SFPD Traffic Department Woefully Understaffed

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

At any given point there are only eight traffic officers patrolling the entirety of San Francisco…

It’s easy to assume that a cop just wasn’t around to catch that car turning right from a middle lane or running a stop sign, but pay attention long enough, and it seems like there just aren’t any traffic officers… well, anywhere. With enforcement a key part of the Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024, checking in on if the San Francisco Police Department is doing their part seems like a no-brainer. And in a hearing called by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer on Wednesday, we learned the truth: The traffic department (formally called the Traffic Company) is incredibly understaffed… (more)

Read the full letter from Julie Kirschbaum, written October 6, 2017, that warned of training needs here

How is it possible that SF’s $11 billion budget does not buy more traffic enforcement? Who are they hiring and training why if not to run the Muni and patrol the streets?

No wonder SF is in declining into below third world standards. SFMTA is not the only city department with questionable priorities and policies. Why is City Hall mindlessly signing a 11 million dollar budget before scrutinizing it? Only Supervisor Fewer opposed the SFMTA budget. It time to return the line item veto to regain control of these agencies.

Who decided we need more parking control officers than traffic control officers? Whoever prioritized parking enforcement over traffic control should be fired.

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Muni suffering major citywide service gaps due to operator shortage

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni is suffering a major citywide slowdown.

An operator shortage has left scheduled buses sitting still at Muni yards, engines cold. Those “not outs,” Muni operator-slang for a bus or train “not out in service,” have caused drastically long wait times for service across San Francisco for months, public data obtained and analyzed by the San Francisco Examiner shows.

On any particular weekday almost a hundred buses — ones meant to run — sit unused due to a lack of operators. The usual lines for downtown buses have grown into crowds. Lucky riders find themselves packed ever-closer to their fellow passengers while unlucky riders see full-to-the-brim buses pass them up outright.

Riders have seen wait times lag on the most crucial commuter lines: 48 minute waits on the 1BX, 24 minute waits on the 38-Geary, 27 minute waits on the 1-California. Major slowdowns have hit all of San Francisco’s neighborhoods, from rich to poor, cutting across all of the diverse populations that rely on Muni for work and school… (more)

For some time people have been suggesting SFMTA slow down street construction projects and emphasize improving Muni service and operations. Have we reached the point where this may be the best solution?

This is not a problem of cash flow or shortage of funds. This is a problem of SFMTA priorities and policies not meeting the goals and needs of the public. As the public loses confidence in Muni service and reliability they are turning to private vehicles, ride-hails and other transit options. Perhaps this is the goal of SFMTA. Perhaps they want to turn over the public transit system to the corporate giants who are clamoring to take it over.

A new study says services like UberPool and Lyft Line are making traffic worse

By Faiz Siddiqui of The Washington Post : mercurynews – excerpt

The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or not used a ride-hail service at all, according to a new study.

The report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse, constructs a detailed profile of the typical ride-hail user and issues a stark warning to cities: make efforts to counter the growth of ride-hail services, or surrender city streets to fleets of private cars, creating a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists and ultimately make urban cores less desirable places to live.

Schaller concludes that where private ride options such as UberX and Lyft have failed on promises to cut down on personal driving and car ownership – both of which are trending up – pooled ride services have lured a different market that directly competes with subway and bus systems, while failing to achieve significantly better efficiency than their solo alternatives. The result: more driving overall.

Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges. (The study notes that total ride-hailing trips in New York increased 72 percent from 2016 to 2017 and 47 percent in Seattle over that time. Revenue data from the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles showed the ride-hailing industry’s growth quadrupled in the District from late 2015 to 2017.)

The nine cities studied were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle..

.. (more)

Instead of admitting that the ride-hails are adding to the traffic, the EMERGING MOBILITY | EVALUATION REPORT put out for the SFCTA, blamed the TNCs for not releasing their data. One doesn’t need the TNC’s data to observe that the ride-hails pouring into the city from out of town to compete with all the pubic transit systems are private vehicles. Since they don’t park, but drive around waiting for a ride, there is bound to be more traffic on all the streets. There is an easy solution to that problem. Return the curbs back to the public.

