Mobility Challenges Are Degrading San Francisco

by Emily Hall : thepotreroview – excerpt

I’ve come to terms with the loss of Dr. Video and The Daily Scoop, 18th Street stalwarts of yesteryear. But the way San Francisco has changed more recently reveals a shift in the City’s nature, who it’s made for and how it’s being experienced.

I lived on Vermont Street my whole life. When I became a freshman at the University of California, Santa Barbara four years ago it was easy to adapt to flat neighborhoods, where I could bike without shifting gears; free parking; and residing two blocks from the beach. Experiencing life in a place where getting around is easy made visits home feel congested by comparison.

But it wasn’t just the juxtaposition which created this feeling. The City has become increasingly crowded and dense. Formerly empty lots are now filled with modern architecture; there’s more road rage. The spaces where houseless folks had found shelter, such as on Division Street, are no longer as hospitable. I wonder how newcomers experience a municipality that used to be so diverse and surprising…(more)

A great deal of effort is being put into turning humans into machines and machines into humans without much thought about the consequences. The author describes the loneliness and separation we feel when digital connections replace human interactions.

SF e-scooter companies move to accept the good green

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

E-scooters seem to be eclipsing e-bikes in equal access to their mobility offerings.

While ride-hail giant Lyft has drawn flack from community groups and city leaders for its decision— since reversed — to stop accepting cash payments on their bikeshare rentals, e-scooter companies are mostly expanding cash payment options citywide…

“We are pleased to announce an upgraded cash payment option for our riders who do not have a credit or debit card,” Scoot founder and president Michael Keating said in a statement. “Cash payment is essential to our commitment to affordable and fast transportation for everyone.”

Scoot’s cash payment option will be available at CVS Pharmacy locations throughout San Francisco, as well as at 7-Eleven. Elsewhere, the option is available at Family Dollar and Speedway locations…(more)

Banning cars on SF’s Market Street, once a radical idea, approved unanimously

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – except

Banning cars on San Francisco’s Market Street may have once been a radical idea. But on Tuesday, the Municipal Transportation Agency board voted unanimously to do it, with undiluted support from just about everyone: bicycle activists, politicians, city bureaucrats, parents, health care workers, business owners, ride-hail companies and Mayor London Breed.

One message rang out loudly during a rally on City Hall steps and an hour-long hearing before the vote: start building “Better Market Street” immediately, and then replicate it elsewhere…(more)

No merchant comments? Must be none left to complain.

To speed up buses, SF cut parking on San Bruno Avenue. Welcome to the city’s future

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

For Terry Giannini, the breaking point came in early November, when work crews placed bags over the parking meters at San Bruno Avenue and Bacon Street.

Giannini could see them through the plate-glass windows of his barbershop, with its yellowing 49ers posters on the walls and a striped pole out front. Within two days, workers had sawed off nine meters on San Bruno, the final batch for a project that would eliminate 37 parking spaces from a busy nine-block corridor…

Such street designs are proliferating throughout the city, pointing to a distinct political shift: cars no longer reign supreme in San Francisco. Instead, the mayor and transportation agency are prioritizing swift transit and pedestrian safety…

In the Portola, these ideals have met stout resistance — particularly from merchants who say they will lose business when customers can’t find a place to park…

Ronen criticized the agency for failing to communicate how many parking spaces would be cut, for not providing adequate Chinese translation during public meetings and for dismissing residents’ concerns…

She asked for several modifications. Among them: that SFMTA consider shrinking parking spaces to boost capacity. She also wants to keep a bus stop in front of Walgreens at San Bruno and Felton Street. SFMTA plans to move it down the street, to an area crammed with small shops and a take-out restaurant — where the merchants say parking is more precious…(more)

Fresh Flaws Found in New Muni Train Cars as It Turns Out They Rear-End Each Other

By Joe Fitzgerald via sfist : sfexaminer – excerpt

The fancy new two-car trains will be “limited,” with most pulled from the fleet for more repairs, so expect more crammed commutes in the short run.

The litany of liabilities with the ultramodern new Muni light-rail trains has memorably included such problems as doors trapping and dragging an elderly woman and coupler failures causing the double car trains to detach from one another. We were then warned Thursday to expect packed and problematic commutes, as much of the new $1.2 billion fleet was being sidelined again, though Muni was pretty scant on details explaining why. That led some of San Francisco’s top train-chasing gumshoes to investigate why the trains were pulled, and they’ve found answers that are of course embarrassing to Muni and the trains’ manufacturer Siemens. The San Francisco Examiner found that in a Wednesday night K-Ingleside incident, double-car trains detached and rammed into each other, and NBC Bay Area reports that the shear pins that hold double-cars together are failing

UPDATE FROM JOE TWEET: An internal city memo obtained by @sfexaminer reveals a component joining train cars together failed while carrying Muni passengers, Wed.

