Supervisor moves to kick private shuttles out of red transit lanes

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfxaminer – excerpt

It’s time for private transit to get out of Muni’s way.

That’s the message from Supervisor Sandra Fewer, who on Monday announced her intention to legally bar private transit vehicles, like tech-industry commuter shuttles, from red transit-only lanes meant to speed public buses.

Fewer’s announcement that she would ask the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to help her craft legislation limiting private access to the transit lanes came at the tail-end of a City Hall hearing where San Franciscans from all corners of The City said they were seeing red over the city policy allowing it.

“The goal should be that public transit is the main mode of the people in San Francisco,” Fewer told the public Tuesday…

However controversy arose in August when SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council member Sue Vaughan discovered the agency planned to allow private transit vehicles use of the soon-to-come Geary Rapid Project red carpet lanes. The discovery has drawn protests from activists and organizations across The City.

The South of Market Community Action Network, United to Save the Mission, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, Inner Sunset Action Community, Senior Disability Action, San Francisco Transit Riders and other advocacy groups spoke out Monday against private use of public Muni-only lanes… (more)

Very robust public comments and discussions following the presentation by SFMTA. We look forward to moving ahead to fix some of the many failures of the Red Lanes through a series of legislative improvements.

 

Uber, Lyft main reason for increased traffic congestion in SF, study finds

by Teresa Hammerl : hoodline – excerpt (includes map)

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft accounted for approximately 50 percent of the rise in vehicle congestion in the city between 2010 and 2016, according to a report released by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) earlier today.

The study’s indicators for congestion are vehicle hours of delay, vehicle miles traveled, as well as average speeds. “Understanding the factors of congestion is key to our ability to address the problem effectively and maintain the accessibility of our downtown core,” said SFCTA executive director Tilly Chang in a statement… (more)

The map shows an abundance of Uber/Lyfts in the downtown area where congestion is the worst. Is this a coincidence or evidence that ride hails are congesting the area?

SFMTA: Residents prefer ride-hailing companies to buses and bikes

by curbed – excerpt

Public transit, bike, and pedestrian travel up in yearly survey, but not by much

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) presented the results of its fifth annual transit survey, which found that fewer San Franciscans are getting around via their own cars. But many residents have eschewed public transit or bikes in favor of the newfangled car services.

SFMTA began conducting the annual Transportation Decision Survey in 2013 to measure efforts to curb the use of private cars.

While private car use has declined almost every year—it’s now a minority option for daily commuters—that doesn’t necessarily add up to fewer cars on the road…(more)

This leads one to wonder if we are not better served by restoring parking for residents to avoid the hoards of Ubers and Lyfts commuting into the city to drive us around.

$3 toll hike plan has Bay Area politicos dueling for dollars

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Traffic streaming across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco on a weekend evening. photo by zrants.

East Bay officials are threatening to oppose a regional ballot measure calling for a toll increase of as much as $3 on area bridges unless they get a bigger cut of the pie — and that’s triggered some last-minute political wheeling and dealing to get everyone on board with the transportation initiative.

“We are talking about an extra $700 a year,” Orinda Vice Mayor Amy Worth said of her suburban constituents.“These are working people who use the bridges to get to their jobs.”

Worth, who as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has a say in how transit dollars are allocated, has some prominent company in questioning how the proposed ballot measure is being put together. State Sen. Steve Glazer, an Orinda Democrat, and GOP Assemblywoman Catharine Baker of San Ramon say BART in particular needs to be well policed if it’s going to be trusted with millions of additional toll dollars.

“The current proposal falls well short,” said Glazer, who has been on a one-man crusade against BART ever since a pair of 2013 strikes at the transit agency made life miserable for riders in Orinda and everywhere else in the East Bay…

Beall said lawmakers have about two weeks to reach a deal if the measure is to make the ballot next year. Whatever eventually lands there probably has a decent chance of passing, regardless of whether the East Bay officials endorse it… (more)

Business interests hold first-of-its-kind meeting with SF to stop traffic congestion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The denizens of downtown have had it: Traffic congestion has got to go.
To that end, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce pitched to San Francisco a first-of-its-kind meeting with downtown interests and transportation planners in the hopes of tackling congestion in concert.

The idea was sparked by similar meetings convened by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to curb congestion during last year’s Super Bowl City, which proved to be a positive collaboration, said Dee Dee Workman, vice president of public policy at the chamber…

But more than just a community kvetch, the meeting is a call to action for The City. Workman said congestion doesn’t merely stymie commuters, businesses and residents in the Financial District, South of Market and Market Street areas, but ripples across neighborhoods.

