To See the Future of Cities, Watch the Curb. Yes, the Curb

By Aarian Marshall : wired – excerpt

When Greg Rogers left his gig as a Washington, DC, lobbyist in 2015, he did what any savvy, mid-20s kid with a car and a light wallet might: He signed up to drive for a couple of ridehailing services. “Living the millennial dream means quitting your job, driving for Uber and Lyft, and trying to figure it out,” he says…

Space Wars

Rogers, the driver-turned analyst, was inspired by his struggles to come up with a new curbside management concept, one that Washington and other cities are beginning to take very seriously. He calls it “shared use mobility zones,” and you can think of it as flex-space: At certain times of day, the city reserves the curb for specific functions. During rush hour, maybe, it’s a pick up stop for a microtransit service. In the afternoon, it’s a spot where trucks can pull over and drag in deliveries without double parking. At night, it’s a designated point where a for-hire car can meet passengers pouring out of the bar on the corner. “The best part is that cities can adjust based on what their goals are,” says Rogers.

And even though Rogers hasn’t actually approached any local governments about his personal zoning idea, cities are acting on similar notions: In October, Washington rolled out a year-long pilot program modeled on the concept of flex-space. Monday through Thursday, a stretch of Connecticut Avenue in the busy Dupont Circle neighborhood is a great place to shop or grab lunch. Thursday through Sunday, 10 pm to 7 pm, it’s one of the most zoo-like nightlife spots in the District.

That’s why the city reserves four blocks on those evenings for ridehailing pick-up and drop-off zones. “Folks were spilling out into the travel lane,” says Evian Patterson, the DC Department of Transportation’s director of parking and ground transportation. Now, just a few months on, he says the city has seen safety improvements. The traffic has gotten better, too. San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale have similar pilots in the works…

Or, faster transportation overall. In 2015, Chicago’s government reserved curbside lanes on a major downtown thoroughfare for buses only, painting them a bright red. In the following year, moving and stoping violations on the road fell. Standing and parking violations almost disappeared. Bus riders were getting to where they needed to go, closer to on time—and so was everyone else… (more)

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Larkspur parking spaces lost as SMART moves in

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Larkspur ferry riders will have 300 less spaces to choose from now that the Golden Gate Bridge district must give up a portion of parking to make way for SMART’s Larkspur extension…

As work continues to bring commuter rail south from San Rafael, a portion of a parking area for Larkspur ferry patrons will be permanently closed Wednesday.

That will result in the loss of about 300 spaces. While the area is usually lightly used during the work week, ferry riders going to Giants games or to special events in San Francisco served by the boats do use them as other lots swell.

In order to get trains through the Cal Park Hill Tunnel and to the Larkspur stop, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency needs the area to construct a station and other amenities as part of the $55.4 million project. The parking area is situated up a hill above 300 Larkspur Landing Circle. SMART plans to commence its Larkspur service in 2019… (more)

Here is a perfect example of how regional transportation systems under state directives, play musical chairs with the commuting public:

They remove service for existing riders under the guise of adding more future customers to their the “future perfect” system they are designing for. Meanwhile, drivers are faced back in their cars to cope with the loss of service. The winners in this game are the planners, consultants, developer sand the politicians they support. The losers are the commuters.

The Best thing voters can do is take back our streets and kick the “future perfect’ planners out at the ballot box when they get the chance. Grill the candidates on thee topics before you pledge support for them.

SFMTA: Residents prefer ride-hailing companies to buses and bikes

by curbed – excerpt

Public transit, bike, and pedestrian travel up in yearly survey, but not by much

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) presented the results of its fifth annual transit survey, which found that fewer San Franciscans are getting around via their own cars. But many residents have eschewed public transit or bikes in favor of the newfangled car services.

SFMTA began conducting the annual Transportation Decision Survey in 2013 to measure efforts to curb the use of private cars.

