Transit agency ‘mistake’ reveals extra parking removed from Potrero Avenue

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Overhead google shot of Potrero before the medians were installed.

Sometimes, San Francisco makes mistakes.

In this case, a mistake led to the revelation of more parking removed for a safety and transportation project on Potrero Avenue than the community was initially was told — 60 spaces total, instead of 41.

But neighbors are also concerned that the Potrero Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project was designed before Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital built its new trauma wing — and that those 2014 transportation plans reportedly block emergency vehicle access…

That allegation from neighbors was later expressed by Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which heads the project.

These concerns prompted the SFMTA Board of Directors to approve the project in a limited capacity Tuesday and carve out a hole in their plans directly in front of the hospital so that portion can be studied…

Potrero Avenue resident David Jayne recorded video showing one of the newly installed traffic medians preventing an emergency vehicle from accessing the hospital. It showed an ambulance flashing its lights while sitting behind traffic at a red light by the entrance to the hospital.

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Photos of fire trucks and engines pulling into General Hospital before the median was installed. The large vehicles used both sides of the street to make their turns. Photos by zrants

Traditionally, Jayne said, the ambulance would have driven around the pile-up, into oncoming traffic, and entered the hospital. Instead, it was blocked by the new median…(more)

Anybody else wonder where all these high injury networks are coming from? If Vision Zero and Moving Forward worked we should be safe by now. How many millions of dollars are spent on high injury networks and why do they keep multiplying? There must be some non-high injury networks. Let’s see a map of those.

 

Uber and Lyft get the last laugh – all the way to the bank

SF City Hall and SFMTA used Uber and Lyft to kill taxis and attempt to remove cars. Now the ride-shares outnumber Muni. They created the Monster. Let’s see how they tame it.

A collection of photos of SF streets by zrants

RIDE-SHARES TECH BUSES OR TAXIS AND PRIVATE VEHICLES: SFMTA welcomed ride-shares as their allies in their attempt to drive SF residents out of their cars. SFMTA removed and privatized on-street parking. Planning removed off-street parking from future developments giving developers a huge windfall in profits. Developers did their part by offering Uber and Lyft credits instead of on-site parking, jacking up the demand for car-shares. The demand for car-shares, created by the parties in their haste to eliminate private cars, is driving the number of car-shares and increasing regional traffic as the car-share drivers are coming in to drive us around the city. Don’t even get us started on the tech bus problems that are effecting everyone around the Bay Area not just SF.

PARKING OR TRAFFIC: The parking problem for some is eliminated, but, there are more cars driving around NOT PARKING than there were before the parking was eliminated. Given the choice between parking and traffic, which is worse? You are going to have one or the other. Decide City Hall and clean up your act.

RETAIL OR DELIVERY: Instead of private people running their own errands shopping in their own cars, and bringing their purchase home, we now have delivery services running those errands for us and double parking of delivery trucks all over town. You do want that pizza hot, don’t you? You can’t expect your new computer, TV, or stove to be delivered by bike. Those come by truck now. Instead of mail once a day, we have multiple deliveries a day from multiple sources, adding both traffic and double parking to our streets. We have replaced retail jobs with delivery jobs. Is that the kind of neighborhood and city we want to live in? Where we interact by digital media instead of human contact? How many jobs may be eliminated by robots?

LOCAL SERVICES OR REGIONAL: We find that we have more traffic than ever pouring into the city. Many of our service companies, such as repair and construction crews used to work out of local warehouses and parking lots have been forced out and must now drive into the city to serve us. This jacks up the price of those services, many emergency in nature, electricians and plumbers, PDR and other businesses reliant on vehicles. Now your plumber must commute in to stop that leak. This leads to more damage and more costly repairs. Don’t even think about getting that roof repaired or your sidewalk attended to with any haste. Fast, cheap or reasonable remodels are a distant past memory.

