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.

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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)

 

San Francisco Unveils Plan To Help Reduce Storefront Vacancies

By Phil Matier : cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Faced with a spike in the number of empty storefronts in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed is vowing to cut the costs and the red tape for businesses to open new retail locations in the city’s neighborhoods.

With the Citywide Storefront Vacancy Strategy unveiled by Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown Monday, city officials hope to fill vacant retail spaces, which have been emptied due to shifting shopping trends and slow sales…

The Mayor is also setting aside $1 million to for subsides, consultants and legal assistance for small business.

But one area that will likely remain a challenge is parking. For years the city has been chipping away at street parking to make way for more bus and bike lanes.

Lack of parking was one reason why Michael Gardner is closing Siegel’s Clothing in Mission Street, a business that he has owned and run for 42-years.

“The frosting on the cake was red zone. The bus zone came and they took out a third of the parking on Mission Street,” Gardner said. “When this store closes, there will be seven empty stores on this block.”… (more)

related:
Despite Booming Economy, Vacant Storefronts Common In San Francisco

This is a typical show of support and lack of listening by the San Francisco City government. The one thing the businesses are complaining about is the one thing the officials are ignoring. You don’t need to buy another study. Just listen to the public and follow their suggestions for a change. Businesses need parking to survive. As the parking disappears so do the businesses, along with the owners, employees, and families City Hall claims it wants to keep. Give us back some street parking after 6 PM and maybe we can get deliveries, clients and employees back. It is pretty hard to run a business without deliveries and pickups.

San Francisco Could Be Next to Eliminate Parking Minimums Citywide

By James Brasuell : planetizen – excerpt

A proposal under consideration by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would eliminate parking requirements citywide.

Developers to include at least some parking in their housing developments,” reports Joshua Sabatini. San Francisco would follow Hartford, Connecticut—the first city to end parking minimums citywide—and Buffalo, New York, which also passed similar legislation, with a few caveats.

For the city to implement this drastic overhaul of its parking requirements, it will have to pass legislation introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim, who recently discussed the proposed legislation at a public hearing…

“It would not prohibit parking in any redevelopment. It would merely remove the requirement that a developer would have to build a minimum number of parking spaces,” Kim said during Monday’s Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing…

More advocates are cited in the article as supporting the legislation. The full San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the bill next week (more)

We have a few days to get some comments into the Board of Supervisors to let them know how we feel about this new move to eliminate parking minimums from the planning codes in San Francisco. Contacts are here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

 

Airports Take A Hit As Uber And Lyft Rise In Popularity

By Helen Storms : inquisitr – excerpt

Many are taking advantage of services like Uber and Lyft to avoid the stress of airports.

Uber, Lyft, and other similar transportation services are transforming the way people are traveling this holiday season. If you’ve had to take a flight recently, your first thought upon touching down was likely how to get out of the airport as quickly as possible. In the past, taking a cab was most people’s best option. That is, if they didn’t want to opt for public transportation. Now, Uber and Lyft is becoming the most popular way to escape the chaos of major airports. This is likely due to the convenience that these types of services offer. No more standing out in unpleasant weather trying to hail a cab. With this new technology, you can have a driver waiting to pick you up the minute you land. However, according to Wired, this new trend is causing a multitude of issues for airports… (more)

Looks like the Uber Lyfts are have taken on more than just the taxis. They are competing the old fashioned way, by cornering the market and the CPUC is helping them complete against the government entities by removing them from government regulation. Removal of government regulations has a familiar ring to it.

Towing worsens hardships of Oakland’s homeless

: sfchronicle – excerpt

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has been advising people to stay indoors as smoke from the Camp Fire makes air quality hazardous. I’ve been concerned about how the smoke is impacting people living in the Bay Area without homes.

I thought about Kelly Thompson and his friends, some of whom sleep in tents. Thompson is retired and a Vietnam veteran who lives in a small camper in a West Oakland field. I wrote about him this month after his pickup truck was towed at an RV encampment near 20th and Campbell streets…

The East Bay Community Law Center is part of a coalition of legal aid and civil rights organizations reviewing constitutional issues around the towing of vehicles belonging to homeless people. On Nov. 7, Osha Neumann, a supervising attorney at the law center, sent a letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf chiding the city for towing vehicles before it opens places for people to park their RVs and campers without hassle… (more)

Late News on Public Hearings on Off-street parking Minimums

See more details here:

https://sf-planning.org/article/public-meetings-discuss-proposed-legislation-remove-parking-requirements

Wednesday November 14, 12-1 PM – (agenda)
Room 278 City Hall Room  – Community Meeting 1 to discus removal of off-street parking requirements in new residential construction. (RSVP)
For questions or more information about the proposed legislation, contact Paul.Chasan@sfgov.org. (note that the wrong email link is online. We have corrected it.)

Thursday November 15, 9-10 AM (agenda)
Room 278 City Hall Room  – Community Meeting 2 to discus removal of off-street parking requirements in new residential construction. (RSVP)
For questions or more information about the proposed legislation, contact Paul.Chasan@sfgov.org. (note that the wrong email link is online. We have corrected it.)

Wednesday November 19, 6-7 PM – (agenda)
Room 278 City Hall Room  – Community Meeting 3 to discus removal of off-street parking requirements in new residential construction. (RSVP)
For questions or more information about the proposed legislation, contact Paul.Chasan@sfgov.org. (note that the wrong email link is online. We have corrected it.)

 

RVs in the News

City bans RVs on small Ingleside street, promises to offer services first

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Homeless RV dwellers will soon need to vacate an Ingleside Street after a vote by The City’s transportation board Tuesday.

City officials are rushing to research solutions for homeless RV dwellers, who, much like tent encampments, draw complaints from the communities surrounding them.

However, despite the lack of a clear policy on such bans, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors voted to ban oversize vehicles on De Wolf Street in an unusually contentious vote, 4-3…

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she would introduce legislation Nov. 13 calling for public land to be used for RV dwellers to park and be offered homeless services, and the Department of Homelessness has launched a vehicle encampment resolution team, social workers who target homeless people living in RVs to offer them help and a way out…

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin told the board if they approved the RV ban on De Wolf Street that enforcement would not occur until Kositsky has time to send homeless social workers to help those living in RVs there.

Ultimately, SFMTA board directors Heinicke, Cheryl Brinkman, Lee Hsu, and Art Torres voted to approve the De Wolf RV ban. Eaken, Cristina Rubke, and Gwyneth Borden voted against it… (more)

For once we are able to thank the SFMTA Board and Director Reiskin for doing the right thing by holding off on enforcement of the RV ban until there is a sanctioned place for them to go. We support Supervisor Ronen and Director Kositsky’s efforts to work on a solution.

Big drop in tent camps in SF, but now RV dwellers are a problem

By : sfchronicle – excerpt

For the first time in years, San Francisco officials are reporting that there are no large tent encampments in the city.

“And I am determined to have San Franciscans see and feel a difference,” Mayor London Breed said.

By “large,” the city means 10 or more tents… (more)