While private car use has declined almost every year—it’s now a minority option for daily commuters—that doesn’t necessarily add up to fewer cars on the road…(more)

This leads one to wonder if we are not better served by restoring parking for residents to avoid the hoards of Ubers and Lyfts commuting into the city to drive us around.

National Association of City Transportation Officials

NATO – excerpt

Mission: NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life… (more)

NACTO’s core principles and priorities for city transportation in state and federal legislation and regulation are:

  1. Promote safe transportation systems
  2. Support sustainable funding and financing for transportation projects
  3. Bring project decisions closer to the taxpayer, at the local level
  4. Reduce the impact of transportation on climate change
  5. Increase equitable transportation access for all people and all modes
  6. Prepare for automated vehicle technology… (more)

One of the many Organizations that SFMTA and our city officials are involved with, where policies are made on a national/international stage.

SF households may lose parking permits to free up spaces citywide

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Can’t find a parking spot near your home in The City? You’re not the only one.

To ease neighborhood parking woes, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is undertaking its first major overhaul of residential parking permits since they were established in 1976.

But first, the agency is starting small.

The SFMTA Board of Directors will consider on Tuesday approval of a pilot program to slash the number of residential parking permits per household in two neighborhoods — northwest Bernal Heights and the Dogpatch — which may become law citywide by 2019.

Under the original parking permit rules still in place today, The City grants more parking permits than there are spaces available, SFMTA staff told reporters Wednesday…(more)

 

BART: $20 million for expanded parking at Dublin station hinges on Assemblywoman Catharine Baker

By : mercurynews – excerpt

DUBLIN — Assemblywoman Catharine Baker unexpectedly secured a $20 million commitment from the governor’s office to pay for expanded parking at BART’s Dublin/Pleasanton station, which would fulfill a long-held promise by the transit agency to build a second garage there.

The only problem? BART’s governing board doesn’t want the garage. And that has the $20 million in limbo while Baker decides how to spend it…

BART’s board was split on the new plan, voting 5-4 to adopt the so-called “hybrid” model, which also includes proposals to enhance the station’s connections to the Iron Horse Trail, install new bike parking and work with the local bus operator to improve transit to and from the station. The plan is more flexible, and would use attendant-assisted parking with automated parking structure modules added over time to test their effectiveness, staff said.

But Baker isn’t buying it. She doesn’t trust the automated parking structures, which are used worldwide but she said have yet to be tested at a transit station, where hundreds of people get off the train at the same time during rush-hour commutes…

“Look at how unreliable BART’s escalators and elevators are,” Baker said. “BART wants to promise that not only will that technology be reliable, but it will get them their car in 90 seconds. … I just don’t believe that plays out in reality.”

So where does that leave the $20 million? Baker says the money will be used to build some parking structure near the BART station, whether it’s on BART property or not… (more)

Carpool cash doled out to slash traffic

By Samantha Weigel : smdailyjournal – excerpt

In the ongoing effort to reduce congestion in a region where nearly 70 percent of people drive to work alone, $1 million will be offered to those who carpool to or from San Mateo County

The City/County Association of Governments announced a new pilot program this week that plugs in to the proliferation of smartphone apps and the rise of the sharing economy.

C/CAG will help subsidize carpooling for those who live or work in San Mateo County by offering $2 for both drivers and passengers traveling during peak commute hours. The program began last week for those using Scoop Technologies’ smartphone app and another contract is being drafted for Waze Carpool, said C/CAG Executive Director Sandy Wong.

“We want to try out more innovative strategies to reduce congestion,” Wong said. “We capture the new trend in the sharing society, and are using new technology of the app that provides users a more real time base.”

The app matches people who live and work near one another, with people booking rides just a few hours in advance. Passengers pay a distance-based amount to the driver. Scoop touts its app as a way to save time by steering people toward the carpool lane, reducing traffic and helping commuters save money… (more)

Why Is Transit Ridership Falling?

Transit ridership took a turn for the worse in 2016. In all but a handful of cities, fewer people rode trains and buses, even in some places, like Los Angeles, that have invested significantly in expanding capacity.

