Peskin expands SF rideshare tax to include self-driving vehicle companies, e-commerce websites

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

A gross receipts tax on so-called “rideshares” in San Francisco for this November’s ballot — including Uber and Lyft — has been expanded to also tax companies making self-driving cars and some e-commerce websites.

E-commerce sites would be charged based on how much business they conduct in San Francisco, instead of on their physical presence in The City, according to the newly updated language of the law. Those amendments were introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin late last week and last month, and will go before the next regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance sub-committee for consideration, Thursday.

Should four or more supervisors ultimately approve Peskin’s proposal before a deadline of August 3, the measure will go before voters this November… (more)

The Chamber is over thinking things. The goal for taxing alternative transit companies is not the same as taxing cannabis and the money will not be used the same way. The voters are more likely to approve a tax on one industry than a lot of them and voting on one at a time is less confusing. This is partly about leveling the playing field for competitors. They should also remove the rate-setting regulations for the cab companies. If this tax law passed and they removed SFMTA regulations on cab rates, they would almost remove the competitive edge for the taxi industry.

While they are at it the Supervisors should do more than just tax the ride-hails. They should investigate the contracts SFMTA has with these entities, particularly the Motivate contract that the SFMTA intends to extend to Lyft.

The supervisors should stop this and all other contracts that the SFMTA is signing with the ride-hails and other private corporations that is privatizing public property.

If you agree, please let the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors know. They need to convince the SFMTA to stop this practice. If the SFMTA fails to stop, they need to put the Charter Amendment on the ballot with strong teeth that limits the contractual authorities of the SFMTA.

If only task the SFMTA had was to run the Muni, they might do a better job of that.

Supes grant themselves power to appeal SFMTA decisions

by Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to give itself the power to hear appeals of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency decisions on issues including stop sign installations, some bicycle routes, parking meter rules and creating or modifying so-called Private Transportation Programs…

The legislation was introduced by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai, who had previously considered placing a charter amendment on the ballot to split up the transit agency but instead opted to move forward with this “compromise” proposal.

“Supervisor Peskin and I have worked on this legislation for over a year,” Safai said. “The genesis of this, colleagues, was the general frustration that many of us have felt on this board with our interactions with the SFMTA.”

The legislation was approved in an 11-0 vote…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, told the Examiner Tuesday that “we look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors as we continue to make progress on improving all transportation options and making the streets safer for everyone.”

He added that the new appeal process covers “certain MTA decisions, including Residential Parking Permits, color curb coordination, meter time limits, and commuter shuttles.”…(more)

Congratulations to all our readers and supporters! You made this happen by your efforts and demands for changes and improvements to the agency that had until now very little oversight and no reason to listen to complaints or demands. We still have a lot of work to do but now there is a way forward. Put together your request, get the backing of your supervisor and put in your requests. You should expect to see a new noticing system and a new civility at the department. If things do not see any improve, let the authorities know. Details on what is covered are here:
Legislative language: Leg Ver5, Legislative digest: Leg Dig Ver5

 

 

 

 

Ford GoBike again eyes the 24th street BART plaza

By Elizabeth Creely : missionlocal – excerpt

Harrison17th

Ford Gobikes on Harrison, across the street from a public bike rack. There are a few of those GoBikes near public bike stands on Harrison. photo by zrants

…If the proposal for the installation at 24th Street BART is accepted, the location will come equipped with the newest addition to Ford GoBike’s fleet: electric bikes.

There’s no date set for the new 24th street BART docks.

Depending on the location, either BART or the SFMTA has to officially sign off on the proposal before the installation can begin, and each agency has an approval process.

Jim Allison, BART spokesperson, said BART’s goal is to have 8 percent of its passengers accessing the trains by bicycle by 2022.  Already the agency has partnered with GoBike at 16th Street, and Allison said they “will review/approve any equipment on our property.”

If the dock is located on the street, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency will mail notices to all addresses within 250 feet about any pending installation, according to Heath Maddox, senior planner with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Walsh acknowledges some lingering discontent with the service.

“Not everyone’s going to be happy,” she said in the plaza. But she also thinks that this time, the overall reaction might be different.

