Faster track for transit-friendly housing

editorial board : sfchronicle – excerpt

BART’s oft-delayed trains look downright speedy next to the painful pace of housing development around its stations. Take the affordable-housing complex Casa Arabella, the second phase of which broke ground on a parking lot near Oakland’s Fruitvale Station last week. The occasion, as The Chronicle detailed, arrived nearly a quarter-century after plans for the area transit village took shape.

Housing around BART stations and other mass-transit hubs, as it turns out, isn’t so different from housing throughout California: disdained by surprisingly plentiful, powerful and vocal constituencies and therefore in all too short supply. And yet neighborhoods served by train stations are among the most logical places for high-density housing development that won’t compound traffic and pollution.

Promising new legislation by Assemblymen David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, seeks to address the relative scarcity of BART-accessible housing by requiring the system to adopt zoning standards that promote residential development and forcing cities to go along with them. The bill, AB2923, also would mandate that developers devote at least 20 percent of projects to affordable housing and, in a potentially counterproductive concession to organized labor, pay union-level wages… (more)

Chiu is aligning his political future with Wiener’s. They appear to be taking their marching orders from the YIMBYs and their developer backers instead of listening to their constituents.

Chiu’s AB2923 would force development on BART parking lots. Wiener’s SB 827 and its cousins, if passed, will impose state zoning on all of California’s local governments. Both are extremely unpopular with citizens around the state and neither of these bills have been vetted by their constituents, or the local governments they are being imposed upon. Cities and counties around the state are opposing SB 827.

After the last decade of government by developers, we have no less traffic, cheaper housing, or happier citizens. We have more workers with longer commute times, thousands of displaced people living on dangerous crime-ridden streets, and the highest cost of living in the world. Our local businesses are closing and the disruptive on-demand delivery industry is at a crisis point, as delivery services do not perform as promised. The effects of the entire SMART plan need to be evaluated before we continue down this path.

If you oppose dense stack and pack development, attacks on private vehicle ownership, and/or the state takeover of local jurisdictions, you may want to vote for some new representation in Sacramento when you get the chance. Stay tuned for details on how you can fight back.

Lawmakers introduce transit development bill for BART stations


SF’s effort to reduce car trips from new development advances

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

After a nearly two-year effort, San Francisco is poised to require developers to add a host of measures to reduce car trips from new developments.

The proposal, the Transportation Demand Management program, had stalled before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee last year with outstanding concerns from nonprofits or smaller developers over the impacts of the new requirement.

But on Monday, after a number of amendments, the legislation was approved by a unanimous vote from committee members Supervisors Malia Cohen, Aaron Peskin and Jeff Sheehy. The full board will vote on the proposal next week… (more)

We know that these amendments are supposed to be for new residents moving into the new developments, but we also know that once the SFMTA gets the right to do anything, especially if it makes it into the General Plan Amendments, they will push the restrictions further into other neighborhoods by doing “studies” that “prove” their plan works, whether or not it does. We have already seen the results of the General Plan being used to cut down any and all arguments. We don’t need any more general plan amendments.

As I also mentioned in a letter to the Board of Supervisors, we should not continue to add more surveillance and scanning devices to our streets, as the data they are gathering can be used against us. We already have lost too much personal privacy and we don’t need to lose any more.

How Uber Plans To Conquer The Suburbs

: buzzfeed – excerpt

With a pilot program in Summit, New Jersey, the ride-hail giant is looking to replace commuter parking lots.

Summit, New Jersey, a bedroom community to New York City, will begin subsidizing Uber rides for residents traveling to and from the local train station starting Monday — a move the town initiated to avoid building a new parking lot, a multimillion-dollar effort. For Uber, the partnership is another step in a series of strategic moves to extend its reach to the suburbs… (more)

L-Taraval changes head to SFMTA board

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Contentious changes along Muni’s L-Taraval route could get decided Tuesday.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday are expected to vote on a final proposal on the L-Taraval Rapid Project.

Residents and merchants have been at odds with transit officials on proposed improvements including adding boarding islands at some stops, and removal of other stops altogether…

The original proposal had called for boarding islands at all L-Taraval transit stops that did not have them, but transit officials comprised with businesses to instead pilot a program for six months that does not remove any parking on Taraval at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues.

