Mr. Fix-It: A Mechanic Turns from Trying to Save Muni to Trying to Save the World

By Joe Eskenazi : SFWeekly – excerpt

“Here’s how you gotta start your story, dude,” says Mike Cheney, matter-of-factly. “You create this scene where there’s some sort of ceremony out on Altamont Pass and they’re removing the last windmill. They’re pulling down that sucker like it’s a statue of Saddam Hussein!”
In Cheney’s vision, energy sources — including the windmill — will be supplanted by the one he’s invented, which will set right the existing, flawed order…
Every decade and change, a big Mike Cheney story splashes across a San Francisco newspaper. In 1988, a San Francisco Examiner piece titled “‘Pit Bull’ Hounds Muni Management” was illustrated via a bus sporting Cujo fangs. Ten years later, an Ex article called “The Man Who Would Be Muni King” — in which Cheney held forth on how he’d fix the ailing system — was knocked off the front page of the paper’s later editions when an N-Judah train rumbled between Embarcadero and Van Ness stations without a driver….
 (more)

RELATED:
Mike Cheney’s Media History

Staggering Numbers for San Francisco Parking Tickets in 2012

by : GottaPark – excerpt

The city has recently released statistics on parking for fiscal year 2011-2012, and the results are just a tad shocking. According to the numbers, summarized by 7×7 SF, San Francisco parking tickets grossed over $83 million for the city during this time! Yikes!

But there are numbers here that are even more interesting: according to the report, there are 448,000 parking spaces on and off street in San Francisco. Sounds like a lot, right? Maybe not—when you consider that there are 466,448 vehicles owned by SF residents alone. This doesn’t even account for the millions of people each year who visit the City by the Bay on business or vacations, nor the untold thousands who are still out there, stuck in an endless loop of one way streets and “No Left Turn” signs… (more)

Parking by the numbers. GottaPark has 1366 likes.
Add yours to the list.

 

Brand New Muni Bus Malfunctions At Press Conference

by Dan McMenamin : – excerpt

Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials were on the new bus waiting to be taken to City Hall after a news conference at Pier 48 near AT&T Park when the mishap occurred.
The bus could not be driven away, and the mayor and the rest of the group had to be ushered onto another bus. Muni spokesman Paul Rose said it appears there was an issue with the bus’ hydraulic system.
The vehicles are part of a fleet of 62 new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses being introduced into the Muni system, which has not had any new buses since 2007, agency officials said… (more)

You can’t make this stuff up.

New Theory: Maybe the SFMTA is haunted by the ghosts of riders past who put a curse on it.

 

Plan Bay Area is an attack on a way of life

By Mimi Steel, guest commentary : Bay Area News Group : mercurynews – excerpt

Plan Bay Area will fundamentally transform the 101 cities and nine counties into urbanized, transit-oriented, high-rise developments. It is a draconian, top-down, 25-year plan conceived by unelected bureaucrats supposedly in response to a problem (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) that will already be solved (per California Air Resources Board) due to transportation technologies such as more fuel-efficient cars, electric cars and telecommuting.

The most unsettling parts of the plan deal with imposition of unfunded mandates on cities and counties. It subverts local control of land use and zoning decisions. It requires:

  • Cities must set aside priority development areas (PDAs) for mixed-use development (stores on first floor with housing above). Most development over the next 25 years is supposed to be in these highly restricted areas.
  • Cities must bear the unfunded costs that the additional populations will force on services such as schools, fire, police, etc.
  • The unique characters of most small towns will be destroyed. Towns such as Saratoga, Los Gatos, Dixon, Marinwood must all follow the same template of a downtown center with mid- to high-rise development near mass transit.
  • Transportation funds will go to projects such as light rail and commuter rail, which are the least cost-effective options for transportation choices.
  • Road repair and expansion will be neglected because the point of this plan is to get people out of their cars by purposely causing congestion and restricting parking. (while claiming the intent is to manage parking)…

Media coverage has been sparse to nonexistent… .(more)

Media coverage has been sparse to nonexistent, and those who dare warn us like Tim Redmond are cut. Tim Redmond Departs Guardian Amid Staff Cuts (Update)

Watch the video of the only debate that was held in San Rafael (www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOE7Hyd5B40).
Our favorite remains this one: Social Engineers 

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Regional planning staff respond to public comments on Plan Bay Area Reports gauge resident support for regional plan

by Jessica Lipsky : sanramonexpress.com – excerpt

Planners from the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) reviewed and discussed public comments on Plan Bay Area. The long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan aims to provide more housing and transit choices to reduce pollution in all nine Bay Area counties.

The effort grew out of the Senate Bill 375, which requires each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks. Local activists have been vocal in their opposition to the plan, which calls for more clustered development near transportation centers to decrease environmental impact… (more)

Read the rest of the article and comment on the source article if you can. This is the most important issue facing us today. The new bill to oppose is SB 1273, which would  take control of San Francisco’s waterfront from the taxpayers and local elected officials. This sets a dangerous precedent and upsets a lot of people.

 

The MTC Planning Committee and ABAG Administrative Committee will meet again on July 12 to present the final plan and EIR. Officials are tentatively scheduled to approve the plan on July 18.

