Privatization of our Streets

Multiple media stories over the last week prove that corporations plan to control our streets. They are fighting for them. What are we doing to keep them?

Lyft’s Big Bike-Share Buy Is About Ruling the Streets: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/lyfts-big-bike-share-buy-is-about-ruling-the-streets/

The SFMTA has not done a great job of protecting our interest and may come under fire. Follow the action this week: https://cancalendar.wordpress.com/special-events/

Supervisors passed an Ordinance to help us. We need to ask for their help now.
Ordinance: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/sfmta-review/  
Charter Amendment: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/charter-amendment/

Stay in formed. Demand Respect. Support the candidates running for supervisor who will protect our city and our streets. Put SFMTA needs listen the voters, not their staff.

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SFMTA Delays Traffic Diversion Plans For 8th Avenue ‘Neighborway’

by Lauren Alpert : hoodline – excerpt

On Wednesday evening, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and SFMTA hosted a community meeting to discuss a traffic-calming plan that would divert traffic away from 8th Avenue.

While the plan originated with SFMTA initiatives and gathered feedback from neighbors, some residents have expressed concerns about traffic being shunted to adjoining streets.

Officials from the transportation agency say the proposed 8th Avenue “neighborway” would create a “safe, pleasant north-south route” for pedestrians and cyclists, noting that the street “carries 2 to 3 times the amount of vehicle traffic when compared to parallel routes.”… (more)

Good news. This is strike two for neighbors since the Supervisors threatened with a Charter Amendment and Ordinance to reign them in. So far the only consistent problems are coming from SFPark’s Corporate dealings. In spite of massive efforts by environmental groups supporting neighborhoods, the corporate mobsters are gaining public ground (literally).

King of the Roads: Uber takes the crown with this deal.

Op-Ed by Zrants

Uber partners with JUMP after SFMTA handed them an exclusive e-bike deal, sort of. It looks like Motivate/GoBikes will be adding some e-bikes to their stations soon. How they will handle the battery charging program appears to be up in the air at the moment.

Market Share: Uber, Apple and Amazon are driven by the same lust for power and dominance that drove GM, GE and Philip Morris to conquer their markets. I don’t trust Uber any more than I trust Elli Lilly or Bank of America. These corporations are expert at hiding their holdings.

Holding Companies: This article on Motivate describes some of the corporate entities in back of GoBikes and leaves no doubt what motivates them to invest in bike share companies. https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/love-citi-bike-you-have-a-real-estate-developer-to-thank/

Corporate Deals: According to articles in streetsblog, and SF Examiner, Uber not only made a deal with JUMP, but, SFMTA negotiated a compromise between Uber and Gobike/Motivate, to would assure they did not have to compete with each other. Will it take a Charter Amendment for the San Francisco voters to get this level of attention and concern for our well-being?

How do taxpayers feel about paying for Ed Reiskin’s time and attention to these corporations who are taking over our public streets for profit? SFMTA officials are focused on supporting corporate interests and planning for our future in 2045 instead of finishing the major capital projects that are behind schedule, way over budget, and disrupting our lives. Could this be why the Central Subway and Van Ness BRT projects are so screwed up and we have grid-locked streets? Ed spends his time making deals?

RELATED:

Uber’s latest venture is a bike-sharing service in San Francisco. It’s working with dockless bike-sharing startup Jump.

By Mallory Locklear : engadget – excerpt

Uber’s piloting a new service in San Francisco alongside dockless bike-sharing startup Jump. Uber Bike will let users rent one of Jump’s 250 bikes, charging $2 for the first 30 minutes and an additional per-minute fee thereafter. Jump was granted a permit by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency earlier this month, which made it the first company to operate a dockless bike-sharing program in the city. Jump’s 250 bikes should launch around the city between now and March and the SFMTA may allow the company to release 250 more after nine months, depending on how things go. The permit was issued for 18 months, during which the SFMTA will evaluate the program and the public’s response… (more)

Uber partners with JUMP on electric bike share pilot in San Francisco

by Monica Nickelsburg : geeklwire – excerpt

SINGAPORE — If Uber Technologies Inc. is planning a retreat from Asia, no one told Brooks Entwistle, head of the ride-hailing company’s business in the region.

The San Francisco-based company is planning an expansion in Japan and is offering faster booking and cheaper rides to gain share in Singapore, Mr Entwistle said in an interview…more)

For Uber, the trade-off is scale. If it pulls out of markets like India and Indonesia, that will improve profitability immediately — but it would sacrifice long-term growth. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said recently the company would continue to be aggressive about expansion in 2018 as he sees Uber as being “everywhere for everyone.”… (more)

 

SF transit officials discuss granting dockless bikeshare permits amid legal challenge

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transportation agency moved to potentially grant permits for at least four dockless bikeshare companies prior to facing legal challenges for potentially permitting one dockless bikeshare program in The City, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

When Bluegogo, a similar dockless bikeshare company, discussed entry into San Francisco, city officials cried foul in January, fearing the potential for piles of bikes to litter city sidewalks.

