Uber And Lyft Are Making Traffic Worse While Claiming To Fix It

By Michael Hobbes : huffingtonpost – excerpt

The ride-hailing companies want you to think they’re reducing congestion and promoting public transit. Their actions tell a different story.

For years now, Uber and Lyft have argued that their business model provides a way for cities to augment public transport, reduce car ownership and beat traffic congestion.

In 2015, Uber co-founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick told a room of CEOs that he envisioned “a world where there’s no more traffic in Boston in five years.” The co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, predicted in 2016 that private car ownership “will all-but end in major U.S. cities” by 2025. “If Lyft Line were to be applied to all single occupancy taxi trips,” Zimmer and his co-founder, Logan Green, wrote in 2017, “it would reduce the number of vehicles needed by 75 percent.” They called their post “The End of Traffic.”

But these utopian visions have yet to square with reality. Since 2015, studies have consistently found that ride-sharing is associated with more driving, less public transit use and worsening congestion. Car traffic and ownership rates are still rising and, according to a study earlier this year, up to 60 percent of Uber and Lyft rides replace walking, biking, buses and trains — transportation modes that didn’t add cars to the roads. Just this month, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded that ride-sharing accounted for roughly half of the 37 extra minutes San Franciscans spend sitting in traffic every day compared to 2010…

A study by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded that ride-hailing accounted for roughly half the increase in congestion between 2010 and 2016.

(more)

What does it take to change situation that is well-documented by a number of studies? We are told the California PUC is responsible for removing local government control over the TNCs, Google buses and other non-public transportation business models that we are causing the major traffic problems and putting our public transportation systems at a disadvantage? Maybe the solution is to change the CPUC. Ask the governor wannabes how they will do this.

 

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Small businesses along San Francisco’s Van Ness corridor are suffering because of a major city road project.

abcnews – excerpt (includes video)

https://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=4545701

Small businesses along San Francisco’s Van Ness corridor are suffering because of a major city road project.

After three years in business, Masaye Waugh says she’s shaking off her losses and closing out for good at The Bootleg Bar & Kitchen…

Waugh says the City offered her free advertising on the side of buses, as long as she paid to print the banners. But, that cost $1,200, which Waugh says she didn’t have, since her bar has been losing money all year…

She wrote a letter to Mayor London Breed and Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Catherine Stefani, and said “they didn’t have much response.”

In that letter, she spelled out 15 common sense demands to help businesses survive the construction. She also says she is organizing a rally at City Hall on Tuesday, October 30 at 2:30 pm.

Read the full letter here(more)

What a deal.  Free advertising? “Bring your earplugs and dust masks to our Van Ness construction zone bars and restaurants. Leave your high heels at home. Heavy boots and causal wear advised. Hard hats optional.”

Come to the City Hall rally on Tuesday to support the Businesses that are dying thanks to the poorly executed Van Ness Corridor project that is killing businesses in its wake. Stop the destruction before they come for you!

 

 

When Will the S.F. Transit Center Reopen? It Will Be Weeks Before We Have a Date

: kqed – excerpt

Transbay Transit Center officials said Tuesday it will be weeks before they can offer an estimate about when the facility — shut down for a month after workers discovered fractures in steel beams — will reopen.

Mark Zabaneh, chief of the agency that oversaw the $2.2 billion center’s construction, told a meeting of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority board that resumption of service hinges on the results of tests trying to determine why two beams in the structure cracked…

Zabaneh offered no new details about the cracked beams, but acknowledged that the project’s multi-tiered inspection process had failed…

Peskin said in an interview Wednesday the review is necessary because of a long string of problems involving the transit center. He noted that the transit center is about $800 million over budget, was finished more than a year behind schedule and that the joint powers agency is now the target of a $150 million lawsuit filed by the project’s principal contractor.

Those problems and others, including the Sept. 25 discovery of cracked beams in the sprawling structure, raise doubts about the TJPA’s competence and its ability to handle the downtown rail extension.

“The organization that developed the Transbay Terminal is out of its depth, out of its league and needs a new governance structure,” Peskin said. “I think it’s time to rethink this to make sure we have an organization that can actually deliver a remarkably complex project.”… (more)

This has to be one of the most concise descriptions of the problems leading up to the decision to cut the chord of the money train for JTPA.

Citing management failures, city withholds funds for Salesforce Transit Center expansion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

A city transportation body voted Tuesday to suspend “all further financial assistance” for work on the Salesforce Transit Center, citing a lack of faith in the project’s leadership.

