Channel streets that causes systemwide delays to T-Third service by enabling streetcars to move across the bridge without getting stuck in traffic. SFMTA identified public health, equity and economic recovery as other reasons for the emergency transit lanes; more efficient transit reduces COVID-19 transmission risks for people with the fewest travel choices.

General traffic would no longer be permitted northbound between Berry and Channel streets. The single northbound lane now shared by streetcars and other vehicles would be repurposed for transit and taxis only, with bicycles and paratransit vehicles permitted. Going south, the middle lane with streetcar tracks would be dedicated to transit and taxis. The southbound curbside lane would remain open for general traffic.

Additional restrictions would include no left turn onto the bridge whilst heading east; no right turn onto the bridge westward bound from Channel Street; no left turn onto Berry from Fourth Street, including by southbound traffic onto the one-way 100 block of Berry Street. Northbound traffic on Fourth Street would be rerouted onto eastbound or westbound Channel Street.

On the Fourth Street Bridge, the temporary emergency transit lane would be striped with white paint and “Muni/Taxi Only” stenciling and signage. Nearby routes for general traffic heading north from Mission Bay towards South-of-Market include Third and Seventh streets. No changes to the Third Street Bridge two-way traffic are planned…(more)

One part of the city that services a major medical center, and a large number of the newly densified SOMA and Bay View neighborhoods is getting a taste of what the residents around Market and Church have been going through. New traffic bottlenecks being created to annoy the public under the guise of helping move the city’s abandoned public transit system more faster with fewer riders.

Let’s not forget the reason the SFMTA is creating traffic jams by closing streets and removing parking and traffic lanes. They want to promote congestion pricing to keep us all pinned up in little boxes with no way to cross town without paying for the privilege to do so.

As the shutdown lingers and the streets are largely empty, the lanes clear an traffic flows. The SFMTA is using all the tools in their toolbox to produce traffic jams so they can push for congestion pricing. Hence the haste to introduce as many obstacles on the streets as they can. This time they are picking on a neighborhood that was built to be a medical center. They have drive-though testing sites and will have drive-through vaccination sites. Most people would like to avoid the long lines and slow moving traffic, but SFMTA is scrambling to make the drive-throughs as difficult and painful as possible to punish drivers, even though they know that driving alone in a car is the safest mode of transportation.
The national media is having a field day tearing down the “city that once knew how” and bragged about it. Life in San Francisco has soured as our once livable, manageable city spirals out of control. If you are one of the fortunate ones who can hibernate until it is over this may not phase you, but, if you try to get out and run errands in in your car, you have to watch out for the obstacles SFMTA is putting up to control you and forcing you into longer slower traffic lines. I can’t wait to see how the driverless cars will deal with constantly changing road routes.

If you object to SFMTA’s traffic obstructions , you may add them to your growing list of complaints. Write letters, sign petitions and join the voices calling in to City Hall meetings. Demand someone put a stop to this. We need to help each other through this nightmare not add to it.

Is it time to end free parking in San Francisco?

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Increasing the cost of parking and offloading city garages could shrink budget shortfall.

As the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency faces catastrophic revenue losses and crippling budget shortfalls over the next two fiscal years, officials have said they will consider every measure possible to avoid even deeper service cuts and staff layoffs.

“The pandemic and budget crisis is the moment to rethink everything,” Matt Brezina of local street safety advocacy group People Protected said of the opportunity to recast the agency’s priorities in the context of economic calamity.

At the top of the list should be reform to The City’s parking program, Brezina and other advocates say…(more)

Great way to drive more people and businesses out of  San Francisco at a faster pace!

Let’s put the blame where if belongs for loss of revenues. SFMTA cut their own income. They mismanaged their cash cow by eliminating parking options at the same time they were digging holes and removing traffic lanes. Now they find themselves short of funds to finish the multitude of street projects they started. They got what they wanted and planned for, less traffic on the street, less commuter traffic crossing the bridge, less income from parking, fees and fines. Who did not see this coming?

A department that attacks its customer base deserves to go broke. In the non-virtual world it is impossible to pay to park in a non-existing parking spot or take a non-existent bus.

If SFMTA wants to increase their income from street parking they should process some of the requests for parking permits they have been ignoring or denying for decades. Residents and businesses who applied for permits are not to blame for not paying for them. SFMTA is to blame for setting up arbitrary rules and regulations to make denial their preferred course of action.

SFMTA and its enablers cannot blame the people who left or the commuters who no longer jam the streets and bridges, the drivers who don’t pay to park in the non-existing parking lots, the bus driver or their riders for their predicament. They dug the holes. They will have to fill them.

