San Francisco’s Transportation Authority Sacrificing CEQA Car Congestion Standards for Developers Money

By George Wooding

San Francisco’s Transportation Authority wants to stop utilizing car congestion and delays as a traffic measurement.
Buried deeply inside San Francisco’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) transportation regulations is a traffic measurement called “Level of Service” (LOS).  LOS was developed in 1970 as the fundamental building block of San Francisco’s transportation. The Transportation Authority is advocating for a change to CEQA regulations.
The chief function of LOS is to measure the delay each car experiences at a particular intersection.
LOS is a simple measuring system of how new real estate developments and transportation plans impact car usage in San Francisco.  Car congestion and delay measurements are rated on a scale of “A,” being good traffic flow — to a low of “F,” which means unacceptable congestion.
Under current CEQA interpretations, LOS is a quality measure describing operational conditions within a traffic stream, generally in terms of such service measures as speed and travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, and comfort and convenience of transportation.
The City, its Transportation Authority, Planning Department, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Department of Environment all complain that LOS does not do a good job measuring environmental impacts.
These agencies believe that the LOS-based system needs to be replaced, as it supposedly will cause roads to be widened, sidewalks to shrink, crosswalks removed, dangerous bicycle lanes added, traffic lights to be re-timed, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels increased.
In 1973, the City adopted a “Transit First” policy that gave planning priority to modes of transportation other than the automobile.  The City’s Transit First policy expressly states that decisions related to streets and sidewalks “shall encourage the use of public rights-of-way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit.”
The “Transit First” policy was the first step toward demonizing car usage, blaming cars for GHG emissions, and for steeply increasing fees to own cars.
Now that the Transportation Authority will be trying to replace the LOS system in the November 2014 general election, car congestion and delay will become a second-tier priority.  Greater car congestion and delay is inevitable — and the City doesn’t care.

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Russian Hill and Polk Street businesses oppose SFMTA road safety plans

By: : examiner.com – excerpt

Business owners and residents on San Francisco‘s Polk Street see cyclists as typically culpable in accidents with cars, scoff at the notion of global warming, and are strongly opposed to the SFMTA’s suggestions for improving their neighborhood.
This was the tone of a public meeting organized by the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association at the Old First Presbyterian church, Monday night March 18th.
View slideshow: Saving Polk Street
The Middle Polk Neighborhood Association has aligned itself with a movement called Save Polk Street, which has opposed the SFMTA plan in a poster campaign.
MPNA chair Dawn Trennert repeatedly had to appeal to Save Polk Street supporters in the crowd to show respect for pro SFMTA speakers. Mr. Reiskin was loudly booed and shut down while attempting to outline his plan for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements along the stretch of Polk Street from Union Street in the north to McAllister in the south…

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$13 An Hour Workers Stressed Out By Extended Parking Meter Hours

by : sfappeal.com – excerpt
Baseball fans aren’t the only folks lining the SFMTA’s pockets with night time meter gold: low paid night-shift workers are also feeling the pinch.
Starting March 4, meters close to AT&T Park have had their hours of operation stretched from the usual 6 PM to until 10 PM from Mondays through Saturdays.
According to the SFMTA, the meters use “demand responsive pricing.” On most days, the meters will cost 25 cents per hour, but will increase up to $7 per hour on evenings there are events at the stadium…
53-year-old custodian Juana Lopez works from 5 PM to 1 AM at a nearby China Basin building for a rate of $13 an hour, they report. Under the previous system, Lopez and her colleagues paid to park at a meter until 6, then would remain for for free for the remainder of their shift.
“It’s very stressful,” Lopez she tells the Chron, saying that she “can’t count on being picked up on time by the two buses that she could take to get to her night job in San Francisco.”
“We don’t know what to do.” (more)

Proposed Parking Changes on Polk in San Francisco Prompt Protests

Kron4tv – excerpt

Proposed Parking Changes on Polk Street Prompt Protest

City officials say there is a, “high rate of accidents in the area”.

Probably because the new rules are so confusing and everybody is so stressed. People have forgotten how to walk, bike and drive in the city. The level of civility is at an all time low. The right of way should belong to whoever enters the intersection first.

SFMTA claims the changes will start in 2015.

DON’T WAIT to act.

SFMTA has signs contracts years in advance of the work commencing. Stop the contracts by filing appeals and complaints early in the process.

