San Franciscans want happy trails — not rocky roads

by Aaron Peskin: marinatimes – excerpt

Budget season has drawn to a close, and the city has made a significant investment in our city streets with the Board of Supervisors approving an additional $90 million in road work and resurfacing funds to be spent down over the next two years.

These are the funds that will be used to repave our city streets (600 blocks annually), extend or repair our sidewalks, paint our bike lanes, and fill pesky potholes. San Francisco Public Works is hiring more workers, and San Francisco has slowly increased its Pavement Condition Index Score…

The wrong signs get posted for the wrong projects on the wrong streets, construction equipment lies inactive for months in on-street parking spots, while a seemingly never-ending parade of orange-and-white striped A-frame signs line the streets letting merchants and residents know that they should brace for yet another construction project that might or might not have an actual public benefit. At the very least, it could be coordinated much better.

In addition, the hearing revealed that some repetitive projects are dropped from the city’s database, in violation of the city’s moratorium on digging up the city streets more than once in a five-year span. For example, the corner of Green Street and Columbus Avenue has been dug up at least four or five times in the last six years, yet San Francisco Public Works did not have that data for those jobs on file.

I am working with Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee on legislation that would create stricter conditions for subcontractors and would trigger a construction mitigation fund for projects that run over budget or drag on endlessly.

The time has come to make sure that we are managing San Francisco taxpayer money responsibly when it comes to our city streets; these safety and road resurfacing projects are priorities that shouldn’t have to be painful… (more)

This pretty well covers the frustrations that residents and businesses are feeling with the street construction repair program being set up and “managed” by the SFMTA. The subcontractors were a problem for the residents dealing with street trees and damaged sidewalks and the Supervisors solved that one. Now it is time for them to take on the street subcontractors.

At the top of the list of issues, is the lack of skilled labor in the construction business due to the overwhelming number of projects underway. We are doing too much too fast and the quality of the work is suffering because of the unrealistic pace. This is why we need to slow it down. We will be having talks this month over various options for solving this problem. Thanks to supervisors Peskin, Yee and Kim for taking this on.

NO NOTICE: A number of other issues were raised at the meeting described here. One is the most familiar of all that accompanies every complaint being raised from “overnight” tow-away signs to sudden contractors tearing up sidewalks without a visible permit – NO NOTICE ahead of the sudden pop-up construction work. Obviously the multi-million dollar noticing system that SFMTA is using to communicate with the public is failing to do the job. We need a new procedure of noticing.

As Supervisor Breed pointed out at the meeting, unnecessary controversial bulblouts and other street “improvements” are going onto small side streets with no accident history under the guise of “Safe Street improvements.” The SFMTA staff had no real excuse for this when quizzed on the matter.

A similar issue is ongoing with regard to the hated Red Lane “experiments” that were put into areas of the city, in including Mission Street, that were not designated as “experimental” areas, and the required “studies” for the “experiments” were not done in a timely fashion.

Concerned citizens conducted their own “unpaid” studies and discovery, and obtained documents showing an uptick in accidents on certain Red Lanes were not included in the final reports given to the state agency in charge of approving the extension of the Red Lane “experiments”. The SFMTA cherry picked the test areas that proved the Red Lanes improved the speed of the buses yet neglected to “share” the data that showed an increase in accidents on some of the “experimental streets.

Complaints were filed and if the judicial system works, the matter should be investigated.

Advertisements

The Central Subway project and a planned ferry hold the key to neighborhood traffic in Mission Bay

By : bizjournals – excerpt

Imagine boarding a ferry in Oakland and emerging minutes later in Mission Bay. You get dinner, catch a Warriors game and enjoy a nightcap, all before returning home on the water. Or riding from the University of California, San Francisco, research campus straight up Fourth Street to Union Square on the city’s newest subway, a largely underground train.

With Mission Bay miles from any BART station, and no ferry service, getting in and out of the growing neighborhood today without getting snarled in heavy traffic is nearly impossible, public transit advocates say. The imminent relocation of the Golden State Warriors to the Chase Center in 2019 only makes public transportation improvements more urgent.

A couple of big transit projects in the works — a new subway line and a ferry landing — should offer some relief…

Most of the (Central Subway) work is happening below the street. The route will begin near the 4th street Caltrain station and stop at 4th and Brannan streets.. Future plans could extend it further north.

