Objecting to Bike Lanes as ‘Paint Stripe Pollution’

By ERIC JAFFE : citylab – excerpt

Residents of Coronado, California, marched out a series of absurd anti-bike arguments that somehow won the day.

Bicycle advocates have learned how to respond to all sorts of opposition to bike lanes: they’re bad for business (actually, they’re great for it), they slow down traffic (actually, they can decrease travel times), they take up space for cars (actually, they make roads safer for all). But the type of arguments they heard during a public meeting in Coronado, California, earlier this month might have left them speechless.

At issue in the San Diego County resort city was a master plan to add 12 more miles of bike paths. Historically, Coronado has been a bike-friendly place; the League of American Bicyclists has recognized the city’s commitment to cyclists, and the bike commute share is a solid 4.5 percent—no match for the 70 percent of people who drive to work, but still way above the county and national averages. Adopting the measure should have been an oceanside breeze…


At the meeting, resident upon resident objected to the bike lanes on emotional grounds that had little to do with the safety evidence presented by experts, and everything to do with an inability to conceive of an urban mobility system that opened to the road to non-drivers. Claire Trageser of local KPBS reports a taste of the befuddling comments brought before the council:… (more)

“You are covering Coronado with paint stripe pollution,” said resident Gerry Lounsbury.
“The graffiti on the streets does not help our property values,” declared Aileen Oya.
The lanes “bring to mind a visual cacophony that if you look there long enough it will induce a dizzying type of vertigo,” said Carolyn Rogerson.
Gerry MacCartee asked if the community couldn’t think of a better option than “these black streets with these brilliant white lines everywhere because believe me, it takes away from your home, from your outlook on life.”
And Darby Monger crafted an analogy to describe the addition of bike lanes to her beloved city.
“It’s very similar to personally taking all three of my daughters to a tattoo parlor and having them completely body tattooed,” she said.

Against all that is holy about logic and reasoning, those arguments won the day. In the end, the council voted “to suspend all proposed bicycle striping and pavement markings and directed staff to place on a future agenda the Bicycle Master Plan as a high priority.” The Coronado mayor endorsed the decision, telling KPBS the public should get what it wants “unless what they’re asking for is illegal or unethical.”
My first thoughts exactly when I first saw the hideous bike graphics on the streets of Noe Valley. Not a high traffic area and not heavily traveled streets, except lately there are scores of tech buses creeping up and down the steep slopes. You hardly need to paint anything on those hills to caution people to slow down.



Red mopeds circle Civic Center in protest

Uber vs. the world: App-based car service declares victory in NYC, but faces global roadblocks

By  : foxnews – excerpt (video)

Uber, the app-based mode of transport favored by millennials worldwide, is battling politics, bad press and claims its disruption of the car-for-hire business presents a danger on the streets, but a partial victory in New York shows the company is more than willing to fight for its future.

Founded just six years ago in San Francisco and  now valued at more than $40 billion, Uber ended — or at least pumped the brakes on — a feud with the Big Apple, where lawmakers and Mayor Bill de Blasio were threatening to cap the number of drivers allowed on city streets. But in a surprise deal announced late Wednesday, the city agreed to table the limits until completion of a four-month study on whether Uber cars are in fact increasing traffic and harming the environment. The partial cave came after Uber put out an ad showing drivers from a broad racial and ethnic spectrum and pushed back aggressively at the political undertones of the plan.

“There is nothing progressive about protecting millionaire taxi donors who mistreat drivers and discriminate against riders and no amount of name calling by Mayor de Blasio will change that.” – Uber spokesman Matt McKenna(more)

Why Democrats are against the modern economy?

More proof that San Francisco politicians are out of sync with the national platform on Uber and other disruptive businesses. The Republicans, including Jeb Bush see these industries as the future and the Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton are questioning the social and economic impact of these tech behemoths. The huge wealth that is built of air, sometimes called the cloud, is probably not sustainable. Hence the rush to turn that air into property.

