Rapid Growth in Sunnyvale Spurs Concerns in Public Safety

Police officers and firefighters in Sunnyvale are going public with their concerns that the city is allowing business to boom without enough consideration for public safety.

Police officers and firefighters in Sunnyvale are going public with their concerns that the city is allowing business to boom without enough consideration for public safety…

So, the union sent the letter to City Council members, formally requesting impacts to public safety be specifically analyzed…

A union consultant and adviser said the focus is on protecting public safety but added litigation has not been ruled out…(more)

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Homeless SF residents sue to stop city from impounding their cars

By : curbed – excerpt

Unpaid parking tickets deprive homeless residents of only shelter

A San Francisco man has sued SFMTA in an attempt to keep the city from impounding the cars of homeless people for whom their vehicle is also their only shelter. It turns out he’s not alone.

KQED reports on the story of Sean Kayode, who had been living in his 2005 Mercedes Benz until the city seized it in March. The reason: unpaid parking tickets.

Kayode, who now resides at a homeless shelter, says in his suit that the car was not only his home but also his means of income as a delivery driver. Civil rights attorney Jude Pond alleges that the California law that permits cities to impound cars with five or more parking tickets is unconstitutional…

It turns out that the lawsuit in question, Smith v Reiskin (SFMTA director Ed Reiskin is named as the principle defendant), actually predates Kayode’s woes.

James Smith, described by his attorney as a “64-year-old lifelong San Francisco resident whose only source of income is $1,140 in Social Security each month,” lost his car months earlier and was the first to seek succor from the courts… (more)

RELATED:
Smith v Reiskin

 

Gas tax repeal lures California Democrats in key House races

: sacebee – excerpt

Democratic congressional candidate Katie Porter surprised political watchers last week when she launched a cable television ad declaring she opposed higher gas taxes.

The controversial $52 billion tax and fee increase was the result of a signature effort by Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, to pay for the largest road funding plan in California in more than a quarter century. Most Democratic state lawmakers supported the effort.

But Porter is not the only Democrat in a hotly contested House race taking a public stand against the measure as it faces an expensive repeal campaign…

Democratic candidates’ efforts to distance themselves from the tax increase are a sign of the measure’s unpopularity with voters, particularly in regions with lots of commuters. But it also shows how Democrats running in swing districts can potentially neutralize the issue, while demonstrating their independence from the party bigwigs in Sacramento… (more)

RELATED:

Want to convince California voters to keep the gas tax? This is the wrong way to do it

Should private shuttles be able to use Muni-only lanes?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

MTA says yes — but the public can weigh in Tuesday.

San Francisco transit planners have been working for years on a proposal to create bus-only lanes on Geary Boulevard. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is that – since we (unfortunately) don’t have a subway line underneath the Geary corridor, we can do the next best thing by creating lanes just for Muni.

Time the traffic signals right, keep cars out of the way of buses, and people can ride faster from the Richmond and the Western Addition to downtown…

The plan comes up for discussion at the MTA’s meeting Tuesday/21 – and there’s a twist…

Activists have discovered that Muni’s current proposal would allow not only Muni buses but private shuttles, like Chariot and the Google buses – to use the city’s public transit-only lanes.

Environmentalist and transit advocate Sue Vaughan (who has also written for 48hills) asked at an MTC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in July whether private shuttles would be allowed to use the BRT lanes. MTC staff didn’t have an answer at that point – but a series of follow-up emails obtained by Vaughan show that the department believes under current rules, any private company that runs a bus with a capacity of more than ten people (including the driver) would count as “transit” and would be allowed on what were originally described as Muni-only lanes… (more)

The national press has been covering the anger and actions against privatization of public streets for years. SF Board of supervisors passed Ordinanace 180089 to give voters some control over access to curbs. There hearings on the horizon along with the Controller reports we have requested for months.

What does SFMTA do? Blame Muni for the slowdown and hand over more traffic lanes to private enterprise, not covered by the ordinance. while spending hours of staff time developing an elite program for corporate e-bikes, and deserting vast numbers of Muni riders during the largest transit crisis in years.

Must the public demand the removal of Reiskin and a vote on a Charter Amendment to roll back SFMTA autonomy to get relief? Will Mayor Breed appoint a strong new MTA Board Director to the current regime at the SFMTA Board, who will return Muni’s attention to making Muni an attractive reliable functioning option?

