Supes, neighbors block Ford GoBike’s citywide expansion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ford GoBike’s expansion has been halted and slowed across The City, and the reason given is often the same — there wasn’t enough notice given.

From Glen Park to the Haight, the Mission District and most recently, the Marina, residents are pushing back against the rental bike docks, which are usually placed in parking spaces meant for cars.

And as the bike rental service is on the cusp of its planned expansion to 7,000 bikes Bay Area-wide, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also increasingly pushing back against it and the Lyft-owned company that operates the program, Motivate, by saying that not enough notice has been offered to neighbors about new station installations…

But while each supervisor sees this problem through a neighborhood-focused lense, each individual battle adds up: The bikeshare-slowdown now stretches citywide… (more)

First we want to thank our supervisors for supporting the rights of residents and the public to determine how our streets are used. Stopping the spread of corporate controlled curb space is important. Some people may not be aware that the Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 180089 to allow the public to make these decisions by giving the supervisors greater control and oversight of the SFMTA Board decisions. Look it up if you are not familiar with the ordinance: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/sfmta-review/

We need some data on the number of stations to bikes Motivate and other private entities have installed in the city and the number of vehicles assigned to private parking spots. We have noted a number of GoBikes parked in public bike parking spots that are meant for private bikes and a lot of empty Motivate racks.

Perhaps we need to ask Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which negotiated Ford GoBike’s exclusivity contract to provide docked bikeshares within the Bay Area, what the intent of that contract was or is. He claims he just wrote the contracts and it is up to us to deal with them. If the public objects to them being placed on our streets they should honor our objections. We don’t need an excuse.

The above mentioned ordinance is a good start in taking back control of our streets, but the voters of San Francisco may want to consider a Charter Amendment as well if these matters and others are not resolved to our satisfaction soon. Let Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors and the candidates running for office know how you feel. They are in office to serve the public not the corporations.

Dave Cortese Elected Chair of Metropolitan Transportation Commission

MTC : prnewswire – excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese took over the reins of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today after the 18 voting members of the 21-member regional Commission unanimously elected him as chair for the two-year term running through February 2017.

The Commission is charged with planning, financing and coordinating transportation for the nine counties comprising the San Francisco Bay Area, a mission that also extends to integrating transportation facilities and services with development while promoting sustainability. MTC oversees several travel resources in the Bay Area, including the free 511 traveler information system (on the phone at 511 and on the Web at 511.org), the Clipper® transit fare card and the FasTrak® electronic toll collection system.

Cortese brings to his assignment two years as MTC’s vice chair, and eight years overall as an MTC commissioner. He was first appointed to MTC in 2007 as the Association of Bay Area Governments’ (ABAG) representative, later transitioning to Santa Clara County’s seat on the Commission. In February 2015 he started his third four-year term as an MTC commissioner… (more)

Plan Moves Ahead to Ease Congestion and Allow Bikes on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

By 2017, if all goes according to plan, people will be able to bike and walk across the upper deck of the 5.5-mile Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, an idea that bike advocates have been pushing for nearly 40 years.

“It’s exciting to finally see this project moving forward,” says Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay. “There will be so many new opportunities that open up by having bicycle and pedestrian access to the bridge.”

A Bay Area Toll Authority committee Wednesday approved $4.6 million for a contractor, HNTB Corp., to draw up a final design, which includes converting a shoulder into a third vehicle lane on the lower deck to ease congestion and delays for eastbound drivers.

The new path will fill a major gap in the Bay Trail, a 330-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian paths that will some day grow to 500 miles, and wrap around the entire bay, across all eight bridges.

Five bridges are currently accessible by bike and foot, although the Bay Bridge path currently stops before Yerba Buena Island. Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission are studying building a path across the western span to San Francisco, but say it’s still many years away… (more)

Where is the plan to pay for any of this when everyone gets ride of their cars and starts riding bikes? When the state starts licensing bikes and developing revenue from them they should use that revenue to develop bike lanes on bridges.