North Beach residents concerned about the plan to extract the boring machines by tearing up Columbus Ave., learned at a recent meeting that the tunnel boring contracts were signed four years before they were told about them.

(more)

NMA E-Newsletter #219: Resistance is Not Futile

NMA E-newsletter : http://stopab666.org – excerpt –

Profiteers from photo tickets, whether camera companies like ATS or Redflex, or the communities who plan on red-light and speed camera ticket revenue to prop up their budget deficits, would have you believe otherwise. They are waging an ongoing (and very cynical) effort to discourage photo ticket recipients from bothering to contest those citations.
What is their strategy? One needs to look no further than a new bill that has been introduced to the California State Assembly. This proposed legislation if enacted would require photo ticket cases across the state to be heard in administrative hearings rather than in courts of law. There are no due process rights afforded to defendants in an administrative hearing. Rulings are made by an employee on the city payroll, not by a real judge. Proponents of civil hearings want to eliminate legal challenges that would surface if the rules of evidence were followed.
In what can only be deemed delicious irony, the California bill was assigned the next number in sequence for the current legislative session and thus became designated AB 666. It didn’t take long before it gained the moniker “The Devil’s Bill.”

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How to Find Free, Priceless Parking Spots Hidden in Plain Sight

By David LaBua : 7×7.com – excerpt

Dear Parking Guru,

I have a question for which I have gotten three different answers from three parking enforcement officers, and I googled for hours with no luck. I then found your 7×7 blog. You seem to be the most straightforward and knowledgeable source of all things parking. Can you please give me some advice about this parking spot on the corner of California and Mason?
In the photo is my car, the blue Jetta, underneath the cable car stop sign.
There is no paint on the curb and I’ve observed all parking signs. Nothing leads me to believe that it’s parked illegally as there isn’t any restrictive sign within 100 feet of where I am parked. But I’m still a little unsettled, as it’s next to a Cable Car Stop sign. Do you have any insight to settle my nerves? Thanks!
–  Just In Case

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Tonight (March 21) was full of miracles!

Letter from Sylvia, who spoke out at the NE Mission Meeting

My sincere thanks and appreciation to ENUF for keeping all of us on the same page!.

Tonight (March 21) was full of miracles!

Residents, neighboring community activists, neighborhood small business owners, families and friends came together to defend and preserve our San Francisco way of life from the SFMTA’s sustainable streets staff and their highly paid consultants.

Although their highly paid consultants tried to convince us to believe their incredibly well written piece of fiction as Reality(?) it was overwhelmingly rejected as truth by 93% of those in attendance.

Even Supervisor Campos and his aides clearly saw that we were not going to buy the lie!

I tell everyone to take the time to follow the money as to who really stands to benefit from all this proposed madness.

The miracle that occurred was that all stakeholders, small business owners, their employees, friends, residents, neighbors, families, neighboring Polk Street business owners and activists came together and bonded in this fight against a social and economic cleansing of our working class neighborhoods by the SFMTA dictating to us how our quality of life will now be redesigned!

It now seems that City and County department staff feel empowered to dictate to us how we will live without being asked to do so!

We are the taxpayers who pay their salaries to do what we want them to do. They are our civil servants, not the other way around.  Civil servants are here for your service – not the other way around.

We all must all join and support each other in keeping our way of life that truly benefits the neighborhood and small business owners to avoid being economically run out of town. We must take over our communities so that we all can live as supportive and caring neighbors. This is not a fantasy – it happened tonight!

We need to gather together and discuss strategy before taking further action to defend our

present way of living. We all need each other to make this happen

To that end, I encourage everyone to keep in communication through SF ENUF.

ENUF is indeed a blessing to the San Francisco community. You questioned who really was being called to the table to discuss these proposed plans and the process. You asked who were the gatekeepers and how they stood to benefit from all this. One answer is the SF Bike Coalition – it is alleged that they are being paid by SFMTA as their consultants????  Conflict of interest?  You wonder why so many bike lanes??

Bikers should be licensed and ticketed just like car owners!

I am copying everyone who was generous enough to give me their contact information so that we all may continue to be in full communication.

Thank you all for letting me be part of a great event where many people stood up and fought against being thrown under the bus for the sake of corporate greed – remember – follow the money!!!

