SF politicians, bicyclists and others gear up for bike lane changes

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

Supervisor Hillary Ronen is living in fear.

Her husband takes their young daughter to school nearly every day on the back of his bicycle and, nearly every day, she’s haunted by mental imagery of the two of them being doored or sideswiped or otherwise coming to grief on Valencia Street. San Francisco’s major cycling artery is also ground zero for Uber and Lyft drop-offs and pick-ups, a mixture about as combustible and ominous as locating a match factory next to the lighter fluid depot.

These are the sorts of things that wander into Ronen’s mind during endless public comment sessions in Board of Supervisors meetings.

Valencia Street forms the border between Ronen’s District 9 and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy’s District 8. Sheehy — who worked as a bike messenger when he arrived in this city in 1988 to underwrite food, beer and $300-a-month rent — recently donned an aggressively yellow shirt and served as a human protected bike lane

Installing  protected bike lanes of the sort everyone professes to want on Valencia is going to require overcoming two sorts of obstacles: logistical and political. It’s not clear which will be more difficult… (more)

Valencia is a disaster for everyone. The street is not safe after dark. Expensive restaurants are car magnets and they need regular delivery services. Not a good recipe for a bikers’ paradise. I avoid it but if there are limited turns on the street, how will the drivers get to the side streets?

If cyclists don’t feel safe with cars, maybe City Hall needs to rethink the bike path program and separate bikes from the cars by taking them off the major arterial streets and putting them on the slower side streets. Allow the traffic to flow, free up public parking and give the bikes their own routes. At least try it on some streets and see if the friction goes away.

Motor vehicles get the major streets, bikes get the minor ones, and pedestrians get the sidewalks. It doesn’t hurt to try a separation in some areas to see if the war between the modes does not calm down before things get really ugly. Use the money to fix the potholes and improve Muni service instead of painting the streets.

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Dispute Over Parking Spot in San Francisco Ends in Stabbing

NBC Bay Area staff : nbcbayarea – excerpt

Two men were transported to the hospital Saturday night after being stabbed during a dispute over a parking spot in San Francisco, according to police.

Both men were taken to the hospital in critical condition, police said… (more)

We know people are pissed and stressed over parking and traffic conditions. What does it take to convince City Hall that SFMTA is starting a war on the streets that can be resolved by returning the streets to the public? We should at least try to do a test set up by the public to see if their ideas are not better than SFMTA staff ideas on how to manage parking.

 

SF pivots: Costly, time-consuming Muni fix is now being done free

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

Shift astounds city supervisor: “They don’t know what the fuck is going on with their buses.”


In August, Mission Local broke the story that Muni’s New Flyer diesel-electric hybrid buses, which come with a nearly $750,000-a-pop price tag justified by their environmental bona fides, did not have a rudimentary pollution control device installed on them. These buses, Muni yard workers were dismayed to discover, were not programmed to automatically shut down after five minutes of idling, the length of time allowed by state law. Instead, they could idle indefinitely, until they ran out of fuel.

On Monday, we reported that media exposure and scrutiny by city government appears to have changed Muni’s tune. Warning stickers noting that idling a bus for more than five minutes is illegal are going up in every diesel or hybrid coach. And, in an October closed-door meeting with Supervisor Aaron Peskin and his staff, Muni transit director John Haley pledged that all of Muni’s problematic buses would be upgraded. He said this would take time, however — perhaps well into next year — and cost an estimated $1,200 a vehicle. That would put the bill for bringing the buses into compliance at several hundred thousand dollars…

This week, we learned that Muni has already begun to update the problematic buses, via WiFi technology, and is doing so for free

Reached for comment, Peskin was displeased that “bullshit numbers” had been fed to his office by Muni management, which he decried as “incompetent.”

“Sounds like they don’t know what the fuck is going on with their buses,” he continued. “It does not instill confidence that they don’t know the capabilities of their shiny new product.”… (more)

SFMTA proposes limiting vehicle access on 8th Avenue to make it a more “pleasant place to walk or bike”

: richmondsfblog – excerpt (includes maps and graphics)

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that the block of 8th Ave between Anza and Balboa would be completely closed to traffic. That was incorrect and apologies for any confusion it may have caused (though clearly I had trouble making heads or tails of the confusing diagrams, which are now shown at the end of this article). – Sarah B.

