Rally with Seniors for Safe Streets this Friday

Friday, July 28, 2017 – 10:30am – 11:30am Masonic Ave & Geary Blvd

It is time for the San Francisco to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities!

For too long seniors and people with disabilities have had to navigate poorly maintained sidewalks and potholed and poorly-patched streets, and use crosswalks designed primarily for the able-bodied pedestrians.

As a result, seniors make up only 15 percent of the city’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016, resulting from traffic crashes involving people walking.

Every year hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic crashes. Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community. This year people like 76-year old Jeannie Yee who lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year old Ka Ben Wong who was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year old Meda Hacopian who died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car, have all been victims of unsafe streets!

Speak up for Seniors and People with Disabilities this Friday

Join Walk SF, Seniors and Disability Action, and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets in urging city and state officials to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior, or as a person with one or more disabilities.

Rally with members of the community as they challenge legislators to walk or roll in “our shoes.” These safe street advocates will invite legislators to use wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other mobility devices and aids, as they attempt to cross Geary Boulevard at Masonic Avenue safely (two of the city’s high-injury corridors, the 13 percent of streets that make up 75 percent of all serious and fatal crashes).

For more information, or if you need transportation to the rally, contact: Pi Ra of Senior and Disability Action at 415.225.2080 or srira@sdaction.org.

We could ask for longer lights for cross the streets and street repair to make the streets less difficult to cross. It don’t take millions of dollars to change the timing on the traffic lights, or do a little pothole repair. What does it take for the SFMTA and other city agencies to do the quick, cheap fixes that don’t take years of planning and millions of dollars?

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Google acquires tech company behind BART Perks Program, quietly ends partnership

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A pilot program meant to ease crowding on BART may face a stumbling block from an unlikely source: Google.

The search-engine giant recently acquired a core technology company, Urban Engines, that provided the backbone of the BART Perks Program — but well before the end of the program pilot Tuesday, Google quietly prepared Urban Engines to end its partnership with BART, according to public records obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

In the communications obtained by a public records request, transit officials said the perks program successfully eased some crowding on BART trains during crushing commutes…

“Google has decided not to continue with commuter incentives programs,” wrote Dave Parker, a deployment engineer at Urban Engines, to BART Principal Planner Ryan Greene-Roesel and Jia Tong, staff at a Singapore-based transportation program, in November 2016… (more)

Uber’s terrible week gets worse; Google sues for alleged theft of self-driving technology

By Colin Deppen : pennlive – excerpt

Uber’s week started with a former employee alleging she encountered systemic sexual discrimination during her time with the company.

The week ended with Google filing a lawsuit against the ride-sharing service alleging the technology now fueling Uber’s self-driving fleet in cities like Pittsburgh was stolen. This as both companies remain locked in a costly and frenzied modern-day space race to perfect the nascent technology.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, the Google self-driving-car group, now known as Waymo, , accuses Uber of using stolen technology to advance its own self-driving car development…

According to CBS News, the 28-page complaint accuses a former top manager for Google’s self-driving car project, Anthony Levandowski, of stealing pivotal technology that Google says is now being used to fuel Uber’s own fleet of autonomous vehicles for its ride-hailing service.

CBS adds that the alleged theft occurred in late 2015, before Levandowski left Google to found a startup called Otto that is “building big-rig trucks that navigate highways without a human behind the wheel.” Uber bought Otto for $680 million last year, and Levandowski is now overseeing Uber’s effort to develop and dispatch cars driven by robots… (more)

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Uber and the lawlessness of ‘sharing economy’ corporates

By Frank Pasquale and Siva Vaidhyanathan : guardian – excerpt

Companies including Airbnb and Google compare themselves to civil rights heroes, while using their popularity among consumers to nullify federal law.

Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO. ‘Nullifying companies like Uber claim they are striking a blow against regulations they consider “out-of-date” or “anti-innovation” – their major innovation, however, is to undermine local needs and effective governance.’

In February, Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky compared his firm’s defiance of local housing ordinances with that of Gandhi’s passive resistance to British rule. Meanwhile, a tweeter compared Uber to Rosa Parks, defying unjust laws. Chesky quickly backed down after widespread mockery. Companies acting out of self-interest comparing themselves with the noble heroes of civil rights movements is as absurd as it is insulting.

