California state bills of concern to motorists

The NMA continues to advocate for motorists’ rights at the national, state and local level. Legislatures across the country took up a broad range of motorists’ issues in the second half of 2014. Here’s a brief summary of the driving-related issues we addressed.

California

Opposed Assembly Bill 1646 which would add a violation point for texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2393 which would increase vehicle registration fees to fund the implementation of an automated fingerprint identification system. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2398 which would establish penalties for a driver convicted of causing bodily injury or great bodily injury to a “vulnerable road user,” defined as a pedestrian, a person on horseback, a person operating a bicycle, in-line skates, roller skates, a scooter, or a skateboard, and a person operating or using a farm tractor. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Supported Senate Bill 1079 which would protect against potentially higher fuel costs by exempting suppliers of transportation fuel from having to purchase carbon allowances until 2021. The bill died in committee.

Opposed Senate Bill 1077 which would require various transportation agencies in the state to implement a pilot program designed to “explore various methods for using a mileage-based fee (MBF) to replace the state’s existing fuel excise tax.” The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1183 which would allow local jurisdictions to impose a $5 vehicle surcharge to fund the expansion of, and improvements to, bicycle trails and bicycle parking facilities. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1151 which would enhance penalties for numerous infractions and misdemeanors committed in school zones. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Recap on 2014 California Laws

alerts.motorists – excerpt

NMA E-Newsletter #314: 2014 Third and Fourth Quarter Legislative Update
The NMA continues to advocate for motorists’ rights at the national, state and local level. Legislatures across the country took up a broad range of motorists’ issues in the second half of 2014. Here’s a brief summary of the driving-related issues we addressed…

California

Opposed Assembly Bill 1646 which would add a violation point for texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2393 which would increase vehicle registration fees to fund the implementation of an automated fingerprint identification system. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2398 which would establish penalties for a driver convicted of causing bodily injury or great bodily injury to a “vulnerable road user,” defined as a pedestrian, a person on horseback, a person operating a bicycle, in-line skates, roller skates, a scooter, or a skateboard, and a person operating or using a farm tractor. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Supported Senate Bill 1079 which would protect against potentially higher fuel costs by exempting suppliers of transportation fuel from having to purchase carbon allowances until 2021. The bill died in committee.

Opposed Senate Bill 1077 which would require various transportation agencies in the state to implement a pilot program designed to “explore various methods for using a mileage-based fee (MBF) to replace the state’s existing fuel excise tax.” The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1183 which would allow local jurisdictions to impose a $5 vehicle surcharge to fund the expansion of, and improvements to, bicycle trails and bicycle parking facilities. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1151 which would enhance penalties for numerous infractions and misdemeanors committed in school zones. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown… (more)

Motorists fight back

By Steven T. Jones : sfbg – excerpt

Ballot measure seeks to prioritize cars and undermine SF’s “transit-first” policy

Believing that they’re somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs last week [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the “Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco” initiative for the November ballot….

“I think it’s been building for a long, long, long time, but the real catalyst was the Sunday and holiday parking meters,” political consultant David Looman — the 74-year-old Bernal Heights resident who is one of three official proponents of the measure — said of the motorist anger that led to the campaign. “That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.”…

“The bike lobby is running transportation policy in San Francisco,” Looman said, even though motorists “are the overwhelming majority and we make this society run.” He said the city needs to do more to facilitate driving “so the economy can continue to function, so people can continue to shop.”… (more)

As with No Walls on the Waterfront, the voters will decide.

There are cities with transportation systems that work. San Francisco is not one of those. If the lack of parking doesn’t get your attention, the traffic jams do. We went from a city that you could reasonably get around in via Muni, car, or BART to a city that is paralyzed by a traffic management system that has spent billions of taxpayer dollars destroying what used to work well for everyone. SF is now has the second or fourth worse traffic in the country, depending on which poll you read.

Listen to the voices of the Directors of the MTA Board, most of whom are members of the SF Bicycle Coalition, to see what their priorities are. Read the agendas and you will see that most of their time and energy goes to figuring out how to oppress motorists and very little attention goes to solving Muni operations issues. They relish the thought of handing over each public parking spots to private corporations and “sharing the profits”.

Read the job listings and you will see far more opportunities for planners, engineers, meter minders, contractors and consultants than for Muni drivers and mechanics.

The city claims Muni is broke but SFMTA can’t buy enough bulbouts, bike lanes, BRTs and road diets. The plan is to sell voters a $500 million dollar bond to finance the capital improvements. Go to your neighborhood SFMTA show to see what they have planned for you. There are plans to tear down the 280 freeway and fill in the separated section of Geary that passes by Fillmore. Good luck getting to General Hospital in an emergency after they install a greenway in the middle of Potrero, guaranteeing a traffic jam during rush hours.

