Chariot adds commute routes for UCSF employees, with public funding

 : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco commuter van operator Chariot has started a shuttle service for UCSF Mission Bay employees who commute from the East Bay. It’s the first such service funded by a public transit agency, and it aims to ease congestion on the Bay Bridge.

UCSF, one of the Bay Area’s largest employers, received a $750,000 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which oversees regional transportation planning, to coax its workers into fewer cars. As part of the initiative, UCSF tapped Chariot, a subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility, to operate two weekday shuttle routes between Emeryville and West Oakland and UCSF’s Mission Bay campus during the morning and evening commutes. The service began June 18 with eight Chariot vans, each carrying up to 14 passengers.The service will run for one year as part of a broader MTC initiative called “Bay Bridge Forward,” which is funneling $40 million to improve bus lines, parking lots and ferry routes. Most of the money is going to public transit operators, but a small slice is going to UCSF and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser, headquartered in Oakland, received $150,000 to manage its workers’ commuting and parking patterns.

Chariot and UCSF officials said they don’t know how many employees will use the service. About 6,000 of UCSF’s 25,000 employees work at Mission Bay, and more than a quarter are estimated to live in the East Bay. The cost to UCSF employees for the new Chariot routes is $7.50 per ride.

“We want to help our employees get to work each day, while also easing traffic heading into the city,” Erick Villalobos, UCSF’s director of transportation services, said in a statement… (more)

We are speechless. This is how the public transit agencies spend taxpayer dollars? We pay for UCSF employees to ride in comfort for $7.50 a day, while commuters pay higher bridge tolls and parking fees. How is this fair? No sooner has the ink dried on the RM3 election, than the public fund get siphoned off to corporate sponsors of the bill. Voters should retaliate by repealing the gas tax.

Mail truck on Market Street

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A cyclist was complaining to a traffic cop be=cause a US mail truck was parked in the bike lane on Market Street. Cop said I couldn’t give a ticket because there was no vin number. What has it come to when the US mail is not allowed to park to deliver the mail? What is the point of buying on the internet and denying the delivery service a parking space to finalize the delivery? Photo by zrants.

Silicon Valley bus drivers sleep in parking lots. They may have to make way for development

By Wendy Lee : sfchronicle – excerpt

Recreational vehicles line a parking lot at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Cerone bus yard in San Jose. The transit agency lets some employees with long commutes sleep overnight in the lot.

On weekdays, bus driver Adan Miranda hauls people across Silicon Valley. But his own roughly 100-mile commute home to a Sacramento suburb nearly killed him, so 15 years ago he decided to start sleeping in a San Jose parking lot four nights a week.

It’s a choice that’s becoming more common for people who want to work in the Bay Area but can’t afford a place to live. What’s unusual about Miranda’s situation is that his parking space is provided by his employer, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. For 20 years, the agency has doled out permits to sleep on its property to employees who have homes 50 miles away or farther.

Now the quirky perk may be coming to an end. Its elimination places an ironic underscore on the region’s housing crisis: The bus drivers’ temporary bedsits may have to make way for permanent development… (more)

 

AB 2923 would turn BART parking lots into dense transit housing projects.

AB 2923 Chiu, Bill would impose a state-mandated local program requiring the BART board to replace parking lots with housing. Presumably the ones they now operate for BART passengers, removing parking options for BART riders, who are already complaining about the shortage of parking.

AB 2923 will be heard in Senate Governance and Finance Committee
Wednesday, 6/27/18, 9:30 AM in Room 112. Details on actions you may take are here: https://sfceqa.wordpress.com/ab-2923

Catharine Baker made a solid case to oppose AB 2923. Would you like BART to control housing decisions in our community, or, really, anywhere in the Bay Area? That is what AB 2923 would do. Here are her thoughts on this proposalClick here to let her know what you think. http://bit.ly/1RGaCl8

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“Legislation by Assemblymen David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, seeks to address the relative scarcity of BART-accessible housing by requiring the system to adopt zoning standards that promote residential development and forcing cities to go along with them. The bill, AB2923, also would mandate that developers devote at least 20 percent of projects to affordable housing and, in a potentially counterproductive concession to organized labor, pay union-level wages…” (more)

SFMTA Cuts Bike Lane from Planned Sixth Street Safety Improvements

By Roger Rudnick : streetsblog – excerpt

Pushback from hotels adds car space and rolls back safety

Streetsblog tipster and advocate Brian Coyne brought this to our attention: “SFMTA’s Sixth Street Safety Project, which Streetsblog has covered several times over the last few years, has now had the bike lane component removed.” The plan, as shown on the agency’s project page, is now to remove the bike facility and add an additional northbound car lane to the design… (more)

6th Street is a major freeway on-ramp street and not many bikes are taking the freeway south, but a lot of cars are. Maybe take another of the many streets that are not freeway on-ramps instead of trying to clog the traffic up even more as it attempts to leave town. The faster traffic loads onto the freeway the less you will get stuck. If you can’t bike on 6th Street, park around the corner and WALK. That is what most Muni riders, drivers and everyone else does.