PLAYING THE GREEN CARD: For those of you who have not followed the history of this anti-car movement, we may direct you to the beginning, which started with a treatise and the uniting of a number of non-profits that run the city. Details are too many to address here now. There was an idea that by stuffing people into large dense cities you could somehow reduce greenhouse gases and save the planet. One the way to that perfect future plan, an amazing happened. The car manufacturers cleaned up their cars and the engines got more efficient, so we are using less fuel and polluting less in our cars. The cost of gas is also going down, as the demand diminished. Many alternate fuels are coming on the market. Thus the green card is no longer sufficient to fight cars.

PLAYING THE SAFETY CARD: This brings up the need for a new reason to remove cars. Cars are dangerous. To prove that, most of the state and federal requirements for safety such as lane width, road signs traffic laws, have been altered to the point where few people even know what they are any more. This is called chaos. This is how the SFMTA really makes its mark on our city. No one creates chaos and hatred among the people on the streets like the SFMTA. They are geniuses at playing the safety card against us. Everything they do is geared to confuse and annoy us. Starting by turning our perfectly normal streets into battlefields of zones based on some strange markings that no one understands. They blame each accident on the lack of safety on that corner and target it for change.

PLAYING THE CHAOS CARD: Now that we have animosity on the streets and mass confusion because of rules and regulations no one understands and confusion over the street markings, SFMTA decided it is time to really stir things up by “calming” our straight, easy to navigate and see lanes into movable targets. The days of warning when lanes are merging are over. If you don’t pay attention to the lanes curing in and out of bulbouts, parking, bike and red lanes, you are in trouble. All your attention must go to following the lanes and it is hard to pay attention to the lane changes and the pedestrians, bikers and others who think they have “the right of way” all the time. People who don’t live here can’t wait to leave. They are completely confused.

WORST CASE SCENARIOS: It is one thing to design streets for everyday experience and assume that the power to the Third Street rail lights that “manage” the merging traffic on and off of rail lanes will always works, but, it is another to deal with the reality of unexpected emergencies and power outages. We understand that decisions have been made to ignore the warnings of our emergency respondors in favor SFMTA “specialists” and “experts” on how the emergency vehicles will deal with the realities of emergencies as they arise and become stuck in traffic, or, worse yet, cannot reach fires in high rise properties due to the fact that they have been downsized. According to then Supervisor Wiener, the Fire Department should purchase smaller vehicles capable of handling the narrow streets. Someone must be held accountable when there are repercussions to these short-sided decisions.

THE AFTERMATH: In the haste to remove cars from SF streets, SF invited in the newest tech and anti-car planning teams they could find. They failed on all counts. By any metric or measurement you care to name, the entire program is a failure. We have a much worse regional traffic problem than before. We have a lot more vehicles on our streets.

We have many infuriated drivers and Muni riders, removed off-street parking and building owners are offering Uber and Lyft credits to lure in tenants of those parkless housing developments. Why should anyone be surprised that Ubers and Lyfts are replacing the traffic the city used them to eliminate.

WHO DETERMINES THE FUTURE OF OUR CITY: The public needs to speak up and let City Hall know how they feel about these issues. The plan is flawed and it is up to us to demand an examination of the flawed plan. Hearings are being called. We will be alerting you to those hearings. Please write letters and come to speak out at the hearings if you can. What is your solution to solving this problem?

Bike Coalition Preps for Next Round of SoMa Fight

: streetsblog – excerpt (includes graphics)

FolsomHowardMap

Folsom and Howard Streets Slated for Redesigns

here are now four design options for a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)’s project to add parking-protected bike lanes, possible transit lanes, and wider sidewalks on Howard and Folsom Streets in the South of Market neighborhood (SoMa). Deciding what design concept is best–and which elements of each plan are good and bad–was the topic discussed by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s (SFBC) 15-member SoMa committee on Thursday evening at the Public Architecture firm on Folsom Street.

