Outreach Launches This Spring to Finalize Details for Geary Rapid Upgrades

by Kate Elliott : sfmta  (includes graphics)\

We’re gearing up to start the first set of Geary transit upgrades later this year.

In the coming months, we will launch further outreach for the Geary Rapid Project, which focuses on early improvements on the stretch of the 38 Geary route between Market Street and Stanyan streets. In the meantime, we will finalize the design and construction of longer-term improvements for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project.

With the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) approved unanimously by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board in January, lead management of the project is transitioning from the SFCTA to the SFMTA, which will design and implement Geary improvements as two separate projects… (more)

Outreach is a joke, or  I should say an insult. Angry people gave up on talking to the SFMTA wall and filed a lawsuit to stop the excesses in this project. the case is making its way through the courts now and many are praying the ruling will stop this and other controversial projects.
Taxpayers revolted in the fall when asked for more money to show their displeasure in how the SFMTA is spending the money but they have hungry contractors to feed and more high-paid planning staff to hire so they could care less what we want.
SFMTA is removing stops and bus seats and constantly forcing the public to deal with their baggage and can’t figure out why ridership is slipping. They are especially short on the weekends and evenings. Why would anyone want to spend their time off on the Muni after putting up with it all week?

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Merchants, community organizations sue to block Geary BRT project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project has been in the works for more than a decade, but a newly filed lawsuit wants local courts to “slow down” the project.

An environmental lawsuit against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco County Transportation Authority project was filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, taking aim at the controversial project that is intended to improve public transit from the northwest side of The City to downtown.

The SFCTA declined to comment, and the SFMTA could not be reached for comment…

The suit was brought by San Franciscans for Sensible Transit, a nonprofit touted by Geary Boulevard merchant David Heller, a staunch opponent of Geary BRT.

“This action is brought to stop a grave error in judgment from taking form as a bus thruway [sic],” the claim states, “which destroys the quality of life and economic health of the Richmond District of San Francisco.”… (more)

There are a lot of people who oppose the Hybrid Alternative Geary BRT, the mess on Van Ness, and the Red Lanes on Mission. We need a break from constant changes on the streets and musical chairs with bus stops. We need a return to civility, but it is hard to be civil when you are stressed by having to deal with constant change. We need a moratorium on disruptions. This suit is a strike against maximum change and disruption, in favor of a cheaper, less damaging alternative. Who wants to spend an extra $300 million dollars and endure years of turmoil when you don’t have to?

Transportation Sustainability Program February 2016 Updates

Public letter from the SF Planning Department

Dear San Franciscans,

Exciting news!

On September 27, 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743 making changes to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Provisions of the bill affect the environmental review process in San Francisco, specifically how the Planning Department analyzes aesthetics, parking and automobile delay impacts.

State officials are proposing a new method of measurement regarding transportation analysis that recognizes the benefits of projects that reduce vehicular traffic. This guidance, last released in January 2016, calls for a measurement known as “vehicle miles traveled.” Vehicle miles traveled, also known as VMT, measures the amount and distance that a project might cause people to drive, including the number of passengers within a vehicle. The measurement aligns better with adopted state and City policies, it’s easier to calculate, and it will give us a better picture of the environmental effects of projects.

Given the inevitable change at the state level, the time is right for the City to make the change to this new measurement for environmental review. On March 3, 2016, a resolution will be in front of the Planning Commission that, if adopted as presented by staff, will remove automobile delay as a significant impact on the environment and replace it with a vehicle miles traveled threshold for all CEQA environmental determinations, including active projects, going forward.

Check out our updated Align page for more information.

More Updates : The Transportation Sustainability Fee has been approved!

The Transportation Sustainability Fee is projected to provide $1.2 billion in transportation improvements over 30 years, funding projects that help relieve traffic congestion, reduce crowding on buses and trains, and create safer streets. Specific improvements could include more Muni buses and trains; improving reliability on Muni’s busiest routes; more comfortable and faster regional transit; a better-connected bike network and safer sidewalks and intersections.

Proposed amendments to the fee program are currently under review at the Board of Supervisors. Be sure to visit our Invest page for updates.

Transportation Demand Management: SHIFT
On February 11, 2016: Planning Department staff will provide a brief overview on the Transportation Sustainability Program’s Shift component, the proposed Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Ordinance. TDM describes strategies or measures that incentivize sustainable ways of getting around. These types of travel choices are good for the environment, help manage congestion and improve the efficiency of the transportation network.  It’s about shifting people from driving alone in their cars to taking transit, biking or other efficient travel methods. Visit our Shift page for more information.