SFMTA vs. Lyft and Uber Drivers: Forget About Turning Left or Right onto Market Betwixt 3rd and 8th – Orwellian SMS

sfcitizen – excerpt

Let’s see if I can pay off on the headline here.

This is the Safer Market Street proposal, which used to be called, I believe, Better Market Street. I suppose the name got changed to support Vision Zero 2024? (That’s the promise of absolute transportation safety that will fail only after the terming our of our Interim Mayor and all the Members of the Board of Supervisors. Not a single promoter of Vision Zero actually believes we’ll get to zero transportation death, / injuries within nine years or ever at all…)

And here’s what I’m talking about not being able to make turns – all those red arrows show what you won’t be able to do anymore:

Captureggg copy

Will TNC drivers be banned? Yes – at least that’s the plan last I heard. Will taxi drivers be similarly banned? No, the SFMTA wants to promote taxis and the SFMTA hates, just hates, TNCs.

Note that when the SFMTA calls this proposal a proposal, that means it’s a done deal…(more)

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Problems with public meetings that may be addressed soon in a ballot initiative.

Report on the April 21st MTA Commission Meeting:

I attended the MTA Commission meeting on the 21st to object to the Consent calendar containing removal from public parking, all the car rental parking spots around the city. (On the attached link to the agenda is the list of the particular spots. )

No description of how many parking spots are being lost this way. No mitigation measures. No environmental impact consideration. Bargain pricing of a pubic asset. This is clearly an example of MTA following in the railroad tracks of Il Duce. Since when has our democracy in SF taken such a severe hit to the groin?

I also admonished the chairman for conducting a meeting without being able to be heard by the audience. When I first asked him to speak into the microphone, he looked up at me, and then went right back to mumbling whatever he said. After I denounced his contempt for the folks who came to participate, he went, again, right back to speaking without being heard. It is not a public meeting if the conversation of all the speakers cannot be heard.

Back to the car rental spots, this item will be heard on its own in some future meeting (not indicated at the time). Can you please get the word out to your mailing list that will be their chance to  argue against this public give-away to private profit companies.The more people the better, and the objective should be to take as much of the commission’s time as possible. Let them feel the pain of our outrage, since I’m sure they’ll approve the matter regardless of what the people have to say. After all, it is the MO of the MTA. “Muni: We don’t give a shit what YOU think”

– Ted

SF supervisors approve Muni security contract, after no ethics violations found

By sfexaminer – excerpt

No ethics violations found, but ethical concerns remain

A $38 million security contract to guard Muni rail yards was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, amid accusations of ethical lapses in the contract process.

“It doesn’t quite pass the smell test,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said of the contract at the board meeting.

The controversy swirled around the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s lead contract negotiator and director of security, Chris Grabarkiewctz. A prior employee of Cypress Security, he was given awards lauding his ability to generate great amounts of profit from his negotiating contracts with the SFMTA.

Now he serves the reverse role, negotiating contracts for the SFMTA with Cypress Security against its sole competing bidder, Andrews International…

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws, or the SFMTA may make its own rules to protect against alleged conflicts of interest. “To the extent that this [contract] procurement has raised issues, we may consider going above and beyond the law,” Reiskin told the board…  (more)

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws? Suggested going above and beyond the law? Since when does Reiskin tell the supervisors what they can do? Someone needs to remind him that he works for the elected city officials, not the other way around. A reduction in his salary might help to remind him where he stands.

Safety Course Not Required For Uber, Lyft, Others

hoodline – excerpt

In the wake of an Uber driver arrested after allegedly hitting and injuring a cyclist in Fisherman’s Wharf on Sunday, more questions are being raised about driver safety requirements.

Specifically, taxis are regulated by SFMTA and are required to take 28 hours of classes through one of four approved private driving schools, and another day of training through the SFMTA. An hour of the SFMTA training includes instruction on sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, is taught by a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. At least two hours of testing is required. And as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024, SFMTA is instituting a large vehicle urban driving safety program for all large vehicle drivers who work for the city.

