L-Taraval public hearing set for Friday

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Back in February, merchants and residents were not pleased with the latest proposal presented by officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for the Taraval Street corridor.

The proposal presented six months ago included adding boarding islands, a red transit-only lane, traffic signals and removing some train stops to speed up the L-Taraval.

Merchants worried about where the boarding islands would be constructed because it would require taking away seven to 10 parking spaces, according to the transit agency’s proposal.

The plan had called for one-to-one parking replacement at nearby streets.

Albert Chow, owner of the Great Hardware store on Taraval between 28th and 29th Avenue, said a there would not be enough parking spaces at nearby streets and that it would have an economic to businesses at community meeting held in February.

Instead, the SFMTA is proposing to test a boarding zone pilot at Taraval Street and 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues, which includes painted warnings and new signage to drivers that they have stop to let passengers board and alight trains…

Officials said they still plan to add boarding islands where Muni riders have been hit by a train either getting on or off. Those locations include 19th, 42nd and 44th avenues in both inbound and outbound directions. Boarding islands would also be added at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 40th and 46th avenues in just the outbound direction…

Another concern was the removal of 14 train stops. Officials said they will now only remove nine stops, but that still does not satisfy Paula Katz, a resident in the outer Parkside neighborhood.

Katz told SFMTA board members on Tuesday that the transit agency needs to keep all the L-Taraval stops, and submitted a petition with over 1,600 signatures:

“Many of the signatures in our petition are from L riders whose lives would be negatively impacted if they lose their stops and have to walk an extra block or two when they are catching the L or coming home and when they shop at our local merchants, the library, post office and our local Safeway, which for some incredible reason all are losing their L-Taraval stops.”

Merchants and residents can still be heard at this Friday’s public hearing at City Hall at 10 a.m., Room 416…(more)

Taraval joins a long line of dissatisfied customers that will be voting for a change in management at the SFMTA in November by decentralizing the power structure that the voters put into place a number of years ago. Stay tuned for the details as they unfold on the SFMTA Charter Amendment. For now, updates are here: stopsfmta.com

 

 

Squabbling Supes send SFMTA board battle to voters

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

San Francisco voters this November will get to decide if the mayor and the Board of Supervisors should split the responsibility of making appointments onto the City’s transportation agency’s board.

Supervisors on Tuesday voted 6-5 to place the charter amendment onto the ballot, which would allow the mayor to appoint four members of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors while supervisors would get to appoint three members.

The measure would also change the threshold from seven to six on the number of supervisors it would take to reject the transit agency’s budget.

Supervisors Scott Wiener, Katy Tang, Mark Farrell, Malia Cohen and London Breed voted against the charter amendment… (more)

Considering that San Francisco used to be the “City that knows How”, we certainly forgot how to manage the flow of traffic. Under the current regime of the SFMTA San Francisco went from the easiest to travel around in city to the 3rd worst traffic city in the US. We can do better. Thanks to the Supervisors who are giving us a chance to prove it.

Muni takes steps to reduce surge in bus crashes

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Muni officials are taking steps to decrease the number of bus and light-rail collisions with private vehicles and objects on San Francisco streets.

During the last five months, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has seen a decrease in light-rail collisions. Bus collisions, though, are trending upward, according to data obtained from the transit agency by SFBay.

In February, the SFMTA reported that 113 buses either collided with another private vehicle or by hitting an object such as a pole or a transit shelter. In June, that number increased to 173 collisions, the SFMTA reports…

Some of the hotspots for vehicle collisions included Mission and Main streets, Fourth and Townsend streets, and along Third Street…

Check out the video on Third Street if you haven’t experienced it yet for yourself. This the worst, least safe street alteration we have seen. Try it in the rain for a real treat.

