$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)

San Franciscans want happy trails — not rocky roads

by Aaron Peskin: marinatimes – excerpt

Budget season has drawn to a close, and the city has made a significant investment in our city streets with the Board of Supervisors approving an additional $90 million in road work and resurfacing funds to be spent down over the next two years.

These are the funds that will be used to repave our city streets (600 blocks annually), extend or repair our sidewalks, paint our bike lanes, and fill pesky potholes. San Francisco Public Works is hiring more workers, and San Francisco has slowly increased its Pavement Condition Index Score…

The wrong signs get posted for the wrong projects on the wrong streets, construction equipment lies inactive for months in on-street parking spots, while a seemingly never-ending parade of orange-and-white striped A-frame signs line the streets letting merchants and residents know that they should brace for yet another construction project that might or might not have an actual public benefit. At the very least, it could be coordinated much better.

In addition, the hearing revealed that some repetitive projects are dropped from the city’s database, in violation of the city’s moratorium on digging up the city streets more than once in a five-year span. For example, the corner of Green Street and Columbus Avenue has been dug up at least four or five times in the last six years, yet San Francisco Public Works did not have that data for those jobs on file.

I am working with Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee on legislation that would create stricter conditions for subcontractors and would trigger a construction mitigation fund for projects that run over budget or drag on endlessly.

The time has come to make sure that we are managing San Francisco taxpayer money responsibly when it comes to our city streets; these safety and road resurfacing projects are priorities that shouldn’t have to be painful… (more)

This pretty well covers the frustrations that residents and businesses are feeling with the street construction repair program being set up and “managed” by the SFMTA. The subcontractors were a problem for the residents dealing with street trees and damaged sidewalks and the Supervisors solved that one. Now it is time for them to take on the street subcontractors.

At the top of the list of issues, is the lack of skilled labor in the construction business due to the overwhelming number of projects underway. We are doing too much too fast and the quality of the work is suffering because of the unrealistic pace. This is why we need to slow it down. We will be having talks this month over various options for solving this problem. Thanks to supervisors Peskin, Yee and Kim for taking this on.

NO NOTICE: A number of other issues were raised at the meeting described here. One is the most familiar of all that accompanies every complaint being raised from “overnight” tow-away signs to sudden contractors tearing up sidewalks without a visible permit – NO NOTICE ahead of the sudden pop-up construction work. Obviously the multi-million dollar noticing system that SFMTA is using to communicate with the public is failing to do the job. We need a new procedure of noticing.

As Supervisor Breed pointed out at the meeting, unnecessary controversial bulblouts and other street “improvements” are going onto small side streets with no accident history under the guise of “Safe Street improvements.” The SFMTA staff had no real excuse for this when quizzed on the matter.

A similar issue is ongoing with regard to the hated Red Lane “experiments” that were put into areas of the city, in including Mission Street, that were not designated as “experimental” areas, and the required “studies” for the “experiments” were not done in a timely fashion.

Concerned citizens conducted their own “unpaid” studies and discovery, and obtained documents showing an uptick in accidents on certain Red Lanes were not included in the final reports given to the state agency in charge of approving the extension of the Red Lane “experiments”. The SFMTA cherry picked the test areas that proved the Red Lanes improved the speed of the buses yet neglected to “share” the data that showed an increase in accidents on some of the “experimental streets.

Complaints were filed and if the judicial system works, the matter should be investigated.

Rally with Seniors for Safe Streets this Friday

Friday, July 28, 2017 – 10:30am – 11:30am Masonic Ave & Geary Blvd

It is time for the San Francisco to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities!

For too long seniors and people with disabilities have had to navigate poorly maintained sidewalks and potholed and poorly-patched streets, and use crosswalks designed primarily for the able-bodied pedestrians.

As a result, seniors make up only 15 percent of the city’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016, resulting from traffic crashes involving people walking.

Every year hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic crashes. Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community. This year people like 76-year old Jeannie Yee who lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year old Ka Ben Wong who was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year old Meda Hacopian who died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car, have all been victims of unsafe streets!

