City could subsidize wheelchair-accessible taxis

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City is proposing to subsidize the purchase and upkeep of taxi cabs equipped with wheelchair ramps, in a bid to restore service for the disability community across San Francisco.

The problem is stark, taxi industry insiders say.

The advance of ride-hail giants Uber and Lyft led to sharp declines in the taxi industry — that part of the story, many know. But a lesser-known fallout of the rise of tech-enabled rides is the decline of drivers behind the wheel of specially-equipped taxis for those who use wheelchairs.

As taxi drivers flee an ailing industry, so too have drivers for ramp-equipped taxis, leaving wheelchair-users largely unable to hail a cab. Uber and Lyft do not run ramp-equipped cars in large number, and have been sued by disability nonprofits for discrimination.

The decline of ramp taxi service is a chicken and the egg problem, said John Lazar, former owner of Luxor Cab, which specializes in disability-community service…

Hansu Kim, co-owner of Flywheel Taxi, said boosting ramp taxi service is not just a moral imperative, but also makes good business sense.

“It’s not as lucrative, but the taxi industry, by embracing paratransit services, is a focus other industries aren’t doing,” Kim said, referring to Uber and Lyft. And those new SFMTA incentives will do the trick. Kim said. “It gives me more incentive to put out these more expensive vehicles.”… (more)

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New Format for SFMTA Engineering Agendas

Changes are coming to the SFMTA. Thanks to the Board of Supervisors for hearing our complaints and insisting on changes in the department by passing Ordinance 180089. As we stated earlier the Supervisors anticipate working with the public at earlier stages of SFMTA projects to deal with problems before they get to the final stages of implementation. This week we have the rollout of a new public notice systems including the agenda formats. We anticipate new public notice systems to be going up on the streets as well.

After years of complaints about notices and the difficulties of reading them, the SFMTA has finally taken our complaints to heart and figured out an easier to read format for their Engineering Agendas that document and describe the street alterations and parking changes they are planning for the public to read and respond to.

In order to respond to items on this agenda, you pretty much have to attend the 10 AM Friday Engineering hearing or take your concerns to your Supervisor. This is one step in the chain of events that may result in changes you disagree with. Here is the latest copy of the “improved” version of the Engineering Hearing agenda. Here is a link to this week’s Engineering agenda. One improvement is the Districts are now noted, making it easier to see your areas of concern, and each project is now numbered and taken as a separate item.

There are supposed to be new street signs with better more easy to understand information as well. Let us now if you see the new signs how they work by commenting here. Are they properly placed and is it easy to read and follow the instructions on how to respond?

Supes grant themselves power to appeal SFMTA decisions

by Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to give itself the power to hear appeals of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency decisions on issues including stop sign installations, some bicycle routes, parking meter rules and creating or modifying so-called Private Transportation Programs…

The legislation was introduced by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai, who had previously considered placing a charter amendment on the ballot to split up the transit agency but instead opted to move forward with this “compromise” proposal.

“Supervisor Peskin and I have worked on this legislation for over a year,” Safai said. “The genesis of this, colleagues, was the general frustration that many of us have felt on this board with our interactions with the SFMTA.”

The legislation was approved in an 11-0 vote…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, told the Examiner Tuesday that “we look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors as we continue to make progress on improving all transportation options and making the streets safer for everyone.”

He added that the new appeal process covers “certain MTA decisions, including Residential Parking Permits, color curb coordination, meter time limits, and commuter shuttles.”…(more)

Congratulations to all our readers and supporters! You made this happen by your efforts and demands for changes and improvements to the agency that had until now very little oversight and no reason to listen to complaints or demands. We still have a lot of work to do but now there is a way forward. Put together your request, get the backing of your supervisor and put in your requests. You should expect to see a new noticing system and a new civility at the department. If things do not see any improve, let the authorities know. Details on what is covered are here:
Legislative language: Leg Ver5, Legislative digest: Leg Dig Ver5

 

 

 

 

SFMTA Staffing Analysis Requested by Supervisor Tang

excerpt from Katy Tang’s Neewsletter:

Throughout the years, our office has fielded many complaints regarding SFMTA service. Although governed by a separate Board of Directors, the SFMTA plays an important role in the daily lives of residents and visitors. As Supervisor Tang and several colleagues have been interested in reforms to SFMTA to ensure that it is providing the best services possible, Supervisor Tang recently submitted a request to the Controller’s Office to provide a staffing analysis of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) over the last 15 years. The request directs the Controller’s Office to report on the growth of full-time employees and major shifts in staffing within each division of the SFMTA. Supervisor Tang hopes that this analysis will help guide conversations about how the department can better respond to the needs of our community. Our office will keep residents informed once the report results are available and what we intend to do with the information.

Thanks to Supervisor Tang for this request.

All your complaints are starting to move the Supervisors. Each are responding in their own way. Maybe they saw the article that ran in the LA Times, about the traffic diet reversal in LA after a major negative response from constituents who have organized to fight the street eating monsters.

Ballot Measure Battle Royale, Episode 1: Charter Amendments

by Diego Aguilar-Canabal : thebaycitybeacon – excerpt

What is a charter amendment, and which could end up on your next ballot?

Charter Amendments are explicit changes to the city charter, which must be approved by a citywide vote. These are the hardest-sought ballot measures that can have the most meaningful impact on how city government operates. Some of these are spats between factions or rivalries, while others represent more significant power struggles between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Others may be more mundane or popular issues that, for whatever reason, can only be addressed through the city charter.

Whether the Board of Supervisors votes to put it on the ballot, or activists gather thousands of signatures to qualify, here’s an exhaustive list of all the proposed charter amendments under consideration: … (more)

If you do not understand how the local government operates you will be confused by what is going on at City Hall. This article describes this year’s list of ballot initiatives up for consideration.

Metermadness will only concern itself with the Charter Amendment to Split the SFTA. read the rest of the article for the issues in the article.

Splitting Apart the SFMTA:

Despite their endorsements of rival candidates in the 2016 election, Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin joined forces to introduce a ballot measure that would rescind authority over automobile traffic from the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Parking and traffic policy would instead by governed by a new Department of Livable Streets, under the auspices of a commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors…

Supervisor Safai’s office believes constituents may want to see car traffic decoupled from the central agency’s jurisdiction, as a bureaucracy under mayoral control may be less politically responsive than your District Supervisor. Ingleside residents repeatedly requested a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Avalon and Edinburgh—if the SFMTA hadn’t denied these requests, Safai contends, then Supervisorial control these sorts of traffic decisions could have prevented several injuries.

If passed, the ballot measure would give a Supervisor receiving such complaints “final oversight on mobility management, parking, and traffic calming” under the Livable Streets Department, according to Safai’s office…

Safai’s legislative aide Cathy Mulkey Meyer was notified by the Ingleside Police Station that a pedestrian had been hit at the intersection. A car crash followed just last week, on January 18. According to Meyer, the SFMTA only provides “significant” traffic calming measures—like a stop sign—“if the SFMTA engineers observe right number of pedestrians are interacting with a hazardous number of cars travelling at rapid speeds during a few hours on one day of the year.”

Meyer added that these traffic audits “don’t reflect the nuances neighbors plan their daily lives around, whether walking across the street or deciding what time to leave for work”—or, in the case of this intersection, three schools within a three-block radius. One local traffic engineer, speaking to the Beacon under the condition of anonymity, insisted that “any assessment” for traffic calming purposes would have “absolutely” included factors such as nearby schools(more)

To dismay of neighbors, SF will remove Muni stop near Safeway

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni will continue with its plans to remove an L-Taraval train stop in front of a Sunset District Safeway, despite unsuccessful demands from neighbors that the transit agency’s board take up the matter for a second vote, the San Francisco Examiner has learned…

At Tuesday’s San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors meeting, Sunset residents said seniors and people with disabilities will have a tough time taking their groceries home from Safeway via the L-Taraval train.