You can only pretend the emperor is dressed for so long. It is hard to take a bus that does not arrive to pick you up. It is past time to replace the leadership at SFMTA.

RELATED:

Letters to SFMTA Board:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-not-belong-dedicated-bus-lanes/

https://metermadness.wordpress.com/red-lane-experiments/private-transport-should-not-be-allowed-to-use-transit-only-lanes/

 

 

Supes, neighbors block Ford GoBike’s citywide expansion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ford GoBike’s expansion has been halted and slowed across The City, and the reason given is often the same — there wasn’t enough notice given.

From Glen Park to the Haight, the Mission District and most recently, the Marina, residents are pushing back against the rental bike docks, which are usually placed in parking spaces meant for cars.

And as the bike rental service is on the cusp of its planned expansion to 7,000 bikes Bay Area-wide, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also increasingly pushing back against it and the Lyft-owned company that operates the program, Motivate, by saying that not enough notice has been offered to neighbors about new station installations…

But while each supervisor sees this problem through a neighborhood-focused lense, each individual battle adds up: The bikeshare-slowdown now stretches citywide… (more)

First we want to thank our supervisors for supporting the rights of residents and the public to determine how our streets are used. Stopping the spread of corporate controlled curb space is important. Some people may not be aware that the Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 180089 to allow the public to make these decisions by giving the supervisors greater control and oversight of the SFMTA Board decisions. Look it up if you are not familiar with the ordinance: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/sfmta-review/

We need some data on the number of stations to bikes Motivate and other private entities have installed in the city and the number of vehicles assigned to private parking spots. We have noted a number of GoBikes parked in public bike parking spots that are meant for private bikes and a lot of empty Motivate racks.

Perhaps we need to ask Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which negotiated Ford GoBike’s exclusivity contract to provide docked bikeshares within the Bay Area, what the intent of that contract was or is. He claims he just wrote the contracts and it is up to us to deal with them. If the public objects to them being placed on our streets they should honor our objections. We don’t need an excuse.

The above mentioned ordinance is a good start in taking back control of our streets, but the voters of San Francisco may want to consider a Charter Amendment as well if these matters and others are not resolved to our satisfaction soon. Let Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors and the candidates running for office know how you feel. They are in office to serve the public not the corporations.

A new study says services like UberPool and Lyft Line are making traffic worse

By Faiz Siddiqui of The Washington Post : mercurynews – excerpt

The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or not used a ride-hail service at all, according to a new study.

The report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse, constructs a detailed profile of the typical ride-hail user and issues a stark warning to cities: make efforts to counter the growth of ride-hail services, or surrender city streets to fleets of private cars, creating a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists and ultimately make urban cores less desirable places to live.

Schaller concludes that where private ride options such as UberX and Lyft have failed on promises to cut down on personal driving and car ownership – both of which are trending up – pooled ride services have lured a different market that directly competes with subway and bus systems, while failing to achieve significantly better efficiency than their solo alternatives. The result: more driving overall.

Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges. (The study notes that total ride-hailing trips in New York increased 72 percent from 2016 to 2017 and 47 percent in Seattle over that time. Revenue data from the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles showed the ride-hailing industry’s growth quadrupled in the District from late 2015 to 2017.)

The nine cities studied were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle..

.. (more)

Instead of admitting that the ride-hails are adding to the traffic, the EMERGING MOBILITY | EVALUATION REPORT put out for the SFCTA, blamed the TNCs for not releasing their data. One doesn’t need the TNC’s data to observe that the ride-hails pouring into the city from out of town to compete with all the pubic transit systems are private vehicles. Since they don’t park, but drive around waiting for a ride, there is bound to be more traffic on all the streets. There is an easy solution to that problem. Return the curbs back to the public.

Here is an idea of a pilot project: Remove the special the parking privileges for the TNCs. Return street parking to the public in some neighborhoods and see if more people driving themselves around and parking doesn’t result in less traffic and healthier retail stores. Once the ride-hails lose their customers, they will quit driving into town. That should clear some of the congestion off the bridges and highways, and maybe more people will switch back to public transportation, especially if the bus stops are left in place.

Got a $1 billion-plus idea to fix traffic, transit in the Bay Area?