Here is an idea of a pilot project: Remove the special the parking privileges for the TNCs. Return street parking to the public in some neighborhoods and see if more people driving themselves around and parking doesn’t result in less traffic and healthier retail stores. Once the ride-hails lose their customers, they will quit driving into town. That should clear some of the congestion off the bridges and highways, and maybe more people will switch back to public transportation, especially if the bus stops are left in place.

BART Investigating 3 Homicides In Less Than A Week

cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Violence on Bay Area Rapid Transit has resulted in three homicides over the last week with the latest being the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old woman as she stepped off a train Sunday night.

UPDATE: BART Police Arrest Suspect In Brutal MacArthur Station Stabbing

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas called the homicides ‘an anomaly’ at a press conference on Monday… (more)

This is really bad news for the public transit folks. The BART are at loss as to how to combat crime and violence on their system. Getting rid of your car and taking BART or Muni is putting your life at risk these days.

 

 

Is the Uber and Lyft Business Model in Jeopardy?

By Glenn Rogers : westsideobserver – excerpt

On April 30, 2018 the California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s judgment, changing existing law determining how an independent contractor can be identified. The case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, may completely redefine what is and what is not an independent contractor.

Dynamex, which is a same day pick-up and delivery company, treated all their workers as employees before 2004. However, as a cost saving measure, they changed the status of their workers to independent contractors after that date. In January 2005, Charles Lee — the sole named plaintiff in the original complaint entered into a written independent contractor agreement with Dynamex to provide delivery services. He filed this class action as the sole class representative challenging the legitimacy of Dynamex’s relationship with its independent contractor drivers… (more)

Now that Uber and Lyft have outcompeted taxis, their next goal is to outcompete with mass transit, which is suffering a diminished ridership from Uber and Lyft daily.”

 

There are so many articles on the Uber Lyfts that ignore the threats coming from so many more whose names may flash be in a brief moment as they glide past you in the havoc of traffic. Some will run on two wheels some of four and some may even try for three, but they all have one thing in common, their primary business plan is to take your slice of the traffic lane pie away. When you find yourself left with little wiggle room you may remember this warning. If you already feel cramped and in the mood too so something about it, your first move should be a call to your supervisor’s office to complain, or a trip down to City Hall to file an appeal under Ordinance 180089, or, a CEQA appeal, whichever fills your needs.

Gas tax repeal campaign focuses on Bay Area commuters, families

The campaign to overturn California’s newly enacted gas tax will hit three Bay Area cities next week, as organizers search for volunteers to post lawn signs, write opinion pieces and spread the taxpayer revolt on social media.

With less than four months to go before the November election, the crusade won’t be easy. Proposition 6, the tax repeal measure, takes aim at a $5 billion-a-year funding stream to fix California’s crumbling roads and boost its mass transit systems.

Environmentalists, transportation officials, construction unions and Gov. Jerry Brown are all fighting to protect those funds, and they have raised $14 million — far more than the $5 million haul of the “Yes on 6” campaign.

But none of that has deterred Prop. 6’s core supporters or its campaign chairman, conservative talk radio host Carl DeMaio…

“This tax affects everybody, but it hits the working poor the hardest,” DeMaio said….(more)

Every price hike on everything effects the working poor and the middle class whose wages have not kept up with the spiraling inflation rates that are hitting California hardest. There are already plans to replace the tax should it be repealed. The idea that the money collected to fix the roads and bridges should not be re-directed into other projects. Some of those ideas are explored here: How-to-replace-the-gas-tax-law-if-its-repealed/   “…a new initiative to REPLACE SB1. That next bill will designate that all current State excise taxes on fuels at the pumps, State sales tax on fuels at the pumps, and new car sales taxes, MUST all go to infrastructure, with NONE going to the general fund…”

Got a $1 billion-plus idea to fix traffic, transit in the Bay Area?

By Erin Baldassari : mercurynews – excerpt

The MTC is putting out a call for projects that would transform transportation as we know it in the Bay Area. Pictured here is a proposal architect Jeff Heller proposed more than a year ago to put a new “Southern Crossing” that would carry trains, autonomous vehicles, bicyclists and more, as one of several imagined transportation investments in the Bay Area…

SAN FRANCISCO — Think you know how to solve the Bay Area’s nightmarish traffic? Have you been fantasizing about where a future BART system could go? Do you have a tech-savvy solution for reducing solo-driving or integrating autonomous cars into Bay Area freeways?

