SFMTA Board of Directors Approves Policy Recommendations to Improve Parking Access for People with Disabilities

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors yesterday approved a resolution supporting a set of policy recommendations to improve parking access for people with disabilities. Many of these policy recommendations will require state legislative changes. The recommendations, developed by the City’s Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee (Committee), a stakeholder group comprised primarily of disability rights advocates, include proven solutions used in other jurisdictions that are designed to increase access to parking for people with disabilities and improve parking availability for all drivers.

In October 2012, the SFMTA and the Mayor’s Office on Disability convened the Committee, and after six months of collaborative work the group came to a broad consensus on a package of policy recommendations to increase access to parking for people with disabilities and reduce disabled parking placard misuse. Under these policies, the SFMTA will:

  • Increase the number of blue zones
  • Improve enforcement of placard misuse
  • Direct an equivalent amount of SFMTA revenue received from parking meters installed in blue zones to accessibility improvements
  • Seek state legislative support for
    • Increasing oversight of the placard approval process
    • Allowing local jurisdictions to remove the meter payment exemption
    • Allowing local jurisdictions to establish reasonable time limits for placard holders in metered spaces and blue zones

This is where the lobbying comes in. Let the city officials and state representatives know how you feel about SFMTA’s lobbying efforts against the taxpayers of California. This is one of many state laws the SFMTA wants to change. They already reduced the required votes needed to pass a new car license tax for San Francisco drivers. You will see a bill to increase your fees on the 2014 ballot.

San Francisco considering more handicapped parking

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — More blue-curb handicapped parking spaces could be coming to San Francisco. A special committee will be asking the SFMTA and the board of supervisors for a 70 percent increase along with other changes.
Disabled drivers say there are not enough handicapped blue parking zones in San Francisco, where parking is a problem no matter who you are. Right now, placard holders can park for free and with no time limits at the blue zones and at regular meters. Placard misuse by those who don’t need them is rampant…
A special mayor’s committee will be asking the city and state to add at least 470 new blue zones, a 70 percent increase, to improve enforcement of placard misuse increase, DMV oversight of placard approvals, reasonable time limits for placard parking, and the removal of the meter exemption.
Committee member Paul Planthold says the recommendations include asking the DMV to link placard numbers to a digital photo of the placard holder.
The SFMTA board will vote November 19. The supervisors will vote November 25. After that, it would be up to a state legislator to go for changes at the state level… (more)

Bicycle lane in Golden Gate Park cause for concern

By Thomas K. Pendergast : The Richmond Review, January 2013– excerpt

On a Saturday morning the foreign tourists queued up in front of a bus near the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.
Standing scattered across a bicycle lane in a loose group of about a dozen people, they did not notice a bicyclist bearing down on them. He whistled first, then yelled “hello!” at them so they would see him coming.
The tourists moved and let him through but the confusion was on every face. Why was this bicyclist so pushy and why didn’t he just go around the bus on the other side?
They obviously had no idea that they were blocking his bicycle lane…
City planners and the SF Bicycle Coalition are set to create more of these “cycle tracks” around San Francisco but opposition is growing against the design found along John F. Kennedy Drive, near the east side of Golden Gate Park, with some disabled people and even some bicyclists saying that this design is more dangerous for them than not having any bike lanes at all(more)

We have already run a story or two on this design that does not meet state standards. Now we see the design is bad for tourists, physically challenged and elderly people as well.

From an earlier post:
State designs standards.
p. 15 of the June 26, 2012 edition of the Highway Design Manual, 1003.2 Class II Bikeways (1) a, “Bike lanes shall not be placed between the parking area and the curb. Such facilities increase the conflict between bicyclists and opening car doors and reduce visibility at intersections. Also, they prevent bicyclists from leaving the bike lane to turn left and cannot be effectively maintained.”

Wonder how many rules have been ignored by the SFMTA in their rush to disrupt our lives. And, we wonder who will file the first complaint.
Bikeway Planning and Design

Continue reading

City’s campaign against cars hurts the disabled

by Howard Chabner : district5diary.blogspot.com – excerpt – OCTOBER 21, 2012

October 5, 2012

Honorable Edwin M. Lee
Carla Johnson, Acting Director, Mayor’s Office on Disability
JohnPaul Scott, Deputy Director, Mayor’s Office on Disability
Wendy James, Co-Chair, Mayor’s Disability Council
Jul Lynn Parsons, Co-Chair, Mayor’s Disability Council

Dear Mayor Lee, Carla, JohnPaul, Wendy and Jul Lynn:
I hereby resign as Chair of the Physical Access Committee (PhAC) of the Mayor’s Disability Council, effective two weeks from today. 

