SFMTA Proposes New Shuttle Rules

10/22/2015 04:37 PM PDT

Project: Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Program

The SFMTA is proposing enhancing and extending its regulation of private commuter shuttles. You can read the newly released proposal here (.pdf).

The idea is to build upon a largely successful pilot program that is set to expire at the end of January 2016.

The pilot to regulate commuter shuttles began in August 2014 and sought to bring more order to our streets. The shuttles range in size from mini-buses to double-decker motor coaches and carry workers to Silicon Valley tech companies, Peninsula biotech offices or across town to medical facilities. They’ve been around for years but have really multiplied during the latest tech boom.

Before August 2014, shuttles pulled over wherever they could, including Muni bus stops, unoccupied curb space or in the streets. That created conflicts with Muni, blocked traffic and created safety hazards – a situation that often felt like the Wild West.

The SFMTA stepped up with an 18-month pilot to test a set of regulations that strictly limited the zones at which private shuttles could stop, charged a fee to private shuttles to stop in Muni bus zones and shuttle-only loading zones, concentrated enforcement and collected extensive data on shuttle activity.

State law limits the fee amount to the cost of operating the program. The fee is now $3.67 per stop made. So a shuttle provider that stops at 10 different zones 10 times per day would be charged for 100 stop-events per day, or $367 a day.

With input from neighbors, elected officials, employers, shuttle operators and transportation professionals, the SFMTA will soon ask its Board of Directors to implement an ongoing Commuter Shuttle Program that will build upon the pilot in several key ways, including:

  1. Requiring buses over 35 feet long to travel on the major and minor arterial street network as defined by the California Department of Transportation, keeping them off smaller residential streets
  2. Requiring participating shuttle operators to use newer vehicles, lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the shuttle fleet
  3. Requiring shuttle operators to certify they are in labor harmony by submitting a plan that outlines efforts to maintain consistent and efficient shuttle service in the event of potential disruptions, including labor disputes
  4. Increasing enforcement resources devoted to shuttle zones and corridors and recovering the costs as part of the fee for participation in the program
  5. Increasing capital improvements at shuttle zones and corridors, with shuttle operators paying for their portion of the benefits as part of the fee for participation in the program

If the pilot expires without an ongoing program in place, shuttles will still be able to legally operate on San Francisco’s streets, but their activities will not be regulated.

The choice isn’t between shuttles or no shuttles, it’s between a regulated system and an unregulated one.

You can find more information, including the proposed Commuter Shuttle Program Policy, the SFMTA’s October 2015 evaluation report of the pilot and a map of streets that large shuttles would be required to operate on, at:www.sfmta.com/commutershuttles.

The findings include that the pilot program reduced conflicts with Muni buses on a per-stop basis and roughly halved the number of locations where shuttle buses were dropping off and picking up passengers compared to before the pilot. You can read the complete report here(more)

Being older in a youthful San Francisco

By Sally Stephens: sfexaminer – excerpt

If you listened to a transistor radio in 1966, like I did, you heard James Brown sing, “This is a man’s world.” The song drove many to fight male chauvinism. If it was written in today’s San Francisco, Brown might instead sing, “This is a millennial’s world.”

San Francisco in 2015 is being planned by and for people in their 20s and 30s. Take a look around City Hall and you’ll see mostly young people staffing government and city agencies. Maybe it takes a certain youthful enthusiasm to deal with an irascible public, powerful special interests and noisy opponents.

The San Francisco millennials are designing is one that meets their needs, wants and expectations. Unfortunately, it’s also making life harder for older San Franciscans…

Or consider the ongoing tension between bikes and cars. A bike is a great way to get around when you’re young and fit. But as you get older, it gets harder to ride safely. You might discover that you can’t turn your head as far to the side to see what’s coming up behind you as you once could. The fear that even a minor spill could result in a broken hip keeps many seniors off bikes.

As you get older, you just can’t carry as much as you once could, so taking the bus to shop becomes harder. Uber, Lyft or ride-hail companies get expensive, if used frequently. Is it any wonder many Baby Boomers prefer to drive?

Yet San Francisco’s many millennial policy makers have decided to restrict cars in favor of bikes on many city streets, reduce parking and consolidate bus stops. While the planners’ young friends enjoy the bike lanes and faster transit, my fellow Baby Boomers and I have more and more difficulty getting around The City…

After working here for a few years, many of San Francisco’s young city staffers will likely move somewhere else, either for a job, family or just because they’re young and want to see more of the world. As they age, they won’t have to live with the consequences of the policies they are crafting in San Francisco today.

When they finally do get older, millennials who stay in San Francisco may well find themselves singing a different tune when they discover they designed a city that makes few accommodations for seniors like themselves… (more)

Bay Area traffic getting worse before sunrise

by Vince Cestone : KRON – (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — More and more Bay Area commuters are hitting the road long before sunrise.

The early birds are looking for something far more precious than worms. The traffic nightmare is already developing, while most of the Bay Area is sleeping.

“The number of people on the move between 4 and 5 o’clock is up and up strongly,” Metropolitan Transit Commission spokesman John Goodwin said…

There are far fewer surface parking lots in San Francisco,” Goodwin said. “These folks may be racing to get to work, so they can find a place to park.”

And it’s not just the transbay bridges that are getting crowded. The MTC reports that the Benicia, Antioch and Carquinez bridges are also seeing more traffic before 5 a.m… (more)

Thanks to the Bay Area Transit Authorities, MTC and ABAG, now locked in a fierce power battle and blaming game, SF that has created the mess. How is it done? Their first job (in this minds) is to get you out of your cars. How is that working? Maybe their methods are flawed. In SF fhey support more housing next to already full BART stops, standing room only during peak hours) and cut back or refuse to increase parking capacity near outlying BART stops.

One other important factor in the increase in numbers of commuters is  that SF employees have been forced to move out of the city and now must  commute in to work, while the new arrivals do not work in the city and  are commuting out to work. This is exactly what the planners claimed
they would fix by building high-density stack and pack housing next to  public transit. That is why we need a new plan as the folks in the Mission District are requesting with Prop I

San Fran Creates Traffic Hazards for Those That Pay NO Gas Taxes

By Stephen Frank : capoliiticalreview – excerpt

If you drive a car you pay vehicle fees, a driver’s license, gas tax, and surcharges on the purchase of tires, batteries and an oil change. You pay for the roads. If you ride a bike, you are not forced by government to pay anything. Drive a car and you have to obey the rules of the road. Ride a bike and you can create accidents, gridlocks and danger to pedestrians—and no one cares… (more)

San Francisco Gets Ready for Its First Raised Bikeway

By Bryan Goebel, KQED, 10/19/15

A type of bikeway popular in bicycling meccas like Copenhagen and Amsterdam is going to be tested on San Francisco’s main thoroughfare starting next month. It’s a design that transportation officials say will become more common over the next few years, as the city rolls out a number of long-awaited safe streets projects…

A raised bike lane, separated from auto traffic, has a number of benefits, according to Mike Sallaberry, a senior engineer with the SFMTA’s Livable Streets division. First, it raises the visibility of bike riders, improving their safety and comfort level, and is a draw for people  who may feel cycling is a little intimidating.

SFMTA officials say this kind of bikeway also helps prevent vehicles from entering, but will also have to accommodate paratransit vehicles and taxis, which are allowed to enter the bike lanes to drop off passengers with disabilities. Planners also need to figure out how to deal with delivery trucks, and might consider creating drop-off zones… (more)

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