Bikes win, Fire Department loses in Market Street redo

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Impossible to move in traffic like this, photo by Zrants

Score a big victory for the politically potent San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which won approval the other day for protected bike lanes along several blocks of upper Market Street — despite a Fire Department protest that the reconfiguration will interfere with ladder trucks in an emergency.

“The design materially compromises the safety of firefighters and local residents,” Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White warned in a letter to the Municipal Transportation Agency commission.

At issue is a nearly mile-long strip of Market between Octavia and Castro streets. Under the plan, the city will install protected bike lanes in both directions.

The redo includes a bike lane on two blocks near Octavia that will be located next to the curb and be buffered from traffic by a lane for parked cars.

And therein lies the rub — because, as Hayes-White tells us, the parking lane will be right in the spot where a ladder truck would normally pull up to an emergency scene…

Mayor Ed Lee himself signaled his support for the biking crowd last year when he issued a directive pledging support for protective bike lanes in the city, and calling for at least 13 miles of additional bike lanes and related infrastructure annually.

Safe for bikes, perhaps, but maybe less so for anyone needing help in an emergency… (more)

The self-centered attitude of people who treat the streets as their playground has gotten out of control and City Hall needs to put some breaks on these antics that are putting us all at risk.

How is this different from the leaning sinking tower?

Experts are warning that the public is at risk? Where has the media been on this story as it has been developing over the last few months or years? The first we heard about this was a few weeks ago, after the SFMTA Board had already decided to support the Bike Coalition, with their 300 letters.

How can the public weigh in when they are the last to know about these issues?
Where are the Supervisors who are supposed to protect us? Setting up a study to count the minutes it takes to get to an emergency after the fact is pointless and insulting to the Fire Department and the public it serves.

Where were the meetings held on this matter and where are the minutes of those meetings that were held leading up to this decision?

Where are the letters that were written and arguments made against this plan. How will these documents be protected so as not to disappear like the famous disappearing volumes of engineers reports on the tower?

Who will the Bicycle Coalition members who ignored the Fire Department’s warning blame, when the vehicle coming to their aid fails to get to them in time?

I cannot figure out how to comment on the source site, even though I am signed into it. Please post some comments there is you can figure it out.

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.

 

Future Plans unveiled at SFMTA Board Special Meeting

Tuesday, February 7, 9 AM – agenda
Green Room War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Ave.
Labor negotiations and closed session followed by presentations of current projects.
Controller report: Financial Overview – presentation
SFMTA Board Workshoppresentation

No New Measures Planned To Prevent Drivers From Entering Sunset Tunnel

by Saul Sugarman : hoodiine – excerpt

colevalleyportal

I can see the problem. The “Do not Enter” sign is poorly placed between the two streets. It appears to apply to Carl Street, not the paved street going into the tunnel. They could try to move the sign to the other side of the walkway and put on on both sides of the tunnel. They could also apply some red paint to it.

N-Judah riders have already suffered their fair share of delays in 2017 thanks to wayward drivers who try to make it through the Muni-only Sunset Tunnel. Two attempts to cross the dark corridor have gone down just this month.

Thankfully, no one has been injured in the past seven years, but for now, the SFMTA has no plans to remedy the problem. Agency spokesman Paul Rose said efforts made this past year — including the installation of speed bumps and “DO NOT ENTER” signs at either end of the tunnel — should be enough to deter confused drivers.

“It’s a situation we’ll continue to monitor and make adjustments to in order to prevent and minimize the impacts of cars being stuck in or outside the tunnel,” Rose said.

He noted there have been approximately 24 attempts to cross the tunnel since 2010. In addition to the signs and bumps, gates on either end remain closed when Muni is not in service… (more)

They should try the Red Paint treatment there. It’s hard to imagine that they can’t figure out some way to point the drivers in the right direction. maybe they need better easier to navigate other streets nearby. A wide, clearly lit street that looks driver friendly. Ask a driver, not SFMTA staff to figure it out how to direct traffic.

