Citizens help stop SFMTA’s proposed service cuts to 19 Polk bus

by Peter Warfield : sfbayview – excerpt

San Francisco citizen activists and others appear to have succeeded – at least for now – in helping persuade the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board not to approve the SFMTA staff’s plan to eliminate all three stops closest to the Main Library and Civic Center on the northbound 19 Polk bus line.

The SFMTA had planned to eliminate the stops as part of the agency’s Seventh and Eighth Street Safety Project, presented at the regular SFMTA Board meeting Nov. 15, 2016.

The board voted instead to approve all other elements of the plan. The plan includes installation of parking-protected bike-only lanes adjacent to the sidewalk, bus boarding islands instead of curb stops, and bus-only lanes along multiple blocks of Seventh and Eighth streets south of Market Street… (more)

 

 

State launches formal investigation into BART video starring Draymond Green

by By : eastbaytimes – excerpt

OAKLAND — A state agency on Wednesday launched an investigation into allegations that BART illegally used public funds to campaign for its $3.5 billion bond after it aired a video featuring Warriors’ star Draymond Green.

Fair Political Practices Commission spokesman Jay Wierenga said the agency would not pursue a similar complaint that state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, filed in October. If the investigation, which typically takes six months to one year to complete, proves BART broke the law, the transit agency could face fines of up to $5,000 for each violation, Wierenga said…(more)

Claims against Illegal use of public funds to finance regional BART bond ballot initiative filed by Senator Glazer

SF’s Vision Zero: intuitive, radical, and failed

By : sfgate – excerpt

Vision Zero, San Francisco’s declared goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024, has failed so far. 25 people, including 12 people walking and 3 biking, have been killed on our streets this year, compared to 24 by this point in 2014, when the goal was set.

Like many of the most powerful and attractive ideas, Vision Zero is radical but also deeply intuitive: Of course people shouldn’t die on our streets. It’s not just that they shouldn’t die—they don’t have to die. Sweden, where Vision Zero was created in 1997, has cut pedestrian deaths by half and now has a rate of traffic deaths less than one fourth that of the United States…(more)

This is not news. Ed Reiskin admitted this months ago. The US government has come up with studies showing that a huge uptick in deadly accidents are being blamed on apps. Convincing people to go back to defensive behavior might be a better approach. Everyone needs to look where they are going, not assume they are going to seen.

Retired San Francisco Public Works Chief’s Opposition to Geary BRT (Red Carpet)

Why I Oppose the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System (The “Red Carpet”)

The Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA or “Muni”) proposes to spend $300M to tear up the median along Geary Boulevard and construct two “buses only” lanes painted red (the “red carpet”) down the middle of the street. The 120 trees planted in the median would be removed. Angle parking would be replaced by parallel parking. Why?

The City’s “Fact Sheet” says the Bus Rapid Transit Project will:

  • “Improve bus travel times and on-time performance”
  • “Improve safety and access for all users”
  • “Enhance neighborhood livability and community vitality”

Really?

Travel time. Muni wants to speed buses through downtown. That works. Then they want to slow them down between Van Ness and Masonic. Why? And then City staff admitted that west of 25th Avenue, the project will cost $18M and MAY save ONE MINUTE. Does MTA have too much money?

On-time performance. In the Richmond District, the buses will run in a slot down Geary Boulevard, one behind another. If one bus is delayed, there is no room for other buses to pass. Express buses will be eliminated – all buses will make all stops. If your idea of on-time performance is no buses for twenty minutes, followed by six buses in a row, then welcome to today’s Muni.

Safety. Muni’s “Vision Zero” presentation shows 6 accidents per year in the 48 block Richmond District. When I worked for the city I managed a study of high accident intersections. Geary Boulevard in the Richmond NEVER made the “Top 100” most dangerous intersections. This argument is bogus.

Access for all users. Eliminating some bus stops would make the elderly and handicapped travel farther to reach a bus stop. Bicycles are banned from the buses only lanes, even when the lanes are at the edge of the street. How does this improve access for all users?

Neighborhood livability. Start by tearing out 120 trees. Put narrow concrete medians in the middle where an occasional stick tree can be planted (“one-for-one replacement”). Remove most angle parking forcing shoppers to double park or circle the block and park in front of residences, “temporarily” blocking driveways, but it’s ok, City dwellers shouldn’t own cars anyway.

Community vitality. Provide a red painted concrete slot through a vibrant community commercial district. Then change the zoning so that Geary can look like Van Ness. Then remove parking spaces causing small businesses to fail. (Merchants along Mission Street report a drop in sales of as much as 1/3 since their “red carpet’ went in.) But that’s ok, because a City staff person said “everyone knows there’s too much retail in San Francisco anyway”. After all, you can always shop on Amazon.

Still feel like spending $300M of your tax dollars? I don’t.

Vitaly B. Troyan, PE
Chief, Public Works Bureau of Engineering (ret)

from redcarpetmess.org

Sign the petition and support our efforts to Stop the Spread of Red.

Muni Hackers Vow To Release 30GB Of Sensitive Data If Ransom Isn’t Paid

by Kevin Montgomery : hoodline – excerpt

The hackers behind the ransomware attack against Muni’s computer network this past weekend are continuing to escalate their threats against San Francisco’s transportation agency. Beyond controlling 2,112 of SFMTA computers, the hackers now claim to have stolen 30 gigabytes of sensitive departmental data and promise to release it if their demands are not met.

