Rally with Seniors for Safe Streets this Friday

Friday, July 28, 2017 – 10:30am – 11:30am Masonic Ave & Geary Blvd

It is time for the San Francisco to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities!

For too long seniors and people with disabilities have had to navigate poorly maintained sidewalks and potholed and poorly-patched streets, and use crosswalks designed primarily for the able-bodied pedestrians.

As a result, seniors make up only 15 percent of the city’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016, resulting from traffic crashes involving people walking.

Every year hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic crashes. Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community. This year people like 76-year old Jeannie Yee who lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year old Ka Ben Wong who was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year old Meda Hacopian who died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car, have all been victims of unsafe streets!

Speak up for Seniors and People with Disabilities this Friday

Join Walk SF, Seniors and Disability Action, and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets in urging city and state officials to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior, or as a person with one or more disabilities.

Rally with members of the community as they challenge legislators to walk or roll in “our shoes.” These safe street advocates will invite legislators to use wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other mobility devices and aids, as they attempt to cross Geary Boulevard at Masonic Avenue safely (two of the city’s high-injury corridors, the 13 percent of streets that make up 75 percent of all serious and fatal crashes).

For more information, or if you need transportation to the rally, contact: Pi Ra of Senior and Disability Action at 415.225.2080 or srira@sdaction.org.

We could ask for longer lights for cross the streets and street repair to make the streets less difficult to cross. It don’t take millions of dollars to change the timing on the traffic lights, or do a little pothole repair. What does it take for the SFMTA and other city agencies to do the quick, cheap fixes that don’t take years of planning and millions of dollars?

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Transit Board to vote on partical Twin Peaks car closure

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

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Twin Peaks’ eastern roadways may soon be closed to vehicles altogether, with pathways only for walkers and cyclists.

That possibility is pending a vote by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday.

If approved, “The Twin Peaks Boulevard Figure Eight Pilot Project” would last two years – from June 1 to May 31, 2018.

At that time, data and feedback from the closure would be assessed for a permanent closure.

SFMTA spokesman Ben Jose said the pilot is intended to “make one of The City’s most iconic destinations more accessible, to more people, by foot and bike,” noting that it would not reduce parking.

The closure would not affect Christmas Tree Point, a popular lookout spot for drivers replete with quarter-fed binoculars. But besides that lookout spot, the eastern side of Twin Peaks Boulevard – with a viewpoint of downtown, the Mission, the Bay Bridge and beyond – would be the sole province of walkers and cyclists.

Cars would be limited to the west side, which is considered a less picturesque view. The western side of Twin Peaks Boulevard would also be turned from a one-way street into a two-way street, according to SFMTA documents. Additional parking would be provided at intersections, and temporary barriers would be installed.

The project will cost an estimated $60,000, according to the SFMTA.

But some neighbors are none too happy with the proposal. Dona Crowder, president of the Twin Peaks Improvement Association, told the San Francisco Examiner that neighbors feared for road safety.

“We’re not for it,” she said.

Originally, the road was engineered to be one way in each direction “for safety,” she said. Now she worries cars driving through the area will need to contend with oncoming tour buses, which frequent the area regularly.

SFMTA’s proposal for Twin Peaks was the subject of a public open house in June 2015, as well as a survey of residents with 450 responses and ongoing meetings with tour bus operators, neighborhood groups and others, according to the SFMTA… (more)

Is cutting off a view by limiting access not discriminating against non-walking, elderly and others who can’t physically walk or bike on a steep hill?

 

Muni fare hikes, service increases touted in 2017 budget

By sfexaminer – excerpt

SFMTA staff also proposed charging more for use of “express” lines, like the 38BX or 30X, which ferry workers downtown with fewer bus stops. Charging $1 more for express lines could garner $5 million annually for the agency…

This is the best so far. This one really makes me laugh. After forcing “faster” express lines on Muni riders by cutting out bus stops, in opposition to many, and spending a fortune to do it, SFMTA is now floating the idea of CHARGING YOU FOR USING THE SERVICE THEY FORCED ON YOU.! Say it isn’t so. Please don’t let them get away with this!

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now floating ideas for its $1 billion budget.

The agency must decide the fate of Muni lines, street engineering, bike lanes and more for 2017–18, all hinging on the budget priorities from the SFMTA Board of Directors.

