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.

 

Uber and Lyft get the last laugh – all the way to the bank

SF City Hall and SFMTA used Uber and Lyft to kill taxis and attempt to remove cars. Now the ride-shares outnumber Muni. They created the Monster. Let’s see how they tame it.

A collection of photos of SF streets by zrants

RIDE-SHARES TECH BUSES OR TAXIS AND PRIVATE VEHICLES: SFMTA welcomed ride-shares as their allies in their attempt to drive SF residents out of their cars. SFMTA removed and privatized on-street parking. Planning removed off-street parking from future developments giving developers a huge windfall in profits. Developers did their part by offering Uber and Lyft credits instead of on-site parking, jacking up the demand for car-shares. The demand for car-shares, created by the parties in their haste to eliminate private cars, is driving the number of car-shares and increasing regional traffic as the car-share drivers are coming in to drive us around the city. Don’t even get us started on the tech bus problems that are effecting everyone around the Bay Area not just SF.

PARKING OR TRAFFIC: The parking problem for some is eliminated, but, there are more cars driving around NOT PARKING than there were before the parking was eliminated. Given the choice between parking and traffic, which is worse? You are going to have one or the other. Decide City Hall and clean up your act.

RETAIL OR DELIVERY: Instead of private people running their own errands shopping in their own cars, and bringing their purchase home, we now have delivery services running those errands for us and double parking of delivery trucks all over town. You do want that pizza hot, don’t you? You can’t expect your new computer, TV, or stove to be delivered by bike. Those come by truck now. Instead of mail once a day, we have multiple deliveries a day from multiple sources, adding both traffic and double parking to our streets. We have replaced retail jobs with delivery jobs. Is that the kind of neighborhood and city we want to live in? Where we interact by digital media instead of human contact? How many jobs may be eliminated by robots?

LOCAL SERVICES OR REGIONAL: We find that we have more traffic than ever pouring into the city. Many of our service companies, such as repair and construction crews used to work out of local warehouses and parking lots have been forced out and must now drive into the city to serve us. This jacks up the price of those services, many emergency in nature, electricians and plumbers, PDR and other businesses reliant on vehicles. Now your plumber must commute in to stop that leak. This leads to more damage and more costly repairs. Don’t even think about getting that roof repaired or your sidewalk attended to with any haste. Fast, cheap or reasonable remodels are a distant past memory.

PLAYING THE GREEN CARD: For those of you who have not followed the history of this anti-car movement, we may direct you to the beginning, which started with a treatise and the uniting of a number of non-profits that run the city. Details are too many to address here now. There was an idea that by stuffing people into large dense cities you could somehow reduce greenhouse gases and save the planet. One the way to that perfect future plan, an amazing happened. The car manufacturers cleaned up their cars and the engines got more efficient, so we are using less fuel and polluting less in our cars. The cost of gas is also going down, as the demand diminished. Many alternate fuels are coming on the market. Thus the green card is no longer sufficient to fight cars.

PLAYING THE SAFETY CARD: This brings up the need for a new reason to remove cars. Cars are dangerous. To prove that, most of the state and federal requirements for safety such as lane width, road signs traffic laws, have been altered to the point where few people even know what they are any more. This is called chaos. This is how the SFMTA really makes its mark on our city. No one creates chaos and hatred among the people on the streets like the SFMTA. They are geniuses at playing the safety card against us. Everything they do is geared to confuse and annoy us. Starting by turning our perfectly normal streets into battlefields of zones based on some strange markings that no one understands. They blame each accident on the lack of safety on that corner and target it for change.

PLAYING THE CHAOS CARD: Now that we have animosity on the streets and mass confusion because of rules and regulations no one understands and confusion over the street markings, SFMTA decided it is time to really stir things up by “calming” our straight, easy to navigate and see lanes into movable targets. The days of warning when lanes are merging are over. If you don’t pay attention to the lanes curing in and out of bulbouts, parking, bike and red lanes, you are in trouble. All your attention must go to following the lanes and it is hard to pay attention to the lane changes and the pedestrians, bikers and others who think they have “the right of way” all the time. People who don’t live here can’t wait to leave. They are completely confused.

WORST CASE SCENARIOS: It is one thing to design streets for everyday experience and assume that the power to the Third Street rail lights that “manage” the merging traffic on and off of rail lanes will always works, but, it is another to deal with the reality of unexpected emergencies and power outages. We understand that decisions have been made to ignore the warnings of our emergency respondors in favor SFMTA “specialists” and “experts” on how the emergency vehicles will deal with the realities of emergencies as they arise and become stuck in traffic, or, worse yet, cannot reach fires in high rise properties due to the fact that they have been downsized. According to then Supervisor Wiener, the Fire Department should purchase smaller vehicles capable of handling the narrow streets. Someone must be held accountable when there are repercussions to these short-sided decisions.

