Mayor Lee strikes deal to allow Uber, Lyft vehicles to use SF curb space

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor Ed Lee and tech giants Uber and Lyft struck a deal this week to provide city curb space for ride-hail vehicles as part of a new pilot designed to ease San Francisco traffic, the San Francisco Examiner has learned…

In exchange for traffic data from Uber and Lyft that The City will use to combat congestion, Lee agreed to a pilot program to convert some parking spaces — in a yet-to-be determined commercial corridor — into painted curbs that could be legally used by ride-hail drivers…

The deal struck by Lee, Uber and Lyft comes after months of negotiations behind the scenes(more)

This is the biggest most blatant public “behind the scenes” property grab yet by City Hall. Our mayor is privatizing public property, taking it from the public commons, and handing it over to private corporations. In this case the corporate commuters City Hall has decided deserve to park are the worst, most dangerous drivers in the city. How is this making us safer?

Wonder how 60 Minutes would like to run this story as a followup to the sinking tilting Millennium Tower failed cheap foundation experiment. The Ford Gobikes and tech bus abuses were already enraging people. The excuse for the decision to take more public curb space for the use of a preferred corporate entity is a need for data? I suspect there are a lot of citizens who will giving you a lot of data you don’t want to hear real soon.

This just in. Aaron Peskin is threatening to put this on the ballot if it goes through, according to KPIX. Stay tuned.

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Bay Area lawmaker introduces legislation to end regional transportation agencies

By Mark Prado : mercurynews – excerpt

Marin Assemblyman Marc Levine has introduced a bill to eliminate a powerful regional commission, saying it’s not accountable to the public and has been largely ineffective in improving traffic.

Levine, D-San Rafael, this week introduced legislation that would do away with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and its sister agency, the Bay Area Toll Authority. The commission is the Bay Area’s transportation planning agency, while the authority oversees seven state-run bridges.
In their place a new Bay Area Transportation Commission would be created. Unlike the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — created by the state Legislature in 1970 — whose members are appointed, the new commission would be elected, under Levine’s bill.
Levine said the change would benefit commuters in Marin and around the Bay Area. “Our traffic is some of the worst in the nation. We need a transportation commission that will put their energies into eliminating traffic gridlock,” Levine said in a statement. “The new Bay Area Transportation Commission will be responsive and accountable to our communities’ needs rather than operate as an appointed board. … This commission will provide the transparency and accountability that Bay Area commuters need and deserve.”
 MTC response Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said the agency’s board will likely take up Levine’s bill at its meeting next month… (more)
This could be the year of voter rebellion. Look at Washington and Sacramento is starting to get the message that the voters have had enough disfunction in government. Trust is at an all-time low. Let’s get some letter going out to our representatives.
Comments at the source and here are welcome.

Do More Tech Shuttle Stops Lead Directly To Higher Rents And More Evictions?

BY JAY BARMANN : sfist – excerpt

Tensions over tech shuttles live on, surprisingly or unsurprisingly depending on where you stand on the “San Francisco has been destroyed” vs. “all change is good change” spectrum. And now anti-shuttle and anti-eviction activists are continuing their effort to litigate the issue as the reach of tech shuttle buses expands citywide. As the Examiner reports, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and several other litigants including activist Sara Shortt are now suing the city — as well as several tech companies who sponsor the private shuttles for their employees — in order to get a full environmental impact study to happen looking into the local impacts of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.

Over a year ago the same groups and activists filed suit against the city declaring that the entire program was illegal, and it appears that suit has been abandoned in favor of this one.

The Board of Supervisors approved the 18-month pilot program in January of 2014, and now the groups appear to be pushing for an in-depth review of the program, as it continues to expand beyond the pilot stage…

Meanwhile, the drivers of this army of shuttle buses continue to lead sub-par existences, andthe Chronicle just profiled one 53-year-old driver, Scott Peebles, who is currently homeless and living out of his car. He’s one of several drivers who have been part of a Chronicle investigation as a group of 180 of them, all employed by Compass Transportation and serving a variety of tech companies, continue to negotiate for higher wages with the help of the Teamsters(more)

If you don’t like gentrification let them know. Sign the petition: SF Needs a Better Plan: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/sf-actions/a-better-plan/

Lawsuit says new L.A. streets plan creates more air pollution, not less

S.F. Supervisor Scott Wiener Unveils His Subway Dream

By  : kqed – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener is calling for the city to always have at least one subway under construction, an idea that would lead to billions of dollars in transit spending and, most likely, opposition from many residents and merchants.

