Caltrain strikes vehicle in San Francisc

By Jason Green : mercurynews – excerpt

Accident on the tracks on 16th St. at 280 crossing October 10, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – A Caltrain collided with an unoccupied vehicle in San Francisco late Wednesday night.

The collision, which involved northbound train no. 195, occurred about 10:15 p.m. at the 16th Street crossing, according to Caltrain spokesman Dan Lieberman. About 80 people were onboard.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Lieberman said the train continued on to the San Francisco Station after hitting the vehicle…(more)

San Francisco Supes Approve Law Requiring EV Charging Stations In Parking Lots, Garages

cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation to require some city parking lots and garages to provide charging stations for electric vehicles.

According to the legislation, commercial parking lots and garages with more than 100 parking spaces would have to install electric vehicle charging stations for more than 10 percent of the spaces.The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the mayor’s office…(more)

At this time when PG&E is shutting off power we need to think a lot bigger than just installing EV charging stations to charge cars. We need to consider how to get more people off the grid by encouraging independent solar systems on rooftops and we need to protect them once they are installed. The EV charging stations may be powered with solar power and that power stored in car batteries may be used to charge phones and other mobile devices. We need to think a lot bigger about independent power systems.

A decade in the making, car-free Market Street faces final approval

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

From Main Street near the Embarcadero to Van Ness Boulevard, cars will not be allowed to run the length of Market.

Market Street is on the cusp of becoming car-free.

Three major milestones in October will result in the final city approval needed to break ground on the Better Market Street project, which will transform Market Street with wider sidewalks, pedestrian plazas, revitalize transit stops, and — perhaps most controversially — ban private vehicles from driving Market Street downtown.

Cars, banished, will make way for more free-flowing Muni service to every neighborhood in San Francisco…

One assumes there will be a way to deliver goods to the many businesses that are still attempting to survive on Market Street. Otherwise, it looks like the next phase will be massive new evictions and empty storefronts to make way for more office and housing on Market ?



48hills – excerpt with hearing schedules:

The Planning Commission Thursday/10 will take a big step toward banning private cars from Market Street – an idea that some transit advocates have been pushing for more than two decades.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez does a good job explaining the plan in the Ex. It would eliminate all private auto traffic from Van Ness to Steuart St. Only buses and taxis would be allowed. (The ban would include Uber and Lyft vehicles, which are not taxis.)

The idea is to make the city’s main street more pedestrian and bike friendly – and to make Muni move faster. Since much of SF’s public transportation infrastructure shares surface streets with cars, anything that gets cars out of the way helps Muni.

The commission will be asked to approve the final EIR on the project. It will got to the SFMTA Board Tuesday/15… (more)

Elderly And Low-Income Tenants Forced To Pay Landlord’s Mortgage

Who is Paul Rose speaking on behalf of? What does this story on Veritas have to do with his role with SFMTA?

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Elderly tenants living on a fixed income in San Francisco are paying the mortgage of the city’s largest landlord, and they say it’s getting to be too expensive.

Patrick Shannon and his wife Kathy live in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Two years ago, Veritas Investments bought their building and has been steadily raising the rent ever since.

Recently, Kathy suffered a stroke. Patrick says the stress of her health and the increased rent is getting to be too much.

“I wish they would have picked on me when I was in good fighting form, but they come at me when we’re a bit vulnerable,” Shannon said…

“When a property is purchased these go through historically,” said Veritas spokesperson Paul Rose…(more)

Mayor Breed signals support for SFMTA scooter policy

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :sfexaminer – excerpt

After transit officials announced this week that nearly 10,000 e-scooters may soon roll into San Francisco, the reaction from one elected official, in particular, was swift and damning.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin suggested the decision to allow so many electric-scooters into The City showed the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency needs reform to become “accountable” to San Franciscans. Previously San Francisco only permitted about 2,000 e-scooters for rent.

Now, in the face of that backlash, Mayor London Breed has signaled support for SFMTA’s recent decision…

Though she stated support for “more” e-scooters broadly, Breed stopped short of saying she supported 10,000 e-scooters specifically…

Additionally, there needs to be a “broader conversation” about a need to SFMTA’s governance in The City’s charter, Peskin said, that the e-scooter rollout symbolizes.

SFMTA needs to be more accountable to the electorate, Peskin said.…(more)

Citizens might want to weigh on on this issue. Everyone is talking for us. Let’s get our voices out there. Will this be the straw that breaks what remains of respect for the SFMTA in the public’s mind? Could this be the reason to vote no on the next tax or Muni bond? Dont’ be shy. Get your comments in to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor.

SF threatens to revoke Lyft’s e-bike permit

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco transit officials have threatened to pull Lyft’s permit to operate e-bikes in San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The City wants assurances Lyft has fully investigated a series of e-bike battery fires, which forced the billion-dollar ride-hailing company to yank 1,000 electric bikes from San Francisco streets in July, according to an email obtained by the Examiner…

Motivate and San Francisco entered into an exclusivity agreement for the company to provide bikeshare, but this is where the two entities split.

Lyft believes this exclusivity agreement grants them a monopoly over both pedaled bikes and e-assist bikes, essentially bicycles with an electric motor. The company also maintains the agreement applies to both rental bikes from curbside docks and “dockless” bikes that can be parked anywhere on a sidewalk, and then locked…(more)

What is the point of renting an a e-bike. There are plenty of Scoots. Take one of them. What is the difference. Or buy your own e-bike like we did. Why is there such a rush to fil the streets with tech toys when the streets are a mess and full of potholes regardelss of how you get around. Fix the potholes. Rent from a retail outfit that pays rent and doesn’t rely on government handouts.