Projects in Solano, Bay Area, aim to alleviate highway congestion

By Melissa Murphy : thereporter – excerpt

A congestion report recently released by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) picked out the roadways in the Bay Area that see the most backed up traffic.

While Solano County didn’t make the list of the top 50 congested locations, local transit officials are still working hard to alleviate the congestion that is here — most notably on Interstate 80.

The MTC’s report is the first comprehensive report on Bay Area freeway congestion since 2009.

“Congested delay,” which MTC defines as time spent in traffic moving at speeds of 35 miles per hour or less, rose 18 percent in 2013 to an average of 2.6 minutes per commuter each weekday in 2013 from 2.2 minutes in 2012. This marks the Bay Area’s highest level of congested delay on a per-commuter basis in at least 15 years and a 37 percent increase over the average 1.9-minutes-per-commuter-per-day figure registered in 2010 at the lowest level of the region’s recession-fueled traffic break. “Total delay,” which MTC defines as all time spent in traffic moving below the posted speed limit, averaged about 7 minutes per commuter in 2013.

Additional information including the top 50 list is available online at http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/congestion… (more)

There is a petition to expand the lanes on Highway 37, linking Solano, Marin and Napa Counties to 101.

It’s official: Bay Area gridlock is worse

By Denis Cuff : mercury news – excerpt

OAKLAND — The Bay Area freeway commute is moving at its slowest pace in over a decade, as an economy that has shifted into overdrive leaves drivers idling on gridlocked roads.

In its first congestion report card in five years, the Bay Area’s transportation planning agency said that average congestion — defined as traffic moving 35 mph or less — increased 65 percent in the Bay Area from 2009 to 2013.

To address the growing problem, transportation leaders are calling for more carpool and toll lanes, improved public transit and more commuters shifting work times.

“It’s good news and bad news,” said Amy Worth, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission chairwoman and also an Orinda councilwoman. “The good news is more people are finding work; the bad news is it’s taking them longer to get there.”… (more)

No news here. There is a map of worst areas and some helpful suggestions on how to fix the problem, starting with shifting work hours to relive congestion during peak times.

Golden Gate Transit to 5 year olds: pay up

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Bay Area system forcing the change

Five-year-olds who previously have boarded Golden Gate Transit buses for free may have to cough up a youth fare beginning next year.

It’s not that Golden Gate Transit is targeting the children for added revenue, rather it’s a result of a larger Bay Area transportation bureaucracy that determines who pays fares and at what age, officials say.

Traditionally Golden Gate Transit has those 6 through 18 pay a half-price youth fare on buses. Those who are 5 and under ride for free when with an adult. Fares are based on length of travel.

But with the introduction of the Clipper transit card in the Bay Area in recent years, there has been a push by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the Bay Area transportation planning agency — to standardize who is considered a youth… (more)

Someone needs to check their facts on this one. All youth do not pay to ride the Muni in SF. Vote on the poll at the source.

Brief Reveals Flaws with San Francisco’s Transportation Task Force Report

by Wendell Cox : pacificresearch – excerpt

Today PRI released a brief reviewing San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Transportation Task Force Report: 2030. The brief is a supplement to PRI’s earlier study “Plan Bay Area Evaluation” (June 2013), which critiqued the plan developed by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).  Both the brief and the study were authored by Wendell Cox, a PRI fellow and consultant on public policy, planning, and transportation issues.

Mr. Cox writes, “Even if all of the required funding recommended by the Task Force Report is obtained, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is unlikely to be able to deliver on the promises of the 2030 transportation plan.”

Mr. Cox believes that the plan gives little or no attention to the potential for increasing truck and automobile congestion on the city’s streets: “Street improvement programs will give greater priority to transit, cycling, and walking, and will have a necessary effect of slowing general vehicle travel. Similarly, the implementation of additional exclusive bus lanes and taking of capacity from streets for cycle lanes would likely have the same effect. Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

In addition, Mr. Cox believes that escalating costs will also present difficulties:

1)    Most of the costs of the 2030 transportation plan are for capital improvements.  In the public sector, capital improvements are inherently susceptible to substantial cost overruns.

