Central Subway: Muni’s Drilling Plan Strains Credulity

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

When news broke that the city is holding the bag for the tens of millions of dollars the America’s Cup Organizing Committee hasn’t raised, Supervisor John Avalos gave an impassioned lamentation. “I was fucking played. All the members of the Board of Supervisors were fucking played,” he wailed. “I am totally fucking ashamed.”
This showed remarkable candor — but not remarkable foresight. Every city official tasked with adding numbers and looking at contracts had warned of this exact scenario. SF Weekly and other newspapers had done the same, repeatedly, in 2010, 2011, 2012, and this year too. Decision-makers may or may not have been played, but they were certainly informed… (more)

One fine example of the way Muni spends money on everything but Muni. Leave your comments on the SF Weekly article

SFMTA RFP / option for 10,000 new parking meters / citizen opportunity to comment

Dear concerned citizen of San Francisco:
I wanted you to be aware of an important upcoming opportunity for you and your community to have a voice in the direction that our City takes with respect to the proposed installation of thousands of new parking meters.
Attached is a Request for Proposal by SFMTA which, among other things, gives SFMTA the option to purchase up to an additional 10,000 single space meters and up to 200 paystation meters (which equates to an aggregate total of something like up to 12,000 possible additional metered spaces).
These spaces, if ordered per the future contract, would be completely new and in addition to existing spaces (the RFP calls for replacement of 25,000 existing meters and 300 existing paystations).

How can you provide input to the City?: Once a company is selected and a proposed contract negotiated, it must be approved by both the SFMTA Board of Directors and the Board of Supervisors.  The public should have an opportunity to comment at both of these hearings.

No matter which company is selected, you and members of your community may want SFMTA to ask where they plan to put these 12,000 future metered spaces that they are giving themselves the ability to call for.  In addition, before the existing meters are replaced, you may wish to ask the City to evaluate its current parking meter program and reform and fix problems first.
Also, since the private company Serco is the current city contractor on most or all of its parking meter contracts, it is reasonable to assume that there is good chance that Serco will be selected.  If Serco is selected, that will give a further opportunity for concerned citizens to voice concerns they may have regarding whether there are as yet uninvestigated conflicts of interest with respect to Serco employees who work at SFMTA and who help them implement parking management proposals that put new meters into the City.  Other citizens may have concerns about the actions that Serco has undertaken in other parts of the US and the world and may want those considered as well.
Below is the schedule that was in the RFP.  It contemplates that a company will be selected and a proposed contract negotiated in the very near future and that it would be brought before the SFMTA Board of Directors in May 2013 and before the Board of Supervisors in June 2013.
If you are interested in this, you and those in your community should keep track of this process and consider availing yourselves of this opportunity to have the City pause and consider its overall “parking management strategy”, including consideration of safeguards against meters in residential neighborhoods… (more)

Where is SFMTA planning to get the money for these meters? They are already looking at cutting money out of the Muni budget to pay for the Pagoda lease. Ever wonder why they never add to the Muni but only take from it?

London Breed and Norman Yee Talk Transportation

by Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

London Breed, representing District 5, and Norman Yee, representing District 7 express some thoughts on transportation in their districts:

Breed: “As supervisor, my goal is to look at data, to look at what’s happening, to look at ways in which we can improve the ability for people to get around,” she added. “We have to look at it from a larger scale. We can’t just piecemeal it together.”… Breed noted the challenges of procuring funding for transportation improvements like the unfunded $20 million plan to redesign Masonic Avenue for better walking, biking, and transit. “Unfortunately, it’s not an overnight solution, because the costs associated with making those changes are expensive,” she said…

Norman Yee: “For me it’s not about cars vs. bikes, or pedestrians vs. cars, or Muni vs. cars. It’s, how do you balance everything in the best way you can? … A lot of times, people only want their system to be the priority, and nothing else, but I’m sorry — public transportation needs to be improved, private vehicles need to be able to move freely, bikes should be able to go from one place to another without getting crushed… and, of course, pedestrian safety — if you want to walk, how do you make it safer?” When prompted to review his transportation priorities beyond pedestrian safety, the first issue Yee touched on was educating bicycle riders. According to Yee, the behavior of people on bikes is a top concern for street safety…