Last month, the SFMTA held a public meeting about its latest brainchild for the Richmond District, known as the “8th Avenue Neighborway Project”. According to the SFMTA project website, “The goal of the 8th Avenue Neighborway Project is to make 8th Avenue a safer and more pleasant place to walk or bike to neighborhood destinations and nearby parks.”

8th Avenue is one of the few vehicle entrances to Golden Gate Park, and the most direct entrance to the major attractions in the park like the Academy of Sciences and de Young Museum. According to the SFMTA, approximately 4,700 vehicles per day travel on 8th avenue, compared to 2,450 on 7th Avenue and 1,525 per day on on 9th Avenue.

The neighborway project proposes to add traffic calming measures to 8th Avenue including 10 speed humps and two “speed cushions” to slow down traffic or divert it to other streets in the nearby area. The calming measures would extend on 8th Avenue from Lake Street to Fulton Street, and on a few adjoining blocks of 7th and 9th Avenues.

The most radical part of the plan includes limiting vehicle access to a block of 8th Avenue. 8th Avenue between Anza and Balboa would be closed off to car traffic from certain directions (see Traffic Diverter Details diagram below; yes it’s confusing)… (More)

How is this different from the Red Lanes on Mission Street? Does SFMTA have so much money and time on their hands that they have nothing better to do than harass residents and merchants by forcing them to alter their lives to fulfill the goals of SFMTA staff? Time to cut off their funds. NO more taxes or bonds for SFMTA until they stop cutting Muni service and street access and parking. We support a ballot initiative to stop the privatization of our streets.

Large numbers of residents turned up to complain about this project at the November 7 SFMTA Board meeting, linked here: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=55&clip_id=29138

Mayor Lee strikes deal to allow Uber, Lyft vehicles to use SF curb space

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor Ed Lee and tech giants Uber and Lyft struck a deal this week to provide city curb space for ride-hail vehicles as part of a new pilot designed to ease San Francisco traffic, the San Francisco Examiner has learned…

In exchange for traffic data from Uber and Lyft that The City will use to combat congestion, Lee agreed to a pilot program to convert some parking spaces — in a yet-to-be determined commercial corridor — into painted curbs that could be legally used by ride-hail drivers…

The deal struck by Lee, Uber and Lyft comes after months of negotiations behind the scenes(more)

This is the biggest most blatant public “behind the scenes” property grab yet by City Hall. Our mayor is privatizing public property, taking it from the public commons, and handing it over to private corporations. In this case the corporate commuters City Hall has decided deserve to park are the worst, most dangerous drivers in the city. How is this making us safer?

Wonder how 60 Minutes would like to run this story as a followup to the sinking tilting Millennium Tower failed cheap foundation experiment. The Ford Gobikes and tech bus abuses were already enraging people. The excuse for the decision to take more public curb space for the use of a preferred corporate entity is a need for data? I suspect there are a lot of citizens who will giving you a lot of data you don’t want to hear real soon.

This just in. Aaron Peskin is threatening to put this on the ballot if it goes through, according to KPIX. Stay tuned.

Union Street Merchants upset with Van Ness BRT project

By John Zipperer : marinatimes – excerpt

Gridlock by SFMTA. photos by zrants

The ongoing Van Ness Transit Corridor Improvement Project has a clumsy name only a bureaucrat could love, and many merchants on Union Street definitely don’t love one of the project’s features: the loss of a left-turn onto Union Street from Van Ness. They say it has hurt business on their street because of a loss of traffic; drivers on Van Ness just find it easier to drive onward and shop elsewhere. One idea being mooted is seeking about $1.5 million in compensation from the city for their loss of business…

Henry Karnilowicz, president of the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations, said that billions of dollars are being spent on the many street changes and improvements across the city. “And here they’re talking about giving 1.5 million? That’s nothing,” he said. “That’s a drop in the bucket.”…

