Castro Merchants Talk Demand-Responsive Parking Meter Pricing, Set To Roll Out Citywide In 2017

by Shane Downing : hoodline – excerpt

Demand responsive pricing will come to Castro parking meters early next year.

Over the past few years, seven San Francisco neighborhoods have served as a testing ground for SFpark, an SFMTA-initiated project that adjusts parking meter prices based on the time of the day and the day of the week.

Originally piloted with 25 percent of the city’s parking meters, SFpark’s demand-responsive pricing will roll out to the rest of San Francisco’s parking meters early next year—including in the Castro.

Parking is a product like anything else, and some spots are more valuable than others,” SFMTA parking policy manager Hank Willson told the Castro Merchants at a meeting this month. He argued that if people know where parking is available and how much they can expect to pay before they pull out of their driveways, it will reduce the amount of circling and unsafe driving practices…

According to SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose, the pilot program was a success. It decreased parking search time by 43 percent, and average meter and garage rates actually went down, by 11 cents and 42 cents an hour, respectively.

SFMTA says the program also helps businesses sell more, because potential customers are able to find a place to park. Between 2010 and 2013, sales tax revenues for businesses in non-SFpark areas increased 20 percent, but in SFpark neighborhoods, they went up by more than 35 percent, indicating that consumers were spending more in those neighborhoods…

Which neighborhoods saw the increase is revenue? Were they neighborhoods that did not receive the complete streets treatment? Did they get the full treatment of parking and traffic lane reductions or did they just the meters?

Another Castro merchant was curious as to how people are supposed to look up parking prices on the SFpark app while also driving and (hopefully) searching safely for a spot…

Are these people nuts or do they think we are? If the price changes all the time how will you know how much you are going to pay and what has this got to do with parking availability? These people are nuts.

The idea that you will drive a block further for cheaper parking is crazy because you can’t tell how much the parking is until you park and get out to look at the meter, even then, you don’t know until you start feeding it.




Game-changer bus for San Francisco’s notoriously slow Muni system nears its debut, but not everyone’s on board

By Lauren Hepler : bizjournals – excerpt

After 13 years, the rubber is (almost) ready to hit the road for Bus Rapid Transit. Advocates say it’s like getting a new train service at a fraction of the cost, but detractors worry that everybody else will get taken for a ride.

A new kind of bus, heralded as a game-changer for San Francisco’s notoriously slow Muni system, is closer than ever to making its debut.

On Oct. 24, construction crews are set to begin laying the groundwork for the city’s first Bus Rapid Transit project on a two-mile stretch of Van Ness from Mission to Lombard streets. Essentially public bus service on steroids, the $159 million project promises to cut travel times by a third.

With exclusive lanes for buses, coordinated traffic signals and new elevated stations in central medians of major thoroughfares, BRT is designed to speed things up in a city where buses travel at an average of just 8.5 miles per hour. The aim is to add more frequent buses on BRT routes, and put them on a timetable that reflects reality…

Not far behind Van Ness, which is projected to start serving passengers in 2019 for the same regular $2.25-a-trip fair as existing bus lines, are projects on Geary and Geneva streets…

A 9-mile project from Oakland to San Leandro is also on the cusp of breaking ground. The $178 million project slated to be up and running in late 2017 is projected to serve riders at an operating cost of $8 per passenger, compared to $31 per passenger for light rail, said Robert Del Rosario, director of development and service planning for AC Transit.
BRT’s economics have transit agencies around the region moving full steam ahead to map out more routes, cobbling together funding and predicting major development implications near new bus stations.

“All of the cities are really focused on in-fill development,” Del Rosario said. “They’re hoping it’s smart development that doesn’t bring more cars.”…

However, the budding BRT boom has reinforced a familiar Bay Area adage in a big way: Planning something isn’t the same as building it. BRT has taken 13 years just to get to the brink of construction in San Francisco; many residents, businesses and commuters are less optimistic about the benefits than transit planners, and have sometimes used the political process to throw sand in the gears.

