Big-time opposition emerges to Warriors’ arena plan

Grassroots Actions

By Matier & Ross :sfchronicle – excerpt

The Golden State Warriors’ plans for an 18,000-seat arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay are suddenly running into big-time political problems.

An anonymous group of what organizers describe as big-bucks donors to UCSF hired an imposing cast of consultants — including former UCSF Senior Vice Chancellor Bruce Spaulding and, for a time, Chronicle columnist and former Mayor Willie Brown — to block the plan for the arena and adjacent twin office towers in Mission Bay near the waterfront…

“This arena is going to essentially ruin decades of good work and planning in Mission Bay and make it impossible for people to access the hospital there,” said public relations pro Sam Singer, who has also been hired by the antiarena forces.

The emergence of the opposition group comes just a month before the final environmental impact report for the Warriors’ arena is due…

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S.F. considers changing parking permit program to ease concerns

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

With the number of people living and working in San Francisco surging, the perpetual search for parking becomes more challenging, and interest in San Francisco’s residential parking permit program grows.

As it does, so do conflicts over the program, forcing city transportation officials to consider how it can be fixed.

The city created residential permit parking in the 1970s to help protect neighborhood life. Residents can ask for a zone that limits visitor parking and exempts residents, who can slap city-issued stickers on their cars. The idea is to keep quiet neighborhoods from turning into parking lots for commuters looking for somewhere to stash their cars for the day — or longer.

But the program is beginning to divide some neighborhoods, as residents who want bigger or brand-new zones clash with others who don’t…

“We want to find a general way to make it as equitable for residents who don’t own cars as those who do own cars,” said Tom Maguire, the agency’s sustainable streets director. “If you have a fairly complex program in place, you want to make sure it meets the needs of everyone at the curb.”…

“We know residential permit parking has been very popular in giving residents a leg up in parking over nonresidents,” Maguire said.” I think nearly everyone agrees that the benefits everyone gets for $110 are buying something worth a lot more than $110.”… (more)

If you believe SFMTA cares about anything other than their own revenue stream you are not thinking straight. See the last paragraph. They just want more money, but they are limited by state statutes so far. Watch the bills in Sacramento:

Seven supes will ride Muni for 22 days in June; mayor hasn’t weighed in


The mayor and Board of Supervisors were challenged by passengers to ride Muni for 22 days, and now most of the responses are in. Officials were also tasked by the San Francisco Transit Riders with taking selfies on Muni and publishing them via Twitter with the hashtag #OnBoardSF, which will move their position on a scoreboard. The Transit Riders said riding Muni will help city officials “better understand the rider’s daily experience” to inspire planning a more reliable, robust and visionary transit system. Muni currently faces unfunded capital needs in the next two decades in excess of $11.5 billion, according to budget documents… (more)

Golden Gate Bridge district signs lease for new Marin Airporter hub in San Rafael

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Marin Airporter transports about 500 passengers a day from its Larkspur Landing Circle site, above. It is being evicted to create more parking spaces for ferry riders.

The Golden Gate Bridge district has approved a lease with the Marin Airporter for a new hub in San Rafael after district officials reclaimed the Larkspur site for added ferry parking.

The bridge district board voted Friday to approve a five-year lease with the Airporter at a 3-acre site it owns at 1011 Andersen Drive. They have been at the Larkspur site since 1985.

The Airporter will pay $20,202 a month in rent. The lease begins May 15 and the Airporter could begin operations at the San Rafael site by July 1, bridge officials said.

“The rent is fair market value and based on an appraisal,” said Denis Mulligan, bridge district general manager… (more)

SFMTA needs to follow the Marin lead and provide parking near the transit hubs if they want more Muni riders.

The battle over SF bus stops

By Sue Vaughan : 48hills – excerpt

As foes of the Google Bus deal take their case to court, a state bill would legalize the privatization of public bus stops

APRIL 24, 2015 — The crisis that has been disrupting San Francisco housing, and driving out the lower and middle classes for some years now, is moving to another piece of valuable real estate – public bus stops.

Private, for profit corporations have been salivating secretly over these stretches of curbside real estate with such intensity – and secrecy – that you might think there’s gold underneath the pavement.

Did you know, for instance, that on Monday, April 27, the California Assembly Transportation Committee will hear a bill, AB 61, that proposes to essentially give away public bus stops to some of the wealthiest, private, for-profit corporations that the world has ever known?
This giveaway has been ongoing for several years with the assistance of locally elected and appointed officials – but in violation of the California Vehicle Code… (moer)

MTA Public Meeting Disappoints as its Transparency Continues to Erode.

By Rick Hall and Ted Lowenberg

The SFMTA is becoming much less transparent. We have noticed the bundling of “projects” into an incomprehensible mass. For example, TEP (now Muni-Forward) – proposed massive changes that reduced neighborhood service but promised – system wide improvement. The massive scope of this plan made it unlikely that any but the most astute would detect the impacts on their commute. SFMTA’s “community meetings” are structured by their consultants in an “open house” setting to discourage individual attendees from hearing other’s comments and (heaven forbid) coming together on an issue as a real community.

