Many U.S. drivers ignoring new tech features in cars: survey

By Alexandria Sage : businessinsider – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Drivers are steering clear of some new technology in cars, according to a survey released Tuesday, raising questions about whether car makers are moving too quickly to incorporate sophisticated technology.

Carmakers are adding everything from remote car unlocking to self-parking systems in their newest models as they try to make vehicles more connected to the Internet and more automated.

But the 2015 Drive Report from market research company JD Power found that 20 percent of new car owners had still not used approximately half of the technology features available in their vehicles after three months of purchase – the period after which drivers are less likely to adopt new features, researchers say.

The most underused feature was in-vehicle concierge systems that can recommend nearby restaurants or gas stations. It was not used by 43 percent of respondents and followed by mobile routers that turn a car into a Wifi hot spot, unused by 38 percent.

Automatic parking systems were unused by 35 percent of those surveyed, the report found… (more)

Study: Every one dollar spent on Muni generates $2 to $3 for local economy

By  : sfexaminer – excerpt

It’s often late, dirty and a bumpy ride, many San Franciscans say.

In San Francisco, the gripes about Muni are endless. Amid those and other common complaints, it’s often easy to take Muni for granted.

A new study released Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency aims to change that viewpoint. The study reveals Muni’s economic impact to The City, and shows just how much worse off San Franciscans would be without Muni… (more)

Maybe if Ed Reiskin and Co. spent less time and money trying to convince the public they are doing a good job and more time and money doing the job they were hired to do, the Muni system would work better for the people who must rely on it to get where they need to go on their schedule.

Exactly how much did this study cost; how many man hours was spent on it; and who believes it? That is the poll we need to see.

San Jose To Study License Plate Readers On Garbage Trucks

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – San Jose city leaders on Wednesday approved a study of a plan to place license plate readers on garbage trucks.

The plan proposed by Mayor Sam Liccardo and councilmen Johnny Khamis and Raul Peralez would help the city’s Police Department track down stolen vehicles and warrants.

Installing license plate readers on garbage trucks would be beneficial as the vehicles sweep through the city once a week, Khamis said…

While Jones said he is a fan of technology assisting in providing services in a more efficient and effective manner, but he sees the proposal as “a little too extreme.”

The idea of the trucks scanning license plates through every street is reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” and comparable to the National Security Agency listening to every phone call, Jones said.

Liccardo said people tend to get an “icky feeling” when it comes to surveillance such as cameras and drones, Liccardo said… (more)

1984 is right, but for a really close look at where this is going check out Terry Gilliam’s 1985 movie, “Bazil”, one of our all time favorites. Does Central Services look familiar?

SF District Attorney: Convicted murderer, sex offenders drove for Uber

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Uber drivers in San Francisco and Los Angeles have included a convicted murderer, sex offenders and other criminals, according to an amended complaint filed Tuesday by the District Attorney’s Office against the ride-hail company.

District Attorney George Gascon announced the charges Wednesday, eight months after an initial complaint from Los Angeles’ and The City’s district attorneys said that Uber has been misleading the public with false information about its background checks of drivers.

“We learned of systemic failures in Uber’s background checks,” Gascon said, noting that Uber has at times boasted its checks as industry leading. “They have drivers who are convicted sex offenders, identity thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a convicted murderer.”

In total, the complaint includes a list of 22 drivers convicted of various misdemeanors and felonies… (more)

False Stop

By Chris Roberts : sfweekly – excerpt

In San Francisco, some lawbreakers are also lawmakers.

At least three members of the Board of Supervisors advocate the “Idaho Stop,” the maneuver — named for the one state in the country where it’s legal — wherein a bicyclist treats a stop sign as a yield and rolls through without coming to a complete stop as long as the way is clear.

This is a touchy subject. Bicycle etiquette — or the lack thereof — is a sore point with the motorists and pedestrians who believe that San Francisco’s cyclists, the number of whom have tripled in the last decade, are an entitled menace. This summer’s short-lived San Francisco police crackdown on scofflaw bicyclists did have support from walkers and drivers before a Bicycle Coalition-organized outcry canceled it…

The law is also unlikely to change. What San Francisco police enforce on the streets is the California Vehicle Code — state law…

The Idaho Stop isn’t a priority even among the bicycle lobby…

But it is an impediment to law-abiding peace on the streets. In the short-term, Supervisor John Avalos has introduced legislation that, if passed, would instruct police to treat cyclists yielding instead of stopping at stop signs as the “lowest law enforcement priority.”

That’s how SFPD is already supposed to treat low-level marijuana crimes. Thus, rolling through a stop sign could soon be no worse than rolling a joint in public — though judging by the size of the tickets ($100 for illicit marijuana, $200-plus for stop signs), this city has already picked its priority… (more)

How much are motorists charged for rolling through stop signs?
Hopefully someone will address the issue of liability when accidents occur due to reckless behavior on the part of anyone breaking the law. All vehicle operators on city streets should be licensed and required to purchase liability insurance. Whether or not they have insurance they should be held accountable for any damages they cause to any other persons or property regardless of what kind of vehicle they are operating. There should be no exceptions.

DTX press conference of 6/24

The Downtown Caltrain Extension project (DTX) will bring 10 separate passenger rail lines and 40 bus lines together at a spacious new transit center located in the heart of downtown San Francisco and close to 20,000 new housing units, 35% of which will be affordable.

