Transit agency ‘mistake’ reveals extra parking removed from Potrero Avenue

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Overhead google shot of Potrero before the medians were installed.

Sometimes, San Francisco makes mistakes.

In this case, a mistake led to the revelation of more parking removed for a safety and transportation project on Potrero Avenue than the community was initially was told — 60 spaces total, instead of 41.

But neighbors are also concerned that the Potrero Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project was designed before Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital built its new trauma wing — and that those 2014 transportation plans reportedly block emergency vehicle access…

That allegation from neighbors was later expressed by Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which heads the project.

These concerns prompted the SFMTA Board of Directors to approve the project in a limited capacity Tuesday and carve out a hole in their plans directly in front of the hospital so that portion can be studied…

Potrero Avenue resident David Jayne recorded video showing one of the newly installed traffic medians preventing an emergency vehicle from accessing the hospital. It showed an ambulance flashing its lights while sitting behind traffic at a red light by the entrance to the hospital.

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Photos of fire trucks and engines pulling into General Hospital before the median was installed. The large vehicles used both sides of the street to make their turns. Photos by zrants

Traditionally, Jayne said, the ambulance would have driven around the pile-up, into oncoming traffic, and entered the hospital. Instead, it was blocked by the new median…(more)

Anybody else wonder where all these high injury networks are coming from? If Vision Zero and Moving Forward worked we should be safe by now. How many millions of dollars are spent on high injury networks and why do they keep multiplying? There must be some non-high injury networks. Let’s see a map of those.

 

Almost every speed limit is too low

By Alex Mayyasi : qz – excerpt

“We all speed, yet months and months usually pass between us seeing a crash,” lieutenant Megge tells us when we call to discuss speed limits. “That tells me that most of us are adequate, safe, reasonable drivers. Speeding and traffic safety have a small correlation.”…

This “nationally recognized method” of setting the speed limit as the 85th percentile speed is essentially traffic engineering 101…

Luckily, there is some logic to the speed people choose other than the need for speed. The speed drivers choose is not based on laws or street signs, but the weather, number of intersections, presence of pedestrians and curves, and all the other information that factors into the principle, as lieutenant Megge puts it, that “no one I know who gets into their car wants to crash.”.

So if drivers disregard speed limits, why bother trying to set the “right” speed limit at all?…
This is important because, as noted in a US Department of Transportation report, “the potential for being involved in an accident is highest when traveling at speed much lower or much higher than the majority of motorists.” If every car sets its cruise control at the same speed, the odds of a fender bender happening is low. But when some cars drive 55 mph and others drive 85 mph, the odds of cars colliding increases dramatically. This is why getting slow drivers to stick to the right lane is so important to roadway safety; we generally focus on joyriders’ ability to cause accidents—and rightly so—but a car driving under the speed limit in the left (passing) lane of a highway is almost as dangerous.

Traffic engineers believe that the 85th percentile speed is the ideal speed limit because it leads to the least variability between driving speeds and therefore safer roads. When the speed limit is correctly set at the 85th percentile speed, the minority of drivers that do conscientiously follow speed limits are no longer driving much slower than the speed of traffic. The choice of the 85th percentile speed is a data-driven conclusion—as noted lieutenant Megge and speed limit resources like the Michigan State Police’s guide—that has been established by the consistent findings of years of traffic studies…

If people and politicians do want to reduce road speeds to improve safety, or make cities more pedestrian friendly, Megge says “there are a lot of other things you can do from an engineering standpoint.” Cities can reduce the number of lanes, change the parking situation, create wider bike paths, and so on. It’s more expensive, but unlike changing the number on a sign, it’s effective…

In its 1992 report, the US Department of Transportation cautioned, “Arbitrary, unrealistic, and nonuniform speed limits have created a socially acceptable disregard for speed limits.” Lieutenant Megge has worked on roads with a compliance rate of nearly 0%, and a common complaint among those given traffic citations is that they were speeding no more than anyone else. With higher speed limits, Megge says, police officers could focus their resources on what really matters: drunk drivers, people who don’t wear seat belts, drivers who run red lights, and, most importantly, the smaller number of drivers who actually speed at an unreasonable rate.