“There’s gridlock all the time,” said Workman. “We want to talk to the [SF]MTA about what’s happening to the streets of San Francisco and how they’re approaching public transportation planning.”…(more)

SFMTA has NOT been responsive to anyone at any time in recent memory to anything other than requests for meetings. They have plenty of employees to send to meetings on the taxpayers’ dime, to waste the the taxpayers’ time. They like nothing better than wasting our time at meetings explaining their plans to ignore our requests.

There is a reason public transportation ridership is falling on BART and Muni. They don’t listen to people who ride when they tell them what they want. Riders want to keep their service and their seats. They don’t want to walk further, wait for transfers and stand on the bus. What is SFMTA doing about that? Ignoring them and doing the opposite of what they want.

Demolition of one-mile stretch of I-280 part of proposal to link Mission Bay with surrounding area

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mission Bay is San Francisco’s neighborhood of the future.

That’s Mayor Ed Lee’s publicly stated vision. And in public documents, his office said a key to that future may be razing Interstate Highway 280 — now the source of much public ire.

Mission Bay has become home to gleaming new UC San Francisco hospitals, and is the potential new home to what some call the mayor’s “legacy project” — the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center. The Mission Rock and Pier 70 housing developments could also soon considerably boost the neighborhood’s population.

And one day in the far-flung future, perhaps decades from now, Mission Bay may become the conduit for a second transbay tube that would connect BART and — for the first time — newly electrified Caltrain service to the East Bay.

But the future comes at a cost…

Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning at the Planning Department, presented the plan Tuesday night to nearly 150 neighbors, who packed an auditorium at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center. The project is still in early phases — preliminary designs may not arrive for at least a year.

Still, opposition is already brewing over the possibility of tearing down a portion of I-280…

Future Transit Connections

Boos and hisses rang through the rec center as Kelley discussed the proposal to raze I-280.

Details were sparse about the proposal, however. Kelley said the concepts were “mix and match,” and did not depend on each other to come to fruition.

Though many defended I-280 as vital for drivers, it was recently listed as one of the Bay Area’s most congested freeways by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission…

The railyard alternatives plan also explores tunneling from the Transbay Transit Center to Mission Bay, which later could serve as the beginning of a new transbay tube under the bay to Alameda.

Additionally, it looks potential alternatives to possibly run Caltrain along 3rd Street for a combined Caltrain/Muni station, as part of the downtown extension of the Transbay Transit Center.

Teardown Opposition Grows

Removing a portion of I-280 was the most controversial part of this plan prior to the meeting, and that sentiment intensified Tuesday night.

Surrounded by angry neighbors at the rec center, former Mayor Art Agnos — no stranger to fighting development, as evidenced by the recent “No Wall on the Waterfront” campaign — told the San Francisco Examiner he will personally combat any effort to tear down I-280.

In 2014, Agnos and now-Supervisor Aaron Peskin blocked a luxury housing development along the Embarcadero, and passed a ballot measure calling for voter approval of all height-limit increases along the waterfront.

Agnos promised a similar fight against tearing down I-280.

“I’m going to make the [No Wall on the Waterfront] fight look like a minor league skirmish,” he said…(more)

The truth about High Speed Rail

There have no money. They are $440 million dollars short the money they need to finish electrifying  the train. (phase one.) They need private funds. Public money will not be sufficient to build the high speed rail. They are trying to convince people to give up their cars to create demand for public transit so they can convince investors that there are profits to be made by investing in public transit systems such as high speed rail. That is why they are trying to increase the population. They will need a lot more people to pay for the transit systems they want to build.

RELATED:
Proponents in Washington promote California’s bullet train

Proposed CEQA changes could push development to disincentivize car use AirTalk | December 4th, 2014, 10:58am

airtalk : scpr – excerpt

A change to the formula used under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) could have a large impact on development throughout the state. Currently, the CEQA process views projects as having a negative environmental impact if they slow traffic. The proposed changes would change the perspective from one focusing on stemming traffic to one with an eye towards decreasing the amount of cars on the road and the temporal length of transportation.

If the proposed changes become final, the slight difference in priorities may change the way developers treat the city and suburbs. Whereas previous attempts under the act expanded car lanes and synchronized streetlights in order to lessen traffic, new attempts would discourage suburban sprawl and instead incentivize options for alternative transport. Those who bike and use mass transit may benefit from the proposed regulatory process, and supporters of green development are supporting the changes with the belief that it will lower greenhouse emissions. Yet for drivers who already have long commutes, driving through the city could become more onerous.