“The operator reported to her Supervisor that it felt like her train was being continually rear ended.” …

REALLY? Watch out for whiplash! No wonder people are not taking Muni. Now even less will. I think the BART is also losing customers. Last week there was plenty of “standing room only” on the train I took from City Hall.

San Francisco opens parking lot specifically for the homeless

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

Small city-owned lot near BART may presage larger facility for car and RV-dwellers

On Wednesday, San Francisco opened its first “vehicle triage center,” a long-term parking lot geared for people living out of cars and recreational vehicles, which City Hall hopes will offer solutions for homeless residents who rely on vehicles as shelter but have trouble securing legal parking.

The lot right by the Balboa Park BART station at 482 Geneva Avenue is only modestly sized, offering 30 parking spots, along with basic amenities like shower facilities and security.

Mayor London Breed says the center is a pilot program, and the city may pursue more ambitious—larger—parking solutions if it deems this one a success. The city will reportedly try to guide the lot parkers toward housing options…(more)

SF to open first site for homeless living out of vehicles. Is it enough?

By Trisha Thadani : sfchronicle – excerpt

Roy Santos would love to live anywhere that’s more stable and comfortable than his cramped trailer on Bayshore Boulevard.

Every time he showers or uses the bathroom, he has to collect all of his wastewater and figure out where to legally dump it. He constantly has to worry about break-ins, parking tickets or unwelcome neighbors. But he doesn’t know where else to go.

“It’s brutal,” said Santos, a veteran, who has been homeless for about six years after falling on “hard times.”…

The lot is being dubbed a “Vehicle Triage Center,” where people will have daily access to case managers, portable toilets and a portable shower three times a week. While city officials hail it as a productive first step toward addressing vehicular homelessness, others see it as an inadequate response to the crisis and a veiled attempt to clear RVs from residential neighborhoods…

“Thirty parking spots for all of these RVs?” scoffed Stephanie Brown, 50, as she sat on the couch inside her trailer, which was parked down the street from Santos and a few miles away from the proposed site. “You’ve got to be high.”…

The city’s Vehicle Encampment Resolution Team has been working since October to identify people who would be a good fit for the site. The Department of Homelessness says it is focusing on people who are the “highest needs,” and who want to eventually move into more permanent housing…(more)

Layoffs hit San Francisco scooter company six months after its acquisition

By Dawn Kawamoto : bizjournals – excerpt

Six months after acquiring San Francisco-based Scoot Networks, the electric scooter company Bird plans to lay off up to two dozen employees, according to people familiar with the plans.

The layoffs follow five months of integration planning, in which gaps and redundancies in positions were identified.

Although the cuts will be across Bird’s global operations, the majority of the pink slips fell on San Francisco. Salaried employees and workers with technical backgrounds are the most affected.

“We are planning to relocate a number of Scoot team members to our Santa Monica headquarters while also maintaining an office in San Francisco for our operations and maintenance teams as well as a number of regionally specific roles,” said a Bird representative… (more)

Supes sound off against bill increasing housing density near transit hubs

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Senator Wiener calls resolution opposing SB 50 ‘little more than symbolic political theater

With a controversial state housing development bill expected to return next year, members of the Board of Supervisors doubled down on their criticism of the proposal during a Thursday meeting.

Senate Bill 50, authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, would override local zoning to increase the allowable height and density for housing projects in many areas near transit lines and hubs.

Supervisor Gordon Mar, who introduced a policy resolution in opposition, said the bill gives too much away to developers by upzoning parcels without requiring commensurate benefits for the neighborhoods the development would impact. He also said it lacks sufficient tenant protections to combat displacement… (more)

RV-dwelling couple evicted from great-grandmother’s driveway after neighbor complaint

By Jesse Gary :ktvu – excerpt

MENLO PARK, Calif. – A Menlo Park couple faces an uncertain future, after they were forced to sell the only place they have to live – their mobile home. The RV was parked on a relative’s property, but that apparently is afoul of city law.

Alex Mulholland and Arlena Bain have packed up but don’t know where to go…(more)

Is making life impossible is the new norm?