SF Green Cab Business On the Edge of Collapse

By : MissionLocal – excerpt

Mission-based Green Cab’s 16 cabs are currently idle because they cannot find an SFMTA-approved insurance company willing to write them a policy and if they don’t find one in the next couple of weeks, the seven-year-old company could cease to exist.

“The more time passes the more difficult it is going to be,” said Mark Gruberg, one of the founders of worker-owned company. “To me it’s a bureaucratic Snafu. The situation is dire.”

Green cab’s insurance provider declined to renew its policy because the company has had two bad accidents in the past three years. Moreover, even if they do find an insurer, the SFMTA’s requirement that cab combines have a high rating may still doom its future.

Other smaller taxi companies could face the same problem in coming months as its policies are also set to expire, Gruberg said… (more)

Transit Oriented Development’s Dirty Secret

planningforreality – excerpt

An innocent reader interested in learning about transit oriented development projects would have learned from official county and city sources that one of the major justifications was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Here is a selection of the justifications made to justify a number of projects in Marin:

The County of Marin told us in official documents that Priority Development Areas would “lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions”

– The Larkspur Station Area plan public workshop presentation told us that we should add 920 units of high density housing in order to “minimize greenhouse gas emissions”

– The SMART’s train’s measure Q, climate change whitepaper and final Environmental Impact Report told us that it would “fight global warming”

IPCC CoverBut what if none of this turned out to be true? What if all of these projects actually increased emissions? What if the claims that “if we don’t build high density here then we’d increase emissions by building sprawl elsewhere?” rang hollow? Then shouldn’t we re-evaluate all those projects based on the new information? After all the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated unambiguously that the climate change crisis has become so significant that we can’t continue with business as usual(more)

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Caution! This is a Completely Hypothetical Exercise that could become Reality

motorists.org – excerpt
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB) recently put on a presentation titled “The Science behind Sustainable Communities Strategies.” The stated goal was to provide “an objective review of the empirical evidence on how effective various transportation and land use strategies are at reducing vehicle miles traveled (and thus greenhouse gas emissions).” A representative from one of the NMA’s allied organizations in California, Robin Cole with the Association of California Car Clubs, attended and provides us with a first-hand account below.
Robin’s comments remind us of how hostile urban planners are toward automobiles as they spread their vision of densely populated urban areas where cars are seen as a threat. Robin notes that the presenter, Dr. Susan Handy with the University of California—Davis, relied mostly on assumptions, not facts, to support her claims. This approach reminds us of the rationale for mandating the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) during the Arab Oil Embargo. The government claimed that lowering highway speed limits would reduce fuel consumption by more than two percent. In reality, the reduction was less than half a percent, yet it took more than 20 years to fully repeal the onerous NMSL…

The bottom-line goal of all of this is to get people out of their vehicles by making it more expensive to drive (gas, parking, tolls, etc.) and by getting people to live near where they work, play, shop, etc… (more)

Wiping Out While Riding the Wave of “Smart Growth”

alerts : motorists – excerpt
Editor’s Note: In a recent e-newsletter we discussed how planners want to remake the urban landscape to discourage automobile travel. But as often happens with such schemes, the law of unintended consequences comes to bear. This is what happened in in Long Beach, California, as described in this first-hand account by a California NMA member.

So-called Smart Growth has already become a reality in my former home, Long Beach, California. For the first six or seven years I lived there, traffic flow through the city was amazing. With freeway access at the east and west ends of the city, and the development oriented along the east-west shoreline, the city had set up alternating one-way streets through downtown. You could get off the freeway even during commute hours and, if you happened to land on the right timing, never have to stop, riding the wave of timed lights all the way across downtown.

If you hit a red light, it would be the first one, but you would then ride that same wave all the way through. You would see the beauty of lights turning green ahead of you, progressing not at the speed limit, but at the higher, yet still cautious and prudent speed that most people actually wanted to drive. It was wondrously efficient, both in time and also fuel- and emissions-minimizing vehicle operation. It turned out that this operation depended on having three one-way lanes on each street.

Then the hippies and totalitarians got together “for the good of mankind.” They reduced the two streets configured this way, which connected the prime business areas with the freeway, to two lanes each, to make room for a dedicated bike lane separated from the car lanes by a wide empty space. This eliminated the ability of the roadway to accommodate any sort of obstruction. Somebody has to slow or stop to make a turn? Commercial vehicle unloading inventory in front of a store?… (more)

Muni Forward Open Houses Kick Off This Week

by Rachel Hyden : sfmta – excerpt

Muni Forward is about making it easier to get around San Francisco—from improving the frequency and reliability of Muni, to making it safer to walk in the city. All of the SFMTA’s plans and projects to provide a more comfortable experience on and around transit are part of Muni Forward. This includes proposals to make transit-priority and pedestrian safety improvements along some of Muni’s busiest routes, like the three routes listed below.

This November we’re kicking off another series of open houses to build on previous outreach events in 2012 and 2014. Our success at improving our transportation system relies on community involvement, so we hope to see you there!

