Board of Supervisors Approves Bill Permitting Citywide Parking Rentals

by Aaron Bialick : – excerpt

A bill allowing many residential parking spaces to be rented to residents citywide was passed unanimously by the SF Board of Supervisors yesterday despite criticisms that it could encourage car commuting and discourage property owners from converting garages to housing units.
At a board meeting last week, D5 Supervisor Christina Olague proposed postponing approval of the legislation for further analysis in response to a letter from Jason Henderson, a geography professor and chair of the Market and Octavia Citizens Advisory Council (and occasional Streetsblog contributor)….
But the bill was pushed through after other supervisors said they felt further consideration unnecessary. The provision removing the 1,250-foot rule was one piece of a larger, generally popular proposal to simplify procedures for collecting the parking tax from property owners who own five or fewer parking spaces.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who sponsored the legislation, said the reform was necessary to encourage property owners to begin paying the tax on spaces rented to non-building residents, which has gone virtually unknown and uncollected since it was put in place in the 1970s. Wiener also argued that the current 1,250-foot rule is unenforceable, and that the provision was properly vetted by the Planning Department… (more)

MUNI Buses Headed Back to Mission St. Saturday

By Talal Ansari : – excerpt

After six months of extensive repairs, the Mission Street renovation is set to finish today, with Muni buses resuming their normal route along Mission Street tomorrow.
The $1.8 million project involved three city agencies and finished on time and within budget, said Department of Public Works (DPW) spokesman Alex Murillo….
The SFMTA used the rerouting as an opportunity to conduct street and online surveys to assess customer experiences, according to SFMTA transit communications manager Lulu Feliciano.
“I have heard from a few commuters that the route is actually quicker on its temporary route. While the route is quicker on South Van Ness, the extra turns and distance to get to South Van Ness makes the overall trip longer,” said Feliciano…
The city isn’t finished with its overhaul of Mission streets. Residents should brace for more projects in January 2013, including the 24th Street sewer and paving project, the Folsom Streetscape Project and the Cesar Chavez Streetscape.
Additional information on each of these projects can be found here(more)

Road Construction in Your Neighborhood

Weekend Traffic And Transit Disruptions: Massive Critical Mass, Oracle Open World, Bridge To Bridge, Lots More

News : – excerpt

Oracle Open World Closures
Oracle Open World will occur at the Moscone Center from Saturday, Sept. 29 through Wednesday, Oct. 3. An attendance of 45,000 is expected. During this time, the Java One conference will be held at the Parc 55, San Francisco Hilton and the Hotel Nikko.
The following street closures will be required to accommodate this event:

The following street closures will be required to accommodate this event:

  • 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27 through 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5 Howard Street between 3rd and 4th streets
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 through 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 5 Taylor Street between O’Farrell and Ellis streets

The following Muni routes will be affected:

  • 8X (AX/BX) Bayshore Express
  • 9 San Bruno
  • 10 Townsend
  • 12 Folsom
  • 14 Mission
  • 16X Noriega
  •  27 Bryant
  • 30 Stockton
  • 38/38L Geary
  • 41 Union
  • 45 Union-Stockton
  • 81X Caltrain Express

(more more on street closures)
SMTA Traffic and Transit Impacts

High-occupany vehicle lanes accomplish little

Letters to the Editor : – excerpt

Believe it or not, I’m happy that the CRD Business and Residential Taxpayers Association is ferreting into light-rail transit numbers.
However, their research has a flawed assumption: that high-occupancy vehicle lanes accomplish anything.
Two California researchers with very impressive resumes analyzed these diamond roadways in that state’s Bay Area from 2000 to 2004. Their conclusion: “The analysis presented here suggests that in the Bay Area, instead of improving mobility, HOV lanes exacerbate the congestion problem: HOV lanes suffer a capacity drop of 400 vehicles/hour; they increase congestion overall; they do not significantly increase the throughput of people and they do not encourage carpooling.”… (more)

SF Critical Mass event expected to be large

By Carolyn Tyler: KTVU – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — On Friday, Sept. 28, the Critical Mass bike ride will fill San Francisco streets and possibly create a big mess of the Friday evening commute. The bicyclists will gather at Justin Herman Plaza along the Embarcadero and they’ll ride from there. However, this time it is not the typical ride — it is the 20th anniversary of the event.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said he was told to expect 10,000 cyclists or maybe even more. Those that take part in Critical Mass say they are fighting a car-centered society — one calls it a culture war…
And San Francisco has added miles of new bike lanes, but Rob Anderson is trying to stop any more from coming in. He’s taking the city’s bike plan to court.
“One of the problems with the bike plan is that it takes away traffic lanes and street parking on busy city streets. That creates a problem, that’s an environmental impact,” said Anderson…
“We will, we’ll have extra people with them. We’ll use our motorcycles, both dirt bikes and big bikes and actually officers on bicycles themselves,” said Suhr… (more)

Motorcycles riding with Bikes?

