The SFMTA touts license plate recognition tech

By Eve Batey : curbed – excerpt

It will be interesting to hear what San Francisco privacy advocates, who’ve previously opposed things like speed-limit enforcement cameras, will respond to a press release sent by the SFMTA this morning. Intended to tout the “new parking access and revenue control systems” in the city’s 22 SFMTA-owned garages, the release says that one of the improvements that “will make parking in city-owned garages Hassel-free [sic]” is a “New system [that] will address lost tickets with a license plate recognition system.”

It appears that this system was nearly a year in the making, as a June 3, 2016 press release from the SFMTA announced the kickoff of the systems’ installation. And it’s not like this is the MTA’s first foray into license plate recognition, as it’s obviously used to send tickets to double-parkers that block camera-enabled Muni vehicles.

A July, 2016 article from Parking Today, reports that a German company called SKIDATA was awarded a $19 million contract for the parking lot upgrades. That includes the “License Plate Recognition (LPR)” which “will be deployed in most garages to secure revenue and add exciting new use cases.” According to SKIDATA’s site, those who oversee the new system have the ability to see “operational data in real time,” including the license plate information of those who arrive and depart the parking facilities. On the plus side, as the SFMTA notes, you likely won’t get stuck with that “full day” ding for a lost ticket. On the possible negative, your movements just got tracked a little bit more (more)

Lose your car over a parking ticket? San Francisco scrutinizes harsh punishments

…Around 4,000 cars get sold off in San Francisco every year because their owners can’t pay. Rowe herself knows two other people who have lost their cars because of parking tickets. I spoke with one man who was living in his car while he worked a retail job. After his car got towed, he not only lost the place he slept every night, but he also lost his job. His car was eventually sold off by the towing company…

Financial Justice Project

To many in city government, these punishments are too severe–among them are San Francisco’s treasurer. So the city established a program called the Financial Justice Project to look for ways to make smaller fines more fair to poorer residents…

Ferguson is a city of 20,000 people; in 2013 there were 30,000 citations in a single year. After that report on Ferguson, San Francisco City Treasurer José Cisneros wanted to start tackling the problem locally. He started the Financial Justice Project in the fall of 2016…

Basing fines on a person’s income

Income-based fines are already common in parts of Europe, and was attempted in the U.S. thirty years ago. Judith Greene, who created those programs in New York City and Phoenix, AZ says they worked well. “More people paid in full and the court system actually ended up collecting more money.”…

San Francisco is in a good position to tackle this: it’s a well-off city with a lot of economic inequality. But Stuhldreher worries that other municipalities might not have the same momentum…

 

Future Plans unveiled at SFMTA Board Special Meeting

Tuesday, February 7, 9 AM – agenda
Green Room War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Ave.
Labor negotiations and closed session followed by presentations of current projects.
Controller report: Financial Overview – presentation
SFMTA Board Workshoppresentation

San Francisco just hired America’s first-ever ‘director of financial justice’ to get rid of fees that ‘unfairly punish’ a specific part of the population

 

: businessinsider.- excerpt

The city of San Francisco has hired the country’s “first-ever director of financial justice for a city,” reports The California Sunday Magazine in a short profile of the director, Anne Stuhldreher.

At her post, Stuhldreher will be tasked with determining “which government fines and fees unfairly punish the poor and middle class,” in San Francisco, according to Cal Sunday…

Stuhldreher will lead the Financial Justice Project, a new venture in conjunction with the San Francisco’s office of the treasurer and tax collector. It aims to reform the local and state governments’ purportedly harsh financial penalties for a range of infractions, from traffic tickets to criminal dues. The revenue generated from these fees and fines is used, in part, to balance public budgets.

According to Cal Sunday, if a traffic ticket goes unpaid for 20 days in San Francisco, the resident is subject to a $300 late fee that can wind up with a collections agency, potentially damaging their credit.

Further, the San Francisco Treasurer reports that “four million Californians — 14% percent of adults — have had their drivers’ licenses suspended because they can’t afford to pay traffic fines and fees.”

According to the project’s statistics, these debts and others become especially crippling to the financial lives of middle and lower-income residents.

