Bikes win, Fire Department loses in Market Street redo

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Impossible to move in traffic like this, photo by Zrants

Score a big victory for the politically potent San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which won approval the other day for protected bike lanes along several blocks of upper Market Street — despite a Fire Department protest that the reconfiguration will interfere with ladder trucks in an emergency.

“The design materially compromises the safety of firefighters and local residents,” Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White warned in a letter to the Municipal Transportation Agency commission.

At issue is a nearly mile-long strip of Market between Octavia and Castro streets. Under the plan, the city will install protected bike lanes in both directions.

The redo includes a bike lane on two blocks near Octavia that will be located next to the curb and be buffered from traffic by a lane for parked cars.

And therein lies the rub — because, as Hayes-White tells us, the parking lane will be right in the spot where a ladder truck would normally pull up to an emergency scene…

Mayor Ed Lee himself signaled his support for the biking crowd last year when he issued a directive pledging support for protective bike lanes in the city, and calling for at least 13 miles of additional bike lanes and related infrastructure annually.

Safe for bikes, perhaps, but maybe less so for anyone needing help in an emergency… (more)

The self-centered attitude of people who treat the streets as their playground has gotten out of control and City Hall needs to put some breaks on these antics that are putting us all at risk.

How is this different from the leaning sinking tower?

Experts are warning that the public is at risk? Where has the media been on this story as it has been developing over the last few months or years? The first we heard about this was a few weeks ago, after the SFMTA Board had already decided to support the Bike Coalition, with their 300 letters.

How can the public weigh in when they are the last to know about these issues?
Where are the Supervisors who are supposed to protect us? Setting up a study to count the minutes it takes to get to an emergency after the fact is pointless and insulting to the Fire Department and the public it serves.

Where were the meetings held on this matter and where are the minutes of those meetings that were held leading up to this decision?

Where are the letters that were written and arguments made against this plan. How will these documents be protected so as not to disappear like the famous disappearing volumes of engineers reports on the tower?

Who will the Bicycle Coalition members who ignored the Fire Department’s warning blame, when the vehicle coming to their aid fails to get to them in time?

I cannot figure out how to comment on the source site, even though I am signed into it. Please post some comments there is you can figure it out.

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To Win the War on Cars, San Francisco Weaponizes Real Estate

by : wired – excerpt

I’ll start with the bad news, because I think you can take it: You can’t beat San Francisco traffic. As long as people want to live in this idyll by the bay, tech companies set up shop off Market Street, and bars offer expensive drinks made with fruit shrubs, cars and tech buses will choke its roads.

“Anecdotally, the only major cities unfettered by congestion are terribly declining Rust Belt ones,” says Marlon Boarnet, an economist and urban planning researcher with the University of Southern California. (Think Detroit, Buffalo, Youngstown.) “In our most thriving cities, we can’t make the congestion vanish because the cities are thriving.” San Francisco’s booming so hard, the only place in the US where you’ll find worse traffic is Los Angeles.

What San Francisco believes it can do, however, is improve life in the city by making it easier to get around without a car. This week, its Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance requiring developers to stock new residential or commercial projects with more alternative-transport perks than ever before. This is no all-out war on vehicles, but rather an attempt to cut down on the number and length of car trips the natives take each day.

And if it works, San Francisco’s data-driven approach could become a template for other American cities hoping to turn big talk about transportation innovation into big action, and big results…

You’ll have to be patient: This program won’t bear serious fruit for 10 to 20 years, given the pace of development. The first projects built under the new rubric won’t get off the ground for another 18 to 24 months. But San Francisco planners say they’re already getting calls about the ordinance from other cities interested in taking this approach for a spin. And for the family that gets access to an in-apartment storage spot for their car-share friendly car seats (two points!), the lifestyle changes will happen a lot sooner. Too bad they’ll still have to find ways to entertain toddlers while stuck in traffic… (more)

The SFMTA and City Hall have been spinning this wait for results for over 10 years and so far the traffic and congestion both on the streets and on the buses has gotten worse. Taking care of the citizens is an afterthought in the rush to turn San Francisco into a innovative world class city built by and for robots.

The public transit systems are already at capacity. The SFMTA and BART solution is to cram more bodies in to the buses and trains by removing the seats, making it harder for many who rely on public transit to take it.

They really want those old and infirm people to leave and make room for the young and wealthy they think are on the way. This is creating a class war in what used to be the most liberal city in America. San Francisco housing is for sale to the highest bidder.

Today they announced approval of the Traffic Demand Management (TDM), and the sheriff evicted a 100 year old woman from her home. She is being thrown out like trash onto the street. Older people generally don’t survive such a move for long so many see this as a death sentence. Expect a protest at City Hall.