Why you want to stop the SFMTA from planting meters on your street

They set the terms and time limits once they are in. This is what they are doing on Townsend from 4th to 7th Street.

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Talk to your neighborhood group about how to protect your streets.

Ontario tosses a wrench in cap and trade program

zRants

By Dan Morain :calmatters – excerpt

A populist’s victory in the Canadian province of Ontario could affect California’s cap-and-trade program, as legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown prepare to divvy up $1.8 billion in revenue from the program this week.

Brown will take a slice for high-speed rail. Other money likely will go for fire prevention. Projects must lower greenhouse-gas emissions, although any reduction from high-speed rail would come years from now.

As explained by CALmatters’ Julie Cart, polluters subject to the cap and trade—think oil refineries—pay to offset the impact of their emissions.

Complications: Doug Ford, a conservative, won election as premier in Canada’s most populous province on June 7 and says his first act will be to end Ontario’s involvement in the cap-and-trade program. That would leave Quebec as California’s only partner… (more)

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City could subsidize wheelchair-accessible taxis

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City is proposing to subsidize the purchase and upkeep of taxi cabs equipped with wheelchair ramps, in a bid to restore service for the disability community across San Francisco.

The problem is stark, taxi industry insiders say.

The advance of ride-hail giants Uber and Lyft led to sharp declines in the taxi industry — that part of the story, many know. But a lesser-known fallout of the rise of tech-enabled rides is the decline of drivers behind the wheel of specially-equipped taxis for those who use wheelchairs.

As taxi drivers flee an ailing industry, so too have drivers for ramp-equipped taxis, leaving wheelchair-users largely unable to hail a cab. Uber and Lyft do not run ramp-equipped cars in large number, and have been sued by disability nonprofits for discrimination.

The decline of ramp taxi service is a chicken and the egg problem, said John Lazar, former owner of Luxor Cab, which specializes in disability-community service…

Hansu Kim, co-owner of Flywheel Taxi, said boosting ramp taxi service is not just a moral imperative, but also makes good business sense.

“It’s not as lucrative, but the taxi industry, by embracing paratransit services, is a focus other industries aren’t doing,” Kim said, referring to Uber and Lyft. And those new SFMTA incentives will do the trick. Kim said. “It gives me more incentive to put out these more expensive vehicles.”… (more)

SFMTA launches new ‘community response team,’ hires board member to lead it

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transit arm is hiring a director from its politically appointed board to lead a new community outreach team.

Joel Ramos, a seven-year member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, was hired near the end of May to lead the agency’s new Community Response Team, which is aimed at reaching out to neighbors about new stop signs and other small-scale street changes…

The SFMTA estimates there were around 575 such decisions in 2017, all subject to potential appeal with the Board of Supervisors.

Ramos’ departure from the SFMTA Board of Directors leaves a vacancy on the seven-member body, all of whom are appointed by the mayor. The body approves projects both great and small, from the $1.6 billion Central Subway project to the recent red painted transit-only lanes throughout The City. He recalled the approval for the Central Subway as a particularly heated moment in his board career…

Farrell, who will be replaced by a newly elected mayor by mid-July, said he will decline to appoint a new member to the SFMTA Board of Directors in his remaining few weeks in office.

“As mayor, I am focusing on appointments to boards and commissions that lack quorum, require key appointments or have ongoing searches for a director,” Farrell said in a statement.

That leaves the task of appointing a new SFMTA board member to the next mayor — whoever that may be… (more)

A San Francisco man was living in his car when it was towed. Now he’s suing the city

: kalw – excerpt (include audio tape)

Last December, James Smith’s car was towed as a consequence of unpaid parking violations. Smith was homeless, and the car was his only shelter. Now, Smith filing suit against San Francisco, arguing that towing for debt-collection is unconstitutional.

James Smith, a 64-year-old San Franciscan, used to volunteer for the Coalition on Homelessness. He would help families find places to stay for a night. Sometimes he’d even open up his own little apartment.

Smith never expected that one day, he’d be the one living on the streets.

“Never, ever,” says Smith. “I asked myself, ‘what did I do wrong?’”… (more)