Chiu wants Muni buses to keep their enforcement cameras on

Michael Cabanatuan ; sfgate – excerpt

Assemblyman David Chiu may have traded City Hall for the state Capitol but he’s still got his eyes on the streets of San Francisco.

Chiu will announce Monday that he is sponsoring Assembly Bill 1287 to continue permanently the city’s use of cameras aboard Muni vehicles to issue citations for vehicles stopping or parking in transit-only lanes.

The legislation would also seek to allow camera-issued citations for cars driving in transit-only lanes, “block the box” violations in which cars obstruct intersections and crosswalks, and illegally parked or stopped vehicles in lanes not designated for transit only.

“We all know Muni is too slow when buses are traveling slower than 8 miles per hour on average,” Chiu said. “We have to do something to keep buses from just crawling through our city streets and we can’t do that with cars blocking transit-only lanes.”

San Francisco has had temporary approval to issue the video citations under a pair of bills in 2007 and 2011 authored by then Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. Now, Chiu — and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — would like to make it permanent…

The bill has the backing of Mayor Ed Lee, who said reauthorizing the transit-lane enforcement program would “help make Muni, taxis, shuttles, bikes and cars move around the city more smoothly and predictably, and can make the streets safer for everyone, particularly pedestrians.”

Thea Selby, chairwoman of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, also backed the bill, saying the test of transit-only lanes and camera enforcement has worked.

“I can tell you that transit-only lane in my neighborhood has made a huge difference,” said the Haight Street resident. “It has sometimes halved the amount of time it takes to get down the street.”… (more)

San Francisco transit agency vows to revise Polk Street plan following heated community meeting

By: Joshua Sabatini : SFExaminer – excerpt

After hundreds of merchants and residents gathered this week to blast a proposal to remove parking spaces along Polk Street in favor of bike lanes, the head of San Francisco’s transit agency agreed to go back to the drawing board.
Amid the show of solidarity, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency transportation director Ed Reiskin said he would return with proposals “that would have significantly less parking loss.”
Reiskin had a bumpy ride Monday night. When asked for specific removal numbers, he admitted to not having them — which prompted laughter and booing from the crowd. The agency had proposed eliminating parking from one side of Polk Street and partially from the other side to make way for dedicated bike lanes.
Merchants had spent weeks drumming up opposition to the proposal, even posting signs on their shop windows saying “Save Polk Street.” Business owners worry that loss of parking will mean loss of business.
“We really count on parking,” said Dan Kowalski, owner of the furniture store Flipp on Polk and Green streets. Any parking removal “we just think is wrong,” Kowalski said, adding that “Polk Street’s different; it’s different than Valencia Street.”… (more)

RELATED
Cars vs. Bikes: The Battle for Polk Street

Community Meeting on Alternatives to Planned Central Subway Tunnel Boring Machine Extraction in North Beach

Please Come to a Community Meeting on Alternatives to Planned Central Subway Tunnel Boring Machine Extraction in North Beach
Monday, Nov. 19th at 7:30 pm at Tel-Hi Gym
North Beach Community Meeting with MTA on possible alternatives to planned extraction of Central Subway tunnel boring machines on Columbus Ave.
Monday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Tel-Hi Neighborhood Center Gymnasium, 555 Chestnut St., or enter at 660 Lombard (Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center)
We have received a notice that the SF Municipal Transportation Agency & Supervisor David Chiu will be hosting a discussion on Monday, November 19th about possible alternatives to bringing the Central Subway boring machines out of the ground on Columbus at Washington Square Park.
View the MTA notice here: Central Subway Community Meeting Notice

THD and many others have been seeking alternatives to having the current Central Subway construction disruption to the heart of North Beach on Columbus Avenue continue for the next two years in order to extract the tunnelling equipment there, especially in light of the fact that the nearest subway station would be nearly a 1/2 mile away at Washington & Stockton.
Last week, THD and North Beach Neighbors sent a joint letter to the SFMTA asking why they have failed to thoroughly study alternatives to the highly disruptive Central Subway construction in North Beach as was promised.  View that letter here:  THD & NBN Joint Letter on Central Subway Construction. Download pdf flyer.