THE AFTERMATH: In the haste to remove cars from SF streets, SF invited in the newest tech and anti-car planning teams they could find. They failed on all counts. By any metric or measurement you care to name, the entire program is a failure. We have a much worse regional traffic problem than before. We have a lot more vehicles on our streets.

We have many infuriated drivers and Muni riders, removed off-street parking and building owners are offering Uber and Lyft credits to lure in tenants of those parkless housing developments. Why should anyone be surprised that Ubers and Lyfts are replacing the traffic the city used them to eliminate.

WHO DETERMINES THE FUTURE OF OUR CITY: The public needs to speak up and let City Hall know how they feel about these issues. The plan is flawed and it is up to us to demand an examination of the flawed plan. Hearings are being called. We will be alerting you to those hearings. Please write letters and come to speak out at the hearings if you can. What is your solution to solving this problem?

Bike Coalition Preps for Next Round of SoMa Fight

: streetsblog – excerpt (includes graphics)

FolsomHowardMap

Folsom and Howard Streets Slated for Redesigns

here are now four design options for a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)’s project to add parking-protected bike lanes, possible transit lanes, and wider sidewalks on Howard and Folsom Streets in the South of Market neighborhood (SoMa). Deciding what design concept is best–and which elements of each plan are good and bad–was the topic discussed by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s (SFBC) 15-member SoMa committee on Thursday evening at the Public Architecture firm on Folsom Street.

“All four of these designs are pretty darned good. All four have pretty good protected bike lanes; physically separated bike lanes and that was the top priority,” said Charles Deffarges, community organizer for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) and leader of the SoMa committee. “We can steer these in the direction we want to see for people who ride in SF.”… (more)

Go to SFMTA’s PDF to see all the four conceptual alternatives for yourself. But here are the two that generated the most conversation among the SFBC’s SoMa committee, the #2 Bicycle Connectivity scheme, and #4 Two-Way Traffic Alternative:

Way to go SFMTA! Turn two of the major access streets to the Bay Bridge into a two-way, slower than ever bike-lane laden streets with bus-only lanes. Double the commute time for everyone and force us to breath twice the fumes by forcing cars to take twice as long to leave the city. Great way to kill a city. Speaking of killing, how are the emergency vehicles supposed to get around?

Tired of that pothole? Report it today and DPW will fix it in June as part of Fewer Potholes Month

By Sarah B : Richmondsblog – excerpt

IMG_1289

I adopted Carolina (between 16th and 17th Streets) because the street is one large pothole that and wins the prize as the largest continuous pothole in town. photo by Zrants.

We’ve all been there. You’re driving down a street in the Richmond District when, BAM, your wheel hits a pothole, rattling your vehicle and making you grit your teeth in frustration. Inevitably you ask, “Why can’t this city keep our roads in good shape?”.

Our new District 1 Supervisor Sandra Fewer wants to do something about it. She has declared June to be “Fewer Potholes Month” in the Richmond District and has convinced the Department of Public Works to commit a repair crew EXCLUSIVELY to the neighborhood for the month to repair all potholes reported by residents.

That’s where you come in – we need your pothole reports!…(more details and the application form attached.)

Our state government passed a gas tax to fix the roads so let’s fix the potholes. Thanks to Supervisor Fewer for taking this on. Other supervisors need to join the “Fewer Potholes” movement. Invite your constituents to adopt their favorites.

This is the one thing everyone agrees on. Potholes effect ALL MODES of travelers, creating dangerous conditions for everyone who must deal with them. This often involves by swerving in and out of lanes to avoid them or slowing down as you approach them, and creates unnecessary friction between cars and bikes. Bus riders complain of “bumpy rides” and lose precious moments as the drivers are forced to slowing down or swerve to avoid them on the narrow streets. We spend millions of dollars a year on repair bills. Fix the Potholes now! Report details:

File a complaint with DPW. Take a picture. Make note of the address. File a report on it with DPW using the Mayor’s 311 complaint system. You may call 311 and speak to an operator but this can be time-consuming. It may be easier to file a complaint online http://sf311.org to get it entered into the record. They claim that all feedback is linked to the 311 system and offer you a referral number, which you can use to check on the status of your pothole. If you use that system report back on how long it takes to get it fixed.

New App Helps Dogpatch Residents Report Neighborhood Problems

by potreroview – excerpt
In March, a new website, Dogpatch Solutions Tracker, launched at https://dogpatch.dillilabs.com. A community service aiming to improve neighborhood safety and cleanliness, the site features a digital map application where registered users can pinpoint such concerns as potholes, graffiti, trash, and vandalism in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill…(more)

Bill to Allow Cyclists to Roll Through Stop Signs Fails

Bike crossing on Panhandle path en mass at traffic light – photo by zrants.

