Rose Pak’s opposition could slam brakes on car-free Stockton Street project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s preliminary plan to make part of Stockton Street a car-free pedestrian walkway may be threatened by opposition from Chinatown community organizer Rose Pak.

Pak slammed the car-free project as harmful to Chinatown in an email June 16 to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, which the San Francisco Examiner obtained…

The SFMTA and businesses agreed in February to research making the walkway permanent after construction is complete…

n her letter, Pak wrote on behalf of the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce that the neighborhood “understood we would suffer” inconveniences due to construction of the Central Subway, but believed they would be temporary.

However, making the project permanent also would “make permanent all the problems we’ve experienced,” she wrote, calling it “unacceptable to our community.”

The proposal would need to go before the SFMTA Board of Directors for community input and subsequent approval, which hasn’t yet been scheduled, said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose.

Karin Flood, executive director of the Union Square Business Improvement District said property owners on Stockton Street generally support the project.

“They’ve seen it as a boost to sales,” she said.

Pak later told the Examiner she met with Reiskin to discuss Chinatown’s concerns.

She said “he apologized they never did a better job of outreach” to the Chinatown community, and “he has agreed” the project would not work, because closing that section of Stockton Street would stop the flow of traffic into Chinatown and harm businesses.

“So I consider the issue closed,” Pak said… (more)

Rose is wise to see the folly in the plan to cut Chinatown off from the rest of the city.

When is the SFMTA and City Hall going to consider how dangerous it is to cut a neighborhood out of the normal traffic pattern of the city? How will trucks and other regular delivery services get to Chinatown with no easy access? How will emergency vehicles get in and out? Many people could be trapped in an emergency evacuation situation.

 

Troubled Public Plaza Will Be Fenced Off To Divert Homeless

zRants

By Laura Waxmann :missionlocal – excerpt

Plans for installing a fence around McCoppin Hub, a public plaza that has become a hangout for some of the city’s homeless, are underway with construction set to begin as early as next month.

In a collaboration between various city agencies including Public Works and the Department of Public Health, a contractor is expected to deliver a final proposal and the projected costs on Friday,  according to John Gavin of the Real Estate Division, the city agency that currently manages the Hub located where Valencia and McCoppin streets meet.

The project would take about three months to complete and involve removing some of the Hub’s blocks and chains, installing a fence and two gates for vehicles to enter and three gates for people to enter, said John Thomas, division manager at Public Works.

Hours of access to the Hub will be determined by the…

View original post 376 more words

L-Taraval public hearing set for Friday

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Back in February, merchants and residents were not pleased with the latest proposal presented by officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for the Taraval Street corridor.

The proposal presented six months ago included adding boarding islands, a red transit-only lane, traffic signals and removing some train stops to speed up the L-Taraval.

Merchants worried about where the boarding islands would be constructed because it would require taking away seven to 10 parking spaces, according to the transit agency’s proposal.

The plan had called for one-to-one parking replacement at nearby streets.

Albert Chow, owner of the Great Hardware store on Taraval between 28th and 29th Avenue, said a there would not be enough parking spaces at nearby streets and that it would have an economic to businesses at community meeting held in February.

Instead, the SFMTA is proposing to test a boarding zone pilot at Taraval Street and 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues, which includes painted warnings and new signage to drivers that they have stop to let passengers board and alight trains…

Officials said they still plan to add boarding islands where Muni riders have been hit by a train either getting on or off. Those locations include 19th, 42nd and 44th avenues in both inbound and outbound directions. Boarding islands would also be added at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 40th and 46th avenues in just the outbound direction…

Another concern was the removal of 14 train stops. Officials said they will now only remove nine stops, but that still does not satisfy Paula Katz, a resident in the outer Parkside neighborhood.

Katz told SFMTA board members on Tuesday that the transit agency needs to keep all the L-Taraval stops, and submitted a petition with over 1,600 signatures:

“Many of the signatures in our petition are from L riders whose lives would be negatively impacted if they lose their stops and have to walk an extra block or two when they are catching the L or coming home and when they shop at our local merchants, the library, post office and our local Safeway, which for some incredible reason all are losing their L-Taraval stops.”