It is the latest delay to transit center funding, after $200 million was held up by a Board of Supervisors committee last Thursday for clarification purposes. That funding will return for a vote this week at the board.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board, which is comprised of the Board of Supervisors, voted unanimously to delay $9.6 million in funds to the Transbay Joint Power Authority until The City can evaluate what led to the discovery last month of cracks in two steel beams, shutting down the newly constructed $2.2 billion transit center…

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said it is vital that The City plans the multi-billion dollar project effectively, making it essential to re-evaluate the transit center’s leadership before the next phase of transit center design begins.

“The right time to get it right is in the beginning,” Peskin said…(more)

The solution to dealing with the accountability problem is to pass a Charter Amendment to restructure the departments that are responsible for the transportation mess that seems to be pushing us toward a private corporate takeover of our streets. The shadowy regional TJPA has been a thorn in our sides for a while. Now we see the results of their efforts. What will it take for citizens to act? Ask the candidates for supervisor what they will do when they are in charge.

Muni cuts ties with contractor who pleaded guilty to bid-rigging, federal fraud

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transportation agency is severing ties with Derf Butler, a city contractor who pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and federal fraud last week.

Butler, named in a federal indictment as the owner and president of Butler Enterprise Group, was also named in the federal trial of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow when court documents revealed transcripts of FBI wiretaps where a colleague claimed Butler bribed a San Francisco official.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency told the San Francisco Examiner Monday it has terminated its outstanding contracts with Butler Enterprise Group following Butler’s guilty plea in U.S. District Court last week. The company was awarded two $1.6 million public outreach contracts by the SFMTA in August last year, even after Butler himself was federally indicted in April 2017 for an alleged bid-rigging scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Energy. The company also previously was a subcontractor on the Central Subway project… (more)

Forum on the Future of Transportation in San Francisco

If the slow transportation grind is getting you down, you may want to check out this forum that will attempt to find some solutions to the failing systems that are plaguing our fair city as we tilt, sink, and fall into the future.

SAVE MUNI – Forum on the Future of Transportation in San Francisco
Saturday, September 29, 10 AM – Noon Doors open at 9:30 AM
Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library. – Grove Street entrance – downstairs

The Forum will address increasing congestion on San Francisco’s streets and the deterioration of public transit service. The Muni carries roughly the same number of passengers in 2018 as it did a decade ago despite increasing city population and the continuing economic boom. What can be done to make it easier to move around the city?

The Forum features four presentations by transportation experts who will share their ideas for reducing congestion and improving public transit service.

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director of Commute Seattle will describe how his city has been the only one in the nation to increase transit ridership since the recession.
Jerry Cauthen, Former Senior Engineering Manager and Transportation Vice President, ParsoVisit Sitens Brinckerhoff, will talk about ways to improve public transit service and ridership in San Francisco.
Mollie Cohen D’Agostino from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis will share results of her group’s study of the transportation networking companies (Lyft and Uber) in San Francisco and other American cities.

Bob Feinbaum, Chair of Save Muni will describe the role for congestion pricing in San Francisco, aided by a video featuring Jonas Eliasson, head of transportation for Stockholm which adopted congestion pricing more than a decade ago.

These presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion of questions from the audience. Come and share your ideas to make San Francisco truly a city where public transit comes first.

Doors open at 9:30 AM. Please come to the Grove Street library entrance and tell Security that you are here for the transportation forum. Coffee and snacks will be available at the small cafe opposite the auditorium.

Sponsored by Save Muni and the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods. Contact: Bob Feinbaum bobf@att.net

Muni delays make politicos late to Transit Week event

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

All told, three Muni routes experienced breakdowns Monday morning, causing elected officials, candidates and everyday transit riders to arrive at the Transit Week celebration at City Hall late or just barely on time… (more)

Salesforce Transit Center to remain closed after crack in second beam discovered

By Michael Barba : sfexaminer – excerpt

The $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center is expected to remain closed at least through the end of next week after inspectors found a second cracked steel beam beneath the center’s rooftop park, officials said Wednesday.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority shuttered the brand new transit center shortly before rush hour Tuesday after workers installing ceiling panels on the bus deck above Fremont Street discovered the initial crack at around 10 a.m… (more)

A bad week for public transportation in San Francisco this week has lead to a bad week for everyone’s commute. Will the voters rebel against the failed agency or will City Hall finally say ENUF and abandon the failed agency?

