California gas tax increase is now law. What it costs you and what it fixes

By Jim Miller :  sacbee – excerpt

SF Bay Bridge has one of the most hated commutes, but will get worse as gas taxes are pumped into road diets and bike lanes on access streets in SOMA street “improvements”.
Big companies are losing patience and expanding elsewhere. Photo by Zrants

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law billions of dollars in higher fuel taxes and vehicle fees, the state will have an estimated $52 billion more money to help cover the state’s transportation needs for the next decade

SFMTA Seeks Input On Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project Designs This Week

By : Hoodline – excerpt

Folsom-Plan

Page 92 of the 92 Page Eastern Neighborhood Plan from 2008

Anyone who commutes across the Bay Bridge should start screaming now… Sorry for the late notice. I just saw this.

Changes are in the works for SoMa through SFMTA’s $26 million Folsom-Howard Streestcape Project.

Now, after community meetings late last year, the agency will be holding two public open house meetings so the neighborhood can weigh in on upcoming design changes to Folsom and Howard streets.

As part of the Vision Zero initiative, the project would focus on making an area—Howard Street between 3rd and 11th streets and Folsom Street between 2nd and 11th streets—that the city has designated as a high-injury corridor more pedestrian and bike-friendly…

The two open houses  will be held Thursday, April 27th at 6:00pm-7:30pm and Saturday, (sorry we missed that one.) April 29th at 12:00pm-2:00pm at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School at 375 7th Street, between Folsom and Howard streets. Both meetings will cover the same material…(more)

No new plans that we can see online, but we know what they have in mind –  cutting traffic lanes and adding bike lanes to the two most heavily traveled, packed and gridlocked streets in the city.  City Hall doesn’t really want you to drive into the city on one the most expensive bridges ever built.

They want you to pack onto a BART train, or Transbay bus, or stay the heck out of THEIR city! Many people will choose to stay away once this nightmare goes into effect.

Watch for the boulevard plan, pictured above. Page 92 of the 92 page Eastern Neighborhoods Plan from 2008 shows Folsom street as a tree-lined civic Blvd.) There may be talk of turning it into a two-way street, removing making turns onto side streets and even installing a red lane. They would kill what is left of the businesses along the way and, make your commuting impossible. No wonder tech is moving to Nevada.

Any claims that the city is removing cars from city streets and thus reducing greenhouse gases are false. As you can tell, there are as many, if not more vehicles clogging our streets and the longer it take you to get somewhere the more emissions there are in the air during that trip. Slowing down the vehicles is adding to the pollution. Removing the hundreds of trees is removing the natural CO2 filter that was in place. Add the construction dust and fumes and you can pretty well guess that the air is a lot less clean than it was. We are lucky when it rains to put a damper on it. If there is one lie you do not believe, do not believe that the air is cleaner.

SF’s effort to lead charge in promoting electric vehicles met with cost concerns

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s proposal to require municipal sedans to go emissions free by 2020 won’t come cheap.

And that’s not all; the deadline may not be realistic as well, even though the number of vehicles impacted by the proposal — as few as 759 — is just a small fraction of the total fleet of vehicles owned and leased by The City.

To swap out gas-guzzlers and other polluting vehicles driven by city workers and replace them with electric vehicles — as well as install charging stations — could cost between $31 million and $95.1 million, according to a budget analyst report on the proposal to require The City fleet’s passenger vehicles are zero emissions by Dec. 31, 2020. That’ll depend on how many vehicles are actually impacted and the electric vehicle models purchased… (more)

California Republicans accuse Democrats of diverting road repair funds

By Mike Luery : kcra – excerpt (including video)

Some of the many potholes in a single block of Carolina St, in San Francisco by Zrants. Join the international movement and “Adopt a Pothole” if you care about them.

$15 million spending measure pulled after controversy

California’s crumbling roads are supposed to get billions of dollars in repairs under Senate Bill 1. It raises taxes by 12 cents a gallon for gasoline and 20 cents a gallon more for diesel in order to fund road and bridge repairs across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed for the bill to pass the Legislature two weeks ago, hasn’t even signed the $52 billion road repair bill.

