San Franciscans Get Taken For a Ride — a price comparison of bike shares from around the world.

By Ben : medium – excerpt (includes charts)

More Ford Bikes on stands that take up way too much space. Private bikes could easily park between the Ford bike racks to take advantage of all that wasted space. Photos by zrants

Over the past few months I’ve read article after article debating the expansion of the Ford GoBikes in San Francisco. Each article discusses the pros and cons of using the system without comparing the cost of similar systems currently operating in other cities around the world. I decided to do a little bit of research regarding the cost per user as many citizens feel the prices are a bit more expensive than they should be. Here are some of my unscientific findings… Not interested in the wall of text? Skip to the charts… (more)

The Real Reason Behind Ford’s Move Into Bike-Sharing

By John Rosevear : fool – excerpt

Why would an auto giant want to start an urban bike-sharing business? Here’s a hint: It’s not about the bikes.

Ford Motor Company surprised investors with a pair of “mobility”-related announcements last week. It said it’s buying Chariot, a crowdsourced shuttle-bus service, and that it will create a Ford-branded urban bike-sharing program in conjunction with bike-sharing leader Motivate.

If you’ve been listening to Ford CEO Mark Fields’ recent statements around the Blue Oval’s interest in “personal mobility,” the purchase of Chariot makes some sense. But many investors were left scratching their heads over the bike-sharing thing. What does Ford, of all companies, want with bicycles?

It turns out the bikes have a lot to do with the shuttle buses. Read on.

How the bikes fit in with the shuttles

Jim Hackett is the CEO of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a subsidiary created to “design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services.” The LLC is a big part of Fields’ plan to expand Ford’s business into transportation services beyond traditional vehicle ownership. It’s the entity that is buying Chariot and launching the bike service… (more)

$3 toll hike plan has Bay Area politicos dueling for dollars

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Traffic streaming across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco on a weekend evening. photo by zrants.

East Bay officials are threatening to oppose a regional ballot measure calling for a toll increase of as much as $3 on area bridges unless they get a bigger cut of the pie — and that’s triggered some last-minute political wheeling and dealing to get everyone on board with the transportation initiative.

“We are talking about an extra $700 a year,” Orinda Vice Mayor Amy Worth said of her suburban constituents.“These are working people who use the bridges to get to their jobs.”

Worth, who as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has a say in how transit dollars are allocated, has some prominent company in questioning how the proposed ballot measure is being put together. State Sen. Steve Glazer, an Orinda Democrat, and GOP Assemblywoman Catharine Baker of San Ramon say BART in particular needs to be well policed if it’s going to be trusted with millions of additional toll dollars.

“The current proposal falls well short,” said Glazer, who has been on a one-man crusade against BART ever since a pair of 2013 strikes at the transit agency made life miserable for riders in Orinda and everywhere else in the East Bay…

Beall said lawmakers have about two weeks to reach a deal if the measure is to make the ballot next year. Whatever eventually lands there probably has a decent chance of passing, regardless of whether the East Bay officials endorse it… (more)

Protected bike lanes not considered for Golden Gate Park for beauty reasons

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

IMG_6343

This group of bikers is crossing the street on the Panhandle bike path that starts of masonic and runs into Gold Gate Park. Photo by zrants.

New protected bike lanes won’t grace Golden Gate Park anytime soon because the barriers may detract from the park’s beauty and interfere with marathons…

“We discussed [protected bike lanes] with MTA,” Ginsburg said. “This is a longer term endeavor.” Approvals for the projects already in the pipeline will come before various commission and boards in August, including Rec and Park and the SFMTA, with input from the San Francisco Fire Department(more)

There may be some other reasons for this decision, however, there are multiple off-street bike paths through the park and there is ample room to put in more bike paths if they are needed. No need for bikes to “share the streets” in Gold Gate Park when they can be off-the-street paths. We have biked through the park on family outings on those paths from Masonic through the panhandle.

Stop Privatization of our Streets

No Corporate Bike rentals in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District

Petitioning Hillary Ronen

Please protect the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. The District and Mission as a whole has been experiencing extreme pressures Please protect the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. The District and Mission as a whole has been experiencing extreme pressures of gentrification causing forced displacement, creating undue hardships, family separation, loss of jobs, privatization of our public spaces, forced crowding, cultural erasure and high rents…. (sign the petition)

Zipcar Expands Street Parking in San Francisco

autorentalnews – excerpt

Zipcar plans to add more street parking locations throughout the city of San Francisco. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently approved a permanent on-street parking permit program.

