Parking scofflaws can’t escape Muni bus cameras

By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt

Every San Francisco driver has thought about it in this congested, hectic city where scoring easy parking is rarer than a sunny day in July. It’s OK to double-park in the bus stop to fetch your dry cleaning or pull over in a transit-only lane right, right? Just for a moment?

A word to the wise: Don’t do it.

Unlike those infamous BART train cameras that don’t actually work, the more than 800 forward-facing cameras affixed to every San Francisco Muni bus work just fine. And last year, they led to a whopping 3,625 tickets to all those ne’er-do-wells who blocked a vehicle’s path.

 Since the first cameras were tested in 2008 — they were made permanent on all buses in 2015 —there have been a total of 24,125 tickets mailed to owners of cars that were parked illegally or pulled over where a bus camera could photograph them…

Chiu is continuing his crusade to change road behavior with cameras. He recently introduced legislation that would allow San Francisco and San Jose to test a pilot program in which cameras would be used to ticket speeding drivers.

Chiu has an incentive to make the city’s roads as clear as possible. He commutes from his condo in the Candlestick Point area to Sacramento — and it can take 2½ hours or more during rush hour.

“The congestion on our streets and highways is crushing,” Chiu said. “We have to innovate new ways to move around efficiently, reliably and safely.”

The longtime bicyclist and Muni rider had to buy his first-ever new car for the grueling commute. It’s a Toyota Prius, and Chiu, being a good Democrat, picked dark blue….(more)

Muni To Launch Next Big Shakeup This Saturday, Changing Routes, Stops, Service Levels, More

by Teresa Hammerl : hoodline – excerpt

The Muni Forward project is bringing a new slew of service changes to transit lines across the city, which are set to kick off this Saturday. Some lines are getting more buses and trains, others less, and one line is getting some bigger new buses added to the lineup. The much-debated stop reductions on the L-Taraval are also moving forward.

According to SFMTA, the changes are based on feedback from Muni riders, adding service to popular routes and reducing frequency on others to prevent terminal crowding or to address under-used service. There are also a few stop and route adjustments in the works…

The city’s historic streetcars will also experience a reduction in service: expect fewer F-Market and F-Wharves trains in the morning and afternoon hours, to reduce crowding at the F-line’s 17th and Market terminus in the Castro. The SFMTA says the reductions will make the line more reliable (more)

“The SFMTA says the reductions will make the line more reliable.” Is this a factual error or a typo?

The only thing SFMTA seems capable of doing is cutting service, removing seats and bus stops, raising prices, and rearranging the pieces of what used to be a liable transit system. And they blame the drivers for all of their problems.

Someone needs new career, in fact a lot of them do.

What we need is a time machine to turn the clock back to pre-SFMTA days when Muni ran Muni and did not design future cities. We need to return to a Muni that works today instead of financing the future perfect Muni growing in somebody’s head for tomorrow.
Maybe they are cutting service to make room for the tech buses? Hmm?

 

 

Uber’s terrible week gets worse; Google sues for alleged theft of self-driving technology

By Colin Deppen : pennlive – excerpt

Uber’s week started with a former employee alleging she encountered systemic sexual discrimination during her time with the company.

The week ended with Google filing a lawsuit against the ride-sharing service alleging the technology now fueling Uber’s self-driving fleet in cities like Pittsburgh was stolen. This as both companies remain locked in a costly and frenzied modern-day space race to perfect the nascent technology.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, the Google self-driving-car group, now known as Waymo, , accuses Uber of using stolen technology to advance its own self-driving car development…

According to CBS News, the 28-page complaint accuses a former top manager for Google’s self-driving car project, Anthony Levandowski, of stealing pivotal technology that Google says is now being used to fuel Uber’s own fleet of autonomous vehicles for its ride-hailing service.

CBS adds that the alleged theft occurred in late 2015, before Levandowski left Google to found a startup called Otto that is “building big-rig trucks that navigate highways without a human behind the wheel.” Uber bought Otto for $680 million last year, and Levandowski is now overseeing Uber’s effort to develop and dispatch cars driven by robots… (more)

RELATED:
Does Uber have a sexual assault problem? Charge against Pa. driver highlights concerns

SF installs diagonal pedestrian crossing at dangerous Chinatown intersection

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

After more than a year of repeated protests, San Francisco has installed full “pedestrian scramble” safety engineering improvements to a busy intersection in Chinatown.

Kearny and Clay streets, where 77-year-old Ai You Zhou was struck and killed while crossing the intersection in 2015, is the latest spot in The City to receive the pedestrian engineering treatment, which replicates pedestrian crossing patterns in China… (more)

It can take a while, but both pedestrians and drivers like scrambles. They are the least confusing and the most safe of any crossing process in the traffic “tollbox” and we would like one at 16th and Mission as well. How log will it take to get one there?