The bill was controversial before it passed. But, new discussions beginning in the Senate are raising concerns as some lawmakers look to allocate $15 million to non-transportation projects…

Meanwhile, Republicans are accusing Brown of illegal vote trading after some lawmakers were promised millions of dollars in special project spending in their districts to help enlist their support for the gas tax.

But, Brown said deal making is all part of the political process.

“When somebody says, ‘Here, here’s $10,000, I want your vote,’ you’ve got bribery. It’s illegal,” Brown said. “When someone says, ‘You know, I think this bill will be better if you included these projects, these ideas or these rules,’ we listen because that’s democracy.”… (more)

Thanks Governor Brown for the lesson in diplomacy. It is still scratch my back and I will scratch yours. In this case, we suggest you follow the meaning and intent of the law if you sign it and apply ALL the funds to road and bridge repair.
We are already hearing that the $52 billion is insufficient so there is no legitimate reason to spend any of that on non-road repairs.
Keep in mind that potholes are most dangerous for pedestrians and two-wheelers and probably do more damage to public and emergency vehicles than other conditions on the road.
Where are the studies on accidents caused by potholes? Where are the estimates on costs to public services?

Broken promises with SB-1

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview. – excerpt

At first glance State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) would not seem to be a candidate for a yet to be written chapter for the sequel to Profiles in Courage.  Prior to taking office, Glazer spent his career as a lobbyist, consultant, fixer, and campaign manager, in the sleazy world of Sacramento politics.

Few people took much notice when Jerry Brown’s campaign manager in 2010 pledged when elected that he would ignore the special interests that previously employed him.  After less than two years in office, Glazer has made good on this promise while confounded his critics by not following the Democratic Party line in every instance.

Last week he further committed “progressive” treason (beyond opposing public transit worker strikes) by casting a vote against the passage of SB-1 which is the 52.5 billion dollar tax increase pushed by Governor Brown to pay for California’s deteriorating transportation system.  By raising the gasoline tax and increasing vehicle registration fees, Brown claims there will be enough funds allocated to get the job done.

Glazer, whose district is considered moderate by Bay Area standards, said that it was unnecessary to raise taxes rather than re-directing spending from the costly high-speed rail project and other questionable expenditures.

Glazer’s opposition to SB-1 might have worked if all Republican’s in the Senate opposed it because a two thirds vote was required to pass the measure.  This did not happen as Governor Brown enticed, or should we say bribed Republican Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres) to support SB-1 with 450 million in perks promised for his district.

Cannella does not care about the ire of the GOP as he is termed out in 2018 for his Senate seat.  No one would be surprised if Governor Brown gives him an appointment to a high paying state commission for his parting gift when leaving office.  That’s how things work in Sacramento… (more)

If you appreciate Senator Glazer’s no vote on SB-1, let him know: http://sd07.senate.ca.gov/contact

 

SFMTA Faces Criticism During Tense Meeting on Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

“This is a really good focus group.”

That’s  what Hank Wilson, the manager of parking policy at SFMTA, told a crowd of Bernal Heights residents last week at a contentious April 18  community meeting about SFMTA’s proposal to implement a new residential parking permit program (RPP) on select streets in northwest Bernal Heights.

During the meeting, more than a dozen Bernal Heights residents took turns scolding SFMTA for failing to provide timely information to local residents, repeatedly contradicting or redefining its own data about non-resident parking in Bernal Heights, and arbitrarily changing the rules that  will govern the proposed RPP in northwest Bernal.

The net result, as one Bernal resident pointed out, is that “[SFMTA is] pitting streets against each other, and neighbor a against neighbor.”

That was a recurring theme throughout the evening, as Bernal neighbors who both supported and opposed the parking plan described how the RPP program seems to have been designed from the outset to fuel neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism… (more)

SFMTA specializes in fueling neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism. They probably hand out awards to the staff based on who instigates the biggest fights.

Nearly $1 billion in side deals for California gas tax approved

by Kate Murphy of bayareanewsgroup : eastbaytimes – excerpt (video linked)

SACRAMENTO — Nearly $1 billion in controversial side deals that may have persuaded key California lawmakers to get behind a controversial gas tax this month cleared the Legislature Monday.

In the lead-up to the April 6 gas-tax vote, funding for a handful of transportation projects surfaced in a separate bill, Senate Bill 132. The projects will benefit the districts represented by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced; Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, and Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

All four lawmakers voted in favor of the gas tax — which passed narrowly, without a vote to spare.