On Tuesday afternoon, the board heard the first presentation from SFMTA staff on the budget. Proposals ranged from boosting bus and train service, to increasing fares and fees.

“We have very modest shortfalls on a billion-dollar budget,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said to the board.

Reiskin cited rising pension costs and a higher-than-usual contribution to Caltrain’s budget as reasons for an anticipated $13.6 million budget shortfall in 2017.

Much was on the table to correct that shortfall…

No action was taken on the budget, and the SFMTA is seeking public comment on its proposals. The board is expected to vote on budget priorities in April…(more)

Follow-up on the SF General Hospital Plans

September 3o, 2015 Meeting at SF General:  Attended the SF General meeting and met with some of the principals involved in the project. UC Research labs plans to expand by building a new 9-story building in the parking lot. Parking and traffic will be impacted heavily. SFMTA was expected to make a report but no one showed up. Neighbors requested a meeting with Ed Reiskin about the traffic and parking plans. Neighbors are concerned about noise, hazard waste disposal and many other issues. Many would prefer the expansion were in the current brick edifice or in Mission Bay. There are UC facilities all over town. UC is the second largest employer in San Francisco.

Regardless, there will an EIR on the expansion plans as described. I asked about the timeline for the EIR and the project. Public meeting dates are scheduled to start in October and run through March 2016 by which time they hope to have a draft EIR prepared. Nick Q. (Liberty Hill) John W (EMIA), and I were at the meeting. They may have additional information if anyone has any questions.

Traffic and parking:
They announced they will be removing 66 parking spaces from Potrero Ave.
Relating to the proposed UCSF research building they want to add one story to the parking garage and push it out to 24th St.
This will add about 527 new spaces but will only be a net gain of about 307 spaces as they will lose 220 spaces they currently have on campus.
We were told that the garage now (even before the new hospital is opened) is full before noon.
Despite the above the planning department has asked to take 20,000 sq ft of the garage as “retail space”.
They don’t want to build at Mission Bay because the doctors don’t want to take the shuttle between Mission Bay and SFGH.
When the “historic’ brick buildings are eventually retrofitted there are no plans for parking for the new staff and program that will occupy those buildings. (currently 800 people work in those buildings so we can expect at least that many more new staffers to the campus.
Be sure and come to the scoping meeting for the proposed research building on 10/21/15 at 7 PM in SFGH cafeteria.

Local Muni Driver Caught On Video Initially Refusing To Let Wheelchair User Board Bus In San Francisco

sanfrancisco.cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A Muni driver may face disciplinary action after being caught on video initially refusing to let a wheelchair user board his bus, and verbally harassing the woman.
Liz Henry filed a complaint with the SFMTA after the driver at first refused to let her board because the bus was too crowded last month.
The exchange was caught on surveillance video.
Driver: “Now what you got to do is, catch the next one.  Catch the next one!”
Liz: “You can let me on.  There’s room.”
Driver: “You don’t demand nothing.  There’s a guy in a white truck if you want to complain.  He’s right there.”
Liz: “We have a right to use the bus.  You don’t, you don’t, you don’t not let me on because I’m in a wheelchair.”
Driver: “You don’t demand nothing, neither.”
The driver eventually let Liz board the bus, but as she exited at the end of her ride, the driver suggested she shouldn’t be allowed to use the bus.
“You gonna complain anyway, that’s all you is! Hahaha. That’s how y’all live. You shouldn’t even be on the bus,” he said.
Muni has begun an investigation into the incident… (more)

Private bus startup Leap hit with complaint under US disabilities law

by : arstechinca – excerpt

“We’re sorry to anyone we’ve offended and we hope to do a better job next time.”

Chris Pangilinan, a former San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency engineer who uses a wheelchair, has alleged that new private bus startup Leap is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As such, Pangilinan recently filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice.

Leap recently launched its service, offering interested commuters a luxury transit option that includes things like Wi-Fi, more personal space, and refreshments. Leap charges riders $6 per fare (more than double what local buses charge), and riders use the company’s smartphone app to pay for fare or refreshments as well as to monitor when the buses are approaching.

