San Francisco and its cycletracks lead the way toward safer biking statewide

Ting is working on the issue with the California Bicycle Coalition, whose executive director Dave Snyder is a longtime San Francisco bike activist. Snyder says Caltrans doesn’t allow bike lanes that include physical barriers against traffic, even though they are widely used in other countries and states and considered to be safest design for cyclists.

San Francisco has been blazing the trail toward safer cycling with innovative designs such as cycletracks, or bike lanes that are physically separated from cars, which have been installed on Market Street and JFK Drive. But cycletracks aren’t legal under state law, something that a San Francisco lawmaker and activist are trying to solve so that other California cities can more easily build them.

“Right now, many cities are not putting in cycletracks for fear they don’t conform to the Caltrans manual,” says Assemblymember Phil Ting, whose Assembly Bill 1193 — which would legalize and set design standards for cycletracks — cleared the Assembly yesterday [Wed/29] and is now awaiting action by the Senate.

Ting is working on the issue with the California Bicycle Coalition, whose executive director Dave Snyder is a longtime San Francisco bike activist. Snyder says Caltrans doesn’t allow bike lanes that include physical barriers against traffic, even though they are widely used in other countries and states and considered to be safest design for cyclists.

San Francisco is technically breaking the law because they have the best traffic engineers in the state and a good City Attorney’s Office and they know they can defend it in court if they have to,” Snyder said. “Most places in the state won’t do that.”… (more)

So now we know. They admit some of the bike lanes are illegal. If you object to this law (Assembly Bill 1193) to legalize the illegal bike lanes in San Francisco, let Phil Ting and the state representatives know about it now: Contacts here. And let your city officials know: Contacts here

Sign petitions, write letters. This is an election year. DO YOU WANT TO GIVE MORE MONEY TO THE FOLKS WHO ARE BREAKING THE LAW NOW? Do they represent your interests?

Gov’s Report to Caltrans: Get Out of the Way of Protected Bike Lanes
Caltrans needs to stop focusing so much on moving cars and let cities build safer street designs with protected bike lanes, says a new report commissioned by Governor Jerry Brown and CA Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly…
they must take a legal risk since Caltrans hasn’t approved such designs, and design exceptions require “a painful and time-consuming process,” says the report, produced by the State Smart Transportation Initiative…

Drivers for Uber, Lyft stuck in insurance limbo

by Ellen Huet : sfgate – excerpt

…It wasn’t a car accident that caused Adrian Anzaldua to quit driving for Lyft – it was the fear of one.

The 27-year-old started driving full time for the app-based car service in October but quit in December after hearing anecdotes that raised questions about his insurance policy.

“I looked into this whole situation more closely because it seemed too good to be true,” said Anzaldua, who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District. “I read a couple accounts online of people who had gotten into accidents while driving for Lyft. They had their coverage denied, so they were stuck with a totaled car. I said, ‘I’m not driving until I figure out the insurance situation.’ “… (more)

Cab Drivers Gathering License Plate Intel on Uber, Lyft, & SideCar

By Rachel Swan : sfweekly – excerpt

After vehemently contesting a recent media report saying a mass exodus of cab drivers are headed to app-based, car-hire startups, the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association this week decided to make it clear that cabbies are still the victim in this business battle.

Namely, it’s vastly outnumbered. After collecting license plate data from cars bearing the trade dress of a Transportation Network Company (TNC), the association says the ratio of car-hires to cabs is about 3,400 to 1,800 — roughly 2 to 1.

“We’re trying to show these TNCs are a big safety issue in the streets of San Francisco,” SFCDA director Trevor Johnson tells SF Weekly before launching his litany of complaints.

He says companies including Uber and Lyft say they’re creating efficient transportation when in reality, they’re creating traffic snarls. They say they’re being green when they’re really flooding the roads with cars. They say they’re improving safety when they’re really encouraging more people to troll the streets looking at their cell phones… (more)

Downtown San Jose street parking cost could double to fund new smart meters

By Mike Rosenberg : mercurynews – excerpt

SAN JOSE — The cost to park on downtown San Jose streets could double to pay for new meters that accept credit cards, a change that could free up more spaces and cut down on parking tickets — or drive visitors away.

The City Council on Feb. 4 is set to order new smart meters that also eventually will allow drivers to pay with a cellphone – in addition to credit and debit cards and coins – and provide real-time data for a new app that will show where parking is available.

