Bike Talk on Homeless and the Hairball

: streetsblog – excerpt

Plight of Homeless Elicits Compassion from Bicycle Community

Melodie, a woman in her late 50s who lives in a camper along one of the streets leading into the Hairball, pleaded with city officials and advocates to just give homeless people some sanctuary and peace. “There’s no where else to go,” she said to a group of some 40 bike and homeless advocates who attended a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition panel last night on homelessness in the Hairball…

When the bike paths opened three years ago, Streetsblog and the Bicycle Coalition celebrated it as a victory for the safe-streets community. But, as Streetsblog has covered previously, the bike lanes are now overrun with encampments, rendering them all but impassable. Last night’s meeting, which brought together advocates and city officials at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in the Mission, was intended to address some of the concerns…

For Kelley Cutler with the Coalition on Homelessness, the Hairball conflicts are part of a nationwide issue that’s going on in every corner of the country. “They’re dealing with the same thing in Alaska, where it’s freezing.”…

“The takeaway is that people living in encampments are our neighbors and to treat people with dignity and respect,” said Emily Cohen with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness. Her department, she explained, is setting up so-called ‘Navigation Centers’–city run shelters where social workers help reconnect homeless people with relatives, jobs, medical care, and, hopefully, get them set on a path back to a permanent roof over their heads. The idea is to clear the hairball encampments not by chasing them away, but by helping them rejoin society. “We don’t approach a camp until we have the beds at the navigation centers to do it–so it’s a real offer of someplace to go,” she explained.

Cohen said they’ve made significant progress in the Hairball. “We did an assessment in August–there were 60 people living in the area, and now we’re down to 35 or 45,” she said, adding that they placed people into navigation centers, with “four more placements taking place this week.”…

Meanwhile, the California Department of Transportation owns most of the land under the freeway and Hairball, explained Luis Montoya, with the Livable Streets division at the SFMTA. Montoya explained how the Hairball was never designed by any one agency, and was instead layered on over several decades during the freeway building era–that’s why the whole thing is such a disjointed physical and administrative mess. One of the bike paths is controlled by the SF Department of Public Works, but the rest belongs to Caltrans, he said. “We have no jurisdiction over it. And we’re not consulted when changes are made.”…

So homeless people set up camp on the bike bridges–the only part that Caltrans doesn’t control…

Indeed, from Streetsblog’s perspective, it remains a mystery as to why Caltrans insists on leaving areas under freeways fenced off and unused, often covered in garbage, but will take such extreme measures to clear out the homeless from the one place where nobody would otherwise bother them–and where they have a chance to stay dry in the rainy season. It’s a horrible existence, but it’s not improved by regularly throwing out all their possessions and tossing them onto a bike path or a sidewalk or a street. That said, it sounds as if the city has been pretty inhumane and extreme too at times–Melodie said the Department of Public Works sometimes clears them off the bike path by blasting them with water in the middle of the night…

“There’s nowhere for us to go,” said Melodie, fighting through tears. “And that’s how come we’re under the freeway. We’re just trying to get out of your hair, so you can get on with your life, so you can get to work … that’s why we’re down there. And they’re hosing us down with water at 4 a.m.!”… (more)

 

 

 

 

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Brewing bikeshare battle may threaten SF’s Ford GoBike contract

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Harrison17th

These unpopular GoBikes line 17th Street line in the Mission with private corporate bikes,  removing parking for everyone, including private bike owners. They are blessed by SFMTA’s private deal with Motivate. photo by zrants

It’s not just a bump in the road. The latest conflict between stationless bikeshare companies and San Francisco has seemingly hit a full-on obstacle course.

San Francisco’s transportation agency is preparing to issue its first permit to a competitor of Ford GoBike, potentially threatening a contract between the Bay Area and the $65 billion Ford Motor Company…

Technically, the contract is not with Ford, it is with Motivate, owned and operated by Related. Motivate has an $8 million deal with Ford. See details on that deal or look it up yourself: Holding Company that owns GoBikes

But that permit allegedly runs afoul of an exclusivity contract Ford entered into with The City, along with its administrator of the bikeshare program, Motivate…

Though no entity has formally sued another, the possible threat of legal action from Motivate and Ford has allegedly driven the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to begin a “dispute resolution process” between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Bay Area Motivate LLC, according to sources with knowledge of the situation…

Though no entity has formally sued another, the possible threat of legal action from Motivate and Ford has allegedly driven the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to begin a “dispute resolution process” between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Bay Area Motivate LLC, according to sources with knowledge of the situation… (more)

Here we appear to have fight over a yet-to-be-developed market. Where is the research that proves the public is anxious to rent bikes? How many people want to ride bikes who don’t own their own? Why has MTC and SFMTA involved SF voters in a complicated legal battle over a clientele that does not exist in an effort to remove public parking from the streets? Don’t they have a Muni service to run?

