When Muni doesn’t stop at the grocery store

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says removing the L-Taraval line’s stop at 17th Avenue and Taraval Street will make trains run 25 to 30 seconds faster, but the decision could have far-reaching impacts on passengers.

San Franciscans are told constantly that we should get out of our cars and ride Muni instead. But a recent decision by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to remove a light-rail stop across from the Safeway on Taraval Street could force some who have been taking Muni to the store to drive there instead.

SFMTA staff want to remove stops to speed up the L-Taraval’s travel time as it heads downtown from the Sunset. According to SFMTA staff at the agency’s Dec. 5 meeting, removing the inbound stop at 17th Avenue and Taraval Street, across from the Safeway, will make the trains run 25 to 30 seconds faster….

At the December meeting, agency staff noted that they did not observe people boarding the L-Taraval with “heavy grocery loads that would make walking an additional two minutes challenging.” However, even a “light” grocery bag can be “challenging” to a senior or someone with a disability or a serious illness when they have to carry it for several blocks before they can board the train…(more)

This is an example of a ridiculous study done by amateurs. Did these folks check to see how “heavy” the loads were, or just assume they are not heavy? Heavy for a young person might be over 20 pounds and over 5 pound can be too heavy for some people. a gallon of water is heavy because it is dense weight.

My Reply to this comment: “It’s called, get off your butt and walk. Maybe we would not have so many fat people.”

Are you a bot? Or are you a human? If you are a human who is a workout critic, I hope you are really working those abs now so you can feel the burn when your knees go out due to the extra workouts you did in your youth as some of the elderly walking around with new hips and knees are dealing with now. Hip replacements are not due to overweight conditions, they happen in your 50’s and are genetic conditions. Knees are weakened by skiing and cycling and other sports that puts pressure of the knees. Dancers are the most at risk for foot and leg problems. So, go and work yourself into a frenzy on your sports toys while you can and don’t begrudge the elders that live with the results of their youthful exuberance because that is your future dude, or bot.


Muni fare hikes, service increases touted in 2017 budget

By sfexaminer – excerpt

SFMTA staff also proposed charging more for use of “express” lines, like the 38BX or 30X, which ferry workers downtown with fewer bus stops. Charging $1 more for express lines could garner $5 million annually for the agency…

This is the best so far. This one really makes me laugh. After forcing “faster” express lines on Muni riders by cutting out bus stops, in opposition to many, and spending a fortune to do it, SFMTA is now floating the idea of CHARGING YOU FOR USING THE SERVICE THEY FORCED ON YOU.! Say it isn’t so. Please don’t let them get away with this!

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now floating ideas for its $1 billion budget.

The agency must decide the fate of Muni lines, street engineering, bike lanes and more for 2017–18, all hinging on the budget priorities from the SFMTA Board of Directors.

On Tuesday afternoon, the board heard the first presentation from SFMTA staff on the budget. Proposals ranged from boosting bus and train service, to increasing fares and fees.

“We have very modest shortfalls on a billion-dollar budget,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said to the board.

Reiskin cited rising pension costs and a higher-than-usual contribution to Caltrain’s budget as reasons for an anticipated $13.6 million budget shortfall in 2017.

Much was on the table to correct that shortfall…

No action was taken on the budget, and the SFMTA is seeking public comment on its proposals. The board is expected to vote on budget priorities in April…(more)

Big changes coming to the busy lanes of S.F.’s Mission Street

By  Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Change is no stranger to the Mission District, and this time it’s the main drag — Mission Street — and the heavily ridden Muni lines that are set for transformation.

The bustling thoroughfare is gaining some red transit-only lanes, while losing a lane of traffic, in a bid to clear out many cars — especially double-parkers — and speed up buses that is reminiscent of transit-first efforts in other parts of the city, including Market Street downtown.

