Night Business: Warning Parties Create Roadblocks for Late-Night Transit

By Rachel Swan: sfweekly – excerpt

When Supervisor Scott Wiener called for a Late Night Transportation Working Group to address the dearth of transportation options for people working graveyard shifts, he envisioned a motley battalion coming together for a noble cause. Labor organizers, cab drivers, car-hire services, public transit agencies, and nightlife employers all have a vested interest in San Franciscans having a safe way home after dark, he thought. And surely they can agree on ways to accomplish that.

But setting up a task force in a sphere as balkanized as transportation might be a tall order. Wiener found that out the hard way, when he convened the first meeting of the disparate interest groups on April 14. He’d invited representatives from all the major transit lines and the app-based Transportation Network Companies. He’d asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to invite drivers and managers of cab companies.

The meeting quickly devolved into bickering over who gets to make decisions and dispense resources in a highly cutthroat market. Wiener had essentially called upon feudal warlords to broker a government peace negotiation… (more)

Expanding taxis and shuttles and allowing private vehicles to use Muni-only lanes after rush hour is the least expensive way to increase transit after hours, but cost and public safety is not a consideration when your number one goal is to force cars off the street, so no doubt the only solution they will consider will costs the city more money.

Castro sidewalk construction hurting neighborhood businesses

By David Stevenson : ktvu – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO —  A plan to widen sidewalks in San Francisco’s Castro District is putting a financial squeeze on some merchants there because of reduced foot traffic and limited parking. 

Construction crews in the neighborhood are more than doubling the size of sidewalks on two blocks of Castro Street.

The goal is to make the district more pedestrian friendly, especially in time for gay pride weekend in June when an additional one million people are expected to flood the city.

Castro Street merchants on Friday told KTVU they appreciate the work being done by the city and construction crews but said many tourists and residents are now avoiding the area.

Gyro Xpress owner Koch Salgut said sales have dropped 60 percent since March when the construction narrowed the sidewalks and made street parking disappear… (more)

Any guesses as to how many of these businesses will survive after the rents go up in the neighborhood? Slowing down a major thoroughfare through a dense neighborhood will slow down response times for emergency vehicles as well.

S.F. supervisor, fire chief clash over street widths

by Marisa Lagos, John Coté : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White is not a fan of Supervisor Scott Wiener‘s plan to limit the width of streets through a new city law that would require city agencies to request permission from the Board of Supervisors to go beyond guidelines.

Wiener and the Fire Department have been at loggerheads for years over fire officials’ reticence to support pedestrian-friendly improvements such as narrower streets and corner bulb-outs, a situation that has boiled over as the city nails down street engineering plans for the new Candlestick and Hunters Point developments.

On Tuesday, Wiener said he was fed up by the department’s insistence that streets in those new developments be 26 feet wide and announced the new legislation. He also asked the board’s budget and legislative analyst to examine whether the Fire Department could use smaller trucks citywide.

Hayes-White said she never agreed to narrower streets, as Wiener charged Tuesday, and that she’s not the only one pushing for the wider roadways: City engineers and experts at the Department of Public Works agree…

It’s not just about getting fire trucks down streets, or navigating corners, she said: It’s also about how the department configures its rigs when they are actually fighting fires. On a 20-foot-wide street, Hayes-White contended, firefighters couldn’t squeeze another truck past if an aerial ladder is there.

Besides, she said, 26 feet is the standard under both state and international fire code… (more)

Now here is your chance to tell the Mayor what your spending priorities are…

Lee is holding an “online budget town hall” meeting Thursday to get public input as the city prepares its next two-year budget in advance of the fiscal year ending June 30.

Sure, San Francisco’s economic recovery is the envy of mayors around the country, but even with tax revenue surging, the city still has real problems to address… (more)

The SF Fire Department is responsible for saving lives and property and nothing else. Who is qualified to tell them how to do that? We put our lives in their hands each time they are called. Slowing down traffic and creating traffic gridlock is adding to their response time and if they don’t object they may be held liable for not doing their jobs. If you feel the SFMTA has done a lousy job of fixing the traffic congestion and parking problems they claim to be working on, join us and let the city officials know you support a Charter Amendment to Fix the MTA:

Supervisor Wiener requests hearing to study need to widen streets
Fire chief says narrow streets requested by supervisor could harm public safety

Supervisor Scott Wiener steps up heat on S.F. Fire Dept.

by Marisa Lagos : sfgate – excerpt

(04-29) 21:54 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Supervisor Scott Wiener has railed for years against the Fire Department‘s opposition to wider sidewalks and narrower streets – and on Tuesday, he declared an all-out war.

At the heart of the debate is a conflict between safety advocates, who want to see physical changes to city streets that make pedestrians safer, and fire officials, who contend their trucks are too big to navigate narrow streets and intersections.

The issue has been brewing for some time, but apparently boiled over because the Fire Department has been pushing for streets at the Hunters Point and Candlestick Point developments to be 26 feet wide, 6 feet more than what’s legally required. On Tuesday, Wiener accused the department of reopening a planning discussion years after neighbors, community leaders and city officials agreed on a development plan… (more)

The SF Fire Department is responsible for saving lives and property and nothing else. Who is qualified to tell them how to do that?  We put our lives in their hands each time they are called. Slowing down traffic and creating traffic gridlock is adding to their response time and if they don’t object they may be held liable for not doing their jobs.

We should all support emergency responders unless we think we can do a better job of putting out our own fires and rescuing ourselves the next time we need help. If you have had enough of people putting our lives in danger to meet their own objectives, tell the city officials you want to amend the Charter to Fix the MTA: