Look to Pier 70 to see Why San Francisco Voters do Not Trust City Hall

You need to Look no further than the ‘Pier 70 Mixed-Use District Project’ to understand the anger and frustrations of neighborhood groups and ordinary citizens who spent hours and their time to work out deals with city planners to somewhat mitigate the negative effects of increased populations moving onto their tender turf, to be told that the plan has changed.

The project voters approved is being amended for a much less friendly design. Density levels are going up. Six stories are really nine stories. In fact forge the promises the voters counted on. Now that the project got through the election, they are scrapping it.

That is why, when voters get the chance, the only safe way to vote on a development project is to vote against it. Look the difference between 8 Washington and Pier 70. The voters voted against 8 Washington and nothing changed. The voters approved a plan for Pier 70 as it was presented by the developers but the design has changed since the vote.

An editorial by Don Clark that ran in the Potrero View outlines some of our primary concerns. To see the draft EIR and see for yourself, go here and scroll down the page:
http://sf-planning.org/environmental-impact-reports-negative-declarations

…The City and County of San Francisco intends to grant Forest City Enterprises rights to build a wall of nine-story buildings along the Central Waterfront, from 20th to 22nd streets, which would completely obscure scenic Bay vistas for many, if not most, Potrero Hill eastern slope residents.  As one travels down 20th Street from Missouri Street to Third, beautiful Bay views would disappear.  Imagine that the American Industrial Center, the red building with white columns at the corner of 22nd and Third streets, was doubled in height.  The replacement of four- and six-story structures with nine-story edifices would dramatically Manhattanize this historical waterfront… (more)

Building height limits are not the only promises being broken. One of the major concerns to neighbors and all who drive through the area was the increased traffic and congestion that SFMTA claimed they could handle. That no longer looks likely. Not only are the buildings going to be taller and contain more people, but, the DOT announced they are not funding the electrification of Caltrans and other transit projects until they conduct an audit to find out why there are such large cost overruns.

A couple of recent laws that were passed that citizens should know about are: mentioned by Den Clark: California Senate Bill 743 eliminated scenic protections from transit infill projects, which the City quickly applied. The November 26, 2013 Planning Department Summary, Attachment A, shows that the Planning Department has removed consideration of scenic vistas from most of San Francisco’s waterfront (http://sfmea.sfplanning.org/CEQA%20Update-SB%20743%20Summary.pdf)

Send comments to Lisa Gibson Lisa.Gibson@sfgov.org on Pier 70 Mixed-Use Project by Tuesday, 5 PM February 21, 2017. Sample letter from Peter Linenthal (eir-pdf-new)

The Developer, Forest City, is publishing a Design for Development document which will be presented to the Planning Commission in an informational hearing on March 23rd. There will be an opportunity then for public comment. The Final EIR will take months and will go to the Planning Commission as part of the final approvals. There’s a lot we don’t know yet. The Draft EIR has a Maximum Residential Scenario and a Maximum Commercial Scenario and Forest City is doing a phased development which makes it especially difficult to know what to expect.

Trump administration deals a big setback to Caltrain

SF Public Transit Solutions

By Matier & Ross : sfgate – excerpt

In the first big hit to the Bay Area from the Trump administration, newly minted Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has put the brakes on $647 million for Caltrain to go electric — and in the process pretty much killed hopes for high-speed rail coming to San Francisco anytime soon.

“It puts the (electrification) project in serious jeopardy,” Caltrain spokesman Seamus Murphy said Friday.

Caltrain carries about 60,000 riders a day between the South Bay and San Francisco, but its diesel-driven trains are both costly to operate and slow. Officials see electrification as a way both to increase ridership and save money on operating costs.

Going electric would also allow the Peninsula line to be the final link in the high-speed rail system that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Obama administration embraced the idea, but…

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Are there plans to create cracks in the Private Commuter Bus program?

Notes from the Policy and Governance Committee meeting, February 17, 2017

The MTA Policy and Governance Committee of the MTA Board of Directors met Friday, Feb 17, 2017.  It appears they are developing a policy for handling the emerging transportation services such as Uber, Lyft, ride share,  car share, Private Commuter buses (shuttles), Chariot and what the future holds.  See the power point and the guiding principles connected to agenda Item 5 for clues on where the problems lie and a hint of what they may have in mind to resolve some of them.

Studies by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area County Congestion Management (CMA) agencies, and the VTA FLEX (last mile) indicate the current policies have failed. The increase in traffic and complaints about the programs point to the need for a regional evaluation and plan. A solution can’t come soon enough for most of us. Let’s hope they come up with something soon. Your comments and suggestions should be directed to the agencies involved. See this links on this page for contacts: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

If you like you may comment here also. There are a few discussions on nextdoor on this topic as well.

