Why traffic laws are not being enforced

Comments from a concerned citizen

The city outgrew the infrastructure and LOS (level of service) some time ago. There are too few police, firemen, Muni drivers, teachers, 911 emergency call center operators, etc. for the current level of population. Not only do we have more people living in San Francisco, the population swells during the day making it impossible for the traffic control officers to do a proper job. To make matters more difficult, City Hall dedicates huge amounts of money to planning for future growth instead of fixing the problems we have today. SFMTA can’t hire and train enough operators but they did manage to push their PR department from 4 employees to 55 to try to convince you that you should be happy with “their service”. Are you?

Keeping police officers on the streets is one aspect of the development policy that the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) was supposed to take into consideration, and did until recently. Now they just create a record that shows they took CEQA into consideration and found that they could do nothing to mitigate the “harm” that might come from the new project under consideration and approve it anyway. You may thank your state government and the courts for overriding the local government laws and policies and protections our residents voted for to keep a healthy balance between growth and services. Now we just have forced growth.

If you are paying attention to local Planning Commission hearings you have heard residents and local neighborhood organizations warning about the lack of infrastructure growth to support the increased population. Instead of taking these concerns into consideration, our state representatives have rewritten laws to avoid slowing growth to match LOS (the level for service needed to serve the community.)

In the next few days you will see a number of street actions that are an attempt to bring this unbalanced growth to the attention of the public and an attempt to suggest a better plan going forward to return the city to a more pleasant standard of living. You will also see some new faces running for office that offer a different narrative.

If you don’t like the way things are, you might consider making some changes when you can.

New Yorkers hold full Thanksgiving turkey feast on subway train

by Joy Henry : wave – excerpt (includes video)
New Yorkers held a Thanksgiving feast on the subway’s L line on Sunday, November 24, complete with a table full of turkey, sides, (non-alcoholic) bubbly, and electric candles…(more)

Looks like NY subway doesn’t ban eating and drinking.


NYC commuters enjoy Thanksgiving feast on subway car


NEW YORK — Thanksgiving came early for a group of New York City commuters who enjoyed a holiday feast on a subway train.

Video footage shows riders standing behind a white-clothed table covered with plates of turkey, mashed potatoes and cornbread in the middle of a Brooklyn-bound L train on Sunday.

Stand-up comedian Jodell “Joe Show” Lewis tells the New York Post he organized the Thanksgiving dinner to “bring a little excitement to commuters” and feed any New Yorkers who might be hungry.

Lewis says he chose the L train after he saw how “dreary and upset” riders were at the inconvenience of a construction project that has cut service on the line… (more)

Uber Loses License in London Over Safety, Vows to Appeal

By Kelvin Chan : nbcbayarea – excerpt

Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision

London’s transit authority on Monday refused to renew Uber’s operating license over concerns about impostor drivers, with the ride-hailing company vowing to appeal the decision as it struggles to secure its future in the British capital.

It’s the latest chapter in Uber’s rocky history with London transport officials, who have subjected the San Francisco-based tech company to ever tighter scrutiny over concerns about passenger safety and security.

Uber called the decision “extraordinary and wrong,” and has 21 days to file an appeal, which it said it would do. It can continue operating during the appeals process… (more)

Uber may be banned in London. Could the same thing happen in the U.S.?


BART director says transit agency is duping passengers into thinking system is safe

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

Debora Allen rails against her fellows in op-ed

As BART faces increased scrutiny after the recent stabbing death of a passenger on the Warm Springs line, one of the transit agency’s own board members has publicly railed against BART’s lack of security standards.

Debora Allen, who represent parts of Contra Costa County on BART’s Board of Directors, penned an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury-News following the death at South Hayward Station (which BART police say started as an altercation on a train). She says that that transit officials are “duping” passengers, alleging that her fellow directors are not serious about improving safety.

“BART has an obligation to protect the safety of riders inside its fare gates and is legally allowed to take protective measures, based on court rulings,” writes Allen. “But BART’s fare gates are notoriously porous and offer no real barrier to protect paying commuters.”

She also says that although rules are in place to protect riders, “what’s lacking is the will—and staffing—to enforce them.”… (more)

Confessions of a frequent BART rider: BART has a problem with confusing directions as well as a security problem. Like SFMTA, BART is growing too fast to soon. Yesterday I was a victim of the confusion around the exit protocols at the Embarcadero Center BART station. I took the elevator because the escalator was down and I didn’t feel like looking for another one. Be forewarned that the elevator leaves you outside the ticking area so you do not exit through the fare gate.

No information from anyone inside the BART station, where I ran around with a non-English speaking woman looking for the exit for a while. The elevator attendant pointed us a direction that seemed to be going no where so I turned around and went the other way. I asked two people who appeared to be BART employees for directions. The first one with a broom ignored me as if she did not understand English. The second one pointed us in another direction that eventually worked for me.

The poor lady who didn’t speak English kept pointed to a ticket and ran back toward the train. I assume she found someone to help her eventually. I was struck by the difficulty one has in getting directions and the lack of signage in the Embarcadero BART station. Fire Exists should be required if nothing else.

I didn’t have trouble getting help from an attendant to get back on the BART when I needed to. Be forewarned that the BART stations need better signage, among other things like access to public facilities. If the BART directors want to grow the system, they should start by fixing what is broken first.

