Injury concern prompts Muni to remove over 1,400 seats

: sfexaminer – excerpt

Having trouble finding a seat on Muni?

Sitting down on a San Francisco bus has long been a struggle, but over the past year, more than 1,400 seats have been eliminated from The City’s coaches.

Following a warning from its bus manufacturer, New Flyer, Muni disabled seats on 717 buses in its fleet, said spokesman Paul Rose of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni. And since there are now two conjoined seats per bus locked upright, 1,434 seats are gone…

New Flyer prompted the move with a red-flag warning about the seats.

“There have been three hard-braking incidents where passengers were ejected from these forward facing seats and sustained quadriplegic injuries,” New Flyer wrote in a December 2013 bulletin to its clients, which include many transit systems nationwide… (more)

 Just bring your own seat if you want to site on Muni.

San Diego Sued for Putting in a Bike Lane

by : la.streetsblog – excerpt

A lawsuit filed last week in San Diego [PDF] claims that the city did an inadequate CEQA analysis for a recent road diet and new bike lane on a stretch of Fifth Avenue.

The city’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for a bike lane on that section of the street, and lists it as a priority project. A recently completed water main repair there, followed by repaving, gave the impetus to restripe it and, in the process, the city removed one lane of traffic and added a wide, buffered bike lane…

It’s depressingly reminiscent of the 2006 lawsuit against San Francisco’s bike plan, which caused the city to delay putting in any bike facilities, including bike racks, for four years while it completed an expensive Environmental Impact Report that came to the same conclusions the city had reached without the report: that bike facilities do not create a significant environmental impact.

This lawsuit makes claims similar to those in the San Francisco suit, saying that traffic congestion will worsen, and that vehicles will be diverted to other local streets.

Unfortunately, the state’s Office of Planning and Research has not yet completed its guidance on S.B. 743, under which vehicle congestion will be removed from the list of environmental impacts that need analysis.

The city is trying to do what the state mandated in its Complete Streets Act [PDF] that requires cities to “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.”… (more)

San Diego residents should come to SF to see the worst possible outcome of street diets and badly designed bike lanes. Driver down third street at night in the pouring rain and try to figure out what is happening to the street lanes as they weave in and out of the bike and light rail lanes, without warning. (What happened to merging traffic signs?) Then do yourself a favor and LEAVE THE STREETS ALONE if you want the safest solution.

Political push needed for reopening bridge lane

By Dick Spotswood : marinij – excerpt

A gullible public is frequently told regarding proposed legislation and general plan changes something to the effect of, “Don’t worry. It’s just a plan. The proposal isn’t an authorization to do anything specific.”

While literally true, the whole truth is that such moves are often time bombs. When they finally explode, we hear, “That was done years ago. It can’t be changed. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Here’s another example demonstrating that intense scrutiny is needed when we hear that a new law or a change in a planning document is just a flexible guideline…

MTC effectively is saying that for motorists to get the third traffic lane reopened, that project must be simultaneously coupled with construction of a hugely expensive trans-bay bikeway. Not only is it expensive, the bike segment will take years to design, obtain environmental permits and then build…

The argument is based on Section 888.2 of the California Streets and Highways Code.

Enacted in 1993, it mandates that the Department of Motor Vehicles shall “incorporate nonmotorized transportation facilities in the design of freeways on the state highway system along corridors where nonmotorized facilities do not exist, upon a finding that the facilities would conform to the California Recreational Trails System Plan … or upon a finding, following a public hearing, that the facilities would conform to the master plans of local agencies for the development of nonmotorized facilities and would not duplicate existing or proposed routes, and that community interests would be enhanced by the construction of the facilities.”…

It’s a bad law that needs to be amended. Under its language, all that needs to be shown is that vague “community interests would be enhanced.”

Even strictly interpreting the statute, there’s nothing in it prohibiting Caltrans or MTC from “decoupling” the lane reopening from the bikeway.

The proper strategy is to first reopen the third auto lane and then, if the law can’t be changed, build the bikeway.

Marin’s representative on MTC’s board, Supervisor Steve Kinsey, has joined the call for decoupling the two projects. So far that has not led to any action.

Kinsey could do much for his 2016 re-election chances if he can convince his colleagues, and more importantly MTC’s powerful executive director Steve Heminger, to promptly decouple the auto lane effort from the bike project and get traffic moving again… (more)

This is a perfect example of how the lobbies control Sacramento, and why the voters need to take it back.

