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?

Twin Peaks Tunnel repair back off track

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s confused staff is confusing everyone with their signs. They need to get out of the construction business and get back to running Muni services for the people who need it or hand it over to someone who knows how to run it. photo by zrants.

For riders taking the 80,000 daily trips on three of Muni’s light-rail vehicle lines, slow-moving trains and delays are a way of life.

Now, work planned to repair the Twin Peaks Tunnel — which would lessen those Muni slowdowns — is itself delayed, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The delay will also cause other Muni construction projects to start later than planned, as these projects are often timed in sequence…

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has terminated its $32 million contract with NTK Construction, Inc., for that repair work, after the agency met “logistical issues” planning tunnel shutdowns that would have necessitated 40,000 riders to take replacement shuttle buses…

Those repairs are needed, staff wrote, to “lift the speed restriction currently in place for trains moving through the tunnel and cut down on unexpected service disruptions.”

For eight years, that restriction was 35 mph, and a year ago became 40 mph, but may jump to 50 mph after repairs, said John Haley, SFMTA’s director of transit…

The SFMTA confirmed another construction project has been rescheduled due to the Twin Peaks Tunnel Replacement Project delay, as work at Junipero Serra Boulevard and 19th Avenue was “supposed to align with the Twin Peaks shutdown for pedestrian improvements, but will have to be rescheduled to perhaps beyond July,” said SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato.

Multiple projects may ultimately be rescheduled, Kato confirmed(more)

There are no more construction crews left to do maintenance because they are all working on street diets and bus lanes and adding more assets that have no maintenance plans of their own. Some of us saw this coming and tried to steer the SFMTA toward maintenance and away from expanded capital improvements.

Many requests are made for cheap safety improvements like paint on cross walks and added traffic signals. Nobody can suggest anything to the SFMTA. They have an excuse for why they can’t do anything the public requests.

In a recent article in the Ingleside-Excelsior Light, Safai is quoted as saying that he gets requests for adding more crosswalks to the most dangerous streets. Many people have asked for more traffic signals, but, according to the SFMTA these simple relatively inexpensive solutions are held up due to their lack of staff and the fact that they can only add 10 traffic signals a year in the entire city.

These excuses are coming from an agency that has over 50,000 employees and over a billion dollar a year budget. They can’t figure out how to do the small cheap projects that public wants because they spend all their time working on solving perceived problems that may crop up in the future.

Until the voters and taxpayers stop these large projects, or convince the supervisors to quit funding them, we will never get our simple requests for traffic signals and crosswalk markings. SFMTA needs to move some of their high paid planning staff into the traffic signal and sign painting department and quit ignoring the public.

YIMBYs: The “Alt-Right” Darlings of the Real Estate Industry

By Toshio Meronek and Andrew Szeto : Truthout – excerpt

Rising city skyline from Bernal Heights by zrants

In San Francisco’s Mission District, flyers pasted on mailboxes and light poles warn longtime residents of the new “conquistadores,” the hordes of wealthy tech industrialists who’ve descended on the neighborhood en masse over the past few years, displacing many in the Latinx-heavy neighborhood to the outer reaches of the Bay Area.

But it’s not just lower-income people who are feeling set upon. Rich newcomers also see themselves as an interest group in need of a voice. “Someone needs to represent people who haven’t yet moved into a neighborhood,” said pro-development activist Sonja Trauss, who moved to Oakland in 2011, at an April real estate industry soiree in Vancouver. In San Francisco, “the people who haven’t yet moved in” most often means the tech industrialists, lured by high salaries, stock options and in-office employee benefits like massage therapists and handcrafted kombucha.

But these new tech “immigrants,” as Trauss refers to her kinfolk, spell disaster for current San Franciscans. In 2015, the city-funded homeless count found 71 percent of homeless San Franciscans were housed in San Francisco before being pushed onto the streets…

A Campaign to Legitimize the Luxury Condo Boom

A founder of the Yelp.com web empire, Jeremy Stoppelman, bequeathed $100,000 upon new Oakland resident Trauss in 2015, with the stated goal of clearing the way for more housing units, even if those units were only accessible to the richest of the rich. That investment helped to spark a libertarian, anti-poor campaign to turn longtime sites of progressive organizing into rich-people-only zones…

A Grassroots Facade…

YIMBY brings together community groups, advocates, and grassroots organizations,” reads the Toronto YIMBY Party’s website. But North America’s first YIMBY convening, YIMBY2016, was funded by groups, such as the National Association of Realtors and the Boulder Area Realtor Association…

Are the people-of-color-led community groups like Causa Justa that supported a moratorium on luxury condo construction “just as bad” as anti-immigrant Trump supporters? Trauss thinks so, calling people who didn’t support new market-rate condo projects in central San Francisco “nativists” because they don’t welcome with open arms the construction cranes building lavish condos with butterfly gardens and valet parking in traditionally working-class neighborhoods… (more)

The BARFERs (Ms. Stauss YIMBIEs are known as BARFERs) got in trouble when they used the term “nativists” at a Board of Supervisors hearing after Trump was elected. None of the supervisors appreciated that moniker and the project Ms. Strauss was supporting has been radically changed. It is slated to be a temporary homeless shelter.