Critics challenge new Bay Area housing calculus

By Richard Halstead : mercurynews – excerpt

Critics are raising questions about a new methodology used to project how much new housing will need to be built in the Bay Area by 2050.

At a public hearing Thursday in San Francisco, Susan Kirsch of Mill Valley, founder of the slow-growth group Livable California, was among about a dozen people concerned about the change in procedure used by the Association of Bay Area Governments. Kirsch said she fears it will result in higher estimates, and ultimately, denser housing.

“We know that this is leading towards having high regional housing needs assessment numbers,” Kirsch said, although ABAG staff disagreed…

Other critics of the methodology said that ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission are doing too little to address the imbalance between jobs and housing in the Bay Area… (more)

According to this article, two transportation agencies, ABAG and MTC, are addressing the jobs-housing imbalance in the Bay Area. Why are these appointee-staffed and managed regional agencies, set up to manage the regional traffic and transportation systems taking on housing and land use before finessing the job they were set up to do? MTC controls the money for the transportation projects, and there are billions of dollars sloshing around in those budgets. I guess I just answered my own question. It is all about the money. The elected local government officials don’t do much more than stamp approval on one project after another.

Why the Mission District Bus-Only Red Lanes Bug a Lot of People

sfpublicpress – excerpt (includes audio track from KSFP 102.5 FM)

The red bus-only lanes in the Mission District are controversial. They have been blamed for reducing parking spaces and foot traffic, impeding motorists and decreasing the number of customers patronizing neighborhood businesses. Mission Local reporter Abe Rodriguez talks about the cons, and pros — easing traffic congestion and lessening air pollution — of these transit lanes.

It’ll be interesting to see how this entire thing plays out, especially if you have a lot of traffic in the area.” — Abe Rodriguez, Mission Local reporter… (more)

Can you say redevelopment? Red Lanes are a great way to clear businesses out of a commercial street that you want to up zone. Nothing kills businesses like red lanes, especially if you add forced turns and complicated confusing lane changes. One trip up Mission Street is enough to make you stay away. Delivery services are probably charging extra to pay for the tickets they get stopping to unload.

Now the SFMTA wants to extend the Red Lanes to 16th Street to clear the way for dense development there. They have already cut local bus service on 16th Street to ensure a lot of free express buses for Chase Customers. If you are wondering what happened to your bus, you may find it flying up and down 16th Street with very few passengers onboard, but, hey, we need to support that Chase Center.

Taxi Takeover

I was sitting on this because I have better things to do than write about public transit complaints, but, I just heard from someone who called to let me know he is waiting, around 16th and Florida or Bryant I assume, for a bus to the Bay where one assumes there is a Chase Center or Ballpark event tonight. He is not driving since he got a ticket for parking longer than 45 minutes the other night. So much for “all parking is 4 hours or it is unlimited.” Don’t believe that one.

The story is that he was just passed up by am empty express bus whizzing past him at the bus stop. Not sure how he will handle the situation, but that is the case now. He may have to try to take a cab.

This brings us to our cab adventures last week. Those were more like Uber or Lyft rides since the drivers didn’t know how to drive without directions on a GPS phone app. Not sure what the directions were, but, the driver started by driving East instead of West along the regular route. He finally turned around and took a turn west on Duboce. He got us there, just took a circuitous route.

The ride back was a trip down a rabbit hole, or felt like it. Fortunately the driver knew the way because the GPS kept telling him to turn left at every turn, including the wrong way on Gough. I was laughing all the way in the back seat shaking my head in disbelief. It was really too much. GPS giving the driver the wrong instructions and two cab drivers in a single night that used GPS. Whatever happened to taxi drivers passing tests?

I felt like the infamous “drive by night” writer working undercover. I am now convinced the the cab business has contaminated by Uber and Lyft drivers. You can no longer trust the taxis to be reliable and honest either. They certainly are not passing any drivers tests. The Red Lanes and the no turns are also very confusing for these drivers.

If I were to suggest a solution to the traffic problem it would start with a new department containing people who know how to drive around the city and I would start by bringing back street parking for people who just need to get around without any drama or fanfare. The merry-go-round lifestyle is getting old fast.

I am pretty sure that more people would take the muni if the drivers stopped to pick them up.

Good night and good luck getting home tonight on whatever mode you can.

Transit planners want to make your life worse

By Joel Kotkin : dailyreeze – excerpt

In our system of government, the public sector is, well, supposed to serve the public. But increasingly the bureaucracies at the state and local level increasingly seek to tell the public how to live, even if the result is to make life worse.

This became glaringly obvious recently, when the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Phil Washington, reeling from data showing a steady drop of transit riders, decided that the only solution was to make driving worse.

“It’s too easy to drive in this city,” said Washington. “We want to reach the riders that left and get to the new ones as well. And part of that has to do with actually making driving harder.”

Now let’s consider what that means. L.A. County is hardly a paradise now for commuters — 84 percent of whom drive to work — while the Orange County and Riverside-San Bernardino areas, where transit dependence is even less marked, are no great shakes, either. All suffer among the longest average commutes of anywhere in the nation…(more)

Kotin’s article ties in rather well with my theory that the authorities are beginning their heads agains the wall of public opposition in eager anticipation of breaking it down, instead of accepting defeat, and changing direction. We need new priorities and politics to solve the problems of today. We don’t need more worn out tired and failed torments and torturous manipulations from government bureaucrats. When the bus does not arrive it is rather hard to take it. The solution is to put more buses in service, not to remove parking spaces and raise the ticket price for public transit systems. the solution is not to make deals with corporations intent on controlling the streets. More money for Muni is not working when the money is misspent. It will be difficult for the net round of bonds to pass when the pro transit people are not wholly supportive of Proposition D.