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.

 

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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.

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

Number of ‘Google Bus Stops’ grow, even in the west, activists say

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Where the “Google buses” go, evictions follow.

And those private shuttles are expanding all across The City, with more than 20 new stop locations and over 900 more annual pickups made by shuttles so far in 2015, compared to last year, according to new data.

Those are the assertions of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and some advocates suing San Francisco and various tech companies. The goal of the suit is to compel an environmental review of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program, which legalized private commuter shuttle activity.

The data on the growing number of private commuter shuttles, nicknamed “Google buses” comes via public records requests of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency by activist Sue Vaughan.

Vaughan is one of the litigants in the lawsuit, along with local activist Sara Shortt and the local SEIU.

Mapping project activist Erin McElroy famously protested a Google Bus in 2013, along with groups like Heart of the City, demanding Google and other tech companies help stem evictions.

“We found that evictions were up 69 percent more in proximity to [shuttle] stops between 2011 and 2013,” McElroy said, adding the newer commuter shuttle stops would likely bring higher rents and evictions.

The mapping project also released an interactive map last week, showing new commuter shuttle stops in the west and south ends of San Francisco:
http://www.antievictionmap.com/

When the San Francisco Examiner asked SFMTA if they had studied the correlation between evictions and shuttle stops, they said questions should be referred to the Planning Department.

Gina Simi, a spokeswoman for the Planning Department, said “This isn’t something that would fall under Planning’s jurisdiction or analysis.”

As previously reported by the Examiner, public documents show the SFMTA is working hand-in-hand with the Planning Department to exempt The City from conducting environmental impact reports, which may include measuring community displacement effects…. (more)

The SFMTA is using our tax dollars to hire lobbyists in Sacramento, and possibly Washington to change the laws in favor of the tech buses. This is especially concerning because no other city has this problem that we know of.

Please let us know if there are other cities, particularly in California that have tech buses.

A gentrification report came out, or was discovered on twitter this week that shows a strong correlation between the transit-oriented development and gentrification that further proves the point many have been making for some time.

The goal is to build, not build a green or clean city. Just build, and any story, no matter how true, will do to get that next project approved and shift the demographic in San Francisco to one that can be easily controlled.

The question that arises out of this realization is: Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

RELATED:
Tech bus drivers forced to live in cars to make ends meet
Scott Peebles drives employees to their jobs at Apple, the wealthiest tech company in the world, yet he can’t afford a place to live. (so he lives in his van.)

The truth inside the Google bus lawsuit: gentrification hurts the environment

by Susie Cagle in Oakland : theguardian – excerpt

Stop blaming poor people for pollution. When Silicon Valley’s class war prices out city workers and forces them to the suburbs, they become more eco-evil than Google

A new lawsuit brought by San Francisco activists against the city places blame squarely on Silicon Valley’s now infamous private tech-employee shuttle buses, claiming that they not only spew air pollution across the city and endanger cyclists and pedestrians, but also that they directly displace residents from their homes. But this lawsuit – and the city’s bypassing of a review process, and the buses themselves – isn’t really about the environment. It’s about class, and it could foretell big changes for how California’s cities grow in the future…

San Francisco tries to scuttle environmental reports all the time, and activists constantly sue them for it, so, in a certain sense, this is business as usual. But if this group can make their case against the company shuttles, they might not just force a city drunk on the promise of technology to take stock of its values – they might impact development across the entire Golden State… (more)

BMW Brings Ride-Share Street Parking to Mission District

By Jordan Ecarma : autoworld – excerpt

BMW’s DriveNow car-sharing service has expanded in San Francisco to allow for street parking, making it convenient for customers who don’t have time to return the car to a designated station.

While the street parking option will start just in select parts of the Mission District, the expanded service should come to Bernal Heights, Haight Ashbury, Noe Valley, North Panhandle (NOPA), Alamo Square and Potrero Hill by the end of this year,

First launched in Munich in 2011, DriveNow has spread to other German cities and came to the U.S. in fall 2012, bringing a fleet of 70 plug-ins to the Bay Area. The service has 17 stations including several in San Francisco, Oakland and Palo Alto, as well as San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport, according to Edmunds.

DriveNow members pay $39 to join the service, and rides cost $12 for the first half-hour and 32 cents per each extra minute. The San Francisco branch plans to add 80 more ActiveE electric vehicles to bring the fleet’s total to 150.

The service could eventually expand to more parts of the U.S., although it would face competition from growing car-share options like Uber, Lyft and Zipcar… (more)

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)