Will a “front door” help San Francisco steer the stampede of emerging technologies testing on its streets?

By Hannah Norman : bizjournals – excerpt

Electric scooters. Delivery robots. Uber and Lyft. Even the soon-to-be shuttered van service Chariot started operating without the approval of San Francisco, with city policies as a secondary thought.

Now San Francisco, which has been ground zero for many emerging technologies, is looking to better keep tabs on the various startups keen on testing or operating their new products in the city. After six months of meetings attended by representatives from over 100 companies, city agencies, think tanks and community organizations, a new report was released Thursday by the Emerging Technology Open Working Group, led by city administrator Naomi Kelly.

“It is clear that technology is part of the social fabric of life in San Francisco,” the report says. “Yet as keepers of the public right-of-way and other public spaces, we must develop appropriate policy measures to mitigate risks and unintended impacts on San Franciscans and our infrastructure.”

The report will next be presented to city’s board of supervisors, likely sometime in January, followed by a hearing… (more)

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Glen Park GoBike station could add congestion to an already chaotic intersection

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

An intersection in the Glen Park neighborhood has become the poster child in the fight over the placement of bike share docking stations in neighborhoods.

During morning and evening rush hours, the block of Randall Street between Chenery and San Jose Avenue is a mess. The narrow street is clogged with commuters trying to get to I-280, school buses, and parents double parking their vehicles to drop off kids at Dolores Huerta ElementarySchool (formerly Fairmount).

Motorists entering Randall from Chenery often have to back up into the intersection so buses and trucks going the other way can get through. Adding to the chaos, school kids — without the benefit of crossing guards — run across the Randall/Chenery intersection to a market to get drinks and snacks before school…

Now the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is considering putting a GoBike docking station on that intersection next to the school. Supporters say that the location is highly visible and has ready access to Chenery, the traditional bike route to the Glen Park BART. Its location will provide a “transit opportunity” for parents, teachers, and school staff, encouraging them to get out of their cars… (more)

I am getting confused now. This article leads one to believe that the SFMTA is taking some control over placement of these bike stations, and that some areas of the city are getting some notice before the bikes go in. That is not what we have been hearing from the SFMTA. They have been claiming they have nothing to do with the bike stations going into neighborhoods where they re not wanted. Now they are taking responisbility of “doing outreach.”

Do the bike/car/scooter rental corporations have the right to take San Francisco streets and sidewalks? Where are the documents that obligate San Francisco citizens to give up our access to our streets? Show us the documents. Who signed these documents and when? Was there any public discussion about the privatization of our city public property prior to handing it over to the enterprise? Where are the financial statements that show how much money these companies, who claim to be public/private enterprises, are making? If the public payments depend on them making a profit, they public has a right to see the financial records. We need an audit of there books.

 

Ford Acquires Spin: An Electric Scooter Sharing Company

By Keith Griffin : fordauthority – excerpt

Ford Smart Mobility has acquired Spin, an electric scooter-sharing company that provides customers an alternative for first- and last-mile transportation. No financial details were released regarding the purchase.

Spin is a dockless electric scooter sharing company based in San Francisco. Ford acquires Spin while it has a reputation as a leading micro-mobility service provider, with operations in 13 cities and campuses across the US… (more)

Looks like the GoBikes, Chariots, and other street and curb hogs aren’t enough for the giant Ford Corporation that is competing with GM, Uber, Lyft and probably Alphabet, Apple and other non-traditional vehicle manufacturers to take over control of management of our city Streets. And they plan to take their time according to the following quote from the above article.

“Can Ford Motor Company make money off this new acquisition? That doesn’t appear to be an immediate goal, at least according to Alan Mulally, the retired CEO of Ford Motor Company in remarks he made before the National Auto Auction Association’s annual convention. “You see everybody working the last-mile issue right now. These bicycles are all over the place. I don’t know if we’re going to make money on that.”

Remember that MTC signed a partnership agreement with Motivate/Ford/GoBike./Lyft, that basically gives them cart blanche to take over curb space without any compensation to the public until they make a profit. When do you think the public will enjoy any financial benefits or compensation for this handover of our right to public use of our curb space to the corporate entities?

