Public Meeting for EIR on January 5, 2017

richmondsfblog – excerpt

The final Geary BRT EIR will be under review at an upcoming public meeting of the San Francisco Country Transit Authority (SFCTA) on Thursday, January 5, 2017 (2pm, City Hall, Room 250). At that meeting, the SFCTA will be asked to certify the EIR, which includes approving the design and configuration described in the EIR. The meeting, which will not be the last public discourse on the Geary BRT, is an opportunity for members of the public to speak their views on the Geary BRT project.

If the EIR is approved at the January 7 meeting, the project will then go into final design planning, which culminates with the SFMTA Board taking action to legislate every one of the recommended changes for the project.

But given the historic pace of the Geary BRT project so far, that is a ways off. The earliest any construction would begin is in 2018 on the downtown portions of Geary. It would not be until late 2019 / early 2020 that any construction would occur west of Stanyan.

To find out more about the Geary BRT and the release of the final EIR, please visit gearybrt.org.

Sarah B…(more)

Comments on the source as well as here are welcome…

There are so many issues involved with this project, we will have to get back on what they are, but, if you are concerned and want to oppose this, there are two meetings scheduled for next week with two different groups and each may be contacted with public comments. Sample letters and contacts are here:

Open Letter to the City Authorities:

Our plea to San Francisco city authorities is to delay the decision for 30 days and consider what you can better spend $300 million dollars on than cutting trees and digging holes on Geary and killing more local businesses like you did on Mission Street. We need economic impact and socioeconomic impact reports on all projects that involve shifting traffic on major commercial streets.

Wasting time and taxpayer money on a $300 million dollar boondoggle when there are thousands of homeless people on the streets who need immediate attention is a criminal act as far as many are concerned. For once the SFMTA should allow the much cheaper and less disruptive public plan to more forward. See if the public is smarter than the SFMTA. Just give us this one street to prove we can do it cheaper and get better results.

Notice there is no mention of safety here, only speeding Muni on Geary. Who ever came up with the idea of moving the BRT lanes from the curb to the center and back again? That cannot be a safe move. Already we have seen the results of merging traffic with the BRT on 3rd Street and merging bike lanes and traffic lanes without warning. What happened to merging lane warning signs? Bike lanes crossing over traffic lanes has got to be the worst way to protect cyclists.

This plan is all about moving more than $350 million dollars of taxpayer money from our pockets into the contractors’ bank accounts. Read the alternative plan and see if you don’t agree that it makes sense to try a different approach.

– Concerned San Francisco Citizen

Upcoming meetings on this issues listed on the SFCTA website:
http://www.sfcta.org/meetings-agendas-and-events#jan2017

Wednesday, January 4, 6 PM –  Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee – 1455 Market St., 22nd Floor – Details  CAC is scheduled to hear and vote on the Geary BRT.

Thursday, January 5, 2:00 PM –  Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting Room 250, City HallDetails This is where the Board of Supervisors, acting as the County is expected to approve the $350-360 million dollar Geary BRT large project authorization, before the public or the Board of Supervisors has sufficient time to review and analyze the large document that was just released on the 15th of December. CEQA still allows a 30 day period for public review and comment, so this will cut that allowance down, leading, once again to a violation of CEQA by the SFMTA.

SFMTA will have an excuse for fast-tracking their Geary BRT, so we need as many letters and people to protest against this outrage at this meeting as possible. Sample letter:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

There is a second excellent letter requesting a delay that is here requesting that the Chairman of the SFCTA Board of Commissioners, Aaron Peskin, postpone the Geary BRT EIR vote for one month. Quite a few letters have gone out with that request.

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S.F. business owners push back against red transit-only lanes in city

By

San Francisco business owners are pushing back against the red lanes used for transit in the city, saying that customers are confused about what they mean and often keep driving instead of stopping and shopping.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the red-painted transit lanes, which are still in the testing phase and were rolled out in 2013, have been frustrating for the merchants whose businesses border them…

But the experiment was supposed to last just two years, and involve periodic progress reports to the California Traffic Control Devices Committee and the Federal Highway Administration. The MTA’s first written report to the state agency, however, was not presented until Dec. 12,” the paper reports.

That long-term testing has been difficult for business owners, including Glenn Urban, who owns a car wash on Geary Boulevard with his brother, on a stretch where red transit-only lanes are now being planned.

“When [customers] see them, they don’t know what to do, so they stay away,” Urban told the paper. He said the Municipal Transportation Agency has “done little research on what this red paint means to businesses.”