Backpacks On Public Transit: Agencies, Commuters Weigh In

by Saul Sugarman : hoodline – excerpt

We’ve all been there: you’re having a pleasant ride on a Bay Area train or bus, only to get rudely smacked by someone’s bag.

SFMTA and BART officials have received complaints about the problem, but “of course” there is no direct policy to address it, said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

However, her agency has put posters in many BART cars asking riders to please remove their bags and put them between their legs, she noted.

“It is an absolute fact: if everyone took their backpacks off and put their bags between their legs, we could fit more people on our train cars,” Trost said.

Some forthcoming BART cars offer remedies to the bag issue, she added. The agency’s “Fleet Of The Future” cars, a $2.6 billion project set to debut later this year, will have added room underneath seats for passengers to store their bags. And a new extension to Antioch will have cars that have luggage racks… (more)

I heard that schools no longer have lockers so student must carry everything in backpacks. When you force people into contraptions without seats and with no real consideration into what people need to carry with them, you should anticipate a lot of extra stuff on the bus.

When you expect everyone to use public transit for all their errands your virtual reality designs should anticipate a lot of stuff will accompany the passengers.

You must expect a lot of backpacks, baby carriage, grocery bags and luggage, along with the every present bikes and skateboards and every other imaginable personal items that people would normally put in a car or other personal vehicle if they had one to carry their stuff in.

I’ve got an idea for you, instead of having special compartments and special sections for putting the stuff, why don’t you just return the seats to the buses and make sure that everyone can sit comfortably with their stuff in their laps like they used to.

Leave it up to the SFMTA to take a system that works and screw it up!

Thousands hold hands to protest President Trump on Golden Gate Bridge

Bay City News : abc7news – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO —
Thousands of people gathered to form a human chain on the sidewalk across the Golden Gate Bridge Friday morning.

Sausalito-based Bridge Together Golden Gate said the two-hour event beginning at 10 a.m., an hour after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, was not considered a protest, but an expression of unity.

Organizers said it would be the first human chain across the iconic span and beyond…

Parking lots at each end of the bridge will be significantly impacted by the protest…

“Seeing a lot of people lining up across Golden Gate- so far only traffic disruptions have been parking lot closures.” – Alexis Smith

Controlling the movement of humans is the first step to authoritarian rule. By removing our ability to move ourselves and subjecting us to using public transportation the government can limit our access to only areas they want us to go. Here is the proof.
There is an effort being put forth in Sacramento that would restrict the rights of persons under the age of 20 to drive a car by placing limits on their use of private vehicles. This is the first step to controlling private citizens ability to move about freely.

San Francisco roads deemed worst in nation again

By Adam Brinklaw : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

RedPothole.jpg

What we have known all along

Once again the Washington DC-based transit research group TRIP declared San Francisco and Oakland together to have the worst roads in the entire country.

While this may be something of a vindicating moment for Bay Area drivers who have known this for eons, it’s a grim day when road watchers afford even Los Angeles’s famously terrible blacktop more palatable scores than our own.

(They’re the second worst this year, another repeat performance.)

Before continuing, it’s worth noting that most of TRIP’s funding comes from the likes of insurance companies and construction unions—groups that do stand to gain directly from increased road maintenance spending.

But the actual data comes from the Federal Highway Administration, who in turn get it from local agencies… (more)

When you put people who hate roads in charge of road maintenance what do you expect? We have red lanes painted over potholes on Mission Street because SFMTA doesn’t care about potholes. We got an estimate of $10 -16 per square foot to paint the red lanes and between $2 and 6 million for the Mission Street red carpet mess. The figures were not consistent from one meeting to the next, an the media figures also shifted so it’s hard to say exactly what the price for the Experimental Red Lanes on Mission Street is. How many potholes could they have repaired for the money they spent on red paint? They could possibly have fixed most of the potholes in the Mission for what they spent on paint, and what they will spend to maintain that lovely fading pint look.

potholes

 

 

Public Meeting for EIR on January 5, 2017

richmondsfblog – excerpt

The final Geary BRT EIR will be under review at an upcoming public meeting of the San Francisco Country Transit Authority (SFCTA) on Thursday, January 5, 2017 (2pm, City Hall, Room 250). At that meeting, the SFCTA will be asked to certify the EIR, which includes approving the design and configuration described in the EIR. The meeting, which will not be the last public discourse on the Geary BRT, is an opportunity for members of the public to speak their views on the Geary BRT project.