Sylvia

Thanks. I was struck by the fact that I heard no mention of Muni or the pubic transit system at the meeting by either the public or SFMTA staff. This is pretty appalling given that SFMTA is supposed to be championing pubic transportation, not designing streets and disrupting traffic. This is what is wrong with Muni. The SFMTA and the public have given up on it.

This is why ENUF is calling for a moratorium on all non-Muni expenditures until the Muni is fixed and functioning. Take the billions of dollars that are going to bike lanes and street closures and FIX THE MUNI FIRST.

We don’t need a $5 million dollar party for a bridge that everyone will hate the next time they get caught in a traffic jam on it. We need reliable public transportation for those who need it.

Revised parking approach to Northeast Mission still draws the ire of residents

By Will Reisman :  SFExaminer – excerpt

A revised plan for the Northeast Mission neighborhood makes acquiring a residential parking permit easier, but business groups and community members say the proposal, which would also add meters, does not address their needs.
In late 2011, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages parking in The City, introduced a plan to install hundreds of meters in the neighborhood, which has a high concentration of light-industry businesses. The plan drew heavy criticism, prompting the agency to temporarily shelve the project.
The agency reintroduced the plan this month, adding new elements that would allow all residents in the neighborhood to apply for residential parking permits. Usually, those permits are available only for residents on specifically zoned streets.
The plan does still include the proposal to install parking meters on dozens of blocks in the area.
Since the majority of the businesses in the area are what are called production, distribution and repair stores that do not rely on parking turnover, the meters would be of no use to them, according to Doug MacNeil, president of the Northeast Mission Business Association…
Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Northeast Mission, said there are some elements of the parking proposal that he likes, but he disagrees with the agency’s plans to install meters in front of some of the businesses.
“This plan doesn’t properly address the needs of these establishments,” said Campos, who favors the hybrid parking approach championed by Kelly. “At a time when we’re trying to attract more [production, distribution and repair] businesses, this proposal hurts them.”… (more)

Supervisor Campos ended the NE Mission/SFMTA March 21st meeting by stating that the timelines set by the SFMTA to coincide with the Folsom Street park opening are unrealistic given the community lack of support for their plan. He called for a more serious review of the area before moving forward with SFMTA plans,  which they admitted are a draft proposal. Given the inaccurate data the SFMTA is using, it is time to go back to the drawing board.

We are seeing a similar pattern emerging all over the city. The SFMTA was sent back to the drawing board at the end of the “Save Polk Street” meeting on Monday. Citizens all over the city are convinced that SFMTA is the problem, not the cars. They admitted they can’t fix the Muni and now they can’t seem to fix the traffic and parking problems. What do we need them for?

RELATED:
New Northeast Mission Parking plan Draws Heated Response/

San Francisco transit agency vows to revise Polk Street plan following heated community meeting

By: Joshua Sabatini : SFExaminer – excerpt

After hundreds of merchants and residents gathered this week to blast a proposal to remove parking spaces along Polk Street in favor of bike lanes, the head of San Francisco’s transit agency agreed to go back to the drawing board.
Amid the show of solidarity, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency transportation director Ed Reiskin said he would return with proposals “that would have significantly less parking loss.”
Reiskin had a bumpy ride Monday night. When asked for specific removal numbers, he admitted to not having them — which prompted laughter and booing from the crowd. The agency had proposed eliminating parking from one side of Polk Street and partially from the other side to make way for dedicated bike lanes.
Merchants had spent weeks drumming up opposition to the proposal, even posting signs on their shop windows saying “Save Polk Street.” Business owners worry that loss of parking will mean loss of business.
“We really count on parking,” said Dan Kowalski, owner of the furniture store Flipp on Polk and Green streets. Any parking removal “we just think is wrong,” Kowalski said, adding that “Polk Street’s different; it’s different than Valencia Street.”… (more)

RELATED
Cars vs. Bikes: The Battle for Polk Street

Stop AB666 Red light camera abuse

A lot of the people who join ENUF are as concerned about tickets and the lack of appeals as they are about parking issues. Recent decisions by cities to cancel their contracts with the companies supplying these cameras, has resulted in a backlash bill. AB 666 sponsored by Assembly Member Wieckowski would make appealing the red light camera tickets more difficult by appeal red light camera tickets. Details and a petition are here:http://saferstreetsla.org/