SFMTA Faces Criticism During Tense Meeting on Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

“This is a really good focus group.”

That’s  what Hank Wilson, the manager of parking policy at SFMTA, told a crowd of Bernal Heights residents last week at a contentious April 18  community meeting about SFMTA’s proposal to implement a new residential parking permit program (RPP) on select streets in northwest Bernal Heights.

During the meeting, more than a dozen Bernal Heights residents took turns scolding SFMTA for failing to provide timely information to local residents, repeatedly contradicting or redefining its own data about non-resident parking in Bernal Heights, and arbitrarily changing the rules that  will govern the proposed RPP in northwest Bernal.

The net result, as one Bernal resident pointed out, is that “[SFMTA is] pitting streets against each other, and neighbor a against neighbor.”

That was a recurring theme throughout the evening, as Bernal neighbors who both supported and opposed the parking plan described how the RPP program seems to have been designed from the outset to fuel neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism… (more)

SFMTA specializes in fueling neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism. They probably hand out awards to the staff based on who instigates the biggest fights.

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.

 

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.

That parking ticket could be a scam

Got a parking ticket on your windshield, or a notice in the mail, when you thought you were parking legally? Investigate before you pay, said Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and author of “How to be the World’s Smartest Traveler.”

A long-time scam involving fake parking tickets is revving up, thanks to cheap and sophisticated hand-held printers that can make fake tickets appear real. Elliott, who invites defrauded consumers to complain on his website, said numerous consumers have contacted him about suspicious tickets. Scam sites like Snopes and DefensiveDriving.com are also warning about fake citations… (more)

Good reason to stop more scams by opposing AB-342

ACT NOW TO STOP SPEED TRAPS IN CALIFORNIA

ACT NOW TO STOP SPEED TRAPS IN CALIFORNIA
Sign the petition and contact your state representatives

Assembly Bill 342 which would allow speed cameras to be used in California for the first time. The bill makes the vehicle owner responsible for the ticket, not the driver and takes away your right to a trial.

Assembly Bill 342 would eliminate virtually all current protections afforded to motorists in speed related cases and allows jurisdictions to run speed traps in their cities, ensuring that the program will be used as a revenue generation scheme, not for public safety.

Assembly Bill 342 would add to the license-scanning cameras on our streets that is part of the growing surveillance system that may be used against the public. The ACLU is alarmed by this and has filed complaints about the SF Airport scanners, that were supposedly meant to track and charge taxis, but are now tracking all the vehicles entering and exiting the area.

THIS IS A PRIVACY AND DUE PROCESS ISSUE.
ACLU opposes the San Francisco Airport scanners, that will hold the data for four years. WHY?
We don’t need to add any more surveillance cameras to our streets. You can read here about all the terrible things that will happen if AB-342 becomes law.

WE NEED YOU TO TAKE ACTION TODAY! CALL THESE NUMBERS AND REQUEST A NO VOTE. More details here.

Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee Members:
Call and post on their  facebook pages.
Ed Chau (Chair) Dem – LA Area (916) 319-2049. Facebook
Kevin Kiley (Vice Chair) Rep – Rocklin/Auburn Area (916) 319-2006 Facebook
Catharine B. Baker Rep – San Ramon (916) 319-2016 Facebook
Marc Berman Dem – Mountain View (916) 319-2024 Facebook
Ian C. Calderon Dem – LA Area (916) 319-2057 Facebook
Matthew Dababneh Dem – LA (916) 319-2045 Facebook
Jacqui Irwin Dem – Oxnard (916) 319-2044 Facebook
Ash Kalra Dem – San Jose (916) 319-2027 Facebook
Jay Obernolte Rep – Hesperia (916) 319-2033 Facebook
Eloise Gómez Reyes Dem – San Bernardino (916) 319-2047 Facebook

Once you have completed those calls, call David Chiu’s Capitol office at (916) 319-2017 and tell him you don’t appreciate him introducing legislation that takes away your rights!

Transit Ridership Down 2.3% in 2016

by Randal OToole : NewGeography – excerpt

With little fanfare, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released its fourth quarter 2016 ridership report last week. When ridership goes up, the lobby group usually issues a big press release ballyhooing the importance of transit (and transit subsidies). But 2016 ridership fell, so there was no press release… (more)

We are running our own little investigation into the downward trend in ridership. It is our theory that the less public transportation designers talk to the riding public, the less the public uses their services. We think the a major reason for the drop-off on the weekends is the removal of seats bus stops and seats the BART and Muni cars, and major meltdowns of those systems several times a week.

We suggest people send letters to the SFMTA officials and the press and their supervisors to let them know why you no longer take the Muni as often as you once did, but, don’t tell SFMTA what your alternate method for getting around is or they will cut that off because they can’t allow competition.

If you want to get involved in stopping the anti-human trend on public transit, talk to your neighborhood group and check out the actions on the Action Page.