Meters Coming to 18th Street Commercial Strip

by Connor Fitzpatrick : potreroview. – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will install parking meters along both sides of 18th Street between Connecticut and Texas streets by the end of the year. The meters will operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with four-hour time limits, charging $1.50 for sixty minutes.

Residents and businesses located along the 18th Street business corridor can purchase parking permits. Vehicles with residential permits will be exempt from posted time limits. Residents are allowed up to four permits for vehicles registered to a specific eligible address. Businesses can purchase one personal vehicle sticker, as well as up to three additional permits for vehicles registered to the enterprise with commercial license plates. The annual fee for permits is $144 for passenger vehicles; $108 for motorcycles.

In September SFMTA’s Sustainable Space Division held a public hearing to discuss the plan at San Francisco City Hall. At the meeting, operations manager Tom Folks stated that the division believes it has “general neighborhood support” to install meters. When asked by the View how the neighborhood consensus was determined, transit planner Mari Hunter replied, “it started with a request from the merchants along 18th Street on these two blocks. We went out to the neighborhood and communicated, knocked on doors, and spoke with everyone if they were there … created a proposal, sent it back out, and have continued to receive support.”… (more)

This could be the plan for other neighborhood as parking plan moves west.

Flare-up between SF and Chinese merchants reveals Muni’s inadequate translation services

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexminer – excerpt

A small, simple transportation project meant to speed up buses for 42,000 San Franciscans has sputtered out of control.

A community of merchants on San Bruno Avenue grew outraged. Transit officials back-tracked. The dance of transit versus parking played out for the umpteenth time, but also widened the chasm of distrust between a predominantly Chinese-speaking community and city government, those involved said.

The cause? Like any good relationship — in this case, between The City and its people — it boiled down to communication, they said.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is walking back parts of its San Bruno Avenue Improvement Project after spotty Cantonese translation at a community meeting, and months of missed outreach opportunities, said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the neighborhood.

“I have a group of long-term merchants that feel lied to, disrespected, and ignored,” she said. “I share their anger myself.”… (more)

L.A.’s Transit Guru, Denny Zane, Slams Sacramento for Targeting California’s Single-Family Homes


In this fascinating September interview by David Abel of The Planning Report, former Santa Monica city official Denny Zane, who is widely viewed in Los Angeles as the region’s biggest transit promoter, slams Sacramento for overstepping its role on housing, and creating anger, resentment and disgust in cities statewide:

Denny Zane: “We created a more attractive option with moderate density on the boulevards or in [Santa Monica’s] downtown. We got 3000 units built in our downtown, about one-third deed-restricted affordable. Neighbors have never opposed these projects.

“The state should try to learn from those strategies. Leave the R1 alone; there are better opportunities on the boulevards and in downtowns, especially as brick and mortar retail contracts from online shopping—And it’s closer to transit and less likely to risk displacement of existing renters.

“Look at the cities that have been effective, that have done it well, and try to encourage those strategies rather than a one-size-fits-all imposition that just makes everybody angry and resistant.”

After 18 years, BART says it will finally reopen Powell Station bathrooms

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The agency’s staff announced the move at the BART Board of Directors regular meeting, Thursday as part of the project approval to modernize Powell Station.

A contract for that modernization was awarded to ProVen management of Oakland for up to $14.9 million. The station will see new security upgrades, including five-foot tall glass barriers, additional fare gates, and new LED lighting at the train platform level, according to BART agenda documents.

As part of the modernization, however, restrooms at Powell BART will be reopened for the first time since they were shuttered for security reasons after attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001…(more)

New SFMTA director’s tweets show aversion to free parking, cars

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City’s new transit leader has a bumpy relationship with cars.

Jeffrey Tumlin, who was appointed as director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Tuesday, thinks free car parking is a “privilege” and a “subsidy,” has called parking requirements for new developments “climate denial,” favors congestion pricing in San Francisco, and has stated support for the development of automated, driverless buses over automated cars.

That’s according to a San Francisco Examiner review of more than 2,000 Twitter posts written by Tumlin since June 2018, the earliest tweets he wrote which are publicly available…

But in his tweets, Tumlin clearly outlines his stances: He views housing obstruction as anti-San Franciscan, housing density as a necessity, and sees a clear need to charge more for city parking to favor public transit and bicycling.… (more)

Guess why he was picked to lead the agency when he admits to having no relevant experience?

City stalls request for more parking for 911 dispatchers, citing ‘Transit First’ policy

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexminer – excerpt

SFMTA board says city staff should be ‘leading by example,’ discouraged from driving

One by one, in transportation project after transportation project, San Francisco has sought to eliminate parking spaces to favor speeding up transit.

That is, except when it comes to its own city agencies.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency sought to convert 20 parking spaces on a section of Turk Street into 24-hour-a-day permit-only parking for Department of Emergency Management employees at the agency’s 911 call center and headquarters at 1101 Turk St.

But in a rare, once-in-a-blue-moon move, the SFMTA board deadlocked on the proposal Tuesday, pointing out the agency’s hypocrisy in seeking transit-first solutions for The City while encouraging more parking for its employees while removing parking spaces for residents in other parts of town… (more)

This is the city that wonders why it has trouble staffing. Maybe principals are getting in the way of reality.