If you trust the SFMTA to get it right in 2030 when it isn’t working in 2014, and given their plans for more of the same, vote against the Restore Transportation Balance initiative in November. If you don’t trust the SFMTA to fix anything vote YES on the Restore Transportation Balance initiative. http://www.restorebalance14.org/

San Francisco’s oppressed motorists are fighting for change

: newstatesman – excerpt

They’ve been silent too long.

Drivers in San Francisco have been having a hard time of it. All the public parking spaces created since the 1990s have been for cyclists. There’s no longer any requirement to build parking spaces for new houses and apartments. The transport agency even made them (gasp!) pay for parking on Sundays (mayor Ed Lee abandoned the policy after a year).

But fear not – for like countless downtrodden, voiceless groups before them, the city’s motorists have come together to fight back. Earlier this week, a group called “Restore Transportation Balance” delivered a ballot initiative to the town hall, demanding a change in policy to pay more attention to the poor, ignored motorist. Ballot initiatives can be proposed by individuals or interest groups and are then voted on in a local election. To qualify, they need to collect 9,702 (yes, 9,702) signatures from locals, but, just to be safe, this one had 17,500.

In an editorial for SFGate, Bill Bowen, a member of the Restore Transportation Balance team, described the initiative’s backers as “a coalition of neighbourhood activists, small businesses, first responders, disabled advocates, parents, churchgoers and just plain folks”… (more)

 

Motorists fight back in “transit-first” San Francisco

Believing that they’re somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs yesterday [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the “Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco” initiative for the November ballot.

It’s a direct attack on the city’s voter-approved “transit-first” policies and efforts to reduce automobile-related pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It would prevent expanded parking meter enforcement unless requested by a neighborhood petition, freeze parking and permit rates for five years, require representation of motorists on the SFMTA board and create a Motorists Citizens Advisory Committee within the agency, set aside SFMTA funding for more parking lot construction, and call for stronger enforcement of traffic laws against cyclists….

But with a growing population using a system of roadways that is essentially finite, (that is being reduced by the SFMTA’s million dollar road diets and other disruptive programs, while they cut Muni service and Muni stops, making it harder for people relying on public transit) even such neoliberal groups as SPUR and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have long promoted the idea that continued overreliance on automobiles would create a dysfunctional transportation system…

The coalition behind this ballot measure includes some of the combatants in those battles, including the new Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF) and old Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods. Other supporters include former westside supervisors Quentin Kopp, Tony Hall, and John Molinari, and the city’s Republican and Libertarian party organizations…   (more)

Please leave your comments at the source: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2014/07/08/motorists-fight-back-transit-first-san-francisco

 

Ballot measures

It’s looking likely that San Francisco voters will get to weigh in on the redevelopment of an aging waterfront pier, whether the city should be barred from installing lights and artificial turf on Golden Gate Park soccer fields and whether the city should adopt a “balanced transportation” policy protecting motorists’ interests.

Supporters of all three proposals turned in thousands of signatures Monday aimed at qualifying the measures for the November ballot.

The measures each need the signatures of 9,702 registered San Francisco voters to qualify for the election, which will take place November 4…

Then there’s the group calling itself Restore Transportation Balance, which turned in 17,500 signatures for its proposed proposition to establish a nonbinding policy declaration of policy that would include prohibitions on charging at parking meters on Sundays, holidays and outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., putting new meters in neighborhoods without the consent of residents and merchants, freezing meter rates for five years and enforcing traffic laws “equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.”… (more)

Transportation funding faces key test after Mayor Lee flips on VLF increase

By   : sfbg – excerpt

Facing a deadline of tomorrow’s [Tues/10] San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting to introduce measures for the November ballot, advocates for addressing the city’s massive long-term transportation funding gap still hope to introduce an increase in the local vehicle license fee, even though the once-supportive Mayor Ed Lee has gotten cold feet.

While Lee and all 11 of the supervisors support a $500 million general obligation bond that would mostly go toward capital improvements for Muni — a measure almost certain to be approved by its July 22 deadline — the local VLF was originally presented by Lee as a companion measure to fund Muni, street resurfacing, and bike and pedestrian safety improvements.

But when Lee got spooked by a poll in December showing 44 percent voter approval for increasing the VLF and the need to actually do some campaigning for the measure, he withdrew his support and left cycling, streets, and safety all severely underfunded. A report last year by the Mayor’s Transportation Task Force pegged the city’s transportation infrastructure needs at $10.1 billion over 15 years, recommending just $3 billion in new funding to meet that need, including the embattled VLF measure… (more)

Motorists Coalition Restoring Car Dominated Transportation Balance to San Francisco – Finally

dearestdistrict5 – excerpt

If you look around San Francisco, you’ll undoubtedly see every street moving car traffic, and cars parked on every street.  What you didn’t know is that it’s severely out of balance with nine slightly dedicated bus lanes, and six dedicated bike lanes strewn about the city.  Well a ragtag group of motorists are about to change the landscape of San Francisco to balanced levels not seen since – five years ago.

