Chiu bill would prevent cities from towing vehicles for nonpayment of parking tickets, registration

By Victor Tence : sfexaminer – excerpt

Cities would no longer be allowed to tow vehicles with multiple unpaid parking tickets or overdue vehicle registration fees or that haven’t moved in more than three days under legislation introduced by Assemblymember David Chiu Monday.

Chiu, D-San Francisco, introduced Assembly Bill 516 with the intention of preventing cars from being towed in cases where it does not serve any public safety purpose and disproportionately impacts low-income people.

The bill would prohibit poverty-related tows wherein the owner has received five or more outstanding parking tickets, were unregistered for more than six months or if the vehicle had violated the 72-hour parking restriction… (more)

This does not mean there will be no tickets issued, only that the towing option will be changed if the bill passes. We will stay tuned and see how this plays out.

Inspectors missed lapse in building process that would have prevented cracks at SF Transbay center

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Four levels of inspections and plans failed to prevent or uncover a construction flaw that resulted in the cracked girders that forced the closure of the Transbay Transit Center 5½ months ago, the agency’s executive director said Thursday.

Mark Zabaneh, head of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said three teams of quality-control inspectors working for contractors didn’t discover that a necessary grinding process, used to eliminate small cracks associated with holes that were cut into the girders, was not performed and that the authority’s own spot inspections also missed the oversight.

Those micro-cracks developed into larger cracks and, finally, a large fissure that ripped through two large steel girders that support the building. Similar girders over First Street have not cracked.

“The execution was not done properly, and that is something we are looking into,” Zabaneh said Thursday after an authority meeting. “It’s an area of great concern for us.”…(more)

There is your answer. It had to be design, execution or materials. Turns out execution is blame. Who pays for that error?

Cab Drivers Sue SFMTA Over SFO Restrictions

By Ida Mojadad : sfexaminer – excerpt

The lawsuit claims that the SFMTA is trying to boost the value of its $250,000 medallions to weaken another legal challenge.

Taxi drivers and companies sued the SFMTA on Wednesday to halt new restrictions at San Francisco International Airport, the group announced Thursday.

The San Francisco Taxi Coalition, Alliance Cab, Town Taxi, and three individual cab drivers filed the complaint in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, alleging constitutional violations of due process and equal protection regarding a new SFTMA policy. In February, the transit agency began limiting cab drivers who could pick up passengers at SFO to roughly 1,000 drivers who own medallions.

That leaves out scores of struggling cab drivers using SFO as a lifeline. More than 1,400 medallions are in service and there are more than 4,800 active cab drivers, according to the SFMTA.

“We’d like to see the SFMTA actually look out for the industry and individuals in the industry for once,” says Yellow Cab CEO Chris Sweis. “The government should really be making regulations around sound public policy.”… (more)

Why People Vote for Expanded Public Transport but Don’t Actually Use It

By Laura Bliss : psmag – excerpt

New research in Los Angeles shows that people support expanded transit options based on party affiliation and frustration with congestion—but not to ride it themselves.

In November of 2016, Los Angeles County made history. A whopping 72 percent of voters approved Measure M, a sales tax measure set to generate $120 billion over 40 years to expand rail, rapid bus, and bike networks. With it, the L.A. Metropolitan Transportation Authority promised to “ease traffic congestion” and “transform transportation” across the region.

But that promise is likely to remain unmet, judging by history. Between 1980 and 2016, L.A. passed three major transit sales tax measures and built 110 miles of rail. Yet ridership on L.A.’s transit system has been slipping for years, while the number of miles traveled in private cars is rising. Other American cities that have passed major transit measures are facing the same conundrum.

Which is? Voters might love transit, but that doesn’t mean they plan to ride it. And transit agencies that appeal to voters with pledges to solve traffic woes might be digging themselves into a hole.