BART Removing Thousands Of Seats, Approves More Bike Parking

cbslocal – excerpt

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – More bikes and fewer seats on trains continue to be priorities for the BART board of directors, which voted Thursday to increase the number of bike parking spaces and to remove thousands of seats from hundreds of trains…

Based on the increased number of tickets that could be sold as a result of the project, BART officials estimate that the agency could pull in as much as $9.6 million per year.

The seat removal, anticipated to take anywhere from nine months to one year, is intended to ease overcrowding until BART can add additional cars to its fleet. That process is currently expected to deliver 230 new cars to BART by the end of 2018 and wrap up by 2023.

“This is the most cost effective, highest impact way we can increase capacity,” said Director Nick Josefowitz, who noted that the proposal is “somewhat controversial.”…

The sole dissenting vote, however, came from Director Joel Keller, who doubts the revenue generated by the project will be anywhere near the estimated amount.

“We’re not going to increase the fare box by $9.62 million by taking out a bunch of seats,” Keller said. “We’re not expanding the ability of the fleet to take on new riders… This proposal is intended to accommodate the existing ridership.”

Keller also voiced concerns that the project was based, in part, on a survey of several thousand passengers, 54 percent of whom said they liked the option the BART board approved Thursday.

“We’re inconveniencing a lot of the riders who never had the opportunity to weigh in on this to get brief relief for a year,” Keller said…(more)

*    Half the BART trains will have 7 seats removed.
*    One seat removed provides room for 3 more passengers.
*    The cost is paid for by a federal grant.
*    Cost will be $1 1/2 million.

Seattle Plans to Improve Road Safety by Replacing Traffic Signals with Stop Signs

by Charlie Sorrel : xist – excerpt

Just this one trick works remarkably well in reducing speed, crashes, and pedestrian fatalities. But for truly safe intersections, you need to remove the signs altogether.

Seattle may ditch traffic signals in order to make its streets safer. This counterintuitive move should slow traffic, and make drivers more attentive around intersections. And if you live in Seattle, you can send your suggestions for suitable intersections to the local government.

The problem with traffic signals is one of entitlement. If you see a green light, you speed on through, not even giving much thought to the fact that you’re even at a road junction. Worse, if the light changes as you approach, you’ll either jump on the gas, or jump on the brake, either of which can be dangerous for you and other road users. Traffic signals, then, make for efficient intersections, but not safe ones.

According to the Seattle DOT, the city has over 1,000 traffic signals, and it plans to replace up to ten of them of them with four-way stop signs, with more to come if the trial works out. Not only do stop signs force drivers to pay attention, and slow down, it also makes the area unattractive as a through-route, so drivers may instead opt for a bigger, light-controlled road nearby. If properly planned, this can be a powerful traffic-shaping tool… (more)

 

SFMTA to Intensify Neighborhood Parking Regulations

by potreroview – excerpt

As parking pressures continue to build in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill due to increased housing density, growing commuter traffic, and expanded activity at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency has been working with neighborhood stakeholders to implement more stringent parking management regulations. Over the past several months meters have been installed on many blocks in Showplace Square.  SFMTA is expected to continue to hold meetings with the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association and the Potrero Boosters, with the goal of creating parking management plans that’re supported by residents and businesses. The measures parallel SFMTA’s ongoing citywide evaluation of its 40-year old Residential Parking Permit program… (more)

“We’ll be initiating more conversations with neighbors about how to manage the curb,” said Andy Thornley, senior analyst, SFMTA. “Meters will be a small piece, along with other tools. It’s more than just RPP, time limits and meters; it’s also about traffic calming and making the curb safer for residents, businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

Since last summer, four hour time limited parking restrictions have been added to much of Showplace Square, along with meters on Kansas and Divisions streets and the block surrounding Showplace East. Additional meters are slated for 16th Street between Vermont and Seventh streets as well as Henry Adams Street, once 1 Henry Adams, a residential complex, is completed. Due to sidewalk improvements that’re underway, 16th Street will have four hour time limits in the interim, with meters likely installed next year…(more)

For those who aren’t familiar with Andy Thronley, he lost by a wide margin in his 2016 run for District One Supervisor. His department staff is down and he is the President of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition according to their web site. The SFMTA has put someone who rarely drives, has no idea what the real needs of drivers are, and who hates cars in charge of the parking program. Keep this in mind next time you deal with him or the SFMTA.

