SF’s War on Motorists

By Former Supervisor Tony Hall : westsideobserver – excerpt

My last column dealt with the foolishness of some of our City “leaders” who want to narrow some of our streets and procure smaller and less equipped emergency response vehicles, all at the expense of Public Safety.

… 79% of San Francisco households who own or lease a motor vehicle have been the target of bad transportation policy for the past 15 years, as determined by the radicals who have taken over the SFMTA Board and espouse a “car-less” San Francisco…”
In this column, I want to encourage you to consider supporting the initiative Restoring Transportation Balance, (web stie: http://www.restorebalance14.org), which is a Declaration of Policy calling for the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and the SFMTA Board to restore transportation balance, as opposed to their current “Transit and Bicycle Only” Policy….

Not only are motorists and their passengers under attack, but also the City’s War on Motorists has caused collateral damage, adversely affecting a broad cross section of San Franciscans, for example, first responders such as police, fire and medical services, whose response times have increased due to difficulty navigating the City’s re-engineered and narrowed streets. Seniors and disabled who depend upon automobile transportation are finding it increasingly difficult to get around the City and have lost hundreds of white and blue curbs and the ability to get curb to curb service because of bike lanes. Small businesses and merchants operating on a 1% to 3% profit margin are losing money because their customers can’t find nearby parking, and instead shop in Daly City or Tanforan. Families can’t drive their kids to school on a timely basis because of the City’s re-engineered streets, traffic calming obstacles, increased traffic congestion and slower commute times. Even members of the Faith Based Community have to look at their watches repeatedly rather than worship unimpeded for fear that their cars may be ticketed or towed…

Tony Hall served twice as Supervisor for District 7… (more)

Republicans and a Tech Billionaire Want to Make San Francisco More Car-Friendly


Over the past few years, San Francisco has become one of the nation’s more bicycle-friendly cities, reserving roads for pedal pushers, turning parking spaces into pop-up parks, and raising meter rates and parking fines on drivers who still insist on braving the city’s increasingly bike-congested streets.

Now comes the backlash….

The Restore Transportation Balance initiative calls for a five-year freeze on parking rates at public garages and meters as well as on parking ticket fees. It also would prohibit new parking meters in neighborhoods absent a request by a majority of affected households and businesses. The nonbinding measure’s backers also want representatives of drivers and the disabled to be appointed to the city’s transit authority board.

“Over the last 10 years, San Francisco’s moved in a really progressive direction in terms of transit prioritization, parking reform, and bicycling,” said Gabriel Metcalf, the executive director of SPUR, a San Francisco urban policy think tank. “What we’re seeing now is the right-wing backlash against those measures.”

Indeed, it was the city’s move in January 2013 to impose parking meter fees on Sundays that prompted the formation of Restore Transportation Balance, according to Jason Clark, a leader of the group and vice president of the Log Cabin Club of San Francisco. (The city rescinded Sunday metering in April.)…

“A group of us got together and said, ‘We’re really mad,’ then crunched some numbers,” said Clark. “Since 2009, parking fines have gone up 40 percent.”

“The city has been crushing people who choose to drive,” he added. “They’ve been enacting punitive measures.”…

Clark, who said he doesn’t own a car and takes the bus every day, counters that the measure—funded with a $49,000 donation from Parker and $10,000 from the San Francisco Republican Party—gathered 17,500 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Its supporters include business owners, neighborhood groups, and civic leaders…. (more)

Sean Parker, Bicycle Hater?
Next for Napster’s Parker: Politics social network

BART Criticized For Not Advertising Four Openings On Its Board Of Directors

By Margie Shafer : cbslocal – excerpt

OAKLAND (KCBS)— BART is facing criticism for not publicizing that filings are now open for the transit agency’s Board of Directors. One East Bay city councilman is hoping there are interested people so incumbents don’t run unopposed.

The councilman from Orinda, Steve Glazer, speaking for himself, points out there is no notification that July 14 is the opening date for filing for three weeks for those seeking a BART board of directors’ position…

Glazer has been an outspoken critic of the ability of BART workers to strike, but has also called the board of director’s an “insider’s club”. Glazer is not seeking a board seat..

There are four board seats out of nine that are up in November’s election. In past elections a number of BART board director seats had only one candidate running for office… (more)

Siemens selected for San Francisco LRV order

by  railjournal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) has recommended awarding a contract worth up to $US 1.2bn to Siemens for up to 260 S200 SF LRVs, which will replace the city’s ageing Breda trams and expand the fleet for the opening of the Central Subway line.