But there is a better analogy from the US civil rights era for law-flouting firms of the on-demand economy. It’s just not the one corporate leaders claim. They are engaged in what we call “corporate nullification”, following in the footsteps of Southern governors and legislatures in the United States who declared themselves free to “nullify” federal law on the basis of strained and opportunistic constitutional interpretation… (more)

Wiener to SFMTA: Google bus pilot program should consider fair wages, working conditions

By sfexaminer – excerpt

When granting permits to “Google bus”-style corporate shuttles, The City should measure a shuttle provider’s “labor harmony.”

That’s the idea behind a resolution Supervisor Scott Wiener said he plans to introduce at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, in a move dovetailing the growing unionization of corporate commuter shuttle providers.

The resolution urges the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency specifically to consider “the extent to which an applicant can assure Labor Harmony in its operations” when granting an application for a company to take part in the commuter shuttle pilot program. Under the program, tech company commuter shuttles are allowed legal use of nearly 200 Muni stops and a handful of white-zone curbs… (more)

Emails show ‘handshake agreement’ for tech buses using SF transit stops

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

Emails from The City’s transit agency over the past three years indicate that a “handshake agreement” exists for commuter shuttles to use Muni stops without being cited.

The correspondence also shows that there was internal discussion at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency about whether to ticket for the illegal use of the public-bus facilities, while companies and their lobbyists called for leniency and requested citation dismissals.

The inquiries include emails sent to the SFMTA by shuttle providers and the companies that use shuttles…

Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, a large provider of corporate shuttles, sent a Jan. 24 email to Ed Reiskin, SFMTA transportation director, after $3,000 in fines were received since April 2013.

“As you probably know, Bauer’s IT was an early provider of corporate commuter shuttle transportation dating back nearly ten years. At that time, we entered into a handshake agreement with SFMTA to use Muni stops,” wrote Michael Watson, Bauer’s vice president of marketing.

In an earlier email, Watson also referenced an “agreement.”

“As I assume you know, we have had a ‘handshake’ agreement with SFMTA for many years that allowed us to use the stops under a ‘Muni First’ condition,” the email said…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesman, said his agency was “not aware of any handshake agreement.”

The identified representative of Google was lobbyist Ross Guehring of the well-known local firm Barbary Coast Consulting, who wrote in an April 10, 2012, email, “I think it would go a long way if these tickets could somehow be reined in during this policy development process.”…

On Jan. 21, the agency’s board of directors approved an 18-month pilot program that will allow shuttles to use 200 Muni stops for $1 per stop per day. A determination that the program didn’t need to undergo an extensive environmental review is being appealed to the Board of Supervisors, with a vote scheduled for April 1… (more)

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SF Transit Agency must cease questionable-practices/
Corporate Shuttle Road Kill

Regulating the Google Buses: the SFMTA’s plan for private shuttles

By Isabel Angell : KALW – excerpt

Private shuttles have been using Muni stops in San Francisco for a while. But they’ve mostly been smaller buses, for hospitals and universities. In the past few years though, bigger charter buses for tech companies like Google and Genentech have also started to use Muni stops.
In total, the private shuttles regularly use more than 200 Muni stops around the city. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) spokesperson Kristen Holland says the tech buses’ rising popularity has started to cause Muni delays…
The pilot proposes a few other new rules: shuttles will have to be clearly marked, and always give Muni the right-of-way. Buses that violate the new rules will be fined. The SFMTA hasn’t decided on a dollar amount, but the fine would depend on how many stops a shuttle provider makes within the city. More stops mean a higher fine.
According to Holland, the new regulations should make Muni boardings smoother and improve the system’s reliability, while still helping the city keep cars off the road….
A Google spokesperson said the company has no comment about the proposed regulations. A Facebook rep said it’s too early in the process to make a comment.
And it’s true: this pilot program is still a ways off. Holland says next, the SFMTA staff will present the regulations to the agency’s board, and the pilot should start sometime this winter. If all goes well, the SFMTA will look into making the shuttle regulations permanent… (more)