It’s the summer of the RV

By Kelli Nguyen, Editor : LinkedIn – excerpt

With planes grounded, hotels shut and international travel effectively suspended amid the pandemic, Americans are turning to an unlikely summer hero: the recreational vehicle. RVs are making a comeback as one of the safest ways to travel this summer, allowing vacationers to venture out to remote locations while limiting contact with shared spaces. Increased demand for “Covid campers” is being driven by new customers considering RVs for the first time, Bloomberg reports. Travelers are now prioritizing privacy, and some are spending as much as $50,000 on RV rentals(more)

Maps: San Francisco closes more streets to traffic

By Amy Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt (includes maps)

Published 8:54 am PDT, Thursday, May 21, 2020

Scheduled to be closed to through traffic or under consideration:
Where is the public input on these streets?

–20th Street, from Valencia to Potrero
–23rd Avenue, from Lake to Cabrillo
–Chenery, from Elk to Brompton
–Excelsior, from London to Prague
–Golden Gate Avenue, from Masonic to Divisadero
–Jarboe, from Moultrie to Peralta
–Lane, from 3rd Street to Oakdale
–Lombard, from Jones to Stockton
–Mariposa, from Kansas to Texas
–Sanchez, from 23rd to 30th
–Shotwell, from 14th Street to Cesar Chavez
–Somerset, from Silver to Woolsey
—Stockton, from Bay to Lombard

These new streets that prioritize walking and biking were identified through a survey completed by 1,300 residents who offered suggestions for street closures.

Slow streets are only closed to through vehicle traffic and people living on the streets and emergency vehicles still have access. SFMTA said in a statement that it has worked with navigation map providers to re-route through traffic through these corridors on their apps.

Learn more about the Slow Streets program on the SFMTA website(more)

Many of these streets are extremely narrow streets with no traffic. There is no traffic to calm. If you oppose any of these slow street programs let your supervisor know immediately.

Ballot measure would give supes more power over Muni

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt (includes first draft of the SFMTA Charter Amendment)

Supervisors hurry to make deadline for November ballot

Members of the Board of Supervisors submitted a slew of charter amendments Tuesday for the November ballot, including proposals to give them the power to reject Muni fare hikes, create more oversight over the Sheriff’s Department and split Public Works into separate agencies to place more focus on street cleaning.

There even was the revival of a 2016 charter amendment that 52 percent of voters previously rejected to create a new elected Public Advocate to conduct independent investigations, introduced Tuesday by Supervisor Gordon Mar.

Tuesday was the deadline to introduce charter amendments for them to show up on the November ballot. Next, they will undergo committee hearings and at least six members of the board would need to vote to place them on the ballot.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced an amendment with the backing of supervisors Dean Preston and Ahsha Safai to give the board more power over the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency by granting it the power to reject fare hikes.

Peskin said the measure will rectify challenges that have arisen from 2007’s Proposition A, which he authored, which gave the agency more independence. He wants to take some of that independence back.…

“Should the Board of Supervisors reject the fare changes by making written findings, the agency’s budget shall be deemed rejected and the Board of Supervisors shall make additional interim appropriations to the agency from the Municipal Transportation Fund sufficient to permit the agency to maintain all operations,” the proposal said.…(more)

Please read the entire article that includes a copy of the first draft of the SFMTA Charter Amendment

Lyft corners temporary bikeshare monopoly in San Francisco

Special By Emily Huston : sfexaminer – excerpt

Competitor Jump’s permit expires amid ongoing legal battle

Since 2018, San Francisco has granted two companies the right to operate bikeshare on its streets: Lyft’s Bay Wheels and Uber’s Jump Bikes.

But on May 26, bikeshare riders will be left with one rental app, as Jump’s permit expires and Bay Wheels becomes the only option in town.

In a court modification to an earlier injunction order, The City and Lyft agreed last week “in light of the COVID-19 viral pandemic” to extend Jump’s bikeshare permit to May 25. The April 27 court order came with an important stipulation, however: The City will no longer extend that permit in the future. With its sole bikeshare competitor off the streets, Lyft will control a de facto bikeshare monopoly in San Francisco…

Lyft will soon enjoy the ramifications of those early corporate partnerships, as Jump sunsets its service on May 18 and Bay Wheels remains the last operator left standing. Motivate’s grandfathered 10-year contract suggests Bay Wheel’s tenure in San Francisco could last until 2025. The tide of inertia from the judge’s preliminary injunction suggests the final October court decision will give Lyft the final say.

It’s likely the business of bikeshare won’t involve much sharing at all… (more)

Trouble-plagued Transbay Center votes to extend, augment contract for longtime program manager

By : misisonlocal – exxcerpt

The $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center has long been envisioned as the Grand Central Station of the west — but is presently referred to derisively as San Francisco’s billion-dollar bus stop after structural problems shut it down shortly after its 2018 opening. This morning, its board voted to extend and increase the contract for its longtime program manager, URS Corporation.

By a 6-1 vote of the Transbay Joint Power Authority Board of Directors, with only Matt Haney dissenting, the board picked up an option to extend URS’ present agreement through June of 2024, and to increase its budget by $14.6 million to a max of $50.6 million.

“They’ve been working on this project for a while, and some things have not gone well,” Haney noted prior to the vote… (more)

That is an understatement. The SF Board of Supervisors is sticking to a plan to do something about the failed transit system that is misspending tax-payer dollars and the Trans Bay Terminal is a poster child for that. No surprise that the district supervisor would not support a business as usual model in his district.