SFMTA’s board of directors will be giving up to 1,000 parking spaces to carsharing vehicles and will be asking the public where those spaces should be located… (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)

Support the Public Commons and free use of public spaces.

Fordbikes

Photo by zrants

The corporate bikes on the public streets go against our community and are offensive to our sense of public morale. The pubic commons is sacred ground that should not be sold or tampered with. The public commons is owned by the people for use of all the people and should not be sold or limited to the use of paid users.

There is a petition being circulated to allow the bikes. This is the petition is pushback against that petition.
I am concerned with how the city is allowing the privatization of our city spaces, including parking on the streets.  I see this as part of a much more disturbing trend to allow money to buy anything within the public commons for a price.
The corporate bikes on the public streets go against our community and are offensive to our sense of public morale as we feel the pubic commons is sacred ground that should not be sold or tampered with. The public commons is owned by the people for use of all the people.

I just signed the petition “Hillary Ronen: No Corporate Bike rentals in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
Thanks!

Mission advocates resist bikeshare push, point to existing community programs

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Fordbikes

A new batch of Ford bikes sprang up on Bryant and 17th Street without warning. It is no secret that the plan is to remove public parking for private vehicles by leasing the streets to corporations. The pubic is not reacting favorably to that plan. photo by zrants

The backlash was fierce and unexpected.

On the surface, Ford GoBike is seemingly everything the staunchly liberal Mission District would value: an affordable bikeshare program targeted at reducing carbon emissions and traffic congestion by offering cheap, rentable bikes.

After the company’s most recent expansion, however, groups representing Latino neighbors in the Mission quickly pushed back, citing gentrification fears.

“The way we shop, the way we travel, it’s a very different culture,” Erick Arguello, co-chair of the Calle 24 Historical District on 24th Street in the Mission, previously told the San Francisco Examiner. “We did say, ‘No, we don’t want bikeshare on 24th Street in the Latino Cultural District.’”… (more)

Public streets are for the public. Taking public property from pubic use may not be tolerated for long. The supervisors should consider who is benefiting from this scheme and who they are pushing to the curb.

Mission District Ford GoBike kiosks vandalized, again

At least two Ford GoBike kiosks at the edge of the Mission District were spotted vandalized Friday morning.

A bikeshare kiosk and bikes at Folsom and 15th streets were splashed with blue paint, and another kiosk at Folsom and 17th streets was splashed with pink paint…(more)

When the City Sells Your Street

By Laura Bliss : citylab – excerpt

Fordbikes.jpg

A new corner of a public street next to a public park and across the street from a Muni parking lot sprung up overnight without warning. photo by zrants

The San Francisco millionaires who had their street bought by real-estate investors might not get much sympathy. But when cities sell off real public assets, it’s everyone’s concern…

In a statement provided to CityLab, the HOA puts its perspective this way:[Lam and Cheng] waited over two years to notice the HOA presumably so the property sale would be more difficult to rescind. From their quotes in the newspaper it appears they are opportunistic, know exactly what they bought, and would like to exploit a bureaucratic oversight to their advantage…The mansion-dwellers who lost their street don’t need anyone’s pity. But on second glance, the story is instructive for anyone concerned about the rise of privatized public space and services.

Why did these rich people own a street in the first place?

The mansion-dwellers who lost their street don’t need anyone’s pity. But on second glance, the story is instructive for anyone concerned about the rise of privatized public space and services.

Central to this strange tale is the neighborhood homeowners association. The Presidio Terrace HOA states in its lawsuit that it had owned and maintained the oval-shaped street in question since 1905, when the neighborhood was developed. Its roots go back much further than most...

“Things can sometimes get done in a very off-the-record way, which can also affect what we’d expect from an entity that provides public services: to provide them fairly and efficiently,” says Cheung. Accidental or not, the sale of a road at an obscure city auction, without the knowledge of residents, is an extreme example of what can happen in a neighborhood in the hands of a quasi-private governing body with perhaps questionable management skills.