Speak up for Seniors and People with Disabilities this Friday

Join Walk SF, Seniors and Disability Action, and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets in urging city and state officials to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior, or as a person with one or more disabilities.

Rally with members of the community as they challenge legislators to walk or roll in “our shoes.” These safe street advocates will invite legislators to use wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other mobility devices and aids, as they attempt to cross Geary Boulevard at Masonic Avenue safely (two of the city’s high-injury corridors, the 13 percent of streets that make up 75 percent of all serious and fatal crashes).

For more information, or if you need transportation to the rally, contact: Pi Ra of Senior and Disability Action at 415.225.2080 or srira@sdaction.org.

We could ask for longer lights for cross the streets and street repair to make the streets less difficult to cross. It don’t take millions of dollars to change the timing on the traffic lights, or do a little pothole repair. What does it take for the SFMTA and other city agencies to do the quick, cheap fixes that don’t take years of planning and millions of dollars?

Supervisors vent frustrations over reportedly slow, unnecessary roadwork

By Joshua Sabastiani : sfexaminer – excerpt

upside-down

This sign on Bryant and 16th Street illustrates the lack of direction and focus we feel as we navigate the “complete streets” projects springing up in patches all over the city. The anger and frustration is boiling over and being directed at the supervisors. Photo by zrants.

City agencies responsible for roadwork were in for a bumpy ride Wednesday as supervisors aired their frustrations over such issues as sluggish pothole repairs and allegations of wasting $40,000 on an unnecessary bulb-out project at one intersection.

The frustrations built up during a hearing Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee over a road condition report. But the hearing quickly turned into litany of complaints from members of the board. (See meeting transcript Item 1. Update on Street Resurfacing Program and Analysis of the 2016 TRIP Report.)

The tension comes as The City is increasingly investing in repaving roads and changing streetscapes to make them safer for pedestrians and bicycles and more efficient for Muni, in addition to greater investments in sewer and water infrastructure. Complications arising from a private sector development boom have also added to such frustrations…(more)

The Supervisors appear to have divided up the job of investigating various coplaints.

Supervisor Breed complained about an popular $40 K bulbout, but, she missed the extremely expensive sidewalk extensions along the bus stops cost upwards of $250 K. The bulbout campaign to slow the cars is capturing the Muni buses and fire trucks, slowing down instead.

Supervisor Peskins took on the potholes and discovered that the 311 coplaints are marked completed when they are passed to other city departments to be fixed, not when they are completed. He also complained about multiple digs in one area.

Supervisor Fewer voiced her concern that the SFMTA plans to put off pothole repairs on Geary until they start the BRT project. The heavy filled buses do as must damage to the streets as the trucks, so the more buses you have the more larger potholes and Geary is full of heavy full buses.

The hearing comes as Mayor Ed Lee’s budget, which was approved on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, includes $90 million in roadwork investment during the next two years. That investment will fund the resurfacing of at least 600 blocks annually…

“Given this huge investment in our streets, we need to get things right, and that includes investing in and prioritizing coordination,” Peskin said…

Thomas said the coordination is occurring with weekly design meetings among the agencies, bi-weekly meetings with PG&E and a project database charting out work five years ahead.

“Coordination is the key to everything that we do,” Thomas said.

But Fewer said they need to look for ways to augment it.

“We are seeing this added need for greater coordination,” she said…(more)

Residents would say this coordination needs to come with public scrutiny, input and prioritization. the five year plan needs to be a two0-year plan that matches the budget allotment.

RELATED:
Analysis: Traffic-slowing construction projects have doubled in SF in past decade

The unelected bureaucracies that keep us stuck in traffic

By Jackie Lavalleye : californiapolicycenter – excerpt

Inadequate roads are leaving Californians stuck in traffic. According to a 2016 study by Inrix, a data company that specializes in traffic-related analytics, Los Angeles, California has the worst traffic in the United States. San Francisco takes the number three spot, and San Diego comes in number 14. In all, 17 California cities rank among the 100 most congested cities in America.