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s a formula Americans should love: Raise speed limits, make roads safer…

Study shows Mission red lanes improve street safety, signal citywide implications

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ed Reiskin holds a red folder full of printouts of comments by angry citizens who signed the StopSFMTA petition at the confrontational  community meeting on Red Lanes in the Mission. These folks will not support any additional funds for SFMTA until the red goes away.

A red-hot debate over “red carpet” bus-only lanes in the Mission District has pitted neighborhood advocates against the transit officials behind the project.

Now, an independent study shows myriad safety benefits to the Muni-only red lanes and demonstrates drivers behaving with more precaution on the road since the lanes were painted.

Supporters of the red lanes say the findings by local tech company Zendrive may be applicable across numerous transit projects in The City, many of which mirror the Mission red lanes not only in benefits but in rebuke from the community...(more)

The Safety report is bogus.

Mission residents are not safe. They are threatened by the luxury housing going up along the transit rich corridors marked by red paint that are closing long-time local-serving businesses and pressuring residents to leave. Many families must chose between living in vehicles or tents or driving long distances to commute in to work. As people are forced to move out and must commute in, they add to the already clogged regional traffic problem.

How can the Red Lanes be safe when Emergency responders can’t get through in a timely manner? The painted-over potholes on Mission red lanes are slick and dangerous for everyone, including two-wheelers, especially in the rain, and at night.

Narrow side streets are choking with the traffic turning off and on Mission? Have the surveys taken into account all the extra exhaust from the slow, idling vehicles that are spending more time winding slowly through clogged streets than they did when the traffic flowed flawlessly? If it takes twice as long to get somewhere, there will be twice as much pollution.

Where are the Muni drivers? They are the real face of Muni, not the MTA Board or their paid consultants. They must put up with all the constant changes SFMTA throws at us daily. Why bother to publish routes and stops when they change daily?

We understand the SFMTA plans to put another Muni money bill on the 2018 ballot. What makes them think the public they ignore, that turned them down the last time they begged for money, will cough it up in 2018?

Who is benefiting from the SFMTA’s billion dollar budget? The spent how much money out of which account to hire a tracking service to conduct a survey on traffic?

At some point it has to be cheaper to ask the public what they like about the system and leave it alone. If there is less traffic on Mission Street it is because the businesses are closing and people are leaving. They go through the obstacle course once and swear never to return. Stopping traffic and killing the business wipes the area, preparing it for demolition and rebuild. That is the what the Red Lanes are about and that is why there is a legal suite pending. What does it take to stop the displacement program?

Look to Pier 70 to see Why San Francisco Voters do Not Trust City Hall

Op-ed by Zrants

You need to Look no further than the ‘Pier 70 Mixed-Use District Project’ to understand the anger and frustrations of neighborhood groups and ordinary citizens who spent hours and their time to work out deals with city planners to somewhat mitigate the negative effects of increased populations moving onto their tender turf, to be told that the plan has changed.

The project voters approved is being amended for a much less friendly design. Density levels are going up. Six stories are really nine stories. In fact forge the promises the voters counted on. Now that the project got through the election, they are scrapping it.

That is why, when voters get the chance, the only safe way to vote on a development project is to vote against it. Look the difference between 8 Washington and Pier 70. The voters voted against 8 Washington and nothing changed. The voters approved a plan for Pier 70 as it was presented by the developers but the design has changed since the vote.

