San Francisco Unveils Plan To Help Reduce Storefront Vacancies

By Phil Matier : cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Faced with a spike in the number of empty storefronts in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed is vowing to cut the costs and the red tape for businesses to open new retail locations in the city’s neighborhoods.

With the Citywide Storefront Vacancy Strategy unveiled by Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown Monday, city officials hope to fill vacant retail spaces, which have been emptied due to shifting shopping trends and slow sales…

The Mayor is also setting aside $1 million to for subsides, consultants and legal assistance for small business.

But one area that will likely remain a challenge is parking. For years the city has been chipping away at street parking to make way for more bus and bike lanes.

Lack of parking was one reason why Michael Gardner is closing Siegel’s Clothing in Mission Street, a business that he has owned and run for 42-years.

“The frosting on the cake was red zone. The bus zone came and they took out a third of the parking on Mission Street,” Gardner said. “When this store closes, there will be seven empty stores on this block.”… (more)

related:
Despite Booming Economy, Vacant Storefronts Common In San Francisco

This is a typical show of support and lack of listening by the San Francisco City government. The one thing the businesses are complaining about is the one thing the officials are ignoring. You don’t need to buy another study. Just listen to the public and follow their suggestions for a change. Businesses need parking to survive. As the parking disappears so do the businesses, along with the owners, employees, and families City Hall claims it wants to keep. Give us back some street parking after 6 PM and maybe we can get deliveries, clients and employees back. It is pretty hard to run a business without deliveries and pickups.

Advertisements

Supervisor moves to kick private shuttles out of red transit lanes

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfxaminer – excerpt

It’s time for private transit to get out of Muni’s way.

That’s the message from Supervisor Sandra Fewer, who on Monday announced her intention to legally bar private transit vehicles, like tech-industry commuter shuttles, from red transit-only lanes meant to speed public buses.

Fewer’s announcement that she would ask the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to help her craft legislation limiting private access to the transit lanes came at the tail-end of a City Hall hearing where San Franciscans from all corners of The City said they were seeing red over the city policy allowing it.

“The goal should be that public transit is the main mode of the people in San Francisco,” Fewer told the public Tuesday…

However controversy arose in August when SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council member Sue Vaughan discovered the agency planned to allow private transit vehicles use of the soon-to-come Geary Rapid Project red carpet lanes. The discovery has drawn protests from activists and organizations across The City.

The South of Market Community Action Network, United to Save the Mission, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, Inner Sunset Action Community, Senior Disability Action, San Francisco Transit Riders and other advocacy groups spoke out Monday against private use of public Muni-only lanes… (more)

Very robust public comments and discussions following the presentation by SFMTA. We look forward to moving ahead to fix some of the many failures of the Red Lanes through a series of legislative improvements.

 

Lyft becomes nation’s biggest bike share provider with latest acquisition

By : bizjournals – excerpt

MissionReds

Who should get to drive in the public transit Red Lanes?

Lyft is now the largest bike share provider in the country.

Doubling down on transportation efforts outside of cars, Lyft said Thursday it completed its acquisition of Motivate, the company behind Ford GoBikes.

As part of the announcement, Lyft said it would also invest $100 million to expand the size of its fleet of Motivate Citi Bikes in New York City to over 40,000 bikes. But as Lyft goes full speed ahead with a massive expansion in New York City, a Lyft spokeswoman did not respond to questions about plans for a similar increase in the Bay Area.

Even if Lyft did elect to increase the number of bikes in San Francisco, it would probably face community resistance…

In addition to the Ford GoBikes already in the Bay Area, Lyft also plans to launch a branded set of bikes, complete with wheels that are Lyft’s signature bright pink. Lyft declined to give a specific date, but said those bikes will be coming to select cities in 2019. Would-be riders will be able to find Lyft Bikes directly inside the Lyft app. As the company readies for an IPO in 2019, the company is striving to become a one-stop-shop for multiple forms of transportation, including bikes, scooters and cars… (more)

If this corporate takeover of our streets concerns you, please join us in our effort to let the San Francisco City authorities know how you feel, December 3, 1:30 PM at City Hall to protest and demand a copy of the documents that obligate our city to hand over public street space to this corporate entity for their private use and profits.

Details here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/red-lanes/

San Francisco Could Be Next to Eliminate Parking Minimums Citywide

By James Brasuell : planetizen – excerpt

A proposal under consideration by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would eliminate parking requirements citywide.