The shifts, which cover a 2½-mile stretch of Mission, begin Saturday, when Muni pares back what it considers an inefficient series of bus stops by eliminating 13 stops serving three bus lines — the 14-Mission, 14R-Mission Rapid and 49-Van Ness/Mission — and adding one.

Public-works crews will also break out paint and brushes and start adding red transit-only lanes between 11th and Randall streets… (more)

more millions of dollars poured into projects that bus riders and residents do not support and object to for vigorously. As one citizen pointed out, by eliminating bust stops the SFMTA is putting people at greater risk by forcing people to walk longer distances in dangerous neighborhoods. The are also making it more difficult for people who have health or physical problems. Not everyone is needs more exercise. Some people can barely get where they need to go as it is.


Number of ‘Google Bus Stops’ grow, even in the west, activists say

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Where the “Google buses” go, evictions follow.

And those private shuttles are expanding all across The City, with more than 20 new stop locations and over 900 more annual pickups made by shuttles so far in 2015, compared to last year, according to new data.

Those are the assertions of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and some advocates suing San Francisco and various tech companies. The goal of the suit is to compel an environmental review of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program, which legalized private commuter shuttle activity.

The data on the growing number of private commuter shuttles, nicknamed “Google buses” comes via public records requests of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency by activist Sue Vaughan.

Vaughan is one of the litigants in the lawsuit, along with local activist Sara Shortt and the local SEIU.

Mapping project activist Erin McElroy famously protested a Google Bus in 2013, along with groups like Heart of the City, demanding Google and other tech companies help stem evictions.

“We found that evictions were up 69 percent more in proximity to [shuttle] stops between 2011 and 2013,” McElroy said, adding the newer commuter shuttle stops would likely bring higher rents and evictions.

The mapping project also released an interactive map last week, showing new commuter shuttle stops in the west and south ends of San Francisco:

When the San Francisco Examiner asked SFMTA if they had studied the correlation between evictions and shuttle stops, they said questions should be referred to the Planning Department.

Gina Simi, a spokeswoman for the Planning Department, said “This isn’t something that would fall under Planning’s jurisdiction or analysis.”

As previously reported by the Examiner, public documents show the SFMTA is working hand-in-hand with the Planning Department to exempt The City from conducting environmental impact reports, which may include measuring community displacement effects…. (more)

The SFMTA is using our tax dollars to hire lobbyists in Sacramento, and possibly Washington to change the laws in favor of the tech buses. This is especially concerning because no other city has this problem that we know of.

Please let us know if there are other cities, particularly in California that have tech buses.

A gentrification report came out, or was discovered on twitter this week that shows a strong correlation between the transit-oriented development and gentrification that further proves the point many have been making for some time.

The goal is to build, not build a green or clean city. Just build, and any story, no matter how true, will do to get that next project approved and shift the demographic in San Francisco to one that can be easily controlled.

The question that arises out of this realization is: Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

Tech bus drivers forced to live in cars to make ends meet
Scott Peebles drives employees to their jobs at Apple, the wealthiest tech company in the world, yet he can’t afford a place to live. (so he lives in his van.)


Are Google Buses Already Legal? Yes and No

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

Disrupt the law, legalize later.

That’s the modus operandi of tech companies such as Airbnb and Uber, which innovate in ways old-fashioned laws often don’t address. It’s also seemingly the tactic used by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to justify its pilot program to legally allow corporate shuttles, like the infamous Google buses, to use Muni bus stops.

Except maybe Google bus illegality is more clear cut than initially thought. California’s state vehicle code right now specifically outlaws any bus from using public bus stops, save for school buses, according to a state lawmaker.

State Vehicle Code 22500(i) was explicitly called out by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who is seeking to change the law in favor of corporate shuttles. Allen introduced AB 61, which would change state vehicle code to allow local transit agencies (such as the SFMTA, which runs Muni) to grant permission for private entities to use municipal bus stops. The change would allow for even more Google bus-style shuttles to proliferate on city streets across the state.