Karnilowicz doesn’t know what will happen regarding compensation, but the situation is not going to go away. He points to a presentation by the city’s Controller’s Office, which studied the impact on local businesses of similar construction projects by measuring the change in sales taxes; in one, West Portal, there was a 12 percent drop in sales tax. “That’s like a 12 percent [decline] in income,” Karnilowicz says; for some businesses, “that’s what their profit margin is.”…(more)

This is the Union Street Merchants. How about the ones on Van Ness Avenue an Polk Street that are still struggling to stay afloat? There is talk of tearing up Polk Street again. WHY? Can’t the supervisors stop this constant disaster from killing our city?

Quit blaming the internet for the demise of our retail businesses. We have been dealing with the internet for decades and only now are the businesses suffering. high rents and street closures are putting the final nail and the retail coffin. We are losing big corporate store like the Gap as well as small local businesses so this is not a matter of size.

We suggest everyone scream NO MORE DISRUPTIONS!
STOP NEW DISRUPTIONS ON OUR STREETS UNTIL THE CURRENT ONES ARE DONE AND OUR STREETS AND TRAFFIC ARE MOVING SMOOTHLY AGAIN. Contacts for City Hall

Stop unfair residential parking removal

Fight unfair residential and school teacher parking removal of 39 spaces!!!
Unnecessary for bike safety. Seven feet of space between parked cars and Muni rails.
Teachers unable to park! Chiropractic patients unable to visit.

No more parking removals from residential parking permitted areas.
Direct cyclists to use streets without Muni rails to avoid accidents.
Residents, teachers and businesses have not been properly notified or their needs considered.

You can read more and sign the petition here

See the SFMTA presentation and excuse for their plans here
According to this graphic, they had response from 49 people. Is that out of all their outreach or just about how they traveled on 17th Street. You can get a pretty good picture of how people travel by going to the street and counting the cars turning onto the street from Church. A lot more motor vehicles than walkers or bikers will pass by. Maybe that is because they don’t stop to fill out surveys at the rate pedestrians and bikers do.

17th Street outreach.jpeg

Our suggestion is to move the bike lanes to another street without Muni rails since that is the cause of the accidents. Cyclists should not ride on rails, but, if SFMTA insists on keeping the bike lanes on 17th, they should at least allow left turns off of Church on another street. They are creating the mess as usual by directing traffic onto the street that they put the bike lanes on.

What happened to the move bike route option descried on page 9? 18th Street is a better alternative as the traffic is slower, it passes by Dolores Park and Mission High, and there are fewer businesses on 18th Street.

move bike lane.jpeg

California’s Gas Tax to Jump 12 Cents Wednesday; Efforts to Dismantle Hike Are in the Works

By Patrick McGreevy : latimes – excerpt

A state gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon kicks in Wednesday, and while the immediate impact will mean less money in motorists’ wallets, the long-term political fallout could roll into next year, when the higher levies are expected to be an issue in elections across California.

But the vitriol between Democrats who supported the new taxes and Republicans who opposed them kicked up months ago, well before the first newly taxed gallon will be pumped tomorrow.

Just last week, two lawmakers who voted for the April transportation package that included the gas tax increases came under fire in radio ads financed by the Western Growers Assn., which represents farmers who say they will have to pay more to get their crops to market…

The bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will raise the state excise tax on gasoline by 12 cents, from 29.7 cents per gallon to 41.7 cents per gallon. The excise tax on diesel fuel will increase by 20 cents, from 16 cents per gallon to 36 cents per gallon, and the sales tax rate on diesel will increase from 9% to 13%…

Updates from Sacramento »

Most Republican lawmakers opposed the tax increases, saying the state should instead divert billions of dollars from wasteful spending and a bullet train project they believe is not cost-effective and direct it toward transportation.

Many Republicans have already latched onto the tax increases as a hot-button issue for the 2018 elections…(more)

Didn’t the Governor promise to not raise taxes without voter approval?