Upcoming Meetings:

Thursday, February 11, noon:
Noon – City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 400
Planning Commission Informational Hearing regarding the Transportation Sustainability Program, with a focus on feedback regarding SHIFT

Thursday, March 3, noon:
Noon – City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 400
Planning Commission Resolution regarding ALIGN (removal of automobile delay from environmental analysis)

If you have specific questions, please contact: TSP@sfgov.org
中文詢問請電: (415) 575-9010
Para información en Español llamar al: (415) 575-9010
Para sa impormasyon sa Tagalog tumawag sa: (415) 575-9121

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

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…”

Rob Anderson and Mary Miles Take Aim at the SFMTA’s Plans for Polk Street

This was the team that tied SFGov up in knots with an injunction for four long years.

FROM:
Mary Miles (SB #230395)
Attorney at Law
for Coalition for Adequate Review
San Francisco, CA 94102
TO:
Edward Reiskin, Director
Roberta Boomer, Board Secretary
and Members of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Transportation Agency
#1 South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
DATE: March 3, 2015
PUBLIC COMMENT, MTA BOARD MEETING OF MARCH 3, 2015, AGENDA ITEM 12 (“Polk Streetscape Project”)
This is Public Comment on Agenda Item 12, the “Polk Streetscape Project” (“Polk Project” or “the Project”), on the MTA Board’s March 3, 2015 Agenda. Under the Brown Act and CEQA, you are legally obligated to accept and consider this Comment and to place it in all public files on the Project. Therefore, please assure that this Comment has been distributed to all members of the MTA Board and placed in all applicable files on the Project.
The “categorical exemptions” invoked do not apply to the Project, and therefore you may not lawfully approve the Project or any part of it as proposed, since such approval will violate the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) (Pub. Res. Code §§21000 et seq.)
The Project proposes to reduce traffic and turning capacity on Polk and other Streets by eliminating existing parking lanes, reducing traffic lanes and installing obstructions to traffic flow and turning on this busy commercial corridor.
The unusual and highly inconvenient scheduling of this hearing before the MTA Board after 3:00 p.m., on a day with an extraordinarily long MTA Board Agenda shows the MTA Board’s contempt for the public and the significant impacts of the Project. The hearing should be continued to a date and time when the public can be heard without waiting hours for hearings on unrelated matters, and where the public’s comments will receive the Board’s full and serious attention. The hearing precludes public attendance by many people, including all those people who have to be at work. Combined with the short notice, that scheduling deprives the public of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the environmental review and administrative proceedings on the Project.
On January 15, 2015, the San Francisco Planning Department issued a “Certificate of Determination of Exemption from Environmental Review” (“Exemption”) claiming that the Project was categorically exempt under Classes 1, 2, and 4 of CEQA, invoking 14 Cal. Code Regs. [“Guidelines”] §§ 15301, 15302, and 15304. None of those categorical exemptions apply to this Project. Further, the significant cumulative impacts on traffic, transit, parking, loading, and air quality caused by the Van Ness BRT project one block away, and by the CPMC Project at Van Ness Avenue at Geary Boulevard, make the Polk Project not categorically exempt. (Guidelines §15300.2) Both of those Projects also present “unusual circumstances” precluding categorical exemption of the Polk Project.
1. The Polk Project Does Not Fit Within The Categorical Exemptions Invoked… (more)
This is not the only legal threat that we know of. We heard from other attorneys at the hearings. We will watch this closely.

8 Washington waterfront project loses again, this time in court

A planned luxury high-rise condominium project on San Francisco’s waterfront, already rebuffed by city voters, has taken another hit from a judge, who said city officials hadn’t properly studied the project’s likely impact on local traffic.

When city planners approved the 8 Washington development in 2012, it was designed to include 134 condo units, along with retail stores, and rise 12 stories at the foot of the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building. Those plans were shelved in November 2013 when San Francisco voters, by a nearly two-thirds majority, approved a measure limiting all waterfront construction to eight stories unless developers won an exemption at the ballot box.

The condo developer, Pacific Waterfront Partners, said it would submit a new eight-story plan but would continue to rely on the San Francisco Port Commission’s approval of the original project. But in a ruling made public Friday, Superior Court Judge James Robertson overturned the project approval decision and said it had relied on an environmental study that used outdated and incomplete traffic data.

In reviewing the project’s effect on traffic, Robertson said the city relied on conditions observed during rush hour on a single Wednesday afternoon in 2007. The study failed to consider other weekdays, when traffic and parking demand picked up during farmers’ markets, and also did not look at traffic increases during the next five years as businesses grew and parking sites dwindled.

