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)

San Francisco Removing Dozens Of Parking Spaces In ‘Daylighting’ Plan To Improve Pedestrian Safety

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – It’s getting harder for drivers to park in San Francisco, and it’s not just because of increased traffic. Some parking spots are actually disappearing, in the name of safety.

The Tenderloin is a tough neighborhood in just about every respect, and that includes parking. But in recent weeks, finding a space has become even tougher. “We call it daylighting,” said Tom Maguire of the SFMTA.

Daylighting is a fancy word for removing the parking spaces at busy pedestrian corners. The curb gets painted red at the former parking spot, the meter disappears. What’s left is what the city calls a safer intersection…

Frustrated drivers say they’re all for safety, but they’re also quick to point out that visibility is a two-way street. Joseph cited as an example pedestrians who are looking down at their phones. “Hey, you need to be paying attention to where you’re walking in society, period,” he said.

The city says safety comes first, and that means daylighting will come to a few more neighborhoods. “Places downtown, South of Market, in the Mission,” Maguire said… (more)

Parking crunch crimps growth at SF General

By Jerold Chinn : SFbay – excerpt

Parking at San Francisco General Hospital could soon get worse for patients and employees if a plan is not in place to figure out how the solve the parking situation, health officials said.  Health officials presented their dilemma to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Policy and Governance Committee last Friday seeking help from SFMTA staff to find solutions.

The Health Commission last Tuesday also passed a resolutions urging health officials to work collaboratively with the SFMTA find transportation and parking solutions for patients to access the hospital.

The hospital has been going through major renovations with a new hospital expected to open in December of this year and a proposed UCSF Research Building expected to open in 2019, said Kathy Jung, director of facilities and capital planning for the Department of Public Health.

Jung also said the hospital is planning to move its emergency care services from the south side to north side of campus, which will result in the loss of some parking: “Opening the new hospital and the changes to the campus that will follow have significant impact to the supply and demand of parking at SFGH.”

The hospital is expected to have an increase in demand and higher staffing levels once the new facilities are open, said Jung… (more)

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Supe steamed over ‘culture’ of double-parking

The Disputed Parking Territory of the Upper Haight

by by Amy Stephenson : hoodline – excpert

Parking in the Upper Haight has long been a hot-button issue for the community. Not only is the Upper Haight and Cole Valley home to about 21,000 people in only 30 square blocks, but the Haight’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations city-wide. With that much going on, every inch counts.

Last year, as you might recall, the city announced a pilot program to dedicate public parking spots to care share programs. We started with seven spots, but that number increased when the city moved into an expansion phase of the pilot, as we reported in January.

Since its announcement, the program has seen resistance in the Haight. Most recently, dissent has taken the form of a Change.org petition (the petition is a moveon petition) couching the pilot program as an attack on public space and the working class of San Francisco. As of this writing, it has 294 signatures out of 300 needed to get into the hands of Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, and MTS spokesperson Andy Thornley.

Per the petition:

“It is more expensive to rent a car by the hour than the day. If SFMTA decides they like the revenue this pilot program brings , the number of these private use parking spaces will increase from 450 spaces to 900 spaces city wide. They will no longer be available for your (public) use. Guess who profits.  [ …] These companies have misled the public into believing these actions will help save the environment, when in fact it will put more cars on the streets creating more pollution. This selfish corporate thinking compromises the local workers who need their vehicles to transport the tools of their various trades to the job sites.”

Another petition has sprung up in response to the first. It was created by Tim Wayne, a Haight Ashbury resident, a few weeks ago. Wayne believes that the working class in San Francisco do want car share spots, as a space gets used by more people if it’s for car sharing, as opposed to a single parking space for a private vehicle.  Wayne’s petition is short, but his Nextdoor post on his position was longer (posted with permission):

“For those of us who don’t own cars, we rely on the Muni. But, sometimes, there are errands for which the Muni just is not suited: trips to Costco, to Trader Joe’s, an emergency trip to the bank, etc. For these trips, there are by-the-hour carshare services like City Carshare.  For me, City Carshare is a god-send. City Carshare enabled me to not think twice about getting rid of my car. I use it about twice a week: once to run some errand and every Friday to take my dog to dog-agility class.”

