Outreach Launches This Spring to Finalize Details for Geary Rapid Upgrades

by Kate Elliott : sfmta  (includes graphics)\

We’re gearing up to start the first set of Geary transit upgrades later this year.

In the coming months, we will launch further outreach for the Geary Rapid Project, which focuses on early improvements on the stretch of the 38 Geary route between Market Street and Stanyan streets. In the meantime, we will finalize the design and construction of longer-term improvements for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project.

With the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) approved unanimously by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board in January, lead management of the project is transitioning from the SFCTA to the SFMTA, which will design and implement Geary improvements as two separate projects… (more)

Outreach is a joke, or  I should say an insult. Angry people gave up on talking to the SFMTA wall and filed a lawsuit to stop the excesses in this project. the case is making its way through the courts now and many are praying the ruling will stop this and other controversial projects.
Taxpayers revolted in the fall when asked for more money to show their displeasure in how the SFMTA is spending the money but they have hungry contractors to feed and more high-paid planning staff to hire so they could care less what we want.
SFMTA is removing stops and bus seats and constantly forcing the public to deal with their baggage and can’t figure out why ridership is slipping. They are especially short on the weekends and evenings. Why would anyone want to spend their time off on the Muni after putting up with it all week?

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Merchants, community organizations sue to block Geary BRT project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project has been in the works for more than a decade, but a newly filed lawsuit wants local courts to “slow down” the project.

An environmental lawsuit against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco County Transportation Authority project was filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, taking aim at the controversial project that is intended to improve public transit from the northwest side of The City to downtown.

The SFCTA declined to comment, and the SFMTA could not be reached for comment…

The suit was brought by San Franciscans for Sensible Transit, a nonprofit touted by Geary Boulevard merchant David Heller, a staunch opponent of Geary BRT.

“This action is brought to stop a grave error in judgment from taking form as a bus thruway [sic],” the claim states, “which destroys the quality of life and economic health of the Richmond District of San Francisco.”… (more)

There are a lot of people who oppose the Hybrid Alternative Geary BRT, the mess on Van Ness, and the Red Lanes on Mission. We need a break from constant changes on the streets and musical chairs with bus stops. We need a return to civility, but it is hard to be civil when you are stressed by having to deal with constant change. We need a moratorium on disruptions. This suit is a strike against maximum change and disruption, in favor of a cheaper, less damaging alternative. Who wants to spend an extra $300 million dollars and endure years of turmoil when you don’t have to?

Uber pays $20 million to settle claims of driver deception

Associated Press – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber Technologies is paying $20 million to settle allegations that it duped people into driving for its ride-hailing service with false promises about how much they would earn and how much they would have to pay to finance a car.

The agreement announced Thursday with the Federal Trade Commission covers statements Uber made from late 2013 until 2015 while trying to recruit more drivers to expand its service and remain ahead of its main rival, Lyft.

The FTC alleged that most Uber drivers were earning far less in 18 major U.S. cities than Uber published online. Regulators also asserted that drivers wound up paying substantially more to lease cars than the company had claimed… (more)

Sharks sue San Jose, fearing Diridon megaproject would eat up arena parking

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein : bizjournals – excerpt

Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the San Jose Sharks, is going to court with the city of San Jose over a glitzy, $600 million, mixed-use project that the team says will gobble up parking for downtown arena patrons.

Just two weeks after losing in the Stanley Cup finals, team owners filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the city’s environmental clearance of developer Trammell Crow’s “Diridon” office and apartment campus. The litigation, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), seeks to overturn the project’s approval and an injunction to prevent the developers from breaking ground… (more)

Sports arena sues over parking rights in San Jose while the Warriors are trying to eat it up in San Francisco. What a challenge for the courts to sort this out.

Video: Golden State Warriors new San Francisco arena delayed

(KRON) — The Golden State Warriors arena in San Francisco has been delayed by one year. The NBA’s best team will now move from Oakland in the fall of 2019.

KRON4 News has confirmed the delay with the Warriors spokesperson Lisa Goodwin.

The delay is due to a recently filed lawsuit.

The 18,000-seat arena will occupy the site of what is currently a parking lot across the street from the University of California at San Francisco’s newly built medical center at Third and 16th streets.

The Warriors were supposed to move to the new arena for the 2018 season….

Mission Bay Alliance has issued a statement…: “This is a victory for the Mission Bay Alliance and the people of San Francisco who steadfastly opposed this massive arena and entertainment complex next to a children’s hospital in Mission Bay. The proposed 18,064 seat arena with parking spaces for only 200 vehicles would cause gridlock throughout San Francisco and harm the vulnerable patients of UCSF, biotechnology research, and neighborhoods that stretch from the Bay Bridge to the Bayview… (more)

 

Uber e-mails reflect company’s brash reputation

By Carol Said : sfgate – excerpt – (includes exhibits and videos)

Uber

Uber reps pose with MADD on the steps on SF City Hall while state judge rules Uber emails are admissible and release them to the public. Uber says they plan to donate $1 to MADD for every person who types in the promo code “Think and Ride.”

Uber’s brash reputation evidently extends to the way its managers talk about drivers. In forceful and sometimes crudely derisive language, Uber bosses discussed when to fire drivers for the on-demand ride service, according to internal company reports and e-mails.

Uber was compelled to produce the documents as evidence for a class-action lawsuit by California drivers seeking to be considered Uber employees rather than independent contractors. The company sought to have them kept under seal but a federal judge ordered them made public. The judge heard arguments Friday about whether the case should be dismissed, but made no ruling.

