Why traffic laws are not being enforced

Comments from a concerned citizen

The city outgrew the infrastructure and LOS (level of service) some time ago. There are too few police, firemen, Muni drivers, teachers, 911 emergency call center operators, etc. for the current level of population. Not only do we have more people living in San Francisco, the population swells during the day making it impossible for the traffic control officers to do a proper job. To make matters more difficult, City Hall dedicates huge amounts of money to planning for future growth instead of fixing the problems we have today. SFMTA can’t hire and train enough operators but they did manage to push their PR department from 4 employees to 55 to try to convince you that you should be happy with “their service”. Are you?

Keeping police officers on the streets is one aspect of the development policy that the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) was supposed to take into consideration, and did until recently. Now they just create a record that shows they took CEQA into consideration and found that they could do nothing to mitigate the “harm” that might come from the new project under consideration and approve it anyway. You may thank your state government and the courts for overriding the local government laws and policies and protections our residents voted for to keep a healthy balance between growth and services. Now we just have forced growth.

If you are paying attention to local Planning Commission hearings you have heard residents and local neighborhood organizations warning about the lack of infrastructure growth to support the increased population. Instead of taking these concerns into consideration, our state representatives have rewritten laws to avoid slowing growth to match LOS (the level for service needed to serve the community.)

In the next few days you will see a number of street actions that are an attempt to bring this unbalanced growth to the attention of the public and an attempt to suggest a better plan going forward to return the city to a more pleasant standard of living. You will also see some new faces running for office that offer a different narrative.

If you don’t like the way things are, you might consider making some changes when you can.

SF Planning Commission Officially Prioritizes Humans over Cars

by : sfstreetsblog – excerpt

Late last week, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously adopted a resolution to replace “Level of Service” (LOS) with “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT). That’s bureaucratese for measuring a project’s overall effect on moving people, instead of just counting automobiles. As explained in a previous post, environmental law has long forced transportation planners to grade projects by how they impact traffic flow. “This will streamline California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for projects that are designed to encourage public transit, promote pedestrian safety and help reduce the need for traveling long distances by car,” said John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning, in an official release. “We are pleased to be the first city in California to adopt these new guidelines.”

LOS often jammed up projects such as bike and transit lanes, which–arguably–reduce the number of cars that flow through a given area by taking lane space, but increase the number of people who can get from A to B. In short, the new rules, in the process of being adopted at the state level, make it so something as benign as a bike lane doesn’t trigger an expensive and time consuming environmental review… (more)

 

Traffic congestion, thanks to the SFMTA

sfpoliticslife.blogspot.com – excerpt

As is evident below, the dreaded SFMTA has now decided that they don’t have to study the effect of projects on automobile and street congestion. BUT, they can collect fees.
if you people don’t stop the SFMTA, you will be left with a Manila or Beijing or Rome. I don’t care, i won’t be here.
The new ATG (ed: Auto Trips Generated) system will almost never require an EIR, because the TSF money collected by the Transportation Authority is considered to be a traffic mitigation chargeHow clever:  The Transportation Authority is abandoning environmental impacts on car congestion and delays, so they can charge developers for transportation money.
The Transportation Authority now believes that any reasonable measurement of transit sustainability will satisfy CEQA requirements. If ATG replaces LOS, the Transportation Authority has the right to do whatever it wants with San Francisco’s streets.  There is no person or agency in City government fighting for the rights of automobile drivers and their passengers.  Slower car speeds, delays, and congestion will not be as important as wider bus lanes, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and limited parking… (more)

The more you know the more important the CEQA protections look. Tell you Supervisor to protect your rights to know and your rights to appeal big decisions that effect your life, such as eliminating parking spots and tying up traffic with complete street projects.

Send the SFMTA a message that their priority is to FIX MUNI not tell people how to get around.

San Francisco’s Transportation Authority Sacrificing CEQA Car Congestion Standards for Developers Money

By George Wooding

San Francisco’s Transportation Authority wants to stop utilizing car congestion and delays as a traffic measurement.
Buried deeply inside San Francisco’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) transportation regulations is a traffic measurement called “Level of Service” (LOS).  LOS was developed in 1970 as the fundamental building block of San Francisco’s transportation. The Transportation Authority is advocating for a change to CEQA regulations.
The chief function of LOS is to measure the delay each car experiences at a particular intersection.
LOS is a simple measuring system of how new real estate developments and transportation plans impact car usage in San Francisco.  Car congestion and delay measurements are rated on a scale of “A,” being good traffic flow — to a low of “F,” which means unacceptable congestion.
Under current CEQA interpretations, LOS is a quality measure describing operational conditions within a traffic stream, generally in terms of such service measures as speed and travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, and comfort and convenience of transportation.
The City, its Transportation Authority, Planning Department, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Department of Environment all complain that LOS does not do a good job measuring environmental impacts.
These agencies believe that the LOS-based system needs to be replaced, as it supposedly will cause roads to be widened, sidewalks to shrink, crosswalks removed, dangerous bicycle lanes added, traffic lights to be re-timed, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels increased.
In 1973, the City adopted a “Transit First” policy that gave planning priority to modes of transportation other than the automobile.  The City’s Transit First policy expressly states that decisions related to streets and sidewalks “shall encourage the use of public rights-of-way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit.”
The “Transit First” policy was the first step toward demonizing car usage, blaming cars for GHG emissions, and for steeply increasing fees to own cars.
Now that the Transportation Authority will be trying to replace the LOS system in the November 2014 general election, car congestion and delay will become a second-tier priority.  Greater car congestion and delay is inevitable — and the City doesn’t care.

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