One of our readers was disturbed by this charade at a recent SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting (April 21, 2015). He was particularly concerned about the confusing manner in which street parking removal was described in the consent calendar, where it would presumably be approved en mass, along with other items. The notice was vague and it was difficult to discuss individual streets with any clarity or precision.

He wanted to know exactly how many spots were to be removed in each area and why there were no proposed mitigation measures or consideration of environmental impact. The curb space was targeted by MTA for “car share parking” but there was no mention of how much revenue was expected from the sale of the space. He sees this project as “selling public assets to private companies at bargain prices” for the benefit of the regulatory agency that is proposing the contract. Is this legal or ethical?

During the meeting the Chairman was not speaking into the microphone, so much was missed by the audience of about 35 persons. When our reader pointed this out twice, he was ignored. He said ”it’s not a public meeting if the conversation cannot be heard by the public,” in reference to the Brown Act.

There will be a chance at a future meeting to argue against this public give-away to private, profit companies. We will let you know when to turn out for this – the more people the better. As the commission “goes silent,” we need to go LOUD.

Problems with public meetings that may be addressed soon in a ballot initiative.

Report on the April 21st MTA Commission Meeting:

I attended the MTA Commission meeting on the 21st to object to the Consent calendar containing removal from public parking, all the car rental parking spots around the city. (On the attached link to the agenda is the list of the particular spots. )
No description of how many parking spots are being lost this way. No mitigation measures. No environmental impact consideration. Bargain pricing of a pubic asset. This is clearly an example of MTA following in the railroad tracks of Il Duce. Since when has our democracy in SF taken such a severe hit to the groin?

I also admonished the chairman for conducting a meeting without being able to be heard by the audience. When I first asked him to speak into the microphone, he looked up at me, and then went right back to mumbling whatever he said. After I denounced his contempt for the folks who came to participate, he went, again, right back to speaking without being heard. It is not a public meeting if the conversation of all the speakers cannot be heard.

Back to the car rental spots, this item will be heard on its own in some future meeting (not indicated at the time). Can you please get the word out to your mailing list that will be their chance to  argue against this public give-away to private profit companies.The more people the better, and the objective should be to take as much of the commission’s time as possible. Let them feel the pain of our outrage, since I’m sure they’ll approve the matter regardless of what the people have to say. After all, it is the MO of the MTA. “Muni: We don’t give a shit what YOU think”

– Ted

Alameda planners’ anti-car agenda to fail, cause misery

By Mark Greenside My Word : contracostatimes – excerpt

I love bike lanes. I want them. When I ride my bike, I want to be safe and separated from cars and pedestrians. The problem isn’t with bike lanes; it’s with the people who design them.

Not that long ago, a bike lane was a bike lane: a designated place where people could ride their bikes and not get hit by cars. Now, bike lanes are the first line of offense in the war against drivers and cars. Bike lanes aren’t for bikers, they are against cars, with the oft-stated purpose of reducing and/or eliminating vehicular traffic. It’s nuts, and it is not sustainable.
More bike lanes are at the heart of TDM (Traffic Demand Management) systems and “smart” growth philosophy brought to us by city planners like Andrew Thomas, who is not a traffic or civil engineer, though he has plenty of opinions about both. These people speak as if they’re talking science, but it’s hope, belief and faith they’re pandering — and like true believers everywhere, they’re willing to push their beliefs onto the doubtful…
It is an effort that is doomed to fail, though not before ruining the community. Here are the reasons why: …
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently issued a report, “Vital Signs” (, that was summarized in the San Jose Mercury News as follows: “Some of the conclusions of the MTC report are depressing for traffic planners. Despite the addition of hundreds of miles of carpool lanes stretching from Marin to Oakland and San Jose, the percentage of those sharing a ride to work has declined about 3 percent since (1989) …. While BART and Caltrain ridership is soaring, overall transit ridership remains low and bus lines have lost passengers.”… (more)
Mark Greenside is an Alameda resident and a retired professor of political science, history and English at Merritt College in Oakland.

Bay Area Public Transportation

By Thuy Vu and Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt – (video clip)

Getting around the Bay Area can be difficult. Traffic is a mess and public transportation isn’t always easy. KQED NEWSROOM’s Scott Shafer and Thuy Vu talk to the leaders of BART, Caltrain, Muni and VTA about what is and isn’t working with the Bay Area’s biggest transit systems.

• Grace Crunican, general manager of BART
• Ed Reiskin, director of transportation of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
• Jim Hartnett, general manager of San Mateo County Transit District
• Michael Hursh, chief operating officer of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority… (more)

People Behaving Badly: wiggle referee quits

By Molly Martinez : kron4 – excerpt – (video clip)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Stanley Roberts caught up with the self-appointed “wiggle referee,” who was reluctant to speak with KRON4.  The wiggle, for those unfamiliar, is a particularly dangerous intersection for cars, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

Stanley also gets accused of trying to sell papers… (more)