Deadly Neoliberal Policies

Infill, with its self-aware, geek-chic name, is the podcast that Trauss co-hosts with another YIMBY-to-watch, Laura Foote Clark. When Truthout asked for evidence that the YIMBY trickle-down model would benefit people who aren’t making tech salaries, Foote Clark was quick to send a dozen papers that claim to show how neoliberal deregulation will end the housing crisis, and that rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…(more – Leave comments here if you can.)

This fresh look at San Francisco politics on the national stage contains helpful new observations and about our political divide. Most people want to same thing, they just disagree about how to get there.

“…rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…”

This statement is evidence of a misplaced jealousy of people who own homes, and a misunderstanding of the concept of liquid assets, true values, and security. People who own homes are just as stuck as people who rent. The only thing they have going for them is a little more control over their finances until they lose their source of income and are foreclosed on if they bought into an equity loan scheme.

If you do sell your home to realize an increase in equity value, where do you move? You can hardly afford to trade up in the market.

One of the major things that sets Yimbies apart from the rest of us is that along with a strong sense of jealousy, they live in the perfect future while the rest of us live in the present. Waiting for the world to turn into a perfect vision is not something that appeals to people who live in the present. We built the city to live in, not as a get rich scheme.

The amazing thing is that WE are accused of being the obstructionists, while THE YIMBIEs and BARFERs, along with SFMTA and SPUR are the real obstructionists. They are creating havoc on our streets impeding our movement, while claiming we are impeding their ability to stop us.

Everyone does agree that we have too many homeless on our streets and we need to enforce the eviction laws to keep people in their homes. The entire Board of Supervisors are intent on fixing that problem.

RELATED: Comments on the above article
With development activists compared to the ‘alt-right,’ the housing crisis debate jumped the shark

 

San Francisco sinkhole swallows big rig

by

On Seventh Street, between Brannan and Townsend, a big rig fell victim to the open mouth of a hungry sinkhole, which partially swallowed the vehicle during the morning commute.

“The San Francisco Fire Department estimates the size of the sinkhole at five feet by 14 feet,” repots Patch, adding, “A tow truck has arrived at the scene to pull the truck out of the sinkhole.”

The truck was carrying bags of cement, as well as two bulldozers. Heavy stuff, indeed.

“The truck driver had just pulled up and was about to park when the pavement gave out and the truck shifted on its side, causing the sidewalk to break and give give way,” notes SFGate.

No injuries have been reported…(more)

Lose your car over a parking ticket? San Francisco scrutinizes harsh punishments

…Around 4,000 cars get sold off in San Francisco every year because their owners can’t pay. Rowe herself knows two other people who have lost their cars because of parking tickets. I spoke with one man who was living in his car while he worked a retail job. After his car got towed, he not only lost the place he slept every night, but he also lost his job. His car was eventually sold off by the towing company…

Financial Justice Project

To many in city government, these punishments are too severe–among them are San Francisco’s treasurer. So the city established a program called the Financial Justice Project to look for ways to make smaller fines more fair to poorer residents…

Ferguson is a city of 20,000 people; in 2013 there were 30,000 citations in a single year. After that report on Ferguson, San Francisco City Treasurer José Cisneros wanted to start tackling the problem locally. He started the Financial Justice Project in the fall of 2016…

Basing fines on a person’s income

Income-based fines are already common in parts of Europe, and was attempted in the U.S. thirty years ago. Judith Greene, who created those programs in New York City and Phoenix, AZ says they worked well. “More people paid in full and the court system actually ended up collecting more money.”…

San Francisco is in a good position to tackle this: it’s a well-off city with a lot of economic inequality. But Stuhldreher worries that other municipalities might not have the same momentum…

 

Transit Ridership Down 2.3% in 2016

by Randal OToole : NewGeography – excerpt

With little fanfare, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released its fourth quarter 2016 ridership report last week. When ridership goes up, the lobby group usually issues a big press release ballyhooing the importance of transit (and transit subsidies). But 2016 ridership fell, so there was no press release… (more)

We are running our own little investigation into the downward trend in ridership. It is our theory that the less public transportation designers talk to the riding public, the less the public uses their services. We think the a major reason for the drop-off on the weekends is the removal of seats bus stops and seats the BART and Muni cars, and major meltdowns of those systems several times a week.

We suggest people send letters to the SFMTA officials and the press and their supervisors to let them know why you no longer take the Muni as often as you once did, but, don’t tell SFMTA what your alternate method for getting around is or they will cut that off because they can’t allow competition.

If you want to get involved in stopping the anti-human trend on public transit, talk to your neighborhood group and check out the actions on the Action Page.

SF wants access to Uber and Lyft data to tackle traffic congestion

By Joe Fitgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Two San Francisco government groups are taking aim at traffic congestion allegedly caused by ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin on Tuesday introduced resolutions at both the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which he chairs, and also at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling on state legislators to grant cities the ability to peek at trip data from ride-hail companies.