Familiar concerns about parking and ease of travel by car, plus logistical challenges like a widening scope of work, have plagued the Van Ness BRT project and others. So have more obscure obstacles, such as a successful last-ditch effort in September to halt work so that historic beige and gray trolley poles in the area could be preserved…

One predictable reason it’s been slow going is consistent backlash from car owners since San Francisco voters in 2003 approved the Proposition K sales tax hike to fund transit improvements like BRT.

Giving up two lanes of traffic and losing turning privileges on central arteries like Van Ness aren’t appealing — but they’re necessary, McCarthy argues. Areas targeted for BRT are also already high ridership for transit, with the 47 Van Ness and 49 Mission/Van Ness bus routes serving an estimated 16,000 customers per day, making them prime opportunities…

The report also estimates that 19-34 percent of auto traffic will likely be displaced by BRT to parallel streets, other times of day or alternate modes of transportation. Intersections around Gough and Hayes streets, as well as Franklin and O’Farrell streets, were projected to see the most noticeable delays starting at 30 seconds per car…

Look no further than San Jose for a real time example of how projects can be derailed in progress. Last September, the South Bay’s Valley Transportation Agency had to fire its contractor on a $114 million BRT project after a busted gas line, cost overruns and permitting issues.

In the Mission, meanwhile, a step toward BRT with so-called “red carpet” lanes for both buses and taxis have drawn the ire of local businesses and residents cut off from the lanes this spring.

“The changes look better on paper than in practice,” Supervisor David Campos said in an April statement, citing complaints from car owners in his district…

The area around the Van Ness corridor, zoned for a mix of high-density combined residential and commercial usage, is projected by the county to gain 12,208 households by 2035, or a 28 percent increase from pre-2000 levels. Planners are hoping to capitalize on that momentum by making it easier to move through the area, particularly given its dual appeal as a tourism connector…

Features of the new BRT corridor on Van Ness Avenue include:

  • Dedicated transit-only lane, for use by Muni and Golden Gate Transit buses only, that is physically separated from mixed traffic lanes
  • Enhanced traffic signals optimized for north-south traffic with Transit Signal Priority that keeps buses moving by holding the green light
  • Low-floor vehicles and all-door boarding for quicker and easier loading
  • Safety enhancements for people walking including shortening crossing distances with sidewalk extensions and median refuges, zebra-striped crosswalks that make people more visible, audible countdown signals and eliminated most left turns from Van Ness Avenue (except northbound at Lombard and southbound at Broadway)
  • High-quality boarding islands at consolidated transit stops located at key transfer points.




New Marina Parking Restrictions Targeting Car-Dwellers Upset Homeless Activists

: sfist – excerpt

Another in a long line of SFMTA measures restricting large vehicles from parking overnight on certain San Francisco streets was approved on Tuesday, this time focusing on the Marina. The Examiner reports that the rules, which effect vehicles over 22 feet long and 7 feet tall, are specifically designed to address a safety hazard some residents allege is caused by people living in their cars.

The ban prohibits parking on specific Marina streets from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., and has homeless activists crying foul. “We are very concerned about the possibility of expanding this failed strategy,” the Coalition on Homelessness’s Kelley Cutler told the paper…

Perhaps in response to those criticisms, the SFMTA is now floating a scaled down version of an idea first proposed earlier this year by then “homeless czar” Sam Dodge. SFMTA senior analyst Andy Thornley told the Ex that one possible solution to the perceived problem of people living in cars would be to identify vacant lots and allow parking overnight in those spaces. However, in Thornley’s mind, each morning the RVs would need to head back out on the streets to find parking for the day — likely an extremely time consuming affair as anyone who has every tried to park a truck in the city can attest.