Those basic disconnects at the heart of a landmark sales tax measure are the subject of new research by Michael Manville, an urban planning professor at the University of California–Los Angeles’ Luskin School of Public Affairs. His research is full of wisdom and warnings for other cities keen to replicate L.A.’s superficial success… (more)

If you build it will they take it? No unless they are desperate these days. Riders who can are choosing other methods to get around, claiming the public options are unreliable, dirty, dangerous and unaccessible for those who need it most. In order to increase capacity and “cut costs” transit officials are removing bus stops and bus seats, against the will of the public who is supposed to take them. The riders and drivers are ignored so they are both leaving in large numbers.

Plan to close 2 miles of Market Street to private car traffic moves forward

by Teresa Hammerl : curbed – excerpt

The city’s Better Market Street project is intended to improve safety and transportation quality on the 2.2-mile stretch of Market Street that runs from Steuart Street (near the Embarcadero) to Octavia Boulevard.

In order to move the project to its next phase, the Planning Department has now released a draft environmental impact report, with more insights into how the city plans to alter the streetscape on Market.

As we previously reported, the Better Market Street plan would restrict all private automotive traffic on Market Street from Steuart Street to Van Ness Avenue (westbound) and 10th Street to Main Street (eastbound). That would include ride-hailing cars from services like Uber and Lyft.

In place of private auto traffic, the plan proposes new sidewalk-level bikeways in each direction on Market, spaced between pedestrian walkways and centered transit stops and boarding islands.

Muni buses and F-Market streetcars would run in designated center lanes, and share outside lanes with taxis, paratransit vehicles and commercial loading vehicles…

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Members of the public can submit comments via mail to SF Planning’s Chris Thomas at 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103 or by sending an email to christopher.thomas. Comments will be accepted until April 15.

The Planning Department will host a hearing on the project on April 4 at 1 p.m. at City Hall, room 400(more)

The merchants, if there are any left, may want to say something about this plan that is clearly not concerned with their needs. The dragon is breathing down the neck of everyone who is still standing. We hope that someone will conduct a study to find out which businesses are surviving and which are dying, along with the employees and customers who are leaving our bedroom community behind. We wonder how the city will deal with a real large disaster when there is no exit plan and electric vehicles will be stalled on their tracks.

Just how awful is the California Department of Motor Vehicles?

By Susan Shelley : whittierdailynews – excerpt

Just when you thought the news about the California Department of Motor Vehicles couldn’t get worse, it got worse.

In February, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office released its review of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s transportation budget. The report reveals that the state’s Motor Vehicle Account has an “operational shortfall” of $400 million in the current year and is projected to be insolvent two years from now.

The Motor Vehicle Account receives most of its revenue from fees for vehicle registration and driver’s licenses, and the money goes mainly to support the activities of the California Highway Patrol and the DMV.

The LAO reports that the governor’s budget includes proposals intended to help the Motor Vehicle Account’s bleak condition, including shifting some expenditures to the state’s general fund. But it won’t be enough. The administration’s own projection foresees a shortfall of $40 million in 2021-22 and $150 million in 2022-23…

Submit your guess, and your opinion, to your elected representatives in Sacramento.

If you don’t have them on speed-dial yet, go online to findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov and get their names and contact information… (more)

Credit cards, payment plans, shorter lines: California lawmakers move to fix DMV

By Bryan Anderson : sacbee – excerpt

Is this enough to fix the DMV problem?

California lawmakers are moving to address some of the biggest problems at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. A number of proposals aimed at reducing wait times and improving service have recently been introduced.

These are some of the bills worth watching:

  • CREDIT CARDS, PAYMENT PLANS: AB 867 (Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg)
  • CAR REGISTRATIONS: SB 460 (Jim Beall, D-San Jose)

(more)

Internal dispute prompts suspension of Muni union president just as contract talks begin

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s contract negotiations have taken a sharp turn before they’ve even started.

