Widespread public opposition to the most expensive disruptive Geary BRT plan will come to a head in January.

The public is demanding their 30 days to comment prior to any approvals by the SFMTA Board. The Board sat on the report for months before releasing it to the public during the holidays to assure not any people would notice. Both the public and the new supervisors need time to review the EIR and examine the budget before committing the taxpayers to any more big street projects.

More details  and a sample letter requesting the SFMTA Board postpone a vote to approve the Geary BRT EIR until the public comment time of 30 days has passed are here :  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Businesses oppose the Geary BRT plan, demand an economic impact report.

The Small Business Owners oppose the Geary BRT
The SF Small Business Commission passed a resolution at its Jan. 29 meeting calling for an economic impact study to be conducted as part of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning process. Geary area merchants and many residents fear the construction and elimination of vehicle lanes on Geary will choke the neighborhood. The coalition resolution complained that the current San Francisco Transportation Authority plan for the Geary project states it will not include an economic assessment “at this stage.” That will be considered at a later time in the Environmental Impact Report, the plan says… (more)

Shuttle Bus case in Superior Court

Thursday April 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM. 400 McAllister at Polk. court room 508, Judge Wong. will hear the Shuttle Bus case in Superior Court.  Only the Judge and lawyers will speak. The Decision will come later. if you are interested.  Plaintiffs are requesting that the judge issue a decision on the California Vehicle Code 22500.i preemption matter, since the trial was finally held on November 13, 2015.  The other side is seeking dismissal of the case.

Thank you for all your letters of opposition to AB-1641 and ABX1-25
Assemblymember Travis Allen pulled AB-1641 from the Assembly Transportation Committee agenda for April 11, and it has not yet been rescheduled.  The last day for non-fiscal bills to be heard in committee is May 6.  If you have not yet gotten your letters of opposition to both bills in, there is still time.  Templates are attached for each.
ABX1-25 — OPPOSE 02-22-2016
AB 1641– OPPOSE 02-22-2016
Please submit them to the Honorable Jim Frazier, Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee, C/O Toni Zupan at toni.zupan@asm.ca.gov.  Also attached are the analysis for AB-1641 (with a listing of opposing organizations) and the analysis for last year’s AB-61 (same legislation, different number)

 

Do More Tech Shuttle Stops Lead Directly To Higher Rents And More Evictions?

BY JAY BARMANN : sfist – excerpt

Tensions over tech shuttles live on, surprisingly or unsurprisingly depending on where you stand on the “San Francisco has been destroyed” vs. “all change is good change” spectrum. And now anti-shuttle and anti-eviction activists are continuing their effort to litigate the issue as the reach of tech shuttle buses expands citywide. As the Examiner reports, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and several other litigants including activist Sara Shortt are now suing the city — as well as several tech companies who sponsor the private shuttles for their employees — in order to get a full environmental impact study to happen looking into the local impacts of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.

Over a year ago the same groups and activists filed suit against the city declaring that the entire program was illegal, and it appears that suit has been abandoned in favor of this one.

The Board of Supervisors approved the 18-month pilot program in January of 2014, and now the groups appear to be pushing for an in-depth review of the program, as it continues to expand beyond the pilot stage…

Meanwhile, the drivers of this army of shuttle buses continue to lead sub-par existences, andthe Chronicle just profiled one 53-year-old driver, Scott Peebles, who is currently homeless and living out of his car. He’s one of several drivers who have been part of a Chronicle investigation as a group of 180 of them, all employed by Compass Transportation and serving a variety of tech companies, continue to negotiate for higher wages with the help of the Teamsters(more)

If you don’t like gentrification let them know. Sign the petition: SF Needs a Better Plan: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/sf-actions/a-better-plan/

Google, Apple, Genentech file to be included in suit they fought to be removed from. What gives?

by Dan Raile : pando – excerpt

The Silicon Valley corporate practice of shipping outlying employees to-and-from HQ in giant private shuttles erupted in conflict early last year with a spate of well-documented bus blockades.