Prompted by the region’s booming population and chronic traffic congestion, Wiener is introducing legislation Tuesday that would require the city to create a long-term policy for new underground train projects…

The legislation would create a Subway Master Plan that could include extending subway service to the western parts of San Francisco, currently served by above-ground light rail and bus lines….

“It’s a matter of funding and prioritization,” Rose wrote in an email. “We do support stronger transit especially where growth supports.”… (more)

RELATED:
San Francisco needs to keep those new subways coming
A couple of years ago, I was with my friend Adam when he made this simple declaration — “San Francisco should always have a subway under construction.” My first reaction was to think of every objection to the concept, but I quickly realized that the statement was both insightful and correct… Scott Wiener

At 17th and Mission, a “gentrification bomb”

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Planning Commission sets terrible precedent, allows tech office space to displace artists in the Mission

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 – There was a lot of discussion and obfuscation around a plan to retrofit and restructure the space of a large building at 17th and Mission, but the bottom line was clear:

The owners of the building, where Thrift Town occupies the lower floor and artist studios dominate the upper stories, want to replace art space with tech offices.

It would be the first time that the city allowed tech offices to move into space in the Mission where that type of office use has always been illegal. And it would (be) business space and an influx of high-rent office space that would radically transform the business mix in that part of town.

The same issues are coming up in Chinatown, and if the city decides that tech offices, which typically pay much higher rent than many other traditional uses, can move into neighborhood commercial districts, no part of the city will be safe.

As one person put it, “what happens if you fill the building with people who make more than $100,000 a year? You will be dropping a gentrification bomb. People in the neighborhood are scared as hell.”…

Commissioner Dennis Richards asked Rick Holman the central question: Didn’t you know when you bought the place that it had all these problems, that it needed seismic work?

Holman said that he didn’t know all the problems. He said that if he had known how problematic the place was, he wouldn’t have bought it. But he said he’s not going to sue the owner who sold it to him “for what happened before.”… (more)

Sort of shocking and also terrifying at the same time. Being in the room where these things are happening is an experience in itself. If there was any doubt as to why we need the moratorium in the Mission, there is none now.

San Francisco is no longer a destination for artists because the can’t afford to be here. The only hope for us is to pass Prop I and “save the Mission” and then save the rest of the city that is left, by re-writing the laws to give them more teeth. We must turn this gentrification thing around.

Activists prod Mayor Lee over Caltrain extension

By Hannah Albarazi : sfbay – excerpt

Environmentalists and transit enthusiasts are urging San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to prioritize a ballot measure that passed in 1999 that required an extension of the Caltrain line to the Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco.

The passage of the 1999 ballot measure, known then as Proposition H, required that Caltrain be extended to the Transbay Terminal and prohibited the city from taking any actions that would conflict with extension.

Alex Doniach, a spokeswoman for the Mission Bay Alliance, a non-profit group that wants to see the Caltrain downtown extension brought to fruition, and also stands unwaveringly against the proposed Golden State Warriors stadium, said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee should honor the original Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) agreement.

Transit enthusiasts from groups such as the Train Riders Association of California, Bay Rail Alliance, Friends of Caltrain, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, and the Coalition of San Francisco neighbors, among others, gathered outside City Hall today to urge the mayor not to postpone the DTX project any longer..

The 1999 measure, however, did not set a strict timeline for construction of the project, resulting in years of postponement by elected officials….

A public hearing by the city’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure Commission is scheduled for 1 p.m. on June 30 in Room 416 in City Hall at which time comments from members of the public regarding the Draft SEIR on the construction of the arena will be heard… (more)

Here lies one of the problems with using the ballot to govern. So many details must go into a piece of legislation to make it enforceable, and , as we are finding out, enforcement is largely lacking unless the administration makes it happen.

So, be careful who you put in office in administrative posts.

And, as Scoop Nisker said, “If you don’t like the news…”

SF plans nearly $40M in transit improvements ahead of proposed Warriors arena in Mission Bay

By :

San Francisco is banking on nearly $40 million in transit improvements to help usher in a proposed Warriors arena in Mission Bay, a plan The City is confident will mitigate the impacts of adding thousands of visitors to the neighborhood at a given time.

But opponents who argue the arena will create detrimental traffic congestion and permanently scar the neighborhood are nonetheless ready to take their battle to the courtroom or potentially the ballot box to prevent construction of the waterfront arena.

The draft environmental impact review for the arena, released Friday by city planners, outlines the potential results of adding an 18,064-seat arena and office, retail, parking and open space on about 11 acres of waterfront land at Third and 16th streets, across from UC San Francisco’s new hospitals and research centers.