“All four of these designs are pretty darned good. All four have pretty good protected bike lanes; physically separated bike lanes and that was the top priority,” said Charles Deffarges, community organizer for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) and leader of the SoMa committee. “We can steer these in the direction we want to see for people who ride in SF.”… (more)

Go to SFMTA’s PDF to see all the four conceptual alternatives for yourself. But here are the two that generated the most conversation among the SFBC’s SoMa committee, the #2 Bicycle Connectivity scheme, and #4 Two-Way Traffic Alternative:

Way to go SFMTA! Turn two of the major access streets to the Bay Bridge into a two-way, slower than ever bike-lane laden streets with bus-only lanes. Double the commute time for everyone and force us to breath twice the fumes by forcing cars to take twice as long to leave the city. Great way to kill a city. Speaking of killing, how are the emergency vehicles supposed to get around?

Bikeshare stations headed to the Mission (and beyond)

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt (includes a map)


Is this what the voters wanted when they passed Prop E creating the SFMTA and granting the organization the powers that it claims it has? Did they vote to turn their public streets into a private enterprise to be sold out from under them to enterprising corporations? Where are the politicians who will put a end to this thievery and give us back our streets?

A significant cluster of Bay Area Bike Share’s new planned stations are in the Mission District, and installation is expected to begin later this month.

The expansion will grow the bike sharing program from 700 to 7,000 bicycles around the region. Around 35 bike sharing stations are in the works in the Mission, according to an image released by the bike share group…

While most of the stations planned for the Mission have already secured their permits, one was considered at a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency hearing on Friday morning, and a few neighbors were dismayed at the idea of losing parking. The station, at 17th and Valencia streets, was among 16 stations citywide heard on Friday morning.

“Parking is a premium in San Francisco, it’s just like housing,” said District 6 resident John Nulty. “You start taking away parking, it’s going to create more problems for everybody.”…

“Parking loss is not grounds for denying a bike share permit,” explained Heath Maddox, a planner with the transportation agency, after the meeting…(more)

That sounds like, “free street parking is not a right it is a privilege”. Is living in SF a privilege as well? It is a slippery slope when you start giving up your rights.

Maybe we need some officials who feel that parking and living in SF are rights and not privileges and we have a right to determine how we move about our city.

City Hall is already replacing off-street parking for cars with bike parking in the new developments. We don’t need more bikes parked on the street as well. Soon there will be more bikes than people using them, or, maybe there already are. No wonder people are parking in the middle of the street and in the bike lanes. If you want people to park legally you have to give them a legal place to park.

Next time you consider buying a car, remember that it is Ford that is removing your parking spaces.

Local Readers blast their horns about Uber and Lyft

By David Talbot : sfchronicle – excerpt

Tuesday’s column about the flood of Uber and Lyft cars on the streets of San Francisco triggered a tsunami of reader email and social-media outbursts. So I’m turning over today’s platform to my impassioned readers. The public is clearly reaching its tipping point on the out-of-control ride-hailing industry. The last time something like this happened, Airbnb cut a sensible deal with the city. So who knows? The boys-will-be-boys bro-ocracy at Uber might also finally accept some reasonable regulations…

My column also provoked howls from those who thought I was unfair to the ride-hailing corporations. “The reason people take Lyft and Uber is because Muni and taxis suck,” stated Jamey Frank. “Neither are reliable nor convenient, especially for my disabled parents. We take (the TNC) cars rather than climbing down a filthy (Muni) staircase due to a broken escalator and elevator, to a filthy and dark platform and wait a random amount of time for a train. … The MTA’s policy is not solution-based. Instead, they prefer to punish people out of their cars through red lanes, road diets and parking confiscation, creating huge amounts of artificial traffic congestion. But no amount of driver punishment overrides the fact that San Francisco has one of the least reliable, least pleasant transportation systems in the world.”

Speaking of solutions, Philip Macafee proposes a sensible new approach on his website, the Rideshare Justice Project (www.ridesharejustice.org). “The web, mobile devices and GPS location technology offer a great advance in secure, trustworthy and fair transportation,” he writes. “But only if implemented properly. States and municipalities need to step up to the plate by setting standards that blend the benefits of game changing new technology with time proven practices of reinforcing good behavior on the part of workers. (They also need to ensure) fair wages and safety for drivers. And they need to do it before the problem gets worse.”

