Love Citi Bike? You Have A Real Estate Developer To Thank

By Sarah Kessler : fastcompany – excerpt

17thArkansas

Citigroup sponsors Citi Bike, but its existence and expansion are due to a powerful real estate developer’s interest in keeping it alive.

This article was posted January 12, 2016 by Fastcompany, and became the catalyst for some investigations into Ford GoBikes, that are popping up like unwanted pimples all over our streets. Oddly we heard about the Scoots deal at a surprise SFMTA Board meeting, but, the GoBikes arrived without warning and are, so far, much more prevalent and annoying than the station-less Scoots. Read this article to see where our story started. We are working on some of the details, that, it appears the SFMAT staff and director are not quite clear on and were unable to answer at today’s SFMTA September 5 Board meeting. Although to be fair, the transmission from City Hall was not good so it was hard to follow the live events. We will post a link when it comes up.

It would be a logical guess to believe that financial giant Citigroup owns New York City’s bike sharing system. It is, after all, called “Citi Bike,” and every Citigroup-blue bike is plastered with the bank’s branding.

But the company—which has a $111.5 million sponsorship commitment to the program—does not own it. Navigate to the Citi Bike website, and you’ll see that “Citi Bike is operated by NYC Bike Share LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Motivate,” and that “Motivate is a unique company focused solely on operating large-scale bike-share systems.”

This might look like an answer. But NYC Bike Share LLC is actually just the first in a nesting doll of nomenclature that—intentionally or not—obscures a brilliant business move by one of the country’s largest real estate investors… (more)

But why?

Bike sharing systems carry with them the promise of more sustainable, accessible cities and healthier city residents. But perhaps more compelling to the CEO of a real estate company is the possibility that they will raise property values. These aren’t necessarily competing motives. “As cities do well,” Related CEO Jeff Blau told Fast Company, “we do well.”… (more)

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Neighbors to Developer: Too Tall, Too Little Parking

By : missionlocal – excerpt

A housing development planned for Cesar Chavez Street received a mostly unwelcome reception at a meeting on Tuesday night, when a handful of neighbors told project sponsors that the 6-story building would cast too much of a shadow and make parking too difficult.

The project would replace a single-story office building at 3620 Cesar Chavez St. near Guerrero Street with 24 units of market-rate housing.

“Did you guys do a shadow study?” asked one neighbor named Ari, who was worried that the 65-foot building would rob his backyard of sunlight. He was one of 13 neighbors to attend the meeting and lives 61 feet from the project on 26th Street.

“No,” answered David Sternberg, the lead architect for the project, saying the city didn’t require such a study. Sternberg said the building went to the height limit for the lot, and that with any new construction, there would be consequences to surrounding neighbors.

The building would have 24 units above a small ground-floor retail space. Four of the units are one-bedrooms and 20 are two-bedrooms sized at around 1,000 square feet. The architects said they did not yet know whether the units would be rentals or condos and suggested that the developers were more likely to pay an fee for affordable housing than build affordable housing on-site… (more)

Can the anti-SFMTA forces untie with affordable housing groups to stop more luxury housing that lack both parking and affordable units? If they can, they might be a mighty force against the current general plan that trumps all other local neighborhood plans according to Ms. Sarah B. Jones. She pretty much made that statement at a recent hearing on the Corovan project.

Folks who don’t follow both issues, parking and dense development, are missing the connection between the two that are being forged as a single department ASAP by City Hall.

We are looking at the future of Land Use and Transporation Department that will have all the money and the political might to push us out of any future negotiations unless we support the ballot initiatives that are designed to put that power back  in the hands of neighborhood elected officials with more connection to the masses than the centralized power structure in the Mayor’s office.

The most important issues are Prop L, to decentralize the power on the MTA Board, and Props D, H, M, and X. More on that to come. Stay tuned.