An editorial by Don Clark that ran in the Potrero View outlines some of our primary concerns. To see the draft EIR and see for yourself, go here and scroll down the page:
http://sf-planning.org/environmental-impact-reports-negative-declarations

…The City and County of San Francisco intends to grant Forest City Enterprises rights to build a wall of nine-story buildings along the Central Waterfront, from 20th to 22nd streets, which would completely obscure scenic Bay vistas for many, if not most, Potrero Hill eastern slope residents.  As one travels down 20th Street from Missouri Street to Third, beautiful Bay views would disappear.  Imagine that the American Industrial Center, the red building with white columns at the corner of 22nd and Third streets, was doubled in height.  The replacement of four- and six-story structures with nine-story edifices would dramatically Manhattanize this historical waterfront… (more)

Building height limits are not the only promises being broken. One of the major concerns to neighbors and all who drive through the area was the increased traffic and congestion that SFMTA claimed they could handle. That no longer looks likely. Not only are the buildings going to be taller and contain more people, but, the DOT announced they are not funding the electrification of Caltrans and other transit projects until they conduct an audit to find out why there are such large cost overruns.

A couple of recent laws that were passed that citizens should know about are: mentioned by Den Clark: California Senate Bill 743 eliminated scenic protections from transit infill projects, which the City quickly applied. The November 26, 2013 Planning Department Summary, Attachment A, shows that the Planning Department has removed consideration of scenic vistas from most of San Francisco’s waterfront (http://sfmea.sfplanning.org/CEQA%20Update-SB%20743%20Summary.pdf)

Send comments to Lisa Gibson Lisa.Gibson@sfgov.org on Pier 70 Mixed-Use Project by Tuesday, 5 PM February 21, 2017. Sample letter from Peter Linenthal (eir-pdf-new)

The Developer, Forest City, is publishing a Design for Development document which will be presented to the Planning Commission in an informational hearing on March 23rd. There will be an opportunity then for public comment. The Final EIR will take months and will go to the Planning Commission as part of the final approvals. There’s a lot we don’t know yet. The Draft EIR has a Maximum Residential Scenario and a Maximum Commercial Scenario and Forest City is doing a phased development which makes it especially difficult to know what to expect.

SFMTA to Intensify Neighborhood Parking Regulations

by potreroview – excerpt

As parking pressures continue to build in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill due to increased housing density, growing commuter traffic, and expanded activity at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency has been working with neighborhood stakeholders to implement more stringent parking management regulations. Over the past several months meters have been installed on many blocks in Showplace Square.  SFMTA is expected to continue to hold meetings with the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association and the Potrero Boosters, with the goal of creating parking management plans that’re supported by residents and businesses. The measures parallel SFMTA’s ongoing citywide evaluation of its 40-year old Residential Parking Permit program… (more)

“We’ll be initiating more conversations with neighbors about how to manage the curb,” said Andy Thornley, senior analyst, SFMTA. “Meters will be a small piece, along with other tools. It’s more than just RPP, time limits and meters; it’s also about traffic calming and making the curb safer for residents, businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

Since last summer, four hour time limited parking restrictions have been added to much of Showplace Square, along with meters on Kansas and Divisions streets and the block surrounding Showplace East. Additional meters are slated for 16th Street between Vermont and Seventh streets as well as Henry Adams Street, once 1 Henry Adams, a residential complex, is completed. Due to sidewalk improvements that’re underway, 16th Street will have four hour time limits in the interim, with meters likely installed next year…(more)

For those who aren’t familiar with Andy Thronley, he lost by a wide margin in his 2016 run for District One Supervisor. His department staff is down and he is the President of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition according to their web site. The SFMTA has put someone who rarely drives, has no idea what the real needs of drivers are, and who hates cars in charge of the parking program. Keep this in mind next time you deal with him or the SFMTA.

Around 2012 the SFMTA threatened to install parking meters all over the Eastern Neighborhoods and they were stopped from this plan by vigorous public actions.

For some time we have contended that the first step to demolishing the neighborhood is parking removal. Look at how well the city has taken the Eastern neighborhoods by doing just that. Get ready for them to swarm the West side of the city in no time if this plan is not stopped.

Program Will Allow Homeless To Pay LA Parking Tickets With Community Service Instead Of Fines

cbsla – excerpt

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday approved a measure to allow homeless people to pay parking citations by performing community service rather than paying a fine.