All told, as Central City Extra covered in their latest issue (PDF), there are 71 pages of dense regulations for cab drivers to follow.

Not so for drivers working for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar or limo companies, which are not regulated by the SFMTA – they only have 28 simple regulations to follow.

And the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, among others, is concerned about this gap in safety mandates. “We need to ensure everyone knows how to share the road safely,” said Tyler Frisbee, policy director at the organization. Many of the drivers, she said, aren’t used to driving in a city as busy as San Francisco.

“Whether cab, Uber, Lyft—they’re pulling over to the side frequently, they’re loading and unloading, they’re driving through crowded areas” such as Market Street, SoMa and the FiDi, Frisbee said. “The reason SFMTA hires us is they want to protect peoples’ lives,” she added. “There’s no similar training for Uber. Their drivers take a couple of very short safety classes that are taught online.”… (More)

Private bus startup Leap hit with complaint under US disabilities law

by : arstechinca – excerpt

“We’re sorry to anyone we’ve offended and we hope to do a better job next time.”

Chris Pangilinan, a former San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency engineer who uses a wheelchair, has alleged that new private bus startup Leap is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As such, Pangilinan recently filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice.

Leap recently launched its service, offering interested commuters a luxury transit option that includes things like Wi-Fi, more personal space, and refreshments. Leap charges riders $6 per fare (more than double what local buses charge), and riders use the company’s smartphone app to pay for fare or refreshments as well as to monitor when the buses are approaching.

Pangilinan, who moved away from San Francisco before Leap launched its service, said he found the company’s lack of accessibility “pretty shocking.” His complaint alleges that Leap “removed features that made the buses previously wheelchair accessible, such as the front door ramp, and wheelchair securement areas within the vehicle.”

If the Department of Justice (DOJ) finds that Leap is in violation, it could bring fines or a civil lawsuit. The DOJ did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

“I don’t want money or anything, what I want is to make sure that the spirit and the letter of the ADA [is considered] in the way that we build or change our transportation in the country,” Pangilinan told Ars. “If services like Leap are going to become more popular, then it’s harder to fight if we don’t change it.”… (more)



Playing Red Light, Green Light With Citizens

jonathanturley – excerpt

Below is today’s column in USA Today. The column was actually written after I went to Chicago for Christmas and experienced firsthand the speed traps created by the city to trap drivers. My home town is a case study of the twisted logic that goes into fleecing citizens. Chicagoans are paying the highest cost for parking in the nation after outgoing mayor Richard Daley Jr. signed away a 99-year-lease to all city meters (and later accepted a job with the firm that negotiated the deal).

Illinois also has the second highest property tax rates in the country; the highest cell phone taxes in the country; and the highest restaurant taxes of any major city. Even if you try to flee the city taxes, you are hit with the nation’s highest airport parking fees in the country.
To put it simply, citizens are tapped out. Instead of raising taxes further, the city decided to find a way to generate revenue and actually blame the citizens. It installed a system of cameras that would make Kim Jong-Un blush combined with the shortest yellow lights in the nation… (more)

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Car Sharing Programs Need to Share Public Parking Spaces, Say Merchants

By Jessica Zimmer : potreroview – excerpt

As car sharing programs experience an increase in demand, Potrero Hill and Dogpatch merchants are concerned that the public parking spots set aside for the services are negatively impacting their customers and neighborhood traffic. 

In 2013 the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) approved a pilot project that created reserved parking spots for three roundtrip car share programs.  The project extends to 2016, and includes nonprofits City CarShare and Getaround, as well as ZipCar, a for-profit company. Pilot participants pay a monthly $225 fee for each of the reserved spots, are responsible for maintaining the spaces, as well as 25 feet in front of and behind them in lieu of street cleaning crews doing the work, and collect and share data with SFTMA about who uses the reserved spots and how. Car share users are required to bring the vehicles back to the reserved spots…. (more)