I’ve served as Chair of the PhAC for nearly five years. Since 1990 when I began using an electric wheelchair, and even before then when I walked with difficulty, I’ve seen and experienced great progress in many aspects of disability access in San Francisco, especially in access to buildings, curb ramps at intersections and disaster preparedness. It has been a privilege and a source of pride to have helped move the ball forward on physical access as chair of this committee…
During the past year, I and others have communicated these concerns many times to you Mayor Lee, the Board of Supervisors, the SFMTA Board of Directors and SFMTA staff. In that time the campaign against cars has intensified and become more insidious, and our concerns have not been addressed in a major way. Therefore, after careful consideration and with regret, I have chosen to resign.
Thanks to all of you for the opportunity to have served as Chair of the PhAC and to have worked with MOD, the MDC and many other talented, dedicated San Francisco City employees and volunteers.

Sincerely,
Howard Chabner

Mr. Chabner’s critique of the Fell/Oak bike lane proposal ... (more)

Oak/Fell bike lanes discriminate against disabled

by Howard Chabner : district5diary.blogspot.com – excerpt – OCTOBER 15, 2012

Below is a comment by Howard Chabner on the proposed Fell and Oak bike lanes. Turns out that the project is not only against the interests of those who have to drive and park on neighborhood streets, but it’s even worse for the disabled.
Dear Chairman Nolan and SFMTA Board Members:
I have lived on Fell Street across from the Panhandle since 1988. The importance of promoting bicycle safety and encouraging bicycling is undeniable. I urge you not to approve the proposed Oak and Fell Street cycle track for the following reasons:
Putting an increased volume of bicycle traffic on these streets (especially Oak), which already have a heavy volume of fast-moving motor vehicles (around 30,000 vehicles daily on each of Fell and Oak, according to a presentation from SFMTA staff) and timed traffic signals, will greatly increase safety risks for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists
This is especially true given the large number of residential and commercial driveways on these blocks, and the large number of motor vehicles turning into and out of them. Many of the garages are narrow, and visibility is limited for drivers pulling out of them; with a cycle track it would be difficult for drivers and cyclists to see each other. There is a heavy volume of motorists turning off of and onto Oak and Fell, Divisadero and the side streets; even with traffic signal improvements, cycle tracks will create more conflicts among bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. An already complex situation will be made even more complex and hectic.
Instead, using Hayes and Page, which have stop signs instead of traffic signals, and which have a much lower volume of motor vehicles, would be safer. I know experienced bicyclists who use Hayes and Page often and believe these routes are much safer than any cycle tracks on Oak and Fell would be. Installing cycle tracks along two of the fastest and busiest vehicular thoroughfares in San Francisco contradicts SF’s stated goal of encouraging novices to bicycle by providing safe spaces with no pressure to go fast.
The Haight Ashbury Improvement Association has proposed a safer alternative for cyclists, using Hayes and Page Streets, but SFMTA has not seriously considered it. Here is a link to the HAIA plan

HAIA plan
The proposed plan would negatively impact safety, parking, traffic, air quality and disability rights; it should not be adopted.

Thank you very much for considering this e-mail.

Howard Chabner

(More)

Accessible Parking Policy

sfpark.org – excerpt

The Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee will review and make recommendations regarding on-street accessible parking policies, including those governing disabled placards and blue zones. These issues affect access and mobility for people with disabilities in San Francisco, whether they travel by car, paratransit, or public transit…
Public attendance: Meetings will be open to the public. To ensure that the committee has sufficient time to achieve its goals, there will be no public comment during the meetings. The public will have a chance to provide spoken comments at a later date, and can email comments to accessibleparking@SFMTA.com at any time. This committee is considered a “passive meeting body” per the Sunshine Ordinance section 67.4…
Schedule of meetings through March 2013(more)

This appears to be about blue zones.