According to MTC, 280,000 cars a day currently cross the San Mateo/San Francisco County line. By 2030 this figure is projected to increase to 310,000 cars a day. Extending Caltrain would provide an important new way for people to access downtown San Francisco. For this reason DTX is expected to reduce the trips on the north-south highways leading into San Francisco from the South by 30,000 and 50,000 cars a day.

You can see why getting Caltrain extended without further delay is so important. In fact DTX, (cast aside to make way for Rose Pak’s disastrous Central Subway project) is clearly the most…

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Teamsters Call On SFMTA To Adopt Labor Harmony Resolution

prnewswire : excerpt

Labor Practices of Commuter Shuttle Operators Could Impact City

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Teamsters and shuttle drivers called on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency(SFMTA) to adopt a resolution ensuring labor harmony, at the agency’s Board of Directors meeting today.

Teamsters and drivers for Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation held an action next to the Mission Street BART station last week, urging SFMTA pass the labor harmony resolution that was unanimously adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in March.

The resolution requires the SFMTA to consider the extent to which a company can assure labor harmony in its operations when granting an application for the commuter shuttle pilot program. The program allows commuter shuttles use of Muni stops.

“It’s been long enough. The SFMTA should act now to ensure labor harmony,” said Mark Gleason, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 665 in San Francisco. “It’s the right thing to do for transit passengers and for drivers.”

“It’s important that drivers are treated properly, and that the shuttle companies that want to participate in the program, live up to certain standards. This resolution says that labor practices matter,” said Rome Aloise, International Vice President, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7 and principal officer of Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif.

At last week’s action, drivers with Bauer’s joined with Teamsters, calling on SFMTA to adopt the resolution. Bauer’s drivers are currently organizing with Teamsters Local 665

Warehouse and shipping workers with Google Express are voting in their Teamsters representation election this week.

The union is also negotiating industry-leading contracts for organized tech industry workers.

The Teamsters Union is part of a growing movement of labor, faith and community-based organizations and workers challenging income inequality in Silicon Valley through an innovative partnership called Silicon Valley Rising. For more information, visit:

For more information on tech worker organizing with the Teamsters, visit:

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United StatesCanada and Puerto Rico. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at

It’s been long enough. The SFMTA should act now to ensure labor harmony,“…(more)

Red mopeds circle Civic Center in protest

Are Parking Meters a Tax on Small Businesses?

by Mark Hay : magazine.good – excerpt

Back in June, a bunch of drunk youths shambling around Cardigan, a Welsh town of about 4,000 people, decided to try to get more beer money by breaking into the city’s four pay-and-display metered parking machines. At first this act of vandalism seemed like a real headache. The bill to fix the meters came in at around $35,000, a fee the local city council had so much trouble sourcing they had to leave the meters broken, and subsequently downtown parking free, for weeks. But as the days dragged on, shoppers and local business owners started feeling glad that the meters had been destroyed. It seems the convenience of free parking and the liberty to stroll from shop to shop without worrying about feeding the meter had increased main street storefront revenues by an  average of about 30 percent and by as much as 50 percent. The boost evened the playing field between local vendors and megastores with free lots outside of town.

We’ve long campaigned for free parking,” Keith Davies, a 64-year-old butcher who’s run a shop in Cardigan since 1978, told the city council. Davies, along with other local businesspeople, is angling to use the evidence from this accidental experiment to eliminate metered parking downtown. “While we don’t condone the damage to the machines, the difference it’s made is unbelievable.”…

Over the past couple of months, journalists (including one columnist in the nationally distributed Independent) have started talking about parking meters as a tax on local businesses, one paid indirectly by customers just for the right to spend their money. Even prominent members of the sitting conservative government seem to be getting behind free parking as a means of reversing the decline in main street shops, 20,000 of which have closed in the last few years alone. Member of Parliament Marcus Jones, who this May became Undersecretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has even publicly suggested that small towns could use meter-free status as an effective means to save local shops…

At the very least, though, Cardigan’s recent experience (along with mounting bodies of evidence from other British towns) has started serious conversations about forcing reticent local councils to experiment with decreasing hourly fees and increasing stays. Hopefully these small towns can attain the gains Cardigan felt during the brief vandal-born parking anarchy, all without losing major revenue or running the urban planning risks of free parking… (more) 

Transportation Sustainability Program – excerpt

San Francisco is growing. The Association of Bay Area Governmentsprojects that the City will add as many as 190,000 jobs and 100,000 homes by 2040. Much of this is already occurring – projects to create housing for up to 60,000 new people are currently under review or in construction. It is possible to grow smartly, but we must start now…

Imagine all those cars – 600,000 of them – on City streets every day, in addition to the hundreds of thousands you see now.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can make our City more livable by improving the way we address development. Requiring developers to pay their fair share for transportation impacts will give us the resources and tools to improve public transit, enhance safety for people walking and biking, and better manage vehicular traffic.

The Transportation Sustainability Program is about keeping people moving as our City grows. Smart planning and investment will help ensure that we’re able to arrive safer and more comfortably at our destinations now and in the future.

What Will the Program Do?

The Transportation Sustainability Program is made up of three components:… (more)

Charge new Fees. Ordinance was being introduced.