Person Rescued From Under BART Station At MacArthur Station

KCBS – excerpt (includes audio track link)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Oakland firefighters Friday morning rescued a person from under a BART train at MacArthur Station, BART officials said…(more)

Typo or False news in the headline? We will give them the benefit of the doubt, but these kinds of errors do not help a press at this time when they are under scrutiny. This is the CBS radio station.

BART says it needs more money because weekend ridership is down

ktvu – excerpt – (includes video)

– BART officials say commute ridership is up but weekends, off-peak and short rides have slipped so much, it’s dragging the whole system’s numbers down.

Slipping ridership means less revenue and the possibility that fares could increase.

The news came as a shock to commuters, who say business on BART seems to be thriving.

“You can’t get on trains most of the time going home riding three stations upstream just to get a seat on the train,” said Dave Smart of Walnut Creek.

BART says it’s already $5 million in the red for the first half of the fiscal year and projecting a $15-25 million shortfall going forward.

One solution may be to raise base fares, an idea that doesn’t sit well with Hentemann. “That makes me a little upset because they’re cramming us into the BART trains; they’re taking seats away, we’re tired after working all day long we want to get home. We want to sit down and they want more money. Give us a break.”

Bevan Dufty sits on the BART board and represents District 9. He says the board does not want to hike fares, especially with the passage of November’s Measure RR… (more)

BART needs to listen to their clients and give them what the want, not try to sell them what BART thinks they need. Quit expanding and start maintaining what they have.

The Central Subway project and a planned ferry hold the key to neighborhood traffic in Mission Bay

By : bizjournals – excerpt

Imagine boarding a ferry in Oakland and emerging minutes later in Mission Bay. You get dinner, catch a Warriors game and enjoy a nightcap, all before returning home on the water. Or riding from the University of California, San Francisco, research campus straight up Fourth Street to Union Square on the city’s newest subway, a largely underground train.

With Mission Bay miles from any BART station, and no ferry service, getting in and out of the growing neighborhood today without getting snarled in heavy traffic is nearly impossible, public transit advocates say. The imminent relocation of the Golden State Warriors to the Chase Center in 2019 only makes public transportation improvements more urgent.

A couple of big transit projects in the works — a new subway line and a ferry landing — should offer some relief…

Most of the (Central Subway) work is happening below the street. The route will begin near the 4th street Caltrain station and stop at 4th and Brannan streets.. Future plans could extend it further north.

The Mission Bay Loop Project, which would allow trains to turn around during peak hours and special events, should be completed in July, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, the Port of San Francisco is moving forward on the design and environmental work for a ferry terminal and water taxi landing near the Chase Center, with the preferred location at the foot of 16th street. Ultimately, the goal is for passengers to travel directly to Mission Bay from the existing ferry terminals in Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and elsewhere, said Port Executive Director Elaine Forbes (more)

Op-Ed SFMTA needs to fix more than just NextBus

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

We at San Francisco Transit Riders urge Board of Supervisors President London Breed to call for a hearing to hold the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency accountable for the failure of their NextBus prediction tool.

As we now know, the NextBus fiasco was a result of AT&T disabling the 2G network upon which NextBus depended. Back in 2012, AT&T announced that it would disable 2G as of Jan. 1, 2017. However, apparently no one at the SFMTA knew that or took it seriously.

Muni follows its schedule less than 60 percent of the time. So what makes Muni tolerable is having real-­time predictions; adding 20 minutes of uncertainty to a trip is not workable…

Lack of Internal Communications

In November, just more than a month before the NextBus failure, SFMTA’s chief technology officer, along with a NextBus representative, was promoting a new radio dispatch system coming possibly in March, according to a San Francisco Examiner article.

Seemingly, neither the chief technology officer nor the NextBus representative knew the existing system would crash well before their planned upgrades…

ack of Internal Commitment

At a meeting on Jan. 17, Director Ed Reiskin finally apologized. He acknowledged the episode was “a lesson for me in how important this service is to our riders. The reaction we got was amazing, and I don’t mean in a good way … it spoke … to how valuable having arrival predictions are for our riders.”

We wonder if Reiskin depends on Muni to get to work on time.

If we truly want to be a transit­-first city, we need transit that works well enough to attract ever more riders. We need the SFMTA to understand Muni’s key role in the daily lives of so many people who need to get to work, go to school and take their children to school.

We call for public hearings so there is public accountability. We are tired of the opacity and lack of management. We want a transparent plan forward, including a timeline addressing the City Controller’s report to ensure consistent staffing, consistent service and clearer internal management…(more)

When ENUF agrees with SF Transit Riders you know the SFMTA must be doing something wrong. it is time for some major changes. We have been complaining for years. Now we are  joined by the most pro Muni organization in town in calling for a  “Public Hearing” to discus the major problems the Muni riders are having with Muni. This should occur before any more budget items are approved since the power of the purse is the only thing the Board of Supervisors seem to be able to use to control this out of control agency.