Yesterday, Hoodline learned the hackers, going by the pseudonym “Andy Saolis,” were demanding a 100 Bitcoin ($73,000) ransom to return control of nearly 25 percent Muni’s computer network.

The deadline for sending ransom payment passed early Monday morning—a point at which the hackers had previously claimed they would close their email account, leaving the department without a method to purchase the password to regain access to their network.

Instead, as the deadline passed, Saolis sent a canned statement to several media outlets, including Motherboard, the Examiner and Forbes, with new claims that they extracted information from department computers before encrypting them and locking Muni out.

“I hope Company Try to Fix it Correctly and We Can Advise Them But if they Don’t , We Will Publish 30G Databases and Documents include contracts , employees data , LLD Plans, customers and … to Have More Impact to Company To Force Them to do Right Job!,” Saolis wrote in an email sent to the media.

The hackers, who acknowledged they do not reside in the United States, did not specify what they meant by “LLD Plans.”

According to a list, obtained by Hoodline, of Muni’s machines currently encrypted by the hackers, Saolis likely has control of the department’s payroll service, email servers, Quickbooks, several MySQL database servers, and personal computers for hundreds of employees…(more)

San Francisco’s largest taxi company up for sale

By Ryan Levi : KQED – excerpt

The blows keep coming for San Francisco’s struggling taxi industry. The city’s largest taxi company, the bankrupt Yellow Cab Cooperative, is up for sale.

A series of large personal injury lawsuits against the company combined with the growing popularity of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft pushed Yellow Cab into financial insolvency.

Taxi operator CityWide has already submitted a bid to buy Yellow Cab and its 500 or so cabs. Flywheel, formerly DeSoto Cab, is expected to follow suit.

So what does this mean for the state of taxis in San Francisco? Is this a sign of darker days ahead? Or is it just part of the new ride-share reality?

Mark Gruberg drives for Green Cab and is a board member of the San Francisco Taxi Worker Alliance. Count him among those who see the Yellow Cab sale as particularly bad news.

“I think it’s a very dire warning to everybody else,” he said. “The loss of Yellow does not bode well for the rest of the industry.”

He’s worried about whether the rest of the city’s cabbies will be able to absorb the hundreds of taxi medallions that Yellow Cab is currently operating… (more)

Transit director: ‘Unknown’ if Trump threat to federal funding will hurt Muni, SF streets

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The recent win of President-elect Donald Trump has sent sanctuary cities into a scramble, with San Francisco agencies asking: Will Trump cut major funds for San Francisco?

The question gained real gravity after Trump pledged to cut funding from sanctuary cities across the U.S., who aim to shield undocumented immigrants from federal agents. Mayor Ed Lee declared last week that San Francisco would remain a sanctuary city.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin told his employees in a mass email Wednesday that threats to Muni’s funding are “unknown.”

In the email, which Reiskin sent Wednesday morning as a post-election message to his staff, he outlined potential peril. “We do receive a considerable amount of federal funds as part of our capital budget,” he wrote.

That funding comes in the form of grants disbursed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, in part, and is the basis for most all of the SFMTA’s capital projects, such as the Central Subway in Chinatown or the proposed Bus Rapid Transit routes on Geneva, Geary and Van Ness avenues… (more)

Good time to write the federal representatives and let them know how you feel about these projects. DOT contacts: TBD

Could supes’ request to sign off on road closures put a chill on events?

By Tessa Love : bizjournals – excerpt

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants to sign off on all road closures for events in the city, and the Chamber of Commerce is not happy about it… (more)

Muni Construction Project Snarls Stretches Of Van Ness

cbslocal – excerpt – (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the most traveled streets in San Francisco and the Bay Area is getting transformed, but the construction project is turning some sections of Van Ness Avenue into parking lots.

The three-year construction project spans from Lombard Street all the way to Mission Street.

The SFMTA has released drawings of what Van Ness Avenue will look like in the future… (more)

Who are they kidding. This is all about spending money. Our money on their projects. Voters voted against the sales tax. That should slow them down.

Nightmare coming to Van Ness

by Chris Parkes : beyondchron – excerpt

Halloween has passed, but the nightmare has just begun. This week, most left turns, 2 car lanes, many parking spaces, 50 year old trees, and perhaps your sanity, will be permanently lost from Van Ness… aka Highway 101!

Unlike a bad dream, however, the ill effects of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will not go away when construction ends. The BRT project will remove two car lanes from the middle of Van Ness and convert them into two bus only lanes.  This well intended transit project has been misapplied, however. There are few, if any, other existing BRT projects constructed in the middle of a condensed, congested section of highway with so many closely spaced major arterial cross intersections as we have on Van Ness.

After 3 years, construction will be complete, but the frustration will remain, as drivers, residents, and transit riders become aware that the changes are permanent.

The project sponsor will argue that the impacts are positive. Are they?

What are we getting? Even if you ride the bus all the way from Market to Lombard, your typical ride today is 15-19 minutes.  How much time will you save for this huge expense?  3 minutes?  2 minutes?  Less?

What else will we get? Traffic jams, increased fumes. Loss of half-century old trees.  You’ll have to board the bus from the narrow median…(more)

I hope all the people who voted against L enjoy this traffic mess.

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