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

City makes last call for tech shuttle ‘transit hubs’

By on July 4, 2016 1:00 am

Last Call is right. Who is going to respond on Fourth of July? And who is going to read the response?

San Francisco will close its first survey on the controversial “hub model” for private commuter shuttles today. The shuttles, locally nicknamed “Google Buses,” are perhaps best known for ferrying technology workers to Silicon Valley.

The survey was an effort by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to answer one key question:

If created, where in The City would the shuttle hubs go?

The results were more than 900 answers suggesting neighborhoods across San Francisco to host these new “shuttle hubs,” as of July 1.

The San Francisco Examiner requested early results to showcase where residents opinions before the survey closed.

Where should they go?
San Franciscans suggested many neighborhoods to host commuter shuttle hubs in an online survey by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The Examiner compiled the most numerous suggested neighborhoods here. Some people suggested “none” and opposed the notion of shuttle hubs, which is included in the tally. Note: The survey completes July 4, this list was compiled July 1. The results are preliminary.

Top suggested neighborhoods and corridors for Commuter Shuttle “Hubs”:
Mission District: 53 (Includes 24th street BART, and other Mission locations)
Van Ness: 41
Glen Park: 40
Noe Valley: 32
The Castro: 31
4th and King Caltrain station: 22
The Marina: 20
None: 24

Responses via SFMTA, compiled by the San Francisco Examiner.

If you feel like you got left out of the survey you might write a letter with your suggestions to the SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors explaining that you got the message to late. Here is a shuttle-bus-hubs1 letter with recipients to inspire you.

Golden Gate Bridge, Ferry and Transit Fares Increase

Most tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge will increase 25 cents on Friday.

Fares on Golden Gate Transit buses and Golden Gate Ferry service also will increase 4 percent Friday, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.

The FasTrak toll on the bridge will increase to $6.50 for two-axle vehicles, $7.50 for Pay-by-Plate and to $4.50 for carpool vehicles.

The one-way adult fare for the Larkspur Ferry will increase 50 cents to $11 and to $11.75 one-way on the Sausalito Ferry.

One-way Clipper fares on the ferries will increase 25 cents to $7.25 on the Larkspur and $6.25 on the Sausalito ferries.

The one-way fare for youth 5-18, seniors 65 and up and for disabled riders will increase 25 cents to $5.50 on the Larkspur Ferry and to $5.75 on the Sausalito Ferry. Children ages 4 and under ride free, but there is a two-child limit per fare-paying adult.

The toll increase will help balance a projected five-year deficit of $33 million, Clemens said…. (more)

All these increased fares and fees along with the Bay Bridge work that is creating massive traffic jams this summer may not help the Bay Area transit authorities’ plans to request more taxes and approval of more debt from the votes in November. That along with a reduction in services and removal of seats on the the new vehicles may push the voters over the edge. No one wants to be treated like a caged animal and we are starting to get to that level with these new standing room only vehicles. Who do they paln to serve? Not the elderly or physically challenged or families or shoppers and travelers with baggage. This leads us to belive that the real goal is to push more peopel toward the private sector options, as indicated in this article that describes the “smart city” approach to privatize and robotize transportation, being designed and tested in Columbus, Ohio by Alphabet: Alphabets sidewalk labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in american cities

 

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in American cities

thetechportal – excerpt

A report from The Guardian points towards the fact that a secretive subsidiary of Alphabet called Sidewalk Labs is working on services that could radically rebuild public parking and transportation in American cities. The Labs call the services “new superpowers to extend access and mobility.” This whole effort might just be the future of transit management.

This essentially means that Google is working on technology that will make it easier to drive and park in cities. The company is also creating hybrid public/private transit options. The latter is highly dependent upon ride-share services such as Uber. This means that the traditional public transport services will take a big hit.

Privatization of everything we do is what they have in mind. Not sure how society run by robots pays for services. Would like to see that part explained along with how they plan to replace all the workers with machines.

Sidewalk Labs was established last June with a mission to “improve city life for everyone”. Until now, the subsidiary has made many developments. These include a being part of an association that deployed several hundred free Wi-Fi kiosks in New York. It is also rumoured to be building a city from scratch that is designed for self-driving cars.

