Lyft drops $100k against SF tax to fund housing for homeless

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ride-hail giant Lyft just dropped $100,000 to fight Proposition C, the ballot measure that would tax rich corporations to house 4,000 homeless San Franciscans.

Yes, you heard that right: Lyft, not Uber, is pushing back against “Our City, Our Home” in a big way, On Guard has confirmed.

It’s perhaps strange for a company whose CEO bragged to TIME Magazine in 2017 that his company is “woke,” and especially odd since the often-vilified Uber, which has weathered myriad recent scandals, confirmed to On Guard they’re not planning on donating for or against Proposition C. The Company That Travis Built is sitting this one out.

Uber and Lyft both fall into the crosshairs of Prop. C, which would impose a tax on San Francisco companies with gross receipts topping $50 million…

A recent report by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found Uber and Lyft contributed to half of all The City’s new traffic congestion, making potential legislation to curtail ride-hails locally a distinct possibility, Ross said… (more)

Social equity groups have joined affordable housing and anti-gentrification movements into a new push toward localism as many communities are finding themselves at odds with powerful state interests. The ride hails, as TNCS are sometimes referred to, are under the protection of the California Public Utilities Commission, (CPUC).

Ford/GoBikes/Motivate/Lyft stationed bike shares, Chariot, and tech buses are overplaying their hand and unless the public is completely asleep at the wheel already, the voters should pass Proposition C to retaliate against the corporate takeover of our streets, our homes and our jobs.

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Bus-only lanes drive fears of displacement in East Oakland

: kalw – excerpt (includes audio)

AC Transit is building a faster, more reliable bus line on International Boulevard in East Oakland. But some locals are worried that the project will be one more thing forcing them out of the city…

My analysis is that they don’t care about us,” says Buford. “They made plans but we weren’t in those plans.”

The bus line was billed as a way to serve low income residents. But to Buford, it looked like it was designed to skip over the poor neighborhoods as quickly as possible.

“In order to do that you’ve got to fly by a whole lot of stops,” says Buford... (more)

RELATED:
Transportation gentrification How Bus Rapid Transit is Displacing East Oakland

Ford GoBikes are going electric in San Francisco

: techcrunch – excerpt

Motivate, the company behind the San Francisco Yay (Bay) Area’s bike-share system, is adding pedal-assist e-bikes to its fleets this April. The one-year pilot will launch with 250 of these e-bikes in San Francisco, the company announced today.

The bikes, created by startup GenZe, are designed to assist riders as they’re pedaling, therefore reducing the need for much energy while biking — especially uphill. The pilot program will be part of the existing Ford GoBike network. GenZe is also the scooter provider for Scoot Networks, the scooter-sharing startup that operates in San Francisco…(more)

One more reason to restructure the SFMTA. How many bike rentals does any city need? The agency that was supposed to give us reliable public transportation has instead developed partnerships with private corporations that are taking over our streets. For information on the GoBike deals, and the corporation behind them see these articles: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/love-citi-bike-you-have-a-real-estate-developer-to-thank/

Complaints should be sent to the Board of Supervisors along with requests to support for placing the SFMTA Charter Amendment on the June 2018 ballot.

Transportation gentrification: How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East Oakland

by youth scholars at Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine : sfbayview – excerpt

We youth scholars from Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine submitted 14 FOIAs – Freedom of Information Act requests – to 14 departments in the City of Oakland, only to receive a series of messages from two of the departments saying, “We have no documents,” and no word from the others.

On Jan. 16, we will be making a demand to the City of Oakland and AC Transit that, with the money they received for BRT, they support Oakland residents to be able to stay here as reparations for the millions of dollars they are receiving to displace us out of here. If you would like to join us, please email poormag@gmail.com(MORE)

This article basically sums up what we have been observing and reporting on for the last five or six years. Public transit funds are being used to displace “vested” residents here and on a world-wide basis. The gold standard has been replaced by the biggest LAND GRAB in history. Instead of relying on cornering a commodity, the robber barons are rapidly grabbing up the one truly limited resource on earth.