Save Polk Street

The San Francisco  Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the SF Bicycle Coalition are planning to Remove 20 Blocks of street parking on Polk St. from Union St. to McAllister St. Street parking is vital to Polk St. businesses. If you eat, live, work or shop along Polk Street this WILL affect you! If you want the restaurants, shops and services on Polk Street to survive make your voice heard. Save Polk Street from this misguided experiment!

Tell them NO THANKS! SFMTA… 415-701-4720 / darcie.lim@sfmta.com
Supervisor David Chiu… 415-554-7450 / David.Chiu@sfgov.org
Mayor Ed Lee… 415-554-6141 / mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org

STOP the “Polk Street Demonstration Project”
Public Meeting:
MARCH 18, 2013 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
at Old First Presbyterian Church
1751 Sacramento Street between Polk & Van Ness


A Safer Polk Street vs. Preserving a Sliver of Parking

Get Ready To Feed Parking Meters Until 10 PM In The Blocks Near AT&T Park

sfappeal.com – excerpt

Parking near San Francisco’s AT&T Park is getting pricier in the evenings and during events at the ballpark starting next month, transit officials announced today.
Beginning March 4, meters will remain operating until 10 p.m. from Mondays through Saturdays in the area close to the ballpark at Third and King streets.
The meters will also cost more during days of San Francisco Giants games or other events there, according to the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency.
The changes are meant to increase parking availability in the area and reduce congestion caused by vehicles circling around to look for a parking spot, agency officials said… (more)
Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on non-event days, the meters will cost $0.25 per hour, while they will cost up to $7 an hour on event days. The first event with the increased meter rates will be the World Baseball Classic, which runs at AT&T Park from March 17-19…
Special signs will be posted on meters in the area, which includes streets as far north as Harrison Street, as far east as The Embarcadero, as far south as Mariposa Street and as far west as Seventh Street… (more)
More information about the program can be found online at www.sfpark.org/events.

Is it time for drivers and ferry commuters to go on strike? How long will it take for merchants to complain about the loss of business, driven away by parking rates?

Parking Meters Near AT&T Park To Have Longer Hours, Higher Rates
Getting to Giants games could be more costly for fans this season
“…Along with the parking rate hikes, ferries that go straight to the ballpark are set to become more expensive…”

What is the excuse for raising ferry rates? Too many ferries queuing at the dock?

Body Politic: Scott Wiener Strips Down City Bureaucracy

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly.com – excerpt

… “Scott is the median of San Francisco politics right now,” says University of San Francisco political science professor Corey Cook. “He’s a generally pro-development supervisor focusing on quality-of-life issues when the city is generally pro-development and focusing on quality-of-life issues. The allies he has picked up are certainly more politically powerful than the enemies he has created. Right now, Scott’s on the crest of the wave.”…
Reviewing Wiener’s attempts to “streamline” or “reform” city rules, patterns emerge. His gambit to rejigger the city’s ballot initiative process would have given the Board and mayor the power to undo voter-approved measures. His attempt to revamp the campaign consultant ordinance would have allowed the dysfunctional Ethics Commission and supervisors to alter rules governing their own political consultants; currently only voters can enact those changes. Wiener’s ongoing attempts to modify the city’s approach to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) would require development critics to cede more unchecked responsibility to a Planning Department those critics feel is beholden to developers (and which let the Academy of Art brazenly flout city rules for decades). “What we have,” says Larry Bush, a veteran politico who has clashed with Wiener on Ethics Commission matters, “is a repeated practice of reducing what the public can see.”…
On the highly contentious issues he’s taken on — preservation, CEQA — he’s forced small groups of entrenched activists to explain, in highly technical terms, why the status quo should be maintained for intensely complex processes no one could argue work well. Wiener, meanwhile, takes the easier path of claiming he’s simply trying to reform a broken system…
But the skills that allowed Wiener to become a prolific legislator among his peers have not worked their magic on voters. Two of the three charter amendments he’s placed on the ballot have been rejected. Most notably, Proposition E of 2011 was snubbed by 67 percent of voters despite its foes raising just $13,200 to combat it (tech investor turned moderate cash machine Ron Conway pitched in $10,000 toward the measure). In short, Prop. E would have enabled future Boards of Supervisors or mayors to amend or repeal future voter-enacted measures. Wiener will be the smartest guy in almost any room he walks into — but it’s asking a lot of voters to essentially cede this point by allowing him and other elected officials to undermine measures they ratified at the ballot box. “I got my rear end handed to me on Prop. E,” admits Wiener. “Voters always ask me, ‘Why can’t you guys do your jobs?’ So I proposed a policy to see if they really meant it. … We have a dysfunctional ballot system. I thought it was important to propose reform.”… (more)