Last time the SFMTA came begging for tax dollars the voters refused to cough it up. Some indication of disgust with that department and an awakening of the populace that no longer blindly trust SFMTA and City Hall.

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)

Twitter conference blocks off scores of parking spaces for no apparent reason

: sfgate – excerpt

There’s an oft-repeated claim these days that San Francisco is up for sale to the highest bidder. We’d say that seems to be the case when scores of parking spaces in the Civic Center are closed off for a Twitter conference, but payment to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is a mere $1,194.

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was the site Wednesday of a one-day conference called Flight, put on by Twitter for mobile developers. At the request of conference producer Another Planet Entertainment, the SFMTA gave the go-ahead for signs to be posted notifying drivers they’d be towed if they parked on Grove between Larkin and Polk streets or on Larkin between Grove and Hayes.

The spaces were reserved for set-up Tuesday, the conference Wednesday and clean-up Thursday, though almost all the parking spaces Thursday morning were empty or dotted with just a neon green cone. Just three small trucks were parked in front of the auditorium. Meanwhile, some people driving to City Hall circled for 30 minutes before finding a spot — far away.

Copies of the permits for temporary signage restricting the parking spaces show that Another Planet paid the standard rate,  which, it could be argued, is the first time in history any city fee has ever seemed low.

Eric Sainz, operations manager for Another Planet, said his company requested the number of spaces Twitter said it would need. He acknowledged they weren’t really needed all day Thursday, but the signs remained up.

Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, e-mailed, “We had all the proper permits for the spaces, just like any of the other large event-holders in that area, like Salesforce. In fact, we were required to keep many of those spaces open as part of the security protocols.”

Paul Rose, spokesman for the SFMTA said, “Based on the information presented, this was an appropriate plan.”… (more)

Looks like it is time to re-visit the protocols.  Hopefully Supervisors Cohen can include these reports into her legislative efforts to free up overly broad toe-zones for construction sites. The problem appears to lie in some regulatory code that was probably sneaked in while no one was looking. Let’s start by requesting a copy of the security protocols that require blocks of reserved parking when none is required.

Cutting off blocks of traffic always impacts Muni as well as everyone else. How far behind schedule did this event put Muni? And how many Muni riders missed out on their regular routes because of this?

How do you find out about the route changes if you don’t have a computer or smart phone to refer to? If SFMTA is going to send out notices that way, they should hand out phones to everyone who can’t afford them so they can check from home to see if their routes have changed.

Civility and Its Discontents: City Politics Finally Drops the Cordial Bullshit

: sfweekly – excerpt

“…As San Franciscans prepare for Burning Man, the majority of our supervisors prepare to be burned. Because City Hall’s facade of civility has gone up in smoke: Mayor Lee has pledged retribution against the six legislators who greenlit a Scott Wiener transit funding measure he despises.

Meanwhile, sources inform your humble narrator that the mayor’s office told affordable housing developers that success for a Jane Kim housing measure not to his liking would result in the evaporation of their city funding. Like hostages, these organizations were cajoled into pleading with Kim to back down.

And that happened.

Attempts to fund Muni in this city hark to a troop of clowns hauling stacks of custard pies down rickety stairways. It’s always a mess. And the goods never get delivered.

In 2007, erstwhile board President Aaron Peskin’s Proposition A purported to inject $32 million a year into Muni’s bereft coffers. But that didn’t happen: Instead, prevented by the electorate from simply taking the money now earmarked for Muni, city departments began pillaging the transit agency by charging Muni for tasks those departments were already legally obligated to provide. A voter-approved measure to bestow Muni with scores of millions of dollars actually eviscerated its finances to the tune of scores of millions of dollars. Muni continues to be treated as the city’s slush fund.

Your commute continues to suck… (more)

So, who do you trust to fix the Muni mess? Do you think throwing more money at the tiger will tame its appetite?

If you are ready for a change, fight back and tell  SF City Hall know that you have had ENUF !

Vote Yes on Proposition L.

MonkeyParking founder to arrive in San Francisco — and take on city hall

By Richard Byrne Reilly : venturebeat – excerpt

MonkeyParking founder Paolo Dobrowolny will soon board a flight from Rome to San Francisco to take on city hall.

When he lands at San Francisco International Airport, Dobrowolny, the baby-faced cofounder of the app whose controversy has engulfed gentrification-sensitive San Francisco, will begin to launch his counterattack against the ambitious city attorney Dennis Herrera, who deemed MonkeyParking illegal and threatened to sue if the firm doesn’t remove the iOS app from the App Store by July 20.

Dobrowolny has lawyered up and vows to fight… (more)