Many attitudes and issues divide California citizens, but costs of food is going to effect us all. The 20 cent per gallon increase in diesel fuel taxis one of the most gentrifying taxes at a time when everyone’s biggest complaint is becoming gentrification. Rent protection doesn’t protect you from higher food prices.

RELATED:

Initiative filed to repeal California gas tax increase

: sacbee – excerpt

California’s new gas tax hike to pay for road improvements pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats could go before voters for repeal.

Travis Allen, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County, filed the proposed 2018 ballot measure to eliminate the $5.2 billion annual package to fund road improvements.

On Thursday, Allen launched a website asking for contributions of $5 to help him gather the 365,880 signatures from registered voters to place the repeal before voters. Allen can begin to gather signatures once the state attorney general issues a title and summary for his repeal…

Allen is proposing an initiative, which means the earliest the tax could be repealed is after the November 2018 election. Referendums, which allow the law in question to be halted until voters pass judgment on the repeal, cannot be used to repeal tax levies or measures that lawmakers passed with an urgency clause, such as the gas tax increase(more)

 

 

The worst neighborhoods for parking in San Francisco

By Mike Moffitt : SFGATE – excerpt  (includes map)

SF collects millions in parking fines every year

In San Francisco, parking regulation enforcement helps ensure that spaces are turned over, bus zones are not blocked, street sweepers can do their job and residential spaces are reserved for residents.

But they also have another purpose — making millions for the city.

Recently we wrote about a new app that pinpointed the 10 most parking ticket-prone blocks in San Francisco.

Now we’re looking at which neighborhoods hand out the most parking citations — and reap the most money… (more)

RELATED:

S.F.’s Worst Block for Parking Pain

By Michael Cabanatnuam and Steve Rubentstien : sfchronicle – excerpt (linked file)

More than 4,000 tickets issued last year on street riddled with confusing signs, changing rules South of Market. (download pdf)

“Parking, which is horrible everywhere in SF and is especially horrible on the 300 Block Townsend” between Fourth and Fifth Streets. This block, located next to the train station, has many conflicting signs regarding traffic and parking instructions.

Thank you Spot Angle for gathering and sharing the data on parking and traffic tickets in SF, and thank you SF Gate and SF Chronicle for conducting further research and reporting on this most irksome issue that plague our citizens.

The public is confused and outraged over many issues on our streets and tickets are responsible for a lot of that anger . Many tickets are issued unfairly and can be contested successfully if you have the time to go to at least two or three hearings.

Muni riders are not immune from erroneous tickets. Many riders complain about tickets issued because of false readings on scanners. This is one more reason people are getting off the bus.

So, what is City Hall going to do about it? They are conducting hearings on a lot of complaints related to street projects. Add this one to the list  We suggest a citizens’ review of all future signs be added to the public outreach of street projects to assure the signs at least make sense and are understood by some humans who know the neighborhood. Tickets given out where signs and rules conflict, should be disregarded as incentive to the department to fix the problem.

Find out if San Francisco owes you $$ for overpaid parking tickets; deadline soon

By Amy Graff : SFGATE – excerpt

Those who are used to owing the City of San Francisco money for unpaid parking tickets will like this news: SFMTA is offering people the opportunity to claim cash for their overpaid parking tickets.

The Municipal Transportation Agency has $600,000 in unclaimed funds from a couple of hundred people and businesses who either overpaid or double-paid parking and transit citations issued between Jan. 1, 1995, and June 30, 2014.

The agency will reimburse individuals who file claims by Dec. 14, 2017. After the deadline, unclaimed funds will become property of the city… (more)

We know that ticket complaints are high on the list of our readers. Unfortunately, we can only point to general remedies as each case needs special investigations. Here is your chance to handle one of the many issues regarding parking tickets. One wonders how so many people were convinced to pay twice.

What kind of glitch caused this and has that glitch has been fixed? One also wonders if any interest on the will be returned, since the SFMTA charges us additional costs for late payments one hopes they will return interests on mistaken overcharges.

How are tourists and visitors going to be reimbursed? Can’t the SFMTA just return the balance on credit cards without claims? They know who overpaid.

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