SF threatens to revoke Lyft’s e-bike permit

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco transit officials have threatened to pull Lyft’s permit to operate e-bikes in San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The City wants assurances Lyft has fully investigated a series of e-bike battery fires, which forced the billion-dollar ride-hailing company to yank 1,000 electric bikes from San Francisco streets in July, according to an email obtained by the Examiner…

Motivate and San Francisco entered into an exclusivity agreement for the company to provide bikeshare, but this is where the two entities split.

Lyft believes this exclusivity agreement grants them a monopoly over both pedaled bikes and e-assist bikes, essentially bicycles with an electric motor. The company also maintains the agreement applies to both rental bikes from curbside docks and “dockless” bikes that can be parked anywhere on a sidewalk, and then locked…(more)

What is the point of renting an a e-bike. There are plenty of Scoots. Take one of them. What is the difference. Or buy your own e-bike like we did. Why is there such a rush to fil the streets with tech toys when the streets are a mess and full of potholes regardelss of how you get around. Fix the potholes. Rent from a retail outfit that pays rent and doesn’t rely on government handouts.

Critics challenge new Bay Area housing calculus

By Richard Halstead : mercurynews – excerpt

Critics are raising questions about a new methodology used to project how much new housing will need to be built in the Bay Area by 2050.

At a public hearing Thursday in San Francisco, Susan Kirsch of Mill Valley, founder of the slow-growth group Livable California, was among about a dozen people concerned about the change in procedure used by the Association of Bay Area Governments. Kirsch said she fears it will result in higher estimates, and ultimately, denser housing.

“We know that this is leading towards having high regional housing needs assessment numbers,” Kirsch said, although ABAG staff disagreed…

Other critics of the methodology said that ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission are doing too little to address the imbalance between jobs and housing in the Bay Area… (more)

According to this article, two transportation agencies, ABAG and MTC, are addressing the jobs-housing imbalance in the Bay Area. Why are these appointee-staffed and managed regional agencies, set up to manage the regional traffic and transportation systems taking on housing and land use before finessing the job they were set up to do? MTC controls the money for the transportation projects, and there are billions of dollars sloshing around in those budgets. I guess I just answered my own question. It is all about the money. The elected local government officials don’t do much more than stamp approval on one project after another.

Why the Mission District Bus-Only Red Lanes Bug a Lot of People

sfpublicpress – excerpt (includes audio track from KSFP 102.5 FM)

The red bus-only lanes in the Mission District are controversial. They have been blamed for reducing parking spaces and foot traffic, impeding motorists and decreasing the number of customers patronizing neighborhood businesses. Mission Local reporter Abe Rodriguez talks about the cons, and pros — easing traffic congestion and lessening air pollution — of these transit lanes.

It’ll be interesting to see how this entire thing plays out, especially if you have a lot of traffic in the area.” — Abe Rodriguez, Mission Local reporter… (more)

Can you say redevelopment? Red Lanes are a great way to clear businesses out of a commercial street that you want to up zone. Nothing kills businesses like red lanes, especially if you add forced turns and complicated confusing lane changes. One trip up Mission Street is enough to make you stay away. Delivery services are probably charging extra to pay for the tickets they get stopping to unload.

Now the SFMTA wants to extend the Red Lanes to 16th Street to clear the way for dense development there. They have already cut local bus service on 16th Street to ensure a lot of free express buses for Chase Customers. If you are wondering what happened to your bus, you may find it flying up and down 16th Street with very few passengers onboard, but, hey, we need to support that Chase Center.

Assembly Bill 891 is on the Governor’s desk to sign now

cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

All California Counties, Big Cities, May Need To Create Parking Lots For Homeless

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California’s biggest cities, including Sacramento, and all 58 counties will need to provide safe parking locations for people who live in their cars, if a new bill becomes law.

Assembly Bill 891 would require cities with more than 330,000 people to establish a safe parking program by June 1, 2022. The Department of Transportation and Director of General Services would identify where those safe parking lots would be located. They’d look at state surplus properties and then post a lost of those properties on its website by June 1, 2020. Those properties would then be sold, exchanged, or leased to cities and counties.

Once the safe parking programs are established, cities and counties would work with local nonprofits to make sure those who live in their cars know about the option… (more)

This is one of many bills awaiting the governor’s signature. I want people to know how it may be handled. Please note the failure to sign the bill does not mean cities cannot pass their own legislation, and they well may.


SF D5 supervisor candidates split on transit issues

By Matthew S. Bajko : bear – excerpt

The two leading candidates in San Francisco’s heated contest for the District 5 supervisor seat both are vocal critics of the city’s mass transit system and its less-than-stellar service in the Haight, Cole Valley, and Fillmore neighborhoods.

In separate editorial board meetings with the Bay Area Reporter this month, both Supervisor Vallie Brown and tenants rights activist Dean Preston told of waiting at Muni stops and being unable to board either a cramped bus or packed N-Judah subway car headed toward downtown. They both related how their fellow stranded passengers resorted to taking private transit options instead…(more)

Taxi Takeover

I was sitting on this because I have better things to do than write about public transit complaints, but, I just heard from someone who called to let me know he is waiting, around 16th and Florida or Bryant I assume, for a bus to the Bay where one assumes there is a Chase Center or Ballpark event tonight. He is not driving since he got a ticket for parking longer than 45 minutes the other night. So much for “all parking is 4 hours or it is unlimited.” Don’t believe that one.

