Could Department of Livable Streets fix SF parking and traffic?

By Matier & Ross  : sfchronicle – excerpt

With the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s parking and traffic management becoming a bigger political issue, plans are being revved up for a City Charter amendment that would hand those jobs to a new Department of Livable Streets.

The MTA board would still hear all parking and traffic matters, but the Board of Supervisors would have the final say over parking rules, stop signs and the like.

“The buck stops with the Board of Supervisors,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, one of the initiative’s sponsors. “I don’t want to be held accountable for something I have absolutely no control over.”..

Safaí cited his frustration over the MTA’s decision to reject a two-year effort by his Excelsior constituents to get a four-way stop sign at the corner of Avalon Avenue and Edinburgh Street — where a pedestrian was later killed.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who is co-sponsoring the ballot move, said the final straw for him was hearing that Mayor Ed Lee, with support from the MTA, was negotiating with ride-hailing giants to turn parking spaces into designated pickup stops for Uber and Lyft.

Safaí and Peskin need four more supervisors to sign onto the Charter amendment to get it on the June 5 ballot. They’re confident they’ll get there…(more)

Now we know more details about the proposed SFMTA Charter Amendment and what pushed the supervisors over the edge – lack of response from SFMTA to a citizens’ request, and the privatization of public streets. We have all experienced these problems and been helpless to solve them. The elected Board of Supervisors should be able to get a bit more done to clean up this mess.
If you agree with the plan to put the Charter Amendment on the ballot, let the supervisors and everyone else know. Contacts

RELATED:
Advocates Align to Fight Proposal to Split Muni/SFMTA
The San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Walk San Francisco, and the San Francisco Transit Riders have come out hard against a proposal to split Muni, operator of San Francisco’s buses and trains, from the rest of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which also oversees street design, stoplights, signs, and taxi and parking regulations.
The Board of Supervisors will decide whether to put the amendment on the June, 2018, ballot tomorrow/Tuesday, 2 p.m., at its regularly scheduled meeting.

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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.

 

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.

The Lexus Lanes — and why they won’t work

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Bay Bridge photo by zrants

Instead of rewarding carpools and getting people out of private cars, we are rewarding wealth and encouraging more people to drive. How does this make sense?

One of the hallmarks of neoliberalism is the application of market solutions to market-generated problems. It’s an approach that’s bound to fail, because market-generated problems can only be solved by non-market solutions; but to the neoliberal mind, no-market solutions are anathema. Unfortunately, this approach is guiding city and regional planning in the Bay Area.

A case in point is the October 5 hearing on “Job and Office Trends” at the SF Planning Commission. As Tim Redmond reported, the planners focused on the severe imbalance between jobs and housing in the city, and how that imbalance is making it impossible for many people who work in San Francisco—especially those of modest means—to live near their jobs. What the planners missed was the source of that problem: their own unending pursuit of new commercial space, especially new office space. In Redmond’s words:

“The entire presentation by the department staff worships at the altar of growth. When you look at the slides, it’s as if we are competing with the rest of the nation for who can grow faster, and have the most “healthy” economy, which means the fastest growing.”

It also means the economy with the highest prices. Never mind that the tech influx is the major source of the astronomical housing prices and the accompanying displacement of economically vulnerable San Franciscans. During public comment, longtime affordable housing advocate John Elberling noted that he hadn’t heard “the word gentrification” or anything.

“about the human consequences of accommodating growth, which is clearly the current mission of the San Francisco Planning Department, even when the growth, the commercial growth, is clearly more than we can accommodate.”

The same “marketizing” growth mania is driving another misguided planning scheme: the installation of HOT (High Occupancy Toll) or express lanes on Bay Area highways. On October 9, new HOT lanes went into operation on I-680 between Walnut Creek and Dublin. Former HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes, twelve miles southbound and eleven northbound, have been converted into express lanes that will operate between 5 am and 8 pm. (In the Bay Area, the term “rush hour” long ago became an anachronism.)…

Until I attended the briefing, I thought that express lanes were intended to decrease congestion. Not so. Their purpose, said Caltrans Deputy District Director Sean Nozzari, is to “help us manage traffic congestion better” by opening “available capacity to solo drivers.”…(more)

Management by Confusion: Once again we are being charged top dollar for confusion on our streets and highways. These programs are NOT user friendly and they contradict their stated purpose and goals.

The “experimental” traffic and parking management programs are so confusing the SFMTA Board and Board of Supervisors has trouble understanding them. If the “experts with detailed printed charts, maps, graphs, surveys, reports and personal Q and A after presentations can’t understand the program, how will the public figure it out?

