$4.4 Billion Bay Area Transportation Plan — Paid for by Higher Bridge Tolls — Sent to Governor

: kqed – excerpt

We’ve reached the home stretch of the legislative year at the state Capitol, with little time left until Friday’s midnight deadline to pass bills.

 

Update, 10:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15: Bridge Toll Measure Would Raise Billions for Bay Area Transportation; Passes Over Objections from East Bay Legislators

If you live in the Bay Area, you’ll be hearing a lot about Senate Bill 595 over the next year or so. The bill by state Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell, won final Senate passage Thursday and now awaits the governor’s signature.

SB 595 provides for a vote in the nine Bay Area counties next year to raise tolls on the region’s state-owned bridges — that’s all of them, except the Golden Gate — by as much as $3. If the Bay Area Toll Authority, the agency that oversees the bridges, seeks that maximum $3 increase, tolls on the bridges would be $8 to $9. (We still wouldn’t be in Verrazano-Narrows Bridge territory, though; the cash toll on the span between Brooklyn and Staten Island rose to $17 earlier this year.)

The higher tolls would raise something like $375 million a year, according to the latest legislative analysis, and pay for nearly three dozen transit and highway projects totaling $4.45 billion…

Several Contra Costa County legislators — Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier among them — opposed SB 595, saying that it’s 1) a regressive tax and 2) a ripoff for the residents of the East Bay.

Their main argument — both DeSaulnier and Grayson penned op-ed pieces for the East Bay Times — is that residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties will pay significantly more in increased tolls than their communities will get back in benefits… (more)

The new gas tax is supposed to fix the roads. Lets see what that tax is used for. By the time this new bridge toll bill comes up, We will probably have seen the results of the tax bills on our cost of living. There will also be a number of recall efforts to replace the reps who supported this bill and a recall on the gas tax. Stay tuned.

Advertisements

SoMa Merchants Also Claim Losses Due to Central Subway Construction

: streetsblog – excerpt

But Will Less-Well-Organized Businesses Get Money from Mayor’s Newly Announced Program?

Business in San Francisco’s Chinatown could receive up to $10,000 from the city to help bring back customers ostensibly lost due to construction disruption from SFMTA’s subway project, according to a release from Mayor Lee’s office about a new “Central Subway Mitigation” program. Along the same tack, the mayor is asking SFMTA, Public Works, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to develop a Citywide Construction Mitigation Program.

Although the Central Subway Mitigation program is reportedly in response to lobbying from Chinatown advocates, businesses in Union Square and on 4th Street, along the subway’s route through the South of Market neighborhood, are equally impacted.

“Business is down forty percent,” said Angela Jigmed, owners of Panta Delux Cleaners on the corner of 4th and Bluxome. Her business has been there for ten years. “For us it’s been very hard. Customers can’t stop here because of the construction.”… (more)

What did we say yesterday? There is no way the city can afford to continue the pace it is on that is harming businesses all over the city. We are calling for a halt to new projects and planning and on-going contract negotiations for new capital projects until all holes in the ground are filled. If this is a radical approach, it is more pragmatic than the non-stop destruction of our streets that is killing our businesses. It is a lot cheaper and easier to do nothing than to be on constant damage control and the taxpaying citizens are not buying the more money needed to fix it excuse. They turned down the last request for increased taxes. If you agree send a message to City Hall to stop this madness.

Citizens have the right to design their own reality

Op-Ed by Zrants
 MissionReds
Red Lanes have hurt businesses on Mission Street, where residents and merchants have been most vocal in their objections. Some demands were met, but there is a lot of anger in the Mission over SFMTA policies – photo by zrants
The article that ran in the SF Examiner, “SF Parking Meters may soon feature Uber-like surge pricing” is non-news to people in Mission Bay and neighborhoods where these meters have been used.
 
This program, along with the “complete street improvements” has been used to manipulate people for some time and the results have put a chill on our local economy. Many businesses are not recovering after construction projects are completed. There are empty storefronts all over town. Regardless of how you feel about gentrification of neighborhoods, streets and cities, the loss of traditional businesses is a serious matter. We need to maintain a balanced economy.
 
Documentation is what city authorities like to see, so a number of neighborhoods are gathering data to prove falling revenues and empty storefronts follow in the path of complete street projects that create congestion and remove parking.
 
Once generated, these reports can go to City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Commission, the media, and anyone else who may be concerned about the condition of the local economy.
 
City policies are not only hurting local businesses. Big box stores and corporate giants like The Gap, Whole Foods, and Sears are feeling the pinch. How many brick and mortar businesses will succumb to disruptive policies before we take action? Local businesses provide necessary services to the public. As each business dies, it becomes harder for residents to conduct their lives.
 
Another matter of urgency is arising. In the aftermath of major security breaches we need to review the “anti-cash” attitudes and policies being pushed by the government and it’s agencies. Cash is the safest currency and should be encouraged, not discouraged.
 
