The Next Fight over Scooters Is Just Beginning

by Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Scootson17th

With the next wave of scooters on the horizon, a new standard for community outreach emerges.

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency broke the news Aug. 30 about which two scooter companies — out of more than a dozen who’d applied — had earned pilot program permits, the reaction was like a pro-sports draft. Articles popped up on the Examiner, the Chronicle, Wired, and TechCrunch. Reporters interviewed CEOs and dug into the intricacies of both Scoot and Skip. And scooter fans immediately took to Twitter, berating the city for its limited geographical roll-out“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”

“Since no applicant proposed sufficiently detailed or comprehensive community outreach plans, the SFMTA will outline the agency’s expectations for community engagement prior to issuance of the first permit,” it reads. “These expectations will detail potentially appropriate outreach strategies (e.g., use of community meetings, partnerships with local Community-Based Organizations, etc.), based on experience with bikeshare and other shared mobility programs in San Francisco, as well as peer city best practices. Moreover, the SFMTA will require Scoot and Skip to submit revised community-engagement plans reflecting these expectations.”

It’s a vague and wordy statement, but for community groups and nonprofits across the city, it marks a vital shift away from what they see as years of watered-down outreach. With this mention, the SFMTA acknowledged the materialization of a new set of guidelines that may dictate how emerging mobilities roll out…

Carlos Bocanegra, a nonprofit housing and immigration attorney for Mission Neighborhood Centers, says a citywide coalition of community stakeholders launched a few months ago in response to constituents’ concerns over the rise of new transit options and their impact on the city’s streets and sidewalks. Included in the conversation were Senior and Disability Action, South of Market Community Action Network, Dolores Street Community Services, Impact Hub, Excelsior Action Group, MEDA, Mission Housing, and United to Save the Mission…

“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”…(more)

 

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Privatization Issues are on the agenda at the SFMTA CAC September 6 meeting

Thursday, Sept 6, 5:30 PMagenda
Room 7080, 1 South Van Ness SFMTA CAC Meeting

Item 7. The Commuter Shuttle Program status report
Several new Citizens’ Advisory Council members have been appointed and travel season is over. The MTA staff presentation will start soon after 5:30pm. at the conclusion of the opening formalities. Your Attendance is critical if you care about the Commuter Shuttle Program, your two minutes of public comments are appreciated. The supporters at past MTA Board meetings always show up in droves with mostly cookie cutter positive comments how convenient and the personal time savings of their commuter bus services. Disruption to the community is never mentioned. The PDF report

Item 8. The Motivate Bike Share program, discussion, and possible action. Your Attendance is critical if you care about the Commuter Shuttle Program, your two minutes of public comments are appreciated on this as well.
Two pdf handouts –
SF Expansion and Bikeshare In Your Community

If you can’t make it to the meeting and want your voices and opinions taken into account, send your letters and comments to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor and the candidates for office who are running for the new Board positions. Use the authority in  Ordinanace 180089 to demand a hearing and an audit of the programs before any further erosion of our public access on our public streets is allowed.

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Let the officials know how many empty GoBike stations you see in your neighborhood. Photo of late night GoBike truck at a station on Bryant and 17th Street shot by zrants.

The first order of business for SFMTA is to support the needs of Muni riders. How are these programs solving Muni problems and why are staff spending so much of the taxpayers’ time and energy supporting the corporations in their efforts to take over our public streets?

Here are some questions that you may want to ponder as you review the material.
What is the ratio of bikes to GoLive Stations and how much money has SFMTA collected from the GoBike program to date as part of the pubic/private enterprise arrangement? Will the contract that was signed with Motivate be extended to Lyft when the ride-share purchases GoBikes from Motivate? How have other cities dealt with these issues?

 

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/

 

 

San Francisco has no idea what to do about ‘goofball’ e-scooters, email records show

By Sahsa Lekach : mashable – excerpt

San Francisco has been scooter-less for months…

A public records request of scooter-related emails from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, or SFMTA, from March through late July, shows that the city’s scooter triage was in full throttle within weeks of the battery-powered vehicles hitting city streets.

One transit planner emailed over this Jalopnik article (“I Tried San Francisco’s Electric Scooter Share And It Was A Nightmare”), saying, “Having not tried it yet myself, I found this one illuminating, if not unsurprising.” Another transit official made his thoughts clear with a quip about efforts to “further regulate this emerging goofball mode.”… (more)

How much time and taxpayer money is SFMTA spending to bring this new controversial business to fruition? We already heard that the there is an uptick in injuries that has triggered a new pilot project or study to determine the health effects of these toys on the streets and sidewalks. When does the public get to vote on how our money is being spent to “promote disruption” in our city? How many staff hours are we paying for to run an “enterprise entity”? IS the SFMTA making a profit on any of this after all the expenses are accounted for?

RELATED:

Scooter Safety: UCSF Doctors to Track New Injuries

By Vicky Stein : ucsf – excerpt

As motor-assisted scooters, bikes, and mopeds become a familiar sight across San Francisco, researchers at UC San Francisco want to know how these devices are affecting injuries in the city.

Anecdotally, researchers say they have seen an increase in both minor and major injuries as technology sends pedestrians on one, two, three or four wheels into the street, accelerating to speeds of 15 to 30 miles per hour… (more)

Muni apologizes for systemwide failures

By : curbed – excerpt

Hundreds of service hours have lapsed citywide this summer

Muni service—which has never enjoyed a resounding reputation even at the best of times—has gotten so spotty and unreliable lately that SFMTA published an apology to riders Thursday. The agency vows to shore up weaknesses in the strained and struggling transit network. This comes one the heels of a report by Mission Local detailing how the city’s transit service failed miserably this year.