RELATED:
Taxpayers paying for bike riders’ ‘entertainment’?   Since you are printing many letters from the bicycle advocates, and not many of us take the time to comment, I have appreciated all of Dick Spotswood’s informative columns. He is very astute and tells it like it is… The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been taken over by the bicycle lobby and has managed to tie all new improvements to our highways, railways and bridges to demands for multi-million-dollar bicycle paths that are used by few, if any commuters… Bike coalition needs to get riders to obey the law…

 

Golden Gate Transit to 5 year olds: pay up

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Bay Area system forcing the change

Five-year-olds who previously have boarded Golden Gate Transit buses for free may have to cough up a youth fare beginning next year.

It’s not that Golden Gate Transit is targeting the children for added revenue, rather it’s a result of a larger Bay Area transportation bureaucracy that determines who pays fares and at what age, officials say.

Traditionally Golden Gate Transit has those 6 through 18 pay a half-price youth fare on buses. Those who are 5 and under ride for free when with an adult. Fares are based on length of travel.

But with the introduction of the Clipper transit card in the Bay Area in recent years, there has been a push by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the Bay Area transportation planning agency — to standardize who is considered a youth… (more)

Someone needs to check their facts on this one. All youth do not pay to ride the Muni in SF. Vote on the poll at the source.

Nutting out the nuttiness of bike-car relations

: the age – excerpt

Cyclists and motorists are like the Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq – they share the same territory but just can’t get on. However, the schism twixt Australian cyclists and motorists is more baffling, because many of them are one and the same. Most cyclists also drive cars, many motorists also ride bikes, so just what happens mentally when a cycling motorist spits the dummy over a motoring cyclist is a challenge for any psychiatric conference…

Cyclists and motorists are like the Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq – they share the same territory but just can’t get on. However, the schism twixt Australian cyclists and motorists is more baffling, because many of them are one and the same. Most cyclists also drive cars, many motorists also ride bikes, so just what happens mentally when a cycling motorist spits the dummy over a motoring cyclist is a challenge for any psychiatric conference.

Our psychiatric conference might examine the grudge factor at play here – cyclists and motorists share the same territory, yet cyclists pay no registration fees and they carry no visible ID like a car registration plate, so the errant cyclist can pedal off with impunity. This disparity is accentuated when the motorist is sitting in a traffic jam – say, in Alexandra Parade, waiting eternally for the East-West Link to be built – and sees cyclists breezily pedalling past. Grrr. Shades of someone elbowing in to a queue ahead of you. At times like these the more educated of these log-jammed petrol-heads might mutter unkindly about Karl Drais, the 19th-century German baron who, with his chief game-keeper Otto Shillinger, is credited with inventing the first two-wheeler, a device nicknamed the dandy-horse and patented in January 1818. This was at least 70 years before first car appeared, so the baron would never have envisaged the 21st-century conflict between horsepower and dandy-horse.

Back to our conference. While nutting out the nuttiness of bike-car relations, the shrinks should surely take note of the strange configurations that road authorities provide for the warring tribes…

Fact is, any collection of shrinks would go nuts trying to fathom the leapfrogging mindsets as pedestrian switches to motorist to cyclist to pedestrian again. I twigged to the inherent paradox of bicycle safety in the 1980s, after interviewing cycling legend Sir Hubert Opperman at his home in Wantirna. I recall his wife, Lady Oppy, showing me the indoor cycle machine she had bought the knight after becoming concerned at his safety on the increasingly congested roads. A few years after we published that interview I read that Oppy had died. At 92, he had a heart attack while pedalling on his indoor cycling machine… (more)

This Aussie put the bike v car conundrum rather well.

Bridge panel votes to keep rods, bolts in place on eastern span

By Jaxon Van Derbeken : sfgate – excerpt

A Bay Bridge oversight panel voted Friday to leave more than 2,000 potentially problematic rods and bolts in place on the new eastern span, rejecting a metallurgist’s attack on the $20 million testing program that vouched for their safety as unmerited.

The unanimous decision by the three-member Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee appears to lay to rest one of the biggest uncertainties hanging over the $6.4 billion project — whether hundreds of the steel fasteners will have to be replaced at toll-payers’ expense.

After 32 high-strength, galvanized rods broke in March 2013, Caltrans created a testing program to determine whether the remaining zinc-coated fasteners on the bridge were similarly at risk.

The rods and bolts anchor the bridge’s main cable to the road deck, secure it to the top of the tower and hold down structures designed to keep the bridge from swaying excessively in an earthquake… (more)

32 cracked so far. We know the design is not approved and now we get the message that the rest of the rods that are sitting in water corroding don’t need to be replaced? Who can you trust to build and maintain our bridges these days?

Can we get the names of the the three-members on the  Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee?

Which is more important? Keeping the decorative lights on the bridge or making the bridge safe?

