San Franciscans want happy trails — not rocky roads

by Aaron Peskin: marinatimes – excerpt

Budget season has drawn to a close, and the city has made a significant investment in our city streets with the Board of Supervisors approving an additional $90 million in road work and resurfacing funds to be spent down over the next two years.

These are the funds that will be used to repave our city streets (600 blocks annually), extend or repair our sidewalks, paint our bike lanes, and fill pesky potholes. San Francisco Public Works is hiring more workers, and San Francisco has slowly increased its Pavement Condition Index Score…

The wrong signs get posted for the wrong projects on the wrong streets, construction equipment lies inactive for months in on-street parking spots, while a seemingly never-ending parade of orange-and-white striped A-frame signs line the streets letting merchants and residents know that they should brace for yet another construction project that might or might not have an actual public benefit. At the very least, it could be coordinated much better.

In addition, the hearing revealed that some repetitive projects are dropped from the city’s database, in violation of the city’s moratorium on digging up the city streets more than once in a five-year span. For example, the corner of Green Street and Columbus Avenue has been dug up at least four or five times in the last six years, yet San Francisco Public Works did not have that data for those jobs on file.

I am working with Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee on legislation that would create stricter conditions for subcontractors and would trigger a construction mitigation fund for projects that run over budget or drag on endlessly.

The time has come to make sure that we are managing San Francisco taxpayer money responsibly when it comes to our city streets; these safety and road resurfacing projects are priorities that shouldn’t have to be painful… (more)

This pretty well covers the frustrations that residents and businesses are feeling with the street construction repair program being set up and “managed” by the SFMTA. The subcontractors were a problem for the residents dealing with street trees and damaged sidewalks and the Supervisors solved that one. Now it is time for them to take on the street subcontractors.

At the top of the list of issues, is the lack of skilled labor in the construction business due to the overwhelming number of projects underway. We are doing too much too fast and the quality of the work is suffering because of the unrealistic pace. This is why we need to slow it down. We will be having talks this month over various options for solving this problem. Thanks to supervisors Peskin, Yee and Kim for taking this on.

NO NOTICE: A number of other issues were raised at the meeting described here. One is the most familiar of all that accompanies every complaint being raised from “overnight” tow-away signs to sudden contractors tearing up sidewalks without a visible permit – NO NOTICE ahead of the sudden pop-up construction work. Obviously the multi-million dollar noticing system that SFMTA is using to communicate with the public is failing to do the job. We need a new procedure of noticing.

As Supervisor Breed pointed out at the meeting, unnecessary controversial bulblouts and other street “improvements” are going onto small side streets with no accident history under the guise of “Safe Street improvements.” The SFMTA staff had no real excuse for this when quizzed on the matter.

A similar issue is ongoing with regard to the hated Red Lane “experiments” that were put into areas of the city, in including Mission Street, that were not designated as “experimental” areas, and the required “studies” for the “experiments” were not done in a timely fashion.

Concerned citizens conducted their own “unpaid” studies and discovery, and obtained documents showing an uptick in accidents on certain Red Lanes were not included in the final reports given to the state agency in charge of approving the extension of the Red Lane “experiments”. The SFMTA cherry picked the test areas that proved the Red Lanes improved the speed of the buses yet neglected to “share” the data that showed an increase in accidents on some of the “experimental streets.

Complaints were filed and if the judicial system works, the matter should be investigated.

Seniors, disabled impacted most in dangerous SF crosswalks

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

According to city data, San Francisco has the dubious distinction of being the second most dangerous city in America for people simply trying to cross the street; only New York City has more pedestrian fatalities.

Seniors and those with disabilities demonstrated just how precarious crossing the street can be and why they want the city to lengthen the amount of time on pedestrian signals…

The SFMTA says it’s already improving cross times from four feet per second to three and a half feet per second and improvements to Masonic and Geary are already underway.