While traffic and transportation have been among the greatest concerns from those opposed to the arena, as well as impacts on the adjacent hospitals that opened in February, a number of major efforts to the tune of nearly $40 million will reportedly curb congestion on the roads…

According to the EIR, the event center would be used for some 225 events per year, with events ranging in capacity from 3,000 to 18,500 patrons.

Transportation improvements include purchasing new Muni light rail vehicles, allowing crossover tracks for light rail vehicles to pass on the T-Third line, and extending the adjacent Muni platform near the arena.

Installing changeable message signs and cameras for real time traffic management, as well as other capital investments, are also in the works, said Peter Albert, urban planning initiatives manager for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The City is also confident there will be no significant impacts to emergency vehicles at UCSF children’s, women’s or cancer hospitals.

However, the Mission Bay Alliance group led by former UCSF officials vehemently against building the arena in Mission Bay, isn’t convinced such efforts will make a difference.

The alliance is not affiliated with UCSF, which supports the project. “The streets can’t handle that level of traffic,” said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the alliance.

The alliance has hired a team of experienced land-use attorneys who are combing the EIR to determine whether it complies with the California Environmental Quality Act that ensures all aspects of the environmental impact are studied and properly managed.

There are also talks of putting a measure on the ballot next spring to stop the arena… (more)

How dumb do we look? Does anyone think the SFMTA can spend $40 million dollars wisely to do anything? Anyone who thinks that adding a few buses and moving them around and adding more traffic signals will move another 3,000 to 18,500 people efficiently on constricted roads and sidewalks, is nuts. They can’t even move people along the streets now and they plant to take out more traffic lanes?

Problems with public meetings that may be addressed soon in a ballot initiative.

Report on the April 21st MTA Commission Meeting:

I attended the MTA Commission meeting on the 21st to object to the Consent calendar containing removal from public parking, all the car rental parking spots around the city. (On the attached link to the agenda is the list of the particular spots. )

http://www.sfmta.com/calendar/meetings/board-directors-meeting-april-21-2015
No description of how many parking spots are being lost this way. No mitigation measures. No environmental impact consideration. Bargain pricing of a pubic asset. This is clearly an example of MTA following in the railroad tracks of Il Duce. Since when has our democracy in SF taken such a severe hit to the groin?

I also admonished the chairman for conducting a meeting without being able to be heard by the audience. When I first asked him to speak into the microphone, he looked up at me, and then went right back to mumbling whatever he said. After I denounced his contempt for the folks who came to participate, he went, again, right back to speaking without being heard. It is not a public meeting if the conversation of all the speakers cannot be heard.

Back to the car rental spots, this item will be heard on its own in some future meeting (not indicated at the time). Can you please get the word out to your mailing list that will be their chance to  argue against this public give-away to private profit companies.The more people the better, and the objective should be to take as much of the commission’s time as possible. Let them feel the pain of our outrage, since I’m sure they’ll approve the matter regardless of what the people have to say. After all, it is the MO of the MTA. “Muni: We don’t give a shit what YOU think”

– Ted

A new agenda for the supes and new buses for the streets

By Heather Knight and Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Anybody who’s sat through a Board of Supervisors meeting knows the torture that is waiting for the one item out of dozens you care about.

First, the 11 supervisors debate the minutiae of all the items you don’t care about. Then, they each offer commendations for the best restaurant, best small business or best (fill in the blank) in their district. Then, they talk about legislation they’re introducing and offer their condolences for residents in their district who have died in the past week.

Then, dozens of people speak at public comment. There’s the Jesus devotee who thinks the world is about to end, Walter Paulson, who offers a new song every week (we love you, Walter!), and multiple people with eccentric headgear including, but not limited to, tinfoil hats.

Then, the supervisors get to your item, by which point your parking meter has long expired, your babysitter is pulling her hair out and you need multiple shots of espresso to regain consciousness.

Democracy. Isn’t it great?…

David Lee, a political science instructor at San Francisco State University, is leading the effort that would require all city public meetings to be streamed live online, allow people to offer public comment remotely and have their testimony appear on monitors at the meeting, and create a “time certain” agenda designation. That means any time 50 members of the public petition for a specific time for their agenda item to be discussed, it will — wait for it — be discussed at the appointed time…  (more)

Ah, that new-bus smell: Another crop of shiny new Muni buses are coming soon to a street near you, though that new bus smell probably won’t last long.

The first of the new buses — all 60-foot buses that bend in the middle — were unveiled Wednesday at a city Earth Day celebration at Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin. Sixty of them are electric trolley buses powered by overhead wires, while an additional 61 are diesel-electric hybrid buses that burn biodiesel… (more)