Instead of transit boarding islands, a large sign will get placed to warn drivers that they must stop to allow for passengers to board and disembark trains, along with a painted white solid line in the traffic lane where vehicles must stop behind the train. Both treatments would be placed along Taraval to match the configuration of a two-car train.

Additionally, painted markings will also be present in the traffic lane to warn drivers ahead of time of transit stops ahead…

Documents from the transit agency said transit officials will work with merchants to develop an education campaign alongside working with the San Francisco Police Department on enforcement at these five transit stop locations during the evaluation of the pilot.

New flashing lights on trains when the doors open will also be part of the pilot, to bring more attention to drivers that they must stop.

The pilot changes will be installed in Fall 2016. If there is not at least a 90 percent compliance rate of drivers stopping where they are supposed to, or if there is a collision with a pedestrian and vehicle during the six-month evaluation, officials will pursue boarding islands at those five locations, SFMTA documents said…

Paula Katz, a resident in the Parkside neighborhood, started a petition to save all of the L-Taraval stops, which she has submitted to the transit agency. She said the removal of the transit stops would put a burden to riders especially for the elderly who shop at places like at Safeway on Taraval and 17th Avenue.

Early implementation

SFMTA documents show the transit agency wants to carry out specific positions of the project earlier than what was originally proposed.

Officials plant to start the transit-only lane early, with signage and painted symbols, but no red paint. Officials said they will monitor the effects of traffic flow and congestion for one year to due to concerns from the community that a loss of a travel lane would cause traffic congestion.

Painted clear zones will also be implemented early at locations where the transit agency are proposing boarding islands. Vehicles would shift to the right as if there were a boarding island present at 10 locations. Parking spots at those locations would no longer be available.

The public can still give public comment on the final proposal of the L-Taraval project at the SFMTA’s Board of Directors meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m. in room 400 of City Hall… (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:


Study shows bad roads, traffic jams are costing Bay Area drivers

by : abc7news – excerpt

Nonprofit transportation research group TRIP says 79 percent, or nearly 8 out of 10, major roads in San Jose can be classified as being in poor condition or worse. That’s costing drivers nearly $900 a year in added costs for things like fuel, repairs, depreciation and tire wear.

It all adds up – congestion delays, potholes and accidents. TRIP says Bay Area drivers are paying for it right out of their pockets. Statewide, it costs well over $53 billion yearly – nearly $2,500 per driver in San Jose…

And if commuters are hoping public transit is the best alternative, that’s not always the case.

“Our buses are traveling on the same infrastructure that everybody else is on. They’re in the same traffic as everyone else is in, and so it’s critical to try and fix some of the problems that we have with our transportation infrastructure,” VTA spokesperson Stacey Hendler Ross said…(more)

We heard there is an economic downturn. This waste of money is taking
a lot of discretionary income out of the consumers pockets so they are
spending less on everything else. The perfect storm of stagnant incomes
and higher housing costs and transportation costs is dragging down the
economy just as many predicted it would.

Is the solution to keep doing the same thing or change direction and
retreat? Hopefully the voters will make the right decision in November
and demand some changes at the local legal.

That would be YES on L in San Francisco. No more taxes until the transit agencies change their spending tactics. Why are transit agencies spending money on sidewalks and street treatments instead of fixing the streets and potholes?

Data versus merchants: Do shoppers drive or take Muni?

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

From Mission Street to Geary Boulevard — and even sleepy Taraval Street — parking spaces are disappearing, new turn restrictions for vehicles are coming to fruition and transit-only lanes are popping up on the concrete.

As pushback from local businesses and homeowners heats up on key transit corridors, a pattern is emerging within every project: Merchants are decrying available transit data as false.

As Gabriel Medina, policy manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency, put it: “If [Republican presidential candidate] Donald Trump did a survey himself about himself, would you trust the results?”

Merchants say their customers are mostly drivers. But transit planners contend their data shows most San Franciscans actually take public transit to these neighborhoods, and a new SFMTA survey of Mission Street-goers found most take the bus or train to shop… (more)

What difference does it make what percentage of shoppers arrive by car to access your shop if your business fails after the SFMTA creates a traffic and parking nightmare to discourages ANY of your customers from returning?