But the bill’s existence raises an interesting question: Why seek to legalize something unless it is illegal? And if it’s illegal, then how are those corporate shuttles getting away with pulling over at Muni stops across San Francisco?… (more)

AB 61 – Assembly Member Travis Allen: is sponsoring a bill that many in San Francisco oppose. Read and decide for yourself: https://legiscan.com/CA/text/AB61/id/1055426

Send comments and letters to the committee members:

State reps on the Senate Transportation and Housing Committees: http://stran.senate.ca.gov/

State Assembly Committee on Transportation:

More links are here.



Muni’s Plans for Mission Street Could Impact Bus Stops, Parking and Traffic

Mission Street’s public transit is about to change – but not quickly. If you want to have a say, attend tonight’s meeting at the Women’s Building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or check out the website here and fill out an online survey.

In its Muni Forward program, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is thinking of making at least four changes on Mission between South Van Ness and Cesar Chavez Streets  that will be implemented in 2017. The biggest impact on riders would be a plan to reduce stops from nearly one every block to a stop every other block.

The proposed changes also include bus bulbs at 16th and 20th Streets,  right turn pockets, left turn restrictions,  and redesigning the street to make the traffic lanes wider than the existing nine feet.

The right turn pockets would remove three parking spaces, but would also prevent the backup that happens when a driver is trying to make a right turn, but can’t because of pedestrians crossing in front of them.  The current design, officials said, means that buses end up crossing the dividing yellow line to pass right-turning vehicles that get stuck.

At present there are some left turn restrictions, but the new proposal would limit left turns from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays for the entire stretch from South Van Ness to Cesar Chavez.

An official from the SFMTA presenting the plan to the Mission Merchant’s Association today said the space opened up by taking away bus stops could be used for parking spaces or bike corrals. No decisions have been made… (more)


Oh My, It’s ARBOR-GEDDON 2015 – The SFMTA Wants to Kill Hundreds of Healthy Street Trees to Slow Down Traffic on Masonic

sfcitizen – excerpt

SPEED UP MUNI BUSES? Nope. In fact, the Plan will slow down MUNI buses, like part of the Plan is already doing that already, at Ewing Terrace, for example. (The nearby City Target had some mad money so it gave a quarter million to the SFMTA to put in a new light at Ewing in order to gain support for The Plan from a woman who lives on The Terrace.) This plan will slow down MUNI. Simply. Yet somehow, it will “increase access” to transit, by giving people the right to sit longer at bus stops?

SPEED UP THE REST OF TRAFFIC ON MASONIC, THE GREAT CONNECTOR WHAT LINKS THE PARKSIDE, THE SUNSET, AND THE RICHMOND WITH THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTING BUSH PINE WITH LINCOLN, FULTON, OAK, FELL, TURK, BALBOA, AND GEARY? Oh, Hell no. Masonic will turn into a congested parking lot during the morning and evening drives, ala Oak Street, ala Octavia Boulevard. Buses will no longer pull over into stops – they’ll simply stop and block the slow lane, leaving the solitary remaining lane, the “fast” lane, to temporarily serve as the only way for motorized traffic to travel on Masonic.

INCREASE “ACCESS” TO MUNI? We’ll see. The SFMTA is claiming that rebuilt bus stops will be the big benefit to MUNI riders.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA? Oh no. In fact, the Plan will remove 100-something 22-hour-a-day parking spaces from Masonic. (For some this is a feature and not a detriment.)