Now, four dockless bikeshare companies — Spin, MoBike, LimeBike and Social Bicycle — have all been in discussion with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to begin operation in The City, according to records obtained by the Examiner.

Emailed discussions occurred just prior to — and in some cases, after — Bay Area Motivate, LLC and the SFMTA entered a “dispute resolution process,” mediated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, to settle conflicts over San Francisco’s contract with the Ford GoBike bikeshare program.

The heart of the dispute is whether entering into an exclusivity contract with Motivate for Ford GoBike, which docks its bikes on city sidewalks, preven

ts San Francisco from granting permits to dockless bikeshare companies.

Though Motivate declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements as part of the conflict-resolution process, the company has previously said “no.”… (more)

Where is the voice of the public in this discussion of who has access to our streets? Does the public want rental bikes taking over on our streets? Where does the public right to access and use the streets end and the private corporate right to buy our streets from the SFMTA begin? How is this effecting the small “legacy” bike companies that sell and repair private bikes? Do they have a say in this “space sale” SFMTA is engaging in?

Why don’t we show our appreciation by boycotting Ford? I know it is not Ford Bikes, but they are aligning themselves with Ford so let’s boycott Ford to show our solidarity with private citizens right to control our streets and keep them open to public use. NO PRIVATE SALES OR RENTALS OF OUR STREETS!

 

Bikes Sharing Companies Compete for Bay Area Market

Host Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt (audio track included)
Dan Brekke, editor and reporter, KQED News
Emily Stapleton, general manager, Ford GoBike

Ford GoBikes popping up all over photos by zrants

This is a corporate takeover of our streets.
Can you call the public/private corporate exclusionary deal MTC, Ford and Motivate have cooked up “competition” or fair business practices? Now the cyclists are threatening to boycott merchants who object to Ford bikes.
Time to fire back with boycotts of our own. Sign the petition to stop the Bikes in the Mission.

People voiced opposition and demanded removal of the GoBikes at the SFMTA Board meeting.  Board member Art Torres said “I think this is unacceptable… I’m glad you folks told us about this. This isn’t just going away.” He’s got that right.

If it seems like the Bay Area suddenly has a plethora of bike sharing options, it’s because it does. Several companies such as Ford GoBike, LimeBike and Spin are each looking to make a mark in the region’s bike-friendly culture. Ford GoBike, which utilizes docking stations where bikes are parked between uses, plans to expand its existing 700-bike program to 7000 bikes. Other cities like South San Francisco and Mountain View have made deals with stationless bike sharing companies, which allow riders more flexibility but risk bikes being left in random spots.

Both types of companies have faced pushback: In San Francisco’s Mission District, the neighborhood council banned a GoBike station from 24th Street and bikes have been vandalized throughout the Bay Area. San Francisco, which like other cities has a controversial exclusivity contract with GoBike, has yet to approve permit requests for several stationless bike share companies. In this segment we’ll take a look at how the bike share turf wars are helping and hurting the Bay Area…(more)

Corporate Connections:Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is a 9-county regional organization of unelected officials that manages state and federal funds and grants, including taxes for large public transit projects.  Motivate is a NY based corporation that operates bike shares on a national scale. Ford GoBike is the Bay Area bike share division of Motivate. Motivate contracts with the city of San Francisco under a controversial deal put together by the SFMTA.

Ford GoBike Financial arrangements: According to the information here, MTC has a partnership agreement with Motivate. MTC subsidizes bike share and most other public transportation systems. YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK! In this case, Ford is a patron of the GoBike program, to the tune of $49 million dollars over the next ten years. IF FORD DOES NOT SUPPORT YOU, YOU MAY NOT WANT TO SUPPORT FORD. This means that GoBike can expand whether or not people rent the bikes.

Ford GoBike Expansion Plans: GoBike plans to have 540 stations in San Francisco by the end of 2018. By their count, this would remove 1620 parking spots, many in residential neighborhoods. They expect to be the 2nd largest market in the country. Who is benefiting from this? How will this effect the Residential Parking Permit program?

Unfair Businesses Practices: How can a private/public partnership subsidized by public taxes and a corporate patron compete fairly with private bike owners and businesses associated with bike businesses and rentals that do not enjoy any subsidies? SFMTA is not approving any stationless bike rentals yet. Do they feel threatened by that model?

Regulatory Practices: How can the SFMTA fairly regulate their competition? How widespread is the competition?