Join us to learn more:

28 19th Avenue
Tonight!

Mercy High School, RistHall
3250 19th Ave San Francisco, CA 94132
Project survey

30 Stockton 
Wednesday, November 12 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Gordon J Lau Elementary School
950 Clay Street San Francisco, CA 94108
Project survey

8X Bayshore Express
Wednesday, November 19 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Crocker Amazon Playground, Multi-Purpose Room
799 Moscow St San Francisco, CA 94112
Project survey

These are just the first of many open houses we’ll be hosting throughout the city, so continue to check www.muniforward.com to find out when we’ll be coming to your community and to sign-up for e-mail updates.

Can’t join us for the above meetings? Complete the project survey located on each project’s webpage or attend a follow-up public meeting on these projects planned for early 2015… (more)

S.F. voters framed the problems, now must work on solutions

By Corey D. Cook : sfgate – excerpt

…What is most striking about Tuesday’s San Francisco election is not what was resolved but what voters said and what remains to be done. I would suggest that we view this election more as prologue to further public discussion and decision-making rather than conclusion…

Surveys over the past year indicated that San Franciscans came into this election strikingly ambivalent — generally favorable about the state of the economy and positive about the performance of our elected officials but anxious about the future of the city. The top concerns: the high and rising cost of housing; inadequate public transportation; maintaining high quality public schools, and addressing homelessness. This ambivalence resulted in voters overwhelmingly re-electing incumbents (with few exceptions) and expressing clear priorities if not clear prescriptions on policy. What we learned…

S.F. voters framed the problems, now must work on solutions

Election night is a great spectacle. It starts with seemingly endless possibilities that narrow as the number of precincts reporting ticks upward. By the end, the returns sort winners from losers and anoint those to be celebrated. Then it is immediately on to the next election in our cycle of perpetual political campaigns. Reportedly, the ABC National Exit Poll included questions about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s prospects in the 2016 election. I’m just a political scientist, but I thought the idea was to ask people what they did, not what they think they will do two years from now. While the horse-race approach provides drama, it overemphasizes the contests — and vastly overstates the decisiveness of the outcomes.

So it is with the local elections. What is most striking about Tuesday’s San Francisco election is not what was resolved but what voters said and what remains to be done. I would suggest that we view this election more as prologue to further public discussion and decision-making rather than conclusion.

Surveys over the past year indicated that San Franciscans came into this election strikingly ambivalent — generally favorable about the state of the economy and positive about the performance of our elected officials but anxious about the future of the city. The top concerns: the high and rising cost of housing; inadequate public transportation; maintaining high quality public schools, and addressing homelessness. This ambivalence resulted in voters overwhelmingly re-electing incumbents (with few exceptions) and expressing clear priorities if not clear prescriptions on policy. What we learned:…

On inadequate public transportation:Voters considered Proposition A, a $500 million Transportation and Road Improvement Bond; Proposition B, an increase in the funding set-aside for the Municipal Railway indexed to population growth; and Proposition L, a reversal of the city’s “transit first” policy to advance driving-friendly approaches to parking, transportation funding and traffic. Take away: In overwhelmingly approving Props. A and B and in rejecting Prop. L (all by more than 20 points) voters reaffirmed their commitment to a “transit first” policy. Now the discussion will revolve around the necessary steps of public investment in transportation infrastructure… (more)

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2 Investigates: Company issues private parking tickets despite warning to stop

2 investigates : KTVU2News – excerpt

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (KTVU) — 2 Investigates exposed a Canadian company issuing its own parking tickets at an Emeryville lot, despite warnings from the city that private businesses are not legally allowed to give citations. Impark, which operates lots across North America, argues that the company-issued ticketsare not technically citations, but “notices” of a debt owed to the corporation by drivers who violate their parking terms or overstay their meters.

Frustrated customers contacted 2 Investigates after receiving $60 tickets from Impark at a metered, privately-owned parking lot near Emeryville’s Bay Street shopping district. The so-called E-meter lot is located underneath the main parking structure east of Bay Street, which is accessible from Christie Avenue. The upper levels of the lot require drivers to take a ticket from an automated machine, drive through a barrier gate, and pay parking fees upon exiting. But the E-meter lot, located in a loading zone beneath the main structure, does not offer drivers timed parking slips. Instead, drivers who park there pay coin-only meters.

Impark’s spokesman said the company was hired to enforce parking regulations in the structure by Bay Street’s property management company, Madison Marquette.

Overstepping legal bounds?

Impark said that when drivers who park at the lots they manage overstay the meter time or don’t pay at all, the company issues a “notice for payment.” The company insists the demand for money is not a citation. But Emeryville’s City Attorney Michael Biddle disagreed. He told 2 Investigates that the company appears to be overstepping its legal bounds…. (more)

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7 On Your Side: You may not have to pay these parking tickets
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) —
When a city parking enforcement officer writes you a ticket, there is no question you have to pay. However, what about getting a ticket from these those that don’t work for the city? 7 On Your Side found out there are some people employed by private companies writing tickets in private parking lots… (more)

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