The excuse MTC and government authorities use to promote the theft of public curb space is that they are getting us out of our cars by handing public parking spaces over to the corporations. What they fail to mention is that those corporations want to control our access to our streets. The Red Lanes are the first step.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR STREETS AT THE DECEMBER 3RD ACTION AT CITY HALL.

Monday, December 3, 1:30 PM
Room 263 or 250 SF City Hall
Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee

If you haven’t had a chance to submit a letter opposing allowing private buses (tour buses, casino buses, Chariots, Academy of Art University buses, and tech shuttle buses among others), a template letter with email addresses is here. The file # is 180876.

RELATED:

Copy of the Contract: BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC

Program_Agreement download here

SF may fine Uber’s Jump bike repair shop for violating city code

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

An Uber-run e-bikeshare repair shop in the Marina District has neighbors fuming and may result in city fines.

The San Francisco Planning Department “has received multiple complaints about noise, double parking, and blocking of neighborhood driveway by the Jump bikes employees at all hours,” according to a complaint filed against the property, 1776 Green Street, in the Marina.

The planning department also found the motorized e-bike repair shop, used to clean, charge, repair and store Uber’s new Jump e-bikes, in violation of planning code because it’s operating in a space permitted for a car repair shop.

But the Jump “bikeshare” repair shop isn’t available for use by the public, and since it is for private use it requires a different permit, according to the planning department. If Uber does not apply for a different permit the billion-dollar company may face fines up to $250 per day… (more)

The Next Fight over Scooters Is Just Beginning

by Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Scootson17th

With the next wave of scooters on the horizon, a new standard for community outreach emerges.

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency broke the news Aug. 30 about which two scooter companies — out of more than a dozen who’d applied — had earned pilot program permits, the reaction was like a pro-sports draft. Articles popped up on the Examiner, the Chronicle, Wired, and TechCrunch. Reporters interviewed CEOs and dug into the intricacies of both Scoot and Skip. And scooter fans immediately took to Twitter, berating the city for its limited geographical roll-out“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”

“Since no applicant proposed sufficiently detailed or comprehensive community outreach plans, the SFMTA will outline the agency’s expectations for community engagement prior to issuance of the first permit,” it reads. “These expectations will detail potentially appropriate outreach strategies (e.g., use of community meetings, partnerships with local Community-Based Organizations, etc.), based on experience with bikeshare and other shared mobility programs in San Francisco, as well as peer city best practices. Moreover, the SFMTA will require Scoot and Skip to submit revised community-engagement plans reflecting these expectations.”

It’s a vague and wordy statement, but for community groups and nonprofits across the city, it marks a vital shift away from what they see as years of watered-down outreach. With this mention, the SFMTA acknowledged the materialization of a new set of guidelines that may dictate how emerging mobilities roll out…

Carlos Bocanegra, a nonprofit housing and immigration attorney for Mission Neighborhood Centers, says a citywide coalition of community stakeholders launched a few months ago in response to constituents’ concerns over the rise of new transit options and their impact on the city’s streets and sidewalks. Included in the conversation were Senior and Disability Action, South of Market Community Action Network, Dolores Street Community Services, Impact Hub, Excelsior Action Group, MEDA, Mission Housing, and United to Save the Mission…

“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”…(more)

 

Lime adds more drama to SF’s e-scooter saga

E-scooters can really rile people up — whether it’s cities trying to contain the onslaught of the mini motorized vehicles, or celebs such as actor-turned-venture-capitalist Ashton Kutcher fighting for their rights at a tech conference, it seems we are a nation divided.

And sometimes, it’s the scooter companies that can get all hot and bothered.

Take Lime, for example. Last week, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency shut down any aspirations the scooter-share company had of operating in the city, instead giving two newer companies, Scoot and Skip, permits to test scooters within the city for the next year…

About five minutes before the panel, titled “Scooting Through Regulation,” which would have featured Emily Warren, head of policy and public affairs at Lime, Sanjay Dastoor, Skip’s CEO, and SFMTA official Tom Maguire, a Lime spokesperson issued a statement explaining that Lime would not attend the panel… (more).

