SFMTA launches new ‘community response team,’ hires board member to lead it

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transit arm is hiring a director from its politically appointed board to lead a new community outreach team.

Joel Ramos, a seven-year member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, was hired near the end of May to lead the agency’s new Community Response Team, which is aimed at reaching out to neighbors about new stop signs and other small-scale street changes…

The SFMTA estimates there were around 575 such decisions in 2017, all subject to potential appeal with the Board of Supervisors.

Ramos’ departure from the SFMTA Board of Directors leaves a vacancy on the seven-member body, all of whom are appointed by the mayor. The body approves projects both great and small, from the $1.6 billion Central Subway project to the recent red painted transit-only lanes throughout The City. He recalled the approval for the Central Subway as a particularly heated moment in his board career…

Farrell, who will be replaced by a newly elected mayor by mid-July, said he will decline to appoint a new member to the SFMTA Board of Directors in his remaining few weeks in office.

“As mayor, I am focusing on appointments to boards and commissions that lack quorum, require key appointments or have ongoing searches for a director,” Farrell said in a statement.

That leaves the task of appointing a new SFMTA board member to the next mayor — whoever that may be… (more)

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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.

Could supes’ request to sign off on road closures put a chill on events?

By Tessa Love : bizjournals – excerpt

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants to sign off on all road closures for events in the city, and the Chamber of Commerce is not happy about it… (more)

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…
(more)

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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: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/sfpark-compaints/

 

Tweaks sought to Mission Street transit lanes

By Sara Gaiser : sfbay – excerpt

fter complaints from Mission District merchants and drivers, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials will hold a public meeting and seek public feedback on the impact of red transit-only lanes added to Mission Street earlier this year.

The public outreach, announced in conjunction with Supervisor David Campos, will include a community hearing to be held next week, merchant walks in the area and a survey of residents and visitors on Mission Street, SFMTA officials said.

Red transit-only lanes and other changes were installed on Mission Street between 14th and 30th streets earlier this year in an effort to speed up bus travel times through the busy transit corridor and increase pedestrian safety…

The project has successfully reduced travel times and increased reliability for buses, and appears to have reduced collisions from three or four per week to only one since late March. The agency has received positive feedback from Muni riders and neighborhood residents on the changes, SFMTA officials said.

However, drivers have complained that it is now difficult to access Mission Street, and some merchants have reported a decrease in sales because of reduced vehicle traffic.

Campos said in a statement that fulfilling The City’s Transit First policy and Vision Zero goal, which aims to eliminate pedestrian deaths in San Francisco by 2020, requires tradeoffs, but that the tradeoffs “must be considered thoughtfully”:

“While I wholeheartedly support the goal of improving Muni reliability and speed, I want to make sure that the project works for everyone and take into the account the unique aspects of the Mission.”…

The public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts at 2868 Mission St… (more)

 

Lawsuit against tech bus program fails in SF court

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

An environmental suit against San Francisco’s commuter shuttle pilot program, known commonly as “Google buses,” was thrown out Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court.

Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong ruled the suit “moot” after a half-hour hearing Thursday afternoon, dismissing the case because the original pilot program – which the suit was filed against – has ended.

The new program was “different enough” to render the original suit moot, defendant’s attorneys argued.

With his ruling, Wong sided with San Francisco and a range of defendants representing tech companies that run private shuttles from The City to Silicon Valley, including Apple, Google, and Genentech.

“There’s no reason to have [the suit] anymore because of the [new] commuter shuttle program,” said Audrey Pearson, a deputy city attorney.

The suit was filed by plaintiffs Coalition for Fair Legal and Environmental Transit — including the local SEIU 1021, housing advocate Sara Shortt and union organizer Alysabeth Alexander — in 2014, arguing the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency failed to study environmental impacts of the shuttles under the California Environmental Quality Act, including emissions from the shuttles.

They also argued the shuttles raise prices of nearby apartments – leading to displacement of residents… (more)

The new red transit-only lanes on Mission Street in San Francisco have neighbors seeing red.

By Amy Hollyfield: KGO – excerpt  (video)

http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=1290877

The plan to help speed up Muni isn’t even a month old yet and it may be facing major alterations already. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, officials are going to talk about making changes because of the response to the new lane.
It is meant for Muni buses and taxi cabs only… (more)

Mission merchants and residents have been loud and clear in their complaints and demands and City Hall is listening. Now is not the time to mess with the Mission. when evictions and killings are at an all time high. The number one concern is displacement and high rents.

Almost all the local TV stations are reporting this reversal so it must be true.

Surprise move on Masonic – last minute meeting notice

Tuesday, January 26, 6:30- PM
Masonic/Hayes,
John Adams Campus Room 139, SFMTA meeting to explain the Masonic plan to will begin construction of the Masonic bike lane project in mid-2016.  They will provide more information at this meeting. This meeting will be a good opportunity to find out information, question MTA and express your opinion about this $18 million project. Unfortunately, for some reason, the meeting notice does not appear on the MTA Masonic project webpage.

If you object to this project sign the Save Masonic petition and tell the supervisors and the candidates why you object and ask them what they plan to do to reign in the SFMTA. All comments go directly to the recipients.  Comments on the meeting are welcome here. Let us know if this is a Show and Tell or a serious discussion meeting.