But Stuhldreher’s efforts go beyond traffic fines. She’s also concerned with the burden the criminal justice system places on families who can’t afford to pay for a night in juvenile hall or for the cost of their electronic bracelet, for example. According to Cal Sunday, she’s studying whether a local system similar to that of some European countries, where fees are based on a person’s daily income, would work in San Francisco.

Check out the Financial Justice Project for more information, including profiles of San Franciscans who’ve been affected by the city’s steep fees…(more)

RELATED:
Read the full story at The California Sunday Magazine

The most popular part of this site if the ticket information. This is a huge problem for the people who live and work in San Francisco and the city has ignored it for too long. Hopefully this will help protect the people who are most at risk from these torturous programs. I expect this will be popular article.

 

 

 

‘Meter Maid Monitor’ aims to help SF users avoid parking tickets

By Alyssa Pereira : sfgate – excerpt

A crafty new invention created by Castro resident John Naulty, which premiered at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, is aiming to subvert the authority of the ticket-writing parking officials in San Francisco.

Called “Meter Maid Monitor,” it tackles a common hassle of many local residents: the requirement to move one’s car every two hours in many San Francisco neighborhoods. The program utilizes Raspberry Pi and its Pi Camera module along with OpenCV, operating as a motion detector… (more)

Everyone complains about the high cost of parking tickets. Supervisor Kim wants to investigate how the cost analysis is done to determine cost recovery. Avoiding the tickets is the best solution.

RELATED:
Meter Maid Monitor fixes the most San Francisco problem ever

The Likely Fate of San Francisco’s Prominent Piers 30-32

socketsite – excerptPiers30-32

While the Port of San Francisco is in the process of updating its Waterfront Land Use Plan and examining potential uses for the City’s prominent Piers 30-32, the 13-acre site is likely to remain a deteriorating parking lot with sweeping Bay views for at least another decade, and possibly two or three…

But with minimal structural repairs every five years, the Port estimates the existing piers and use could last another 20 to 30 years, which would cost an estimated $6 million in Capital Costs but yield a 350 percent return on that investment.

And given the numbers above, unless a “big idea” emerges, “where location matters much more than cost” and which is sponsored by a development partner “who is willing to obtain state legislation authorizing their project and has the patience to navigate a complicated State and City regulatory process,” the Piers 30-32 site could very well look the same in 20 to 30 years as it does today.

Well, it could look somewhat the same in two to three decades. For even with a bit of periodic maintenance, portions of Piers 30-32 will likely start to fail in 5 or 10 years, at which point Port engineers would simply barricade the failed areas. And of course, all bets are off if – or rather when – there’s a moderate to major earthquake… (more)

Could this be a staging ground for a pilot project for a Muni transit hub since parking is the only use planned? It’s not that far from the bridge.

 

 

Golden Gate Bridge, Ferry and Transit Fares Increase

Most tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge will increase 25 cents on Friday.

Fares on Golden Gate Transit buses and Golden Gate Ferry service also will increase 4 percent Friday, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.

The FasTrak toll on the bridge will increase to $6.50 for two-axle vehicles, $7.50 for Pay-by-Plate and to $4.50 for carpool vehicles.

The one-way adult fare for the Larkspur Ferry will increase 50 cents to $11 and to $11.75 one-way on the Sausalito Ferry.

One-way Clipper fares on the ferries will increase 25 cents to $7.25 on the Larkspur and $6.25 on the Sausalito ferries.

The one-way fare for youth 5-18, seniors 65 and up and for disabled riders will increase 25 cents to $5.50 on the Larkspur Ferry and to $5.75 on the Sausalito Ferry. Children ages 4 and under ride free, but there is a two-child limit per fare-paying adult.