A spokesperson for the MTA did not respond to a request for comment Thursday… (more)

The hubris of the SFMTA is enough to make you want to fight them. If you feel that way, there are plenty of things you can do, starting with a letter requesting a one month delay in approving any of the Geary BRT plans until the public and the new supervisors have time to review and comment on it. Do you want to spend $300 million dollars more than you have to? Why? So far none of the projects the SFMTA is busily working on have gotten them the results they anticipated.

Richmond residents and merchants want a chance to try it another, less costly way. See their Sensible Plan for Geary BRT: http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

SF red transit lane beloved by riders, but merchants unhappy

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco’s controversial red-painted transit lanes are beloved by many Muni riders, and the city’s transportation planners. But they’re not necessarily here to stay. The crimson lanes are, as the saying goes, only a test.

Results of the test are still being gathered, but federal transportation authorities are expected to rule within months whether the bright-red pavement can stay or whether the city will have to remove it and live with drab but conformist white lane markings and signs.

Officials with the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency gained permission from state and federal authorities in 2012 to color some street pavement red to make transit-only lanes more visible and to try to persuade car and truck drivers to stay out of them. New York and other U.S. cities are also experimenting with red lanes. San Francisco’s are not actually covered in paint, but rather an acrylic pavement treatment applied in sheets.

The New York experiment ended years ago when they failed to gather sufficient data. They also had a problem with double parking. Some of the streets in SF, I believe Church is one of them, are covered with paint and some with the thermoplastic, depending on whether they are concrete or asphalt.

Beginning in 2013, the MTA tested the idea on a short stretch of Church Street before rolling out what it calls “red carpet lanes” on stretches of other thoroughfares where heavy traffic causes delays for transit: Market, Geary, Third, O’Farrell, Haight, Judah and, perhaps most controversially, Mission between 14th and Randall streets.

Geary to Gough is on the list. Mission Street from Embarcadero to 11th Street was on the list.  In 2012, according to meeting minutes, the SFMTA representative specifically stated they would only be applying the test to streets that were currently transit-only lanes and were on the list. This proves, once again, you can’t trust the SFMTA.

In total, 17 San Francisco streets with existing transit-only lanes were approved for the red pavement test, as well as three that didn’t have reserved bus lanes. Not all of the stretches have yet been covered with red.

Anyone want to guess who is next in line?

“We shared our citywide plan with (state and federal officials) and they gave us the green light,” said MTA spokesman Paul Rose…

When and how was the application of the experiment to Mission Street past 11th approved?

This is typical of the SFMTA. Years after they start a process they inform the public. At no time, during any of their many public street design dog-and-pony shows  did they inform the public that they were planning to conduct a Red Lane test on our streets. When some of us discovered the truth of the matter and started to investigate and complain to the state and federal authorities they must have felt compelled to admit it.

We finally have an admission that THIS IS A TEST! THE RED LANES MAY GO AWAY! Where is the explanation for the test? What are they testing? How is the public involved in the test? If you want to know, keep reading and contact the links below.

Some of us went to Sacramento in December and saw first hand how the SFMTA operates. They started by trying to silence the public, claiming the public had no right to go to the state commission. More time went into that debate, (SFMAT lost that arguement.) than the actual presentation and discussion about the test that followed. Guess what? the SFMTA cherry picked a short blocks of two streets in the entire experiment to prove that the tests were being done as required. The analysis presented was more or less inconclusive.

If any one has anything to say about the Red Lane Experiment, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT.  If you need help figuring out how to file a complaint, or want to join the fight against the Red Lanes, let us know. Here are two sites that are dealing with the problem and trying to stop the spread of red lanes in San Francisco:   http://www.redcarpetmess.org and http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

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Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project receives $75M in federal funds

By Nuala Sawyer : sfexaminer – excerpt (inlcudes graphics)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced Tuesday that it would award $75 million in federal grant funds toward the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project.
The two-mile project will include the creation of bus-only lanes on Van Ness Avenue, an important north-south corridor in the center of San Francisco that accommodates both the 49 and 47 bus lines. Van Ness Avenue also hosts North Bay buses run by Golden Gate Transit.

SEE RELATED: Nine Muni stops on Van Ness Avenue to be eliminated for upcoming Bus Rapid Transit construction

In addition to separated lanes specifically for buses, Van Ness Avenue will also receive nine bus boarding platforms, new bus shelters, new Muni buses and resurfaced roadways… (more)

Join the Red Lane opponents:
http://www.redcarpetmess.org/ and http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

File complaints with the many officials who are responsible for this. Locals here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/
State and Feds here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/federal-contacts/
Use the 311 system to file an official complaint with any of the City Departments.
You can either call 311 and speak to an operator or to file a complaint online (http://sf311.org/) to get it entered into the record. All feedback is linked to the 311 system and offers you a referral number, which you can use to check on the status of your complaint.