The government works for us and we must demand that it serves our needs.
 
Mari Eliza
 
 

Mayor Lee to give $1.45M in aid for merchants struggling due to subway delays

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Struggling Chinatown merchants, as well as merchants from Union Square and other areas affected by Central Subway construction, may soon see relief to the tune of $1.45 million from San Francisco… (more)

Regardless of the dumb proposal of paying to clean the streets and spruce up buildings that difficult to access, this is an admission that the City’s street maintenance and construction projects are causing harm to merchants and that harm has financial consequences.

LimeBike Hopes To Roll Out Dockless Bike Rentals

by Fiona Lee : hoodline – excerpt

Red and Blue, and soon green. How does this not feel like a living ad on our streets? Photos by zrants.

If it yells does it sell? What happened to our sedate San Francisco fashions and architecture? How are these brightly colored, blue and green monstrosities with their blaring logos allowed to clutter our streets when merchants’ street signage is so heavily regulated? Must we be constantly accosted by ads on the Muni, BART floors, bus shelters and streets? Is this what happens when a city loses its artistic compass?

Joining Ford GoBike and Jump, another company plans to enter the San Francisco market; based in San Mateo, LimeBike aims to bring dockless bike rentals to the city.

The company—backed by venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz—does not yet have a launch date and is still working on the permit process put in place after locals found bikes from Bluegogo, a Chinese company, reportedly dumped on city streets(more)

 

 

SF ambulances arrive late to life-threatening calls during sweltering weekend heat

By and : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco was so short on ambulances during the record-setting heat last weekend that it took about an hour for them to respond to some life-threatening calls, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

San Francisco Fire Department records obtained by the Examiner show that fire engines waited more than 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of 28 life-threatening calls. The goal is for an ambulance to arrive at a life-threatening emergency within 10 minutes 90 percent of the time…

Supervisor Aaron Peskin called the response times “entirely unacceptable.”

“The city and county of San Francisco was caught flat-footed,” he said.

Peskin said he will continue to push for San Francisco to improve its emergency response times at upcoming hearings.

“If we can’t get a heat wave right, we are in big trouble,” Peskin said, alluding to the potential for a major earthquake shaking The City… (more)

People have been warning about ambulances stuck in traffic for a long time. Maybe now something will done to move traffic instead of stall it. Other cities are doing a better job according to the PBS story linked below. In Pittsburgh they are using actual traffic flow to control the traffic signals.

At any rate, we understand that there is a state agency that may step in if the situation does not improve. We expect the SF Department of Emergency Management will be concerned about these matters.

How Pittsburgh is test driving tech to make your commute smarter

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/pittsburgh-test-driving-tech-make-commute-smarter/

 

 

Love Citi Bike? You Have A Real Estate Developer To Thank

By Sarah Kessler : fastcompany – excerpt

17thArkansas

Citigroup sponsors Citi Bike, but its existence and expansion are due to a powerful real estate developer’s interest in keeping it alive.

This article was posted January 12, 2016 by Fastcompany, and became the catalyst for some investigations into Ford GoBikes, that are popping up like unwanted pimples all over our streets. Oddly we heard about the Scoots deal at a surprise SFMTA Board meeting, but, the GoBikes arrived without warning and are, so far, much more prevalent and annoying than the station-less Scoots. Read this article to see where our story started. We are working on some of the details, that, it appears the SFMAT staff and director are not quite clear on and were unable to answer at today’s SFMTA September 5 Board meeting. Although to be fair, the transmission from City Hall was not good so it was hard to follow the live events. We will post a link when it comes up.

It would be a logical guess to believe that financial giant Citigroup owns New York City’s bike sharing system. It is, after all, called “Citi Bike,” and every Citigroup-blue bike is plastered with the bank’s branding.

But the company—which has a $111.5 million sponsorship commitment to the program—does not own it. Navigate to the Citi Bike website, and you’ll see that “Citi Bike is operated by NYC Bike Share LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Motivate,” and that “Motivate is a unique company focused solely on operating large-scale bike-share systems.”

This might look like an answer. But NYC Bike Share LLC is actually just the first in a nesting doll of nomenclature that—intentionally or not—obscures a brilliant business move by one of the country’s largest real estate investors… (more)

But why?

Bike sharing systems carry with them the promise of more sustainable, accessible cities and healthier city residents. But perhaps more compelling to the CEO of a real estate company is the possibility that they will raise property values. These aren’t necessarily competing motives. “As cities do well,” Related CEO Jeff Blau told Fast Company, “we do well.”… (more)

 

 

Oak and Van Ness project shows stunning failures in city traffic analysis

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The San Francisco supes will vote September 5 on the future of one of the city’s most critical intersections, Market and Van Ness — and the decision will impact tens of thousands of bike riders, Muni riders. and pedestrians who pass through the crowded, windy corner every day…

…based on the information currently available it is currently difficult, if not impossible, to document how transportation network company operations quantitatively influence overall travel conditions in San Francisco or elsewhere. Thus, for the above reasons, the effects of for-hire vehicles as it relates to transportation network companies on VMT is not currently estimated…

The city used very old data and inaccurate models in analyzing the transportation impacts, Henderson notes. The EIR notes that it bases traffic demand models on 1990 census data — and that the city plans to update its transportation planning protocols in 2018.