SFMTA’s board of directors is expected to approve the contract today and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to give its own approval in September.

The first prototype vehicle will be delivered in December 2016 and a further 23 units are due to arrive by 2018… (more)

The lack of seats on these cars will make these cars difficult for the elderly and the disabled to use them. Hope that means the SFMTA has future plans for a lot more ADA-friendly vehicles.

MUNI employees ratify SFMTA contract

railwayage – excerpt

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said Tuesday, July 15, 2014 that “Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Municipal Railway (MUNI) transit operators, voted to ratify a new three-year agreement that increases wages, strengthens pension benefits, and is in line with the budget needs of the agency.”… (more)

San Francisco to study dropping speed limit to 20 mph for pedestrian safety

By : sfbg – excerpt

As a part of a citywide effort to eliminate all pedestrian deaths by 2024 San Francisco will study the impact of reducing speed limits to 20 mph.

“This is a reasonable issue to look into to making San Francisco streets safer,” Supervisor Eric Mar said, in a statement. “There is too much excellent work and research going into it nationally and internationally to ignore.” 

The study was proposed by Mar as part of Vision Zero – a Swedish concept adopted by San Francisco at the behest of Supervisor Jane Kim earlier this year. The initiative aims to reduce pedestrian deaths to zero within ten years, with a focus on educating drivers, engineering roads for safety and enforcing traffic laws (which the SFPD agreed to reform ealrier this year). Data from the study should be available in early fall…

Lauterborn said even if the study shows a 20 mph speed limit would be beneficial, there are state laws that might prevent SF from lowering the speed limit. Local governments can only set the speed limit lower than 25mph on streets smaller than 25 feet wide or in business, residential, or school zones. To lower the speed limit to 20mph on a street like Sunset, the city would likely need state permission… (more)

“…To lower the speed limit to 20mph on a street like Sunset, the city would likely need state permission…”

San Francisco to Study Lowering Speed Limit to 20 mph

Motorists fight back

By Steven T. Jones : sfbg – excerpt

Ballot measure seeks to prioritize cars and undermine SF’s “transit-first” policy

Believing that they’re somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs last week [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the “Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco” initiative for the November ballot….

“I think it’s been building for a long, long, long time, but the real catalyst was the Sunday and holiday parking meters,” political consultant David Looman — the 74-year-old Bernal Heights resident who is one of three official proponents of the measure — said of the motorist anger that led to the campaign. “That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.”…

“The bike lobby is running transportation policy in San Francisco,” Looman said, even though motorists “are the overwhelming majority and we make this society run.” He said the city needs to do more to facilitate driving “so the economy can continue to function, so people can continue to shop.”… (more)

As with No Walls on the Waterfront, the voters will decide.

There are cities with transportation systems that work. San Francisco is not one of those. If the lack of parking doesn’t get your attention, the traffic jams do. We went from a city that you could reasonably get around in via Muni, car, or BART to a city that is paralyzed by a traffic management system that has spent billions of taxpayer dollars destroying what used to work well for everyone. SF is now has the second or fourth worse traffic in the country, depending on which poll you read.

Listen to the voices of the Directors of the MTA Board, most of whom are members of the SF Bicycle Coalition, to see what their priorities are. Read the agendas and you will see that most of their time and energy goes to figuring out how to oppress motorists and very little attention goes to solving Muni operations issues. They relish the thought of handing over each public parking spots to private corporations and “sharing the profits”.

Read the job listings and you will see far more opportunities for planners, engineers, meter minders, contractors and consultants than for Muni drivers and mechanics.

The city claims Muni is broke but SFMTA can’t buy enough bulbouts, bike lanes, BRTs and road diets. The plan is to sell voters a $500 million dollar bond to finance the capital improvements. Go to your neighborhood SFMTA show to see what they have planned for you. There are plans to tear down the 280 freeway and fill in the separated section of Geary that passes by Fillmore. Good luck getting to General Hospital in an emergency after they install a greenway in the middle of Potrero, guaranteeing a traffic jam during rush hours.

If you trust the SFMTA to get it right in 2030 when it isn’t working in 2014, and given their plans for more of the same, vote against the Restore Transportation Balance initiative in November. If you don’t trust the SFMTA to fix anything vote YES on the Restore Transportation Balance initiative. http://www.restorebalance14.org/