BENEFIT CYCLISTS? Perhaps. This, see below, is what people do these days, for the most part – they ride their bikes on the wide wide sidewalks, going uphill, for the most part, as I’ve been doing for a couple decades. SFGov is free to make this practice legal on Masonic, but it chooses not to. In fact, SFGov is sometimes reluctant to make piecemeal changes, for safety or whatever, because SFGov shuns so-called “chop-shop” projects – SFGov prefers giant pork-barrel projects paid for by, among others, people living in North Dakota. And then, if residents started to think that Masonic was then “fixed,” through small changes, that would lessen the pressure for a big pork barrel project using money from the Feds and Sacramento.  Anywho, most of the coming changes to Masonic appear to favor bike riders, so yes, we’ll be getting separated lanes up and down Masonic… (more)

We are speechless. Comments to the Chronicle and letters to the Mayor might be most appropriate. Removing mature trees that need no watering and planting new ones that require a lot of water to establish themselves, is bad any time, but quite offensive during a drought.


Meter Maid Tips on Avoiding Parking Tickets in SF

by Max Cherney : thebolditalic – excerpt

When I lived in the Mission, I used to have a parking prayer: “I wish I may, I wish I might find a safe parking spot tonight.” That’s because parking on the street in San Francisco is the worst. Not only because it feels like there’s never street parking when you need it, but also because when you find that precious spot, there are a thousand different rules you have to follow — curbing your wheels, marathon street closures, street cleaning, residential time limits, Giants games street closures, meters, permits, double parking, loading zones. Oh my.

So, after I met an SFMTA Parking Control Officer randomly at a bar earlier this year, I was excited — in a full-on nerd way — that he agreed to get buzzed over a couple beers, and let me pick his brain about parking in San Francisco. He asked to remain anonymous for this story, but here is what we talked about…(more)

Parking in a bus stop is probably the riskiest thing you can do…
Common misunderstandings about Muni…
How to avoid a ticket if you’re unsure, especially at large events…
What tricks to get out of a ticket don’t work?…
Any tips for dealing with a ticket?…
On getting your car towed…
What about curbing your wheels?…
You must have a front license plate on your vehicle… (more)

The truth inside the Google bus lawsuit: gentrification hurts the environment

by Susie Cagle in Oakland : theguardian – excerpt

Stop blaming poor people for pollution. When Silicon Valley’s class war prices out city workers and forces them to the suburbs, they become more eco-evil than Google

A new lawsuit brought by San Francisco activists against the city places blame squarely on Silicon Valley’s now infamous private tech-employee shuttle buses, claiming that they not only spew air pollution across the city and endanger cyclists and pedestrians, but also that they directly displace residents from their homes. But this lawsuit – and the city’s bypassing of a review process, and the buses themselves – isn’t really about the environment. It’s about class, and it could foretell big changes for how California’s cities grow in the future…

San Francisco tries to scuttle environmental reports all the time, and activists constantly sue them for it, so, in a certain sense, this is business as usual. But if this group can make their case against the company shuttles, they might not just force a city drunk on the promise of technology to take stock of its values – they might impact development across the entire Golden State… (more)


Supervisors to vote on environmental appeal of commuter shuttle program

by sfexaminer – excerpt

Opponents to The City’s shuttle fee program say the commuter buses, which handle about 35,000 boardings on an average weekday, hurt the environment and drive up housing costs.

Dueling interests battling over the future of San Francisco will face off at City Hall on Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors will vote on an appeal of a commuter shuttle pilot program.

While the decision will be based on a California environmental law, the vote on the fee program has broader significance and political ramifications in the ongoing debate over whether the booming technology industry is hurting San Francisco’s character or is a welcomed economic engine deserving praise. Under the fee pilot, commuter buses using Muni stops would pay $1 per stop per day.

Judging by the arguments laid out in the appeal case and the efforts of both sides to turn out their supporters, the tensions that have been building up in The City over evictions and a climbing cost of living — which have already led to spirited community meetings, rallies and legislative efforts — will come to a head.

Tuesday’s vote was triggered when the largest city employee union, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, with the support of other groups like the League of Pissed-Off Voters, filed an appeal under the California Environmental Quality Act over the commuter shuttle program, which was approved in January by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Under the state law, projects are analyzed for their impacts on the environment. Those with no significant impact can be exempted from doing an environmental study, which was the case with the shuttle pilot program… (more)

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