To add to the parking spot kerfuffle, the Public Realm Plan, as we announced last week, will also be taking spots from the Haight, in order to install Muni and pedestrian bulbouts and parklets. According to Lily Langlois, 36 spots along Haight Street will be dedicated to the Public Realm Plan’s street improvements in its current draft. Looking just at Haight Street, that accounts for 8 percent of total parking from Central to Stanyan Streets.

Losing 36 additional parking spots has prompted some neighbors to reconsider the big picture of parking loss in the Haight. We’ve noticed a renewed interest in parking issues since the announcement of the Public Realm Plan in neighborhood social media groups, so we wanted to throw it to you. Is the loss of more than 36 parking spaces worth the potential community benefit of fewer cars and more public spaces? Tell us in the comments… (more)

Do sign those petitions that you feel strongest about and do write your comments on the source article.

RELATED:
Public Realm Plan

More Muni Money, More Muni Problems: Even a $500 million boost won’t help Muni

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

…In the opening of John Oliver’s segment on crumbling infrastructure in the United States, which aired March 1, Ed Reiskin, transportation director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, got his 15 seconds of roasting.

“As much as I like to think otherwise, infrastructure is not very sexy,” Reiskin says on the show. His comments are played alongside a few other middle-aged Caucasian bureaucrats saying similar things…

To which Oliver replies, “Yes, infrastructure, like those men we just heard from, is important, but not sexy.”

Ouch. For the record, SF Weekly is no authority on bureaucrat sexiness — we’ll leave that one to the voters. It is worth noting that Muni’s infrastructure is a frequent topic in these pages. And at a Feb. 9 Capital Planning Committee meeting, Reiskin was making a similar argument as Oliver: San Francisco needs even more money for transit infrastructure.

The SFMTA’s infrastructure (of which Muni makes up the bulk) isn’t getting the attention or the money it requires, and over the next 10 years it will face a $4.9 billion in infrastructure obligations. That number will balloon to $11.5 billion in 20 years. In other words, that recent voter-approved $500 million bond for transit infrastructure won’t even put a dent in our needs.

“Spoiler: I’m not going to end by asking for a billion dollars,” Reiskin told the committee. Everyone laughed… (more)

A billion for Muni and another billion for BART. And they still can’t fix the potholes which the voters were promised several ballots ago. Even the bikers are complaining about the potholes. They hit on and go down. At least the four-wheeled vehicle don’t lose their balance over a pothole.

Rob Anderson and Mary Miles Take Aim at the SFMTA’s Plans for Polk Street

This was the team that tied SFGov up in knots with an injunction for four long years.