Developers to include at least some parking in their housing developments,” reports Joshua Sabatini. San Francisco would follow Hartford, Connecticut—the first city to end parking minimums citywide—and Buffalo, New York, which also passed similar legislation, with a few caveats.

For the city to implement this drastic overhaul of its parking requirements, it will have to pass legislation introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim, who recently discussed the proposed legislation at a public hearing…

“It would not prohibit parking in any redevelopment. It would merely remove the requirement that a developer would have to build a minimum number of parking spaces,” Kim said during Monday’s Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing…

More advocates are cited in the article as supporting the legislation. The full San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the bill next week (more)

We have a few days to get some comments into the Board of Supervisors to let them know how we feel about this new move to eliminate parking minimums from the planning codes in San Francisco. Contacts are here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

 

Red Lane Amendments and Efforts to Stop the Corporatization of our Streets

MissionReds

After months of letters, comments and neighborhood pushback against many elements of corporate takeover of our streets and public spaces, many people who shocked by the announcement that some of the Red Lanes in the city are open to use by private enterprise vehicles, such as tech buses, private shuttles, and any vehicle that carries more than 10 riders, based on the definition of a bus.

Supervisor Fewer, among others, scheduled hearings on the use of the Red Lanes that were re-scheduled a couple of times, and reset for early December. As many people were preparing for those meetings, we got the news that recent developments at the Land Use and Transportation Committee may have made those hearings unnecessary.  November 5, 2018, Aaron Peskin aide, Lee Hepner, introduced Amendment 18-862, that was passed unanimously to the Full Board by the Land Use and Transportation Committee:

Ordinance 180862 – Ordinance amending Division I of the Transportation Code to establish a procedure for Board of Supervisors review of Municipal Transportation Agency decisions related to Bus Rapid Transit projects that do not include transit-only areas or lanes for Municipal Railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit vehicles; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The tape of the meeting is below, go to Item 6: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/player/clip/31749?view_id=10&meta_id=642988

As a matter of introduction Mr. Hepler described the areas of concern that are under the purview of the Board of Supervisors, though they are not being added to this amendment at this time.

This is a paraphrased transcript of the meeting:

Within the text of Prop A, there is a provision that allows the Board of Supervisors to enact an ordinance that gives the Board the option to review SFMTA decisions regarding various curb space decisions, bicycle lanes, traffic mitigations and measures etc…

Background information:  Supervisors Peskin and Safai co-sponsored Ordinance 180089, to enact that review provision regarding curb use. That ordinance expressly exempted certain projects from review that were determined to be public interest projects, such as bike lanes, curb modifications for street sweeping, and bus rapid transit projects.

This new ordinance is taking on elements of the Bus Rapid Transit Projects that are not clearly defined in the code and providing guidance as to the scope of the board’s review authority of these projects. This proposal expresses this board’s desire to promote Bus Rapid Transport projects that are generally designed and implemented to further public transportation reliability.

The amendment clarifies the Board of Supervisor’s policy preference. The board would not review BRT projects that are designed for public transportation use, but would take review of BRT projects designed for use by private commercial shuttles, tour busses or other modes of private transportation that might actually impede the flow of public transportation.

The proposed amendment… replaces the words, “bus rapid transit project” with “bus rapid transit project that includes transit only areas or lanes for municipal railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit Vehicles.”

SFMTA appears to have collaborated on this. The amendment passed to the full Board of Supervisors as is on the agenda for the November 13 Board of Supervisors meeting. We had no notice, but, this appears to be going through rather rapidly. In this case, that may be a good thing.

RVs in the News

City bans RVs on small Ingleside street, promises to offer services first

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Homeless RV dwellers will soon need to vacate an Ingleside Street after a vote by The City’s transportation board Tuesday.

City officials are rushing to research solutions for homeless RV dwellers, who, much like tent encampments, draw complaints from the communities surrounding them.

However, despite the lack of a clear policy on such bans, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors voted to ban oversize vehicles on De Wolf Street in an unusually contentious vote, 4-3…

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she would introduce legislation Nov. 13 calling for public land to be used for RV dwellers to park and be offered homeless services, and the Department of Homelessness has launched a vehicle encampment resolution team, social workers who target homeless people living in RVs to offer them help and a way out…

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin told the board if they approved the RV ban on De Wolf Street that enforcement would not occur until Kositsky has time to send homeless social workers to help those living in RVs there.