The story is that he was just passed up by am empty express bus whizzing past him at the bus stop. Not sure how he will handle the situation, but that is the case now. He may have to try to take a cab.

This brings us to our cab adventures last week. Those were more like Uber or Lyft rides since the drivers didn’t know how to drive without directions on a GPS phone app. Not sure what the directions were, but, the driver started by driving East instead of West along the regular route. He finally turned around and took a turn west on Duboce. He got us there, just took a circuitous route.

The ride back was a trip down a rabbit hole, or felt like it. Fortunately the driver knew the way because the GPS kept telling him to turn left at every turn, including the wrong way on Gough. I was laughing all the way in the back seat shaking my head in disbelief. It was really too much. GPS giving the driver the wrong instructions and two cab drivers in a single night that used GPS. Whatever happened to taxi drivers passing tests?

I felt like the infamous “drive by night” writer working undercover. I am now convinced the the cab business has contaminated by Uber and Lyft drivers. You can no longer trust the taxis to be reliable and honest either. They certainly are not passing any drivers tests. The Red Lanes and the no turns are also very confusing for these drivers.

If I were to suggest a solution to the traffic problem it would start with a new department containing people who know how to drive around the city and I would start by bringing back street parking for people who just need to get around without any drama or fanfare. The merry-go-round lifestyle is getting old fast.

I am pretty sure that more people would take the muni if the drivers stopped to pick them up.

Good night and good luck getting home tonight on whatever mode you can.

Debate on SF Measure D

This debate was filmed by Regional Video and posted for public viewing on youtube.

Dedicated tax needs 2/3rds to pass. Guess what they will do with the money.

Transit planners want to make your life worse

By Joel Kotkin : dailyreeze – excerpt

In our system of government, the public sector is, well, supposed to serve the public. But increasingly the bureaucracies at the state and local level increasingly seek to tell the public how to live, even if the result is to make life worse.

This became glaringly obvious recently, when the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Phil Washington, reeling from data showing a steady drop of transit riders, decided that the only solution was to make driving worse.

“It’s too easy to drive in this city,” said Washington. “We want to reach the riders that left and get to the new ones as well. And part of that has to do with actually making driving harder.”

Now let’s consider what that means. L.A. County is hardly a paradise now for commuters — 84 percent of whom drive to work — while the Orange County and Riverside-San Bernardino areas, where transit dependence is even less marked, are no great shakes, either. All suffer among the longest average commutes of anywhere in the nation…(more)

Kotin’s article ties in rather well with my theory that the authorities are beginning their heads agains the wall of public opposition in eager anticipation of breaking it down, instead of accepting defeat, and changing direction. We need new priorities and politics to solve the problems of today. We don’t need more worn out tired and failed torments and torturous manipulations from government bureaucrats. When the bus does not arrive it is rather hard to take it. The solution is to put more buses in service, not to remove parking spaces and raise the ticket price for public transit systems. the solution is not to make deals with corporations intent on controlling the streets. More money for Muni is not working when the money is misspent. It will be difficult for the net round of bonds to pass when the pro transit people are not wholly supportive of Proposition D.

OMG: The Central Subway Has Been Delayed Again, Pushed to 2021

By Jay Barmann : sfist – excerpt

The Central Subway now will not be opening until mid-2021, a full three years behind schedule, and a year and a half later than we were last told. Construction isn’t even set to be finished until the middle of next year, and then a year of train testing begins.

We learned in July that another delay was imminent on this cursed, $1.6 billion project, even though back in April an SFMTA spokesperson was still talking about a possible December 2019 opening, and saying that February 2020 was more likely. We’re now hearing from KPIX and the Chronicle that those dates had to have been complete hogwash, and that construction is much further behind than anyone previously admitted…

The latest delay seems like it will inevitably send the project further over budget, though those details haven’t yet been shared. …(more)

Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Wizard? Then you might believe this latest update on the every-extending deadline for the opening of SF’s notorious Central Subway. Good luck on that.

This project sounds more and more like the Millennium Tower. No one admits to having seen that agreement either. I give both odds of not happening before the next big one and never happening.

Muni diverts Bayview buses to supplement Chase Center concert shuttles

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni officials diverted buses from San Francisco’s southeastern neighborhoods and elsewhere to buttress bus service to Chase Center arena Tuesday night, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The diversion of Bayview buses in particular — which serve 33,000 daily riders — drew a sharp rebuke from Supervisor Shamann Walton, who represents the neighborhood. He called the move “racist” against a historically black community and one with many Asian Pacific Islander residents.

“This is unacceptable, institutionally racist and we need to identify solutions that will not impact our residents’ commute home,” Walton told the Examiner in a statement. Referring to the supervisoral districts encompassing San Francisco’s east and southeast neighborhoods, Walton added, “residents in D9, D10 and D11 will be heavily impacted by this evening commute decision.”… (more)

SFMTA told us they were diverting Muni to fulfill the promise of “free Muni service” for all Chase Center ticket holders. This is what you voted for right? More sports arenas to bring in the crowds and more jobs and a dense living environment and less public service for the citizens.

When there is a plan to divert the buses, from SF neighborhoods, SFMTA cannot claim hey have a robust transit system in the neighborhoods where Muni services are cut on a regular basis. SF cannot base expansion plans on that basis. The question for voters is, how much more Muni money are you willing to cough up for more Red Lanes and less service?