To pay for the $1.3 million batch of new meters, city officials say rates would increase at those meters from $1 an hour to as much as $2 an hour. Dropping in 50 cents would put 15 minutes on the meter — and a dime would net you 3 minutes.

The current $1-an-hour rate at San Jose meters hasn’t budged in 11 years, making it one of the cheapest big cities in the United States for parking, far less expensive than San Francisco and half the cost of Oakland…

But some business owners say the parking fee increase will give customers an excuse to shop somewhere else.

“As it is, it’s hard to get people to come to downtown San Jose,” said Kam Razavi, who owns the Loft Bar and Bistro on South Second Street. “If they’ve got to spend more money, it’s the last thing we need.”…


Talk about adding insult to injury. Forcing the victims to pre-pay for their punishment. And the rationale is, you must pay more for convenience. This is hype and we know it. Looks as if the city council holds the authority in San Jose. That is an elected body. Let’s see how the voters react during the next election.

Transportation board to vote on funding for Muni Transit Effectiveness Project

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

A project aimed at increasing Muni’s reliability, reducing travel times, limiting overcrowding and enhancing vehicle and pedestrian safety could receive a big funding boost that would help it move through the environmental review process.

San Francisco County Transportation Authority board members on Tuesday will consider allocating $13.1 million in Proposition K funds to the proposed Transit Effectiveness Project for its preliminary engineering and detailed design.

Such work is required for up to 17 specific portions of the project, which include boarding island additions, traffic lane changes and route alignments.

The request seeks money from the Proposition K bus rapid transit and Muni metro network category, which provides funds for programs to create an integrated citywide network of reliable bus and light rail transit services, according to a staff report

“There are sufficient funds in the Capital Expenditures line item of the Transportation Authority’s approved Fiscal Year 2013/14 budget to cover the proposed action,” the report states… (more)

This is one of the most highly contested programs Muni has rolled out. TEP has angered more Muni riders than almost anything the SFMTA has done lately. Not that much has made them happy. This is Muni’s plan to move the vehicles around, cutting lines and leaving some neighborhoods with less transit, while doubling up service in others. If you object, get your written objections in soon.

The Latest San Francisco Parking Citation Data

By David LaBua : 7×7 – excerpt

Pop quiz. Please turn off your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Eyes on your own paper.
The answer is: 88 million.
Is the correct question:
a) What was the number of barrels of oil consumed globally per day in 2011?
b) What was the dollar amount of revenue generated from parking citations in San Francisco last year?
If you answered “a” you are correct. You are also correct if you answered “b”.
Paul Rose, a spokesman for SFMTA, informed me this week that last year (FY 2012-2013), 1,549,518 
parking citations were issued totaling $88,889,809 in fines.

I asked him how many were contested, and he stated that, “77,248 citations were contested at the first level of review.” That’s about 5 percent of the total 1.5 million citations issued. Of those 77,248 challenged citations, 21,405 or about 28 percent were dismissed as being an invalid citation. 13,085 of the remaining 55,843 citations, that were upheld after the first level of contesting, went on to the second level and were heard before an administrative judge. Of those 13,085 cases heard by an administrator, about 5,000 were found to be invalid and were dismissed.

So, out of a total of 1.5 million parking tickets issued, a total of 26,400 or 1.76 percent were found to be invalid and were dismissed… (more)

San Francisco Deserves Sunday Free Parking

by Randy Shaw : beyondchron – excerpt

All San Franciscans should cheer Mayor Ed Lee’s plans to return to Sunday free meter parking. Meter fees are regressive, the fiscal shortfall causing the parking charges is gone, and Sunday is historically when working people take family outings. Yet two groups I normally agree with, pedestrian and bicycle advocates, oppose Lee’s plan. They want the city to keep Sunday meters and use the estimated $7 million gained to fund pedestrian safety measures. This view is divisive and shortsighted. Nickel and diming the public on Sunday parking meters is a bad idea that must end.

California progressives have learned the hard way that not all fees for government services are the same. Some very progressive and relatively small charges—like the long little noticed vehicular license fee, renamed the “Car Tax”—can result in a Governor’s recall and the installation of a Republican successor in a very blue state.