“Now people are used to seeing the bikes,” she said. “and we can show that people are using these bikes, and that they are providing a service. And so we’re back to engage in the conversation again.”… (more)

RELATED:
Who is taking whom for a ride?, by Joe Eskenazi

Two-mile-long Van Ness bus lane project faces two-year delay

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The two-mile-long Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project is facing an almost six-month construction delay.

“The project has been delayed due to an increase of wet weather since the project started,” said Paul Rose, a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson, “as well as contractual challenges in getting a utility contractor on board.”

Left turns along Van Ness Avenue between Mission and Lombard streets were eliminated when construction began in 2016 to create bus lanes which are intended to speed up buses for thousands of Muni riders… (more)

As some of us have noted, there is a shortage of competent experienced contractors and construction workers due to the unreasonable number of government projects. There are no more construction workers to do any more work.

It doens’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the “new economy” education system is producing too many hackers and computer geniuses and not enough talented plumbers and electricians to meet the demand for the fast-paced development City Hall expects.

Unlike software contractors, who can fake results an blame the hardware, it is hard to fake an electrical or plumbing system. If the city wants to be in the construction business they need to train more construction workers to work in the real world instead of the virtual ones.

Hopefully City Hall will figure out soon that there is no point in digging any more holes until they fill the big ones causing all the damage to our city. Do us all a favor. and “FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED BEFORE DIGGING UP ANY MORE STREETS.”

Traffic safety is no easy fix

Examiner readers – comments
Make traffic deaths a thing of the past,”
In My View, April 18

Traffic safety is no easy fix

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin proclaims that “each [San Francisco traffic fatality] is preventable” as though this is somehow self-evident simply because he proclaims it. It is no such thing.

As SFPD Cmdr. Mikail Ali discovered in his detailed analysis of 2013 and 2014 street fatalities, the majority of fatalities are due to “really, really bad behavior” on the part of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Anyone who cycles and walks in San Francisco every day, as I do, will be as confounded as I am at the notion that red-light-running, inattentive jaywalking and failures to yield at crosswalks can be prevented by “Vision Zero,” which is a slogan pretending to be a panacea.

Reiskin cites “data analysis” as the basis for ever more expensive and intrusive mismanagement of our traffic flow. Yet despite having more than 5,000 employees at his service, the SFMTA has been slow to publish its annual collisions reports so we, citizens, can review the data ourselves.

The latest canard is “speeding,” something we all know is nearly impossible to do on tight, congested inner-city streets. Yet, it will be cited as justification for massive new camera surveillance. I’m sure the vendors of the speeding cameras are pleased by Reiskin’s endorsement of their solution to a nonexistent problem, as well as Uber and Lyft, who smile upon his efforts to divert our attention away from the true current scourge: distracted ride-hail drivers.

Deane Hartley
San Francisco

Ed Reiskin has admitted that Vision Zero has failed to put a dent in traffic deaths. So, his solution is MORE OF SAME.

According to a February 7 report titled “SFMTA Board Workshop”, in 2016 there were 3 bicycle fatalities, 16 pedestrian fatalities and 11 people were killed in vehicles. Bus and rail collisions and traffic congestion was up.

 

SFMTA releases study results on SF’s first raised bike lane

By Nuala Sawyer : sfexaminer – excerpt

The SFMTA has been studying the effectiveness of a short stretch of raised bike lane on Market Street, and has just released their results on the experiment.

Raised bike lanes are a popular tactic used by other cities to separate cars and bikes as they travel along the same city street. The bike lanes should discourage people from driving in them, but still allow emergency vehicles access. Cyclists should be able to enter and exit the raised bike lane safely at any point.

Taking into account other cities’ designs, the SFMTA installed four options in one short stretch: a wide mountable curb, a mountable curb, a mountable curb near sidewalk level, and a vertical curb…

market-raised-bikeway-options-1

(more)

Muni to replace malfunctioning buses after computer error led to crash

By sfexaminer – excerpt

A computer error that cut signals to the brakes was found to be the culprit in a Monday morning Muni bus crash, and the San Francisco Examiner has learned that other braking problems may be widespread in the same type of bus, the most decrepit in Muni’s fleet.

Such revelations were highlighted in a document obtained by the Examiner and based on the experiences of Muni drivers who spoke under the condition of anonymity…

The cause of the crash was revealed in a memo leaked to the Examiner. The SFMTA later provided the memo to the Examiner following inquiries based on its information…(more)

 

Time to mandate bicycle licenses

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Bicyclists in San Francisco should have to register their bike, obtain a license and carry a minimum amount of liability insurance — the same requirements for driving a car.

