May SFMTA Meetings – Come tell the Board what you want them to do.


SFMTA Board Meetings at City Hall Room 400, 1 PM
This month – May 3 and May 17

FYI: What SFMTA staff CAN and CANNOT do without Board approval:

What CAN this SFMTA staff group do?
The Staff: It appears all they can really do is recommend actions to the Board.
They CAN change the timing on the traffic signals and they MAY change some color curbs up to 20 feet long without a MTA Board hearing.

What MUST the Board do?
SFMTA Board MUST approve removal of: stop signs, no left turns, bus zones, blue zones, towing no parking and stopping signs, and required right turns. All of these changes take place at the SFMTA Board meetings. That is why we are taking our issues to the SFMTA Board meeting.

What CAN the Supervisors do?
Supervisors can do a lot if 8 or them agree to make the change.
A Supervisor may be able to do something about enforcement.

We  asked about enforcement for the Mission Street project:
SFMTA enforces double parking.
PCO who directs traffic at forced right turn on Cesar Chavez.
SFMTA enforces protection for street painters.
Police Department handles the rest of the enforcement. A Supervisor may be able to do something about enforcement.

‘Tech Buses’ Commit Hundreds of Violations on San Francisco Roadways

By Bigad Shaban, Felipe Escamilla and Kevin Nious : nbcbayarea – excerpt – (video)

Some of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley use private buses to shuttle their employees to and from work, but records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reveal a growing problem that could put other commuters in danger.

An employee perk at some of the world’s most well known tech companies is at the center of a heated debate over fairness and convenience.

While the buses aim to take thousands of cars off the road, traffic records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit revealed a growing problem that could put other commuters in danger.

Each workday, three million people travel across the Bay Area on roadways, railways, bike lanes, and bus lanes…

Shuttle companies boast they’re part of a solution to get cars off the road. But city records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit revealed those buses may also be putting other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians at risk…


Use the interactive map below to locate the 125 private bus stops in San Francisco, as well as the locations for the more 800 citations issued to private commuter buses in 2014 and 2015. You can also click on each individual point on the map to learn more…(more)

Bay Area traffic ignites backlash against boom, new poll suggests

by George Avalos : eastbaytimes – excerpt

“Beat L.A.” is a familiar refrain in Bay Area sports, but it now appears Northern California is on its way to being a rival for Southern California in an unwelcome fashion: traffic jams

Residents in the Bay Area have become discouraged about the heavy traffic in the region, with a dramatically expanding number of them indicating that traffic is worse than a year ago amid a huge surge in the local economy, a new poll released Friday by the Bay Area Council suggests.

“Bay Area residents are frustrated about traffic,” said Ruth Bernstein, senior principal with EMC Research, a firm that conducts market and opinion research. “It’s harder for them to get around. We definitely are seeing a backlash against the economic boom.”

Yet the traffic itself is but a symptom of what is going on rather than a cause, said Christopher Thornberg, principal executive with Beacon Economics

“It’s harder to get around, and it is harder to find transportation access and also access to housing,” Bernstein said…

“We’re running out of adjectives to describe how bad Bay Area traffic is and the misery it’s causing,” said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We understand residents’ aggravation with traffic, but we’re not giving up on the problem.”

Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow him at (more)

BART police want to read your license plate

By Erin Baldassari : mercurynews – excerpt

OAKLAND — BART police have quietly purchased and installed two automatic license plate readers at the MacArthur station and hope to launch a pilot program with the aim of eventually installing the technology at every station.

BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow, who plans to present the pilot program to the transit agency’s board of directors Thursday, said the automated license plate readers, a tool that has proliferated in police departments across the Bay Area, could be especially useful in solving property crimes. But privacy and civil rights advocates are concerned about how long BART will retain the collected data, how that data will be used, and who is being surveilled…

Under a new state law, Senate Bill 34, the department has to present the proposal to the public for comment but is otherwise free to implement the technology.

The lack of public oversight is a problem, said Tessa D’Arcangelew, a technology and civil liberties organizer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. D’Arcangelew would like to see BART police first complete a surveillance impact report, which would include a cost-benefit analysis, and look at potential harms of using the technology before the department decides to implement it… (more)


Want to Ease Parking in Your Neighborhood? Join Our Open Houses

by Pamela Johnson : sfmta – excerpt

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Residential parking is an issue in any crowded city, and San Francisco is no different. But while San Francisco’s Residential Parking Permit program hasn’t changed much since it began in 1976, the city has. That’s why we’re continuing our community meetings to address the natural questions: does the program still work? And if not, what changes could make it work better?..

