Car Owners Strike Back

By : sfhog – excerpt

For the last couple of years, car owners have sat quietly watching their streets narrow to make way for bike lanes, transit lanes and parklets.  They’ve also seen parking lots dwindle, parking fines increase, and parking meters expand throughout the city.  Battle lines were recently drawn with the “Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco” ballot measure submitted to the Department Of Elections last week.  This new measure aims to curb parking fee increases, direct SFMTA funds into new parking garages, and achieve better representation for motorists in the SFMTA.  Pending approval, the ballot measure will be voted upon in the General Election this November… (more)


Oakland merchants seek help as bus lanes limit car traffic

By Will Kane : sfgate – excerpt

You can’t sell dishwashers to people who ride the bus, Oakland merchant Vincente Soto said.

And when Oakland closes half the lanes of car traffic along International Boulevard from downtown to the San Leandro BART Station and replaces them with a bus-only transit lane in the next few years, Soto said his customers won’t be able to drive to his store, or find parking.

“My customers will be competing with residents for the parking spaces around here,” Soto said through a translator. “The residents will be taking my customers’ spaces.”…

Transit advocates say the bus lanes, called bus rapid transit, or BRT, will speed the commute along busy, congested International and offer a local, neighborhood alternative to BART… (more)

This sounds like a familiar argument used everywhere for establishing BRTs. How many alternatives do people need or want? The locals contend with fears that the rents “might go up.” You can bet on that.


Tow truck regulations limited by appeals court

By Bob Egelko : sfgate – excerpt

The ruling means S.F. can charge license fees only to companies whose main office is in the city – even though other firms can still tow cars here. Photo: Chris Hardy, SFC

A state appeals court has limited San Francisco’s authority to regulate tow trucks, saying a city can license and collect fees only from towing companies located within its borders.

San Francisco, like many cities in California, requires tow truck companies and drivers to get permits and pay fees in order to do business in the city, regardless of where they are headquartered. The California Tow Truck Association challenged the city’s regulations and won a ruling Wednesday from the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

A 1985 state law allows local authorities to license and regulate towing companies whose “principal place of business or employment is within the jurisdiction of the local authority.” That means San Francisco can charge license fees only to companies whose main office is in the city, the court said.

The Legislature clearly “intended that the regulation come from a single local jurisdiction” rather than the multiple cities where the trucks might be sent, said Justice Maria Rivera in the 3-0 decision….

San Francisco could ask the state Supreme Court to review the ruling. City Attorney Dennis Herrera‘s office declined to comment…  (more)

Cubic Transportation Systems Receives $7.5 Million Contract Add-on from Metropolitan Transportation Commission to Expand Clipper Card to Smaller Bay Area Transit Agencies

PRWEB : digitaljournal – excerpt

Cubic Transportation Systems, a leading integrator of information technology and payment systems and services for public transportation, received a $7.5 million add-on contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to expand the Clipper® card fare payment system to more than a dozen suburban transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area. The system, which Cubic delivered and operates, will enhance travel options for commuters in parts of the East and North Bay… (more)

Did anyone else catch the suggestion by one of the MTA Board Directors to hold off on some of the tech expenses? Clearly he was ignored. This is $7.5 million dollars for more tech and less for Muni service expansion.


Rail supplier news from Cubic, Alstom, Wasatch, BBVA, Splunk, RSI, REMSA and Parsons Brinckerhoff (April 24)

“Let’s take a hard look at late night transit options” Says Supe, Forms Working Group

Sasha Lekach : Bay City News – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a resolution at this afternoon’s Board of Supervisors meeting to form a late night transportation working group that will create a plan to improve after-hours public transit in the region.

Earlier this month, Wiener convened a hearing at the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development Committee with select city agencies, entertainment and nightlife advocates, transportation officials as well as late night and early morning workers and employers to discuss the apparent dearth of late travel options.

Wiener has called for better and safer after-hours service, especially since BART and the San Francisco Municipal Railway do not run 24 hours.

He said there are limited public transit options for late night workers and residents and visitors leaving bars and other nightlife venues.

The supervisor said after the hearing it was determined that economical options such as transbay bus service and Muni late night OWL service is sporadic and not well publicized for late night travelers… (more)

How much time and money will the city spend to avoid the obvious solution to the late night transportation that cost the city nothing? Private cars and cabs work fine and are the safest transportation at night.

Local news Calling all cars … San Francisco motorists call for “transportation balance”

As San Francisco has implemented its 40-year-old Transit First policy more assertively in recent years, some car-loving residents have grumbled, fumed and quietly plotted revenge.

Their targets are the politicians and bureaucrats who have visited upon the city such evils as bike lanes, transit-only lanes, variable parking meter rates, higher parking charges and enforcing meters on Sundays (recently revoked).

Now, they’re prepared to unleash their fury. An unnamed coalition of  San Franciscans, including a Republican candidate for Assembly, submitted papers and started collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would establish a nonbinding declaration of policy “restoring transportation balance in San Francisco.”

“We realize that motorists contribute a disproportionate share of the funding to the SFMTA while receiving next to nothing in return,” the coalition said in a statement.

The group acknowledges the Transit First policy, which passed in 1973, but says that 79 percent of city households own cars and nearly 50 percent rely on cars to get to and from work.

“The Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation,” the coalition says in a statement. “Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety and freedom of movement.”

