Funding blocked for transit center amid concerns of sinking Millennium Tower

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The fallout of San Francisco’s sinking downtown Millennium Tower broadened Tuesday when millions of dollars for the second phase of the nearby Transbay Transit Center was blocked amid concerns The City will once again be on the hook for ballooning costs.

Earlier this year, the the Board of Supervisors approved a $260 million bailout for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority’s Phase 1 of the Transbay Transit Center. Months later, the 58-story Millennium Tower near the center and under TJPA oversight was revealed to have sunk more than three times its forecasted sinking, prompting a lawsuit and city investigations.

Meanwhile, city leaders are slamming the brakes on the second phase of the multi-billion dollar transit project.

On Tuesday, the head of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Mark Zabaneh, said he wanted $6.77 million in Proposition K sales tax revenue to move ahead with the $3.9 billion Phase 2 of the project… (more)

Advertisements

Governor vetoes bill to mandate parking after street sweeping, prevent tickets at broken meter

By Sophia Bollag : latimes – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have required communities to reopen parking immediately after street-sweeping.

The bill also would have prevented residents from getting ticketed if they parked next to a broken meter for up to two hours.

In his veto message Brown said the bill would have hindered municipalities from performing regular road maintenance and would have confused drivers about when they were allowed to park in certain areas… (more)

Watch for the SFMTA to take advantage of this if they can. Ask the supervisor candidates what they will do to protect us from these infringements.

Woman alleges SF painted new red zone where her car was parked, then issued ticket

sfexaminer – excerpt (includes photo)

Most San Francisco drivers have a painful parking story to tell. But one woman’s parking complaint takes the cake.

Becca Derenthal, a San Francisco resident, alleges The City painted a red zone where her car was parked at Lombard and Franklin streets in July — then ticketed her for parking in that new red zone.

Derenthal said she went out of town for business and, before she left, “found a parking spot that was not painted red at the time and would allow me to park there until I returned without running into any street cleaning issues.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency confirmed Derenthal was ticketed under transportation code 7.2.25, a red zone violation.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the curb was painted in July. “We have records going back to July saying [the curb] was red.” He added, however, “Our policy is not to cite someone at a newly painted red curb.”… (more)

No wonder people hate the SFMTA so much.

California Pilot Program Providing Commuters With Tax-Free Transit Benefits Becomes Permanent

businesswire – excerpt

Employers in the San Francisco Bay Area must Provide Tax-Free Transit Benefits

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–California’s Governor has signed into law SB 1128, making permanent a pilot that provides employees in the Bay Area with tax-free transit benefits. Under the program, employers in the Bay Area with at least 50 full-time employees must provide their workers with the option of tax-free transit and vanpool benefits.

The legislation defines a “full-time employee” as one who performed an average of at least 30 hours of work per week during the previous calendar month. The number of full-time employees is the average number of full-time employees per week, on payroll, during the most recent 3-month period.

Transit benefits stem from a Federal law which allows employees to be provided, or withhold, up to $255/month for transit or vanpool expenses so long those funds are provided or withheld by employer. Employers that do not currently have a commuter benefit program in place will be pleasantly surprised at how easy this benefit is to provide to employees. There are no required plan documents and no defined open enrollment periods. By offering commuter benefits, employers can save up to 7.65% on average in payroll taxes, and employees can save up to 40% on their commuting costs by using pre-tax money… (more)

Adopt a Pothole

Looks like I was not the first to suggest the idea of adopting a pothole. From New York to India people are getting in on the action. Potholes can be dangerous and may turn into sinkholes if you aren’t careful. We have one in our parking lot. Turned out to be a major plumbing problem. Pulibcis is in on it.

Indianapolis man got in trouble.

Chicago has Pothole art.

Send us you pothole pix, or better still send them to the SFMTA along with the address and suggest they use some of the 1.4 billion dollars they are spending this year on fixing your pothole if they want you to vote for their sales tax increase.

Muni Proposing Major Changes To L Taraval Line

cbslocal – excerpt – (video)

Don Ford reports on planned changes to L Taraval Muni line in SF’s Sunset District… (more)

RELATED:

SFMTA approves contentious Taraval Street changes | SFBay :: San Francisco Bay Area News and Sports

With Unanimous Vote, SFMTA Approves Changes To L-Taraval Corridor | Hoodline

Unpopular Taraval Street plan approved in the name of safety – SFGate

SFMTA approves controversial L-Taraval changes in name of safety – The San Francisco Examiner

SFMTA Board Unanimously Approves L-Taraval Boarding Islands | Streetsblog San Francisco

 

Prop. L would give SF supervisors more control over transit board

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

As the agency in charge of parking, traffic, taxis and Muni — basically everything in San Francisco that’s supposed to move people — the Municipal Transportation Agency is, quite naturally, a popular target of criticism.