It’s not just a one-year blip, either. In many American cities, the drop in transit ridership is an established trend. The big question is why.

Transit consultant Jarrett Walker at Human Transit wants more than vague speculation about the effect of low gas prices and ride-hailing services. He’s looking for more specific research about causes and effects — and soon:

Bottom line: We need research! Not the sort of formally peer reviewed research that will take a year to publish, but faster work by real transportation scholars that can report preliminary results in time to guide action. I am not a transportation researcher, but there are plenty of them out there, and this is our moment of need.

Here are my research questions:

  • Which global causes seem to matter?  Straight regression analysis, once you get data you believe.  Probably the study will need to start with a small dataset of transit agencies, so that there’s time to talk with each agency and understand their unique data issues.
  • What’s happening to the quantity of transit?  If ridership is falling because service is falling, this isn’t a surprise.  If ridership is falling because service is getting slower — which means lower frequency and speed at the same cost — well, that wouldn’t be surprising either.
  • How does the decline correlate to types of service?  Is this fall happening in dense areas or just in car-based suburbs? Is it happening on routes that are designed for high ridership, or only on those that are designed for coverage purposes (services retained because three sympathetic people need them rather than because the bus will be full).   Is it correlated to frequency or span changes? Heads up, local geeks! A lot could be done looking at data for your own transit agency — route by route and even (where available) stop by stop, to analyze where in your metro the fall is really occurring… (more)

I appreciate the thought that went into this article.  In my experience, people decide how to live their lives based on their personal needs, not based on datasets and studies. My questions would be of a more personal nature and I would put them to the public.

  • Why do you take public transit when you take it?
  • Why do you chose to take another transit option when you don’t?
  • Do your priorities align with SFMTA and City Hall priorities?
  • What Muni changes do you support?
  • What Muni changes do you oppose?
  • Do you prefer speed or comfort?
  • Would you rather stand on public transit if you get there faster?
  • Would you rather sit if it takes longer to get there?

BART says it needs more money because weekend ridership is down

ktvu – excerpt – (includes video)

– BART officials say commute ridership is up but weekends, off-peak and short rides have slipped so much, it’s dragging the whole system’s numbers down.

Slipping ridership means less revenue and the possibility that fares could increase.

The news came as a shock to commuters, who say business on BART seems to be thriving.

“You can’t get on trains most of the time going home riding three stations upstream just to get a seat on the train,” said Dave Smart of Walnut Creek.

BART says it’s already $5 million in the red for the first half of the fiscal year and projecting a $15-25 million shortfall going forward.

One solution may be to raise base fares, an idea that doesn’t sit well with Hentemann. “That makes me a little upset because they’re cramming us into the BART trains; they’re taking seats away, we’re tired after working all day long we want to get home. We want to sit down and they want more money. Give us a break.”

Bevan Dufty sits on the BART board and represents District 9. He says the board does not want to hike fares, especially with the passage of November’s Measure RR… (more)

BART needs to listen to their clients and give them what the want, not try to sell them what BART thinks they need. Quit expanding and start maintaining what they have.

Are there plans to create cracks in the Private Commuter Bus program?

Notes from the Policy and Governance Committee meeting, February 17, 2017

The MTA Policy and Governance Committee of the MTA Board of Directors met Friday, Feb 17, 2017.  It appears they are developing a policy for handling the emerging transportation services such as Uber, Lyft, ride share,  car share, Private Commuter buses (shuttles), Chariot and what the future holds.  See the power point and the guiding principles connected to agenda Item 5 for clues on where the problems lie and a hint of what they may have in mind to resolve some of them.

Studies by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area County Congestion Management (CMA) agencies, and the VTA FLEX (last mile) indicate the current policies have failed. The increase in traffic and complaints about the programs point to the need for a regional evaluation and plan. A solution can’t come soon enough for most of us. Let’s hope they come up with something soon. Your comments and suggestions should be directed to the agencies involved. See this links on this page for contacts: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

If you like you may comment here also. There are a few discussions on nextdoor on this topic as well.