Around 2012 the SFMTA threatened to install parking meters all over the Eastern Neighborhoods and they were stopped from this plan by vigorous public actions.

For some time we have contended that the first step to demolishing the neighborhood is parking removal. Look at how well the city has taken the Eastern neighborhoods by doing just that. Get ready for them to swarm the West side of the city in no time if this plan is not stopped.

Car Sharing Likely to Expand this Year

by potreroview – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) will consider expanding on-street parking for car share companies when its board of directors meets in March.  San Francisco may be the only U.S. city in which public transportation, parking and taxi medallions are all governed by one agency.

As part of a pilot program, started in 2013 set to expire this year, SFMTA rents 205 curbside spaces to Zip Car, Getaround and City CarShare. At pilot launch the agency declared that car sharing met several SFMTA goals, notably a reduction in the number of vehicles in the City, which results in improved parking management and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

At the time, SFMTA compiled a list of 900 on-street spaces for possible car shares.  However, Andy Thornley, who heads the program, said that he doesn’t believe the program will expand that drastically. Thornley, who indicated that his team would be recommend enlarging the initiative, stated that the exact number of additional car share space is yet to be determined, and that, even if the board approves expansion, taking additional parking spaces from general use will require public outreach...

“It’s the worst thing that’s happened to businesses here,” bemoaned Khaled Ghanma, who owns All States Best Foods across the street. Many of his customers come by automobile.  According to Ghanma, library patrons often double park when making drop-offs, a situation he called dangerous.

Kayren Hudiburgh, who owns nearby The Good Life Grocery, shared the sentiment. “I don’t think they should be taking parking on the street,” she said. “They are taking two prime spots for customers. If customers can’t find parking, they go on by and find somewhere else to shop. It’s hurting small businesses.” She wondered why an arrangement couldn’t be made with the nearby College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has a parking lot...

Since implementing the pilot program SFMTA has learned a few things about where spots work best. Putting them at the front or end of blocks helps people who don’t frequently drive park more easily(more)

Drivers who don’t own and drive their own cars are the most dangerous on the road. If they have trouble parallel parking, how safe are they driving unfamiliar vehicles when dealing with constant changes on the roads and pedestrians and cyclists who think it is the driver’s responsibility to avoid hitting them?

Forum on future of interstate highways coming to SF

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Bay Area residents are being invited to participate in an ongoing study on the future of interstate highways, which will provide recommendations on the country’s highway system plan for the next 50 years.

The study is being organized by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Transportation Research Board, who at the request of Congress are holding a number of events across the country. The events offer the public the chance to participate in how best to plan, fund, operate and maintain the 60-year-old, nearly 47,000-mile freeway network in the decades ahead.

For those who are interested in providing their views, the study is coming close to home next weekend. On Feb. 23 and 24 the Transportation Research Board will be hosting a forum open to the public. The first meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Yerba Buena conference room at the Bay Area Metro Center at 375 Beale Street in San Francisco. The second meeting will be held at the same location on Friday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon… (more)

If you are concerned about the state of the country’s highways and how the funds for roads are being spent, it is a good idea to write letters, send comments and show up if possible.

Program Will Allow Homeless To Pay LA Parking Tickets With Community Service Instead Of Fines

cbsla – excerpt

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday approved a measure to allow homeless people to pay parking citations by performing community service rather than paying a fine.

Under the newly approved program, people who meet the federal definition of being homeless under Title 42 of the Public Health and Welfare Code can go into one of the city’s service provider agencies and apply to perform social services or community services instead of paying the citation fine… (more)

Muni riders to see reroutes, longer trips amid reconstruction of 100-year-old Twin Peaks Tunnel

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Long-delayed Twin Peaks Tunnel repair work is finally on track again, and that means reroutes affecting some 81,000 daily transit riders.

For the thousands who rely on Muni’s K-Ingleside, L-Taraval and M-Oceanview light-rail lines, shuttles will replace normal service during the planned Twin Peaks Tunnel construction, with transfers to other buses needed to arrive at some regular destinations.

The work was originally slated to start last fall, then again in January, and now finally the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency quietly announced last week that track-work on the 100-year-old tunnel will begin in April…

The Twin Peaks Tunnel is a vital connector between the west side of The City and downtown, serving some 81,000 daily riders on the K, L and M lines each day, all of whom will need to adjust to a new, temporarily altered commute.

There will be five scheduled shutdowns to complete the tunnel rehabilitation, each lasting 11 to 15 days long. The constructi…(more)