The Privatization of Transit

KQED – excerpt – (video)

Private companies are changing the way many of us are getting to work. For years, Google, Facebook and other firms have run shuttle buses that take their employees to and from their campuses. Now startups are getting into the transit business. KQED’s Thuy Vu and Scott Shafer look at the benefits and drawbacks of private transit services.

Guests:
• Supervisor Scott Wiener, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
• Clarrissa Cabansagan, community planner at TransForm
• Ali Vahabzadeh, founder and CEO of Chariot.. (more)

Question for the Supervisors: How much longer will you be content to campaign for more money for a system that we all know is broken. If money were the answer to fixing Muni, why does throwing more money at it never seem to work? The more you throw the worse it gets.

MonkeyParking Is Back and Ready to Disrupt Your Driveway

By Joe Eskenazi : modernluxury – excerpt

Once-reviled parking app to give legality a shot.

Last summer, an app called MonkeyParking became a target of much Internet ire after attempting to introduce its service—which allowed users to auction off public, city-owned parking spots to the highest bidder—in parking-deficient San Francisco. The business model, the company claimed, was defensible as a First Amendment matter. This argument did not sway the vast, seething swarms on social media, nor did it assuage City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who quashed MonkeyParking with great vengeance and furious anger. “We knew we were touching a nerve,” MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny admits now. But he says he didn’t expect San Franciscans and the City Attorney “to be so angry.”

Well, now he knows. And now the monkey is back…

Well, here’s some advice on taxes that other sharing-economy companies have (eventually) heeded: Pay them… (more)

On Guard: Is Leap Muni’s Uber moment?

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Reclaimed wood tables. Leather seats. Iced tea and Wi-Fi. Stepping onto a Leap bus is like visiting the trendy, obnoxious coffee shop that displaced your favorite Mission hangout three years ago, only now it’s on wheels — don’t drop your coffee, techbro!

This is Leap, the upstart private bus running from Lombard Street in the Marina to the Financial District. It’s a tech-laden bus for a techie crowd, and as I board it, my mind turns to the political fallout of Leap and its sister buses may create.

The so-called Google buses, Leap and Chariot (another private bus provider) are all part of a movement in which techies separate themselves from our public-transportation services — like Muni — and create private alternatives. But haven’t we seen this before?

If you could swim in bitcoin, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick would backstroke through his billions like Scrooge McDuck. Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry, and now taxi companies are teetering near collapse.

So will Muni get disrupted out of existence by private buses?… (more)

The Solution to San Francisco’s Parking Problem isn’t What You Expect

by Noah Sanders : thebolditalic – excerpt

Let’s be frank: parking in San Francisco is a nightmare. We’re a dense city — more than 800,000 people on a seven by seven spit of land — with a surprisingly low number of on-street public parking spaces (265,000 as reported in 2010), and the quest to find an open slot for your vehicle can be one of the great frustrations of living in the City by the Bay. Parking isn’t a simple issue (nothing is in San Francisco), but according to the Examinercity supervisors Mark Farrell and Malia Cohen think a large part of our current parking crisis is due to ubiquitous construction parking permits. You’ve seen them: plasticky, red-and-white signs decreeing a rare stretch of available parking is reserved for the dualies and cement mixers of some massive construction project. Anyone who ignores the signs is asking for punishment. Now, supervisors Farrell and Cohen believe they have a solution: the Construction Parking Plan Law….

Potrero Hill Boosters president J.R. Eppler doesn’t see the Construction Parking Plan Law as an adequate solution to what he believes is a much bigger problem. Eppler says that parking problems caused by construction projects are just “a straw on the back of an already burdened camel.”…At the end of the day, “it’s not just a construction issue, “ Eppler says, it’s a complex parking issue that needs to be addressed with an equally comprehensive plan….

San Francisco is in the grip of some seriously complex growing pains, and though legislation like the Construction Parking Plan Law looks to address pieces of those problems, City Hall needs to start expanding its scope and hitting the full force of these issues head-on…. (more)

RELATED:
Luxury commuter buses hit bumps in SF

Bicycle coalition opposes legislation

By Bryan M. Gold – Citizen Staff Writer : .egcitizen – excerpt

A statewide bicycle coalition opposes a State Senate bill that would require adults to wear helmets while on a bicycle ride.

State Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) authored SB 192 that she introduced last month. The legislation would require adult bicyclists to wear helmets and require all riders to wear reflective clothing when riding at night.

“Any responsible bicycle rider should wear a helmet,” Liu said in a press release. “This law will help protect more people and make sure all riders benefit from the head protection that a helmet provides.”

Liu cited California Highway Patrol statistics noting that nearly 14,000 bicyclists were hurt in crashes in 2012, up from 11,760 in 2008. She added that the National Conference of State Legislatures claimed 91 percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly were not wearing helmets.

Anyone riding without a helmet could be cited for an infraction and fined up to $25, the same as current law for youth cyclists. California since 1994 has mandated that anyone under age 18 wear a helmet when riding a bike.

Ryan Price, campaigns director for the California Bicycle Coalition, wrote in an email to people in the organization’s database that the legislation would deter adults from cycling.

“This mandate sends the wrong message about bicycling and will produce the wrong result,” he wrote. “It will discourage bicycling, making our streets less safe and Californians less healthy.”… (HOW?)

Liu’s bill was referred to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee for consideration… (more)

See links to details on the law below. See links to members of the Transportation and Housing Committee and other state representatives here.