Ultimately, SFMTA board directors Heinicke, Cheryl Brinkman, Lee Hsu, and Art Torres voted to approve the De Wolf RV ban. Eaken, Cristina Rubke, and Gwyneth Borden voted against it… (more)

For once we are able to thank the SFMTA Board and Director Reiskin for doing the right thing by holding off on enforcement of the RV ban until there is a sanctioned place for them to go. We support Supervisor Ronen and Director Kositsky’s efforts to work on a solution.

Big drop in tent camps in SF, but now RV dwellers are a problem

By : sfchronicle – excerpt

For the first time in years, San Francisco officials are reporting that there are no large tent encampments in the city.

“And I am determined to have San Franciscans see and feel a difference,” Mayor London Breed said.

By “large,” the city means 10 or more tents… (more)

First-ever woman named SF Muni chief

By Joe Fritgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The first-ever woman to lead Muni at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was appointed last week, following the retirement of a man dogged by sexual harassment allegations.

Julie Kirschbaum is the new acting SFMTA director of transit, which she announced to the agency’s transit division on October 29…

As acting deputy director, Kirschbaum managed day-to-day Muni operations, led a system-wide redesign and managed the transit planning and scheduling group, according to SFMTA…

Before Reiskin was hired, Debra Johnson was acting director of transportation, overseeing multiple departments. Carmen Clark also was interim executive director of SFMTA for a time, which oversaw Muni responsibilities. However, Kirschbaum is the first woman to take the reigns as Director of Transit at SFMTA, directly and principally responsible for Muni.

In the Bay Area, however, women-led transportation agencies are the norm. Grace Crunican is general manager of BART, and Tilly Chang oversees the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which primarily serves as a congestion management and transportation planning body… (more)

We can only hope that a new era of respect for the workers and Muni riders will open the door to some much needed changes in the top-down management style of the department. We hope the new director will concentrate on running a cleaner, safer, more reliable transit system today and get out of the planning department. We hope the new director will direct the staff to do the public’s bidding instead of forcing the pubic to follow the staff’s schemes. Just give it a try for 6 months and see if the ridership levels to not go up and the public does not approve.

SF may fine Uber’s Jump bike repair shop for violating city code

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

An Uber-run e-bikeshare repair shop in the Marina District has neighbors fuming and may result in city fines.

The San Francisco Planning Department “has received multiple complaints about noise, double parking, and blocking of neighborhood driveway by the Jump bikes employees at all hours,” according to a complaint filed against the property, 1776 Green Street, in the Marina.

The planning department also found the motorized e-bike repair shop, used to clean, charge, repair and store Uber’s new Jump e-bikes, in violation of planning code because it’s operating in a space permitted for a car repair shop.

But the Jump “bikeshare” repair shop isn’t available for use by the public, and since it is for private use it requires a different permit, according to the planning department. If Uber does not apply for a different permit the billion-dollar company may face fines up to $250 per day… (more)

SF may no longer require housing developers to build parking

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

If you build it, they will come, the saying goes. But that’s exactly the problem when it comes to cars.

City leaders say requiring developers to build parking spaces in new projects invites too many new cars into The City, congesting streets and harming the environment.

Now Supervisor Jane Kim is seeking to rescind a requirement that developers create minimum amounts of parking when they build new housing or commercial property, as part of a larger effort to reform a city policy called “Better Streets.”… (more)

This kind of logic is what got us on the five worst traffic in the world list.

Small businesses along San Francisco’s Van Ness corridor are suffering because of a major city road project.

abcnews – excerpt (includes video)

https://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=4545701

Small businesses along San Francisco’s Van Ness corridor are suffering because of a major city road project.

After three years in business, Masaye Waugh says she’s shaking off her losses and closing out for good at The Bootleg Bar & Kitchen…

Waugh says the City offered her free advertising on the side of buses, as long as she paid to print the banners. But, that cost $1,200, which Waugh says she didn’t have, since her bar has been losing money all year…

She wrote a letter to Mayor London Breed and Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Catherine Stefani, and said “they didn’t have much response.”

In that letter, she spelled out 15 common sense demands to help businesses survive the construction. She also says she is organizing a rally at City Hall on Tuesday, October 30 at 2:30 pm.

Read the full letter here(more)

What a deal.  Free advertising? “Bring your earplugs and dust masks to our Van Ness construction zone bars and restaurants. Leave your high heels at home. Heavy boots and causal wear advised. Hard hats optional.”

Come to the City Hall rally on Tuesday to support the Businesses that are dying thanks to the poorly executed Van Ness Corridor project that is killing businesses in its wake. Stop the destruction before they come for you!