The toll increase will help balance a projected five-year deficit of $33 million, Clemens said…. (more)

All these increased fares and fees along with the Bay Bridge work that is creating massive traffic jams this summer may not help the Bay Area transit authorities’ plans to request more taxes and approval of more debt from the votes in November. That along with a reduction in services and removal of seats on the the new vehicles may push the voters over the edge. No one wants to be treated like a caged animal and we are starting to get to that level with these new standing room only vehicles. Who do they paln to serve? Not the elderly or physically challenged or families or shoppers and travelers with baggage. This leads us to belive that the real goal is to push more peopel toward the private sector options, as indicated in this article that describes the “smart city” approach to privatize and robotize transportation, being designed and tested in Columbus, Ohio by Alphabet: Alphabets sidewalk labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in american cities

 

SF Budget: Better Muni and Vision Zero…But November Tax Has to Pass

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee released his 455-page budget proposal on Tuesday. It includes $9.6 billion in fiscal year 2016-17  for transportation, police officers, and street cleaning, a $700 million increase in funds. The fiscal year runs from July 1 of this year until June 30 of next year.

The transportation section runs from pages 315 to 322–here are some highlights:

The proposed budget includes an additional $15 million in FY 2016-17 and $62.2 million in FY 2017-18 in new transportation funding. Once fully implemented in FY 2017-18, these investments will provide $28.7 million for Muni fleet, infrastructure upgrades, and transit optimization, $9.6 million for equity and affordability initiatives, $14.3 million to support regional transit projects and fleet needs, and $9.6 million to fully fund street safety projects that are consistent with the City’s Vision Zero policy.

Lee was presenting the budget as a step forward for the city’s transit programs and safety initiatives.

“The result is the SFMTA’s first-ever $1 billion operating budget to improve transit performance and reliability. The SFMTA operates the nation’s eighth largest public transit system and it serves every neighborhood,” said Lee in his Proposed Balanced Budget Speech, on Tuesday…

The ability to grow the budget is due to the strong economy. However, the mayor’s proposal also depends on a sales tax increase to balance the budget. “It is budgeted on the assumption that a half-cent tax for transportation will pass this November,” said Wiener. “It includes $105 million a year for roads, Muni, capital investment, support for BART vehicles, and for street safety improvements.”

An increase in sales taxes as they are removing bus stops and bus seats is the biggest insult so far to the Muni riders. If this is SFMTA’s idea of a friendly Muni I hate to think what their idea of an unfriendly Muni looks like.

Removing bus stops was bad enough because people are forced to walk longer distances carrying carrying their packages than they were previously. Now they are forced to walk longer distances carrying loads and then stand for long periods of time with their packages, on moving vehicles? And they want to charge extra for using cash to pay to ride the Muni. Where do they stop harassing us?

IMG_4627.jpeg

This is a model BART car with a single seat on one side and a double of the other.

This is not right. This is why we need to pass the Charter Amendment and replace the MTA Board with people who understand the needs of human beings.
Write your supervisors. Sample letters are here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/3318-2/

 

Our SFMTA Gives Itself a Raise

sfcitizen – excerpt

Residential Parking Permits to Cost $127 Per Year, a 14% Increase – Yowzer

The higher cost of “free” parking:

But actually, you’re not paying for parking, you’re paying to prevent other people from parking where you want to park…(more)

So that is what the geniuses at SFMTA came up with after wasting our time at neighborhood meetings to find how how the public wants to improve the permitted parking program. This gives us one more reason to vote for the Charter Amendment to change the makeup of the MTA Board. Send in your letters of support to the Supervisors. Sample letter is here:
https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/3318-2/

 

Court Will Stop Suspending Driver’s Licenses Over Unpaid Fines

By Matt Fleming : capoliticalreview – excerpt

Under pressure from civil liberties groups, Contra Costa County Superior Court announced last week a moratorium on the practice of suspending driver’s licenses over unpaid fines.

In March, the ACLU of Northern California and other groups urged the California Judicial Council — the policy-making board of the California court system — for action, arguing that suspending licenses for unpaid fines disproportionately affects lower-income drivers.

The ACLU and others have been targeting individual courts as well in Bay Area counties. Contra Costa County Superior Court responded last week saying the Failure to Pay policy was under review.

“The court will suspend all FTP referrals until further notice,” Steven K. Austin, presiding judge of the Superior Court, wrote last week to the ACLU of Northern California and Bay Area Legal Aid. Austin added the moratorium had already begun… (more)