FROM:
Mary Miles (SB #230395)
Attorney at Law
for Coalition for Adequate Review
San Francisco, CA 94102
TO:
Edward Reiskin, Director
Roberta Boomer, Board Secretary
and Members of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Transportation Agency
#1 South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
DATE: March 3, 2015
PUBLIC COMMENT, MTA BOARD MEETING OF MARCH 3, 2015, AGENDA ITEM 12 (“Polk Streetscape Project”)
This is Public Comment on Agenda Item 12, the “Polk Streetscape Project” (“Polk Project” or “the Project”), on the MTA Board’s March 3, 2015 Agenda. Under the Brown Act and CEQA, you are legally obligated to accept and consider this Comment and to place it in all public files on the Project. Therefore, please assure that this Comment has been distributed to all members of the MTA Board and placed in all applicable files on the Project.
The “categorical exemptions” invoked do not apply to the Project, and therefore you may not lawfully approve the Project or any part of it as proposed, since such approval will violate the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) (Pub. Res. Code §§21000 et seq.)
The Project proposes to reduce traffic and turning capacity on Polk and other Streets by eliminating existing parking lanes, reducing traffic lanes and installing obstructions to traffic flow and turning on this busy commercial corridor.
The unusual and highly inconvenient scheduling of this hearing before the MTA Board after 3:00 p.m., on a day with an extraordinarily long MTA Board Agenda shows the MTA Board’s contempt for the public and the significant impacts of the Project. The hearing should be continued to a date and time when the public can be heard without waiting hours for hearings on unrelated matters, and where the public’s comments will receive the Board’s full and serious attention. The hearing precludes public attendance by many people, including all those people who have to be at work. Combined with the short notice, that scheduling deprives the public of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the environmental review and administrative proceedings on the Project.
On January 15, 2015, the San Francisco Planning Department issued a “Certificate of Determination of Exemption from Environmental Review” (“Exemption”) claiming that the Project was categorically exempt under Classes 1, 2, and 4 of CEQA, invoking 14 Cal. Code Regs. [“Guidelines”] §§ 15301, 15302, and 15304. None of those categorical exemptions apply to this Project. Further, the significant cumulative impacts on traffic, transit, parking, loading, and air quality caused by the Van Ness BRT project one block away, and by the CPMC Project at Van Ness Avenue at Geary Boulevard, make the Polk Project not categorically exempt. (Guidelines §15300.2) Both of those Projects also present “unusual circumstances” precluding categorical exemption of the Polk Project.
1. The Polk Project Does Not Fit Within The Categorical Exemptions Invoked… (more)
This is not the only legal threat that we know of. We heard from other attorneys at the hearings. We will watch this closely.

Expect congestion next three years: Lombard, Polk, and Van Ness construction projects to run simultaneously

By Susan Dyer Reynolds : marinatimes – excerpt

In San Francisco, where extensive construction work has taken over the city’s neighborhoods and business districts, it seems almost absurd to attempt three enormous, overlapping projects on and around three major Northside thoroughfares, but that’s exactly what the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has planned. Here’s the latest news on the Polk Streetscape project, the Van Ness Transit Corridor Improvement and Bus Rapid Transit project, and the Lombard Street Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative… (more)

The author wants to know how you feel about these plans so let her know. Also let the city officials know. Save Polk Street has a letter here you can sign if you like:

http://www.savepolkstreet.com/

RELATED:
Future of Polk Street to be decided Tuesday – maybe

SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought By Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The SFMTA has nixed a block of protected bike lane planned on Polk Street, where merchants including Mayor Ed Lee’s optometrist have vocally opposed it to preserve car parking…

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin ordered the reduction, as shown in emails [PDF] obtained by Madeleine Savit, who founded Folks for Polk to advocate for a safer street. Reiskin and the SFMTA Board of Directors are mayoral appointees.

The Polk redesign, which is up for a vote by the SFMTA Board of Directors on Tuesday, has been fiercely opposed by a group of merchants called “Save Polk Street,” which has spread misinformation in its campaign to preserve parking. Under the proposed plan, partial bike lanes would be installed by removing about 30 percent of the 320 parking spaces on Polk, or 8 percent of parking spaces within a block of the street…

“I’ve heard from many different groups,” Lee told Streetsblog. “I know we want to make the streets safer, make it bike-friendly, small businesses don’t want to lose parking for their constituents… I can’t have a particular position on it except to endorse the most balanced approach that they have because there’s issues that should not be in conflict. We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety over pedestrian safety over cars and parking. I think they’re all going to be important.”

“We have to look at the future — what is it that thoroughfare suggests to us? And how do we take a look at that future and [find] the safest, expedient route that balances the different modes of transportation people have, but also supports the businesses at the same time. If it takes more time, then I’m going to suggest that more time should be taken.”(more)

Please send a letter to the Mayor and our city officials to let them know how you feel about the disruptions on our city streets, and speak at the March 3 MTA Board Meeting at City Hall, room 400, around 2:30 PM if you can.

For your convenience there is a Form letter here.

Thank you for taking a stand on this important issue.