Merchants and residents can still be heard at this Friday’s public hearing at City Hall at 10 a.m., Room 416…(more)

Taraval joins a long line of dissatisfied customers that will be voting for a change in management at the SFMTA in November by decentralizing the power structure that the voters put into place a number of years ago. Stay tuned for the details as they unfold on the SFMTA Charter Amendment. For now, updates are here: stopsfmta.com

 

 

Squabbling Supes send SFMTA board battle to voters

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

San Francisco voters this November will get to decide if the mayor and the Board of Supervisors should split the responsibility of making appointments onto the City’s transportation agency’s board.

Supervisors on Tuesday voted 6-5 to place the charter amendment onto the ballot, which would allow the mayor to appoint four members of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors while supervisors would get to appoint three members.

The measure would also change the threshold from seven to six on the number of supervisors it would take to reject the transit agency’s budget.

Supervisors Scott Wiener, Katy Tang, Mark Farrell, Malia Cohen and London Breed voted against the charter amendment… (more)

Considering that San Francisco used to be the “City that knows How”, we certainly forgot how to manage the flow of traffic. Under the current regime of the SFMTA San Francisco went from the easiest to travel around in city to the 3rd worst traffic city in the US. We can do better. Thanks to the Supervisors who are giving us a chance to prove it.

Skeptics of self-driving cars span generations

newyorktimes – excerpt

The technology to make autonomous cars a reality may be ready, but American drivers don’t seem to be.

From smartphone-addicted teenagers to researchers designing the next generation of self-driving vehicles, there’s a fair amount of skepticism among consumers when it comes to letting go of the wheel and allowing a car to do the driving, several surveys over the last year have found. Even engineers have some qualms.

“I have no problem letting a car take control,” said Jeffrey Miller, an associate professor of engineering practice at the University of Southern California. “But having a car take my kids to school? You’re talking about people who don’t have the ability to take over if something goes wrong. I’m not that comfortable with it.”…(more)

Muni takes steps to reduce surge in bus crashes

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Muni officials are taking steps to decrease the number of bus and light-rail collisions with private vehicles and objects on San Francisco streets.

During the last five months, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has seen a decrease in light-rail collisions. Bus collisions, though, are trending upward, according to data obtained from the transit agency by SFBay.

In February, the SFMTA reported that 113 buses either collided with another private vehicle or by hitting an object such as a pole or a transit shelter. In June, that number increased to 173 collisions, the SFMTA reports…

Some of the hotspots for vehicle collisions included Mission and Main streets, Fourth and Townsend streets, and along Third Street…

Check out the video on Third Street if you haven’t experienced it yet for yourself. This the worst, least safe street alteration we have seen. Try it in the rain for a real treat.

Buses Versus Fixed Objects

Objects such as poles and transit shelters are also getting in the way of Muni buses. Transit officials said they analyzed the data to find out where the most fixed object collisions occurred and to see with which objects Muni vehicles were likely to collide… (more)

The collisions wouldn’t have anything to do with the narrow lanes they are imposing on all the streets or the insane twists and turns they have introduced on all the formerly straight lanes with the insane idea that the streets would be “calmer” and safer for pedestrians because the “cars” would have to drive slower?  Someone should also inform the SFMTA geniuses that a certain percentage of the population is color blind so their pretty red and green streets look gray and mean nothing to those people. Maybe they should get some Muni drivers and emergency transit people involved in the street alterations since they are ones who have to drive on them. Don’t even get me started on the paint over potholes on Mission Street. There is only one answer to solving the problems described in this article. Fire the the people who are responsible and support the SFMTA Charter Amendment to bring some sanity into this insane department. Get all the details on StopSFMTA.com

July Meeting dates

Help the Neighborhoods fight off SFMTA Projects at the July meetings:
Please send letters and comments and/or show up to oppose these if you can:

Tuesday, July 19 SFMTA Board meeting: agendareferenced materials
Item 9. Speak at Public Comment about the Taraval pilot project or any of the others that are not on the agenda, such as process complaints.
Item 10.10 Glen Park project documents.
Item 13. Geary BRT. documents.
Item 14. Shuttle Bus Zones.