Also part of the deal — and passed Monday — was Senate Bill 496, by Cannella, that would protect architects, engineers and other “design professionals” against legal claims made by public agencies. Cannella is an engineer.

The gas tax will generate more than $5 billion per year for road repairs and local transit projects by indefinitely increasing gas and diesel taxes and hiking vehicle registration fees. The increases will cost the average driver roughly $10 per month or less, the state estimates…(more)

They just called it a pothole gas tax. There is no guarantee on what will happen to the funds raised by the tax, other than special interests will benefit from it. Potholes effect everyone negatively. Fixing them is the most democratic use of public funds. Fixing them would reduce the costs of public transit repairs and make biking and walking a lot safer. SFMTA is literally painting over potholes to create red lanes and bike paths, making them more hazardous with the slick paint.

If you want to do something positive about potholes, join the international “Adopt a Pothole” movement:
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

Join the Campaign to Repeal the Car Tax

posted by Carl DeMaio : iheart – excerpt

STOP the Car Tax
With virtually no notice to the public, Democratic politicians in the California State Legislature crammed through a massive hike to the Car Tax and Gax Tax.Fortunately, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio has unveiled a strategy for getting citizens involved in overturning these tax hikes! More on that in a bit, but first you need to understand how these tax hikes will cost YOU!

Car Tax: Pay More, Get Less!…“Politicians have been caught stealing gas tax monies and recent audits show billions in waste that should be going to road repairs,” notes Carl DeMaio. “The Car Tax and Gas Tax hike contains zero reforms of wasteful spending, meaning we are throwing good money after bad,” DeMaio warns…

The Gazelle Strategy to Repeal the Car Tax: Recalls!…

THE DEMAIO REPORT: Carl DeMaio provides investigative journalism and inside knowledge with an eye on solutions. The show focuses on the issues that matter most to you… (more)

RELATED:

Proposal to Divert Tax Monies Away from Roads Delayed After Public Criticism
Proposal Pulled From Committee Agenda for Further Discussion in the Future

Senator Jim Nielsen, 4/20/17
SACRAMENTO – Following public outcry over the diversion of the state’s massive $52 billion car and gas tax to pay for restroom repairs at state parks, the purchase of land for animal travel and grants to encourage people to visit parks, the majority led committee pulled the proposal off its agenda and promised to revisit the proposal at a later time, without giving a reason for deleting the diversion proposals off of Thursday’s agenda.

“We, the people, expect transparency and honesty from our government,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “The spending of our tax dollars should be done with great care and in the open to retain the trust of our constituents, and to keep government accountable. Without this trust, our democracy does not work.”

Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), said, “While the discussion of diverting road tax funds has been pulled from today’s budget hearing, it doesn’t mean the threat is gone. Sacramento Democrats aren’t being transparent about the true cost of the gas tax increase. It’s the largest gas tax increase in the state’s history, and it will automatically increase each year with no sunset date. Californians deserve better.”…

Despite the fact that the Governor has yet to sign Senate Bill 1, legislative Democrats proposed to steer tax dollars that will be collected in November on non-transportation proposals including:

  • $5 million for park restroom maintenance
  • $5 million to buy land for improved animal travel e.g. corridors
  • $5 million for grant programs to encourage people to visit parks

These proposals are not fixing our crumbling roads, highways and bridges. They will not get us to work or home any faster nor will they lower the cost of car repair as claimed…(more)

Traffic safety is no easy fix

Examiner readers – comments
Make traffic deaths a thing of the past,”
In My View, April 18

Traffic safety is no easy fix

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin proclaims that “each [San Francisco traffic fatality] is preventable” as though this is somehow self-evident simply because he proclaims it. It is no such thing.

As SFPD Cmdr. Mikail Ali discovered in his detailed analysis of 2013 and 2014 street fatalities, the majority of fatalities are due to “really, really bad behavior” on the part of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Anyone who cycles and walks in San Francisco every day, as I do, will be as confounded as I am at the notion that red-light-running, inattentive jaywalking and failures to yield at crosswalks can be prevented by “Vision Zero,” which is a slogan pretending to be a panacea.