The fuss was seemingly tamped down by a Mayor-approved pilot projectcharging the offending companies for use of public bus-stops and monitoring their operations and impacts. This program ends January 31, 2016, at which point a permanent arrangement will be considered, utilizing data gathered over the 18-month pilot… 
And as the buses have rumbled along, so to has a case filed in San Francisco Superior Court soon after the pilot took effect. The action has made halting progress since the Coalition for Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit and the SEIU 1021 brought their complaint back in May 2014.

The plaintiffs are wielding that quintessential Californian cudgel, the California Environmental Quality Act, seeking to throw an Environmental Impact Report into the works of the pilot shuttle program. They also allege that the shuttles are illegal under state vehicle code, stopping as they do in red zones…

“They’ve been begging us from the time we brought this lawsuit to let them out, and in open court said we had only included them to attract publicity,” said Richard Drury, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

Generally, intervenors carry the same rights and liabilities of other interested parties. They could be deposed and subjected to discovery proceedings. Perhaps, as involved but non-sued parties, they can seek to limit their exposure in some material way…

If the various City agencies intend to draw the case out in hopes it will simply go away, Drury has bad news for them.

“It wouldn’t be moot even if the trial were extended past January 31st. The City wants to do a permanent program, and that could still require and EIR and still be found illegal. Otherwise, they could theoretically continue to do pilot programs forever without us ever able to get it to trial in 18 months. But there is a mootness exemption called “capable of repetition but evading review” which keeps that from happening.”… (more) 

Opponents: Warriors proposed arena fails environmental test for traffic

by Sharon Song : Kron4 – excerpt (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The battle over the Golden State Warriors’ proposed new $1 billion arena is heating up as a group of opponents on Tuesday plans to raise their concerns about traffic and parking before city officials.

San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood has been designated for the NBA championship team’s 18,000-seat arena and entertainment center. But the project is facing a major showdown as the Mission Bay Alliance, a newly formed coalition that includes UCSF stakeholders, donors, and faculty point to an environmental report that it says gives the project a flunking grade on the subject of traffic in the area.

On Tuesday, the Mission Bay Alliance along with other representatives from the UCSF healthcare community plan to share those concerns during a public hearing, as they highlight findings of the recently released draft environmental impact report (EIR). The opponents are worried the arena will create dangerous delays for patients and physicians trying to get to the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco at Mission Bay.

“The draft EIR shows that the Warriors’ proposed entertainment complex in Mission Bay fails major intersections and will grind traffic in Mission Bay to a screeching halt during games and events,” said Bruce Spaulding of the Mission Bay Alliance. “While our team of attorneys continues to review the project, the draft EIR admits this project will have significantly negative impacts on nearby residents and UCSF patients and healthcare workers.”

The group says major intersections in the area receive a failing score of “E” and “F” during special events, according to the report’s “Level of Service” traffic impact analysis. The scoring calculates the delays per vehicle and assigns an A-F letter grade for each Mission Bay intersection. The Mission Bay Alliance says the report shows the vast majority of those intersections would fail, facing heavy congestion and gridlock during games and special events. The alliance says these problems are anticipated despite substantial transit and transportation investments promised by the city to ease traffic in the area.

City officials are planning a public hearing about the project Tuesday and formal comments to the city’s planning department are due July 20 (45 days after the draft EIR was released), said the Mission Bay Alliance. After an initial review of the EIR, the Mission Bay Alliance’s legal team wants an additional 45 days to review and comment on city documents used to support the environmental report for the project.

“45 days is simply not enough time to meaningfully review and comment on the draft Environmental Impact Report,” said Mission Bay Alliance attorney Tom Lippe in a letter to the city requesting the extension.

The latest move follows a protest on Monday by UCSF nurses who voiced their concerns about the proposed project… (more)

If you are concerned by the traffic congestion around Mission Bay now, we may want to write letters supporting a continuance.

Problems with public meetings that may be addressed soon in a ballot initiative.

Report on the April 21st MTA Commission Meeting:

I attended the MTA Commission meeting on the 21st to object to the Consent calendar containing removal from public parking, all the car rental parking spots around the city. (On the attached link to the agenda is the list of the particular spots. )

http://www.sfmta.com/calendar/meetings/board-directors-meeting-april-21-2015
No description of how many parking spots are being lost this way. No mitigation measures. No environmental impact consideration. Bargain pricing of a pubic asset. This is clearly an example of MTA following in the railroad tracks of Il Duce. Since when has our democracy in SF taken such a severe hit to the groin?