The latest project of Sidewalk is offering Columbus a three-year demonstration project consisting of 100 Wi-Fi kiosks and free access to Flow. Columbus, Ohio recently won a recent $50m Smart City Challenge organized by the US Department of Transportation which is the reason Google will be running its initial tests for Flow there

Redefining public transport

Imagine getting all your transit details– duration, distance, price etc– right at your fingertips. Flow will provide all this info to you, too. The service will  integrate information and payment for almost every form of transport into Google Maps.

All this is going to be run as a pilot in Columbus…(more)

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

Thankfully San Francisco missed this one.

Showplace Square Parking Gets Metered

By Jacob Bourne : Potrero View – excerpt

The blocks surrounding Showplace Square and the California College of the Arts (CCA) have been a longstanding parking haven for commuters, oversized vehicles, and residents. Over time regulations have tightened parking availability throughout Potrero Hill, increasing parking pressures from Division to 16th streets and east to Seventh Street.  Now, the San Francisco Mu-nicipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is adding four hour time limited parking and metered parking to all streets in that area.

Though the measure has strong backing from nearby businesses, with support from District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, some San Franciscans are concerned about the displacement of individuals living in oversized vehicles, who have used the curbs of Showplace to store their homes…

Meters are being added on 16th and Seventh streets near CCA, and on Henry Adams, Kansas, and Division streets, as well as on the block surrounding Showplace East. The rest of the area will have four hour time limits without residential parking permit restrictions. Due to sensitivity for homeless individuals, the SFMTA board of directors decided not to impose an overnight-oversized vehicle ban, though the enforced daytime turnover will impact these vehicles. Although more than 400 meters are being installed, according to Andy Thornley, SFMTA senior project analyst, over the past few years 750 meters have been taken off the streets, Citywide.  There are fewer meters in San Francisco now than in 2013. … (more)

There are fewer parking spaces now because the goal of SFMTA is to eliminate as many as they can. They have gone after many parking metered spaces, such as the ones they took off of Mission Street recently and the ones they are getting ready to remove from Van Ness and Lombard soon.

It is this mania to remove parking and traffic lanes that has the public ready for their heads, or at least elimination of their jobs, that is responsible for the growing support for a Charter Amendment that would unwind parts of Prop E and K. More details on that: stopsfmta.com

  Continue reading

Bay Area bus service lagging despite highway congestion, BART overcrowding

By Erin Baldassari : eastbaytimes – excerpt

OAKLAND — There are more people than ever on the Bay Area’s roads and rails. But despite the region’s booming economy and population growth, there are actually fewer people taking public transit today than there were two decades ago – a fact that might come as a surprise to BART passengers sardined into train cars each morning…

It isn’t riders who abandoned buses, it’s buses that abandoned riders, said Christian Peeples, president of AC Transit’s Board of Directors…

Erin Baldassari covers transportation. Contact her at 510-208-6428, or follow her at Twitter.com/@e_baldi… (more)

People don’t want to be sardined. Removing bus stops and seats is not the answer. The solution is to make the buses more comfortable and more convenient. Join with the millions of riders who demand better Muni service. Support the Charter Amendment and demand a new MTA Board and new policies and procedures. Write your supervisors and demand that they put a hold on the SFMTA budget until the SFMTA board agrees to these demands. Sample letter is here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/3318-2/

 

 

Fight Over Mission Street Transit-Only Lanes Still Red-Hot

The $3.8 million SFMTA project designating lanes on Mission Street bus- and taxi-only, a system used on Market Street and other thoroughfares, was enacted with the stated goal of reducing congestion and transit times while increasing safety. It’s still too soon to know what the long-term effects of the changes, which SFMTA Transit Director John Haley called “exciting stuff” during their inception, will be, but the reduction of parking on Mission Street has become a red-hot issue for local residents and businesses.

Drivers, naturally, have made their objections known, and small business owners have also argued that the limits on parking have driven customers away. The controversy has yet to cool off: Last night, many critics met with the SFMTA board of directors, where the rhetoric grew purple.