“Once the light turns green you have a tendency to just to step on the pedal and go and may not be looking directly in front of you at the intersection of someone who may not have been able to cross,” said SF Supervisor

Sandra Lee Fewer who walked with the group around the intersection to get a feel for the timing of the lights. Lee Fewer said she was stuck by a car as a child so fighting for pedestrian rights is important to her… (more)

Rally with Seniors for Safe Streets this Friday

Friday, July 28, 2017 – 10:30am – 11:30am Masonic Ave & Geary Blvd

It is time for the San Francisco to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities!

For too long seniors and people with disabilities have had to navigate poorly maintained sidewalks and potholed and poorly-patched streets, and use crosswalks designed primarily for the able-bodied pedestrians.

As a result, seniors make up only 15 percent of the city’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016, resulting from traffic crashes involving people walking.

Every year hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic crashes. Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community. This year people like 76-year old Jeannie Yee who lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year old Ka Ben Wong who was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year old Meda Hacopian who died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car, have all been victims of unsafe streets!

Speak up for Seniors and People with Disabilities this Friday

Join Walk SF, Seniors and Disability Action, and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets in urging city and state officials to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior, or as a person with one or more disabilities.

Rally with members of the community as they challenge legislators to walk or roll in “our shoes.” These safe street advocates will invite legislators to use wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other mobility devices and aids, as they attempt to cross Geary Boulevard at Masonic Avenue safely (two of the city’s high-injury corridors, the 13 percent of streets that make up 75 percent of all serious and fatal crashes).

For more information, or if you need transportation to the rally, contact: Pi Ra of Senior and Disability Action at 415.225.2080 or srira@sdaction.org.

We could ask for longer lights for cross the streets and street repair to make the streets less difficult to cross. It don’t take millions of dollars to change the timing on the traffic lights, or do a little pothole repair. What does it take for the SFMTA and other city agencies to do the quick, cheap fixes that don’t take years of planning and millions of dollars?

Man screaming death threats terrorizes BART train

 By Otis R. Taylor Jr. : sfchronicle – excerpt

Imagine settling in for your morning commute on BART when a man yells this at the top of his lungs: “I’m going to kill you.”

Mike Hohndorf and dozens of other passengers got a body-shaking jolt, not unlike a train lurching out of a station, during their commute early Friday morning from a belligerent rider who terrorized a train car for seven stops — even though Hohndorf said the man first made threats at the North Concord/Martinez BART Station and that he told a BART police officer about the man at the station.

“I’m going to stab all of you,” the man yelled as the passengers clustered waiting for the station gates to open. The officer allowed the man to board the train, where he continued to threaten passengers. Hohndorf and another passenger contacted BART officials to report the problem. BART told them they would mobilize at the 12th Street Station in Oakland — several stops later. By then, the man had gotten off… (more)

Keep this in mind the next time you see a BART cop. “There is nothing he can do.” Why are we hiring police to patrol BART if there is nothing they can do about a man yelling threats at people aimlessly? The Richmond Mayor witnessed an attack at a BART station last week. BART and the city cops claimed confusion over “jurisdiciton” of the area. Who is running this zoo?

We all know that Muni is not safe and the streets and sidewalks are not safe. Now we have to worry about BART too?

Supervisor Sheehy testified at the SF County Transit Authority meeting this week, that is made of of the Board of Supervisors, that “Muni is not safe” as he was speaking in behalf of parents who drive their children to school and need a place to pull over to let the kids out at their schools.

Before SFMTA gets away with any more parking or drop-off eliminations, the city authorities need to deal with this issue of safety at and around stations and on the public transit. This lack of safety could be a large factor in the drop-off of Muni riders, along with the loss of seats on buses and the reduction of bus stops. SFMT is pushing people off the public transit into car-shares, Ubers and Lyfts. Is this what SF residents want out of their public transit system?

Congress Advances Proposal To Preempt Calif. Regulations On Self-Driving Cars

By  Daniel Potter : Capitol Public Radio – excerpt (includes audio)

Congress is advancing a proposal to preempt some California regulations on self-driving cars.