At this point Thornley’s idea is just that, an idea, and no apparent moves are being made to make it a reality. Interestingly, however, this may be the last new ban on overnight parking we see for a while. Gwyneth Borden, who sits on the SFMTA board of directors, said that she will not approve any additional overnight restrictions. “We won’t be entertaining these issues in the future,” she said — words which might allow some RV-dwellers to sleep just a little bit easier…(more )

Banned From Numerous SF Streets, Homeless Czar Now Wants RV Park For Homeless Vehicle-Dwellers

Woman alleges SF painted new red zone where her car was parked, then issued ticket

sfexaminer – excerpt (includes photo)

Most San Francisco drivers have a painful parking story to tell. But one woman’s parking complaint takes the cake.

Becca Derenthal, a San Francisco resident, alleges The City painted a red zone where her car was parked at Lombard and Franklin streets in July — then ticketed her for parking in that new red zone.

Derenthal said she went out of town for business and, before she left, “found a parking spot that was not painted red at the time and would allow me to park there until I returned without running into any street cleaning issues.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency confirmed Derenthal was ticketed under transportation code 7.2.25, a red zone violation.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the curb was painted in July. “We have records going back to July saying [the curb] was red.” He added, however, “Our policy is not to cite someone at a newly painted red curb.”… (more)

No wonder people hate the SFMTA so much.

Keep Our L Taraval Stops

Hello Supporters of Keeping Our L Taraval Stops,

Below are links to the staff’s presentation to the SFMTA Board of Directors for their meeting on Tuesday September 20 at 1 pm. at City Hall Room 400. All of the arguments that we made at the July 22 Public Hearing were rejected, and the staff rebutted each of our arguments, and specifically discussed on pp. 22-23 why the stops at 17th, 24th inbound, and 28 should be removed.  If you are interested, you can skim through the presentation to see what they said about the items that interest you, and you can rebut it in your emailed public comment if you want.
Staff Report PDF
Slide Presentation PDF


1.  Please make every effort to attend the meeting on September 20 at 1:00 pm in City Hall, Room 400.  We are the only item on the regular agenda and should come up by 1:30 or 2.  The staff will present the Project, and then we will make our public comments.  We will be allowed to speak only 1-2 minutes.  We need the largest turnout possible to have an affect on the Board’s vote.  Let us know if you can attend.

2.  Email a public comment, even if you are attending the meeting.  We found out that If emailed by Monday noon, the Board members will receive it in time, but the sooner they receive the emails, the more time they will have to read them. Sample letter

3.  Forward this email and the l-taraval-save-our-stops-postcard-for-9-20-board-meeting-jpeg to your friends and family members, post the relevant information on Facebook and your other social media sites, and encourage your friends/family to email the Board (with cc to us) and to attend the meeting on Tuesday September 20 if they can.

Thank you so much for your support.  We are all in this together, and we need your help now!

Paula Katz
Save Our L Taraval Stops!

Meet the SF man responsible for more than a quarter of all tech bus complaints

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :  SFExaminer – excerpt

Edward Mason is on the hunt, and his target is the elusive tech bus.

But Mason does not seek out his prey merely once. Instead, he catches the gleaming metal vehicles in the act of violating city rules on the “Commuter Shuttle Program,” repeatedly…

Employees of many tech companies hire commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which weave in and out of city neighborhoods to pick up employees.

Tech workers defend the shuttles, and often say Caltrain is too full to use in a Silicon Valley commute. Tech workers frequently say in meetings that the shuttles take many cars off the road…

A pilot program to monitor and regulate shuttle use began in August 2014, and that’s when Mason began his hunt. He’s been enormously effective…

Overall, Mason has provided information on commuter shuttles 282 times, according to the SFMTA.

Mason’s emails detail scores of infractions, including a shuttle idling in a narrow street it’s not allowed in, shuttles staging in Muni stops, shuttles blocking access to Muni buses, incorrect permit decals, incorrect license plates and more.

“The plan says buses are supposed to avoid deep and narrow streets,” he said, “but what else is there in San Francisco?”…(more)

Bay Area Public Transit Agency To Subsidize Uber, Lyft Rides

By Ian Wenik : thestreet – excerpt

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), a public transit agency that operates in the California Bay Area suburbs, is testing out a new initiative: subsidized ridesharing trips.

