Roadshow: When a transit commute takes twice as long as driving

Q I would like to live in Thomas McMurtry’s world (Roadshow, Feb. 12), where access to public transportation is as easy as getting on a bus or train that stops in front of your house.

I live 13 miles from work, which isn’t that far. But there’s no simple public transit in my neighborhood, and no public transit comes by my place of work. I live in a different county than the one I work in, so even if it was easy on both ends, I’d still be negotiating three transit agencies.

Google tells me that my commute via transit would be just over 2 hours versus about 40 minutes in commute traffic. Charging for parking works in some areas, but it’s hardly a panacea for all traffic issues…

I would love to use public transportation more, but all Caltrain and VTA light-rail lots within 5 miles of where I live are full weekdays at 7 a.m. Caltrain is standing-room-only at rush hours...

The powers-that-be want us to use public transportation more, but they do nothing to make it workable. If the best we can do is convert carpool lanes to “Lexus lanes,” transportation in the Bay Area is doomed to gridlock in the not-too-distant future... (more)

 

S.F. Truck Drivers Are Getting Sent to Pedestrian School

By Rachel Kaufman : nextcity – excerpt

Driving in San Francisco is not easy. The streets are narrow and hilly, lost tourists stumble out into the street, and there are plenty of cyclists (including bike-share users, who may be newer to cycling and thus less familiar with the rules of the road). Now picture driving a truck in San Francisco….

“There’s a lot of confusion on city streets,” Knox White says, “especially as we are reengineering them and redesigning them in new ways. We’re stepping away from, ‘There’s a bike lane or not a bike lane.’” Instead, the city has green-painted bike lanes, “regular” lanes, sharrows and more. “There’s a lot of confusion out there … . People could use some understanding of what to expect from bicyclists or pedestrians. Sometimes they do things, even if they’re not supposed to, that are surprising.”…

“I think the key takeaway for me is as we are doing these new, innovative things, most of which are great to have, we have to be really careful that we’re bringing people along,” Knox White says.

One thing is certain: It might be tough to get around in a truck in San Francisco, but they’re not going anywhere any time soon. Says Smith: “If we don’t bring stuff, people don’t live.”.. (more)

The SFMTA’s New Mandatory “DOUBLE RIGHT TURN” at Fell and Masonic is Off to a Rough Start

sfcitizen – excerpt

Well it seems that making the #3 lane of southbound Masonic a mandatory right at Fell is backing the Evening Drive all the way back to Fulton.

Background, from last week.

Boy, these orange and black signs sure look permanent, huh? One supposes that the orange color says, “Hey, look at me, the new sign!”

You know, I thought the SFMTA hated DOUBLE RIGHT TURNS but now they’re enshrined? Mmmm… (more)

Muni’s Plans for Mission Street Could Impact Bus Stops, Parking and Traffic

Mission Street’s public transit is about to change – but not quickly. If you want to have a say, attend tonight’s meeting at the Women’s Building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or check out the website here and fill out an online survey.

In its Muni Forward program, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is thinking of making at least four changes on Mission between South Van Ness and Cesar Chavez Streets  that will be implemented in 2017. The biggest impact on riders would be a plan to reduce stops from nearly one every block to a stop every other block.

The proposed changes also include bus bulbs at 16th and 20th Streets,  right turn pockets, left turn restrictions,  and redesigning the street to make the traffic lanes wider than the existing nine feet.

The right turn pockets would remove three parking spaces, but would also prevent the backup that happens when a driver is trying to make a right turn, but can’t because of pedestrians crossing in front of them.  The current design, officials said, means that buses end up crossing the dividing yellow line to pass right-turning vehicles that get stuck.

At present there are some left turn restrictions, but the new proposal would limit left turns from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays for the entire stretch from South Van Ness to Cesar Chavez.

An official from the SFMTA presenting the plan to the Mission Merchant’s Association today said the space opened up by taking away bus stops could be used for parking spaces or bike corrals. No decisions have been made… (more)

DeSoto Cab Company Now Flywheel

wraltechwire – excerpt

A San Francisco taxi company is ditching its 82-year-old brand and renaming itself after a smartphone app in the latest sign of how mobile technology is changing the way people get a ride.

The transformation dumps DeSoto Cab’s Depression-era identity in favor of Flywheel, an app that helps traditional taxis compete against increasingly popular ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

“We think we are pioneering the way taxi cabs need to be in the future,” DeSotoPresident Hansu Kim said in a Wednesday interview. “There is a perception that the taxi industry is backward so we need to recast ourselves as being technologically innovative.”

The newly minted Flywheel taxis will be owned and operated independently from the Flywheel app, which is made by a 6-year-old startup in Redwood City, California, a suburb located about 25 miles south of San Francisco… (more)

RELATED:
SF cab company goes mobile in hopes of better competing with ride-hail apps
The move also represents the first fleet for any taxi-hailing app in the world, DeSoto President Hansu Kim told The San Francisco Examiner… (more)

Phil Matier: Proposed California Law Requiring Adult Cyclists Wear Helmets Not Gaining Traction With Some Bicycle Advocates

By Phil Matier : cbslocal – excert – (audio track)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A proposed California state law that would require adult cyclists to wear a helmet while riding or face a fine is not gaining much traction amongst bicycle advocates. SB192 would make California the first state that require helmets for those over the age of 18…

San Francisco has already started to spend $3 million on bicycle awareness and will continue to do so for the next few years. This will include safety campaigns and improvements to bike lane infrastructure. The city has also called to increased citations to motorists by 50 percent in the next two years in an effort to cut down on injuries.

But when you turn it around on the bicycle groups, they don’t want to adhere to things like mandatory helmet wearing or even chipping in money on the new bike lanes. This is making state lawmakers and politicians wonder if this is a one-way street.

Last week I called around to get reaction from Mayor Ed Lee and members from the Board of Supervisors. It’s not necessarily a debate about safety; they just don’t seem to want this to be debated at all… (more)

Be careful what you wish for. The less cars on the road the more cyclists will have to pay. SB 192 is a rational first step.