Public criticism: Many residents claim they had no notice before the stations popped up and there has been a lot of pushback and vandalism. GoBike officials claim they are prepared to handle this and since city policies override voters and taxpayers wishes they do not appear to care. With our money backing them, they don’t need to. THINK ABOUT THIS NEXT TIME YOU ARE ASKED TO SUPPORT MORE TAXES FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Let Ford pay instead.

RELATED:
Bicyclists Boycott Bernal Businesses Seeking Removal Of Bike-Sharing Stations
Last week, the Examiner reported that the MIssion-Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to immediately remove a new Ford GoBike station installed in front of the UPS Store at 60 29th Street between Tiffany and Mission… (more)

 

Support the Public Commons and free use of public spaces.

Fordbikes

Photo by zrants

The corporate bikes on the public streets go against our community and are offensive to our sense of public morale. The pubic commons is sacred ground that should not be sold or tampered with. The public commons is owned by the people for use of all the people and should not be sold or limited to the use of paid users.

There is a petition being circulated to allow the bikes. This is the petition is pushback against that petition.
I am concerned with how the city is allowing the privatization of our city spaces, including parking on the streets.  I see this as part of a much more disturbing trend to allow money to buy anything within the public commons for a price.
The corporate bikes on the public streets go against our community and are offensive to our sense of public morale as we feel the pubic commons is sacred ground that should not be sold or tampered with. The public commons is owned by the people for use of all the people.

I just signed the petition “Hillary Ronen: No Corporate Bike rentals in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
Thanks!

Mission advocates resist bikeshare push, point to existing community programs

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Fordbikes

A new batch of Ford bikes sprang up on Bryant and 17th Street without warning. It is no secret that the plan is to remove public parking for private vehicles by leasing the streets to corporations. The pubic is not reacting favorably to that plan. photo by zrants

The backlash was fierce and unexpected.

On the surface, Ford GoBike is seemingly everything the staunchly liberal Mission District would value: an affordable bikeshare program targeted at reducing carbon emissions and traffic congestion by offering cheap, rentable bikes.

After the company’s most recent expansion, however, groups representing Latino neighbors in the Mission quickly pushed back, citing gentrification fears.

“The way we shop, the way we travel, it’s a very different culture,” Erick Arguello, co-chair of the Calle 24 Historical District on 24th Street in the Mission, previously told the San Francisco Examiner. “We did say, ‘No, we don’t want bikeshare on 24th Street in the Latino Cultural District.’”… (more)

Public streets are for the public. Taking public property from pubic use may not be tolerated for long. The supervisors should consider who is benefiting from this scheme and who they are pushing to the curb.

Mission District Ford GoBike kiosks vandalized, again

At least two Ford GoBike kiosks at the edge of the Mission District were spotted vandalized Friday morning.

A bikeshare kiosk and bikes at Folsom and 15th streets were splashed with blue paint, and another kiosk at Folsom and 17th streets was splashed with pink paint…(more)

SF leader on ‘Smart City’ challenge leaves SFMTA for Google X

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Office of Innovation, which looks to pioneer transit of the future like driverless cars, needs to find a new chief dreamer.

Tim Papandreou, head of the Office of Innovation, is leaving his city job to join Google X, the company’s self-driving car project, Papandreou announced at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting in late June.

He was the lead point of contact with Google and other tech innovators on developing policy initiatives around driverless cars and other transit innovations.

When asked if losing Papandreou would slow down those efforts, Ratna Amin, transportation policy director at SPUR, wrote in an email, “There could be a lag,” but not if “someone else is made accountable soon.”…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future.

“The immediate reaction we had from our partners was, ‘Let’s continue forward in any case,’” Reiskin said…

Who are these partners?

SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan congratulated Papandreou on his new job, and added, “Can we each get one of those new driverless cars? We can test them for you!” … (more)

If there was any doubt about the connection between SPUR, SFMTA, MTC and Plan Bay Area, and the Tech titan’s plans to privatize and control public streets and transportation, that doubt is now gone. In their own words we hear their plan.

It is up to you now, Bay Area citizens to vote for your preference in November. Do you favor a private corporation deciding where and how you should get around, while tracking your every move and purchase, or would you prefer to step back into a world where you decide what you want to do and where you want to go?

RELATED:
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in American cities

Uber Is Experimenting With a Service in Manhattan That’s Cheaper Than the Subway:
How dose putting more private buses on the streets that compete with the subway help the traffic flow? Is there nothing these corporations can’t leave alone? Bring back private jitney buses that do the same thing but don’t rely on apps. Just roll along the streets and pick up passengers for a few bucks and allow private citizens without smart phones and apps. How dose putting more private buses on the streets help the traffic?