“This is just one more act of violence that the people in the Mission feel,” Mission Local quotes one resident, Mary Eliza. “When their primary street, with the district name on it, is violated in this way without really taking into consideration the needs of the community, you’re going to have a problem.”

“They’re not going to come back,” Eden Stein, the owner of Secession Art & Design on Mission Street, told the meeting. “From 16th to Randall there has been a loss of business, and a lot of businesses can’t wait months for changes to happen. Businesses are going to close down. We need some action.”… (more)

I attended the community meetings with staff after the red paint went down on the Mission Street and the forced turns turned the street into a nightmare. Both Reiskin and Campos were at the first meeting where I asked what the Mission Street project cost. I was told $6 million dollars. I asked how much it cost to add a bus line to the route and was told $1. I suggested a better way to serve the Muni riders with less negative effects on everyone else would be to put more buses into service. As it is now, the buses rolling down the red carpet, are packed to the gills. Standing room only. That brings me to wonder just how fast buses should go with standing passengers. That leads me to question the need to speed up the buses on Mission Street.

You can see by the amount of animosity evident in the comments and the negative reception SFMTA staff are facing in other neighborhood meetings, (we heard hissing and booing in the Sunset), that the invasion of an entire neighborhood is not going to be ignored by anyone in San Francisco any more. Residents may have been sitting ducks for a while but now they are perking up and noticing each little change they see and most of them are freaking out over anything they don’t like.

The time has come to demand SFMTA roll back the red carpet and paint it black. They need to pave and fix the potholes in the street before they lay any more paint or pour any more concrete. All MODES are effected negatively by the potholes, so they can use their bike funds to fix the the potholes before they paint any more bike paths.

Transit Supervisor slams brakes on L-Taraval changes

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

It’s back to the drawing board for proposed changes to the L-Taraval Muni line after neighbors rallied against adding boarding islands at stops on Taraval Street.

Through three meetings last month, Sunset district neighbors and transportation planners worked on a new plan for the L-Taraval revisions. Those meetings were spearheaded by Supervisor Katy Tang, who said the acrimony over the initial proposal “couldn’t continue.”

The community had expressed anger over the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s plan to build pedestrian boarding islands on Taraval Street. Currently, train riders disembark directly onto the street.

Albert Chow, owner of Great Wall Hardware on Taraval Street, said, “We would like to seek safety, but not see boarding islands” built, because Taraval would lose parking.

Parking would be extended on side streets, the SFMTA has said, but neighbors still fear it would adversely impact businesses.

Instead of boarding islands, Chow said he and others asked for flashing bumps on the roadway, painted white pedestrian zones on the streets and overhead signs to warn away cars when people disembark from trains.

The recent SFMTA meetings followed a more contentious one in February in which hundreds of Sunset residents booed and hissed at the SFMTA planners.

“I think [the SFMTA] did listen” to neighbors’ concerns about initial L-Taraval plans, Tang said. “But because we didn’t see the final revision [to the plans], we’ll see.”… (more)

S.F. Muni Embarks on a Big Expansion in Bus and Light-Rail Service

By Ted Goldberg : KQED – excerpt

San Francisco’s Muni is launching a major expansion in bus and Metro light-rail service this weekend that officials say is a response to both the city’s increasing population and changes in how people work and play here.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials say more frequent service will start Saturday on Muni’s six light-rail lines as well as on 14 bus routes. The agency is expanding service hours on eight bus lines and creating connections to BART on two other routes. It’s also adding overnight “owl” service on two lines.

Saturday will mark the fourth and largest service increase that’s part of what the agency calls Muni Forward, a project that began in January 2015.

But the real expansion will be seen on Monday, the first weekday in the new schedule, said John Haley, Muni’s director of transit.

“We will have more service out on the streets than we’ve ever had in the history of the agency,” Haley said in an interview. “We’re responding to a need when people are living and working differently than they were 20 years ago.”

With an influx of new riders stemming from San Francisco’s recent boom, SFMTA is responding to new commute patterns.

“We’re no longer all going downtown,” Haley said. “The demographics, the job market in the city is changing.”… (more)