Why did the MTC and SFMTA sign exclusive deals (not sure these rise to the level of being legal contracts) with private entities without public knowledge or input? Why were the voters and residents left in the dark until the blue bikes appeared on the street? Do the voters prefer GoBikes and Scoots in their neighborhood or residential parking permits? Think about this as you think about who you want to represent you at City Hall.

New plan to ban encampments at ‘Hairball’ emerges as homeless and cyclists clash

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Freeway2

City officials are exploring ways to remove encampments from the “Hairball” to address the growing number of clashes there between cyclists and homeless people…

The new parking restrictions and bike lane are the first steps among dramatic changes by city officials coming to the Hairball, as bicyclists and people living on the streets increasingly clash…

Peggy Howse, owner and president of All Seas Wholesale, a fish distributor located on Jerrold Avenue said… parking restrictions on Jerrold Avenue may hurt her workers, who travel from as far as Antioch and already battle for parking with nearby RVs…

But in an SFMTA board meeting on Sept. 21, staff said parking restrictions on nearby Barneveld Avenue were put in place to ensure nearby employees could fairly compete with RVs for parking.

Leave it to SFMTA to claim that by eliminating parking spaces they are making parking more available by forcing more competition for parking spaces. Not sure which of the new math programs they studied where subtraction equals more not less, but, most of us live in the real work where subtracting gets us less not more.

Some vitriol from local cyclists has emerged on social media and among the cycling community, concerning the Hairball and its tent-living residents. Cyclists also often vent frustration alleging they’re targets of theft for “chop-shops” run at homeless encampments… (more)

Given the constant nasty comments on social media and the new lack of civility in San Francisco you might want to consider who is moving here and why you may prefer less of them. People used to move here because they loved San Francisco the way it was. Now they come to get rich and change it.
Plan Bay Area forecasts elimination of 40% of the middle class. For that plan to happen, middle class citizens will leave or become extremely rich or extremely poor. Think about that next time you consider who you want to represent you at City Hall. Ask them how they feel about the Plan Bay Area.

Pandora box has been flung open.

You are no longer dealing with just Ford GoBikes.

Thousands more are coming unless the pubic does something to stop them. Its plastered all over FACEBOOK that LIME bikes expanding into San Francisco and they are already signing up new members.  https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/15/limebike-raises-12-million-to-roll-out-bike-sharing-without-kiosks-in-the-us/  and another company called SPIN started dumping hundreds more on streets across the financial district. The only thing that will stop this is legislation.

We heard that a company called Arup was awarded a $550 Million contract to construct a bicycle lane across the Bay Bridge. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/13/bay-bridge-bike-lane_n_1146310.html

It is said that the lead designer for the $550M Bay Bridge bike lane is married to Ms. Brinkman, the chair of the SFMTA Board. See the following: https://bridge2017.sched.com/richard.coffin?iframe=no&w=100%&sidebar=yes&bg=no.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why all of these bikes are getting shoved down our throats for the sole purpose of removing parking from our streets. Is this what the voters wanted when they handed over management of the streets to what became SFMTA? Is this what City Hall supports? The complete privatization of our city streets and thoroughfares? If this is what our city leaders want do we want them?

If this is what our taxes are paying for do we support higher taxes?

Read about the holding company behind Motivate if you missed it to see who and what is behind the Ford GoBikes for proof that the bikes are being used to clear the way for dense urban development and luxury housing. Each day more proof of this comes out. What will you do about it? Leave or fight to stay. Pretty soon your choice will be made for you.

Fight gentrification: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Holding Company behind Motivate is Bikeshare Holdings LLC. By most counts this is not a neighborhood friendly organization.

 

Bikes and more bikes, everywhere you look are blue Ford GoBikes in the stations in the Mission. Don’t see many peddling around but there are a lot on them parked at the stations, especially near public parks and in front of businesses like grocery stores. photo by zrants.