Buses Versus Fixed Objects

Objects such as poles and transit shelters are also getting in the way of Muni buses. Transit officials said they analyzed the data to find out where the most fixed object collisions occurred and to see with which objects Muni vehicles were likely to collide… (more)

The collisions wouldn’t have anything to do with the narrow lanes they are imposing on all the streets or the insane twists and turns they have introduced on all the formerly straight lanes with the insane idea that the streets would be “calmer” and safer for pedestrians because the “cars” would have to drive slower?  Someone should also inform the SFMTA geniuses that a certain percentage of the population is color blind so their pretty red and green streets look gray and mean nothing to those people. Maybe they should get some Muni drivers and emergency transit people involved in the street alterations since they are ones who have to drive on them. Don’t even get me started on the paint over potholes on Mission Street. There is only one answer to solving the problems described in this article. Fire the the people who are responsible and support the SFMTA Charter Amendment to bring some sanity into this insane department. Get all the details on StopSFMTA.com

Our SFMTA Wants to Claim It’s Increasing Parking Up at Twin Peaks, But It’s DECREASING Parking – One Simple Trick!

sfcitizen – excerpt

What the SFMTA’s Twin Peaks Figure 8 Redesign Project is a gonna do is get rid of these, these people from the top of Twin Peaks, particularly on busy dreaded sunny days, like this one…

Most of the tourists on top of that twin came from all the cars you can see on the left side. But all that parking is gone now, so tourists aren’t going to go to the top of Twin Peaks as much anymore.

What’s that, “good,” you say? Well OK, but why doesn’t the SFMTA just come out and say that? Instead, we get this:

Twin Peaks Figure 8 Redesign Project Frequently Asked Questions – April 8, 2016 version:

Will any parking be added or removed? No parking is being proposed for removal. Today, informal (illegal) parking takes place at the center of the Figure 8 and occasionally in the outer lane of the roadway. This project will formalize parking at both the center and south intersections, increasing the number of available stalls. Parking in the travel lane will no longer be possible.

So they’re not “removing parking,” they’re simply blocking cars from getting to the parking spaces? And you can’t park on the side of a highway in CA anymore, is that correct, really?

So the real answer to the question Will any parking be added or removed is:

Yes. Hell yes(more)

FlightCar is grounded — San Francisco startup announces it’s shutting down

By : siliconbeat -excerpt

FlightCar is no more.

The San Francisco startup, which provided an Airbnb-type solution to exorbitant airport parking costs, announced on Thursday it’s shutting its doors.

The platform allowed users to rent their cars to strangers while they traveled, thereby getting out of paying for airport parking. But a short note on the company’s website says it will be closing its doors in all 12 of its operating locations within the next few weeks.

“We believe that people around the world can be more self-reliant by sharing their resources to improve society, and we truly appreciate the community that came together to share and rent each others’ unique cars,” the company wrote. “We thank all of our customers for being a part of our journey, and we look forward to a new future.”…(more)

Muni buses to get air conditioning for first time

By : sfexminer – excerpt

Muni is about to get a whole lot cooler.

San Francisco’s bus fleet is set to get what some might consider an odd upgrade for The City’s foggy climate: air conditioning. Come 2018, most of Muni’s fleet will see air conditioning installed after bus operators expressed comfort concerns.

“Sounding like Mark Twain, the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” said John Haley, director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. While many sources argue Twain never actually said this, it does illustrate the reasoning behind the decades-long lack of air conditioning.

Haley announced the move in an email to all SFMTA transit staff Wednesday, which was provided to the San Francisco Examiner.

In the letter, Haley said operators voiced a need for air conditioning in an open forum a few months ago… (more)

I have an air-conditioned car and I think I may use it twice a year in SF. Don’t they have windows that open? Air conditioners cost more to run, and as someone pointed out, the opening doors will let all the “cool” out. Looks like Muni has money to burn, so we don’t need to support their sales tax increase. Between painting over potholes instead of repairing them, moving bus stops around like a shell game, and putting air conditioners on buses, I’d say the SFMTA Board of Directors is out to lunch and in over their heads. Time to “shift” them out and their “out-dated” priorities and policies out of City Hall.

Robot Runs Over Child in San Francisco Shopping Center

By Nahema Marchal : heatst – excerpt

If you thought all wide-eyed, gliding, egg-shaped robots were as cute and harmless as Wall-E, then think again.

Last Thursday at a Stanford shopping center, a security robot ran over a 16-month-old toddler’s foot, much to the horror of his parents and bystanders. Luckily, the child didn’t suffer any major injury.

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” Harwin’s mom Tiffany Teng told ABC 7.