Study shows Mission red lanes improve street safety, signal citywide implications

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ed Reiskin holds a red folder full of printouts of comments by angry citizens who signed the StopSFMTA petition at the confrontational  community meeting on Red Lanes in the Mission. These folks will not support any additional funds for SFMTA until the red goes away.

A red-hot debate over “red carpet” bus-only lanes in the Mission District has pitted neighborhood advocates against the transit officials behind the project.

Now, an independent study shows myriad safety benefits to the Muni-only red lanes and demonstrates drivers behaving with more precaution on the road since the lanes were painted.

Supporters of the red lanes say the findings by local tech company Zendrive may be applicable across numerous transit projects in The City, many of which mirror the Mission red lanes not only in benefits but in rebuke from the community...(more)

The Safety report is bogus.

Mission residents are not safe. They are threatened by the luxury housing going up along the transit rich corridors marked by red paint that are closing long-time local-serving businesses and pressuring residents to leave. Many families must chose between living in vehicles or tents or driving long distances to commute in to work. As people are forced to move out and must commute in, they add to the already clogged regional traffic problem.

How can the Red Lanes be safe when Emergency responders can’t get through in a timely manner? The painted-over potholes on Mission red lanes are slick and dangerous for everyone, including two-wheelers, especially in the rain, and at night.

Narrow side streets are choking with the traffic turning off and on Mission? Have the surveys taken into account all the extra exhaust from the slow, idling vehicles that are spending more time winding slowly through clogged streets than they did when the traffic flowed flawlessly? If it takes twice as long to get somewhere, there will be twice as much pollution.

Where are the Muni drivers? They are the real face of Muni, not the MTA Board or their paid consultants. They must put up with all the constant changes SFMTA throws at us daily. Why bother to publish routes and stops when they change daily?

We understand the SFMTA plans to put another Muni money bill on the 2018 ballot. What makes them think the public they ignore, that turned them down the last time they begged for money, will cough it up in 2018?

Who is benefiting from the SFMTA’s billion dollar budget? The spent how much money out of which account to hire a tracking service to conduct a survey on traffic?

At some point it has to be cheaper to ask the public what they like about the system and leave it alone. If there is less traffic on Mission Street it is because the businesses are closing and people are leaving. They go through the obstacle course once and swear never to return. Stopping traffic and killing the business wipes the area, preparing it for demolition and rebuild. That is the what the Red Lanes are about and that is why there is a legal suite pending. What does it take to stop the displacement program?

SF eliminates renewal fees for taxi medallion holders

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay -excerpt


Taxis in North Beach photo by Zrants

Transferable taxi medallion holders will no longer have to pay an annual renewal fee starting July 1 as a way to help medallion holders during the current hard economic times of the taxi industry.

Congratulations to all the taxi drivers who have put in a lot of energy to get his done. A well-deserved break.

Gov. Brown In Riverside Pushing For Gas Tax Hikes

losangeles.cbslocal – excerpt (video included)

Potholes on Carolina Street.

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) —Gov. Jerry Brown joined state and local representatives in Riverside Tuesday to push for a bill that would raise gasoline taxes and vehicle license fees to pay for road repairs.

The Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017 is expected to generate an estimated $5.2 billion a year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

The pump price hikes would cost drivers about $10 a month, according to the governor’s office…

President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said the bill will contain a lockbox that will make sure the money can only be spent on roads and bridges.

“All transportation dollars will be in that lockbox and used exclusively for our roads and for transportation,” de Leon said…(more)

As we know the two paragraphs are not the same. roads and bridges does not mean roads and transportation. We have been done this tax road before. It is still a crooked road full of false promises.

 

SF wants access to Uber and Lyft data to tackle traffic congestion

By Joe Fitgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Two San Francisco government groups are taking aim at traffic congestion allegedly caused by ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin on Tuesday introduced resolutions at both the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which he chairs, and also at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling on state legislators to grant cities the ability to peek at trip data from ride-hail companies.

Mayor Ed Lee quickly signaled his support for the resolution Tuesday.

I think asking for data is good, and that data should inform us in how to relieve that (traffic) congestion,” he told the San Francisco Examiner.

That data is sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, but for years they have shielded it from public view.

The CPUC granted confidentiality of trip data to Uber and Lyft after the companies argued the data could be used by one another to gain a competitive advantage.

Requests for data “continue to be denied by the CPUC,” Peskin told the transportation authority board on Tuesday.

Both the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the SFCTA have repeatedly asked the CPUC for Uber and Lyft trip data, and were denied...(more)

The over saturation of Ubers and Lyfts could be solved by stopping the unwinnable war on cars. If the money that has gone into lane removal, bus stop musical chairs, and traffic alterations was spent on purchasing more buses, adding bus lines, and replacing bus seats you would not have the loss of ridership that you have seen since the SFMTA initiated programs to alter bus routes, eliminate stops and remove bus seats. Do you want to walk further to a bus stop and then stand on the bus when you can be sitting in a car? Why do you think people are avoiding Muni and BART on the weekends. No matter how much paint you put on the pig it is still a pig. This pig wreaks of false assumptions that are turning into a big pile of public debt.