Under the newly approved program, people who meet the federal definition of being homeless under Title 42 of the Public Health and Welfare Code can go into one of the city’s service provider agencies and apply to perform social services or community services instead of paying the citation fine… (more)

To Win the War on Cars, San Francisco Weaponizes Real Estate

by : wired – excerpt

I’ll start with the bad news, because I think you can take it: You can’t beat San Francisco traffic. As long as people want to live in this idyll by the bay, tech companies set up shop off Market Street, and bars offer expensive drinks made with fruit shrubs, cars and tech buses will choke its roads.

“Anecdotally, the only major cities unfettered by congestion are terribly declining Rust Belt ones,” says Marlon Boarnet, an economist and urban planning researcher with the University of Southern California. (Think Detroit, Buffalo, Youngstown.) “In our most thriving cities, we can’t make the congestion vanish because the cities are thriving.” San Francisco’s booming so hard, the only place in the US where you’ll find worse traffic is Los Angeles.

What San Francisco believes it can do, however, is improve life in the city by making it easier to get around without a car. This week, its Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance requiring developers to stock new residential or commercial projects with more alternative-transport perks than ever before. This is no all-out war on vehicles, but rather an attempt to cut down on the number and length of car trips the natives take each day.

And if it works, San Francisco’s data-driven approach could become a template for other American cities hoping to turn big talk about transportation innovation into big action, and big results…

You’ll have to be patient: This program won’t bear serious fruit for 10 to 20 years, given the pace of development. The first projects built under the new rubric won’t get off the ground for another 18 to 24 months. But San Francisco planners say they’re already getting calls about the ordinance from other cities interested in taking this approach for a spin. And for the family that gets access to an in-apartment storage spot for their car-share friendly car seats (two points!), the lifestyle changes will happen a lot sooner. Too bad they’ll still have to find ways to entertain toddlers while stuck in traffic… (more)

The SFMTA and City Hall have been spinning this wait for results for over 10 years and so far the traffic and congestion both on the streets and on the buses has gotten worse. Taking care of the citizens is an afterthought in the rush to turn San Francisco into a innovative world class city built by and for robots.

The public transit systems are already at capacity. The SFMTA and BART solution is to cram more bodies in to the buses and trains by removing the seats, making it harder for many who rely on public transit to take it.

They really want those old and infirm people to leave and make room for the young and wealthy they think are on the way. This is creating a class war in what used to be the most liberal city in America. San Francisco housing is for sale to the highest bidder.

Today they announced approval of the Traffic Demand Management (TDM), and the sheriff evicted a 100 year old woman from her home. She is being thrown out like trash onto the street. Older people generally don’t survive such a move for long so many see this as a death sentence. Expect a protest at City Hall.

Last time the SFMTA came begging for tax dollars the voters refused to cough it up. Some indication of disgust with that department and an awakening of the populace that no longer blindly trust SFMTA and City Hall.

The Streetcar Hustle

by : jacobinmag – excerpt

We need bold new transit projects. But Bill de Blasio’s streetcar plan shows we won’t get them by catering to private developers.

ig changes are coming to one stretch of the New York City waterfront. In his recent State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced an ambitious plan for a new streetcar system that would connect the city’s most populous borough, Brooklyn, to its largest, Queens. Citing “explosive growth on the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens,” the mayor proclaimed: “Today, we take the next great step in connecting New Yorkers to the heart of our new economy for New York.”…

The plan’s price tag currently stands at $2.5 billion. Some of that cost would be borne by riders, whose fares would be pegged to the cost of a subway swipe, but most of it would be paid for through gentrification. According to the New York Times, “administration officials believe the system’s cost can be offset by tax revenue siphoned from an expected rise in property values along the route.” Seen from this vantage point, the streetcar proposal seems less a transportation plan than a real estate stimulus.

This is not exactly a surprise. As historians like Robert Fitch and Kim Moody have described, real estate barons have long manipulated New York City’s planning apparatus, often through their chosen “nonprofit” advocates. Entire subway lines, for example, were rerouted to correspond to the Rockefeller family’s particular real estate holdings.