RELATED:
SB 192 – Senator Carol Liu, Bicycle Helmet and Reflectors – Extend the helmet requirement to adults and also require all riders to wear reflective clothing when cycling at night. Contact Robert Oakes: 916-651-4025 – Robert.Oakes@sen.ca.gov Sent to Transportation and Housing Committee

Germany Bans Uber’s Unlicensed Taxi Services

By Eric Auchard and Christoph Steitz : Reuters – excerpt FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) – A German court on Wednesday banned Uber from running services using unlicensed cab drivers and set stiff fines for any violations of local transport laws by the pioneering online taxi firm. Uber, worth an estimated $40 billion making it the world’s most valuable venture-backed start-up, has set out to revolutionize local transport services worldwide, from taxis to carpools to fast-food delivery. Born out of the frustration of two Silicon Valley entreprenuers trying to catch a cab in Paris, Uber’s popular mobile phone taxi-hailing services have mushroomed since being launched in 2010 and are offered in nearly 270 cities worldwide. But Uber also has become a magnet for criticism of its business style of moving first and asking permission later. It has faced complaints around the world over how it pays drivers, charges passengers and ensures their safety. The latest case, brought in the Frankfurt regional court by German taxi operator group Taxi Deutschland against UberPOP, is one of more than a dozen lawsuits filed in countries across Europe in recent months against the San Francisco-based company… (more)

RELATED:
Lawyer Says Uber Drivers Are Basically Strippers

Bicyclist, 26, seriously injured after crashing into parked car on Gough Street in San Francisco, California

accidentdatacenter – excerpt

A 26-year-old man was bicycling on Gough Street when a vehicle in front of him stopped and switched on her turn signal to turn into a parking space. He crashed into the back of the vehicle, suffering life-threatening injuries which included head trauma, internal bleeding, fractured ribs, and a punctured lung. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of his injuries… (more)

Some people feel that all cyclists should wear helmets. State Senate Bill 192, Bicycle Helmet and Reflectors, sponsored by Senator Carol Liu, would extend the helmet requirement to adults and also require all riders to wear reflective clothing when cycling at night. The bill was referred to the Transportation and Housing Committee. Contact Robert.Oakes@sen.ca.gov for details.

An extensive  list of state bills related to Transportation and Housing, and CEQA issues can be found here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/california-bills/
Let the state reps know how you feel. Contacts are here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

Accident report site: http://accidentdatacenter.com/us/california/san-francisco-oakland-san-jose-ca/san-francisco/15/03/17/bicyclist-26-seriously-injured-after-crashing-parked-car-gough-street-san-francisco-california

RELATED:
Cyclist suffers life-threatening injuries in S.F. crash

 

San Fran: Should Google Be Allowed to provide FREE Bus Rides for Its Employees–or do UNIONS Control All Transportation

By Stephen Frank   – excerpt

City Attorney’s office tries to stall Google Bus trial hearing 

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodrigue, SF Examiner, 3/15/15

Petitioners of a lawsuit against San Francisco’s commuter shuttle pilot program last week challenged a motion by the City Attorney’s Office to have more time to respond to the suit.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency created the pilot program last year to study the impact of the so-called Google Buses, private shuttles that transport tech workers to campuses around the region. The buses have attracted ire in San Francisco as symbols of tech-industry gentrification.

The Coalition for Fair Legal and Environmental Transit filed suit last year against Google, Apple, shuttle providers and The City to stall the program, alleging they failed to study impacts of exhaust in the air and stress on the asphalt. They also argue rents skyrocket near the shuttle stops, displacing people with the luck of living near them.

Last Wednesday’s filing came as Superior Court Judge Garrett L. Wong was on vacation. The trial is set for June, but the City Attorney’s Office pressed for a key pre-trial hearing on March 27 to be pushed back.

Wong will hear arguments Monday for rescheduling the hearing.

The effort to delay the hearing coincides with a State Assembly committee hearing on AB61, a bill which would legalize aspects of the commuter shuttle pilot program statewide. Approval by the committee may add legitimacy to the city attorney’s arguments that the pilot program is allowable, some insiders said…

… the bill’s language may in fact aid the petitioners’ case since it acknowledges that aspects of the shuttle pilot program are illegal… (more)

When you displace and inconvenience a majority of the population in order to privilege a minority group, you will not be welcome.  How many shuttles can San Francisco residents take?

Playing Red Light, Green Light With Citizens

jonathanturley – excerpt

Below is today’s column in USA Today. The column was actually written after I went to Chicago for Christmas and experienced firsthand the speed traps created by the city to trap drivers. My home town is a case study of the twisted logic that goes into fleecing citizens. Chicagoans are paying the highest cost for parking in the nation after outgoing mayor Richard Daley Jr. signed away a 99-year-lease to all city meters (and later accepted a job with the firm that negotiated the deal).

Illinois also has the second highest property tax rates in the country; the highest cell phone taxes in the country; and the highest restaurant taxes of any major city. Even if you try to flee the city taxes, you are hit with the nation’s highest airport parking fees in the country.
To put it simply, citizens are tapped out. Instead of raising taxes further, the city decided to find a way to generate revenue and actually blame the citizens. It installed a system of cameras that would make Kim Jong-Un blush combined with the shortest yellow lights in the nation… (more)

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Car Sharing Programs Need to Share Public Parking Spaces, Say Merchants

By Jessica Zimmer : potreroview – excerpt

As car sharing programs experience an increase in demand, Potrero Hill and Dogpatch merchants are concerned that the public parking spots set aside for the services are negatively impacting their customers and neighborhood traffic. 

In 2013 the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) approved a pilot project that created reserved parking spots for three roundtrip car share programs.  The project extends to 2016, and includes nonprofits City CarShare and Getaround, as well as ZipCar, a for-profit company. Pilot participants pay a monthly $225 fee for each of the reserved spots, are responsible for maintaining the spaces, as well as 25 feet in front of and behind them in lieu of street cleaning crews doing the work, and collect and share data with SFTMA about who uses the reserved spots and how. Car share users are required to bring the vehicles back to the reserved spots…. (more)