Please come to the community meeting on Monday evening to listen, ask questions, and help keep the pressure on the SFMTA & Supervisor Chiu to fulfill their promise of finding a less disruptive method of completing the Central Subway Project.
Mike Sonn, Chair, Transportation Committee – Mike.Sonn@thd.org
Telegraph Hill Dwellers , www.THD.org

Related rail story:
Obama’s New Cabinet Can Make Trains Run on Time
Plans were announced the day of the meeting on sf.streetsblog.org

To Become a Great Biking City, SF Needs to Stop Crawling and Start Running

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

“…San Francisco doesn’t have to “reinvent the wheel” to become a bike-friendly place — the city need look no further than peers like Copenhagen, widely considered one of the world’s best cycling cities.

So said David Chiu, president of the SF Board of Supervisors, at a forum yesterday evening with the chief of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Program, Andreas Røhl. “We know what needs to get done,” said Chiu. “The answers are there — from segregated cycle tracks, to bike signaling, to more bike parking, to more bike safety, to bike anti-theft measures, to more bike education — these are the pillars of what have worked in other cities.”… (more)

Any doubt that San Francisco’s leaders are bike-friendly? Want to let them know how you feel about it? Sign the petition and fill out the surveys sfenuf.org

Subway utlity work begins in North Beach despite lawsuit

abclocal.go.com – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the protests of neighbors — one of whom has sued the city — crews Monday are starting to relocate utility lines in North Beach as part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Central Subway project…

The planned work has prompted one man to file a lawsuit, and other neighbors and merchants who are angry about how the construction will affect them are threatening to file a second one.

Marc Bruno, a North Beach resident with the group Save North Beach, filed a lawsuit on July 31 asking a San Francisco Superior Court judge for an immediate temporary restraining order to block the project.

That request was denied last Thursday, but an injunction hearing is scheduled in the case on Aug. 29, Bruno said…

(more)

Related stories:
Despite Lawsuit, Central Subway Work Kicks Off In North Beach

We just learned that Marc Bruno is running for District 3 Supervisor, against President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, David Chiu.

Central Subway work moves forward despite lawsuit

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer.com – excerpt

Next week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, is slated to start a four-month utility relocation project on Columbus Avenue that will close one lane of traffic during business hours…

Despite one lawsuit filed already and another likely, construction work is set to begin next week in North Beach for Muni’s Central Subway.

On Aug. 13, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, will begin a four-month utility relocation project on Columbus Avenue, an undertaking that will close one lane of traffic during business hours.

Then in January, crews will begin a 10-month project to build an underground retrieval shaft, which will allow the agency to pull up its tunnel-boring machines. That project will close down a two-lane section of Columbus Avenue between Powell and Union streets, an area that is not directly in front of any businesses, SFMTA Project Manager John Funghi said. Thanksgiving 2013 is the target date for completion of the work, Funghi said…

Phase 2: Tunnel-boring machine retrieval shaft

Details: Crews will build a 40-by-40-foot retrieval shaft underneath Columbus to pull up tunnel-boring machine to street level…

(more)

We spoke to a resident in North Beach who is concerned that the road is less than 40 feet wide, so the project will infringe on one of both of the sidewalks and parks.

North Beach tunnel plan angers residents

By John Coté : sfgate.com – excerpt

Dane Boryta struggled at first in North Beach’s crowded restaurant scene.

But now, just as Bottle Cap, the restaurant he and wife Elizabeth Ferro opened 13 months ago, appears to be finding its footing, it and a number of neighboring businesses face a challenge they didn’t even know about four months ago – more than a year’s worth of Central Subway construction planned to start next week just steps from his restaurant.

And when the dust has cleared, there will be no nearby subway station to show for it.

“It’s really going to put our restaurant to the test in a lot of ways,” Boryta said. “We’ll take our lumps if it’s going to pay off down the line somehow … but ultimately this isn’t doing anything for anybody who is here.”…

City officials have so far shrugged off the legal challenge by resident Marc Bruno and a separate letter from an attorney representing a group of residents and members of the North Beach Business Association demanding the construction there be delayed for further environmental study…

But Susan Brandt-Hawley, attorney for the small-business and residents group, said she is still waiting for a response to her letter that contends the planned construction of the “retrieval shaft” is larger and more permanent than what was OKd in 2008.

“The bottom line is this wasn’t what was approved,” Brandt-Hawley said…

‘Unacceptable outreach’
The transportation agency held a flurry of public outreach meetings and delayed the North Beach work for about two months after initially telling merchants and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who represents the area, about the construction plan in May. That prompted a sharply worded June 26 rebuke from Chiu to MTA head Ed Reiskin, saying “this nonexistent level of outreach is unacceptable.”…

(more)