CA: S.F. small business owner and accessibility advocate to help oversee Muni

By Mallory Moench : masstransit – excerpt

Jan. 5—Mayor London Breed’s nominees for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board — a small business owner and an accessibility advocate —were approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Manny Yekutiel, the owner of café and political event space Manny’s in the Mission, and Fiona Hinze, system change director at Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, will help oversee the agency that runs Muni, streets and parking during a tumultuous time, with ridership and finances devastated by the pandemic…

On Tuesday, supervisors unanimously supported Hinze, who has cerebral palsy and uses an electric wheelchair, and voted 9-2 in favor of Yekutiel. Sandra Lee Fewer and Dean Preston dissented, saying they wanted a Latino board member instead. Latinos make up 15% of the city’s population, but at least 30% of Muni ridership, the SFMTA’s Local Government Affairs Manager Joél Ramos told supervisors…

“Our public transportation is a shadow of its former self,” Preston said. “Transit operators are living in fear of losing their jobs with layoffs threatened. Many essential workers have no way to get to work using public transit. Entire lines are shut down with no plan to restore them. MTA has squandered massive amounts of money on failed capital projects. Meanwhile, many members of the public are fearful of returning to public transit.” … (more)

When does the Board of Supervisors stop funding capital projects and force the SFMTA to make Muni function for the riders who need it. Fighting independent drivers is not the way to fix the Muni. Fixing the Muni is the fastest way to get the riders back on the bus.

Supes approve two SFMTA directors despite pushback about lack of Latino representation

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Fiona Hinze and Manny Yekutiel will complete the seven-person board

The Board of Supervisors confirmed two new members to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors on Tuesday, filling the last two vacant seats of the governing body but leaving it without any representation of the Latino community.

Supervisor Sandra Fewer used her final meeting in office to urge Mayor London Breed, who appoints nominees, and her fellow supervisors to ensure San Francisco’s Latino residents, many of whom regularly ride Muni, have a direct advocate on the transit agency’s board.

“It is really important that we let people of their own culture represent themselves,” Fewer said.

Fiona Hinze, a San Francisco native and long-time mobility advocate who herself lives with cerebral palsy, was approved unanimously, bringing her firsthand experience working with advocates and policymakers on accessibility reform to SFMTA…

“On one hand, Manny is exactly the kind of person we want on commissions,” Supervisor Dean Preston said. “On the other hand, right now, in this unprecedented moment, it is hard for me to understand an appointment to the governing body of our transportation agency who has no meaningful experience on transportation issues, and particularly Muni.”…(more)

In wake of Prop. 22, Albertsons is converting its home delivery to gig work

Opinion by Michael Hiltzik, Tribune News Service : sfexaminer – excerpt

Those who warned that California’s anti-labor Proposition 22 would hasten the destruction of good jobs and the rise of gig work have a new data point to cite, courtesy of the Albertsons grocery empire.

As of the end of February, hundreds of home delivery drivers for Vons, Pavilions, Safeway and other stores owned by the Boise, Idaho, chain will no longer be employed by Albertsons.

Their work will be outsourced to the gig delivery company DoorDash, which has made a nationwide deal to take over the service…

With contributions totaling $52.1 million, DoorDash was the second-largest backer of the Proposition 22 campaign, just behind Uber, which put up $59.2 million…

The companies, fattened with billions of dollars in venture investors’ cash, fought back with Proposition 22. Given their success at persuading California voters that stiffing these workers was a good thing, you can expect similar efforts in states coast-to-coast. Albertsons drivers are cannon fodder in this battle, but many, many more will face the same fate.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times(more)

SFMTA annual report: 2020 leaves a ‘radically changed’ agency

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency annual report describes this year as one that “radically changed” the agency and forced officials to make “the hard choices” in order to survive.

Many of those hard choices are what stand out when thinking about 2020: a total shutdown of the Muni Metro rail system; a nearly 40 percent reduction of bus service at its lowest point; the halting of the Free Muni for Youth expansion and BackFirst wellness program for operators; the downsizing of the ambitious transformation of Market Street; preparation for potential mass layoffs in the midst of a budget crisis; and the struggle to determine how to allocate severely limited resources while facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit… (more)

California Supreme Court revives challenge to $1 toll increase at seven Bay Area bridges

By Bob Egelko : sfchronicle – excerpt (posted October 14, 2020)

The California Supreme Court revived an anti-tax group’s challenge Wednesday to $1 toll increases at seven Bay Area bridges and put the case on hold while it considers a related dispute over garbage-collection fees in Oakland.