This goes way beyond fixing NextBus and all those wonderful apps that do nothing to move people and good on the streets. We don’t need to be entertained or taught a new trick every day on our way to work. Transit should be consistent, not an adventure  game we play each day. Moving the buses and stops and traffic lanes around has gotten old and irritating, and we need a break from unwanted changes.

New Cars in BART’s ‘Fleet of Future’ Found to be Overweight

By Jaxon Van Derbeken : NBCbayarea – excerpt

Cars in BART’S so-called “fleet of the future” are as much as a ton overweight, NBC Bay Area has learned, and the transit agency has hired outside engineers to inspect 30 key aerial structures to assure they can handle the load.

The weight problem comes as the first of BART’s new 775-car fleet are expected to go into service later this year, once ongoing testing is complete.

Last spring, officials beamed as they showed off the first car in a fleet billed as sleeker, quieter and with an extra set of doors to better handle crowds.

But the fleet is more than a year behind schedule, and problems have marred early tests. Now, just as BART prepares to put the new fleet into service, engineers face another glitch.

“They’re overweight,” admits Paul Oversier, BART’s operations manager.

He blames all the “bells and whistles” on the new cars, including bike racks, six video display screens and state-of-the-art crash safety gear… (more)
Follow: @NBCBayArea on Twitter | NBCBayArea on Facebook

The latest in a long string of reports on BART does not look good. Whoever decided to replace seats with bike racks and more humans forgot to tally the weight of the added humans to the load on the cars.

Note the lack of seats on these cars. Who is setting BART’s priorities? I bet most riders who rather sit for 2 hours on a BART than stand for one hour watching a monitor.

Scrap the monitors and racks and bring back the seats.

Look to Pier 70 to see Why San Francisco Voters do Not Trust City Hall

Op-ed by Zrants

You need to Look no further than the ‘Pier 70 Mixed-Use District Project’ to understand the anger and frustrations of neighborhood groups and ordinary citizens who spent hours and their time to work out deals with city planners to somewhat mitigate the negative effects of increased populations moving onto their tender turf, to be told that the plan has changed.

The project voters approved is being amended for a much less friendly design. Density levels are going up. Six stories are really nine stories. In fact forge the promises the voters counted on. Now that the project got through the election, they are scrapping it.

That is why, when voters get the chance, the only safe way to vote on a development project is to vote against it. Look the difference between 8 Washington and Pier 70. The voters voted against 8 Washington and nothing changed. The voters approved a plan for Pier 70 as it was presented by the developers but the design has changed since the vote.

An editorial by Don Clark that ran in the Potrero View outlines some of our primary concerns. To see the draft EIR and see for yourself, go here and scroll down the page:
http://sf-planning.org/environmental-impact-reports-negative-declarations

…The City and County of San Francisco intends to grant Forest City Enterprises rights to build a wall of nine-story buildings along the Central Waterfront, from 20th to 22nd streets, which would completely obscure scenic Bay vistas for many, if not most, Potrero Hill eastern slope residents.  As one travels down 20th Street from Missouri Street to Third, beautiful Bay views would disappear.  Imagine that the American Industrial Center, the red building with white columns at the corner of 22nd and Third streets, was doubled in height.  The replacement of four- and six-story structures with nine-story edifices would dramatically Manhattanize this historical waterfront… (more)

Building height limits are not the only promises being broken. One of the major concerns to neighbors and all who drive through the area was the increased traffic and congestion that SFMTA claimed they could handle. That no longer looks likely. Not only are the buildings going to be taller and contain more people, but, the DOT announced they are not funding the electrification of Caltrans and other transit projects until they conduct an audit to find out why there are such large cost overruns.

A couple of recent laws that were passed that citizens should know about are: mentioned by Den Clark: California Senate Bill 743 eliminated scenic protections from transit infill projects, which the City quickly applied. The November 26, 2013 Planning Department Summary, Attachment A, shows that the Planning Department has removed consideration of scenic vistas from most of San Francisco’s waterfront (http://sfmea.sfplanning.org/CEQA%20Update-SB%20743%20Summary.pdf)

Send comments to Lisa Gibson Lisa.Gibson@sfgov.org on Pier 70 Mixed-Use Project by Tuesday, 5 PM February 21, 2017. Sample letter from Peter Linenthal (eir-pdf-new)

The Developer, Forest City, is publishing a Design for Development document which will be presented to the Planning Commission in an informational hearing on March 23rd. There will be an opportunity then for public comment. The Final EIR will take months and will go to the Planning Commission as part of the final approvals. There’s a lot we don’t know yet. The Draft EIR has a Maximum Residential Scenario and a Maximum Commercial Scenario and Forest City is doing a phased development which makes it especially difficult to know what to expect.