We have one set of roads long dominated by automobiles. But as a growing number of bicycle commuters assert political power to get their own lanes, they need to put some skin in the game. If cars and bikes are going to share city roads — which is where the future is headed — the responsibility for safe co-existence should also be shared.

Mandatory registration, license and insurance could ease ongoing resentments between cyclists and motorists. Cyclists will get more protection while motorists will be glad they aren’t alone in being held accountable on the road.

Before protesters on bikes jeer at me for suggesting this idea, they should know I’m pro-bike. I even rode my bike 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles for charity. I share a car with my husband but mostly take public transportation and walk — and we live on the westside, in the “suburban” part of town near Stonestown Mall, where cars and parking spaces are still abundant.

Before my neighbors accuse me of undermining westside entitlement to drive and park, they should know I support putting parking garages with ground floor retail in neighborhood business districts.

And before transit-first urbanists get mad, they should know that I’m an advocate for investing in the subways and transportation infrastructure we regret not building decades ago. But until we get that world-class transportation system, we can’t pretend Muni is the Paris Metro…(more)

Good arguments for sharing responsibility for safety on the streets. Good reason for a balanced transportation plan. Very good idea to phase in the changes. The pace of change is largely responsible for the anger on the streets.

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‘San Francisco’s customer-focused model driving down traffic’

by Deniz Huseyin : transportxtra – excerpt]

A multi-modal app-driven approach to transport in San Francisco has led to a dramatic fall in car usage in the US city, according to Timothy Papandreou, chief innovation officer and director at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

Speaking at the Imagine Festival in Milton Keynes on Tuesday, Papandreou said that SFMTA had set itself the target of reducing car use from 60% to 50% of miles travelled by 2018. But thanks to a range of ‘connectivity’ measures it achieved the target three years early, he reported.

The SFMTA  oversees the city’s Municipal Railway (Muni), parking and traffic, cycling, walking and taxis.

We are paying SFMTA to oversee walking now ? Walking should be free.

“People are driving less than their parents, and a new generation of young adults are far less likely to buy a car than their older peers,” said Papandreou.

“The next few years we will see the introduction of connected and automated technology into passenger and commercial deliveries that will add even more potential for the shift away from car ownership in cities. These will be even more disruptive than the current sharing economy options and will drive the price of travel even lower.”

Red routes for buses have been rolled out across the city, as well as green routes for cyclists, which are “validating bike space”… (more)

A little research into TransportXtra tells us that this is part of Landor LINKS a United Kingdom company. What this article does not mention is the additional commuters who are now driving into the city who once lived here and took the Muni to work. The car count has not really gone down. We also have a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers commuting in to work in San Francisco.

What this also fails to mention is that the private vehicle drivers are paying most of the ticket cost for Muni riders, and as that number diminished, the costs of the Muni tickets are going up. We won’t even go into the part Muni management plays in spreading these stories, other than to say the spend a lot on PR.

Merchant concerns only half of Muni battle

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

On the surface, a meeting in the Mission District on Monday night was meant for the community to weigh in on new “red carpet” bus-only lanes on Mission Street. The lanes rolled out in February and stretch from 14th to 30th streets.

But the meeting exploded.

“A woman got hit by a car on Cesar Chavez!” shouted Roberto Hernandez, a community advocate often called the “Mayor of the Mission.”

Hernandez decried transit officials for allowing the new red lanes to cause traffic mayhem, not reaching out enough to residents and for hurting small businesses in his life-long home.

Half of the meeting’s 200 attendees cheered in support. The other half howled for Hernandez to stop.

In the crowd, two men stood within a few inches of each other’s faces, pointing and shouting.

This same scene has played out at recent Geary Boulevard and Taraval Street transportation meetings and may soon play out at West Portal, too.

Merchants from those neighborhoods were present for the Mission meeting as well.

A tide of merchant and neighborhood resentment is rising against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — and they’re now banding together for support.

“I think it’s real clear a citywide coalition is in the formation and building to really address how we need to put a stop to the way [the SFMTA] is planning,” Hernandez told the San Francisco Examiner on Wednesday.

And in small ways, those merchants are winning… (more)

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