RELATED:
Latest defect: Bay Bridge tower rods sitting in water

E2 Anchor Rods – on the Bay Bridge

baybridgeinfo – excerpt

BATA Presentation on Bay Bridge Delay July 2013

Overview

The eastern pier of the Self-Anchored Suspension Span contains seismic devices called bearings and shear keys. The bearings allow the road-decks to move slightly during a seismic event, while the shear keys prevent the decks from moving too much. The four bearings (two beneath each deck) and four shear keys (one beneath each deck and two beneath the cross beam connecting the decks) are bolted between the roadways and a concrete cap beam with steel anchor rods. When 96 rods were tightened to connect two shear keys to the cap beam in March 2013, 32 broke.

The rods could not be tightened until the completion of load transfer, the process of shifting the weight of the suspension span from the temporary supports to the main cable. The process was completed in late 2012.

There are a total of 288 3-inch diameter rods, which range in length from 9 to 24 feet, anchoring the bases of the seismic devices to the top of the cap beam. Each bearing has 24 rods, and each shear key has 48.

Broken rods

On March 1, workers began stressing the 96 rods fabricated in 2008 for the two shear keys; between March 8 and March 15, 32 fractured rods were discovered.

Engineers and metallurgists have determined that the bolts broke due to hydrogen embrittlement, which requires a source of excess hydrogen, susceptible material and tension. Ongoing metallurgical analysis revealed that the bolts were susceptible due to the steel being harder on the outside than in the middle, or a lack of uniformity in the steel’s microstructure. The steel also showed low toughness and marginal ductility (the ability to stretch).

The excess hydrogen caused the threaded areas to become brittle and fracture under high tension when the bolts were tightened. An ongoing investigation is looking into the source of the excess hydrogen, which may have been both internal (i.e. residual from production) and/or external… (more)

Smart Cities”/Stupid Cities—Walking is a “Technology”

By Stephen Frank : capoliticalreview – excerpt

I have three grand daughters, ages 5,2 and 1. All have learned how to walk, naturally. They lifted themselves up, and then eventually took steps, holding on to things. Finally, walking and running on their own. No computers, no fancy equipment, no high tech needed to learn to walk. But, if you live in a nutty “smart city” you will learn they you need to relearn how to walk via “technology of walking”. Someone is making a bundle out of what Jon Gruber would call “the stupid Americans”.

“In today’s auto-centric culture, the operative question for local and regional leaders as well as transportation planners is this: How do we address the growing list of public externalities ensuing from America’s perceived love affair with cars? Traffic congestion, parking demand, environmental issues, and more garner concern as today’s built environments increase in size and complexity.

Shifting this current trajectory necessitates a new mindset—one requiring city leaders to think more like engineers and behavioral psychologists and less like regulators. Amid this is a new trend that promises to accelerate the movement toward more sustainable ways of getting people from point A to point B.”

Fancy phrase for outlawing cars in dumb cities. Will we allow billions meant for roads to be spent on money losing choo choo trains, horse and walking trails and bike lanes? Apparently we are… (more)

Well put. It is good to see someone pointing out that the emperor is naked. Let’s take the money out of walking. Make walking free for all.

Ed Reiskin Refuses to Comply with the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council, So Let’s Run a Trial on Masonic Ourselves

sfcitizen – excerpt

Here’s the Citizens Advisory Council’s recommendation that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, has refused:

“Motion 140122.01 – The SFMTA CAC recommends that the peak hour restrictions be repealed on Masonic Avenue between Geary and Fell Streets, with the objective to measure traffic impacts on the 43 Masonic prior to the implementation of the Masonic Avenue street design project.”

Why did he do that? Well, because a “success” for him is the SFMTA spending the money it’s been given to spend. So why should he do anything to interfere with that when he’s in the red zone already?

Anywho, you can read what he has to say about a test-run after the jump.

In view of this, let’s run a Masonic “streetscape” trial of our own, shall we?

Let’s start here, northbound, on the 3000 foot stretch of Masonic that will soon be changed: … (more)

SFMTA Agrees To Dismiss (Some) Tickets Issued Even After They Said They Weren’t Enforcing Meters

sfist.com

“ATTN: No meter enforcement today,” the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency tweeted Thursday morning. The official Twitter account for the City of San Francisco followed suit, tweeting “No Parking Meter Enforcement Today Due to #sfstorm.” Heck, we even reported it, quoting a Bay City News report in which SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said that “parking control officers are more focused on keeping traffic moving and keeping people safe.”

But apparently not all of them had the same focus, as some drivers who didn’t feed the meter yesterday still got tickets, much to their dismay…

Well, that’s certainly frustrating, as that reader will not be one of the alleged nine who will have their slips dismissed. My advice to him, as dissatisfying as it is: Start the dispute process (now available, kind of, online) now, go take a picture of the parking space, and print out those tweets.

And, for the rest of you — watch the mail for those dismissals. And let me know if you don’t get ’em, OK?… (more)

Need more proof that you can’t trust the SFMTA?

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