What percentage of your income would you like to give up? Would you like a 10, 20, or 30% cut in pay while your rent and taxes go up?

This kind of survey proves that the SFMTA “experts” know nothing about running a business and that explains why they are millions of dollars in debt even though they have one of the highest budgets in the country.

I have an idea. Why don’t we limit them to three projects at a time that they have the money in the budget for instead of allowing them to start dozens of projects that they are financing through “leveraging” programs?

Maybe then they will feel the pain they are inflicting on the merchants who don’t have unlimited funds to cover their losses.

If you want to reign in the SFMTA support the Charter Amendment:


SFMTA Plans to Tweak Mission Street Transit Changes

By : missionlocal – excerpt

San Francisco’s transit agency is proposing to roll back some of the traffic changes made along Mission Street when the city installed red bus-only lanes from 14th Street to Cortland Avenue.

The Municipal Transit Agency announced on Monday that its board would consider removal of two forced right turns at 22nd and 26th streets in order to give drivers four blocks of through traffic to make businesses along the corridor more accessible.

The agency will also allow taxis to turn left on 21st Street to give cab drivers a more direct route to their destinations, according to the announcement.

Finally, the agency will move a bus stop on Cortland Avenue to the northern end of its intersection with Mission Street to make it easier for passengers to board the bus.

One of the most controversial changes that came with the transit improvement projects, requiring a right turn at Cesar Chavez Street, is not being considered for removal. Concerns from the public that the forced turn needlessly separated the Mission from Bernal Heights, the agency said in its announcement, should be addressed by allowing right turns on 22nd and 26th streets.

But opponents of the project are not satisfied with the suggested changes and say they will continue to put pressure on the agency to make broader changes at an upcoming agency board meeting. One called the right turn at Cesar Chavez “disruptive,” and another told the Examiner that the turn was like a “wall” separating the two areas…

“SFMTA’s objective was to reduce cars on Mission Street, but does not actually reduce cars or traffic overall. The largest population of Mission transit riders (36%) use Mission buses like a jitney within the Mission,” Medina wrote. “But the red lanes have been tailored to rocket ‘choice riders’ over the Mission straight into downtown and reduce bus stops 50 percent.”

The SFMTA board hearing takes place on August 16…(more)

Mission Warriors will be out in force with concerned citizens intent on stopping the redlining into other neighborhoods. This project was the one that broke the camel’s back. The Supervisors, overwhelmed with complaints, placed a Charter Amendment on the ballot to allow voters an opportunity to vote to cut repeal the overreach of the SFMTA. Come to the meeting on Tuesday the 16th and let the Board hear your complaints.



Pedestrian group tries to save car-free Stockton Street proposal

By sfexaminer -excerpt

Politically powerful Chinatown community organizer Rose Pak put her foot down on the Lower Stockton Street Improvement Project, perhaps endangering the proposal to close part of Stockton Street to cars before the proposal ever reached a public agency for a vote.

Now some pedestrian-friendly groups are speaking out in hopes of keeping the effort alive.

And new conceptual drawings of the project obtained by the San Francisco Examiner show the project is beyond the point of stakeholder discussions, and may be in the beginning stages of planning.

“We’d love to see The City study it,” said Tom Radulovich, head of transportation advocacy group Livable City, adding the project shouldn’t be killed after one meeting with one stakeholder.

“There needs to be a public discussion,” he said, “not a closed door discussion.”…

Pak said she had a personal meeting with Reiskin to express Chinatown’s concerns over business impacts to the project. Making the walkway permanent would “make permanent all the problems we’ve experienced,” she wrote in a letter to Reiskin, adding it’s “unacceptable to our community.”…

While Livable City is moving full steam ahead to support the project, other advocacy groups like the San Francisco Transit Riders are taking a more hands-off approach.

Peter Straus, of San Francisco Transit Riders, said that while the group supports the walkway, “I don’t think it’s something where we’re going to jump the gun on Chinatown, we don’t want a battle here.”… (more)

Rose Pak is right to be concerned about the flow of traffic in this city. We have lost enough streets and it is time to put a stop to the anti-car SFMTA Board. Vote for the Charter Amendment and send some of them packing.