The inbound 17th Avenue train stop is directly across from a Safeway grocery store. After the stop is removed, the nearest stop will be blocks away and across 19th Avenue, which neighbors cited as a safety hazard.

“We’re here to ask you to reconsider,” said Paula Katz, with the “Save our L Taraval Stops!” advocacy group. She was flanked by neighbors who also spoke in support of the transit stop.

However, removing the stop will allow SFMTA staff time to evaluate impacts to neighbors and shoppers of the nearby Safeway, said SFMTA Board Chair Cheryl Brinkman. …(more)

Let me cut off your right arm so I can see how losing your arm effects the gout in your left foot, because doing studies of impacts on people is more interesting than doing what people ask you to do.

We are not SFMTA guinea pigs and it is time for us to take back control of our Muni and our streets. Give our elected officials authority to override SFMTA Board decisions.

Tell your supervisor to put the Charter Amendment titled “Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters” on the ballot to allow the voters an opportunity to decide what to do with the SFMTA.

Follow Charter Amendment details as they unfold: (171309)
Contacts for Supervisors

Proposal for $9 tolls on Bay Bridge, $8 on other bridges gets big boost

By Lizzie Johnson : sfgate – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Sunset cruise on the Bay Bridge photo by zrants

A measure to raise Bay Area bridge tolls to $9 on the Bay Bridge and $8 on others over several years took a major step forward Wednesday when a key transportation committee unanimously recommended putting it before voters in June…

But to get before voters, the recommendation will need approval from the full Bay Area Toll Authority, which usually follows the committee’s lead. A vote is expect Jan. 24.

If the authority gives the measure the go-ahead, the Board of Supervisors in each of the nine affected counties will make the final vote to place it on each county’s ballot for June 5 as Regional Measure 3. If it passes, the toll hikes will affect only drivers on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge would be excluded. Commuters who cross two bridges to get to their destination would receive a 50 percent discount on their second crossing if they have a FasTrak pass…

The measure also includes a proposal to create an inspector general whose job would be to examine BART finances and operations…(more)

Good to know that they will use the increase in bridge funds to hire another high-paid consultant. That sounds like a winning strategy for workers who are paying an average of 40% of their shrinking incomes on housing. I’m sure they will jump at the prospect of paying higher bridge tolls.

 

Charter Amendment – Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters

Here is the first draft of the language put forth to as a proposal to amend the charter that establishes the authority of the SFMTA, referred to as the SFMTA Charter Amendment ballot initiative. Please review this and let your supervisors know how you feel about this amendment. Contacts are here.

FILE NO. 171309 First Draft, 12/12/2017

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS  [Charter Amendment – Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters, sponsored by Safia and Peskin. Read and follow the updates here.

Describing and setting forth a proposal to the voters at an election to be held on June 5, 2018, to amend the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco to eliminate the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s jurisdiction over parking and traffic regulations; to grant the legislative authority over parking and traffic to the Board of Supervisors; to create a new Livable Streets Commission and Department to manage parking and traffic; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Existing Law:

Currently the Charter grants the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) exclusive jurisdiction over local public transportation, taxis, and a variety of parking and traffic related functions. The SFMTA Board has legislative authority to adopt regulations related to parking and traffic. The SFMTA Board also serves as the Parking Authority Board with responsibility over a number of garages.

Amendments to Current Law:

The proposed Charter Amendment would eliminate the SFMTA’s exclusive jurisdiction over parking and traffic issues, and taxis. It would create a new Livable Streets Commission and Department that would have authority over parking and traffic functions and taxis. The Livable Streets Commission would be comprised of the members of the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors. The Board of Supervisors would have legislative authority over parking and traffic. Under the amendment parking and traffic functions under the responsibility of the Livable Streets Commission include:

  • Setting rates for off-street and on-street parking, and all other, rates, fees, fines, penalties and charges for services provided or functions performed by the Department;
  • Controlling the flow and direction of motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic;
  • Designing, selecting, locating, installing, operating, maintaining and removing all official traffic control devices, signs, roadway features and pavement markings;
  • Limiting parking, stopping, standing or loading as provided by state law and establishing parking privileges and locations subject to such privileges for categories of people or vehicles as provided by state law;
  • Establishing parking meter zones, setting parking rates, and selecting, installing, locating and maintaining systems and equipment for payment of parking fees;
  • Establishing policies for the enforcement of regulations limiting parking, stopping, standing or loading and the collection of parking-related revenues and, along with the Police Department, have authority to enforce parking, stopping, standing or loading regulations;
  • Cooperating with and assisting the Police Department in the promotion of traffic safety, among other things;
  • Having authority over taxi-related functions and taxi-related fares, fees, charges, budgets, and personnel; and
  • Coordinating the City’s efforts to address emerging mobility services.
  • The proposed Charter Amendment also provides that the Livable Streets Commission would serve as the members of the the Parking Authority
    Commission. The Livable Streets
    Commission would have authority over City-owned off-street public parking facilities, except those specified as under the jurisdiction of other City departments.

The proposed Charter Amendment provides for an operative date for the transfer of jurisdiction and the creation of the Livable Streets Commission of July 1, 2019.

(First Draft, 12/12/2017)

When Muni doesn’t stop at the grocery store

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says removing the L-Taraval line’s stop at 17th Avenue and Taraval Street will make trains run 25 to 30 seconds faster, but the decision could have far-reaching impacts on passengers.

San Franciscans are told constantly that we should get out of our cars and ride Muni instead. But a recent decision by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to remove a light-rail stop across from the Safeway on Taraval Street could force some who have been taking Muni to the store to drive there instead.

SFMTA staff want to remove stops to speed up the L-Taraval’s travel time as it heads downtown from the Sunset. According to SFMTA staff at the agency’s Dec. 5 meeting, removing the inbound stop at 17th Avenue and Taraval Street, across from the Safeway, will make the trains run 25 to 30 seconds faster….

At the December meeting, agency staff noted that they did not observe people boarding the L-Taraval with “heavy grocery loads that would make walking an additional two minutes challenging.” However, even a “light” grocery bag can be “challenging” to a senior or someone with a disability or a serious illness when they have to carry it for several blocks before they can board the train…(more)

This is an example of a ridiculous study done by amateurs. Did these folks check to see how “heavy” the loads were, or just assume they are not heavy? Heavy for a young person might be over 20 pounds and over 5 pound can be too heavy for some people. a gallon of water is heavy because it is dense weight.

My Reply to this comment: “It’s called, get off your butt and walk. Maybe we would not have so many fat people.”

Are you a bot? Or are you a human? If you are a human who is a workout critic, I hope you are really working those abs now so you can feel the burn when your knees go out due to the extra workouts you did in your youth as some of the elderly walking around with new hips and knees are dealing with now. Hip replacements are not due to overweight conditions, they happen in your 50’s and are genetic conditions. Knees are weakened by skiing and cycling and other sports that puts pressure of the knees. Dancers are the most at risk for foot and leg problems. So, go and work yourself into a frenzy on your sports toys while you can and don’t begrudge the elders that live with the results of their youthful exuberance because that is your future dude, or bot.

Poll finds possible measures to fund SF transit lack two-thirds support

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

A new survey found a majority of San Francisco voters enthusiastic to approve new funding measures for transportation — but those measures may lack the two-thirds voter support needed to pass…

The results of the survey will be presented to the transportation authority Board of Directors, which is comprised of the Board of Supervisors, on Jan. 9… (more)

CITIZENS REVOLT. The lack of trust in the SFMTA is growing and probably accounts for the lack of public support for more transit funds. Maybe the City Hall should consider passing a SFMTA Charter amendment, changing SFMTA management, fixing the gridlock, reversing the traffic lane diet, giving the public back their streets and parking and returning the bus stops and seats to the Muni riders, before asking for more money. By then they might have opened the Central Subway, and finished some of the many projects that are hanging people up now and may be blamed for the debts the department is accruing. Hint: Stop all new street project starts until the current ones are done and paid for!