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Comments also welcome

SFMTA releases new bicycle strategy

Last month, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency presented its five year Bicycle Strategy, aimed at improving and growing bicycling in the city. The new plan is an essential piece in keeping the city economically competitive, while improving the quality of life and enhancing transportation connections to ensure visitors and residents can bike more and drive less… (more)


Mayor pledges to fix Muni

By : KALW – excerpt

When he came into office last year, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said fixing Muni wasn’t a priority for him. But in his 2013 State of the City address, Mayor Lee devoted almost ten minutes of his speech to the often-reviled public transit system.
Muni’s cars and buses are often overcrowded, sometimes to the point where they can’t stop to take on new passengers. And about 40 percent of Muni vehicles run late, according to an independent analysis by the Bay Citizen published last June. It’s a system so hated by some riders, it even provokes poetry (read “Ode to (Not Muni) Transit” from Muni Diaries). Lee said he sympathized with a ridership plagued by overcrowded chronically late buses, and he promised that changes to Muni are coming soon…
In 2008, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) started a project called the Transit Effective Program. Known as the TEP, the project began as a comprehensive effort to overhaul the Muni system. It’s focused on two major issues: making changes that minimize delays on the Rapid Service lines and restructuring regular bus routes to reduce crowding and tardiness…
Currently, the SFMTA’s Planning Department is busy making sure the rest of the TEP proposals meet California’s environmental standards. The final draft of the Environmental Impact Report is expected in about a year. After that, the SFMTA will implement as many proposals as they can get funding for.
Now riders will just have to wait and see whether these changes are really going to be effective… (more)

Roadshow: San Francisco sends out red-light photo tickets within 11 days

By Gary Richards : mercurynews.com – excerpt

Q On Jan. 1 I made a stupid mistake at Sloat Boulevard and 19th Avenue in San Francisco and ran the red light. A camera flashed, but here it is mid-February and I haven’t heard anything. Is this no news good news? Or should I follow up to see if I am getting a ticket?
– Desiree Liew

San Jose
A You’ll like this: No news should be good news. San Francisco mails out red-light tickets within 11 days if they are deemed valid by police. State law gives cities 15 days to do this, but Bond-the-Traffic-Man says San Francisco’s “requirement is 11 days since we’re trying to be more responsive and not leave people hanging.”
As for the light, he suspects the flash could have been caused by someone else in a nearby lane or by a camera technician testing the flashing unit while you were passing through the intersection… (more)

What is amazing about this is that all the issues in this San Jose paper article are about traffic and tickets in SF.

San Francisco restrictions on overnight parking delayed due to concerns about the homeless

By: Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Lingering concerns about the impact on homeless people are delaying enforcement of San Francisco’s ban on overnight parking of motor homes and other large vehicles in certain neighborhoods.
The law, passed by the Board of Supervisors in September and slated to be enforced starting in March, raised the ire of homeless advocates who saw it as an attack on the less fortunate and were worried it would force more people onto the cold San Francisco streets. Such concerns reverberate as The City prepares to enforce the law…