Will a “front door” help San Francisco steer the stampede of emerging technologies testing on its streets?

By Hannah Norman : bizjournals – excerpt

Electric scooters. Delivery robots. Uber and Lyft. Even the soon-to-be shuttered van service Chariot started operating without the approval of San Francisco, with city policies as a secondary thought.

Now San Francisco, which has been ground zero for many emerging technologies, is looking to better keep tabs on the various startups keen on testing or operating their new products in the city. After six months of meetings attended by representatives from over 100 companies, city agencies, think tanks and community organizations, a new report was released Thursday by the Emerging Technology Open Working Group, led by city administrator Naomi Kelly.

“It is clear that technology is part of the social fabric of life in San Francisco,” the report says. “Yet as keepers of the public right-of-way and other public spaces, we must develop appropriate policy measures to mitigate risks and unintended impacts on San Franciscans and our infrastructure.”

The report will next be presented to city’s board of supervisors, likely sometime in January, followed by a hearing… (more)

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Muni oversight board to nominate new leadership as group calls for ouster

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

ed-head

The transportation oversight board that oversees San Francisco’s Muni system — and hires and fires its executive director — is set to see a shakeup in its leadership.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors is poised to vote among its members for a new chair and vice chair next week, the agency confirmed. The move comes during a time of great scrutiny for the agency…

The co-presidents of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, an influential political group in the local LGBT community, called on Mayor London Breed to oust its longest standing directors in a letter

The letter cites the summer Muni meltdown, ongoing Muni train “switchbacks,” and an agency contractor laying 3 miles of the wrong type of steel track as mounting grievances that it lays on the shoulders of the current SFMTA board…

The letter noted those directors could fire SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, who Breed herself put on notice with her own scathing letter earlier this year…

Heinicke, who has served on the board since 2008, has often been the voice for the ailing taxi industry, but is also known as a pragmatist who weighs both drivers and transit options.

“Drivers are people too,” he argued last September when asking SFMTA staff to reach out to local drivers while planning a pedestrian safety project.

Gwyneth Borden, another SFMTA board director and head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, is expected to be voted in as vice-chair. She also is seen by some insiders as a vote to possibly oust Reiskin, the SFMTA director.… (more)

It is about time. Ten years of damage is enough for any city to put up with. Now is the time to hit City Hall with the personal letters you have been meaning to write. Now is the time to demand change at SFMTA.

Paradise narrowed its main road by two lanes despite warnings of gridlock during a major wildfire

: latimes – (excerpt from November 20, 2018 article)

After a fast-moving fire swept into town a decade ago, burning more than 200 homes and trapping thousands of fleeing residents on gridlocked mountain roads, a grand jury called on officials to improve evacuation routes.

But six years later, the city decided to narrow a portion of the main road through town from four lanes to two as part of an effort in the downtown area aimed at boosting commerce as well as traffic and pedestrian safety.

Two other roads in the city were also narrowed, records show..

The so-called Skyway “road diet” slowed traffic, and a local civic group donated benches and landscaping to beautify the zone.

Nearly two weeks ago, Skyway was the scene of unspeakable horror when the worst wildfire in California history besieged Paradise. Up to 27,000 residents trying to escape the flames instead were stuck in traffic, the buildings around them burning. Some died in their cars when the fire roared over them… (more)

A number of people have raised this issue with San Francisco authorities. How are the evacuation plans supposed to work in San Francisco? We have very few lanes for traffic to flow from the Bay side of of the city to the Western side. Only two streets cross both 101 and 280, and one of those is up for major alterations. How is this making San Francisco safer? How does removing street lanes from evacuation routes make these neighborhoods safe?

SF scales back airport taxi ban

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City is scaling back a plan to ban most types of cabs from San Francisco International Airport that was pitched in October as a way to help save the struggling taxi industry.

Under the first plan, only cabbies using the existing 560 taxi permits, or “medallions,” purchased through the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for roughly $250,000, would be allowed to pick up passengers from SFO.

That would have left some 900 other drivers with medallions, some of whom obtained them in previous decades for free, barred from picking up passengers at SFO…

In the face of objections from taxi drivers, however, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now pulling back that ban, just a bit.

The agency will allow an additional 570 medallion holders who obtained their permits after 1978 access to SFO, in what SFMTA called a “compromise” measure in an email to the taxi industry sent Thursday…(more)

SFMTA seems to feel they must make a point of disagreeing each time the public asks for something. “YES” is not in their vocabulary.

New Laws for cyclists in 2019

By Robert Montano : fresnobee – excerpt

Each new year brings change to the California Vehicle Code. Many of these changes will have a significant impact on roadway safety. Californians are fortunate to have Legislators who work to identify and respond to the evolving trends of traffic safety. This year, we see changes to helmet use on bicycles, motorized scooters and the expansion of the hit-and-run offense within bicycle paths (lanes). Here are highlights on several of these new laws:

Helmet use on motorized scooters (AB 2989, Flora): Bicycle helmets are no longer required for riders of motorized scooters who are age 18 or older. Motorized scooters may operate within a bicycle path and on highways with speed limits up to 25 mph. Local jurisdictions may pass ordinances to allow motorized scooters on highways with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. However, it is still illegal to operate a motorized scooter on a sidewalk.