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A President Roger Marenco, representing some 2,000 Muni operators citywide, has been suspended from office just days before the start of major contract negotiations with city officials, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Marenco appears to have been ousted by political detractors who supported the previous unions president, in what you could call Muni’s own “Red Wedding.”…

Marenco, who took the presidency in April after a landslide vote by Muni operators, was — at least temporarily — removed from office last Thursday following a complaint by some union members that he improperly endorsed a candidate for recording secretary during a union meeting, prompting suspension by the local itself…

“The timing couldn’t be worse for members,” Glass told the Examiner. Seeing the union divided “never makes sense for membership when just before going into negotiations,” Glass said…

Indeed on Tuesday, Marenco was set to walk into negotiations, utilizing plans and allies he had built over the last three years at least. He has built a following of hundreds of Muni operators in a group text message system, and educated those union members in his YouTube video series “The Transit Talk.”

He even led the Muni union to rejoin the San Francisco Labor Council for the first time in years, gaining crucial allies ahead of negotiations. After Muni operator pay was exposed as a leading cause of Muni service shortages systemwide, Supervisor Vallie Brown vowed to help operators receive full pay that Marenco had agitated for… (more)

Suspicious actions as Union contracts begin. Sparks my fly over this. The union is supposed to protect the members that have to deal with SFMTA management. How would you like to work for Resikin? Not many people can stand up to that punishment for long. The chaotic leadership at SFMTA is a primary reason drivers leave Muni jobs. The number one job of the union is to protect their members. Who is doing that now? You may see a number of videos o Transit Talk videos on YouTube. Here is one below.

Ask Ed Reiskin

What’s next at SFMTA? Tomorrow is your chance to call into KQED Forum and ask Ed Reiskin some of those questions you have been wanting to ask regarding the state of the SFMTA and his roll in making it what it is today. Ed is scheduled to be on KQED Forum Friday, March 8 at 10 AM and you may call in with questions at: 866 733-6786  or email the Forum program: forum@kqed.org

 

 

 

 

Lengthy Ford GoBike approval process could get even longer

By Joe Fritzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

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Bike stands on Bryant Street are emtpy in the day. Staff fills them at night.

Members of San Francisco’s transportation board have asked transportation staff to delay the installation of a Ford GoBike station in Glen Park, citing a lack of neighborhood outreach…

Ford GoBike’s expansion has been slowed citywide by the concerns of neighbors and San Francisco’s elected officials, the San Francisco Examiner reported previously. Recently, however, that freeze-out has begun to thaw: The Marina District will see its first two Ford GoBike stations installed in March, for instance.

There are 152 Ford GoBike stations in San Francisco right now with about 1,900 available bikes, but a full planned build-out would place 320 stations and 4,500 available bikes in The City…(more)

Thanks to the people who showed up to speak on this subject at the SFMTA Board meeting today. At a time that Muni is failing in its efforts to gain ridership and keep their buses and trains running on schedule, it pains the public to see so much SFMTA staff time and energy being put into supporting a corporate giant like Lyft, who owns the GoBikes now. Why are city employees spending public dollars and energy to force this corporate giant down the throats of the citizens who oppose it?

Lyft should hire lawyers and the public attorneys should support the efforts of the citizens who pay their salaries. How much did this hearing cost the public today? How many staff hours went into the preparation and presentation and how much was spent developing the reports and statements in behalf of the corporate giant?

RELATED:
Supes, neighbors block Ford GoBike’s citywide expansion
Ford GoBike expansion fuels neighborhood conflict as Lyft plans bikeshare growth

 

 

 

Uber, Lyft to pay into fund to provide wheelchair-accessible trips

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

People using motorized wheelchairs have largely been left in the dust by the ride-hail revolution.

Now Uber and Lyft are set to start paying into a fund that will create California’s first wheelchair-accessible ride-hails — but the details of how that service will work have yet to be worked out.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates ride-hails in the state, will vote to begin its rulemaking process to implement a wheelchair-accessible ride-hail program on Thursday.

“The devil will be in the details,” said Melissa Riess, a staff attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit that filed a class action lawsuit a year ago against Uber for allegedly discriminating against wheelchair users by not providing vehicles they can ride in.

Exactly who will provide wheelchair ride-hails under the program is still an open question, but regardless, Riess said “we think Uber and Lyft are obligated under federal law to provide full and equal access.”… (more)