Reiskin cites “data analysis” as the basis for ever more expensive and intrusive mismanagement of our traffic flow. Yet despite having more than 5,000 employees at his service, the SFMTA has been slow to publish its annual collisions reports so we, citizens, can review the data ourselves.

The latest canard is “speeding,” something we all know is nearly impossible to do on tight, congested inner-city streets. Yet, it will be cited as justification for massive new camera surveillance. I’m sure the vendors of the speeding cameras are pleased by Reiskin’s endorsement of their solution to a nonexistent problem, as well as Uber and Lyft, who smile upon his efforts to divert our attention away from the true current scourge: distracted ride-hail drivers.

Deane Hartley
San Francisco

Ed Reiskin has admitted that Vision Zero has failed to put a dent in traffic deaths. So, his solution is MORE OF SAME.

According to a February 7 report titled “SFMTA Board Workshop”, in 2016 there were 3 bicycle fatalities, 16 pedestrian fatalities and 11 people were killed in vehicles. Bus and rail collisions and traffic congestion was up.

 

How the Supercomputer in Our Pockets Can Help With Road Redesign

By Ryan McCauley : govtech – excerpt

Experimental red lanes on Mission Street were given the red carpet treatment without any repairs on the street. You can easily see the condition of the unpainted lane on the bottom right of the photo. The painted lanes are dangerous in the rain. Photo by Zrants.

This article appears to be written by people in an industry that spies on us by somehow accessing the data on how we drive and move about. Who authorized this use of our personal data? Who is keeping it and for how long and for what purposes?

Public perception may not be the most accurate measurement when assessing a project’s effectiveness. After a massive street redesign project, for instance, residents may complain that parking has been affected or traffic is now slower.

So getting large amounts of high-quality data to city planners so they can objectively judge a project’s true effectiveness is of the utmost importance. And the San Francisco Bay area’s increasing population has forced city officials to think about new ways to accommodate the influx — especially in San Francisco and Oakland, both of which have recently pursued “road diet” projects, which are essentially creating bus- and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Something I have been trying to emphasize with staff is the importance of collecting data and talking about performance,” said Jeff Tumlin, interim director of the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT), which formed last summer, and was charged with improving mobility in the rapidly growing city while aligning transportation projects with the city’s values on equity…

Traditionally, the SFMTA would rely on collision data and count the amount of vehicles that would pass through intersections to judge how traffic and safety has improved. Through the Zendrive software, which works in the background and measures rapid acceleration, hard braking, phone usage and excessive speeding, the company can measure the behavior of specific drivers and understand where problem areas are.

The company released a report that analyzed more than 1 million miles of driver data on the Mission Street corridor before, during and after the construction. By tracking the data in individual vehicles, the SFMTA was able to recognize exactly where and how the project improved congestion…(more)

Anyone who doubts the true purpose of the road diets can read the words of Jeff Tumlin (a consultant for SFMTA who was fired by the city of Santa Monica for lying about his accomplishments here).

According to Tumlin, SFMTA is “creating bus-and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians. No word on how they are helping anyone who drives or takes public transit, because SFMTA wants us to bike or walk. They don’t have the capacity to carry more people on public transportation and they only seem to support corporate vehicles like privatized parking spaces for ride shares that they benefit from.

If you take the Muni, you are costing them money. They are not making any profit off of you. You should be biking or walking instead.

There are a few problems with this plan. We have an aging population that is not likely to ride or bike, that SFMTA is ignoring. They don’t think they need to cater to taxpayers because they are busy hiring lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington to circumvent local taxpayers. If you don’t like it you better support the next ballot initiative that removes their power.

Otherwise, get some walking shoes or prepare to stand on a crowded bus that may or may not get you where you need to go. Watch out for the potholes. SFMTA is too busy painting streets to repair them. Of course you can sue them if you fall and are injured, but who wants that.

If you don’t like the way the SFMTA operates, (even cyclists are mad about the condition Potrero is in and the huge barriers in the middle of the street that force them to cycle on Potrero), be sure to register your complaints with 311 and demand  your supervisors take actions. If potholes bother you, check out suggestions here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

If you feel creative you may want to follow in the steps of a Chicago mosaic artist who sees potholes as an empty canvases waiting to be filled.