States like California have traditionally regulated how cars are operated, but the federal government regulates their design.

“The trick here is now the vehicles are becoming the operators, so there’s a little blurring of those lines,” says Law Professor Bryant Walker Smith.

He also says the bill would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more authority over autonomous vehicle design. That could preempt current requirements in California for things like an emergency switch to shut off self-driving mode.­

“But that preemption would not preclude states from enacting all manner of other laws related to automated driving,” says Smith.

Registration and insurance would still be left to the state. The Department of Motor Vehicles wouldn’t comment on the bill, which is up for a vote in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee this week… (more)

 

1,000 Parking Spaces To Be Reserved For Car-Sharing Services

by Fiona Lee: hoodline – excerpt

Last week, SFMTA’s Board of Directors approved a full permit program for car-sharing companies after a 2013 pilot that allowed companies to use 200 public parking spaces.

Under the plan, 1,000 parking spots will be converted into car-sharing spaces.

“Each permitted parking space served many people, rather than just one private vehicle at a time,” wrote SFMTA in its report. It also revealed that a car could be used by as many as 19 people if it was part of a car-sharing service, compared to a private car, which usually only has two users…

During public comment, some residents opposed the move.

“This policy basically gives public parking spaces, the gray spaces that everybody uses,” said Patrick Mayley, who felt that the car-share companies should use private lots. “We’re essentially looking at giving public spaces away to large private corporations…This is not an example to me of sharing.”…(more)

This is wrong on so many levels. The public was not warned about this program. Pieces of it were sprung on us at a series of SFMTA Board meetings where the details were confusing and difficult to understand or comment on.

More members of the public would have expressed opposition if the public knew about the hearings. This article doesn’t mention the Scoot program, that was set up to allow the private Scoot rental company a special deal for their scooters that is not extended to all scooter rental companies. SFMTA is picking winners. Scoot is a winner. So were Uber and Lyft before they became a problem. City authorities should put a stop to these special deals that SFMTA is cutting with preferred corporations.

We have been warning about privatization of public property for some time. This is the corporate takeover of our streets, or the selling of our streets by the SFMTA. If you disapprove of this, now is the time to let the supervisors know. They can do something to stop this selling of our streets if enough people complain. You may also want to consider boycotting the corporations that are taking over our streets. If there is no demand for their services, they may rethink their position.

City Attorney files injunction to force Uber, Lyft to disclose driver data

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco just upped the stakes to legally wrangle driver data from Uber and Lyft.

The City Attorney’s Office Friday morning filed a court order in San Francisco Superior Court to compel Uber and Lyft to comply with subpoenas filed against the companies early last month.

Those administrative subpoenas, filed on June 5, would require the ride-hail companies to hand over four years of records, including miles and hours logged by drivers, incentives that encourage drivers to travel to San Francisco from far-flung cities like Los Angeles, driver guidance and training, accessible vehicle information and driver routes within San Francisco… (more)

RELATED:
SF takes Uber, Lyft to court for GPS traffic data

 

 

Supervisors vent frustrations over reportedly slow, unnecessary roadwork

By Joshua Sabastiani : sfexaminer – excerpt

upside-down

This sign on Bryant and 16th Street illustrates the lack of direction and focus we feel as we navigate the “complete streets” projects springing up in patches all over the city. The anger and frustration is boiling over and being directed at the supervisors. Photo by zrants.

City agencies responsible for roadwork were in for a bumpy ride Wednesday as supervisors aired their frustrations over such issues as sluggish pothole repairs and allegations of wasting $40,000 on an unnecessary bulb-out project at one intersection.

The frustrations built up during a hearing Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee over a road condition report. But the hearing quickly turned into litany of complaints from members of the board. (See meeting transcript Item 1. Update on Street Resurfacing Program and Analysis of the 2016 TRIP Report.)

The tension comes as The City is increasingly investing in repaving roads and changing streetscapes to make them safer for pedestrians and bicycles and more efficient for Muni, in addition to greater investments in sewer and water infrastructure. Complications arising from a private sector development boom have also added to such frustrations…(more)

The Supervisors appear to have divided up the job of investigating various coplaints.