The “Motorist Coalition” believes that balanced transportation policies would better serve San Francisco motorists, pedestrians, motorists, first responders, motorists, motorists, taxi riders, Muni riders, motorists and bicyclists, motorists, and it also addresses the unique needs of the senior motorists, children motorists, families with motorists, and motorists.  Hopefully they can be more powerful than the enraged car lovers that managed to severely alter or halt plans on Geary BRT, Van Ness BRT, Market Street, Irving Street, and Polk Street… (more)

Faulty Clipper Card System Angers Muni Riders Subject To Fines

By Phil Matier : CBSlocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The technological advances to make San Francisco’s Muni a more efficient public-transportation system are actually working against riders, several of whom are getting fined because of faulty card readers not registering their fare purchases.

To make it more explicit, this is all about the scanner not reading Clipper cards. You’ve seen it before; Muni riders get on the bus, flash their card and it’s supposed to make that beeping sound, but often times it doesn’t register. According to transit officials 2 percent of the card readers aren’t operating correctly daily.

Muni’s fare system is based on the honor system, but once in a while at some of the transit system’s stops, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) inspectors are on hand to double check that riders are properly registered or have paid their bus fare. If your Clipper card didn’t make the beeping sound it’s supposed to, riders are subject to a $103 fine.

Riders are beginning to grow more vocal about their displeasure with the situation since it isn’t their fault that the Clipper card scanner system doesn’t always work properly.

So it’s like bus roulette if you’re using Clipper card on Muni. Assuming the 2 percent figure is correct; that’s like one out of every 50 buses that has a screwed-up card reader you’re dealing with. Not to mention at the end of your ride you might get a hefty fine.

With the BART system, which also uses Clipper, it either lets you in or it doesn’t and then you can plead your case with the station agent working in the booth.

Muni is more concerned with getting its riders on and off in order to be time efficient. Muni had estimated that they were losing $20 million a year in lost revenue from fare evasion.

If you do get a citation for fare evasion you have an opportunity to go to the SFMTA to contest it, but that of course takes time and you might have to take time off from work. It really makes me question how many millions were spent on getting the over-budgeted Clipper card system up and running in the first place… (more)

This is old news, but, interesting that the riders are getting more vocal about it. On a slightly different notes, we understand the new ticketing process for motorists also leaves a few things to be desired. Here’s Why You Should Fight Your Muni Fare Evasion Ticket.

Ticket Complaint story of the week.

A friend got a ticket for not having a seat-belt fastened.  There is no information on the ticket indicating the amount of the fine, only a phone number to call.  When he called the number a voice told him you are number 28 in the wait line, then put on some jazz music. Every now and then a voice would tell him where he was in the line. After about 20 minutes it got down to number 7 or and then the line went dead. This happened twice. After that, he gave up.

Anyone else have any of these problems? Motorists ticket complaints can be filed here: dptwatch.com

Local news Calling all cars … San Francisco motorists call for “transportation balance”

As San Francisco has implemented its 40-year-old Transit First policy more assertively in recent years, some car-loving residents have grumbled, fumed and quietly plotted revenge.

Their targets are the politicians and bureaucrats who have visited upon the city such evils as bike lanes, transit-only lanes, variable parking meter rates, higher parking charges and enforcing meters on Sundays (recently revoked).

Now, they’re prepared to unleash their fury. An unnamed coalition of  San Franciscans, including a Republican candidate for Assembly, submitted papers and started collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would establish a nonbinding declaration of policy “restoring transportation balance in San Francisco.”

“We realize that motorists contribute a disproportionate share of the funding to the SFMTA while receiving next to nothing in return,” the coalition said in a statement.

The group acknowledges the Transit First policy, which passed in 1973, but says that 79 percent of city households own cars and nearly 50 percent rely on cars to get to and from work.

“The Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation,” the coalition says in a statement. “Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety and freedom of movement.”

The group’s policy calls for:

  • Prohibiting parking meters on Sundays, holidays and outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Freezing for five years fees for parking meters, garages and residential parking permits, and limiting increases thereafter to inflation adjustments.
  • Banning new parking meters or variable meter pricing in neighborhoods unless a majority of residents sign a petition in support.
  • Earmarking a portion of new parking revenue, fees charges motorists and bond monies for construction and operation of neighborhood parking garages.
  • Requiring that any “re-engineering of traffic flow in the city should aim to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.”
  • Enforcing traffic laws “equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.”
  • Requiring motorists to be appointed to the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, and create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee.
  • Having the Board of Supervisors “make every reasonable effort” to adhere to the policy.

Coalition representatives say they need to gather 9,702 signatures  by July 7 to qualify their measure for the ballot. Look for them at a parking garage near you… (more)