Mayor Ed Lee quickly signaled his support for the resolution Tuesday.

I think asking for data is good, and that data should inform us in how to relieve that (traffic) congestion,” he told the San Francisco Examiner.

That data is sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, but for years they have shielded it from public view.

The CPUC granted confidentiality of trip data to Uber and Lyft after the companies argued the data could be used by one another to gain a competitive advantage.

Requests for data “continue to be denied by the CPUC,” Peskin told the transportation authority board on Tuesday.

Both the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the SFCTA have repeatedly asked the CPUC for Uber and Lyft trip data, and were denied...(more)

The over saturation of Ubers and Lyfts could be solved by stopping the unwinnable war on cars. If the money that has gone into lane removal, bus stop musical chairs, and traffic alterations was spent on purchasing more buses, adding bus lines, and replacing bus seats you would not have the loss of ridership that you have seen since the SFMTA initiated programs to alter bus routes, eliminate stops and remove bus seats. Do you want to walk further to a bus stop and then stand on the bus when you can be sitting in a car? Why do you think people are avoiding Muni and BART on the weekends. No matter how much paint you put on the pig it is still a pig. This pig wreaks of false assumptions that are turning into a big pile of public debt.

Bike Coalition Says ‘No Way’ as City Backs off Protected Bike Lanes on Turk

FT9

Fire Truck on Potrero

Painted Buffered Lanes Failed Miserably on Golden Gate, so SFMTA Proposes them for Turk

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), for the first time ever, is opposing a bike lane.

Protected bike lanes are the proven standard for making streets safer for cyclists of all ages and abilities. However, once again, the city has backed off a protected bike lane project, this time on Turk through the Tenderloin. SFMTA made the announcement of the new paint-only proposal for a door-zone bike lane on Turk at Friday’s engineering hearing at City Hall.

No surprise, the SFBC is livid. And this time, they’ve drawn the line:

On Friday, your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition joined Sup. Jane Kim and local residents in unanimously opposing the SFMTA’s plans to build an unprotected, paint-only bike lane on Turk Street. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s opposition to the SFMTA’s deficient proposal for Turk Street marks the first time we have opposed a bike lane in our 46-year history…(more)

San Francisco is already famous for traffic congestion. Does City Hall want to be known for flaunting Fire Department regulations as well? Fire officials know what they need to do the job we trust them to do.

 

Business interests hold first-of-its-kind meeting with SF to stop traffic congestion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The denizens of downtown have had it: Traffic congestion has got to go.
To that end, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce pitched to San Francisco a first-of-its-kind meeting with downtown interests and transportation planners in the hopes of tackling congestion in concert.

The idea was sparked by similar meetings convened by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to curb congestion during last year’s Super Bowl City, which proved to be a positive collaboration, said Dee Dee Workman, vice president of public policy at the chamber…

But more than just a community kvetch, the meeting is a call to action for The City. Workman said congestion doesn’t merely stymie commuters, businesses and residents in the Financial District, South of Market and Market Street areas, but ripples across neighborhoods.

“There’s gridlock all the time,” said Workman. “We want to talk to the [SF]MTA about what’s happening to the streets of San Francisco and how they’re approaching public transportation planning.”…(more)

SFMTA has NOT been responsive to anyone at any time in recent memory to anything other than requests for meetings. They have plenty of employees to send to meetings on the taxpayers’ dime, to waste the the taxpayers’ time. They like nothing better than wasting our time at meetings explaining their plans to ignore our requests.

There is a reason public transportation ridership is falling on BART and Muni. They don’t listen to people who ride when they tell them what they want. Riders want to keep their service and their seats. They don’t want to walk further, wait for transfers and stand on the bus. What is SFMTA doing about that? Ignoring them and doing the opposite of what they want.

Ambitious plan for once-central S.F. crossroads

By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt (with graphics)

The 1500 Mission residential tower (top) would replace a thrift store and Goodwill headquarters at a confusing intersection.

The intersection of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue looms large on the map, with two of San Francisco’s best-known and broadest thoroughfares overlapping at a sharp angle.

The reality isn’t nearly so grand — a crossroads marked by a car dealership, a doughnut shop and two drab office blocks. Nearby, parking lots and ratty alleys rub against buildings that never aimed high and now are worn down. The street life is spotty at best, sketchy at worst.

All this would change under an evolving city plan that includes a cluster of towers on the skyline, a variety of public spaces below and as many as 7,280 housing units in between. And the first major project within the area could be approved next week — one that hints at a livelier future, but also shows how tough it is to fit ambitious visions into a complex setting.

If nothing else, the proposal for 1500 Mission St. — down the block from Market and South Van Ness Avenue — that goes to the Planning Commission on March 23 shows how this part of San Francisco could be transformed… (more)

If they want a traffic circle this might be the place to put one as there is plenty of real estate and the traffic is confusing at best. a traffic  circle might solve that confusion. Of course, the buses would have to take the circle as well unless they are rerouted. I have no idea how buses handle traffic circles. They may like them.