Supervisor Breed complained about an popular $40 K bulbout, but, she missed the extremely expensive sidewalk extensions along the bus stops cost upwards of $250 K. The bulbout campaign to slow the cars is capturing the Muni buses and fire trucks, slowing down instead.

Supervisor Peskins took on the potholes and discovered that the 311 coplaints are marked completed when they are passed to other city departments to be fixed, not when they are completed. He also complained about multiple digs in one area.

Supervisor Fewer voiced her concern that the SFMTA plans to put off pothole repairs on Geary until they start the BRT project. The heavy filled buses do as must damage to the streets as the trucks, so the more buses you have the more larger potholes and Geary is full of heavy full buses.

The hearing comes as Mayor Ed Lee’s budget, which was approved on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, includes $90 million in roadwork investment during the next two years. That investment will fund the resurfacing of at least 600 blocks annually…

“Given this huge investment in our streets, we need to get things right, and that includes investing in and prioritizing coordination,” Peskin said…

Thomas said the coordination is occurring with weekly design meetings among the agencies, bi-weekly meetings with PG&E and a project database charting out work five years ahead.

“Coordination is the key to everything that we do,” Thomas said.

But Fewer said they need to look for ways to augment it.

“We are seeing this added need for greater coordination,” she said…(more)

Residents would say this coordination needs to come with public scrutiny, input and prioritization. the five year plan needs to be a two0-year plan that matches the budget allotment.

RELATED:
Analysis: Traffic-slowing construction projects have doubled in SF in past decade

Transit agency ‘mistake’ reveals extra parking removed from Potrero Avenue

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Sometimes, San Francisco makes mistakes…

Like not listening to the neighbors who know the street…

…neighbors are also concerned that the Potrero Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project was designed before Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital built its new trauma wing — and that those 2014 transportation plans reportedly block emergency vehicle access…

That allegation from neighbors was later expressed by Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which heads the project.

These concerns prompted the SFMTA Board of Directors to approve the project in a limited capacity Tuesday and carve out a hole in their plans directly in front of the hospital so that portion can be studied…(more)

Here is something for the next SFMTA study.

We opened this story with the last article we see on the Potrero Project and the warnings from neighbors that this new road configuration is dangerous. So far we have seen no mention of the 4-car pile up that draw ambulances and stopped traffic yesterday, June 20, during rush hour, in front of the entrance to SF General, as residents on the 900 block of Potrero Avenue predicted.

So far as we know the accident was only recorded by the neighbors, who seem to be more vigilant than professionals in documenting the problems on Potrero. It was no-doubt witnessed by a lot of commuters stuck in the street, who were probably grateful they were not the victims of this folly.

Hours of wasted time in this one accident will not be made up soon by the faster buses we are told will go soon whizzing by on transit only lanes. Since the SFMTA did not consider the victims of this accident worth noting, we doubt they will end up in their count.We are here to fill in the media gaps. This marks the second story we scooped this month. More videos and links will follow and hopefully some of our press partners will take this story up, when they finish reporting on the latest Trump tweets.

Witness statement:

I’d say southbound traffic was diverted onto 21st Street for at least half an hour.  I came out onto my front steps to smoke at about 6:20pm and saw the police SUV and diversion already happening to my left, then noticed all the emergency vehicles and the aftermath of the accident to my right, just south of the 22nd Street east offset.  I got to the scene within a couple of minutes, shot video (that I still haven’t watched) on my cell phone, which then immediately died, then ran home to get my iPad and was back shooting video by 6;27, first of the accident, next of the intersection of Potrero Avenue and 21st Street.  Then I went back inside to post the videos from my iPad while my phone continued to charge.  By 7(?)pm, the streets were open again.

Before and maybe after, I was listening to music through headphones in the back of my house, hence missing facts.

Video links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd8iskKgxg8

 

 

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