Parking meter fees are in this category… (more)

Letters: Give SF a parking break – San Francisco Examiner

Resolution: Let’s all be nicer on San Francisco streets

By Heather Knight : sfgate – excerpt

You’ve likely made some personal New Year’s resolutions already. Hit the gym more often. Lay off the cronuts. Never, ever watch MTV‘s new “The Real World: Ex-Plosion,” even if it is set in San Francisco.

But how about a citywide resolution? May we humbly suggest an important one: However you traverse the city’s streets – be it in a car, on a bicycle or using your own two feet – calm down. Look around. Pay attention. Be considerate… (more)

We are pleased to see that the politicians are starting to pay attention to the animosity between people that is leading to bad behavior and bad reactions to that behavior. Too much stress over traffic jams and disappearing parking spots is leading to conflicts between motor vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. We agree. Everyone needs to calm down. We are feeling a lot calmer now that our city officials are listening to us. The Supervisors stopped the expansion on parking meters and the Mayor wants to stop charging for Sunday parking. Just knowing that our voices are heard relieves some of the stress and has a calming effect.
I am ready to live and let live. Now let’s stop the programs for eliminating parking and traffic lanes and I will be really calm and friendly.

Make Muni a priority in sweeping transportation plan

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

While praising the transportation plan released last month by his hand-picked Transportation Task Force, Mayor Ed Lee, in an opinion article in The San Francisco Examiner, correctly noted that San Francisco “needs and deserves a world-class transportation system.”

Yes it does. So does every city.

But that begs the question, “How do we get there from here?”

The inconvenient truth is that unless the recently released task force plan, as well as San Francisco’s disorganized and wasteful transportation-priority process and dysfunctional San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, all change significantly, we won’t get there.

The task force’s plan would raise $2.955 billion, a portion of which would come pursuant to voter approval in November of a general-obligation bond issue and local vehicle license fee increase. Forty-nine percent of the amount raised would go to Muni, 23 percent to street maintenance and repair, 23 percent to bicycle facilities and street enhancement, and the rest to an assortment of projects of varying degrees of usefulness…

The following changes would help bring about the transportation system San Francisco needs and deserves:

The task force plan should be overhauled. If a more acceptable plan were subsequently put together, at least 75 percent of the funding should go to well-conceived, well-defined and cost-effective Muni improvements geared toward moving Muni riders through The City quickly and efficiently. An additional 10 percent should go to the long-delayed Caltrain extension. Up to 10 percent (assuming the absence of other available funding sources) should go to street repair and maintenance.

Unrepresentative and mostly inexperienced individuals should not be permitted to define San Francisco’s transportation future.

Proposed infrastructure improvements should be thoroughly vetted and scrutinized before being included in large funding programs.

To provide for more effective oversight of SFMTA policies and actions, the SFMTA board of directors should be directly elected by the voters of San Francisco. To allow the SFMTA and its transportation director to focus more effectively on San Francisco’s public-transit systems, the administration of bicycle facilities, pedestrian enhancements and street beautification should be returned to the Planning Department. For similar reasons, taxi management should be placed under a separate taxi director reporting directly to the SFMTA board.

Judy Berkowitz and Denise D’Anne are members of the group Save Muni. This message was also endorsed by the following Save Muni members: Barry Eisenberg, Joan Wood, Gerald Cauthen, Bernie Meyerson, Rick Hauptman and Bob Feinbaum… (more)

We appreciate the decisiveness of the parties and the plan to move forward in a positive manner.

Everyone is trying to come up with solutions for fixing the Muni, going around in circles, and coming up short. Now we have a viable solution to discus. Many people feel the responsibility for “doing it all” is leaving us with too little accomplished well. An elected, more focused board, should be better equipped than what we have now.

Mayor’s “State of the City” Offers Tepid Support for Vision Zero

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The mayor’s “State of the City” speech last Friday was a major opportunity for Ed Lee to call for the changes needed to sharply reduce traffic deaths in San Francisco. Lee did endorse the Vision Zero goal, though it wasn’t exactly a full-throated call to action. He also re-affirmed his desire to repeal metered parking on Sundays, ignoring the benefits reported by the SFMTA… (more)

This is the SF Bicycle Coalition slant on everything these days. No matter what anyone does it is never enough for them. People are getting tired of it. Hopefully some fresh attitudes will come out during the next election that will take a truly balanced approach to transportation and we can return to a more civilized way of life.

Does anyone remember when we use to live and let live?