I also admonished the chairman for conducting a meeting without being able to be heard by the audience. When I first asked him to speak into the microphone, he looked up at me, and then went right back to mumbling whatever he said. After I denounced his contempt for the folks who came to participate, he went, again, right back to speaking without being heard. It is not a public meeting if the conversation of all the speakers cannot be heard.

Back to the car rental spots, this item will be heard on its own in some future meeting (not indicated at the time). Can you please get the word out to your mailing list that will be their chance to  argue against this public give-away to private profit companies.The more people the better, and the objective should be to take as much of the commission’s time as possible. Let them feel the pain of our outrage, since I’m sure they’ll approve the matter regardless of what the people have to say. After all, it is the MO of the MTA. “Muni: We don’t give a shit what YOU think”

– Ted

SFMTA Planner Denies Plans to Create Evening Tow Away Zone along Upper Polk St

Press Release January 24, 2015

Luis Montoya, SFMTA lead planner of the Polk Streetscape Improvement Project, faced concerned residents and merchants in a closed door meeting Thursday in preparation for the upcoming January 30th Public Hearing to approve the agency’s long awaited project plans. Community members were alarmed to read that the MTA is proposing a morning and evening daily tow away zone for the implementation of a “temporary floating” bike lane from Pine to Broadway as posted on public notice posters wrapped along utility poles in their neighborhood.

Further questions and concerns grew from a report released from the planning department detailing the project’s exemption from an environmental impact report and the proposed plans including raised cycle tracks from Pine to Union, the removal of parking along the entire eastern side of Polk St, and the removal of up to 250 parking spaces at project completion. The report suggests the desire for future implementation of a full‐time raised cycle track along the east side of Polk St from Pine to Broadway (and permanent parking removal).

In response to these questions, Mr. Montoya commented that the posters were misprinted and there are absolutely no plans to implement a PM tow away zone along upper Polk St from Pine to Broadway.  He went on to comment that the report from the planning department is not his preferred proposal he will present at the public meeting on January 30th, but the planning department’s own interpretation of the project plans and data collected. How the Planning Department concluded the PM tow away zone he could not say. He did confirm his agency’s intention to implement the morning tow away zone despite minimal ridership numbers the SFMTA has recorded along northbound Upper Polk St on weekday mornings, and denied the SFMTA is planning to present a plan that calls for the removal of all northbound Polk St parking to create a raised cycle track from Pine to Broadway St  He added that his plan will remove approximately 150 parking spaces along the 1.3 mile Polk St. corridor (in addition to the hundreds of spaces being removed for the Van Ness BRT project), not the 250 listed in the Planning Department report.

At the conclusion of the meeting he asked the group for their trust and support despite the inaccurate and misleading public notice posters and planning department report, and left with a permanent marker in hand to personally alter the posted public notice signs.  On Friday a majority of the posters had been removed entirely, again questioning the agency’s accountability to the community in providing appropriate public outreach.

The Polk Streetscape Improvement Project public hearing will be held Friday, January 30th at 10AM in Hearing Room 416, City Hall.

This sounds like a real comedy of errors. Could this have anything to do with the Planning Department being overwhelmed with work requests? Time to slow down.

Supes, Community Members Advocate For Central Subway Extension To Fisherman’s Wharf

: sfappeal – excerpt

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials marked a milestone in the Central Subway project this morning with the completion of tunnel boring from downtown San Francisco to North Beach.

Two boring machines, affectionately named Mom Chung and Big Alma after historical San Francisco women, made it 8,500 feet to the former site of the Pagoda Palace Theater earlier this month after about a year of digging two underground tunnels.

The tunnels will connect the San Francisco Municipal Railway T-Third line from the South of Market area through Union Square and into Chinatown.

The $233 million tunnel, which started in 2012, is part of the $1.6 billion Central Subway project expected to be completed in 2019…

Chiu said he “had a vision” of the tunnel connecting the subway to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf as well.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said with a growing population in San Francisco, “We don’t have the space. We have to keep moving forward with our public transportation capacity.”

He echoed Chiu’s calls for better north-south connections and a more efficient way to get workers, residents and tourists to Fisherman’s Wharf.