They started by grabbing control of our public streets, claiming our once free streets “streets are not free”. Once they “take” our streets, they take our homes, that they refer to as “housing”, claiming we can’t afford  any more.

Unfortunately, our early warnings were correct. Now what can we do about it? This series of articles offers helpful information and suggestions on ways to fight back.Let your political leaders know that you know what they are doing,and who they are serving whether they know it or not.

Some action items and contacts at the state and city level:
https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/sf-actions/

Low-income housing units lost in Oakland, study shows Anti-eviction Mapping Project shows how housing for poor people is being replaced with housing for tech workers…(more)

Oak and Van Ness project shows stunning failures in city traffic analysis

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The San Francisco supes will vote September 5 on the future of one of the city’s most critical intersections, Market and Van Ness — and the decision will impact tens of thousands of bike riders, Muni riders. and pedestrians who pass through the crowded, windy corner every day…

…based on the information currently available it is currently difficult, if not impossible, to document how transportation network company operations quantitatively influence overall travel conditions in San Francisco or elsewhere. Thus, for the above reasons, the effects of for-hire vehicles as it relates to transportation network companies on VMT is not currently estimated…

The city used very old data and inaccurate models in analyzing the transportation impacts, Henderson notes. The EIR notes that it bases traffic demand models on 1990 census data — and that the city plans to update its transportation planning protocols in 2018.

But this is 2017, and we are relying for an analysis of transportation impacts data from when San Francisco was a very different city. The One Oak transportation study “used 1990 data [that] does not reflect two tech booms and the internet economy to the south of the city,” the appeal notes.

In fact, since 1990:

* The Central Freeway was removed in 2003
* Private commuter buses have proliferated since 2005
* Uber and Lyft have proliferated since 2011
* The City has adopted a new Bicycle Plan in 2009
* The City adopted Vision Zero goals in 2014
* New patterns of e-commerce delivery have emerged instead of storefront retail
* Mid-Market and Market and Octavia have added housing for thousands of new   residents
* 5,469 new parking spaces have been, or might be built in the Hub [surrounding the Oak and Market area]… (more)

At least they are being consistent in their use of old data to both remove and add parking when they choose to do so. Complaints about old data are as prevalent as complaints about lack of notice. Both point to a failed system that many citizens are fed up with and may act against next time they get the chance at the ballot box.

 

Holding Company behind Motivate is Bikeshare Holdings LLC. By most counts this is not a neighborhood friendly organization.

 

Bikes and more bikes, everywhere you look are blue Ford GoBikes in the stations in the Mission. Don’t see many peddling around but there are a lot on them parked at the stations, especially near public parks and in front of businesses like grocery stores. photo by zrants.

We just unearthed a lot of details about the Motivate group behind Ford GoBikes. Motivate is held by Bikeshare Holdings LLC, one of the largest luxury developers in New York City. If you oppose gentrification sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Motivate has a private/pubic partnership agreement with MTC. MTC allocates government tax and grant funds including your tax dollars. We already already covered the relationship with MTC and SFMTA. We were lacking in details about Motivate. This should fill in those gaps. To see the rest of the story go here: Ford-gobike-bay-area-bikeshare-update/

According to their PR campaigns and reported by several sources, a national bike-share program was set up by Bikeshare Holdings LLC to soften local opposition by removing street parking, claiming they are complimenting public transit for everyone. The real goal is to gentrify neighborhoods, raise property values, and make room for the luxury housing Related Company builds. (Details can be found in their press releases and on streetsblog and other articles). 

Bikeshare Holdings LLC was founded in 2014 by two CEOs – Jeff Blau is (or was) the CEO of Related Companies. Related builds luxury housing. Harvey Spevak is the CEO of Equinox, an American luxury fitness company that operates several separate fitness brands, including Equinox, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle.

If this news bothers you, you may want to attend the next SFMTA board meeting, that is scheduled for next Tuesday the 6th of September in room 400 at City Hall at 1 PM. You  may want to let SFMTA Board know how you feel about the deals they are cutting without prior public notice or debate. You might also object to using your tax dollars against your interests or contracting with known criminals. Recent article in the SF Examiner: SF awards $3.2M in contracts to company connected to alleged bid-rigging, federal indictment.