Comment on the source if you can.

 

Feds award millions to Van Ness Avenue bus improvement project

By Lizzie Johnson : sfgate – excerpt

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it was awarding San Francisco $75 million for a project to improve one of the city’s busiest public transportation arteries.

Work has already begun on the $223 million Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project that will result in the installation of dedicated transit lanes and station-like stops for what will be the city’s first bus rapid-transit line. When the project is complete, buses will run every four to five minutes, shaving several minutes from riders’ trips.

The grant is coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. The rest of the Van Ness Avenue project is being covered by local, state and other federal sources.

“The new BRT line will provide a convenient connection to the Muni light rail system, and it will improve access to jobs, health care, and opportunity throughout the Bay Area,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement…(more)

Comment on the source if you can.

 

Report dings SFMTA over chronic absenteeism

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Persistent problems with employees not showing up for work at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is laid out in a report by the City Controller’s Office that the transit agency requested the office to conduct.

According to the report, the SFMTA had the second highest employee absenteeism rate out of the 10 departments in The City with the largest budgets and spent approximately $42 million in leave pay during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Tonia Lediju, director of city audits, wrote in a letter to the SFMTA’s Board of Directors and Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, on what the transit agency’s management was lacking in curbing chronic employee absenteeism:…

The report states that absence management program is key to minimize the negative effects of absences such as an increased in costs of unscheduled absences, increased pressure of other employees covering for absent employees and services not being delivered.

In this case, un-delivered services means canceled Muni runs, which cause longer wait times for passengers, the report said…

The public can read the full report on the controller’s office website(more)

Will the SFMTA follow the City’s Controller’s suggestions and deal  with the personnel problems that are at the root of the slow and missing service riders have been complaining about for years before sinking  more taxpayers dollars into more expensive, disruptive street projects  like the $350 million Geary BRT plan? Will the Supervisors consider delaying the decision to approve the most expensive solution until trying the cheaper sensible one first? Details on the citizens cheaper approach:
http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

Solving personnel problems should be the first step they take.  Can they follow the Controller’s advice and do the right thing for once? Can the SFMTA serve the needs of the public and save the city from
further debt and traffic disruptions? Stay tuned…

Transit officials offer tweaks to Geary BRT project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A major overhaul of how buses and other traffic negotiate Geary Boulevard is set to reach a significant milestone early next year.

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit project, which aims to make buses behave like trains by repurposing a lane of car traffic exclusively for buses, released its final environmental impact report Dec. 9, which may be approved in early January.

Along the way, the project’s planners received thousands of public comments, from fiery verbal lambasting at meetings — where a box filled with paper public comments was stolen, then returned — to online surveys, to meetings with multitudes of community groups…

On Jan. 5, the EIR will go to the SFCTA board for approval. After that, the SFMTA will bring individual elements of the project to neighbors for further public input, which will require individual approvals by the SFMTA Board of Directors to move forward.

Some Geary Boulevard neighbors have asked the SFCTA commission to delay approval of the environmental report so they have more time to read and analyze it.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce also sent a letter to the transportation authority asking for the board to delay action on the final EIR until February or early March, and wrote that meeting during the holidays “does not serve the public interest.”

Responding to the request for delay, Supervisor and Transportation Authority Commissioner Eric Mar said, “The significant community outreach done and many community meetings with those in the audience, and staff work, has been years in the making.”.

“There have been endless delays,” he said…(more)

THERE IS NO RUSH! There have been endless delays for good reasons. Each time there is a delay, the public has more time to suggest a better plan. Already many of their suggestions have been incorporated into this project and more alterations are needed on the Geary BRT. There is a sensible much cheaper plan supported by the public.

Who is rushing to approve the SFMTA $350 million dollar plus Geary BRT Hybrid Plan when there is a much cheaper version that will save the taxpayers up to $300 million? Who is rushing to approve more money for the SFMTA?

This is the department has bungled the design at Glen Park twice and still hasn’t gotten it right yet. The buses are getting hung up on the curbs.

This is the department that is planning to cut service and raise rates for cash-paying riders, and remove seats from the new faster-moving buses, so that Muni riders will be forced to walk further and stand instead of sit as they speed along city streets on public transit vehicles.