Bicycle hit-and-run on bicycle path (AB 1755, Steinorth): The provisions of the felony hit-and-run law have been extended to cyclists traveling along bicycle paths. Currently, in the California Vehicle Code, a motor vehicle driver involved in a collision resulting in death or injury to another party is required to stop at the scene. AB 1755 clarifies that the same vehicle code also applies to bicyclists who cause injury-related collisions… (more)

Glen Park GoBike station could add congestion to an already chaotic intersection

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

An intersection in the Glen Park neighborhood has become the poster child in the fight over the placement of bike share docking stations in neighborhoods.

During morning and evening rush hours, the block of Randall Street between Chenery and San Jose Avenue is a mess. The narrow street is clogged with commuters trying to get to I-280, school buses, and parents double parking their vehicles to drop off kids at Dolores Huerta ElementarySchool (formerly Fairmount).

Motorists entering Randall from Chenery often have to back up into the intersection so buses and trucks going the other way can get through. Adding to the chaos, school kids — without the benefit of crossing guards — run across the Randall/Chenery intersection to a market to get drinks and snacks before school…

Now the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is considering putting a GoBike docking station on that intersection next to the school. Supporters say that the location is highly visible and has ready access to Chenery, the traditional bike route to the Glen Park BART. Its location will provide a “transit opportunity” for parents, teachers, and school staff, encouraging them to get out of their cars… (more)

I am getting confused now. This article leads one to believe that the SFMTA is taking some control over placement of these bike stations, and that some areas of the city are getting some notice before the bikes go in. That is not what we have been hearing from the SFMTA. They have been claiming they have nothing to do with the bike stations going into neighborhoods where they re not wanted. Now they are taking responisbility of “doing outreach.”

Do the bike/car/scooter rental corporations have the right to take San Francisco streets and sidewalks? Where are the documents that obligate San Francisco citizens to give up our access to our streets? Show us the documents. Who signed these documents and when? Was there any public discussion about the privatization of our city public property prior to handing it over to the enterprise? Where are the financial statements that show how much money these companies, who claim to be public/private enterprises, are making? If the public payments depend on them making a profit, they public has a right to see the financial records. We need an audit of there books.

 

Riders ding Muni over long waits, construction in latest survey

By Gordon Chin : sfbay – excerpt

Overall Muni rider satisfaction slipped this year after passengers this summer faced long waits at bus stops citywide due to infrequent service caused by the partial closure of the subway and an operator shortage.

The 2018 rider survey, complied by Corey, Canapary & Galanis Research through phone interviews in Chinese, English and Spanish, showed 63 percent of Muni riders surveyed rated Muni service as either “Excellent” or “Good.” Over the last two years, that number had been
at 70…(more)

RELATED:
Muni approval plunges in public survey

How many bus bridges does it take to tie up traffic in San Francisco? Why is Muni doing hundreds of projects at a time and starting more every week instead of finishing the ones underway? Why can’t the street paving jobs be public complaint driven like many others are? If no one is complaining about the condition of a street, leave it alone and fix the ones that are generating the most complaints. SFMTA needs a complete overhaul and that is the message that the public needs to send to the new supervisors as they take office next month.

City impoundment of RV dwellers’ vehicles challenged as unconstitutional

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Advocates for the homeless filed a lawsuit against The City and other agencies Wednesday for towing, impounding and selling RVs and other oversized-vehicles without a warrant, alleging that it violates the rights of an already at-risk population.

Under current policy, vehicle owners who have received five or more unpaid parking violations in a given time frame are subject to towing.

The lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday names The City, its Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Police Department and towing contractor Auto Return. It alleges that owners are often not provided with proper notice or an opportunity to dispute the seizure, even if their vehicles are legally parked, “not involved in any crime or traffic urgency” and provide their only means of shelter… (more)

We were expecting this would go to court. Courts in southern California have so far upheld the rights of the citizens against seizure of property in these cases.

 

 

MTC News Headlines

mtc – excerpt

Headlines For Dec 14, 2018

Ford GoBike will boost fleet of electric bikes in SF from 250 to 850
San Francisco Chronicle

Ford GoBike more than triples its SF electric bike fleet today
Curbed

Transbay Transit Center inches toward repair
San Francisco Chronicle

Holes cut into steel contributed to beams cracking at SF’s Salesforce Transit CenterEast Bay Times

Holes cut into Transit Center beams ‘probable cause’ for cracks
San Francisco Examiner

Video: No Date Set on When Transbay Transit Terminal Will Reopen
NBC – Bay Area

(more)

Mission Street merchants hate the red lanes, regardless of any benefits to transit

By Liliana Michelena and Abraham Rodriguez : missionlocal – excerpt

A door-to-door survey of 73 Mission businesses reveals deep unrest

Nearly three years after the city installed red bus lanes on Mission Street, merchants still hate them. Fewer cars on the street, they said, has translated into fewer people visiting their shops, and a drop in sales that threatens many of the businesses.

A door-to-door survey of 73 businesses on the Mission Street corridor from 16th to 24th Streets revealed that the changes have been especially hard to stomach for older businesses, many of which are owned by Latinos and Asians. Moreover, few feel they have any organization or city official to turn to…

Although Uber and Lyft have been around longer, the impact on traffic in San Francisco — and likely on Mission Street as well — spiked in 2016, the year the red lanes went in(more)