America’s Cup finance deal to supes

By John Coté, Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate – excerpt

San Francisco would be liable for escalating payments starting at $29,200 a day if it doesn’t have specific venues ready for America’s Cup regatta use by March 1 under a revised agreement with race organizers now up for approval.
The potential payments are part of a new financial security agreement that leaves the city with a maximum exposure of $9.8 million if it can’t meet its obligations for hosting the main events next summer and fall, officials said.
That shouldn’t be a problem, said Michael Martin, the city’s America’s Cup project director.
“I think we’re in good shape,” Martin said as the city prepares to host a second round of preliminary races next week. “I think this is a good deal for the city.”…

The plan to offer free Muni fares to low-income kids in San Francisco may not be dead yet. Or, depending on your perspective, it died but could spring back to life…

When last we visited the topic in July, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s transportation planning and financing agency, had just dealt the $9.4 million plan an apparent death blow with an 8-7 vote against spending $4 million on free rides.
But at Wednesday’s commission meeting, Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, a commissioner who voted against the plan in July, held out hope for a resurrection…  (more)

Some officials seem to think SF is headed for a big financial revival. They are spending tax dollars and revving up the public debt. No cause is too rich or poor for them to support. What about the middle class who pays for all these deals?

S.F. startup offers scooter rentals

David R. Baker : SFGate – excerpt

…a small group of like-minded entrepreneurs have created one possible solution: a company that lets people rent electric scooters on the fly.
Scoot Networks launches Wednesday in San Francisco, with 60 scooters available at four stations in the city’s SoMa neighborhood. Backed by $775,000 from angel investors, the startup plans to add scooters and stations until it blankets the city.
Call it the Zipcar of electric scooters… (more)

Weekend events to bring 1 million visitors to San Francisco

By: Will Reisman : SFExaminer – excerpt

Any weekend boasting a Giants playoff matchup at AT&T Park and a 49ers home game could be considered epic by San Francisco standards. But for the first weekend of October, those contests might actually be considered the underdogs.
An unprecedented confluence of major events is expected to bring more than 1 million spectators to San Francisco from Oct. 5 to Oct. 7, forcing The City’s already overstretched transit system to devise a game plan to manage the crowds…
“This weekend will be a great one for our city, and we have the transportation system as prepared as it can be,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation. “We urge everyone to avoid delays by taking Muni, a bike, a taxi or a walk when getting around that week and weekend.”… (more)

Oversized Vehicles Banned From City Streets

By Rigoberto Hernandez : – excerpt

Oversized vehicles that line the streets of the northeast Mission will have to start parking elsewhere after the Board of Supervisors approved a law on Tuesday that prohibits them from parking overnight.
Over objections from homeless advocates that the law criminalizes the poor, the supervisors passed the ordinance 7-4. Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim, David Campos and Christina Olague cast the dissenting votes.
Starting March 1, any vehicle that is 22 feet in length and 7 feet tall will be banned from parking overnight on certain city streets from 2 to 6 a.m., or risk being fined or towed…
“It’s a cat and mouse game right now,” said Bevan Dufty, the city’s director of Housing Opportunity, Partnership and Engagement (HOPE). “It’s very hard for an individual to let go of the only housing they have.”…
The program would start next year, to give the city’s HOPE program an opportunity to reach out to vehicle owners and attempt to get them into permanent housing… (more)

So, Bevan Dufty has a few months to work some magic. Any ideas, send em his way. We think the city should set up some trailer-car parks with amenities like they have in Santa Barbara, Seattle and Portland.

Ignoring the Central Subway elephant

District 5 Diary – excerpt

The SF Examiner’s coverage of Muni continues to ignore the elephant in the room: The costly Central Subway project, which is sucking up $124 million of the city’s limited transportation money:
The agency’s fleet of buses is the oldest in North America, making them prone to frequent breakdowns. There is a mass shortage of available operators to drive the buses, giving Muni little wiggle room to schedule its 13,000 daily runs.
The Grand Jury report last year on the Central Subway warned about this problem:
Regarding ongoing, preventive maintenance, the SFMTA official we spoke with stated that when SFMTA allocated money to Muni, not enough importance was placed on budgeting for maintenance. This official stated there are periods when not enough money is budgeted for maintaining vehicle parts. To quote that official, “that part of the budget has been starved.”… (more)