Should private shuttles be able to use Muni-only lanes?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

MTA says yes — but the public can weigh in Tuesday.

San Francisco transit planners have been working for years on a proposal to create bus-only lanes on Geary Boulevard. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is that – since we (unfortunately) don’t have a subway line underneath the Geary corridor, we can do the next best thing by creating lanes just for Muni.

Time the traffic signals right, keep cars out of the way of buses, and people can ride faster from the Richmond and the Western Addition to downtown…

The plan comes up for discussion at the MTA’s meeting Tuesday/21 – and there’s a twist…

Activists have discovered that Muni’s current proposal would allow not only Muni buses but private shuttles, like Chariot and the Google buses – to use the city’s public transit-only lanes.

Environmentalist and transit advocate Sue Vaughan (who has also written for 48hills) asked at an MTC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in July whether private shuttles would be allowed to use the BRT lanes. MTC staff didn’t have an answer at that point – but a series of follow-up emails obtained by Vaughan show that the department believes under current rules, any private company that runs a bus with a capacity of more than ten people (including the driver) would count as “transit” and would be allowed on what were originally described as Muni-only lanes… (more)

The national press has been covering the anger and actions against privatization of public streets for years. SF Board of supervisors passed Ordinanace 180089 to give voters some control over access to curbs. There hearings on the horizon along with the Controller reports we have requested for months.

What does SFMTA do? Blame Muni for the slowdown and hand over more traffic lanes to private enterprise, not covered by the ordinance. while spending hours of staff time developing an elite program for corporate e-bikes, and deserting vast numbers of Muni riders during the largest transit crisis in years.

Must the public demand the removal of Reiskin and a vote on a Charter Amendment to roll back SFMTA autonomy to get relief? Will Mayor Breed appoint a strong new MTA Board Director to the current regime at the SFMTA Board, who will return Muni’s attention to making Muni an attractive reliable functioning option?

You can only pretend the emperor is dressed for so long. It is hard to take a bus that does not arrive to pick you up. It is past time to replace the leadership at SFMTA.

RELATED:

Letters to SFMTA Board:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-not-belong-dedicated-bus-lanes/

https://metermadness.wordpress.com/red-lane-experiments/private-transport-should-not-be-allowed-to-use-transit-only-lanes/

 

 

San Francisco has no idea what to do about ‘goofball’ e-scooters, email records show

By Sahsa Lekach : mashable – excerpt

San Francisco has been scooter-less for months…

A public records request of scooter-related emails from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, or SFMTA, from March through late July, shows that the city’s scooter triage was in full throttle within weeks of the battery-powered vehicles hitting city streets.

One transit planner emailed over this Jalopnik article (“I Tried San Francisco’s Electric Scooter Share And It Was A Nightmare”), saying, “Having not tried it yet myself, I found this one illuminating, if not unsurprising.” Another transit official made his thoughts clear with a quip about efforts to “further regulate this emerging goofball mode.”… (more)

How much time and taxpayer money is SFMTA spending to bring this new controversial business to fruition? We already heard that the there is an uptick in injuries that has triggered a new pilot project or study to determine the health effects of these toys on the streets and sidewalks. When does the public get to vote on how our money is being spent to “promote disruption” in our city? How many staff hours are we paying for to run an “enterprise entity”? IS the SFMTA making a profit on any of this after all the expenses are accounted for?

RELATED:

Scooter Safety: UCSF Doctors to Track New Injuries

By Vicky Stein : ucsf – excerpt

As motor-assisted scooters, bikes, and mopeds become a familiar sight across San Francisco, researchers at UC San Francisco want to know how these devices are affecting injuries in the city.

Anecdotally, researchers say they have seen an increase in both minor and major injuries as technology sends pedestrians on one, two, three or four wheels into the street, accelerating to speeds of 15 to 30 miles per hour… (more)

Is the Uber and Lyft Business Model in Jeopardy?

By Glenn Rogers : westsideobserver – excerpt

On April 30, 2018 the California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s judgment, changing existing law determining how an independent contractor can be identified. The case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, may completely redefine what is and what is not an independent contractor.