The SFMTA would like to hear from you! We hope you can attend one or more of these upcoming workshops to discuss San Francisco’s neighborhood parking.

5/3/2015 6 to 8 PM San Francisco Day School 350 Masonic Avenue
5/4/2016 6 to 8 PM Calvary Presbyterian Church 2515 Fillmore Street
5/9/2016 6 to 8 PM Richmond Rec Center  251 18th Avenue
5/10/2016 6 to 8 PM Grace Lutheran 3201 Ulloa Street
5/18/2016 6 to 8 PM CCSF Chinatown/North Beach 628 Washington Street
5/19/2016 6 to 8 PM CCSF Mission Campus, Room 109 1125 Valencia Street
5/23/2016 6 to 8 PM St. Stephen Catholic Parish 475 Eucalyptus Drive
5/25/2016 6 to  8 PM Minnie Lovie Ward Rec Center 650 Capitol Avenue
6/1/2016 6 to 8 PM St. Anthony’s 150 Golden Gate Avenue
6/2/2016 6 to 8 PM CCSF South East Campus 1800 Oakdale Avenue
 6/8/2016 6:30 to 8:30 PM Harvey Milk Arts Center 50 Scott Street

If you can’t make it, you can also provide feedback to:

Kathryn Studwell
Program Manager of Residential Permit Parking (more)

More changes to be ignored?

After removal of hundreds of parking spaces both on and off street, and new laws that limit building new parking spaces, it is pretty disingenuous of the SFMTA to ask how the parking is in San Francisco. If anyone wants to know how the parking removal is effecting SF businesses, you can watch the April 25th Small Business Commission meeting tapes for a pretty common description of how bad business is after the SFMTA establishes its plan on your streets. It sucks!

We know the SFMTA plan is to put parking meters, or should I say, “park by phone only” ( options on all the San Francisco streets so you will have to constantly play musical parking chairs. STOP THEM NOW. Sign the Stop SFMTA petition and find out about all the other petitions and opportunities to oppose the SFMTA plan to privatize our public streets.


Public Works to crack down on illegal Chariot signs

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Sandwich boards stationed at sidewalks across San Francisco by shuttle company Chariot are illegal and must be removed.

That’s according to the San Francisco Department of Public Works, which after inquiries from the San Francisco Examiner said dozens of such boards across The City placed by Chariot are unpermitted.

“Chariot has no permits with us for A-Frames,” said Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for Public Works. A-Frames are the technical term for sandwich boards.

After the Examiner’s inquiry, Gordon said the agency has sent out an inspector to investigate the boards. She added, “We’ll send a corrective order,” about one of the boards on Pine Street downtown.

But Chariot has many more boards erected every morning in neighborhoods all over San Francisco, and those may also be illegal, according to Public Works.

Gordon said the fine for erecting these boards unpermitted is $300, and Chariot could be fined individually for every board it has on city streets.

Beyond the sandwich boards, one city resident, Sue Vaughan, who also serves on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Citizens Advisory Committee, said Chariot repeatedly violates parking zones and public bus-only lanes… (more)

Shuttle Bus case in Superior Court

Thursday April 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM. 400 McAllister at Polk. court room 508, Judge Wong. will hear the Shuttle Bus case in Superior Court.  Only the Judge and lawyers will speak. The Decision will come later. if you are interested.  Plaintiffs are requesting that the judge issue a decision on the California Vehicle Code 22500.i preemption matter, since the trial was finally held on November 13, 2015.  The other side is seeking dismissal of the case.

Thank you for all your letters of opposition to AB-1641 and ABX1-25
Assemblymember Travis Allen pulled AB-1641 from the Assembly Transportation Committee agenda for April 11, and it has not yet been rescheduled.  The last day for non-fiscal bills to be heard in committee is May 6.  If you have not yet gotten your letters of opposition to both bills in, there is still time.  Templates are attached for each.
ABX1-25 — OPPOSE 02-22-2016
AB 1641– OPPOSE 02-22-2016
Please submit them to the Honorable Jim Frazier, Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee, C/O Toni Zupan at  Also attached are the analysis for AB-1641 (with a listing of opposing organizations) and the analysis for last year’s AB-61 (same legislation, different number)


Proposal Approved, But It’s Not Over Yet!

Apr 25, 2016 — update on the Twin Peaks petition and meetings.


As you may already know, at the meeting on 4/19/16, the SFMTA board approved the proposal to prohibit vehicles on the east side of the figure 8 and make the road two-way traffic on the west side. About twice as many people testified against the proposal as those in favor, and I gave a detailed statement on the safety hazards, but the board decided to go ahead with it anyway.