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SFMTA’s Livable Streets Team Plucks Neal Patel From SFBC

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

Neal Patel will be leaving his position as planning director at the SF Bicycle Coalition to join the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s Livable Streets team, bringing his talents in community outreach to city government.
Patel said the details on his position at the SFMTA are still taking shape, but that he’ll be working on pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic calming projects “in some way, shape or form.”
“I’m really excited to be moving over there, although it’s been an amazing experience” working for the SFBC for the past six years, he said… (more)

Fifteen Hospitalized After Muni Streetcar Rear Ends Muni Bus

by : excerpt

1:45 PM: Fifteen people were taken to hospitals—including a number of children—when a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus and a streetcar collided this morning on Market Street.
The accident, which involved a 9L-San Bruno bus and the F-Market and Wharves streetcar, happened around 11 a.m. at Market and Sixth streets.
Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said 15 people were taken to four hospitals, including four adults who were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with moderate injuries. Seven children were among those transported, she said…. (more)

Too many of these to keep up with these days. One more reason to avoid the Muni. They are not safe. No comment from Mr. Rose on this one? Maybe the Supervisors should consider spending some of those federal and state dollars on fixing the Muni so that it would be safe instead of using them to push the SF Bicycle Coalition agenda. This news came the same day the SFMTA announced it hired yet another SF Bicycle Coalition worker to push through “their” agenda.

San Francisco Considers Charging Drivers to Enter or Leave Downtown

Posted by KQED News Staff – excerpt

…“We’re going to be faced with severe congestion at some point. We’re not able to say exactly when, but it’s certainly within the next, I’d say, 10 years. And if we don’t move decisively now, it might even be sooner than that,” said Tilly Chang with the SFCTA.
Chang said a plan to charge drivers to enter or leave downtown, known as congestion pricing, is again emerging as one solution to alleviate gridlock. She said something more is needed to really slow down the growth of traffic flooding into that area.
“We definitely see parking management and congestion pricing as examples of how we can encourage people to review their choices and to really think about, ‘Do I really need to make this trip in a car?’ ” Chang said…
A congestion pricing plan from the city Transportation Authority will soon undergo an environmental review. Any proposal the city develops would need approval from the Legislature… (more)

How about building some new parking garages as suggested by the Small Business Commission? That would help as much as anything. How about building those garages next to the freeway exists next to public transit  hubs so that people could get into the city and then easily transition to public transit? Wow! They just built a new BART parking garage in Richmond. But, San Francisco would rather eliminate parking than make it easy for folks to use Muni. Do the voters get to decide on this plan? Or will it be part of the Plan Bay Area scheme, financed by federal and state government debt?

Pier 70 plan financing ‘complicated’

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Transforming 28 acres of rusted maritime space at Pier 70 into a new neighborhood with tech companies and more than 1,000 condo units will require “complicated” financing and more than $160 million to build new roads, three parking garages and a possible new Muni turnaround…
Pier 70 in the Dogpatch neighborhood is Port of San Francisco property, part of which is planned to be converted into housing and retail. Nearly all of the estimated $1.85 billion required to redevelop Pier 70 is coming from private capital raised by site developer Forest City, which built the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall on Market Street…
The Port of San Francisco will need to come up with about $222 million via bond sales, according to Port documents. The bonds will pay for infrastructure improvements, including utility lines, transit improvements and other improvements like parks.
Exactly how the publicly funded side of Pier 70 will be financed — and how the Port plans to raise an additional $98 million that would build three parking garages on the site — has yet to be determined.
“There are challenges with this site,” Brad Benson, the Port’s project manager at Pier 70, told the Board of Supervisors on June 5. “It has very high infrastructure costs.”
The site is not well-served by public transportation, and it might require an “extension” of the T-Third Street line with a turnaround near 20th Street, Benson said.
Rezoning and planning alone will cost about $20 million, Port officials said… (more)

What is the rush? Why not finish one big public project before starting a new one?

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Hosts Hearing on MTA Parking Plans

By Keith Burbank : potreroview – excerpt

Last month the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee asked San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) director of transportation, Ed Reiskin, to discuss the agency’s parking meter plans. Committee members presiding over the hearing included District 9 Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission, District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar; and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who sat in for District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, who couldn’t be present, with District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen also in attendance. Reiskin answered questions from the supervisors, provided data on parking revenues, and explained the rationale driving parking meter expansion.
The “MTA is on the wrong track,” said Cohen, who explained that her main frustration with the agency relates to its lack of a comprehensive planning, with SFMTA’s transit, parking and enforcement divisions going in different directions. The supervisor added that transportation and associated infrastructure wasn’t keeping up with development and growth in her district. Worse, complained Cohen, in some instances SFMTA has been considering cuts in service, has been inconsistent in its enforcement of the residential parking permit program, and the agency’s plans don’t adequately acknowledge the parking needs of production, distribution, and repair (PDR) businesses…
Campos said he appreciated the agency’s effort to listen to the community. But he pointed out that the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan calls for protecting PDR businesses, and asked that SFMTA follow this policy…
Reiskin acknowledged that parking management affects the economic viability of commercial districts…
Farrell asked the transportation director how parking management efforts can meet the needs of families — especially ones with multiple children, and both parents working — who depend on cars…
Farrell said residents have told him that SFMTA seems to be making car ownership more challenging, rather than making public transit more attractive. “I hear that time and time again,” Farrell said. The supervisor insisted that making transit more attractive should come first…
Campos told Reiskin that there should be no artificial deadline for the parking meter expansion. Instead, SFMTA should be sure to hear the concerns of residents and business owners.
“We’ll continue to take the time that it needs,” Reiskin responded… (more)