Traffic congestion has many negative effects on cities and people, including reduced economic growth as well as adverse health effects for the people sitting in traffic. So who is responsible for our terrible traffic? A group of little-known public agencies have a federal mandate to plan and implement transportation-related projects – but they aren’t getting the job done for Golden State commuters.

In 1962, the federal government created Metropolitan Planning Organizations, usually called “Associations of Governments”, as part of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962. The purpose of these agencies is to bring together elected officials from various cities and counties within a metropolitan region for the purposes of planning regional transportation efforts. Further, the intention of this Act was to increase collaboration and cooperation among local governments within a region.

The boards of these organizations are not directly elected. Instead, local elected officials from member cities are appointed to serve on their boards. Day to day decisions are made by unelected bureaucrats.

Legally, many of the Associations of Governments in California are enforced by a Joint Powers Agreement. Per Nolo’s plain-english law dictionary, a Joint Powers Agreement is a “contract between a city and a county and a special district in which the city or county agrees to perform services, cooperate with, or lend its powers to, the special district.”… (more)

More data on the process that was used by the people who took over control of our lives may be found in the fourty year plan that was written and published by some familiar names and organizations that have taken control of our lives. Read the plan and see who has been involved from the start and how they planned and executed the disaster we are living in now, and what may be done about it. http://livablecity.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/tlc_path.pdf

Oregon (Yes, Oregon) Just Put a Tax on Bicycles

By Laura Bliss : citylab – excerpt


Cylcists crossing along bike path in the panhandle photo by zrants

The $15 fee on new bikes is a strange way for the state to prioritize active transit.

Oregon boasts the country’s top share of bike commuters, the first per-mile driving fee program, and some of the cleanest urban air quality. And with its newly passed transportation bill, this famously progressive playground will also be the first state with a bicycle tax.Oregon, which does not levy regular sales taxes, will require buyers of new, adult-sized bikes priced $200 and up to pay $15 in excise taxes starting in the fall. With annual administration costs pegged at a mere $100,000, the tax is expected to raise $1.2 million a year for the Oregon DOT’s Connect Oregon program, which helps fund projects serving multiple modes of transportation.

Legislators pushing the tax—an idea that’s swirled in Oregon, Washington, and other statehouses for years—“felt that bicycles ought to contribute to the system, bicycle owners ought to contribute to the system, irrespective of the fact that most of them also own a car,” Senator Lee Beyer, who helped write the bill, told Oregon Public Broadcasting in May… (more) 

Red transit-only lanes have no use in West Portal

By Sally Stephens : sfweekly – excerpt

MissionReds
Merchants blame the experimental Red Lanes on Mission Street for 30% loss of business. Photo by zrants.

One Red Lane too many : SFMTA is using Red Lanes like these on Mission Street to remove “blight” like thrift shops, small unique craft businesses and repair shops all over town as loss of easy access and parking divers customers away.

Studies of displaced communities all over the world prove that gentrification is killing neighborhoods and the unique community character that created the charm the new residents think they are moving into. Views are a past memory as new towers scrape for the clouds and fog moves inland as the trees that blocked it are removed for the hilltops.

The small collection of cobblers, repair shops and bookstores left on West Portal, are slated for extinction because they are on a “transit rich” street. Red Lanes are the answer to curb these hangers on. They must go to make room for more high rise units of housing, coffee shops, gyms and bike shops. Everything else will be delivered by Amazon drones soon, unless they get permission to have the self-driving vehicles roam the sidewalks.

One size doesn’t always fit all. Most of us know that, but the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has yet to learn that lesson.

The SFMTA recently received federal approval to expand red transit-only lanes to 50 streets throughout The City. While most are in the highly congested downtown and South of Market areas, others are not.

West Portal Avenue is one of the shortest streets included in the expansion. Two Muni light-rail trains and two bus lines travel at least one block on the street.