I like what he’s driving at…(more)

Comments go to dtalbot@sfchronicle.com

SF demands data from Uber, Lyft on city trips, driver bonuses

By Carolyn Said : sfgate – excerpt

It’s a San Francisco truism: Every other car on the streets these days seems to sport a logo for Uber or Lyft — and many double-park or block traffic as passengers climb in or out.

Now the city wants Uber and Lyft to share details on how many ride-hailing cars are roving the streets and when, so it can ensure that they comply with local laws; assess their impact on traffic congestion, safety, pollution and parking; and ascertain whether they are accessible for disabled and low-income riders.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Monday subpoenaed Uber and Lyft to disgorge records on four years of driving practices, disability access and service in San Francisco. The companies have steadfastly declined to share data other than that they have about 45,000 drivers in the Bay Area… (more)

The “Sharing Economy” has lost favor in San Francisco as citizens and politicians now realize the circle of benefactors is very limited.

Despite SFFD Complaints, SFMTA Board OKs Upper Market Parking-Protected Bike Lanes

by Carrie Sisto : hoodline – excerpt

Clogged traffic on Masonic before they cut out any lanes.

Despite objections from fire department officials, San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency’s board voted yesterday to approve new parking-protected bike lanes and other changes to the roadway in the Upper Market area.

“The item was passed unanimously with the understanding that we would work with SFFD to develop a plan that includes the features of the project, while ensuring that first responders have the necessary access,” SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose told us.

Easily-installed improvements like painting new protected bike lanes should be installed this year, but large-scale construction improvements like adding bulb-outs and islands will occur in 2019… (more)

This is not about traffic laws or safety regulations. This is about science and physics and the fact that no two objects can occupy the same space at one time.
I just witnessed a traffic jam on 18th Street with a fire department ambulance stuck in traffic. It was being held up by what appeared to be a school bus coming from the opposite direction.
The totality of the traffic and anti-traffic flow tactics being unleashed on SF streets is the problem. Left unchecked, a fire can double in size, or so fire department personnel have claimed. Do you really want to second guess the Fire Department when they tell you they can’t serve the public under these circumstances?
If you think it is more important to promote traffic nightmares that hamper emergency vehicles and stop traffic flow, I hope you are prepared to take your friends and family who need assistance on your bike to the hospital next time they need help because the ambulance you count on may not make it in time.

 

California gas tax increase is now law. What it costs you and what it fixes

By Jim Miller :  sacbee – excerpt

SF Bay Bridge has one of the most hated commutes, but will get worse as gas taxes are pumped into road diets and bike lanes on access streets in SOMA street “improvements”.
Big companies are losing patience and expanding elsewhere. Photo by Zrants

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law billions of dollars in higher fuel taxes and vehicle fees, the state will have an estimated $52 billion more money to help cover the state’s transportation needs for the next decade

SFMTA Seeks Input On Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project Designs This Week

By : Hoodline – excerpt

Folsom-Plan

Page 92 of the 92 Page Eastern Neighborhood Plan from 2008

Anyone who commutes across the Bay Bridge should start screaming now… Sorry for the late notice. I just saw this.

Changes are in the works for SoMa through SFMTA’s $26 million Folsom-Howard Streestcape Project.

Now, after community meetings late last year, the agency will be holding two public open house meetings so the neighborhood can weigh in on upcoming design changes to Folsom and Howard streets.