That being said, things may yet change. There is a meeting of the City-chartered Bicycle Advisory Committee on Monday, 4/25/16 at 6:30 PM in room 408 at City Hall, and I will be there to discuss the unfortunate consequences if the proposal is implemented. Information on the committee is here:
And the agenda for the meeting is here:

Meanwhile, please continue to spread the word, and get more people to sign the petition. The proposal is considered a “pilot” by the SFMTA, and if negative effects come to light, such as onerous traffic jams at the overlook, they may consider canceling the pilot early. Petition signers will get timely updates when the pilot is being evaluated, so that additional input can be provided when that’s most important.

Thanks again.


Survey Floats Proposal To Add Parking-Protected Bike Lanes To Oak And Fell Along Panhandle

by Nuala Sawyer : hoodline – excerpt

The North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA) has released a survey polling the community about a radical plan: to install separated bike lanes on both Fell and Oak streets, running the length of Panhandle Park between Baker and Stanyan. To achieve such a feat, one lane of traffic may have to be removed, and parking would be set back from the curb to create a buffer between the bike lane and car traffic (similar to the setup on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park)…

The Panhandle currently has two paths running through it. The path on the south side, commonly used by pedestrians, is bumpy thanks to tree roots pushing through the soil, and meanders to and fro along the edge of Oak Street.

The north side of the park is a different scene. The wider two-way multi-use path is used by runners, pedestrians (often pushing strollers), rollerbladers, skateboarders, and cyclists. Particularly during the morning and evening rush hour, it can become a highway for two-wheeled commuters, connecting them from the popular Wiggle bike route to Golden Gate Park, the Richmond and the Sunset…

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) supports the work of NOPNA in polling the community about these issues. “It’s so great to see the neighborhood association seeking the community’s feedback on how best to improve the Panhandle and neighboring streets,” said Chris Cassidy of SFBC. “We’re excited to see the results of this community survey, and eager to see streets around the Panhandle reflect the hopes of those who use them the most.”

But it’s likely that not everyone in the neighborhood will be a fan of the proposal. As readers well know, the addition of new bike infrastructure, which can spell less space for cars on the road, is perennial hot topic around these parts (see the discussion around this week’s story on a new Tenderloin bike lane). If implemented, the new bike lanes could require the removal of a lane on both Oak and Fell streets, which serve as main arteries for east/west car traffic in the area… (more)

Plan to move ‘Google Bus’ shuttles to arterial streets hits roadblock

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

No matter where they roll, the infamous “Google buses” seem to draw controversy.

Plans to place private commuter shuttle stops on Dolores Street stalled Tuesday at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Board of Directors meeting after neighbors decried relocating the stop to that area.

But other relocations to commuter shuttle stops were approved — on 16th, Fell, Powell and Gough streets, for instance — because of prior-approved policy by the SFMTA to direct vehicles off of smaller streets.

And because the Supervisors didn’t show up to protest them.

SFMTA planners will instead conduct a monthlong study of moving the Dolores Street stops to nearby Guerrero Street, which has weight restrictions that would prohibit shuttles. However, the SFMTA will now study why those restrictions — instituted long ago — were created, and if they are still necessary.

More stops will need to change in future meetings as well, said Tom Maguire, a planner at SFMTA.

Many neighbors from Dolores Street came out to oppose a new shuttle stop on their block, which Supervisor Scott Wiener and others alleged would create a sea of these gleaming white buses…

Wait a minute. Isnt’ that the argument the people opposing the tech buses have been using agaisnt them? It is ok for some streets to have a sea of buses but not Dolores? Is this a NIMBY comment by an anti-NIMBY?

“I think the overarching issue is safety,” said John Giordano, a neighbor who lives on Dolores Street. He noted the SFMTA should study Dolores Street for weight restrictions similar to Guerrero Street, because Dolores Street has steeper grades, unprotected crosswalks without stoplights, and narrower lanes.

Not steeper than the streets in Noe Valley where the buses get stuck and can’t turn.

Supervisor Scott Wiener scolded the SFMTA board, telling them that outcry from neighbors is a direct result of tech shuttle opponents sweeping shuttles off narrower streets.


“There was a lot of pushback that they should only be on arterials,” Wiener told the San Francisco Examiner. Restricting shuttles to arterials, he said, “means an enormous number of shuttles is on the arterials, instead of dispersing the shuttles” throughout the neighborhoods.

Wiener alleged as many as 55 commuter shuttles per hour would stream down Dolores Street if the plan were approved, instead of throughout the neighborhood… (more)

Comments at the source are strongly encouraged. Be sure to read a few so you can enjoy the irony of who is complaining now about tech buses.