The documents illuminate a sometimes-contemptuous culture that would make a human resources manager cringe…

A win by the drivers could seriously affect Uber and Lyft’s bottom lines. The companies could be obligated to pay drivers’ operating expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance. The Uber lawsuit’s lead plaintiff told Reuters that his annual expenses topped $10,000. The companies could also be on the hook for Social Security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. As of December, Uber had more than 160,000 active U.S. drivers in 161 cities, it said in a report this month. Lyft, which is in 60 cities, has not released its driver numbers.

“They think they’ve come up with a brilliant new model by which they can shift onto workers all the expenses of having a business,” Liss-Riordan said. “California law doesn’t allow them to do that.”…

In Thursday’s hearing on the Lyft drivers’ case, U.S. District Judge Vincent Chhabria said that California law appears to favor the drivers’ contention that they are employees, according to Reuters, but he didn’t issue a ruling… (more)

Ride Share riders and companies oppose AB 612 and AB 2293 which seek to deal with insurance issues. video on CBS channel 13.

Community Efforts to Extend Mission Bay Loop Rejected

By Keith Burbank : potreroview – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has rejected community calls to extend the Mission Bay Loop (MBL) further south. The issue didn’t even appear on SFMTA’s December meeting agenda, though one Dogpatch resident encouraged the agency’s board to seriously consider the southern option during the public comment period. 

According to SFMTA, the loop will increase service levels to a growing Southside population and “is key to efficient integration of the T-Third Street line with service on the Central Subway.” While community advocates want the loop built, they prefer a different route than the one planned for 18th, 19th and Illinois streets.

The transit agency has contracted Mitchell Engineering to build the loop. Construction could begin as soon as this month. Under its agreement, the company has 240 days to complete the project.

Dogpatch resident Bill Schwartz wants SFMTA to build the loop at the Muni Metro East Facility (MME), located at Illinois and 25th streets. He and other advocates insist that current plans ignore residents of east and south Potrero Hill and Dogpatch, as well as merchants along the 22nd and Third Street business corridors. According to SFMTA, the costs of siting the loop at the MME would be three to four times the current project budget of $6.26 million, principally because such an extension would necessitate the purchase of three two-car trains, at a cost of roughly $20 million…

Potrero Boosters president J.R. Eppler believes that the transit agency is catering to Mission Bay business interests, rather than taking a comprehensive approach that serves Mission Bay as well as more southern neighborhoods. 

The Committee for Re-evaluation of the T-Line Loop, which is composed principally of Dogpatch residents, has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court alleging that SFMTA failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act when it signed the construction contract with Mitchell Engineering. The Committee argues that the project’s environmental review failed to account for the planned and expected changes to the area from a multitude of proposed developments, including the Warrior’s Arena. 

According to SFMTA’s Julie Kirschbaum, “the lawsuit does not immediately affect the construction.”…

According to advocates, light rail vehicles on a 25th Street loop would cause less traffic congestion after San Francisco Giant’s and Golden State Warriors’ games than the current loop design. Automobile drivers use Third and Illinois streets after Giant’s games to travel south to freeway entrances, they claim. They expect Warrior’s fans to do the same. “So traffic is a big deal for the whole neighborhood,” said Joel Bean, a Committee for Re-evaluation of the T-Line Loop member.

The SFMTA doesn’t plan to hold another community meeting on the project... (more)

The MTA Brain: Is there some kind of trigger that goes off in the MTA Brain that automatically responds “No” to any request from a member of the public for a change in Muni plans? Or is it only a good idea if it was their idea?

People in the Mission want less MTA attention and people in the Bay View want more. Why don’t they just do what the public wants instead of always doing the opposite?

People asked for more lights on the intersections to make pedestrians easier to see at night and we are told they don’t have the money for that. We will need another bond measure to get lights. What they have money for is taking out traffic lanes and parking to increase congestion. No money for the Bay View or street lights.

DA’s Office Declines To File Charges Against At-Fault Driver Who Struck And Killed Folsom Street Cyclist

Sasha Lekach : BayCityNews – excerpt

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges in the death last August of a 24-year-old bike commuter in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

Amelie Le Moullac, who lived in San Francisco and worked at the San Francisco office of the marketing firm Voce Communications, was killed during her morning commute on Aug. 14 when a truck made a right turn and struck her at Sixth and Folsom streets.

The driver was not initially cited, but was later found to be at fault after a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member found surveillance video of the crash and turned that over to investigators.

About a month ago, prosecutors told Le Moullac’s family that the district attorney’s office was unable to charge the driver, district attorney’s spokesman Alex Bastian said this morning.

After the incident, the Police Department was criticized for how it handled the investigation and for the apparent derisive remarks aimed toward bicyclists that a police sergeant said at a memorial event a week after Le Moullac died.

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr apologized on behalf of the sergeant in the weeks after the fatal crash and said the incident would be reviewed by the city’s Office of Citizen Complaints, which handles reports of police misconduct.

In January, Suhr made another public apology at a City Hall hearing about how the case was handled.

At the time, he said investigators were working to obtain an arrest warrant for the driver.

Le Moullac’s family filed a wrongful death suit in San Francisco Superior Court last September against Milpitas-based Daylight Foods, the produce company using the truck, and the driver, Gilberto Alcantar.

According to court records, the case is slated to go to trial later this year.

(more)

Disabled woman: Pittsburgh parking meters too tall

By Sheldon Ingram : wtae – excerpt

Debra Stemmler says she couldn’t reach controls on new street meters

PITTSBURGH —A woman has sued the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, saying that its new electronic parking meters are too tall for her to reach from her wheelchair.

Fifty-three-year-old Debra J. Stemmler filed the class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming that the parking authority is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. Her lawsuit says the new meters have working parts more than 48 inches above the ground, including coin slots… (more)

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)