Some critics say the MTA, as it’s often known, is trying to force everyone to get rid of their
cars, while others say the agency is too timid and too reluctant to radically improve
transportation in the city. They also say the mayor has way too much influence as the one
who appoints its Board of Directors.
Those critics have united behind Proposition L on the Nov. 8 ballot. The proposal, which
requires a simple majority vote to pass, seeks to give the Board of Supervisors more
authority over the seven-member board.
Although the mayor appoints its members, they are confirmed by the Board of Supervisors.
They serve four-year terms and have to leave after three terms. Prop. L would change the
appointment process so that four of the members would be appointed by the mayor and
three by the supervisors. The mayor’s appointees would still be subject to the supervisors’
confirmation.
The proposition would also give supervisors a slightly stronger hand in the agency’s
budget. The MTA board passes its own budget, which must be approved or rejected in its
entirety by the supervisors — unless they can muster seven votes to send it back for
revision. Prop. L would lower that requirement to six votes… (more)

Vote Yes on L and No on J and K.

Continue reading

Sunset Tunnel’s crumbling interior may end $19 million renovation

The cost of building San Francisco’s Sunset Tunnel has just grown by $3 million more, after the discovery of a crumbling interior inside the tunnel has the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency doling out even more money to see if the project is salvageable.

The Sunset Tunnel tracks for the N-Line were built in 1928 and are now used for the city’s N-Judah light-rail vehicles.

A report from the SFMTA has found that the during the tunnel’s renovation last winter, the conduit began to crumble and exposed “live feeder cables,” adding that there is a “high probability of hidden damages” that might cause the Muni to stop operating in the location for good… (more)

Looks like SFMTA has more important things to do than they can keep track of. Why are they spending money on Red Lanes and BRTs when they need to shore up tunnels and bridges? It boggles the mind sometimes where the priorities lie. If they can’t take care of this problem a lot more people will start driving again.

Lyft chief says most of its rides will happen in self-driving cars within five years

Most Lyft rides will happen in autonomous vehicles within five years and private car ownership will all but end by 2025.

Those are two projections made in a blog over the weekend by John Zimmer, co-founder of the San Francisco-based on-demand ride business.

Lyft is one of a number of Bay Area companies that are racing to put cars with autonomous driving features on the road.

It has teamed up with General Motors, while its much larger rival Uber started giving rides in autonomous Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh last week. The Uber cars being used aren’t fully autonomous, keeping a driver at the ready to take over when needed.

Both Lyft and Uber are likely to face resistance from drivers that they hope to eventually replace, with the head of a group of 35,000 Uber drivers in New York last week promising a fight “the likes of which they have yet to see” if Uber tries to bring self-driving cars to that city…(more)

Why anyone would want to work for someone who is threatening to drop them as soon as possible is beyond me. Listening to people like this turns me off to paying into their schemes. I will stick to driving myself or taking a taxi with a driver.

L-Taraval changes head to SFMTA board

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Contentious changes along Muni’s L-Taraval route could get decided Tuesday.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday are expected to vote on a final proposal on the L-Taraval Rapid Project.

Residents and merchants have been at odds with transit officials on proposed improvements including adding boarding islands at some stops, and removal of other stops altogether…

The original proposal had called for boarding islands at all L-Taraval transit stops that did not have them, but transit officials comprised with businesses to instead pilot a program for six months that does not remove any parking on Taraval at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues.

Instead of transit boarding islands, a large sign will get placed to warn drivers that they must stop to allow for passengers to board and disembark trains, along with a painted white solid line in the traffic lane where vehicles must stop behind the train. Both treatments would be placed along Taraval to match the configuration of a two-car train.

Additionally, painted markings will also be present in the traffic lane to warn drivers ahead of time of transit stops ahead…

Documents from the transit agency said transit officials will work with merchants to develop an education campaign alongside working with the San Francisco Police Department on enforcement at these five transit stop locations during the evaluation of the pilot.

New flashing lights on trains when the doors open will also be part of the pilot, to bring more attention to drivers that they must stop.

The pilot changes will be installed in Fall 2016. If there is not at least a 90 percent compliance rate of drivers stopping where they are supposed to, or if there is a collision with a pedestrian and vehicle during the six-month evaluation, officials will pursue boarding islands at those five locations, SFMTA documents said…

Paula Katz, a resident in the Parkside neighborhood, started a petition to save all of the L-Taraval stops, which she has submitted to the transit agency. She said the removal of the transit stops would put a burden to riders especially for the elderly who shop at places like at Safeway on Taraval and 17th Avenue.

Early implementation

SFMTA documents show the transit agency wants to carry out specific positions of the project earlier than what was originally proposed.

Officials plant to start the transit-only lane early, with signage and painted symbols, but no red paint. Officials said they will monitor the effects of traffic flow and congestion for one year to due to concerns from the community that a loss of a travel lane would cause traffic congestion.

Painted clear zones will also be implemented early at locations where the transit agency are proposing boarding islands. Vehicles would shift to the right as if there were a boarding island present at 10 locations. Parking spots at those locations would no longer be available.

The public can still give public comment on the final proposal of the L-Taraval project at the SFMTA’s Board of Directors meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m. in room 400 of City Hall… (more)