If the EIR is approved at the January 7 meeting, the project will then go into final design planning, which culminates with the SFMTA Board taking action to legislate every one of the recommended changes for the project.

But given the historic pace of the Geary BRT project so far, that is a ways off. The earliest any construction would begin is in 2018 on the downtown portions of Geary. It would not be until late 2019 / early 2020 that any construction would occur west of Stanyan.

To find out more about the Geary BRT and the release of the final EIR, please visit gearybrt.org.

Sarah B…(more)

Comments on the source as well as here are welcome…

There are so many issues involved with this project, we will have to get back on what they are, but, if you are concerned and want to oppose this, there are two meetings scheduled for next week with two different groups and each may be contacted with public comments. Sample letters and contacts are here:

Open Letter to the City Authorities:

Our plea to San Francisco city authorities is to delay the decision for 30 days and consider what you can better spend $300 million dollars on than cutting trees and digging holes on Geary and killing more local businesses like you did on Mission Street. We need economic impact and socioeconomic impact reports on all projects that involve shifting traffic on major commercial streets.

Wasting time and taxpayer money on a $300 million dollar boondoggle when there are thousands of homeless people on the streets who need immediate attention is a criminal act as far as many are concerned. For once the SFMTA should allow the much cheaper and less disruptive public plan to more forward. See if the public is smarter than the SFMTA. Just give us this one street to prove we can do it cheaper and get better results.

Notice there is no mention of safety here, only speeding Muni on Geary. Who ever came up with the idea of moving the BRT lanes from the curb to the center and back again? That cannot be a safe move. Already we have seen the results of merging traffic with the BRT on 3rd Street and merging bike lanes and traffic lanes without warning. What happened to merging lane warning signs? Bike lanes crossing over traffic lanes has got to be the worst way to protect cyclists.

This plan is all about moving more than $350 million dollars of taxpayer money from our pockets into the contractors’ bank accounts. Read the alternative plan and see if you don’t agree that it makes sense to try a different approach.

– Concerned San Francisco Citizen

Upcoming meetings on this issues listed on the SFCTA website:
http://www.sfcta.org/meetings-agendas-and-events#jan2017

Wednesday, January 4, 6 PM –  Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee – 1455 Market St., 22nd Floor – Details  CAC is scheduled to hear and vote on the Geary BRT.

Thursday, January 5, 2:00 PM –  Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting Room 250, City HallDetails This is where the Board of Supervisors, acting as the County is expected to approve the $350-360 million dollar Geary BRT large project authorization, before the public or the Board of Supervisors has sufficient time to review and analyze the large document that was just released on the 15th of December. CEQA still allows a 30 day period for public review and comment, so this will cut that allowance down, leading, once again to a violation of CEQA by the SFMTA.

SFMTA will have an excuse for fast-tracking their Geary BRT, so we need as many letters and people to protest against this outrage at this meeting as possible. Sample letter:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

There is a second excellent letter requesting a delay that is here requesting that the Chairman of the SFCTA Board of Commissioners, Aaron Peskin, postpone the Geary BRT EIR vote for one month. Quite a few letters have gone out with that request.

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S.F. business owners push back against red transit-only lanes in city

By

San Francisco business owners are pushing back against the red lanes used for transit in the city, saying that customers are confused about what they mean and often keep driving instead of stopping and shopping.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the red-painted transit lanes, which are still in the testing phase and were rolled out in 2013, have been frustrating for the merchants whose businesses border them…

But the experiment was supposed to last just two years, and involve periodic progress reports to the California Traffic Control Devices Committee and the Federal Highway Administration. The MTA’s first written report to the state agency, however, was not presented until Dec. 12,” the paper reports.