Friday, July 22,2016, 10AM – Room 416 City Hall, Engineering Hearing:  Public can provide on-the-record feedback on the latest proposal for the L-Taraval. Opposition needs your support to spread the word. Download Taraval Public Hearing Postcard

Wednesday July 27, 5 PM –  City Hall Room 416, Board of Appeals, Re-hearing request for Appeal No. 16-057 Delbridge vs. DPW-BUF  Van Ness Street Tree removal. If you support the re-hearing of the appeal to the removal of street trees on Van Ness send a letter of support. (sample here.) SFMTA admits removal has nothing to do with BRT project.

Wednesday July 27, 6:30-8:30 PM – 1800 Chestnut Street (cross street Buchanan) Moscone Rec centerSFMTA Public Meeting on plans to slow traffic on Lombard, a major arterial state highway. If you are fed up with the MTA wreaking havoc on city streets, let them know at San Francisco come and vent your frustration. It is time for citizens to unite and fight back to protect the quality of life and economic vitality of our city.

Our SFMTA Wants to Claim It’s Increasing Parking Up at Twin Peaks, But It’s DECREASING Parking – One Simple Trick!

sfcitizen – excerpt

What the SFMTA’s Twin Peaks Figure 8 Redesign Project is a gonna do is get rid of these, these people from the top of Twin Peaks, particularly on busy dreaded sunny days, like this one…

Most of the tourists on top of that twin came from all the cars you can see on the left side. But all that parking is gone now, so tourists aren’t going to go to the top of Twin Peaks as much anymore.

What’s that, “good,” you say? Well OK, but why doesn’t the SFMTA just come out and say that? Instead, we get this:

Twin Peaks Figure 8 Redesign Project Frequently Asked Questions – April 8, 2016 version:

Will any parking be added or removed? No parking is being proposed for removal. Today, informal (illegal) parking takes place at the center of the Figure 8 and occasionally in the outer lane of the roadway. This project will formalize parking at both the center and south intersections, increasing the number of available stalls. Parking in the travel lane will no longer be possible.

So they’re not “removing parking,” they’re simply blocking cars from getting to the parking spaces? And you can’t park on the side of a highway in CA anymore, is that correct, really?

So the real answer to the question Will any parking be added or removed is:

Yes. Hell yes(more)

FlightCar is grounded — San Francisco startup announces it’s shutting down

By : siliconbeat -excerpt

FlightCar is no more.

The San Francisco startup, which provided an Airbnb-type solution to exorbitant airport parking costs, announced on Thursday it’s shutting its doors.

The platform allowed users to rent their cars to strangers while they traveled, thereby getting out of paying for airport parking. But a short note on the company’s website says it will be closing its doors in all 12 of its operating locations within the next few weeks.

“We believe that people around the world can be more self-reliant by sharing their resources to improve society, and we truly appreciate the community that came together to share and rent each others’ unique cars,” the company wrote. “We thank all of our customers for being a part of our journey, and we look forward to a new future.”…(more)

Muni buses to get air conditioning for first time

By : sfexminer – excerpt

Muni is about to get a whole lot cooler.

San Francisco’s bus fleet is set to get what some might consider an odd upgrade for The City’s foggy climate: air conditioning. Come 2018, most of Muni’s fleet will see air conditioning installed after bus operators expressed comfort concerns.

“Sounding like Mark Twain, the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” said John Haley, director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. While many sources argue Twain never actually said this, it does illustrate the reasoning behind the decades-long lack of air conditioning.

Haley announced the move in an email to all SFMTA transit staff Wednesday, which was provided to the San Francisco Examiner.

In the letter, Haley said operators voiced a need for air conditioning in an open forum a few months ago… (more)

I have an air-conditioned car and I think I may use it twice a year in SF. Don’t they have windows that open? Air conditioners cost more to run, and as someone pointed out, the opening doors will let all the “cool” out. Looks like Muni has money to burn, so we don’t need to support their sales tax increase. Between painting over potholes instead of repairing them, moving bus stops around like a shell game, and putting air conditioners on buses, I’d say the SFMTA Board of Directors is out to lunch and in over their heads. Time to “shift” them out and their “out-dated” priorities and policies out of City Hall.