By Erin Baldassari : mercurynews – excerpt

The MTC is putting out a call for projects that would transform transportation as we know it in the Bay Area. Pictured here is a proposal architect Jeff Heller proposed more than a year ago to put a new “Southern Crossing” that would carry trains, autonomous vehicles, bicyclists and more, as one of several imagined transportation investments in the Bay Area…

SAN FRANCISCO — Think you know how to solve the Bay Area’s nightmarish traffic? Have you been fantasizing about where a future BART system could go? Do you have a tech-savvy solution for reducing solo-driving or integrating autonomous cars into Bay Area freeways?

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission wants to hear from you…

Don’t worry about cost, says MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler. The minimum price tag for capacity-adding transit or road projects is $1 billion, and there is no maximum.

“If we can get enough interest in a bold vision,” Rentschler said, “we can chase the money for it later.”….

The problem, he said, is that government agencies are constrained — by what is politically feasible, by laws that require them to use existing funding streams when sketching out their visions for the future, by being focused on what is achievable in the short-term. Over the past several decades — ever since the BART system was envisioned and built — those constraints have led to small, incremental changes, he said.. (more)

Pay attention to these warnings. There is no limit to how much taxpayers will pay to stay in the bay as long as the MTC is running the programs. How do the taxpaying residents of the Bay feel about that? Do we want the constraints on the government agencies lifted? Or do we want unlimited, unrestrained costs and taxes and price hikes to support unlimited growth?

Emerging Mobility in San Francisco

from the SFMCTA website: https://www.sfcta.org

Many new technologies and services have appeared on San Francisco’s streets over the past few years, from ride-hail companies, to scooter sharing, to on-demand delivery services.

This month, we released a new report evaluating how these services line up with issues like equity, sustainability, and safety. One major take-away: We found that companies that share data and partner with the City on pilots are better at helping meet City goals.

Learn more: Watch the video and read the report.


Let your supervisor know what you want to do about these corporate entities that are emerging on our streets? Do we want to lose your right to park at the curb? Do you trust the SFMTA to manage the corporations that are threatening to take over the streets?

Are these new jobs, working for Uber Lyft and the rest, any better than the old jobs they are displacing? Were the taxi drivers worse off then the rideshare drivers who are barely making a living wage? Who is benefiting and who is losing out as the SFMTA barrels through the city killing one retail entity after another with their “street improvement” projects?

130 affordable housing units result of land transfer between SF agencies

: sfchronicle – excerpt

A proposed property transfer between San Francisco agencies that could yield up to 130 new affordable housing units was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee…

The MTA’s Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the sale of the lot in 2012. Two years later, the agency struck an agreement to sell it to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, which has long sought to develop the site for 100 percent affordable housing…

As part of the agreement, the SFMTA would sell the parcel to the mayor’s housing office for $6.15 million. As a so-called enterprise agency, the SFMTA — like the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission — is allowed to buy and sell its own properties. Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would cover $2.5 million worth of transfer costs. The remaining $3.65 million would come from the city’s affordable housing fund…

Developing the windswept lot into housing will cost an estimated $96 million. To pay for it, Hartley said the city would contribute around $35 million, with the remainder coming from low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bond debt and additional state credits that the developers, Related California and the Mission Housing Development Coalition, can apply for… (more)

Since the city owns the land one would assume the city determines who the developers are. They are just in the process of transferring the land. How do they already have developers picked out and who and when was this determined? Some will remember that a company called Related is a luxury condo developer who owned Motivate, the bike share company that recently sold GoBike to Lyft. Do we see a pattern here?

As many San Francisco residents are being displaced by newcomers with a different set of interests and morals, is it time for the citizens of this city to ask some tough questions about how their city is being managed and for whom?  Is it just a coincidence that the same names pop up repeatedly in every city contract? Are you represented by in the non-profit groups showing up at every city hall meetings begging for exclusive privileges?

 

City makes free controversial Dolores Street ‘parking for God’ permanent

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

One decried as “parking for God” by car-less critics, The City’s once-controversial program to provide free church parking is here to stay.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board on Tuesday voted to make a pilot program for free weekend parking on street medians on Dolores Street permanent. That parking is largely aimed at church-goers, who complained that scarce weekend parking in the Mission could lead to dwindling memberships for religious organizations… (more)

Since the churches and their followers are doing a huge job of helping the homeless and the less fortunate among us, helping them by allowing parking seems a small gesture. This does impact neighbors, but they would be impacted by removing parking, so this keeps the status quo. In order to help the neighbors, SFMTA should leave their street parking alone. No more private entities taking their parking.