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission wants to hear from you…

Don’t worry about cost, says MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler. The minimum price tag for capacity-adding transit or road projects is $1 billion, and there is no maximum.

“If we can get enough interest in a bold vision,” Rentschler said, “we can chase the money for it later.”….

The problem, he said, is that government agencies are constrained — by what is politically feasible, by laws that require them to use existing funding streams when sketching out their visions for the future, by being focused on what is achievable in the short-term. Over the past several decades — ever since the BART system was envisioned and built — those constraints have led to small, incremental changes, he said.. (more)

Pay attention to these warnings. There is no limit to how much taxpayers will pay to stay in the bay as long as the MTC is running the programs. How do the taxpaying residents of the Bay feel about that? Do we want the constraints on the government agencies lifted? Or do we want unlimited, unrestrained costs and taxes and price hikes to support unlimited growth?

Emerging Mobility in San Francisco

from the SFMCTA website: https://www.sfcta.org

Many new technologies and services have appeared on San Francisco’s streets over the past few years, from ride-hail companies, to scooter sharing, to on-demand delivery services.

This month, we released a new report evaluating how these services line up with issues like equity, sustainability, and safety. One major take-away: We found that companies that share data and partner with the City on pilots are better at helping meet City goals.

Learn more: Watch the video and read the report.


Let your supervisor know what you want to do about these corporate entities that are emerging on our streets? Do we want to lose your right to park at the curb? Do you trust the SFMTA to manage the corporations that are threatening to take over the streets?

Are these new jobs, working for Uber Lyft and the rest, any better than the old jobs they are displacing? Were the taxi drivers worse off then the rideshare drivers who are barely making a living wage? Who is benefiting and who is losing out as the SFMTA barrels through the city killing one retail entity after another with their “street improvement” projects?

130 affordable housing units result of land transfer between SF agencies

: sfchronicle – excerpt

A proposed property transfer between San Francisco agencies that could yield up to 130 new affordable housing units was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee…

The MTA’s Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the sale of the lot in 2012. Two years later, the agency struck an agreement to sell it to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, which has long sought to develop the site for 100 percent affordable housing…

As part of the agreement, the SFMTA would sell the parcel to the mayor’s housing office for $6.15 million. As a so-called enterprise agency, the SFMTA — like the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission — is allowed to buy and sell its own properties. Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would cover $2.5 million worth of transfer costs. The remaining $3.65 million would come from the city’s affordable housing fund…

Developing the windswept lot into housing will cost an estimated $96 million. To pay for it, Hartley said the city would contribute around $35 million, with the remainder coming from low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bond debt and additional state credits that the developers, Related California and the Mission Housing Development Coalition, can apply for… (more)

Since the city owns the land one would assume the city determines who the developers are. They are just in the process of transferring the land. How do they already have developers picked out and who and when was this determined? Some will remember that a company called Related is a luxury condo developer who owned Motivate, the bike share company that recently sold GoBike to Lyft. Do we see a pattern here?

As many San Francisco residents are being displaced by newcomers with a different set of interests and morals, is it time for the citizens of this city to ask some tough questions about how their city is being managed and for whom?  Is it just a coincidence that the same names pop up repeatedly in every city contract? Are you represented by in the non-profit groups showing up at every city hall meetings begging for exclusive privileges?

 

City makes free controversial Dolores Street ‘parking for God’ permanent

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

One decried as “parking for God” by car-less critics, The City’s once-controversial program to provide free church parking is here to stay.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board on Tuesday voted to make a pilot program for free weekend parking on street medians on Dolores Street permanent. That parking is largely aimed at church-goers, who complained that scarce weekend parking in the Mission could lead to dwindling memberships for religious organizations… (more)

Since the churches and their followers are doing a huge job of helping the homeless and the less fortunate among us, helping them by allowing parking seems a small gesture. This does impact neighbors, but they would be impacted by removing parking, so this keeps the status quo. In order to help the neighbors, SFMTA should leave their street parking alone. No more private entities taking their parking.