The toll increase, Regional Measure 3, was approved in 2018 by 55% of voters in the nine Bay Area counties and took effect in January 2019. But the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association argued that the toll was a local tax, requiring a two-thirds vote under state law, because it would fund programs that were unrelated to the bridges and would benefit the general public, not just users of the bridges…

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco refused to dismiss the suit in March, but the state Supreme Court granted review of Oakland’s appeal in June. Tim Bittle, legal affairs director for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said Wednesday a central issue in both cases is whether a fee charged for use of public property — city streets or state-owned bridges — could be considered a tax

Proposition 13, sponsored in 1978 by anti-tax advocate Howard Jarvis, and follow-up measures have required local governments to obtain two-thirds voter approval for tax increases. But for the bridge tolls, the First District Court of Appeal cited another California law that allows the state to charge fees to users of state property, including parks, buildings and bridges…(more)

Supes panel moves to keep SIP hotels open

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

With Mandelman in dissent, Budget Committee approves measure to block the Mayor’s Office from shutting down successful homeless program.

The Board of Supes Budget and Finance Committee approved Dec. 9 a measure that would require the city to keep open all of the shelter-in-place hotel rooms, defying a move by Mayor London Breed’s administration to start shutting the program down

The vote followed a long debate about the purpose and use of the hotel rooms, the availability of other options, and the possible financial burden of keeping homeless people in the hotels and off the streets.

In the end, Sups. Sandra Lee Fewer and Shamann Walton voted in favor of the legislation, and Sup. Rafael Mandelman voted against it…(more)

It is interesting to note the shift in media attention away from the mayor to the individual supervisors since FBI investigations and charges implicated mayoral department heads, forcing many out of office. Former Mayor Willie Brown shocked us all by declaring “a little corruption is a good thing.” Really? Does that attitude explain the mess at City Hall as the dark money machine crumbles, exposing a litany of lies and hypocrisy, as some suggest?

We understand that Supervisor Fewer had a lot of unanswered questions during the hearing regarding the way the Mayor’s Office is managing the various programs meant to house the homeless to get them off the streets during the COVID crisis, when the number of cases is spiking and the last thing we need is to put more people at risk.

After the vote at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting, Rafael Mandelman posted a letter explaining his dissent. Heather Knight covered a conversion she had with Myrna Melgar on the dysfunction at the Planning Commission, and Matt Haney voiced his opinions on the lack of coherence on the details of this COVID shutdown on social media. No one has so far touched on the PUC in a meaningful way, or covered the details of the contracts which were signed.

All the supervisors have raised issues that received media attention as the focus shifts from City Hall to the neighborhood leaders who are doing the brunt of the work, and for some reason, getting blamed for the mess that they did not create and are attempting to rectify. It does not help that the public is largely unaware of how the city government is supposed to function thanks to the lack of government studies classes in the school curriculum.

Neighborhoods are in an uproar over the closure of major thoroughfares. Safeway is suing over the closure of Church at Market Street. Marina residents are complaining about extra unwanted empty Muni buses running through their residential streets while SFMTA cuts essential lines elsewhere. SFMTA is trying to blame everyone for its failings while begging for more cash to dig more holes and cut off more services. No one has so far touched on the PUC, but that can of worms is sure to come up soon.

Watching the local news channels has become a major source of information for people without internet access, but, there must be a lot of confused people who have no clue as to what is going on.


Supes to square off with Mayor’s Office — again — over shelter-in-place hotel program Mandelman letter

S.F.’s building department is a mess. It’s no wonder pay-to-play rules the day Myrna Melgar

Marina residents want Stockton extention out of their neighborhood

Marina residents want 30 Stockton extension out of their neighborhood

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

SFMTA says route provides link to Presidio green space, reduces crowding in dense neighborhoods

Requests for more, better and faster Muni service are common during public comment at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency meetings.

It’s far less frequent the agency’s board hears calls to get rid of service.

But residents of Broderick Street and Marina Boulevard have called into recent SFMTA board meetings to testify against the temporary extension of the 30 Stockton route down Marina Boulevard into the Presidio. They have asked the 3.8-mile addition be suspended until their litany of concerns is resolved…(more)

There appears to be a bit of a conflict here. Is there a suggestion to stay home within walking distance or not? When parks are closed and parking lots are closed to keep people from driving to beaches and other pubic outdoor spaces, why is there a need to bus people to a park that is not within walking distance?