But this is 2017, and we are relying for an analysis of transportation impacts data from when San Francisco was a very different city. The One Oak transportation study “used 1990 data [that] does not reflect two tech booms and the internet economy to the south of the city,” the appeal notes.

In fact, since 1990:

* The Central Freeway was removed in 2003
* Private commuter buses have proliferated since 2005
* Uber and Lyft have proliferated since 2011
* The City has adopted a new Bicycle Plan in 2009
* The City adopted Vision Zero goals in 2014
* New patterns of e-commerce delivery have emerged instead of storefront retail
* Mid-Market and Market and Octavia have added housing for thousands of new   residents
* 5,469 new parking spaces have been, or might be built in the Hub [surrounding the Oak and Market area]… (more)

At least they are being consistent in their use of old data to both remove and add parking when they choose to do so. Complaints about old data are as prevalent as complaints about lack of notice. Both point to a failed system that many citizens are fed up with and may act against next time they get the chance at the ballot box.

 

Pandora box has been flung open.

You are no longer dealing with just Ford GoBikes.

Thousands more are coming unless the pubic does something to stop them. Its plastered all over FACEBOOK that LIME bikes expanding into San Francisco and they are already signing up new members.  https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/15/limebike-raises-12-million-to-roll-out-bike-sharing-without-kiosks-in-the-us/  and another company called SPIN started dumping hundreds more on streets across the financial district. The only thing that will stop this is legislation.

We heard that a company called Arup was awarded a $550 Million contract to construct a bicycle lane across the Bay Bridge. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/13/bay-bridge-bike-lane_n_1146310.html

It is said that the lead designer for the $550M Bay Bridge bike lane is married to Ms. Brinkman, the chair of the SFMTA Board. See the following: https://bridge2017.sched.com/richard.coffin?iframe=no&w=100%&sidebar=yes&bg=no.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why all of these bikes are getting shoved down our throats for the sole purpose of removing parking from our streets. Is this what the voters wanted when they handed over management of the streets to what became SFMTA? Is this what City Hall supports? The complete privatization of our city streets and thoroughfares? If this is what our city leaders want do we want them?

If this is what our taxes are paying for do we support higher taxes?

Read about the holding company behind Motivate if you missed it to see who and what is behind the Ford GoBikes for proof that the bikes are being used to clear the way for dense urban development and luxury housing. Each day more proof of this comes out. What will you do about it? Leave or fight to stay. Pretty soon your choice will be made for you.

Fight gentrification: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Holding Company behind Motivate is Bikeshare Holdings LLC. By most counts this is not a neighborhood friendly organization.

 

Bikes and more bikes, everywhere you look are blue Ford GoBikes in the stations in the Mission. Don’t see many peddling around but there are a lot on them parked at the stations, especially near public parks and in front of businesses like grocery stores. photo by zrants.

We just unearthed a lot of details about the Motivate group behind Ford GoBikes. Motivate is held by Bikeshare Holdings LLC, one of the largest luxury developers in New York City. If you oppose gentrification sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Motivate has a private/pubic partnership agreement with MTC. MTC allocates government tax and grant funds including your tax dollars. We already already covered the relationship with MTC and SFMTA. We were lacking in details about Motivate. This should fill in those gaps. To see the rest of the story go here: Ford-gobike-bay-area-bikeshare-update/

According to their PR campaigns and reported by several sources, a national bike-share program was set up by Bikeshare Holdings LLC to soften local opposition by removing street parking, claiming they are complimenting public transit for everyone. The real goal is to gentrify neighborhoods, raise property values, and make room for the luxury housing Related Company builds. (Details can be found in their press releases and on streetsblog and other articles). 

Bikeshare Holdings LLC was founded in 2014 by two CEOs – Jeff Blau is (or was) the CEO of Related Companies. Related builds luxury housing. Harvey Spevak is the CEO of Equinox, an American luxury fitness company that operates several separate fitness brands, including Equinox, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle.

If this news bothers you, you may want to attend the next SFMTA board meeting, that is scheduled for next Tuesday the 6th of September in room 400 at City Hall at 1 PM. You  may want to let SFMTA Board know how you feel about the deals they are cutting without prior public notice or debate. You might also object to using your tax dollars against your interests or contracting with known criminals. Recent article in the SF Examiner: SF awards $3.2M in contracts to company connected to alleged bid-rigging, federal indictment.