How should the state of California regulate development under CEQA? Do you think your commute could be affected if the development process changes?.. (more)

Thank you for expressing so clearly the objectives of the SFMTA to slow traffic and snarl it. We just had an election in SF where the SFMTA claimed the cars were causing the congestion. Now you have helped us prove that they are causing it on purpose. Thanks once again for proving us right and exposing the SFMTA’s lies, and explaining how the state is s*****g drivers.

We claimed the SFMTA is using taxpayer dollars that should be used to enhance MUNI to harass drivers and your statements support our claims. – ENUF, SaveMuni, Yes on L, No on A and B campaigns.

San Ramon needs to plan transportation before building

by Jim Gibbon, Sierra Club Mount Diablo Group – theyodeler – excerpt

The Sierra Club is urging San Ramon to prepare a transportation master plan to figure out how to solve our transportation problems for the coming decades–before  spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects that may not help in the short term and that may close off long-term solutions. (There is a 2009 Countywide Comprehensive Transportation Plan, but it doesn’t really do the job.)

For example, the city is studying building on- and off-ramps for high-occupancy vehicles in the middle of I-680 at the Norris Canyon overpass. The ramps might shave three minutes off commute times for about 500 bus passengers a day using the Walnut Creek and Dublin BART stations–but at a cost of $101 million dollars. Unfortunately, because the freeway right-of-way is limited, the ramps would require reducing the number of freeway lanes, thus turning what is now a congested stretch of freeway into an absolute bottleneck. The ramps would replace the current Norris Canyon Road overpass, which provides a safe path for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians between neighborhoods on the west side of the city and the schools and parks on the east side. Even worse, the ramps would preclude other future freeway traffic solutions… (more)

Berkeley manipulates motorists with parking meter prices

By : bizjournals – excerpt

The City of Berkeley both raised and lowered parking meter prices Tuesday in hopes of changing the behavior of drivers.
Rates have risen as high as $2.50 per hour in Elmwood and $2.25 per hour in some downtown areas in hopes of discouraging people from parking or lingering there. Rates are as low as $1 per hour in some distant, less desirable regions.
Berkeley has never really figured out how it feels about automobiles, as anyone who has tried to drive through its neighborhoods realizes when they bump up against one of the ubiquitous barriers blocking residential roads…
The residual chaos of these old central planning decisions is still apparent to anyone who tries to drive along College Avenue between Claremont Avenue and Dwight Way, a dozen blocks north. Every automobile going anywhere has to take Ashby or College; most of the time, both roads are busy with traffic. During business hours and rush hour both are hopelessly clogged. And where the two roads cross, by Wells Fargo bank? Fuggetaboutit.
Parking is nearly impossible to find, and you can’t turn off easily onto side streets, as many of them — Woolsey, Prince, Webster, Russell, Garber — lead to impassable barriers. Beyond the huge concrete planters and metal bars meant to gouge the bottom of any car that passes, you will glimpse a parking paradise with probably dozens of empty spaces. But you can’t get there… (more)

This is exactly what they plan to do in San Francisco. Remember what it was like before the SFMTA started trying to fix traffic congestion? There was no traffic congestion. Do us all and favor and leave the streets alone. Use the streetscape funds to fix the potholes. Eliminate road diets and quit taking away street parking.

Roadshow: In tally of worst U.S. traffic, Bay Area now matches Los Angeles

By Gary Richards : marinij.com – excerpt

Q Something has puzzled me. I read your column almost every day, and it amazes me how much time is spent griping on traffic conditions in the Bay Area. As someone who grew up in other parts of this country, I have seen new highways and privately funded toll roads developed at a much faster rate than here.

I have a simple question for your readers: Do you want to continue griping about traffic issues you control? Each and every one of us has the power to elect representatives who do what we want! If local officials won’t listen to the needs of their citizens, vote for someone else. If you aren’t willing to vote out the current folks, then stop griping!

Please, please, please publish this and see what type of response you get back… (more)

How many millions of dollars (or is it billions?) has the SFMTA pumped into their idea for how they will fix the traffic congestion? I feel like someone who said “If more guns was the answer to violence, we should be the most peaceful country on the planet.”

If throwing money to the SFMTA was the solution we would have the most efficient system in the world.

Money is not the problem.

SFMTA personnel are starting to admit that they can’t fix the Muni, but rather than resign, they suggest we send them more money for bicycle paths. If you object, let your Supervisor know.