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)

 

 

MonkeyParking Is Back and Ready to Disrupt Your Driveway

By Joe Eskenazi : modernluxury – excerpt

Once-reviled parking app to give legality a shot.

Last summer, an app called MonkeyParking became a target of much Internet ire after attempting to introduce its service—which allowed users to auction off public, city-owned parking spots to the highest bidder—in parking-deficient San Francisco. The business model, the company claimed, was defensible as a First Amendment matter. This argument did not sway the vast, seething swarms on social media, nor did it assuage City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who quashed MonkeyParking with great vengeance and furious anger. “We knew we were touching a nerve,” MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny admits now. But he says he didn’t expect San Franciscans and the City Attorney “to be so angry.”

Well, now he knows. And now the monkey is back…

Well, here’s some advice on taxes that other sharing-economy companies have (eventually) heeded: Pay them… (more)

Bicyclist, 26, seriously injured after crashing into parked car on Gough Street in San Francisco, California

accidentdatacenter – excerpt

A 26-year-old man was bicycling on Gough Street when a vehicle in front of him stopped and switched on her turn signal to turn into a parking space. He crashed into the back of the vehicle, suffering life-threatening injuries which included head trauma, internal bleeding, fractured ribs, and a punctured lung. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of his injuries… (more)

Some people feel that all cyclists should wear helmets. State Senate Bill 192, Bicycle Helmet and Reflectors, sponsored by Senator Carol Liu, would extend the helmet requirement to adults and also require all riders to wear reflective clothing when cycling at night. The bill was referred to the Transportation and Housing Committee. Contact Robert.Oakes@sen.ca.gov for details.

An extensive  list of state bills related to Transportation and Housing, and CEQA issues can be found here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/california-bills/
Let the state reps know how you feel. Contacts are here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

Accident report site: http://accidentdatacenter.com/us/california/san-francisco-oakland-san-jose-ca/san-francisco/15/03/17/bicyclist-26-seriously-injured-after-crashing-parked-car-gough-street-san-francisco-california

RELATED:
Cyclist suffers life-threatening injuries in S.F. crash

 

San Fran: Should Google Be Allowed to provide FREE Bus Rides for Its Employees–or do UNIONS Control All Transportation

By Stephen Frank   – excerpt

City Attorney’s office tries to stall Google Bus trial hearing 

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodrigue, SF Examiner, 3/15/15

Petitioners of a lawsuit against San Francisco’s commuter shuttle pilot program last week challenged a motion by the City Attorney’s Office to have more time to respond to the suit.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency created the pilot program last year to study the impact of the so-called Google Buses, private shuttles that transport tech workers to campuses around the region. The buses have attracted ire in San Francisco as symbols of tech-industry gentrification.

The Coalition for Fair Legal and Environmental Transit filed suit last year against Google, Apple, shuttle providers and The City to stall the program, alleging they failed to study impacts of exhaust in the air and stress on the asphalt. They also argue rents skyrocket near the shuttle stops, displacing people with the luck of living near them.

Last Wednesday’s filing came as Superior Court Judge Garrett L. Wong was on vacation. The trial is set for June, but the City Attorney’s Office pressed for a key pre-trial hearing on March 27 to be pushed back.

Wong will hear arguments Monday for rescheduling the hearing.

The effort to delay the hearing coincides with a State Assembly committee hearing on AB61, a bill which would legalize aspects of the commuter shuttle pilot program statewide. Approval by the committee may add legitimacy to the city attorney’s arguments that the pilot program is allowable, some insiders said…

… the bill’s language may in fact aid the petitioners’ case since it acknowledges that aspects of the shuttle pilot program are illegal… (more)

When you displace and inconvenience a majority of the population in order to privilege a minority group, you will not be welcome.  How many shuttles can San Francisco residents take?

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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