 

‘Eroding the Confidence’: SF Mayor Breed Blasts Muni Officials For Flawed Service

By Sam Brock : nbcbayareanews – excerpt (includes video)

One day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the Muni director in a letter, accusing him of “eroding the confidence” of riders in the system, the mayor took a ride on Muni and continued her criticism.

Breed said Tuesday you can’t push people to use public transportation and then have the transit not work. From widespread delays in service to the recent death of a construction worker, Breed said she’s fed up, and her concerns are echoing through City Hall… (more)

SFMTA Board reacted to the Mayor’s threats and the public’s outrage by ignoring it.

First, they ignored public request to limit the Geary BRT Red Lanes to Muni and taxis only, and retain some popular bus stops.

The Board approved recently unveiled plans to allow non-public transportation corporations access to Transit only Red Lanes.  Liz Brisson, SFMTA’s Project Manager for the Geary Project, claimed the definition of a bus is a vehicle transporting 9 or more people. This is news to many people who opposed the non-Muni vehicles at the meetings. When was this definition written and why was this intent not explained in previous presentations of the Geary BRT plan?

Were the Supervisors aware of this when they approved Phase I of the Geary BRT?

Will this new information be factored into the case against Phase II of the Geary BRT currently under litigation, or will City Hall settle the case rather than continue to fund the legal battles of this devious department?

Not only did we learn that Transit only does not mean public transit only, but, we also learned that the claims of time savings in the red lanes is not supported by factual analysis of existing red lanes. Perhaps we now can see the reasons why that may be the case. It seems that all red lanes are not created equal. It seems that the only time pubic transit only applies is when the lanes are “protected” inside a physical barrier. Otherwise you must read the signs to determine who is allowed on the red lanes. This begs the question, why paint the lanes red when the color is meaningless? Who is making a profit off this paint job?

After the startling bait and switch revelations and the Geary BRT approval, the Board went into private session for Ed Reiskin’s job review. As expected, the Board ignored the Mayor’s comments on the Director’s poor leadership and mismanagement of contracts.

The SFMTA Board commended Ed Reiskin on his work with the department, failed to scold or reprimand him for any of his mistakes or misdeeds, included those he admitted to, and announced their continued support for his leadership of the disgraced department.

What will our Mayor do about this rogue board and department that insults our intelligence by repeated attempts to deceive us? Will she appoint a strong new Director to the Board to replace the recently departed one hired by the department to handle the public through public outreach? Will the Board of Supervisors hand the decision over to the public in the form of a Charter Amendment? Will our Mayor support this option? You may want to weigh in if you have an opinion. Contacts with City Hall are here:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

REALATED:

Private buses have driven in city ‘transit-only’ lanes for years — with the city’s blessing, and in spite of the law

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

… Does it make sense to allow private buses or other such vehicles in red carpet lanes — or not — on a Byzantine, lane-by-lane, project-by-project basis? If you’re a transit layman, you’d probably say “no.” And, it turns out, if you’re a transit expert you’d say “no,” too…

The city’s administration of its “transit-only” lanes has only grown more haphazard and opaque in the past dozen years — not that the citizens who came out Tuesday to yell about the Geary Rapid Project (or, quite possibly, the commissioners they were yelling at) ever realized this was happening…

But is it legal? That’s confusing, too… (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/

 

 

SFMTA Pulls 180 on Costly McAllister Traffic Circle

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Step aside, needles and poop! Traffic circles are here, and San Franciscans are not happy.

Officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are backpedaling on an ill-fated traffic circle installed in a residential neighborhood earlier year. The $80,000 circle was installed at McAllister and Steiner streets this spring and is already scheduled for removal — which is another $40,000…

For the past few months, the circle has caused immense confusion for drivers; it doesn’t operate like a normal roundabout, which runs on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, two stop signs on Steiner block traffic and give a bus flying down McAllister or a cyclist huffing and puffing up it the right of way through the intersection.

According to neighbors who live along the route, drivers of 5-Fulton buses have been preemptively leaning on their horns as they approach Steiner just in case a car misunderstands the circle and blindly cuts out in front of them… (more)

Here is a perfect example of why we need to overhaul the SFMTA. Too many mistakes and too much wasted taxpayer dollars are going down the drain. Why should the voters support any more money for a failed system? We don’t need faster moving buses. We need a reliable transit system. The Board of Supervisors needs to listen to the operators and maintenance crew and skip the long lunches and meetings with management if they want to find out what the problems are.