The city also failed to study updated traffic information for nearby intersections off the Embarcadero, which include a quiet neighborhood with small streets, limited parking and a park at Sydney G. Walton Square, all of which would face more congestion from the condominium complex, Robertson said… (more)

Incomplete and outdated data were given as reasons for overthrowing the state’s lawsuit on 8 Washington project. This project has lost at the ballot box and in court. Will the developers finally allow it to die?

Community Efforts to Extend Mission Bay Loop Rejected

By Keith Burbank : potreroview – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has rejected community calls to extend the Mission Bay Loop (MBL) further south. The issue didn’t even appear on SFMTA’s December meeting agenda, though one Dogpatch resident encouraged the agency’s board to seriously consider the southern option during the public comment period. 

According to SFMTA, the loop will increase service levels to a growing Southside population and “is key to efficient integration of the T-Third Street line with service on the Central Subway.” While community advocates want the loop built, they prefer a different route than the one planned for 18th, 19th and Illinois streets.

The transit agency has contracted Mitchell Engineering to build the loop. Construction could begin as soon as this month. Under its agreement, the company has 240 days to complete the project.

Dogpatch resident Bill Schwartz wants SFMTA to build the loop at the Muni Metro East Facility (MME), located at Illinois and 25th streets. He and other advocates insist that current plans ignore residents of east and south Potrero Hill and Dogpatch, as well as merchants along the 22nd and Third Street business corridors. According to SFMTA, the costs of siting the loop at the MME would be three to four times the current project budget of $6.26 million, principally because such an extension would necessitate the purchase of three two-car trains, at a cost of roughly $20 million…

Potrero Boosters president J.R. Eppler believes that the transit agency is catering to Mission Bay business interests, rather than taking a comprehensive approach that serves Mission Bay as well as more southern neighborhoods. 

The Committee for Re-evaluation of the T-Line Loop, which is composed principally of Dogpatch residents, has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court alleging that SFMTA failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act when it signed the construction contract with Mitchell Engineering. The Committee argues that the project’s environmental review failed to account for the planned and expected changes to the area from a multitude of proposed developments, including the Warrior’s Arena. 

According to SFMTA’s Julie Kirschbaum, “the lawsuit does not immediately affect the construction.”…

According to advocates, light rail vehicles on a 25th Street loop would cause less traffic congestion after San Francisco Giant’s and Golden State Warriors’ games than the current loop design. Automobile drivers use Third and Illinois streets after Giant’s games to travel south to freeway entrances, they claim. They expect Warrior’s fans to do the same. “So traffic is a big deal for the whole neighborhood,” said Joel Bean, a Committee for Re-evaluation of the T-Line Loop member.

The SFMTA doesn’t plan to hold another community meeting on the project... (more)

The MTA Brain: Is there some kind of trigger that goes off in the MTA Brain that automatically responds “No” to any request from a member of the public for a change in Muni plans? Or is it only a good idea if it was their idea?

People in the Mission want less MTA attention and people in the Bay View want more. Why don’t they just do what the public wants instead of always doing the opposite?

People asked for more lights on the intersections to make pedestrians easier to see at night and we are told they don’t have the money for that. We will need another bond measure to get lights. What they have money for is taking out traffic lanes and parking to increase congestion. No money for the Bay View or street lights.

San Diego Sued for Putting in a Bike Lane

by : la.streetsblog – excerpt

A lawsuit filed last week in San Diego [PDF] claims that the city did an inadequate CEQA analysis for a recent road diet and new bike lane on a stretch of Fifth Avenue.

The city’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for a bike lane on that section of the street, and lists it as a priority project. A recently completed water main repair there, followed by repaving, gave the impetus to restripe it and, in the process, the city removed one lane of traffic and added a wide, buffered bike lane…

It’s depressingly reminiscent of the 2006 lawsuit against San Francisco’s bike plan, which caused the city to delay putting in any bike facilities, including bike racks, for four years while it completed an expensive Environmental Impact Report that came to the same conclusions the city had reached without the report: that bike facilities do not create a significant environmental impact.

This lawsuit makes claims similar to those in the San Francisco suit, saying that traffic congestion will worsen, and that vehicles will be diverted to other local streets.

Unfortunately, the state’s Office of Planning and Research has not yet completed its guidance on S.B. 743, under which vehicle congestion will be removed from the list of environmental impacts that need analysis.

The city is trying to do what the state mandated in its Complete Streets Act [PDF] that requires cities to “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.”… (more)

San Diego residents should come to SF to see the worst possible outcome of street diets and badly designed bike lanes. Driver down third street at night in the pouring rain and try to figure out what is happening to the street lanes as they weave in and out of the bike and light rail lanes, without warning. (What happened to merging traffic signs?) Then do yourself a favor and LEAVE THE STREETS ALONE if you want the safest solution.