It is hard enough keeping track of your online bank accounts and nesting email messages. Now drivers are expected to deal with driving along curving streets while watching out for children, pets, and stupid humans texting as they cross the street and cyclists who ride everywhere but in the “protected” bike lanes they demanded be installed for their safety on city streets.

On highways we are supposed to purchase yet another payment tool if we are to avoid paying huge fees for doing something we didn’t know to avoid in the first place. How is this legal, ethical, or good for society?

 

Scoot is adding battery-swapping cars to its San Francisco lineup

By Roberto Baldwin : endgadget – excerpt

The short-term scooter rental company is teaming up with a Chinese automotive startup to add more cars to its fleet.

If you spend any time in San Francisco you’ll see them. The red electric scooters with a white lighting bolt and the word “Scoot” plastered on the side of the cargo box. Scoot, the company behind these ubiquitous two-wheeled vehicles has been able to litter the city with over 700 of these bikes that can be picked up and dropped off via an app almost anywhere within the city. Now, the short-term rental company is eyeing cars.

According to Scoot founder and CEO Michael Keating, the electric scooter rental service has been used by almost 50,000 users since it launched in 2012. An impressive number, but as pointed out by Keating, not everyone is comfortable braving the perilous streets of San Francisco on two wheels. With that in mind, he announced a partnership with Chinese automotive startup CHJ to bring the automaker’s yet-to-be-released small electric car with swappable batteries to San Francisco… (more)

Privatization of our city streets.

We have two choices to stop the privatization of our city streets. One of them is to sue the city. The other is to give the pubic right to determine the future use of our city streets through the initiative process. To do that you you need to convince four Supervisors to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot to repeal or amend Prop E to alter the powers of that system.

Book ’em Danno: The San Francisco neighborhoods with the most parking tickets

By : bizjournals – excerpt (includes map)

San Francisco holds the dubious distinction of the highest average ticket price on the country, with the city issuing $124 million annually in tickets, according to research from parking startup SpotAngels.

The company combined city data with their own parking data on spot location, regulation and average ticket price to analyze the neighborhoods and locations where cars receive the most tickets and why.

The neighborhoods with the most parking ticket revenue are led by SoMa with $11 million followed by the Inner Richmond and the Mission, with $10.5 million and $9.5 million, respectively… (more)

The number one complaint of drivers used to be tickets. I think that may have changed, but is still really high on the list of annoyances. We understand that many tickets that are contested are found to be lacking and are eventually dismissed. See some details on how to appeal tickets: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/tickets/

San Francisco Considers Surge Parking Prices

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A new plan proposes bringing surge parking prices to San Francisco.

In time, parking rates could go as high as $8 an hour in some areas under the plan.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehey said, “It just starts out with the assumption that everybody in San Francisco is rich.”…

The idea is that people will move faster if they are paying more for parking and thus free up parking spaces… (huh?)

Karnilowicz said, “I don’t see how it is going to make the turn overany different, just because you are increasing the price.”

And John Nazzal, owner of the Marina Deli, which is located in one of the neighborhoods where they tested the new pricing, agrees.

Nazzal said, “A lot of my friends and customers tell me that the reason they don’t come in anymore is that they don’t want to spend $2 or $3 to get a sandwich.”

It should be noted that in San Francisco, parking is a moneymaker. The city took in about $38 million from parking meters last year. Which begs the question: How much of this is about making more money?… (more)

Say no more. The SFMTA wants more money and is trying to convince us they have our best interest at heart. That would be a first.
Get those letters to the Mayor, SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors. Let them know you support the merchants and residents and visitors who are being gauged already by the high prices in this city. SFMTA doesn’t need any more money to use against us. They are creating the problems to begin with and we don’t trust them to fix the problems they are creating. There was a vote a few years ago that stopped the spread of parking meters into the neighborhoods. It is time to revisit that action again.

 

Citizens have the right to design their own reality

Op-Ed by Zrants
 MissionReds
Red Lanes have hurt businesses on Mission Street, where residents and merchants have been most vocal in their objections. Some demands were met, but there is a lot of anger in the Mission over SFMTA policies – photo by zrants
The article that ran in the SF Examiner, “SF Parking Meters may soon feature Uber-like surge pricing” is non-news to people in Mission Bay and neighborhoods where these meters have been used.
 