RELATED:

Copy of the Contract: BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC

Program_Agreement download here

 

The Streetcar Hustle

by : jacobinmag – excerpt

We need bold new transit projects. But Bill de Blasio’s streetcar plan shows we won’t get them by catering to private developers.

ig changes are coming to one stretch of the New York City waterfront. In his recent State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced an ambitious plan for a new streetcar system that would connect the city’s most populous borough, Brooklyn, to its largest, Queens. Citing “explosive growth on the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens,” the mayor proclaimed: “Today, we take the next great step in connecting New Yorkers to the heart of our new economy for New York.”…

The plan’s price tag currently stands at $2.5 billion. Some of that cost would be borne by riders, whose fares would be pegged to the cost of a subway swipe, but most of it would be paid for through gentrification. According to the New York Times, “administration officials believe the system’s cost can be offset by tax revenue siphoned from an expected rise in property values along the route.” Seen from this vantage point, the streetcar proposal seems less a transportation plan than a real estate stimulus.

This is not exactly a surprise. As historians like Robert Fitch and Kim Moody have described, real estate barons have long manipulated New York City’s planning apparatus, often through their chosen “nonprofit” advocates. Entire subway lines, for example, were rerouted to correspond to the Rockefeller family’s particular real estate holdings.

Nor is this link between public investment and private gain a secret. In fact, planners are often taught to see the two as mutually reinforcing. New York University’s Mitchell Moss enthused that the streetcar system “is going to do more to encourage more housing than any other transit improvement currently underway.” Alex Garvin, a well-known planner and member of the group “Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector,” argued that “by creating a new light rail line in those neighborhoods, we could create an enormous opportunity for new investment.”

De Blasio highlights these benefits to property owners, but he also frames the plan as a gift to New York City’s poorest residents, many of whom have long been under-served by the city’s mass transit network. Brooklyn and Queens are home to millions of working-class people, many of whom could no doubt use an easier way to travel between those boroughs.

But the existing plan is inseparable from a longstanding project to remake the waterfront, and must be seen as part of a larger process of state-enabled gentrification and displacement…(more)

I could not have said it better. This article, written last year, pretty much sums up all we have been experiencing all ovr the cities. Here we have the blunt truths about why cities promote gentrification and the rise in property values, and how the systems promotes the welfare of the less than 1% of the population. As their fortunes rise, everyone else falls.

As we are witnessing a huge increase in homeless people on the street as the dense housing and mass transit systems move in and displace them. We can pretty well assume those programs and projects are responsible for the rise in homeless population on our streets because the rise in properties and ensuing rents that did not coincide with a similar increase in income for most people.

The new administration in Washington seems less likely to help ease the situation than the one that just left. At least Obama spoke well of the poor and acted as if he cared. Trump leaves no room for doubt as to how little he plans to do for the poor folks who put him in office hoping he would come to their rescue. His plan is more of the same on steroids.

What goes up must come down and get rebuilt for at least twice as much as we spent before.

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Taraval “Improvements” coming to Taraval and how you can comment on them

The Supervisors to contact about this plan are:
D-7 Supervisor Eric Mar: Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org
D-4 Supervisor Katy Tang:  Katy.Tang@sfgov.org

Hello Supporters of Keeping Our L Taraval Stops:
Here are some of the “Improvements” coming to Taraval and how you can comment on them. 

Many of you have : seen the signs posted on various corners and the big electric signs flashing that changes are coming.  We wanted to update you on he details so you will know what to expect on Taraval Street and where you may go to comment on them:
http://stopsfmta.com/wp/4-tep-projects/taraval/

1.  Stop Removal:  Over the objections of a large portion of the Taraval Community, on February 25, 2017, SFMTA is going to remove the following eight L Taraval stops:
•    inbound, towards downtown: Taraval at 24th & at 28th (Post Office stop) Avenues; and Ulloa at 15th Avenue;
•    outbound, towards the ocean:  Ulloa at 15th Avenue; Taraval at 17th (Safeway stop), 22nd (Library stop), 28th (Post Office), & 35th Avenues.
•    Massive community support for the Taraval and 17th Avenue stops where Safeway is located convinced the SFMTA Board of Directors to try to keep the inbound stop heading downtown, so for now it is not being removed.