Power struggle in City Hall reduces SFMTA board to four members

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The board that oversees all aspects of transportation in San Francisco — from Muni buses to e-scooters to parking — is set to lose nearly half of its seven members next week.

So far, the Board of Supervisors has declined to reappoint one member and has postponed hearings to confirm another nominee. With a third director set to retire on Wednesday, the board will be down to four members, just enough to have a quorum to vote.

“If one of us is absent, then everything screeches to a halt,” said Director Cheryl Brinkman. She and others were chagrined to see the board all but gutted, at a moment when the transportation agency is grappling with COVID-19 — and hemorrhaging money.

With the coronaviruspandemic and economic shutdown, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will have to make quick, pivotal decisions on how to enforce social distancing, when to reopen Muni Metro light rail, what rules to impose regarding face coverings and whether to expand its Slow Streets program of closing roadways to car traffic. If a person has to miss a meeting because of work or illness, the board would be hobbled… (more)

Supervisors are putting the SFMTA Board on notice that their party is over. SFMTA Directors are on shaky ground after raising fares. Putting a hold on appointments is the first step. Next comes the budget and the threat of a Charter Amendment on the November ballot. YIMBYs need to be told that transit is no longer rich and their services are not essential.

Help feed Tampa Bay families by working from home

By Sarah Phinney : abcactionnews – excerpt (includes video)

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority is rolling out a new program this month that will help feed Tampa Bay families in need.

You just need to log on to TBARTA’s Commute Tampa Bay and report that you’re working from home.

TBARTA Director of Communications Chris Jadick says you can participate in “Caring Commutes” by signing up for free on CommuteTampaBay.com and logging your teleworking days.

If at least 700 teleworking days are logged this month, TBARTA will provide 20,000 meals to Feeding Tampa Bay...(more)

How can Tampa transit afford to offer food when SFMTA is begging for billions to stay afloat? What do they know about funding a transit system that we don’t? Or is this fake news?

 

Supes reject SFMTA board appointment after fare hikes approved against their wishes

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A disability activist’s reappointment to serve a third and final four-year term on the body overseeing Muni was rejected Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

The board voted 6-5 to reject Mayor London Breed’s reappointment of Cristina Rubke, a trademark attorney, to continue serving on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.

The rejection comes after Rubke defied the board’s wishes last month in voting unanimously with her colleagues to approve on April 21 a two-year transit budget with fare hikes. The board had called for no fare hikes(more)

Good work. When they are left with few options the Supervisors need to use the power they have to reign in independent agencies like the SFMTA as they did in this case. The MTA Board of Directors should listen to the public and the Board of Supervisors. During the sheltering episode the public is paying a lot more attention to city politics and finding many programs lacking. There is no guarantee the Board of Supervisors will approve the first pass at the SFMTA budget this year if the public is vocal on that as well.

Reopening California: Here’s how commuting will change for drivers, public transportation when we go back to work

By Dion Lim : abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

Planned changes come as an eye-opening study from Vanderbilt is released, showing if three out of four workers chooses to take a car versus public transportation, drive times increase a whopping 42 minutes.

It’s one of the issues during Thursday’s Bay Area Council webinar with heads of various transportation agencies.

One change already implemented March 20th: The Bay Area Toll Authority decision to switch to all electric tolls on area bridges. That could continue.

“It seems to be working relatively smoothly… We’ll work with the commission on how we’re going to work toward to an all-electric toll future… Stay tuned for that,” says Therese McMillan, Executive Director for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission…. (more)

It is refreshing to hear transportation directors accept the major changes needed in their industry to avoid the spread of COVID-19. One hopes they will allow a lot more involvement by the drivers and riders in re-designing the new system. We also hope they will drop the anti-car actions.

Will the transportation agencies change from standing room only cattle-car vehicles to smaller, shuttle size vehicles with more space between the seats? Will city authorities and Muni riders insist on it? Will the Supervisors refuse to fund the larger vehicles? They are already threatening legislation to stop Muni fare increases.

RELATED:

‘Congestion pricing’ suspended on Bay Bridge, toll to remain at $6 everyday amid COVID-19 pandemic

Total shutdown of Muni service might be best way to curb COVID-19 spread, Union President says

Santa Clara Co. proposal would allow more employees to work from home after pandemic

San Francisco supervisor threatens to take power to raise fares away from SFMTA

By Michael Rosen :sfgate – excerpt

In an interview with Phil Matier of the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, angered by recently approved fare hikes, threatened to take the power to raise fares from the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency.

“The message is: over our dead bodies,” Peskin told Matier.

Peskin told Matier that he asked the city attorney to “draw up a charter amendment for the November ballot.” If passed, the amendment would require any fare hikes to receive two-thirds approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Last Tuesday, SFMTA voted to raise fares on single rides paid with Clipper cards as well as monthly passes. The initial changes will go into effect in November of this year. Fares paid in cash, which are “predominantly paid by lower-income people of color in San Francisco,” according to the San Francisco Examiner, will stay at $3 until at least November 2022… (more)

Just do it Supervisor. We need to clip the wings of the powerful to bring them down to the streets they are managing. Political winds are gathering and the time is ripe to act. Give the voters a chance to reset the “new normal” by resetting the power structure in charge of the public transit system. Who knows what they will do next time if we don’t stop them now.