We just unearthed a lot of details about the Motivate group behind Ford GoBikes. Motivate is held by Bikeshare Holdings LLC, one of the largest luxury developers in New York City. If you oppose gentrification sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Motivate has a private/pubic partnership agreement with MTC. MTC allocates government tax and grant funds including your tax dollars. We already already covered the relationship with MTC and SFMTA. We were lacking in details about Motivate. This should fill in those gaps. To see the rest of the story go here: Ford-gobike-bay-area-bikeshare-update/

According to their PR campaigns and reported by several sources, a national bike-share program was set up by Bikeshare Holdings LLC to soften local opposition by removing street parking, claiming they are complimenting public transit for everyone. The real goal is to gentrify neighborhoods, raise property values, and make room for the luxury housing Related Company builds. (Details can be found in their press releases and on streetsblog and other articles). 

Bikeshare Holdings LLC was founded in 2014 by two CEOs – Jeff Blau is (or was) the CEO of Related Companies. Related builds luxury housing. Harvey Spevak is the CEO of Equinox, an American luxury fitness company that operates several separate fitness brands, including Equinox, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle.

If this news bothers you, you may want to attend the next SFMTA board meeting, that is scheduled for next Tuesday the 6th of September in room 400 at City Hall at 1 PM. You  may want to let SFMTA Board know how you feel about the deals they are cutting without prior public notice or debate. You might also object to using your tax dollars against your interests or contracting with known criminals. Recent article in the SF Examiner: SF awards $3.2M in contracts to company connected to alleged bid-rigging, federal indictment.

Bikes Sharing Companies Compete for Bay Area Market

Host Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt (audio track included)
Dan Brekke, editor and reporter, KQED News
Emily Stapleton, general manager, Ford GoBike

Ford GoBikes popping up all over photos by zrants

This is a corporate takeover of our streets.
Can you call the public/private corporate exclusionary deal MTC, Ford and Motivate have cooked up “competition” or fair business practices? Now the cyclists are threatening to boycott merchants who object to Ford bikes.
Time to fire back with boycotts of our own. Sign the petition to stop the Bikes in the Mission.

People voiced opposition and demanded removal of the GoBikes at the SFMTA Board meeting.  Board member Art Torres said “I think this is unacceptable… I’m glad you folks told us about this. This isn’t just going away.” He’s got that right.

If it seems like the Bay Area suddenly has a plethora of bike sharing options, it’s because it does. Several companies such as Ford GoBike, LimeBike and Spin are each looking to make a mark in the region’s bike-friendly culture. Ford GoBike, which utilizes docking stations where bikes are parked between uses, plans to expand its existing 700-bike program to 7000 bikes. Other cities like South San Francisco and Mountain View have made deals with stationless bike sharing companies, which allow riders more flexibility but risk bikes being left in random spots.

Both types of companies have faced pushback: In San Francisco’s Mission District, the neighborhood council banned a GoBike station from 24th Street and bikes have been vandalized throughout the Bay Area. San Francisco, which like other cities has a controversial exclusivity contract with GoBike, has yet to approve permit requests for several stationless bike share companies. In this segment we’ll take a look at how the bike share turf wars are helping and hurting the Bay Area…(more)

Corporate Connections:Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is a 9-county regional organization of unelected officials that manages state and federal funds and grants, including taxes for large public transit projects.  Motivate is a NY based corporation that operates bike shares on a national scale. Ford GoBike is the Bay Area bike share division of Motivate. Motivate contracts with the city of San Francisco under a controversial deal put together by the SFMTA.

Ford GoBike Financial arrangements: According to the information here, MTC has a partnership agreement with Motivate. MTC subsidizes bike share and most other public transportation systems. YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK! In this case, Ford is a patron of the GoBike program, to the tune of $49 million dollars over the next ten years. IF FORD DOES NOT SUPPORT YOU, YOU MAY NOT WANT TO SUPPORT FORD. This means that GoBike can expand whether or not people rent the bikes.

Ford GoBike Expansion Plans: GoBike plans to have 540 stations in San Francisco by the end of 2018. By their count, this would remove 1620 parking spots, many in residential neighborhoods. They expect to be the 2nd largest market in the country. Who is benefiting from this? How will this effect the Residential Parking Permit program?

