$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)

Keep LA Moving

keeplamoving – excerpt

Masonic traffic b 081713

Photo of traffic stuck on Masonic before the road diet. These scenes are being repeated all oer the state of California. LA citizens are fighting back.

It’s official! KeepLAMoving has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the City of Los Angeles.

Our 53 page petiton alleges that the City did not follow proper CEQA procedure, denying residents their due process before the project commenced. It’s Court Case No. BS 170 464. Click here to see it. 

The Neighborhood Council of Westchster/Playa voted to send Mike Bonin a letter opposing the road diets on Culver and Jefferson. Click here to read it.

Gridlock Is Not The Answer

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.

Fire Department and Emergency Response Issues with street improvements

Featured

SFFD 1-desktop from zRants on Vimeo. (includes videos and Q and A)

CSFN General Assembly Presentation by Assistant Deputy Chief Anthony Rivera, July 18, 2017  Powerpoint. attached Notes from the presentation are here or download a word doc. July CSFN SFFD. Download the Q and A that followed the presesntation.

Videos of recent accidents and emergency vehicles trying to enter the ER at General Hospital caught up in traffic jams.

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.

Seniors, disabled impacted most in dangerous SF crosswalks

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

According to city data, San Francisco has the dubious distinction of being the second most dangerous city in America for people simply trying to cross the street; only New York City has more pedestrian fatalities.

Seniors and those with disabilities demonstrated just how precarious crossing the street can be and why they want the city to lengthen the amount of time on pedestrian signals…

The SFMTA says it’s already improving cross times from four feet per second to three and a half feet per second and improvements to Masonic and Geary are already underway.

“Once the light turns green you have a tendency to just to step on the pedal and go and may not be looking directly in front of you at the intersection of someone who may not have been able to cross,” said SF Supervisor

Sandra Lee Fewer who walked with the group around the intersection to get a feel for the timing of the lights. Lee Fewer said she was stuck by a car as a child so fighting for pedestrian rights is important to her… (more)

Rally with Seniors for Safe Streets this Friday

Friday, July 28, 2017 – 10:30am – 11:30am Masonic Ave & Geary Blvd

It is time for the San Francisco to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities!

For too long seniors and people with disabilities have had to navigate poorly maintained sidewalks and potholed and poorly-patched streets, and use crosswalks designed primarily for the able-bodied pedestrians.

As a result, seniors make up only 15 percent of the city’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016, resulting from traffic crashes involving people walking.

Every year hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic crashes. Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community. This year people like 76-year old Jeannie Yee who lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year old Ka Ben Wong who was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year old Meda Hacopian who died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car, have all been victims of unsafe streets!

Speak up for Seniors and People with Disabilities this Friday

Join Walk SF, Seniors and Disability Action, and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets in urging city and state officials to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior, or as a person with one or more disabilities.

Rally with members of the community as they challenge legislators to walk or roll in “our shoes.” These safe street advocates will invite legislators to use wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other mobility devices and aids, as they attempt to cross Geary Boulevard at Masonic Avenue safely (two of the city’s high-injury corridors, the 13 percent of streets that make up 75 percent of all serious and fatal crashes).

For more information, or if you need transportation to the rally, contact: Pi Ra of Senior and Disability Action at 415.225.2080 or srira@sdaction.org.

We could ask for longer lights for cross the streets and street repair to make the streets less difficult to cross. It don’t take millions of dollars to change the timing on the traffic lights, or do a little pothole repair. What does it take for the SFMTA and other city agencies to do the quick, cheap fixes that don’t take years of planning and millions of dollars?

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.

City Attorney files injunction to force Uber, Lyft to disclose driver data

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco just upped the stakes to legally wrangle driver data from Uber and Lyft.

The City Attorney’s Office Friday morning filed a court order in San Francisco Superior Court to compel Uber and Lyft to comply with subpoenas filed against the companies early last month.

Those administrative subpoenas, filed on June 5, would require the ride-hail companies to hand over four years of records, including miles and hours logged by drivers, incentives that encourage drivers to travel to San Francisco from far-flung cities like Los Angeles, driver guidance and training, accessible vehicle information and driver routes within San Francisco… (more)

RELATED:
SF takes Uber, Lyft to court for GPS traffic data

 

 

Supervisors vent frustrations over reportedly slow, unnecessary roadwork

By Joshua Sabastiani : sfexaminer – excerpt

upside-down

This sign on Bryant and 16th Street illustrates the lack of direction and focus we feel as we navigate the “complete streets” projects springing up in patches all over the city. The anger and frustration is boiling over and being directed at the supervisors. Photo by zrants.

City agencies responsible for roadwork were in for a bumpy ride Wednesday as supervisors aired their frustrations over such issues as sluggish pothole repairs and allegations of wasting $40,000 on an unnecessary bulb-out project at one intersection.

The frustrations built up during a hearing Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee over a road condition report. But the hearing quickly turned into litany of complaints from members of the board. (See meeting transcript Item 1. Update on Street Resurfacing Program and Analysis of the 2016 TRIP Report.)

The tension comes as The City is increasingly investing in repaving roads and changing streetscapes to make them safer for pedestrians and bicycles and more efficient for Muni, in addition to greater investments in sewer and water infrastructure. Complications arising from a private sector development boom have also added to such frustrations…(more)

The Supervisors appear to have divided up the job of investigating various coplaints.

Supervisor Breed complained about an popular $40 K bulbout, but, she missed the extremely expensive sidewalk extensions along the bus stops cost upwards of $250 K. The bulbout campaign to slow the cars is capturing the Muni buses and fire trucks, slowing down instead.

Supervisor Peskins took on the potholes and discovered that the 311 coplaints are marked completed when they are passed to other city departments to be fixed, not when they are completed. He also complained about multiple digs in one area.

Supervisor Fewer voiced her concern that the SFMTA plans to put off pothole repairs on Geary until they start the BRT project. The heavy filled buses do as must damage to the streets as the trucks, so the more buses you have the more larger potholes and Geary is full of heavy full buses.

The hearing comes as Mayor Ed Lee’s budget, which was approved on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, includes $90 million in roadwork investment during the next two years. That investment will fund the resurfacing of at least 600 blocks annually…

“Given this huge investment in our streets, we need to get things right, and that includes investing in and prioritizing coordination,” Peskin said…

Thomas said the coordination is occurring with weekly design meetings among the agencies, bi-weekly meetings with PG&E and a project database charting out work five years ahead.

“Coordination is the key to everything that we do,” Thomas said.

But Fewer said they need to look for ways to augment it.

“We are seeing this added need for greater coordination,” she said…(more)

Residents would say this coordination needs to come with public scrutiny, input and prioritization. the five year plan needs to be a two0-year plan that matches the budget allotment.

RELATED:
Analysis: Traffic-slowing construction projects have doubled in SF in past decade