California state bills of concern to motorists

The NMA continues to advocate for motorists’ rights at the national, state and local level. Legislatures across the country took up a broad range of motorists’ issues in the second half of 2014. Here’s a brief summary of the driving-related issues we addressed.

California

Opposed Assembly Bill 1646 which would add a violation point for texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2393 which would increase vehicle registration fees to fund the implementation of an automated fingerprint identification system. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2398 which would establish penalties for a driver convicted of causing bodily injury or great bodily injury to a “vulnerable road user,” defined as a pedestrian, a person on horseback, a person operating a bicycle, in-line skates, roller skates, a scooter, or a skateboard, and a person operating or using a farm tractor. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Supported Senate Bill 1079 which would protect against potentially higher fuel costs by exempting suppliers of transportation fuel from having to purchase carbon allowances until 2021. The bill died in committee.

Opposed Senate Bill 1077 which would require various transportation agencies in the state to implement a pilot program designed to “explore various methods for using a mileage-based fee (MBF) to replace the state’s existing fuel excise tax.” The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1183 which would allow local jurisdictions to impose a $5 vehicle surcharge to fund the expansion of, and improvements to, bicycle trails and bicycle parking facilities. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1151 which would enhance penalties for numerous infractions and misdemeanors committed in school zones. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

SFMTA Planner Denies Plans to Create Evening Tow Away Zone along Upper Polk St

Press Release January 24, 2015

Luis Montoya, SFMTA lead planner of the Polk Streetscape Improvement Project, faced concerned residents and merchants in a closed door meeting Thursday in preparation for the upcoming January 30th Public Hearing to approve the agency’s long awaited project plans. Community members were alarmed to read that the MTA is proposing a morning and evening daily tow away zone for the implementation of a “temporary floating” bike lane from Pine to Broadway as posted on public notice posters wrapped along utility poles in their neighborhood.

Further questions and concerns grew from a report released from the planning department detailing the project’s exemption from an environmental impact report and the proposed plans including raised cycle tracks from Pine to Union, the removal of parking along the entire eastern side of Polk St, and the removal of up to 250 parking spaces at project completion. The report suggests the desire for future implementation of a full‐time raised cycle track along the east side of Polk St from Pine to Broadway (and permanent parking removal).

In response to these questions, Mr. Montoya commented that the posters were misprinted and there are absolutely no plans to implement a PM tow away zone along upper Polk St from Pine to Broadway.  He went on to comment that the report from the planning department is not his preferred proposal he will present at the public meeting on January 30th, but the planning department’s own interpretation of the project plans and data collected. How the Planning Department concluded the PM tow away zone he could not say. He did confirm his agency’s intention to implement the morning tow away zone despite minimal ridership numbers the SFMTA has recorded along northbound Upper Polk St on weekday mornings, and denied the SFMTA is planning to present a plan that calls for the removal of all northbound Polk St parking to create a raised cycle track from Pine to Broadway St  He added that his plan will remove approximately 150 parking spaces along the 1.3 mile Polk St. corridor (in addition to the hundreds of spaces being removed for the Van Ness BRT project), not the 250 listed in the Planning Department report.

At the conclusion of the meeting he asked the group for their trust and support despite the inaccurate and misleading public notice posters and planning department report, and left with a permanent marker in hand to personally alter the posted public notice signs.  On Friday a majority of the posters had been removed entirely, again questioning the agency’s accountability to the community in providing appropriate public outreach.

The Polk Streetscape Improvement Project public hearing will be held Friday, January 30th at 10AM in Hearing Room 416, City Hall.

This sounds like a real comedy of errors. Could this have anything to do with the Planning Department being overwhelmed with work requests? Time to slow down.

Sunset tunnel work suspended due to noise

hoodline – excerpt

The Chronicle reports that residents near the Duboce Avenue end of the tunnel have filed an appeal of the project’s nighttime noise permit. The project could be halted until a hearing can be held on March 18th.

51 neighbors signed a petition asking the SFMTA to address the issue of “unacceptable noise” caused by the track work… (more)