2)    The Task Force Report indicates little or no commitment to cost effectiveness.  Muni’s costs over the last 15 years have risen far more than inflation.  This occurs because there is no competitive influence to keep transit costs under control.

Mr. Cox writes that it seems unlikely that the city would be able to deliver on the expensive capital projects in the 2030 plan without significant strategies to ensure that projects stay on budget.  He suggest that the plan might be accomplished through “design-build” contracts with winning bidders that obligate them to deliver the finished projects within budget, making up for the additional expenses from their own resources.  He adds that there are public policy solutions that can bring transit costs under control, which make it possible to maximize service levels for the public and keep fares low — for example, competitive contracts that involve the use of private and public companies to operate individual routes of the transit system for the lowest cost.

Download full report

To learn more about “Evaluation Plan Bay Area: Transportation Task Force Report: 2030” or to arrange an interview with author Wendell Cox,, please contact Rowena Itchon (ritchon@pacificresearch.org) or Laura Dannerbeck (dannerbeckconsulting@gmail.com) at the Pacific Research Institute… (more)

So we aren’t all crazy when we claim that ”

Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

The experts agree with us.

 

Peak-hour tolls have little effect on Bay Bridge congestion

Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

Four years after its implementation, the $6 toll to curb rush-hour traffic on the Bay Bridge appears to be having little, if any, effect on easing the peak-hour backup on the morning commute.

In fact, if a recent weeklong snapshot of the morning rush hour taken by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is any indication, the number of peak-hour commuters has grown to 9,000 cars per hour, which is just about the limit of what the bridge can handle.

Between April 28 and May 2, 117,059 cars and trucks passed through the Bay Bridge toll gates during the morning peak hours – an 8,949 increase over the average weekly commute before “congestive pricing” was implemented in 2010.

Under the new pricing strategy, commuters are charged $2 more between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The off-hour price has stayed at $4 – a $2 savings.

The idea was to encourage drivers to cross at nonpeak hours.

The snapshot, however, shows that the increased traffic, brought on by the better economy, has remained at its old pattern – hitting 8,500 cars per hour by 6 a.m. and peaking between 6 and 8 a.m. at about 9,000 cars per hour.

Just as it did before congestive pricing.

Whatever the case, the rush-hour backups aren’t likely to go away anytime soon.

Nor is the congestive pricing – which was intended to provide relief.

“We still want to incentivize people to use the bridge on the off peak,” said MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler.

Only, in this case, the real incentive might be to just beat the inevitable backup… (more)

Cubic Transportation Systems Receives $7.5 Million Contract Add-on from Metropolitan Transportation Commission to Expand Clipper Card to Smaller Bay Area Transit Agencies

PRWEB : digitaljournal – excerpt

Cubic Transportation Systems, a leading integrator of information technology and payment systems and services for public transportation, received a $7.5 million add-on contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to expand the Clipper® card fare payment system to more than a dozen suburban transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area. The system, which Cubic delivered and operates, will enhance travel options for commuters in parts of the East and North Bay… (more)

Did anyone else catch the suggestion by one of the MTA Board Directors to hold off on some of the tech expenses? Clearly he was ignored. This is $7.5 million dollars for more tech and less for Muni service expansion.

 

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MTC and 511 Release 2012 Edition of Getting There on Transit Guide Read more here

By Metropolitan Transportation Commission : heraldonline.com – excerpt

OAKLAND, CALIF., SEPT. 11, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and its 511 Traveler Information Service have released the 2012 edition of the Getting There on Transit guide. The free publication features detailed maps of three dozen transit systems throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and highlights more than 250 popular destinations with directions to reach them on public transit.  (more)