I go to West Portal nearly every day to shop, eat or meet friends. I see lots of trains and buses, but I rarely see one stuck behind a line of cars slowing it down. The trains move easily — sometimes, too fast — down the street. So, why does the SFMTA want to put red lanes there?

The Federal Highway Administration considers red transit-only lanes — like those painted on Mission Street — to be an “experiment” in speeding up mass transit. Indeed, the proposed expansion is also considered an experiment.

A few months ago, the SFMTA released a study of red lanes on three streets in The City’s northeast section and declared them a grand success. According to its blog, the SFMTA considers red transit-only lanes to be the “new standard” for city streets.

But this new standard may not be a good fit for West Portal…(more)

It is up to the residents and businesses to stand up and say San Francisco will not tolerate any more Red Lanes or experiments on our streets. People in the eastern neighborhoods tried to warn everyone and they were ignored. Now they are coming after everyone on the West side. It is time to act. Let you supervisor, Mayor and state and federal reps know if you are fed up and want to stop being the guinea pig for transportation experiments. Roll back the Red. Join the Sensible Transportation movement: http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

Salesforce buys naming rights to Transbay Transit Center

By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco’s new downtown transit center will have something in common with AT&T Park and Oracle Arena — a corporate name.

Salesforce, a software company with its headquarters and 6,600 employees in the Bay Area, has agreed to a 25-year, $110 million sponsorship of the 2½-blocklong facility set to open next spring at Fremont and Mission streets. The deal includes naming rights, which means that the complex would be known as the Salesforce Transit Center.

Similarly, the 5.4-acre rooftop open space will become Salesforce Park if the board of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority approves the contract Thursday at its monthly meeting.

The cloud-like Salesforce logo that adorns two towers near the transit center would not appear on the exterior of the new facility, however. Nor would Salesforce have veto authority on events held in the park, even those of rival corporations… (more)

What a coincidence. This naming announcement comes out right after the plaza re-design was heard in Planning. The Commissioners were not too supportive of the changes suggested this week. Let’s see if they feel more supportive next time.

RELATED:
Facebook to build a small city next to its headquarters

SF residents are the only casualties in ‘war on cars’

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

280 traffic on a cloudy day by zrants

San Francisco is a transit-first city. Those of us who live here are told we should use Muni to get around. Or ride a bike. Or walk. But above all else, we should not drive our cars.

To reinforce this, city policy makes it easy to remove existing parking spaces — turning curbside parking spots into parklets — and explicitly prevents new developments from providing a parking space for every unit built. Some have called this a “war on cars.”

If you look at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Strategic Plan, however, it turns out that “transit first” includes prioritizing ride-hail vehicles. In essence, The City wants people to get out of their own cars and into other people’s.

There’s no war on cars in San Francisco if the cars are being driven for profit. Those are welcome here — even if the drivers don’t live here, don’t pay taxes here and, often, don’t even know how to get from one place to another in The City.

No, the war on cars is aimed at San Francisco residents.

A recent report released by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority showed that cars from ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft make more than 170,000 trips — driving more than half a million miles — within The City every weekday. Nearly 6,000 ride-hail cars clog the streets during peak commute hours…

San Francisco’s “war on cars” targets residents to give up their cars, while allowing — even encouraging — people from out of town to drive all over our city, as long as they’re doing it for money…(more)

SFMTA is taking our public streets and selling them to THEIR preferred car-shares and other corporate entities. As if Uber and Lyft and the tech buses weren’t enough of a nuisance, the SFMTA has now invited Scoot to park their Scooters and (4-wheeled vehicles, that some of us refer to as cars) pretty much anywhere they want to. There is a hearing on this matter at the Planning Commission this holiday week on Thursday. If you object, let the Planning Commissioners and your supervisors know. Details are here:


Thursday, July 7, 1 PM
agenda
Room 400 Planning –  Transportation Commission

Item 15. 2017-000475PCA CAR-SHARE AND SHARED LIMITED RANGE VEHICLE PARKING REQUIREMENTS [BOARD FILE NO. 170625,  PREVIOUSLY BF 161349] Planning Code Amendment to allow Shared Limited Range Vehicle Parking. (But only Scoot and city-owned vehicles appear to be in on this deal that will hand public property over to city commercial interests.) Private owned vehicles cannot park in Daylight zones. yet, SFMTA’s CHOSEN vehicles may. UNLESS RESIDENTS STOP THIS SCOOT PREFERRED PARKING PROGRAM.