RELATED:
North of Panhandle Meeting Stressed Data and Parking Parking Parking

sf.streetsblog – excerpt

…To add more parking, the city is considering blocks of nearby Turk, Central, Lyon and other streets for 90-degree, angled parking. An audience member brought up that she doesn’t like angled parking, because it’s hard to see oncoming cyclists. At that point, I chimed in. It occurred to me that if they’re re-configuring parking, why not add a cycle path between the curb and the parked cars, to created a simple protected bike lane? It would require blocks to make sure cars don’t pull up too far, but that’s cheap. Not exactly a ground breaking idea, so I thought.

Gajda was emphatic that there wasn’t room, and besides, they were building a bike lane on Masonic. I kept pointing out that building a raised bike lane on Masonic, as part of a relatively complex and expensive street improvement project, is not an argument for not building a simple parking-protected bike lane on another street. After all, the city is spending the money to reconfigure the parking regardless. Somewhere between 90 degree parking, which the city is considering, and parallel parking, there has to be an angle that will make enough room for a bike lane along the curb without blocking the car lane, even if that costs a handful of parking spots.

The neighbors would SFMTA put the bike lane on a side street and left Masonic along. That would make everyone a lot happier, especially the poor commuters who will not know what hit them unless we get the news out.

San Francisco Bay Bridge Drivers are Guinea Pigs

Editor comments

Caltrans Management appears to be using Bay Bridge drivers as test subjects for one of the worst bridge designs and executions in recent memory as they continue to deny the seriousness of the problems and refuse expert advise, coming from the Feds, State, and even their own engineers, on how to mitigate the damage already found.

Is there a deliberate cover-up on one of biggest blunders in Caltrans history? Why is there no high level investigation into any aspect of one of the most expensive and controversial engineering projects undertaken in California in recent memory? Why are they rushing to tear down the old bridge? Are they afraid it may withstand the next big quake and the new bridge will fail?  These questions and many more need to answered.

According to the following SFGate  article, there is a history of Caltrans ignoring expert warnings and concerns as the bridge was being built and tested. They appear to categorically refuse to follow any expert advice. Why are the people making the decision to ignore warnings that have proven accurate to date,  still employed and making those decisions?

What are the priorities of our local governments? Where is the alarm and oversight coming from within the ranks of the state and regional transportation authorities appointed by the state? Where are MTC and ABAG? Are they so involved in their own disputes that they have no time to protect the Bay Bridge? Are city governments so intent on growing populations that they have no time to protect the citizens?

Bay Bridge risks, solutions debated as leaks invade foundation

By Jaxon Van Derbeken: sfgate – excerpt

It wasn’t long after workers finished pouring concrete at the bottom of the new eastern Bay Bridge’s tower foundation that the cracks emerged.

Some of the fissures that began to show up in April 2007 were minor, but the two largest were anything but — they were more than 10 feet long and cut through the 20-inch-thick, steel-bar-reinforced concrete layer designed to block corrosive salt water from reaching the foundation frame and tower anchor bolts that provide stability in a major earthquake.

Caltrans made what turned out to be a crucial decision that spring: Rather than demolish the crack-riddled slab and start over, it approved the contractor’s plan to inject the fissures with industrial-grade glue.

Now the concrete repair has failed, and water is flowing into the foundation and filling the sleeves that hold the 25-foot-long rods anchoring the tower. Some of the 400-plus rods have developed rust and micro-cracks, and at least one rod has broken.

Confronted with the stubborn flooding, Caltrans and the three-official panel that oversees the eastern span project recently made another potentially fateful decision: They would study a way to deal with the rods, but not install equipment that could detect and even counter the threat of water-borne corrosion to the foundation itself, overriding the advice of federal highway officials and some of the state’s own engineering consultants.

Caltrans confident

Caltrans and the bridge’s design firm maintain that the foundation’s steel frame is robust enough to do its main job — provide stability in a major earthquake — even if it is beset by corrosion.

“We continue to have complete confidence” that if salt water keeps invading the foundation, the structure can “withstand a 1,500-year seismic event throughout the 150-year bridge design life,” Robert Dameron, an engineer with the design firm joint venture T.Y. Lin International/Moffatt and Nichol, wrote in a September memo to Caltrans officials.

But experts outside Caltrans say there is no way to be sure the foundation can retain its strength, given the unpredictability of saltwater corrosion’s effects inside steel-and-concrete structures.

“You don’t want to shrug it off,” said Jack Tinnea, a 35-year veteran bridge-corrosion consultant who has worked with government agencies and companies on marine projects from Alaska to Mexico. “I have no idea where (the water) is traveling, and neither do they.”

Running late

When the foundation concrete cracks emerged in 2007, Caltrans quickly realized that 22 of them were wider than the agency deemed acceptable.   But the bridge project was already behind schedule, and ordering the foundation rebuilt would have added months to the job.

Instead, Caltrans had the cracks filled with high-strength industrial glue, then lowered the structure into the bay.

By 2014, water started showing up in the sleeves that hold the 25-foot-long anchor rods. At first the source appeared to be rain, but later tests showed it was salt water seeping in through the foundation.

After convening a panel of experts, Caltrans officials downplayed the flooding danger to the foundation, which now sits atop 13 steel-and-concrete piles driven into the bay floor… (more)

San Francisco residents, businesses upset over proposed changes to Muni along Lombard St.

We are going to start demanding proof of service to the community of the notices they claim they are putting out. We need to see some proof that the notices were sent out. When they were sent out and signatures of the parties who posted the notices. No more “we posted notices on poles around the area and that suffices for public notice. We want legal
documentation to back up the claims.
RELATED:
Monday, August 31, 2015 – A new program has just been launched to make an iconic San Francisco street safer, in the wake of a recent shooting. (Protesting started a while ago.)