Nor is this link between public investment and private gain a secret. In fact, planners are often taught to see the two as mutually reinforcing. New York University’s Mitchell Moss enthused that the streetcar system “is going to do more to encourage more housing than any other transit improvement currently underway.” Alex Garvin, a well-known planner and member of the group “Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector,” argued that “by creating a new light rail line in those neighborhoods, we could create an enormous opportunity for new investment.”

De Blasio highlights these benefits to property owners, but he also frames the plan as a gift to New York City’s poorest residents, many of whom have long been under-served by the city’s mass transit network. Brooklyn and Queens are home to millions of working-class people, many of whom could no doubt use an easier way to travel between those boroughs.

But the existing plan is inseparable from a longstanding project to remake the waterfront, and must be seen as part of a larger process of state-enabled gentrification and displacement…(more)

I could not have said it better. This article, written last year, pretty much sums up all we have been experiencing all ovr the cities. Here we have the blunt truths about why cities promote gentrification and the rise in property values, and how the systems promotes the welfare of the less than 1% of the population. As their fortunes rise, everyone else falls.

As we are witnessing a huge increase in homeless people on the street as the dense housing and mass transit systems move in and displace them. We can pretty well assume those programs and projects are responsible for the rise in homeless population on our streets because the rise in properties and ensuing rents that did not coincide with a similar increase in income for most people.

The new administration in Washington seems less likely to help ease the situation than the one that just left. At least Obama spoke well of the poor and acted as if he cared. Trump leaves no room for doubt as to how little he plans to do for the poor folks who put him in office hoping he would come to their rescue. His plan is more of the same on steroids.

What goes up must come down and get rebuilt for at least twice as much as we spent before.

Continue reading

Panhandle Path Closed Yesterday?

A quick note about a twitter kerfuffle from last night over a closure to the Panhandle bike path. This involved San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member Elisabeth Snider, who lives in the Sunset and uses the path regularly. Upon seeing the closure of this essential transportation link for cyclists, Snider tweeted 311 with the above photo for more information:…

@SanFranMiniVan Per SFPD crosswalks are for walking just like sidewalks and should not be used for bicycles. ^JM

As Snider and others immediately pointed out, that’s just not true–besides, why is there a bike signal there if bikes can’t use it? There was a little bit more back and forth, and then:…(more)

No one can create a crisis as fast as the SFMTA. With no notice and barely a nod to a study that was done re: building bike  paths along the panhandle, this is a no low for the SFMTA or whoever instigated this mess.

Maybe we should contact the Board of Supes and complain? Where is the dignity of anyone regarding our streets and our use and our public rights to move about freely without constant displacement and confusion?

Is this yet another of those illegal actions done without knowledge of the authorities like the “fake stanchions”?  that recently popped up on some streets?

Let’s ask.

The latest : It appears that we were right. This was a hoax.

Latest reports are that the crossing is no longer blocked.

 

SF’s effort to reduce car trips from new development advances

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

After a nearly two-year effort, San Francisco is poised to require developers to add a host of measures to reduce car trips from new developments.

The proposal, the Transportation Demand Management program, had stalled before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee last year with outstanding concerns from nonprofits or smaller developers over the impacts of the new requirement.

But on Monday, after a number of amendments, the legislation was approved by a unanimous vote from committee members Supervisors Malia Cohen, Aaron Peskin and Jeff Sheehy. The full board will vote on the proposal next week… (more)

We know that these amendments are supposed to be for new residents moving into the new developments, but we also know that once the SFMTA gets the right to do anything, especially if it makes it into the General Plan Amendments, they will push the restrictions further into other neighborhoods by doing “studies” that “prove” their plan works, whether or not it does. We have already seen the results of the General Plan being used to cut down any and all arguments. We don’t need any more general plan amendments.

As I also mentioned in a letter to the Board of Supervisors, we should not continue to add more surveillance and scanning devices to our streets, as the data they are gathering can be used against us. We already have lost too much personal privacy and we don’t need to lose any more.