As part of the Vision Zero initiative, the project would focus on making an area—Howard Street between 3rd and 11th streets and Folsom Street between 2nd and 11th streets—that the city has designated as a high-injury corridor more pedestrian and bike-friendly…

The two open houses  will be held Thursday, April 27th at 6:00pm-7:30pm and Saturday, (sorry we missed that one.) April 29th at 12:00pm-2:00pm at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School at 375 7th Street, between Folsom and Howard streets. Both meetings will cover the same material…(more)

No new plans that we can see online, but we know what they have in mind –  cutting traffic lanes and adding bike lanes to the two most heavily traveled, packed and gridlocked streets in the city.  City Hall doesn’t really want you to drive into the city on one the most expensive bridges ever built.

They want you to pack onto a BART train, or Transbay bus, or stay the heck out of THEIR city! Many people will choose to stay away once this nightmare goes into effect.

Watch for the boulevard plan, pictured above. Page 92 of the 92 page Eastern Neighborhoods Plan from 2008 shows Folsom street as a tree-lined civic Blvd.) There may be talk of turning it into a two-way street, removing making turns onto side streets and even installing a red lane. They would kill what is left of the businesses along the way and, make your commuting impossible. No wonder tech is moving to Nevada.

Any claims that the city is removing cars from city streets and thus reducing greenhouse gases are false. As you can tell, there are as many, if not more vehicles clogging our streets and the longer it take you to get somewhere the more emissions there are in the air during that trip. Slowing down the vehicles is adding to the pollution. Removing the hundreds of trees is removing the natural CO2 filter that was in place. Add the construction dust and fumes and you can pretty well guess that the air is a lot less clean than it was. We are lucky when it rains to put a damper on it. If there is one lie you do not believe, do not believe that the air is cleaner.

SFMTA Faces Criticism During Tense Meeting on Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

“This is a really good focus group.”

That’s  what Hank Wilson, the manager of parking policy at SFMTA, told a crowd of Bernal Heights residents last week at a contentious April 18  community meeting about SFMTA’s proposal to implement a new residential parking permit program (RPP) on select streets in northwest Bernal Heights.

During the meeting, more than a dozen Bernal Heights residents took turns scolding SFMTA for failing to provide timely information to local residents, repeatedly contradicting or redefining its own data about non-resident parking in Bernal Heights, and arbitrarily changing the rules that  will govern the proposed RPP in northwest Bernal.

The net result, as one Bernal resident pointed out, is that “[SFMTA is] pitting streets against each other, and neighbor a against neighbor.”

That was a recurring theme throughout the evening, as Bernal neighbors who both supported and opposed the parking plan described how the RPP program seems to have been designed from the outset to fuel neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism… (more)

SFMTA specializes in fueling neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism. They probably hand out awards to the staff based on who instigates the biggest fights.

Nearly $1 billion in side deals for California gas tax approved

by Kate Murphy of bayareanewsgroup : eastbaytimes – excerpt (video linked)

SACRAMENTO — Nearly $1 billion in controversial side deals that may have persuaded key California lawmakers to get behind a controversial gas tax this month cleared the Legislature Monday.

In the lead-up to the April 6 gas-tax vote, funding for a handful of transportation projects surfaced in a separate bill, Senate Bill 132. The projects will benefit the districts represented by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced; Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, and Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

All four lawmakers voted in favor of the gas tax — which passed narrowly, without a vote to spare.

Also part of the deal — and passed Monday — was Senate Bill 496, by Cannella, that would protect architects, engineers and other “design professionals” against legal claims made by public agencies. Cannella is an engineer.

The gas tax will generate more than $5 billion per year for road repairs and local transit projects by indefinitely increasing gas and diesel taxes and hiking vehicle registration fees. The increases will cost the average driver roughly $10 per month or less, the state estimates…(more)

They just called it a pothole gas tax. There is no guarantee on what will happen to the funds raised by the tax, other than special interests will benefit from it. Potholes effect everyone negatively. Fixing them is the most democratic use of public funds. Fixing them would reduce the costs of public transit repairs and make biking and walking a lot safer. SFMTA is literally painting over potholes to create red lanes and bike paths, making them more hazardous with the slick paint.

If you want to do something positive about potholes, join the international “Adopt a Pothole” movement:
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

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