LAVTA, which operates buses in cities such as Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, is set to roll out the service on a one-year trial in mid-September. The plan will offer riders in certain areas of Dublin subsidized Uber and Lyft fares to local destinations at prices ranging from $3 to $5, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

LAVTA Executive Director Michael Tree explained the reasoning behind the program in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.”… (more)

If you didn’t need more proof that the plan is to privatize transportation systems after the government takes away your right to own your own transportation, this is it. It is the classic”Bait and Switch” scheme.

  • First they convince you that “parking isn’t free so they can charge you to park on the public streets.
  • Then they claim they can provide the transportation system you need while “calming traffic”.
  • Next they claim they need more money to “improve service” and raise the taxes fines and fees.
  • Next they “improve service by removing bus stops and seats, forcing more people to stand so they can fit in more people.
  • Then, when they have millions of people depending on them for service, they tell you to take the new “smart” corporate car service that they will subsidize so you can afford it.

The joke, if it was a joke, is that we had the private car service when we started on this journey, but now instead of owning our own homes and cars, we rent them from the corporation that can control our every move, and the worst traffic nightmare imaginable.

If this picture bothers you support the Prop L, the SFMTA Charter Amendment:


Well-Paid SFMTA Employee, Andy Thornley), Proposes Limiting “Access” on JFK Drive – Westbound Travel Banned, 15 MPH Speed Limit

sfcitizen – excerpt

…(A pay package of about $130k a year (TCOE – Total Cost of Employee), well that’s pretty well-paid for a low-stress job, non? It’s not like being a coal miner or anything. Correct me if I’m way off on this, of course.)

This proposal certainly would reduce traffic, overall, by a very slight amount. It would also increase westbound traffic on Fulton, and Lincoln too I suppose, by a significant amount…


Fix JFK Drive

Posted by Andy Thornley 32.20sc on July 28, 2016

It’s time to civilize Golden Gate Park roads : Golden Gate Park is San Francisco’s crown jewel of public open space and everyone’s backyard. The eastern portion of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park has enjoyed a marvelous state of car-free happiness and harmony on Sundays for the past 49 years, as well as Monday holidays for the past 29 years. Parking-buffered bike lanes help to tame JFK Drive between Stanyan Street and Transverse Drive on the other days of the week.

However, it’s been clear for a long time that the western extent of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park needs serious intervention to make if safe and welcoming for bicycle traffic, for people of all ages and abilities. There’s no separated space for bicycles and the roadway is a hilly winding slalom course, and motor traffic often speeds along carelessly, bullying bike traffic, or worse…(more)

Andy is running for Supervisor in District One. So far Sandra Lee Fewer is winning that race. Maybe Andy’s lack of popularity stems from his radical anti-car approach. People in the Richmond like their life the way it is and don’t appreciate the disruption his department is thrusting on us.  The last thing we need is Andy on the board.

If you have any parking complaints, Andy is the person you need to reach out to after you file a 311 complaint.  Details here:


Patent for “Parking Meter with Contactless Payment” Awarded to MacKay Meters

By Marketwired : sys-con – excerpt

GLASGOW, NOVA SCOTIA — (Marketwired) — 08/15/16 — J.J. MacKay Canada Limited (MacKay Meters), a recognized world leader in the manufacturing and development of parking control products, continues to strengthen its Intellectual Property portfolio with the issuance of U.S. Patent Number 9,406,056 titled “Parking Meter with Contactless Payment”, on August 2, 2016.

This new US patent relates to parking meters and in particular, to parking meters having contactless payment options and follows closely behind two Canadian patents (CA 2,773,250 and CA 2,870,544) issued on June 28, 2016 that also relate to parking meters with contactless payment. The above noted patents represent just a small portion of MacKay’s extensive Patent/IP portfolio which includes utility patents, patent applications, design patents, and industrial design registrations, and trademarks filed in the USA, Canada and internationally… (more)

SFMTA approves changes to Mission Street transit improvements in response to merchant complaints