This program, along with the “complete street improvements” has been used to manipulate people for some time and the results have put a chill on our local economy. Many businesses are not recovering after construction projects are completed. There are empty storefronts all over town. Regardless of how you feel about gentrification of neighborhoods, streets and cities, the loss of traditional businesses is a serious matter. We need to maintain a balanced economy.
 
Documentation is what city authorities like to see, so a number of neighborhoods are gathering data to prove falling revenues and empty storefronts follow in the path of complete street projects that create congestion and remove parking.
 
Once generated, these reports can go to City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Commission, the media, and anyone else who may be concerned about the condition of the local economy.
 
City policies are not only hurting local businesses. Big box stores and corporate giants like The Gap, Whole Foods, and Sears are feeling the pinch. How many brick and mortar businesses will succumb to disruptive policies before we take action? Local businesses provide necessary services to the public. As each business dies, it becomes harder for residents to conduct their lives.
 
Another matter of urgency is arising. In the aftermath of major security breaches we need to review the “anti-cash” attitudes and policies being pushed by the government and it’s agencies. Cash is the safest currency and should be encouraged, not discouraged.
 
The government works for us and we must demand that it serves our needs.
 
Mari Eliza
 
 

San Franciscans want happy trails — not rocky roads

by Aaron Peskin: marinatimes – excerpt

Budget season has drawn to a close, and the city has made a significant investment in our city streets with the Board of Supervisors approving an additional $90 million in road work and resurfacing funds to be spent down over the next two years.

These are the funds that will be used to repave our city streets (600 blocks annually), extend or repair our sidewalks, paint our bike lanes, and fill pesky potholes. San Francisco Public Works is hiring more workers, and San Francisco has slowly increased its Pavement Condition Index Score…

The wrong signs get posted for the wrong projects on the wrong streets, construction equipment lies inactive for months in on-street parking spots, while a seemingly never-ending parade of orange-and-white striped A-frame signs line the streets letting merchants and residents know that they should brace for yet another construction project that might or might not have an actual public benefit. At the very least, it could be coordinated much better.

In addition, the hearing revealed that some repetitive projects are dropped from the city’s database, in violation of the city’s moratorium on digging up the city streets more than once in a five-year span. For example, the corner of Green Street and Columbus Avenue has been dug up at least four or five times in the last six years, yet San Francisco Public Works did not have that data for those jobs on file.

I am working with Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee on legislation that would create stricter conditions for subcontractors and would trigger a construction mitigation fund for projects that run over budget or drag on endlessly.

The time has come to make sure that we are managing San Francisco taxpayer money responsibly when it comes to our city streets; these safety and road resurfacing projects are priorities that shouldn’t have to be painful… (more)

This pretty well covers the frustrations that residents and businesses are feeling with the street construction repair program being set up and “managed” by the SFMTA. The subcontractors were a problem for the residents dealing with street trees and damaged sidewalks and the Supervisors solved that one. Now it is time for them to take on the street subcontractors.

At the top of the list of issues, is the lack of skilled labor in the construction business due to the overwhelming number of projects underway. We are doing too much too fast and the quality of the work is suffering because of the unrealistic pace. This is why we need to slow it down. We will be having talks this month over various options for solving this problem. Thanks to supervisors Peskin, Yee and Kim for taking this on.

NO NOTICE: A number of other issues were raised at the meeting described here. One is the most familiar of all that accompanies every complaint being raised from “overnight” tow-away signs to sudden contractors tearing up sidewalks without a visible permit – NO NOTICE ahead of the sudden pop-up construction work. Obviously the multi-million dollar noticing system that SFMTA is using to communicate with the public is failing to do the job. We need a new procedure of noticing.

As Supervisor Breed pointed out at the meeting, unnecessary controversial bulblouts and other street “improvements” are going onto small side streets with no accident history under the guise of “Safe Street improvements.” The SFMTA staff had no real excuse for this when quizzed on the matter.

A similar issue is ongoing with regard to the hated Red Lane “experiments” that were put into areas of the city, in including Mission Street, that were not designated as “experimental” areas, and the required “studies” for the “experiments” were not done in a timely fashion.

Concerned citizens conducted their own “unpaid” studies and discovery, and obtained documents showing an uptick in accidents on certain Red Lanes were not included in the final reports given to the state agency in charge of approving the extension of the Red Lane “experiments”. The SFMTA cherry picked the test areas that proved the Red Lanes improved the speed of the buses yet neglected to “share” the data that showed an increase in accidents on some of the “experimental streets.

Complaints were filed and if the judicial system works, the matter should be investigated.