“We need to stay the course,” Wiener said…

There will be three underground stations built along the tunnel route—a Chinatown station at Stockton and Washington streets, a Union Square station at Stockton and Geary streets and Stockton and Ellis streets, and a Yerba Buena station at Fourth and Clementina streets…

A group of Central Subway supporters, part of the group SF NexTstop, carried signs on Powell Street that read, “Finish the Subway,” advocating for a subway extension to the Fisherman’s Wharf area.

Group leader Julie Christensen said the F-Market & Wharves Muni Metro and 30-Stockton bus lines aren’t reliable forms of transportation for the many workers, residents and tourists that come into the area daily.

“There’s a moat of congestion around Fisherman’s Wharf,” she said.

She said the group has proposed another station at Joseph Conrad Square at Columbus Avenue and Leavenworth Street or the Kirkland Yard bus storage center near Pier 39 on Beach Street… (more)

Community members does not tell us much about the support for the extension to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Here is where the EIR should be required. Boring into “unknown” underground landfill, including old sunken ships in the mud, and other equally unstable ground, should prompt an EIR. Let ‘s see who calls for one now.

What we see is more money being drained from Muni operations into the hole, which will mean further cuts in Muni service and more public debt.

SF tech bus program could be stalled for months by appeals

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s pilot program for commuter shuttles could be stalled for months or even derailed by The City’s largest labor union and community advocates who are fighting the proposal by using a state environmental law.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved the pilot program for commuter shuttles, which are commonly referred to as tech buses, after years of rising tensions. Any delay would leave many unanswered questions for the workers and students who use the shuttles, along with police and parking control officers. The pilot was born in response to complaints about the impacts of the shuttles and lack of traffic-violation enforcement.

The opponents of the SFMTA proposal are appealing for the shuttle program to undergo a rigorous environmental study…

The appeal will put the Board of Supervisors in the hot seat April 1, (April Fool’s Day) when the 11 elected officials are expected to vote on whether to uphold the appeal, which would require the program to undergo an environmental review. The vote hearing is expected to draw a large turnout.

The appeal for a larger study on the shuttles argues that the buses have led to displacement and other elements of gentrification in The City. The tensions between residents and the burgeoning tech industry — which some blame for the rise in rents, cost of living and evictions — garnered nationwide attention when activists blocked commuter buses in December… (more)

San Francisco Bike Laws

SFMTA

SAN FRANCISCO BICYCLISTS MUST:
Yield to People Walking. Whether they’re in a crosswalk or not, ALWAYS yield to people walking.
Stop BEHIND the Crosswalk: Always stop behind the line at traffic signals and stop signs.
Stay on the Street: It’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk unless you’re younger than 13 years of age.
Ride in the Direction of Traffic: If you can’t go with the flow, it’s okay to WALK your bike on the sidewalk!
Obey Traffic Signs & Traffic Lights: Just like other vehicles on the road, obey all street signs and signals.
Be Seen: Rear reflectors and a front light are REQUIRED when riding in the dark! Red tail lights are strongly recommended.
Avoid Distraction: No headphones, calling or texting while riding – it’s the law!(more)

Lets hope the cyclists learn the laws.

RELATED:
Bicycle Rules of the Road
Download the Rules
2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan Update

The 2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan outlined 60 improvement projects and long-term opportunities for bicycle route upgrades.
The following is a list of near-term projects that remain and are anticipated to be constructed within the five years following the completion of the Bike Plan’s final environmental review:

  • Project 2-1: 2nd Street bicycle lanes, King Street to Market Street
  • Project 2-3: 14th Street eastbound bicycle lane, Dolores Street to Market Street
  • Project 2-7: Fremont Street southbound bicycle lane, Folsom Street to Harrison Street
  • Project 3-2: Masonic Avenue bicycle lanes, Fell Street to Geary Boulevard
  • Project 3-4: Polk Street northbound contraflow bicycle lane, Market Street to McAllister Street
  • Project 5-6: Cesar Chavez/26th Streets corridor bicycle lanes, Sanchez Street to US 101
  • Project 5-13: Bayshore Boulevard bicycle lanes, Paul Avenue to Silver Avenue
  • Project 7-1: 7th Avenue at Lincoln Way intersection improvements