A proposal to allow bikes to roll through intersections has come to a skidding stop — for now.

AB 1103 would have let bicyclists treat stop signs like yield signs. On Monday, the measure stalled in committee.

The American Automobile Association opposes the measure, as does the California Police Chief’s Association.

Supporters of the measure are holding off until next year when they plan to re-introduce the bill. They decided they needed more time to convince their fellow lawmakers… (more)

Everyone is safest when we all follow the same rules.

 

 

Bikes win, Fire Department loses in Market Street redo

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Impossible to move in traffic like this, photo by Zrants

Score a big victory for the politically potent San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which won approval the other day for protected bike lanes along several blocks of upper Market Street — despite a Fire Department protest that the reconfiguration will interfere with ladder trucks in an emergency.

“The design materially compromises the safety of firefighters and local residents,” Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White warned in a letter to the Municipal Transportation Agency commission.

At issue is a nearly mile-long strip of Market between Octavia and Castro streets. Under the plan, the city will install protected bike lanes in both directions.

The redo includes a bike lane on two blocks near Octavia that will be located next to the curb and be buffered from traffic by a lane for parked cars.

And therein lies the rub — because, as Hayes-White tells us, the parking lane will be right in the spot where a ladder truck would normally pull up to an emergency scene…

Mayor Ed Lee himself signaled his support for the biking crowd last year when he issued a directive pledging support for protective bike lanes in the city, and calling for at least 13 miles of additional bike lanes and related infrastructure annually.

Safe for bikes, perhaps, but maybe less so for anyone needing help in an emergency… (more)

The self-centered attitude of people who treat the streets as their playground has gotten out of control and City Hall needs to put some breaks on these antics that are putting us all at risk.

How is this different from the leaning sinking tower?

Experts are warning that the public is at risk? Where has the media been on this story as it has been developing over the last few months or years? The first we heard about this was a few weeks ago, after the SFMTA Board had already decided to support the Bike Coalition, with their 300 letters.

How can the public weigh in when they are the last to know about these issues?
Where are the Supervisors who are supposed to protect us? Setting up a study to count the minutes it takes to get to an emergency after the fact is pointless and insulting to the Fire Department and the public it serves.

Where were the meetings held on this matter and where are the minutes of those meetings that were held leading up to this decision?

Where are the letters that were written and arguments made against this plan. How will these documents be protected so as not to disappear like the famous disappearing volumes of engineers reports on the tower?

Who will the Bicycle Coalition members who ignored the Fire Department’s warning blame, when the vehicle coming to their aid fails to get to them in time?

I cannot figure out how to comment on the source site, even though I am signed into it. Please post some comments there is you can figure it out.

Despite SFFD Complaints, SFMTA Board OKs Upper Market Parking-Protected Bike Lanes

by Carrie Sisto : hoodline – excerpt

Clogged traffic on Masonic before they cut out any lanes.

Despite objections from fire department officials, San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency’s board voted yesterday to approve new parking-protected bike lanes and other changes to the roadway in the Upper Market area.

“The item was passed unanimously with the understanding that we would work with SFFD to develop a plan that includes the features of the project, while ensuring that first responders have the necessary access,” SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose told us.

Easily-installed improvements like painting new protected bike lanes should be installed this year, but large-scale construction improvements like adding bulb-outs and islands will occur in 2019… (more)

This is not about traffic laws or safety regulations. This is about science and physics and the fact that no two objects can occupy the same space at one time.
I just witnessed a traffic jam on 18th Street with a fire department ambulance stuck in traffic. It was being held up by what appeared to be a school bus coming from the opposite direction.
The totality of the traffic and anti-traffic flow tactics being unleashed on SF streets is the problem. Left unchecked, a fire can double in size, or so fire department personnel have claimed. Do you really want to second guess the Fire Department when they tell you they can’t serve the public under these circumstances?
If you think it is more important to promote traffic nightmares that hamper emergency vehicles and stop traffic flow, I hope you are prepared to take your friends and family who need assistance on your bike to the hospital next time they need help because the ambulance you count on may not make it in time.

 

Traffic Safety Advocates Form Human Chain To Protect Tenderloin Bike Lane

by Walter Thompson : hoodline – excerpt

Calling attention to what they say is the city’s failure to protect bike lanes in high-injury corridors, approximately 15 traffic safety advocates formed a human chain this morning on Golden Gate Avenue near Market Street.