Unfair Businesses Practices: How can a private/public partnership subsidized by public taxes and a corporate patron compete fairly with private bike owners and businesses associated with bike businesses and rentals that do not enjoy any subsidies? SFMTA is not approving any stationless bike rentals yet. Do they feel threatened by that model?

Regulatory Practices: How can the SFMTA fairly regulate their competition? How widespread is the competition?

Public criticism: Many residents claim they had no notice before the stations popped up and there has been a lot of pushback and vandalism. GoBike officials claim they are prepared to handle this and since city policies override voters and taxpayers wishes they do not appear to care. With our money backing them, they don’t need to. THINK ABOUT THIS NEXT TIME YOU ARE ASKED TO SUPPORT MORE TAXES FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Let Ford pay instead.

RELATED:
Bicyclists Boycott Bernal Businesses Seeking Removal Of Bike-Sharing Stations
Last week, the Examiner reported that the MIssion-Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to immediately remove a new Ford GoBike station installed in front of the UPS Store at 60 29th Street between Tiffany and Mission… (more)

 

$3 toll hike plan has Bay Area politicos dueling for dollars

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Traffic streaming across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco on a weekend evening. photo by zrants.

East Bay officials are threatening to oppose a regional ballot measure calling for a toll increase of as much as $3 on area bridges unless they get a bigger cut of the pie — and that’s triggered some last-minute political wheeling and dealing to get everyone on board with the transportation initiative.

“We are talking about an extra $700 a year,” Orinda Vice Mayor Amy Worth said of her suburban constituents.“These are working people who use the bridges to get to their jobs.”

Worth, who as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has a say in how transit dollars are allocated, has some prominent company in questioning how the proposed ballot measure is being put together. State Sen. Steve Glazer, an Orinda Democrat, and GOP Assemblywoman Catharine Baker of San Ramon say BART in particular needs to be well policed if it’s going to be trusted with millions of additional toll dollars.

“The current proposal falls well short,” said Glazer, who has been on a one-man crusade against BART ever since a pair of 2013 strikes at the transit agency made life miserable for riders in Orinda and everywhere else in the East Bay…

Beall said lawmakers have about two weeks to reach a deal if the measure is to make the ballot next year. Whatever eventually lands there probably has a decent chance of passing, regardless of whether the East Bay officials endorse it… (more)

Protected bike lanes not considered for Golden Gate Park for beauty reasons

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

IMG_6343

This group of bikers is crossing the street on the Panhandle bike path that starts of masonic and runs into Gold Gate Park. Photo by zrants.

New protected bike lanes won’t grace Golden Gate Park anytime soon because the barriers may detract from the park’s beauty and interfere with marathons…

“We discussed [protected bike lanes] with MTA,” Ginsburg said. “This is a longer term endeavor.” Approvals for the projects already in the pipeline will come before various commission and boards in August, including Rec and Park and the SFMTA, with input from the San Francisco Fire Department(more)

There may be some other reasons for this decision, however, there are multiple off-street bike paths through the park and there is ample room to put in more bike paths if they are needed. No need for bikes to “share the streets” in Gold Gate Park when they can be off-the-street paths. We have biked through the park on family outings on those paths from Masonic through the panhandle.

Stop Privatization of our Streets

No Corporate Bike rentals in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District

Petitioning Hillary Ronen

Please protect the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. The District and Mission as a whole has been experiencing extreme pressures Please protect the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. The District and Mission as a whole has been experiencing extreme pressures of gentrification causing forced displacement, creating undue hardships, family separation, loss of jobs, privatization of our public spaces, forced crowding, cultural erasure and high rents…. (sign the petition)

Support the Public Commons and free use of public spaces.

Fordbikes

Photo by zrants

The corporate bikes on the public streets go against our community and are offensive to our sense of public morale. The pubic commons is sacred ground that should not be sold or tampered with. The public commons is owned by the people for use of all the people and should not be sold or limited to the use of paid users.

There is a petition being circulated to allow the bikes. This is the petition is pushback against that petition.
I am concerned with how the city is allowing the privatization of our city spaces, including parking on the streets.  I see this as part of a much more disturbing trend to allow money to buy anything within the public commons for a price.
The corporate bikes on the public streets go against our community and are offensive to our sense of public morale as we feel the pubic commons is sacred ground that should not be sold or tampered with. The public commons is owned by the people for use of all the people.

I just signed the petition “Hillary Ronen: No Corporate Bike rentals in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
Thanks!