SFMTA Pulls Another Lucy on Us – This time giving our curbs to Scoot

City-Owned car parked in the daylight, and and pedestrian zones one day after SFMTA Board passed the resolution removing curb rights from property owners.

Day One After the SFMTA Board passed the Scoot Resolution giving Scoot a license to park at will FOR FREE on our city streets, including in our RPP zones, and in the painted red zones “curb cuts” next to our driveways, that they like to ticket us for parking in, a homeowner snapped the above photos of a city-owned vehicle “Air quality control” vehicle in a driveway on the corner, overlapping both the pedestrian intersection and the “daylight” on the corner, making it difficult to see around the corner and drive in and out of the  driveway.

This was on Wednesday, one of the spare-the-air days, so SFMTA is breaking a lot of their rules here by allowing this car out on the street on a spare-the-air day, when their employees could easily take a ride on one of the many Muni lines in this transit rich area, and stand on the street corner to do their counts.

After shooting the photos, The homeowner approached the car, tapped on the closed window. to get it rolled down, and told the driver he couldn’t park in the driveway on the corner. He said, and I quote, “We have work to do and there is a parking problem here.”

After accusing the guy of being sent here to gather data to remove more parking on 17th Street, the resident pointed out a  parking space across the street and let him know that there was ample shade over there so he could park and stand in the shade and do his job without being a nuisance. He ignored the request to move.

What did we learn this week?

We learned that the SFMTA Board has quietly removed our rights to park across our driveways without any public comment or discourse, in spite of warnings by Supervisor Fewer, SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin, and Board members Heineki and Hsu, that it may backfire on the Scoot program to throw so many wrenches into the works at one time. RESIDENTS may respond negatively to the Scoot program.

How do you feel about removal of curb rights for property owners?

The reasons given and the conversation about turning day-light parking areas over to Scoot are pretty infuriating. Thornley and Brikman got into a conversation about “curb rights” for property owners that have fed the SFMTA ticket machine for decades as they handed out tickets when owners complained. Thornley said SFPark, his baby, has been thinking of using corner areas for Scoots and shared cars and Brinkman decided now is as good a time as ever to change the tradition of curb rights for property owners.

A lot more was said but, the bottom line is that SFMTA pulled a Lucy by removing public parking rights under the guise of safety and is now turning those rights over to the private share enterprises that we are being inundate with in the name of clean air, safety, and you name it.

Why did the media not report this?

To their credit, there was a lot to report from the SFMTA Board meeting of June 20, 2017. They caught the big stories that required some digging to do a proper job on. I’m sure there will be plenty of complaints and negative Scoot stories out in no time. The SFMTA is testing our tolerance levels, putting Scoot in the cross-hairs, making Scoot the canary in the coal mine.

It is time for property owners, residents and merchants to rise to the occasion and demand a reversal of this plan. Call your supervisor and request a public hearing on this issue.  If you object to corporate giveaways to the disruptive technologies that are killing the cultures of our city through gentrification and displacement, avoid Scoot and let the owners know why you are avoiding Scoot. Pedestrian groups that supported day-lighting may have something to say about this as well as property owners since their protections are on the line.

Get your concerns into the Board, Ed Reiskin and your supervisors when you see something wrong. Complaint programs are explained here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/sfpark-compaints/

Many complaints about the way this meeting was conducted. People are looking into the manner in which the resolutions and amendments were passed. People who were there were not sure what happened and looking at the tape doesn’t make it any clearer.