The Mission Bay Loop Project, which would allow trains to turn around during peak hours and special events, should be completed in July, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, the Port of San Francisco is moving forward on the design and environmental work for a ferry terminal and water taxi landing near the Chase Center, with the preferred location at the foot of 16th street. Ultimately, the goal is for passengers to travel directly to Mission Bay from the existing ferry terminals in Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and elsewhere, said Port Executive Director Elaine Forbes (more)

Opening Up to New Traffic

Alex Kriese : sffogline – excerpt

…Chase Center will not only be the Golden State Warriors’ home arena, but will also host another 200 hundred concerts and events other than basketball games. This new stadium will increase the number of jobs in San Francisco on event days, but will also increase the traffic in an already crowded part of the city. The Chase Center will be located near Piers 30 and 32 and across the street from the UCSF medical center, which many people believe will cause a huge increase in traffic in the North East corner of the City. Not only will traffic increase, but the noise will also. The increased noise from Warriors games and other concerts and events held during the year might impact some of the patients who are being treated at the medical center nearby..

Although the overlap is only a few weeks at a time, if both the Giants and Warriors play home games on the same day, the traffic implications seem daunting. In addition to the Chase Center, AT&T Park holds 42,000+ people. With only an additional 200 parking spots dedicated to the new arena, an influx of 60,000 bodies dispersing simultaneously after a pair of coincidental home games would cause an immense traffic jam that could rival LA’s rush hour. BART and Caltrain stations, which are already brimming on Giants game days, may feel the need for “pushers” like in Japan, people who are paid to help push and shove people into trains to make them all fit. It may be a little overdramatic but the thought of it is funny.

In due time, we shall see how San Francisco and the respective sports organizations plan to alleviate any added headaches to the fans and residents…(more)

This is one of the worst mistakes the city has made in years. Let’s spend a fortune on a new stadium next to the water on landfill with rising sea levels anticipated and see which disaster strikes first. Pushers indeed.

 

S.F. port official, a friend of mayor’s, cited again

By John Coté : sfgate – excerpt

Port Commissioner Mel Murphy and his company were fined for illegally reinstalling car-parking stackers in the garage at his San Francisco condominium building after the Department of Building Inspection ordered the equipment removed.
San Francisco Port Commissioner Mel Murphy, a politically connected developer and friend of Mayor Ed Lee’s, has been cited for illegally reinstalling parking equipment that increases the value of his new Mission District condominium building after city inspectors had directed him to remove it, city documents show.

The violation is the latest in a string of problems for Murphy’s projects both before and after Lee appointed him in 2013 to the city’s influential Port Commission, which has a central role overseeing one of San Francisco’s most precious resources: 7½ miles of public waterfront.

“I feel like this is on Ed Lee for appointing him to the port,” said Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker, a political progressive and adversary of the mayor’s. “I think Mel should be asked to resign or be removed. … The mayor needs to draw a line to make sure things are done by the rules.”… (more)

M

Separated bikeway along the Embarcadero

Can you envision a separated bikeway along the Embarcadero?

A bike lane laces most of the roadway of the Embarcadero in either direction, but it’s not complete, and sections like the Third Street Bridge are less than ideal, to put it mildly.

Casual riders and family-style tourists often don’t feel safe on the bike lane, so they ride along the promenade itself. This is perfectly legal, btw: The promenade along San Francisco’s waterfront is a shared-use path, which means both pedestrians and bicycles are allowed to use it, from Third Street to the south going north to Powell and Jefferson streets. (There is some signage that declares this, but not enough.)

Cyclists and peds usually co-exist on this popular stretch without a second thought: the path is expansive and there’s plenty of room.  But in some parts it can get congested, with cyclists traveling in both directions trying to weave around pedestrians.

This situation can be improved —  and you can attend an open house meeting Thursday, July 24 at 6 PM, to find out what might be in store for the Embarcadero:

The Embarcadero Enhancement Project Open House

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
  • 6:00 PM
  • Pier 1 – The Embarcadero (map)
  • The Embarcadero & Washington
  • San Francisco, CA 94111

You might recall that for a short time during the America’s Cup races, a section of the Embarcadero was temporarily cordoned off into a separated two-way path from The Ferry Building to the Cup’s main public pier.

Below are a couple rendered images from SPUR that give an idea of what a separated bicycle pathway might look like. More ideas can be found in their document building the emBIKEadero waterfront bike path (PDF)… (more)

Let ‘s make driving on the Embarcadero more difficult than it is now, eliminate more parking spaces, and spend more money while asking the citizens to take on another half a billion dollars in debt to wreak more havoc on our streets.

That is the plan, but voters who are fed up with it can vote to Restore Transportation Balance in November instead.
Now is the time to let the contestants for Supervisor in District 6, and Supervisor Chiu of District 3, know how you feel about the plan. District 3 and 6 Supervisors should have a say about what happens in their districts. The Eastern Neighborhoods stopped the parking meters when our Supervisors said NO.