Dynamex, which is a same day pick-up and delivery company, treated all their workers as employees before 2004. However, as a cost saving measure, they changed the status of their workers to independent contractors after that date. In January 2005, Charles Lee — the sole named plaintiff in the original complaint entered into a written independent contractor agreement with Dynamex to provide delivery services. He filed this class action as the sole class representative challenging the legitimacy of Dynamex’s relationship with its independent contractor drivers… (more)

Now that Uber and Lyft have outcompeted taxis, their next goal is to outcompete with mass transit, which is suffering a diminished ridership from Uber and Lyft daily.”

 

There are so many articles on the Uber Lyfts that ignore the threats coming from so many more whose names may flash be in a brief moment as they glide past you in the havoc of traffic. Some will run on two wheels some of four and some may even try for three, but they all have one thing in common, their primary business plan is to take your slice of the traffic lane pie away. When you find yourself left with little wiggle room you may remember this warning. If you already feel cramped and in the mood too so something about it, your first move should be a call to your supervisor’s office to complain, or a trip down to City Hall to file an appeal under Ordinance 180089, or, a CEQA appeal, whichever fills your needs.

What Happens When a Company That Sells Car Trips Gets Into the Bike Trip Business?

By Ben Fried : streetsblog – excerpt

Lyft has acquired the nation’s largest bike-share company, setting up a situation where its bike trip sales will cannibalize its car trip sales.

Lyft, Uber’s smaller but gigantic-in-its-own-right competitor in the ride-hailing business, has acquired Motivate, the company that runs several of the largest bike-share systems in America. The price isn’t public yet, but unconfirmed earlier reports pegged it at $250 million. The new entity is called “Lyft Bikes.”

Lyft gets Motivate’s “current engineering, technology, marketing, communications, legal and supply chain capabilities as well as some human resources and finance functions,” according to a spokesperson. Lyft says the terms of contracts with local governments, including agreements with New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other large cities granting varying degrees of exclusivity, will not be affected…

This is a matter of dispute, that may be cause for legal action.

The optimist sees huge potential in the nation’s largest bike-share operator getting an infusion of capital…

The acquisition by Lyft could change this dynamicMotivate has yet to show what it can do with the dockless and electric-assist bicycles it’s been developing

The announcement yesterday renews Motivate’s relevance, with Lyft explicitly mentioning “dockless and pedal-assist electric bikes” as the type of “innovation” it intends to expedite…

The pessimistic take on the deal is that Lyft’s core businessselling car trips in cities — will put a ceiling on what it will do as a bike-share company. ..

I doubt that Lyft will enthusiastically try to convert its car trips to bike trips without some sort of prompt from policy makers. Bike-share is a very low-margin business. … (more)

As the author points out, there are many directions the company may take, and, since the future of bike stations is uncertain there is no reason to expand the most controversial bike-share programs that infuriates the public.

As one of the North Beach patrons asked when the Central Subway was being presented as an extendable program, “How can you aim a tunnel when you don’t know where it is going to end up?” We need to stop installing bike stations and see what the market does.

This matter will be addressed Tuesday at the SFCTA Meeting. around 10 AM in Room 250 at City Hall.  You may want to comment on Item 9 on the agenda – Adopt the Emerging Mobility Evaluation Report – ACTION*  resolutionenclosure  Including TNCs, on-demand, shared, ride-hails, autonomous vehicles, robots and drones – all those vehicles that are cluttering up the road that used to be full of our private vehicles. How many millions or billions of taxpayers dollars have gone into this failed system that was going to rid the city of cars?

Keep your letters going to the Board of Supervisors on this matter. We need to keep public funds out of the hands of these corporations that have informed us that they intend to take over our streets. Supervisor Cohen needs to hear from you as she is still supporting the Ford GoBikes, that are now the Lyft bikes. We also need to send a message to Supervisor Kim on that matter. NO MORE TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR CORPORATIONS. If they want to help low-income people they can do so with their own money.

RELATED:
Uber Poised to Make Investment in Lime Scooter-Rental Business

STOP THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR STREETS.
Buy an electric scooter for #129 at Best Buy or a Moped for less than $400.