2.  Clear Zones & Lost Parking Starting on January 23, SFMTA began rolling out  the creation of “clear zones” (i.e., no curbside parking) and the loss of the following 81 parking spots on Taraval at L stops where concrete boarding islands will be built in 2018:

image

(more)

 

By : theguardian – excerpt

Hostility to cyclists and bike lanes often seems to be a proxy for wider anger at gentrification. But does this urban phenomenon really arrive on two wheels – or is new cycle infrastructure a sign the street has already transformed?

In 1996, San Francisco’s department of parking and traffic published a draft of what was to be the city’s first bicycle-specific transport plan. Almost immediately, cyclists in the city noticed something amiss: there were no bike lanes planned for Valencia Street, a popular route through the largely Latino Mission neighbourhood. Opposition to the plan grew so intense that the following year, a crackdown against pro-cycling protesters ended in a riot.

Two decades on, Valencia Street is one of San Francisco’s more desirable addresses. Luxury apartments and fashionable bare-brick cafes sit cheek by jowl with colourful political murals and tiny bodegas.

And Valencia is now a cycling hub too. Indeed, the street became the first in the city to replace car lanes with bicycle paths.

Rightly or wrongly, gentrification is often seen as a process that arrives on two wheels. From Red Hook in Brooklyn to London Fields, fixed-gear bike-wielding young professionals have flocked to former industrial lots and waterfronts.

But does cycling really contribute to gentrification? John Stehlin, a geographer at the University of California, Berkeley who has studied San Francisco’s cycling politics, says the relationship is complex. “Cycling feeds into wider urban changes, including gentrification, but it does not cause gentrification. A bicycle lane gets put on a street that is already undergoing change.”…(more)

Forcing change on a society that objects to that change is the gentrifying element. Leave people alone to make their own decisions and they will do the right thing. Force people to change in a manner they object to and at a pace they do not like and you will have a fight on your hands.

Mission locals grill MTA over red lanes, but the red remains

By : curbed – excerpt

Minor changes approved, but scarlet streets here to stay

The red lanes are staying on the Mission, and some residents are absolutely furious.

A summer’s worth of outreach, research, and reconsideration yielded a few small changes to the program, presented at a Tuesday meeting of the SFMTA board. (Yes, that was the same meeting with the angry church median parking debate. It was a really contentious week at SFMTA, all told.)

A couple of the reviled forced right turns (at 22nd and 26th) will probably go, and the agency promised further tweaks like additional bulbouts.

But for the most part, transit planners and board members defended the rage-provoking project. Planner Matt Brill told the board that the city’s outreach revealed mostly positive feedback on the program and that the 14 Mission bus line (which carries 65,000 people a day, according to Brill) is moving faster and suffering a third as many accidents.

Then the meeting opened up to public comment, and neighbors let them have it.

While some commenters defended the program, noting the benefit to public transit, most of the feedback ranged from angry to downright offended. Phrases like “gentrification on steroids,” “the Valencia-ization of Mission Street,” and even “ethnic cleansing of the Mission” flew from the podium.

“Congratulations, you’ve done a great job killing businesses on Mission Street, just like you’ve done in the Castro,” one woman said.

Groups like the Mission Economic Development Agency testified that businesses are closing and workers are being laid off ever since the red lanes went in last spring. Merchants allege that the forced turns have made it impossible to find parking, and that the lanes create a hostile “psychological barrier” (the term the MTA itself uses) that scare off customers.

The economic cost to the city is simply not worth gaining a few extra minutes on the 14 Mission’s schedule, say protestors… (more)

RELATED:
SFMTA approves changes to Mission Street transit improvements in response to merchant complaints