That long-term testing has been difficult for business owners, including Glenn Urban, who owns a car wash on Geary Boulevard with his brother, on a stretch where red transit-only lanes are now being planned.

“When [customers] see them, they don’t know what to do, so they stay away,” Urban told the paper. He said the Municipal Transportation Agency has “done little research on what this red paint means to businesses.”

A spokesperson for the MTA did not respond to a request for comment Thursday… (more)

The hubris of the SFMTA is enough to make you want to fight them. If you feel that way, there are plenty of things you can do, starting with a letter requesting a one month delay in approving any of the Geary BRT plans until the public and the new supervisors have time to review and comment on it. Do you want to spend $300 million dollars more than you have to? Why? So far none of the projects the SFMTA is busily working on have gotten them the results they anticipated.

Richmond residents and merchants want a chance to try it another, less costly way. See their Sensible Plan for Geary BRT: http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

SF red transit lane beloved by riders, but merchants unhappy

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco’s controversial red-painted transit lanes are beloved by many Muni riders, and the city’s transportation planners. But they’re not necessarily here to stay. The crimson lanes are, as the saying goes, only a test.

Results of the test are still being gathered, but federal transportation authorities are expected to rule within months whether the bright-red pavement can stay or whether the city will have to remove it and live with drab but conformist white lane markings and signs.

Officials with the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency gained permission from state and federal authorities in 2012 to color some street pavement red to make transit-only lanes more visible and to try to persuade car and truck drivers to stay out of them. New York and other U.S. cities are also experimenting with red lanes. San Francisco’s are not actually covered in paint, but rather an acrylic pavement treatment applied in sheets.

The New York experiment ended years ago when they failed to gather sufficient data. They also had a problem with double parking. Some of the streets in SF, I believe Church is one of them, are covered with paint and some with the thermoplastic, depending on whether they are concrete or asphalt.

Beginning in 2013, the MTA tested the idea on a short stretch of Church Street before rolling out what it calls “red carpet lanes” on stretches of other thoroughfares where heavy traffic causes delays for transit: Market, Geary, Third, O’Farrell, Haight, Judah and, perhaps most controversially, Mission between 14th and Randall streets.

Geary to Gough is on the list. Mission Street from Embarcadero to 11th Street was on the list.  In 2012, according to meeting minutes, the SFMTA representative specifically stated they would only be applying the test to streets that were currently transit-only lanes and were on the list. This proves, once again, you can’t trust the SFMTA.

In total, 17 San Francisco streets with existing transit-only lanes were approved for the red pavement test, as well as three that didn’t have reserved bus lanes. Not all of the stretches have yet been covered with red.

Anyone want to guess who is next in line?

“We shared our citywide plan with (state and federal officials) and they gave us the green light,” said MTA spokesman Paul Rose…

When and how was the application of the experiment to Mission Street past 11th approved?

This is typical of the SFMTA. Years after they start a process they inform the public. At no time, during any of their many public street design dog-and-pony shows  did they inform the public that they were planning to conduct a Red Lane test on our streets. When some of us discovered the truth of the matter and started to investigate and complain to the state and federal authorities they must have felt compelled to admit it.

We finally have an admission that THIS IS A TEST! THE RED LANES MAY GO AWAY! Where is the explanation for the test? What are they testing? How is the public involved in the test? If you want to know, keep reading and contact the links below.

Some of us went to Sacramento in December and saw first hand how the SFMTA operates. They started by trying to silence the public, claiming the public had no right to go to the state commission. More time went into that debate, (SFMAT lost that arguement.) than the actual presentation and discussion about the test that followed. Guess what? the SFMTA cherry picked a short blocks of two streets in the entire experiment to prove that the tests were being done as required. The analysis presented was more or less inconclusive.

If any one has anything to say about the Red Lane Experiment, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT.  If you need help figuring out how to file a complaint, or want to join the fight against the Red Lanes, let us know. Here are two sites that are dealing with the problem and trying to stop the spread of red lanes in San Francisco:   http://www.redcarpetmess.org and http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

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