Bike to the Future

Greg Beato : reason.com – excerpt

As pedaling goes electric, alternative transport goes individualist.

On a recent afternoon in one of San Francisco’s hilliest neighborhoods, I experienced what it must be like to be a world-class cyclist doped to the gills on high-oxygen blood and testosterone. Streets with mild upward slopes felt like child’s play. Even double-digit grades suddenly seemed manageable. Heart pounding, I’d summit one peak and then quickly set out for another.
The secret to my new prowess was not pharmacological but mechanical: I was riding a Focus Jarifa Speed, a $3,399 German-engineered bicycle equipped with a small lithium-ion battery pack and a 350-watt motor… (more)

This leads to one more issue that needs to be aired.  What is the difference between a bicycle, an electric bike, a scooter and a motorcycle? Should different rules of the road apply to each class of 2-wheeled vehicle? Is this a state or local decision?

BART snags extra $11M due to higher ridership

SFGate – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officials say higher ridership and a tax boost have brought in an extra $11 million.
BART directors voted Thursday to spend the unexpected fiscal year bonus on late-night bus service, replacement of rail car carpeting and on an attempt to contain a worsening workers’ compensation problem.
The San Francisco Chronicle (bit.ly/RQMbfu) ridership in the fiscal year ending in June jumped to a record 111 million, or about 366,000 per day. The previous record, set in 2008, was more than 107 million or 358,000 a day.
Riders paid nearly $22 million in fares, about 6.3 percent more than BART had anticipated. Likewise, sales tax revenue grew by about 8 percent over the previous year… (more)

Why is BART so much better at managing BART than SFMTA is at managing Muni?

Maybe it is because of what BART doesn’t do.

They have no traffic, taxi’s, bicycle lanes, roads, parking or self-promoting issues to occupy their time with. All they do is make the trains run on time. People know they can depend on BART. Some of them can even park in a BART parking lot near a terminal.

Maybe we should turn Muni over to BART.

SF car sharing revs up but hits bumps

By Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate – excerpt

In San Francisco’s quest to cut down on private car travel, car sharing is becoming increasingly important – and popular. While San Francisco may be a transit-first city, taking Muni or BART isn’t always a viable option. Sometimes hauling groceries, making a trip to Ikea or just getting across the city quickly requires a car, even for people who don’t want to own one…
But as car sharing’s popularity grows, problems are emerging, including car sharing’s failure to serve some neighborhoods, and whether vehicles used for car sharing should be allowed to use on-street parking spaces… (more)

related:
A bumpy road for San Francisco’s car-sharing programs

The park bond battle

by yael@sfbg.com : sfbg.com – excerpt

Why environmentalists and neighborhood groups are opposing more money for parks – Recreation and Parks clubhouses are privatized and cut off from public access. Public spaces like the Botanical Gardens and the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park are closed to people who can’t pay the price of admission. Event fees and permit processes have become so onerous that they’ve squeezed out grassroots and free events.
It’s been enough to infuriate a long list of neighborhood groups who have been complaining about the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department for years.
And now those complaints have led to a highly unusual coalition of individuals and groups across the political spectrum coming together to do what in progressive circles was once considered unthinkable: They’re opposing a park bond…
The bond got unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors…
But that doesn’t mean all the supervisors are pleased with the way Rec- is being run, either. In July 2010, Sup.  David Campos and then-Sup. Ross Mirkarimi tried to pass a Charter Amendment to split the appointments to the commission among the mayor and the supervisors… (more)

Neighborhood groups are opposing more bond money. We see a theme here. The Board of Supervisors tried to fix another out of control city agency  with a Charter Amendment in 2010, and failed to get six votes. It is time for some restructuring to regain public control over public servants and public property.