SFMTA Seeks To Reduce Bike Parking Due To Lack Of Utilization

Socketsite – excerpt
Following the collection of over six months of data tacking the utilization of bike racks installed in the 18 parking garages managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the agency’s Parking Division has requested a reduction in the required number of racks to be installed in at least seven (7) of the garages due to “significant slack capacity” for the racks which are already in place.

The Union Square, Sutter Stockton and Civic Center garages are among those facilities for which reductions in the number of bike parking spaces required to be installed have been requested, with observed average daily utilization rates of 26.5 percent, 48.1 percent, and 14 percent for their existing racks respectively.

Keep in mind that businesses and buildings which have installed private racks, such as Twitter, Dolby and City Hall, have impacted the demand for publicly-accessible bicycle parking.

A City ordinance adopted in 2013 upgraded and increased the number and quality of bicycle parking spaces required for City-owned buildings and parking garages based on expected demand… (more)

Does bad cyclist behavior in The Wiggle need some refereeing?

By John Angelico : sfgate – excerpt

If you cycle regularly in San Francisco, you’ve probably taken The Wiggle to get from Market Street to Golden Gate Park. It’s popular with cyclists because it’s flat and fairly quiet with not much vehicular traffic. The SFMTA has plans to make changes to the Wiggle route, including improving the stormwater management (stormwater… what’s that?) and adding some bulb-outs to calm traffic.

But why wait for the SFMTA to start calming that traffic? One cyclist will be out in the Wiggle (at Waller and Steiner) this Thursday at 3 PM to referee bad traffic behavior and other unsportsmanlike conduct by other cyclists:

While 95% of cyclists using the Wiggle are really incredibly respectful of other road users, there is that small minority who give us all a bad name. I’ve always wanted to dress as a referee and hand out yellow and red cards to bad cyclists (and maybe some cars and peds too) and I’m using NOW! as my excuse!  Come join me in shaming the few bad cyclists out there and making the Wiggle just a little bit safer and more courteous!… (more)

Sounds like some good ideas.

SF supervisors approve Muni security contract, after no ethics violations found

By sfexaminer – excerpt

No ethics violations found, but ethical concerns remain

A $38 million security contract to guard Muni rail yards was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, amid accusations of ethical lapses in the contract process.

“It doesn’t quite pass the smell test,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said of the contract at the board meeting.

The controversy swirled around the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s lead contract negotiator and director of security, Chris Grabarkiewctz. A prior employee of Cypress Security, he was given awards lauding his ability to generate great amounts of profit from his negotiating contracts with the SFMTA.

Now he serves the reverse role, negotiating contracts for the SFMTA with Cypress Security against its sole competing bidder, Andrews International…

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws, or the SFMTA may make its own rules to protect against alleged conflicts of interest. “To the extent that this [contract] procurement has raised issues, we may consider going above and beyond the law,” Reiskin told the board…  (more)

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws? Suggested going above and beyond the law? Since when does Reiskin tell the supervisors what they can do? Someone needs to remind him that he works for the elected city officials, not the other way around. A reduction in his salary might help to remind him where he stands.

Safety Course Not Required For Uber, Lyft, Others

hoodline – excerpt

In the wake of an Uber driver arrested after allegedly hitting and injuring a cyclist in Fisherman’s Wharf on Sunday, more questions are being raised about driver safety requirements.

Specifically, taxis are regulated by SFMTA and are required to take 28 hours of classes through one of four approved private driving schools, and another day of training through the SFMTA. An hour of the SFMTA training includes instruction on sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, is taught by a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. At least two hours of testing is required. And as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024, SFMTA is instituting a large vehicle urban driving safety program for all large vehicle drivers who work for the city.

All told, as Central City Extra covered in their latest issue (PDF), there are 71 pages of dense regulations for cab drivers to follow.

Not so for drivers working for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar or limo companies, which are not regulated by the SFMTA – they only have 28 simple regulations to follow.

And the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, among others, is concerned about this gap in safety mandates. “We need to ensure everyone knows how to share the road safely,” said Tyler Frisbee, policy director at the organization. Many of the drivers, she said, aren’t used to driving in a city as busy as San Francisco.

“Whether cab, Uber, Lyft—they’re pulling over to the side frequently, they’re loading and unloading, they’re driving through crowded areas” such as Market Street, SoMa and the FiDi, Frisbee said. “The reason SFMTA hires us is they want to protect peoples’ lives,” she added. “There’s no similar training for Uber. Their drivers take a couple of very short safety classes that are taught online.”… (More)

S.F. Supervisor Jane Kim wants Muni security guards to lose guns

By John Wildermuth : sfchronicle – excerpt

The armed security guards who walk alongside the Muni workers collecting cash from buses, transit-sales desks and fare machines will be giving up their handguns if San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim has her way.

Kim wants to revise the Municipal Transportation Agency’s proposed six-year, $38.3 million contract with Cypress Security, eliminating the armed guards the transit agency has used for decades.

“Small businesses handle cash every day without security guards, so why does the MTA need them?” Kim asked when the contract came up for approval at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “I’m troubled that we have armed guards at the MTA.”…

Nonlethal alternatives

Kim suggested that the transit agency look at providing the guards who accompany the fare collectors with nonlethal weapons, possibly including electric stun guns, which San Francisco police are barred from carrying.

Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos sided with Kim at last week’s board meeting. The security-guard contract — and the question of armed guards — is up for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, but the supervisors are unlikely to make a final decision. Any revised contract has to be approved by the transit agency’s board before it can presented to the supervisors… (more)

A new agenda for the supes and new buses for the streets

By Heather Knight and Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Anybody who’s sat through a Board of Supervisors meeting knows the torture that is waiting for the one item out of dozens you care about.

First, the 11 supervisors debate the minutiae of all the items you don’t care about. Then, they each offer commendations for the best restaurant, best small business or best (fill in the blank) in their district. Then, they talk about legislation they’re introducing and offer their condolences for residents in their district who have died in the past week.

Then, dozens of people speak at public comment. There’s the Jesus devotee who thinks the world is about to end, Walter Paulson, who offers a new song every week (we love you, Walter!), and multiple people with eccentric headgear including, but not limited to, tinfoil hats.

Then, the supervisors get to your item, by which point your parking meter has long expired, your babysitter is pulling her hair out and you need multiple shots of espresso to regain consciousness.

Democracy. Isn’t it great?…

David Lee, a political science instructor at San Francisco State University, is leading the effort that would require all city public meetings to be streamed live online, allow people to offer public comment remotely and have their testimony appear on monitors at the meeting, and create a “time certain” agenda designation. That means any time 50 members of the public petition for a specific time for their agenda item to be discussed, it will — wait for it — be discussed at the appointed time…  (more)

Ah, that new-bus smell: Another crop of shiny new Muni buses are coming soon to a street near you, though that new bus smell probably won’t last long.

The first of the new buses — all 60-foot buses that bend in the middle — were unveiled Wednesday at a city Earth Day celebration at Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin. Sixty of them are electric trolley buses powered by overhead wires, while an additional 61 are diesel-electric hybrid buses that burn biodiesel… (more)