The group’s policy calls for:

  • Prohibiting parking meters on Sundays, holidays and outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Freezing for five years fees for parking meters, garages and residential parking permits, and limiting increases thereafter to inflation adjustments.
  • Banning new parking meters or variable meter pricing in neighborhoods unless a majority of residents sign a petition in support.
  • Earmarking a portion of new parking revenue, fees charges motorists and bond monies for construction and operation of neighborhood parking garages.
  • Requiring that any “re-engineering of traffic flow in the city should aim to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.”
  • Enforcing traffic laws “equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.”
  • Requiring motorists to be appointed to the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, and create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee.
  • Having the Board of Supervisors “make every reasonable effort” to adhere to the policy.

Coalition representatives say they need to gather 9,702 signatures  by July 7 to qualify their measure for the ballot. Look for them at a parking garage near you… (more)

SFMTA’s new bicycle strategy – The SF Bike Coalition wish list


calbike – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new Bicycle Strategy is the state’s most serious look at what it would take to triple bicycling. The SFMTA’s Timothy Papandreou analyzed what it would take to triple cycling to 10% of trips to work, up from a little over 3% today.

He concluded that the existing bike network is comfortable for only 10% of street users and that from $300 million to $500 million would be necessary to build a complete network of protected bikeways to attract tens of thousands of new riders daily.

The strategy has remarkable support across the political spectrum as a necessary means to continue economic growth in a congested city, according to a Streetsblog article on the topic. Its Board of Directors voted to support an investment of nearly $300 million in the next five years, a huge increase over the current funding of less than one half of one percent of its capital budget on bicycling. Sources tell us that new taxes are being considered that will generate the necessary funds and that key decision makers in the government and business communities are supporting dedicating sufficient funds to bicycling improvements in the next few years (more)

Remember this in November when they tell you they need $500 million or whatever to fix the MTA and the potholes.

Remember this voters when you get to vote to raise your vehicle license fees, your sales tax, and take on more public debt by selling more bonds.
According to the California Bicycle Coalition, SFMTA intends to continue spend $300 million on bicycling, not expanded Muni service.

Walking and biking were free when I was a kid. Why are we spending billions of dollars on it now?

Serco is hiring, sort of

jobsbucket – excerpt

Parking Meter Revenue Collector (Trainee) for 12.66 an hour
This job opportunity is made available through the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency – Contract Compliance Office’s Employee Training Program.
Retrieve, deposit, secure, load, unload and move parking meter coin revenue from individual parking meters within designated worksites.
Report and record the condition of parking meters during the collection process.

  • Walks between 4 to 6 miles per day on sidewalks, ascending and descending frequently on uneven and steep streets of San Francisco.
  • Frequently exits and enters the front cab of a truck.
  • Frequently exits and enters the cargo compartment of a truck.
  • Frequently moves coin vaults horizontally from cart to truck conveyer and vice versa weighing up to 150 pounds.
  • Must have a clean criminal record.
  • Basic command of the English language is required.
  • Must be able to follow instructions.

Typically reports to a crew leader, supervisor or manager.
Position Type: Part-Time/Regular. Hours and days are variable. No weekends.
Rate of Pay: $12.66 per hour
Medical, Dental, Vision, 401K, and other benefits are offered, and will start within 30 days of hire. Paid sick leave will start to accrue after 90 days at the rate of 1 hour for every 22 hours worked.
Pre-employment drug screening and background check for candidates that are selected to move forward in the hiring process.
All resumes must be sent to in order to be considered.

Good riddance, Sunday parking meters

By Sean Havey : sfgate – excerpt

Some anticar ideas are too much, even for San Francisco, where policies limiting driving are a near-religion. After an unhappy tryout, the city will stop enforcing parking meters on Sunday. It’s the right end to an unpopular and unfair plan.

Drivers need a break from worrying about the time ticking down on curb slots. There needs to be a day of rest from swarms of meter-minders dispensing tickets that cost $60 or more. Turning Sunday into another cash-producing day irritates everyone, resident and visitor alike.

By canceling meter collections and ticket revenues, the city is giving up $11 million. (Not  according to this article)  But there are bigger targets to aim for. In signaling his opposition, Lee worried that the public’s annoyance with Sunday meters could doom plans in November for a $500 million transit bond and a vehicle license fee boost, designed to provide money for Muni, street improvements and other transit fixes.

These ballot measures may net a reliable and supportable stream of money for public transit, right now starved of dependable support. Even in financially flush times, the city’s mix of fares, fees, fines and general taxes is a patchwork system that’s partly to blame for Muni’s ills that make driving a go-to option.

But the answer shouldn’t be more hazing of vehicle owners in a crowded, expensive city. Drivers already pay into this city’s transit-first programs. Nailing them again undercuts the support the city needs to modernize its streets and transportation system… (more)

SFMTA claims they will not lose any money on the Sunday meters, because they will find other ways to ticket drivers. They treat drivers like their personal ATM machines and then beg for more money for vehicle license fees? Do they think we are fools?

Drivers pay. Muni riders pay. Guess who doesn’t pay.

SF drivers not off the hook on Sundays

2 Investigates: SF drivers not off the hook on Sundays

Cara Lui : KTVU – excerpt

Big changes are coming to San Francisco’s parking enforcement policies.

SFMTA announced this week it was doing away with Sunday metering in the city. But that doesn’t mean drivers are off the hook on Sundays.

Agency spokesperson Paul Rose said you can expect the same number of parking control officers on the roads. They will be focusing on things such as responding to red zone or blocked driveway complaints instead.

“We still feel like we’ll make up the revenue lost by Sunday meters, but we will be able to deploy same parking control officers to respond to quality of life issues,” said Rose.

KTVU has also learned SFMTA issued a total of 1.5 million tickets last year… (more)

We can’t believe anything the SFMTA claims. According to these statements the SFMTA never needed to charge for Sunday parking meters and will not be losing the 6.5 to 11 million dollars they have been claiming.