Similar questions of transparency and accountability come up when cities decide to sell off assets like water systems and parking meters, or contracting out services like trash collection or even police.

And what can the new owners do with it?

The fact that Presidio Terrace was sold to a new private owner—this time, a couple living in another city, with the full intention of turning a dime—echoes another concerning dimension of the privatization trend. When the agenda is profit, public space is no longer fully public…

when actual public streets turn over to private hands, it’s like a little bit of democracyerodes away. Rarely can people organize, gather, or rally in a space where a private owner is liable for injuries and lost business. Clearly, government does not always excel at upholding freedoms of speech and protest. But by nature, in the U.S., private owners are more restrictive...(more)

For a number of years we have been watching and writing about the privatization of public property and hoping that someone with means would take up the fight against the trend.

Hopefully that day has arrived and the courts can deal with the matter in a broader sense than this one event and this one taking and selling. Many excuses for taking public property and handing it over to private enterprises involve the government’s embracing of the so-called “sharing” economy, that is being exposed as a not-so-friendly corporate culture intent on disrupting our lives be convincing us we have not choice but to succumb.

This story raises a number of issues that need to be resolved and hopefully will get more media attention and generate more public involvement.

  1. Noticing is at the top of the list of every complaint being filed or mentioned. In this day of constant communications and overload of information, somehow, the simple task of properly noticing has been lost or abandoned. How can this be fixed? If you can’t notice a few people on a private street that they are in arrears of tax payments, how can you hope to notice a neighborhood that a large project that will change their neighborhood forever is under consideration?
  2. Taking of public property by a government from the pubic with intent to sell or lease it to private entities is a highly questionable practice for many of the reasons the author indicates and effects us all. Many questions need to be answered about this practice.
  3. Where does he authority come from to remove public property from public use?
  4. Who is benefiting from the taking, selling and leasing?
  5. Who is harmed by this practice?
  6. Who is upholding the private property rights? Are public tax-paid officials used by private entities to uphold private rules and regulations on these private properties? Do they send in the sheriff to tow a car or contractor’s vehicle as they send in a sheriff to evict a tenant?
  7. How does this work with the public streets that are being leased to corporations for their private parking use?
  8. What can the public do to take back control of the property?
  9. How can the pubic weigh in on the practice and perhaps reverse or stop it?
  10. Who will take the lead on solving this problem?

RELATED:

San Francisco’s privately owned streets: Do you live on one of them?

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-s-privately-owned-streets-Do-you-11746359.php

You may want to check this list. It is not a small list of privately owned streets.

1,000 Parking Spaces To Be Reserved For Car-Sharing Services

by Fiona Lee: hoodline – excerpt

Last week, SFMTA’s Board of Directors approved a full permit program for car-sharing companies after a 2013 pilot that allowed companies to use 200 public parking spaces.

Under the plan, 1,000 parking spots will be converted into car-sharing spaces.

“Each permitted parking space served many people, rather than just one private vehicle at a time,” wrote SFMTA in its report. It also revealed that a car could be used by as many as 19 people if it was part of a car-sharing service, compared to a private car, which usually only has two users…

During public comment, some residents opposed the move.

“This policy basically gives public parking spaces, the gray spaces that everybody uses,” said Patrick Mayley, who felt that the car-share companies should use private lots. “We’re essentially looking at giving public spaces away to large private corporations…This is not an example to me of sharing.”…(more)

This is wrong on so many levels. The public was not warned about this program. Pieces of it were sprung on us at a series of SFMTA Board meetings where the details were confusing and difficult to understand or comment on.

More members of the public would have expressed opposition if the public knew about the hearings. This article doesn’t mention the Scoot program, that was set up to allow the private Scoot rental company a special deal for their scooters that is not extended to all scooter rental companies. SFMTA is picking winners. Scoot is a winner. So were Uber and Lyft before they became a problem. City authorities should put a stop to these special deals that SFMTA is cutting with preferred corporations.

We have been warning about privatization of public property for some time. This is the corporate takeover of our streets, or the selling of our streets by the SFMTA. If you disapprove of this, now is the time to let the supervisors know. They can do something to stop this selling of our streets if enough people complain. You may also want to consider boycotting the corporations that are taking over our streets. If there is no demand for their services, they may rethink their position.