This is the department that lost the sales tax increase that included $100 million dollars for the Geary BRT.

This is the department that needs to be put on a cash diet before it eats the rest of the businesses on Mission, Van Ness, Polk, and Geary.This is the department that can’t figure out how to balance Ubers with taxis and the rest of the traffic mess and will eventually be out teched out by self-driving cars.

This is the department that wants to tell our fire department to buy smaller vehicles to run on narrow streets that do not meet state standard widths.

The emergency responders are getting caught up in the traffic mess.

This is the department that just “discovered” the large number of Ubers on our streets that the rest of us have known about for months. They probably needed to conduct an expensive study to “find” them and prove they exist. We just looked around and figured it out for ourselves.I could go on, but you get the idea.

Stop the SFMTA: Write letters to request a delay and show up if you can to protest in person. Sample letter is here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Meeting details:

Scheduled for Wednesday, January 4, 6:00 PM, SFCTA, 1455 Market St., 22nd Floor: The Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee will vote to support certification of the Geary BRT Environmental Impact Report (EIR). More info: http://www.sfcta.org/geary-bus-rapid-transit-citizens-advisory-committee-january-4-2017

Scheduled for Thursday, January 5, 2:00 PM, Room 250, City Hall: SF Supervisors, as board members of the SF Transportation Authority, will vote to certify the Geary BRT EIR  (2nd item)  More Info: http://www.sfcta.org/special-board-january-5-2017

 

 

Widespread public opposition to the most expensive disruptive Geary BRT plan will come to a head in January.

The public is demanding their 30 days to comment prior to any approvals by the SFMTA Board. The Board sat on the report for months before releasing it to the public during the holidays to assure not any people would notice. Both the public and the new supervisors need time to review the EIR and examine the budget before committing the taxpayers to any more big street projects.

More details  and a sample letter requesting the SFMTA Board postpone a vote to approve the Geary BRT EIR until the public comment time of 30 days has passed are here :  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Businesses oppose the Geary BRT plan, demand an economic impact report.

The Small Business Owners oppose the Geary BRT
The SF Small Business Commission passed a resolution at its Jan. 29 meeting calling for an economic impact study to be conducted as part of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning process. Geary area merchants and many residents fear the construction and elimination of vehicle lanes on Geary will choke the neighborhood. The coalition resolution complained that the current San Francisco Transportation Authority plan for the Geary project states it will not include an economic assessment “at this stage.” That will be considered at a later time in the Environmental Impact Report, the plan says… (more)

A Warning to People Who Bike: Self-Driving Ubers and Right Hook Turns

By Brian Wiedenmeier : sfbike – excerpt

Before the surprise launch of Uber’s autonomous vehicles on San Francisco streets this week, I rode in one. I can tell you firsthand: Those vehicles are not yet ready for our streets.

I was at one of the demonstrations covered in the SF Examiner, along with others who Uber hoped to impress with their new technology. None of us were told that just two days later, Uber would be releasing this technology on our streets on a large scale. I did tell Uber some things about the shortcomings of that technology, however.

In the ride I took through the streets of SoMa on Monday, the autonomous vehicle in “self-driving” mode as well as the one in front of it took an unsafe right-hook-style turn through a bike lane. Twice. This kind of turn is one featured in a 2013 blog post that is known to be one of the primary causes of collisions between cars and people who bike resulting in serious injury or fatality. It’s also an unsafe practice that we address in all of the safety curriculum we offer to professional drivers, including the videos we consulted on for Uber as recently as this fall.

I told staff from Uber’s policy and engineering teams about the safety hazards of their autonomous vehicle technology. They told me they would work on it. Then, two days later, they unleashed that technology on San Francisco’s streets. Your streets…(more)

RELATED:
What was Uber’s endgame in the first place?

SFMTA releases study results on SF’s first raised bike lane

By Nuala Sawyer : sfexaminer – excerpt

The SFMTA has been studying the effectiveness of a short stretch of raised bike lane on Market Street, and has just released their results on the experiment.

Raised bike lanes are a popular tactic used by other cities to separate cars and bikes as they travel along the same city street. The bike lanes should discourage people from driving in them, but still allow emergency vehicles access. Cyclists should be able to enter and exit the raised bike lane safely at any point.

Taking into account other cities’ designs, the SFMTA installed four options in one short stretch: a wide mountable curb, a mountable curb, a mountable curb near sidewalk level, and a vertical curb…

market-raised-bikeway-options-1

(more)