“Muni service in the past few months has been performing below our 98.5 percent service goal,” the public message reads. “We apologize and want to let you know what we’re doing about it.”

The service goal mentioned here is actually part of the City Charter, which specifies that “98.5 percent of scheduled [Muni] service hours must be delivered, and at least 98.5 percent of scheduled vehicles must begin service at the scheduled time.”… (more)

Please let the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors know if you are fed up and demand a change at the SFMTA. ENUF ALREADY! Apology for being the worst, most boastful, incompetent, breast-pumping, annoying, overpaid, disgusting, overbearing, least reliable city agency in San Francisco, NOT ACCEPTED! There is no solution other than a complete overhaul and new management that will heel the bad blood between the public and the SFMTA. There is no place to hide the mistakes and mismanagement of the most expensive city agency that can do no right.

Thank You Mayor Breed and our District Supervisors

Thanks for passing Ordinance 180089 and stopping the ripoff of our public curb space by corporate entities.

I think I speak for most of the citizens of San Francisco who appreciate the work you have done so far to return a balance of power to the citizens of San Francisco who have been devastated by the constant havoc on our streets and sell-off of our public curbs.

As we move into the November election season it is good to reflect on mistakes that got us where we are now so we may avoid repeating them. All departments need oversight, respect for the public, and a balance of power. No one is about the law. We will be asking the candidates how they plan to protect our communities when they join the power structure at City Hall.

It is good to see continuity at the Planning Commission as the department attempts to balance the demands of nervous residents and businesses with those of the big money corporate entities who demand extraordinary profits from the large swaths of land they control. We need calm, cool minds to deal with the changes coming out of Sacramento and the mounting pubic push-back from every corner of the state. We know the problems. We need solutions. Some of these may come from the voters.

Thank you all for your support and we look forward to a peaceful and productive election season with hope in our hearts that we may move along the path of honesty and sincerity. We anticipate a fair and reasonable city government we can trust to keep our interests at heart, protect our fragile cultural rich communities, and resist the takeover by the state and federal governments of our local jurisdiction over land use and development decisions.

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.

Breaking: Proposed Uber and Lyft per-ride surcharge could pump $30M a year into San Francisco’s coffers

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

Deal struck to drop proposed gross receipts tax on Uber, Lyft paves way for city to glean per-ride charges

Supervisor Aaron Peskin today confirmed that he’s dropped his plans to hit “Transportation Network Companies” — Uber, Lyft, etc. — with a gross receipts tax on their revenue. As such, the companies will acquiesce to a proposed per-ride surcharge, to be enabled by forthcoming state legislation from Assemblyman Phil Ting.

Peskin said the proposed 3.25-percent tax on every TNC ride in the city could result in users of Uber, Lyft,  et al. pumping $30 million a year into San Francisco’s municipal piggybank — and perhaps more in the future… (more)

We do need a bit of clarification on the meaning of this “deal”.  What is the goal of taxing the TNCs? To make money to control traffic and gridlock, or are there other issues the public would like to address and does this deal address those issues? SF is not the only city effected by this problem that has increased regional traffic as well. How will a fee solve the bad driving habits of ride-share drivers?\

Seattle did not settle on a small surcharge option.

RELATED:

Chinese bike share company to leave Seattle after city approves program, steep permit fees

By Matt Mokovich : komonews – excerpt

SEATTLE – Ofo is out. The Chinese-based and heavily funded bike share program said the City Council’s decision on Monday to impose an annual $250,000 permit fee for bike share companies wishing to operate in Seattle was too much…

“The exorbitant fees that accompany these new regulations -the highest in the country – make it impossible for Ofo to operate and effectively serve our riders,” Lina Feng, General Manager of Ofo Seattle said in a statement on Monday. “As a result, we will not be seeking a permit to continue operating in Seattle.”…(more)

Is this what it takes? $25000.00 fees. 

Gas tax repeal campaign focuses on Bay Area commuters, families

The campaign to overturn California’s newly enacted gas tax will hit three Bay Area cities next week, as organizers search for volunteers to post lawn signs, write opinion pieces and spread the taxpayer revolt on social media.

With less than four months to go before the November election, the crusade won’t be easy. Proposition 6, the tax repeal measure, takes aim at a $5 billion-a-year funding stream to fix California’s crumbling roads and boost its mass transit systems.

Environmentalists, transportation officials, construction unions and Gov. Jerry Brown are all fighting to protect those funds, and they have raised $14 million — far more than the $5 million haul of the “Yes on 6” campaign.

But none of that has deterred Prop. 6’s core supporters or its campaign chairman, conservative talk radio host Carl DeMaio…

“This tax affects everybody, but it hits the working poor the hardest,” DeMaio said….(more)

Every price hike on everything effects the working poor and the middle class whose wages have not kept up with the spiraling inflation rates that are hitting California hardest. There are already plans to replace the tax should it be repealed. The idea that the money collected to fix the roads and bridges should not be re-directed into other projects. Some of those ideas are explored here: How-to-replace-the-gas-tax-law-if-its-repealed/   “…a new initiative to REPLACE SB1. That next bill will designate that all current State excise taxes on fuels at the pumps, State sales tax on fuels at the pumps, and new car sales taxes, MUST all go to infrastructure, with NONE going to the general fund…”