Dressed in yellow T-shirts donated by road-safety advocacy group San Francisco Municipal Transformation Agency (SFMTrA), participants stood in a bike lane and joined hands to create a barrier between motorists and cyclists…

Last month, Muni proposed scaling back a parking-protected bikeway on Turk Street—another corridor in the High Injury Network—to a paint-buffered bike lane, similar to the one on Golden Gate Ave. The change was proposed after fire department representatives said the new configuration made the street too narrow for emergency vehicles… (more)

How the Supercomputer in Our Pockets Can Help With Road Redesign

By Ryan McCauley : govtech – excerpt

Experimental red lanes on Mission Street were given the red carpet treatment without any repairs on the street. You can easily see the condition of the unpainted lane on the bottom right of the photo. The painted lanes are dangerous in the rain. Photo by Zrants.

This article appears to be written by people in an industry that spies on us by somehow accessing the data on how we drive and move about. Who authorized this use of our personal data? Who is keeping it and for how long and for what purposes?

Public perception may not be the most accurate measurement when assessing a project’s effectiveness. After a massive street redesign project, for instance, residents may complain that parking has been affected or traffic is now slower.

So getting large amounts of high-quality data to city planners so they can objectively judge a project’s true effectiveness is of the utmost importance. And the San Francisco Bay area’s increasing population has forced city officials to think about new ways to accommodate the influx — especially in San Francisco and Oakland, both of which have recently pursued “road diet” projects, which are essentially creating bus- and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Something I have been trying to emphasize with staff is the importance of collecting data and talking about performance,” said Jeff Tumlin, interim director of the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT), which formed last summer, and was charged with improving mobility in the rapidly growing city while aligning transportation projects with the city’s values on equity…

Traditionally, the SFMTA would rely on collision data and count the amount of vehicles that would pass through intersections to judge how traffic and safety has improved. Through the Zendrive software, which works in the background and measures rapid acceleration, hard braking, phone usage and excessive speeding, the company can measure the behavior of specific drivers and understand where problem areas are.

The company released a report that analyzed more than 1 million miles of driver data on the Mission Street corridor before, during and after the construction. By tracking the data in individual vehicles, the SFMTA was able to recognize exactly where and how the project improved congestion…(more)

Anyone who doubts the true purpose of the road diets can read the words of Jeff Tumlin (a consultant for SFMTA who was fired by the city of Santa Monica for lying about his accomplishments here).

According to Tumlin, SFMTA is “creating bus-and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians. No word on how they are helping anyone who drives or takes public transit, because SFMTA wants us to bike or walk. They don’t have the capacity to carry more people on public transportation and they only seem to support corporate vehicles like privatized parking spaces for ride shares that they benefit from.

If you take the Muni, you are costing them money. They are not making any profit off of you. You should be biking or walking instead.

There are a few problems with this plan. We have an aging population that is not likely to ride or bike, that SFMTA is ignoring. They don’t think they need to cater to taxpayers because they are busy hiring lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington to circumvent local taxpayers. If you don’t like it you better support the next ballot initiative that removes their power.

Otherwise, get some walking shoes or prepare to stand on a crowded bus that may or may not get you where you need to go. Watch out for the potholes. SFMTA is too busy painting streets to repair them. Of course you can sue them if you fall and are injured, but who wants that.

If you don’t like the way the SFMTA operates, (even cyclists are mad about the condition Potrero is in and the huge barriers in the middle of the street that force them to cycle on Potrero), be sure to register your complaints with 311 and demand  your supervisors take actions. If potholes bother you, check out suggestions here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

If you feel creative you may want to follow in the steps of a Chicago mosaic artist who sees potholes as an empty canvases waiting to be filled.

Open letter to Sustainable Streets

4-12-2017

Sustainable Streets,

Director Maguire and staff:

re: Request for a continuance on approval of the Vincente bike lanes and parking alterations on 44th Avenue due to lack of proper public disclosure of public meetings during the planning process and lack of notice on this engineering meeting. No reasonable person would consider posting paper signs on outdoor posts during a rainstorm proper notice.

As you are aware, there have been many complaints over lack of proper notice and outreach to the community where SFMTA projects are concerned. This one really takes the cake.

I will not bore you by repeating all the details on this particular case, ie: complaints from the neighbors and merchants that they were not invited to any planning meetings where the bike lanes were being discussed. They will tell you their stories. This neighborhood is already living with the Taraval experiment that is forcing unwanted changes on their traffic patterns. To add more pain and pressure to this area is outrageous.

SFMTA’s lack of respect for the public has gotten so bad that citizens are going to their Supervisors with demands of public hearings focusing on the SFMTA’s lack of public support for the projects they are forcing on our streets, while ignoring their requests for better service instead of cuts. There are lawsuits underway and more are being contemplated. Don’t add to the list of complaints by approving the bike lanes and parking alterations today. This matter needs to be continued.

Sincerely,

Mari Eliza, concerned citizen