RELATED:
Coping with the throngs on S.F.’s beloved Embarcadero
July 9 Port Commission Meeting – (video) Item 12B Embarcardero Bike Lane Project – The presenter claims this project will require an EIR and additional design reviews. The public can participate and should let the Supervisors know how they feel.

Sunday Parking Meter Changes Coming Soon

sfappeal – excerpt

Starting July 6 on-street meters and off-street parking meters will not require payment on Sundays, except meters on SF Port property.

Exceptions to this change in policy are areas where meters operated on Sundays prior to the addition of Sunday operating hours in January 2013. This includes:

Port of San Francisco jurisdiction meters
Fisherman’s Wharf area meters
Some (but not all) SFMTA-managed metered parking lots (retaining those that operated on Sundays prior to 2013)
In order to help remind the public of the change, during the first three Sundays in July, SFMTA Parking Control Officers will place informational flyers on vehicles parked at expired meters in areas where Sunday meters will remain operational… (more)

Not to rain on our parade, but, the SFMTA can’t leave it simple. We knew about the Port meters, but now they are claiming they are going to enforce other meters around town. The whole point was to make life simple and stress-free. Evidently SFMTA didn’t get that message or they want to stress us out.

If this annoys you as much as it does us, support the Restore Translation initiative by signing, circulating and or donating to the cause. Details: http://www.restorebalance14.org/

Muni pilot programs floated to improve transit along the waterfront

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Warriors’ arena, the Giants’ Mission Rock redevelopment and Pier 70 mixed-use development are far from concrete proposals, but The City is not waiting to get transportation accommodations along the waterfront on the ground.

And with the public’s nod, several pilot programs aimed at transit solutions for the area from Crissy Field to Hunters Point Shipyard could launch as early as this spring.

The potential pilots arise from discussions around a Waterfront Transportation Assessment that began in October 2012 and wrapped up last December. Phase two of the assessment, which analyzes transportation conditions along the waterfront over the next quarter century, involves several community meetings through June. At a 6:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday at Pier 1, the Piers 30-32 Citizens Advisory Subcommittee could give the stamp of approval to some pilots… (more)

MUST WATCH: Fallon and Springsteen’s Brilliant ‘Born to Run’ Parody Takes Down Chris Christie

By Janet Allon : alternet – excerpt

NJ Gov’s favorite singer is clearly not buying Christie’s bullsh*t.

January 15, 2014  |  Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen teamed up last night for a brilliant spoof of Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ that took direct aim at “Governor Chris Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey traffic jam.” In fact those words were the refrain—the point being that although the singers were ‘born to run,’ they can’t because they’re stuck in Christie-induced traffic… (more)

Note to SFMTA: Traffic jams are not politically correct.

Marina Boat Owners Riled by Proposal to Take Cars Off Bike/Ped Path

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

DPW proposes removing the 51 parking spaces along the only stretch of the Bay Trail where cars are currently allowed.
Along Marina Boulevard there’s a bicycle and pedestrian path where visitors and residents can stroll along the bay without having to worry about cars — until they get to the stretch between Scott and Baker Streets, where drivers are allowed to enter the path to access 51 parking spaces.
It’s the only part of the 500-mile Bay Trail where people must share space with cars. But now the Department of Public Works is leading an effort to remove those parking spots and ban cars on that stretch of the path. At a public meeting yesterday, the proposal was met with protest from about a dozen boat owners who claimed they were entitled to those parking spaces as part of the $10,000 yearly fee they pay to store their vessels…
“The bicyclists pay nothing. They don’t pay taxes. They’re just out for whatever they can get. And I think it’s time that the citizens of this city say we’ve had enough,” said another man. “The fact is that we, as tenants, are paying for this whole marina and its facility, so don’t do a number on us,” he warned DPW staffers… (more)

Wonder how they were noticed about the plan.

Good MTA Director v. Bad MTA Director

by Alison Stevens Rodrigues : beyondchron – excerpt (first posted Aug. 17‚ 2005, re-posted Friday, Sept. 13, 2013)

At yesterday’s Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board of Directors meeting, members of the public were reminded of what they did not want from a new transportation director even before they were allowed to discuss what they did.
Before that, however, they were reminded of the San Francisco Municipal Railway’s (MUNI) current state of affairs. As a MUNI representative read results from the system’s quarterly report, it became clear that MUNI’s performance falls short of standards outlined in Proposition E. The lack of operators and number of missed runs are two of MUNI’s bad pennies… (more)

Remembering how we got here. How well did the process work the last time? Might people have different ideas now?