Pangilinan, who moved away from San Francisco before Leap launched its service, said he found the company’s lack of accessibility “pretty shocking.” His complaint alleges that Leap “removed features that made the buses previously wheelchair accessible, such as the front door ramp, and wheelchair securement areas within the vehicle.”

If the Department of Justice (DOJ) finds that Leap is in violation, it could bring fines or a civil lawsuit. The DOJ did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

“I don’t want money or anything, what I want is to make sure that the spirit and the letter of the ADA [is considered] in the way that we build or change our transportation in the country,” Pangilinan told Ars. “If services like Leap are going to become more popular, then it’s harder to fight if we don’t change it.”… (more)

 

 

Cities ending free parking for drivers with handicapped tags, critics cry foul

by Dan Springer : foxnews – excerpt (video clip)

Go to just about any big U.S. city and you might see able-bodied drivers getting out of their cars and walking away without paying the meter. Often, they get away with it by hanging a blue, handicapped tag off their rear-view mirror.

The abuse is not new — but increasingly, the free ride is coming to an end.

Portland, Ore., is the latest city to make drivers pay to park, even if they have a handicapped tag. Supporters say the move prevents drivers — handicapped, and able-bodied — from overusing parking spots, not to mention ending the fraudulent use of handicapped tags. But disability advocates and others say it’s just unfair to those who are truly disabled.

“People who have a disability normally will have additional expenses that are associated with the disability,” said Bob Joondeph, of Disability Rights Oregon. “They may have to spend extra money in order to get health care. They may need to spend extra money to have their car retrofitted.”… (more)

Injury concern prompts Muni to remove over 1,400 seats

: sfexaminer – excerpt

Having trouble finding a seat on Muni?

Sitting down on a San Francisco bus has long been a struggle, but over the past year, more than 1,400 seats have been eliminated from The City’s coaches.

Following a warning from its bus manufacturer, New Flyer, Muni disabled seats on 717 buses in its fleet, said spokesman Paul Rose of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni. And since there are now two conjoined seats per bus locked upright, 1,434 seats are gone…

New Flyer prompted the move with a red-flag warning about the seats.

“There have been three hard-braking incidents where passengers were ejected from these forward facing seats and sustained quadriplegic injuries,” New Flyer wrote in a December 2013 bulletin to its clients, which include many transit systems nationwide… (more)

 Just bring your own seat if you want to site on Muni.

How a $900 parking citation became a $25,000 federal lawsuit against SF

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Two San Francisco residents, one of whom is disabled, are furious with what they see as an unjust parking ticket, and they have taken their complaint to federal court.

The lawsuit — which was served Sept. 12 to The City, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and one of its citation review officers, and the Police Department, its chief and the officer who issued the citation — claims the Feb. 16 parking ticket was unlawful.

Although the fine has been greatly reduced, the plaintiffs have decided to press on with their complaint… (more)

Dan Walters: If bicyclists want respect and safety, they should act like they deserve it.

By Dan Walters : sacbee – excerpt

Hilary Abramson is one of the most talented and prolific journalists ever to practice the craft in Sacramento.

She’s also a personal friend for the past four decades, and thus it was horrifying to learn that she had been clobbered by a young bicyclist who was riding illegally on the sidewalk near her downtown apartment, causing very serious and permanent injuries.

The bicyclist paused briefly, then pedaled off without leaving his name – which, if he had been a motorist, would have been felony hit-and-run driving and earned him up to four years behind bars.

Hilary wrote about the incident in a lengthy Sacramento Bee article last month and about her mission to protect pedestrians from bicyclists who commonly use sidewalks as their personal paths…

We get it that bicyclists want respect and protection as they share roads with cars. But the flip side is that bicyclists need to drop the arrogance that too many exhibit as they cut in and out of traffic, blow through red lights and stop signs, and imperil pedestrians by careening down sidewalks.

The three-foot clearance law should be matched by one that absolutely prohibits bicycles on sidewalks statewide with stiff fines for violation, and another that makes hit-and-run bicycling just as much a crime as hit-and-run driving.

Moreover, if bicyclists want to be taken seriously, they should also be paying some of the cost of marking bicycle lanes and building bike paths, rather than making motorists pick up the tab, as the pending bill would do.

Fair is fair. With privileges come responsibilities, both legal and financial. And receiving respect means acting like you deserve it(more)