According to one of the mall’s security guards, this is the second time that the autonomous machine has trampled over a kid. Another was hurt from the same robot just days before… (more)

Traffic study puts Bay Area’s largest cities amongst worst in country

by Katie Utehs : abc7news – excerpt

A new traffic study puts the Bay Area’s largest cities as amongst the worst in the country. Additionally, the study found that people who drive spend around 200 hours on the road a year.

WalletHub crunched numbers from the 100 most populated cities in the U.S., taking into account things like traffic and road conditions and the cost of owning and maintaining a car… (more)

VTA Sales Tax Promises Transit Lanes On Highway 85

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt – (graphics included)

After planning for the past decade to install express lanes on Highway 85, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is now pitching its $350 million sales tax funding request to widen Highway 85 as “transit lanes.” On June 24, the VTA Board of Directors [PDF] struck any reference to “express lanes” from the Highway 85 project description that they had approved on June 2 along with $6.3 billion in transportation projects:

This category will To fund a managed lanes project that includes an express lane new transit and congestion relief projects on SR 85, in each direction, and a new transit lane in each direction on SR 85, including a new transit lane from SR 87 in San Jose to U.S. 101 in Mountain View. Additionally this category will fund noise abatement along SR 85 and will provide funding to study transportation alternatives that include, but are not limited to, Bus Rapid Transit with infrastructure such as stations and access ramps, Light Rail Transit, and future transportation technologies that may be applicable.”

Express lanes are free for buses and carpools, but charge a toll to solo drivers during congested hours of the day to keep the lane free-flowing. Transit lanes would allow only transit vehicles – buses or light rail – but not carpools or solo drivers. VTA installed express lanes on short sections of Highways 237 and 880 in 2012 and has been planning since 2007 to convert the existing carpool lanes on Highways 85 and 101 to express lanes, completing Santa Clara County’s portion of an envisioned 550-mile network of San Francisco Bay Area Express Lanes.

Highway 85 is also slated for widening from six to eight lanes between Highways 280 and 87 with a second set of express lanes built in the median “because traffic studies indicated the additional lanes were needed,” according to VTA’s December 2013 State Route 85 Express Lanes Project environmental assessment [PDF]. The study notes that “the ability to accommodate traffic growth will be constrained by the existing capacity of the freeway,” and predicts that the expansion would increase vehicle miles traveled by between five and 14 percent during rush hours. Air pollution and noise would also increase… (more)

Voters must be on the lookout for sneaky tax bills that don’t specify what the money is used for. This is one example of how our government tricks us into accepting “their” plans for “our ” money.

Already they are spending millions of dollars on “smart” highway projects they claim will “calm and control” traffic. On freeways? Who wants to slow traffic on freeways?

SF leader on ‘Smart City’ challenge leaves SFMTA for Google X

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Office of Innovation, which looks to pioneer transit of the future like driverless cars, needs to find a new chief dreamer.

Tim Papandreou, head of the Office of Innovation, is leaving his city job to join Google X, the company’s self-driving car project, Papandreou announced at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting in late June.

He was the lead point of contact with Google and other tech innovators on developing policy initiatives around driverless cars and other transit innovations.

When asked if losing Papandreou would slow down those efforts, Ratna Amin, transportation policy director at SPUR, wrote in an email, “There could be a lag,” but not if “someone else is made accountable soon.”…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future.

“The immediate reaction we had from our partners was, ‘Let’s continue forward in any case,’” Reiskin said…

Who are these partners?

SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan congratulated Papandreou on his new job, and added, “Can we each get one of those new driverless cars? We can test them for you!” … (more)

If there was any doubt about the connection between SPUR, SFMTA, MTC and Plan Bay Area, and the Tech titan’s plans to privatize and control public streets and transportation, that doubt is now gone. In their own words we hear their plan.

It is up to you now, Bay Area citizens to vote for your preference in November. Do you favor a private corporation deciding where and how you should get around, while tracking your every move and purchase, or would you prefer to step back into a world where you decide what you want to do and where you want to go?

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Uber Is Experimenting With a Service in Manhattan That’s Cheaper Than the Subway:
How dose putting more private buses on the streets that compete with the subway help the traffic flow? Is there nothing these corporations can’t leave alone? Bring back private jitney buses that do the same thing but don’t rely on apps. Just roll along the streets and pick up passengers for a few bucks and allow private citizens without smart phones and apps. How dose putting more private buses on the streets help the traffic?