Problems with public meetings that may be addressed soon in a ballot initiative.

Report on the April 21st MTA Commission Meeting:

I attended the MTA Commission meeting on the 21st to object to the Consent calendar containing removal from public parking, all the car rental parking spots around the city. (On the attached link to the agenda is the list of the particular spots. )

http://www.sfmta.com/calendar/meetings/board-directors-meeting-april-21-2015
No description of how many parking spots are being lost this way. No mitigation measures. No environmental impact consideration. Bargain pricing of a pubic asset. This is clearly an example of MTA following in the railroad tracks of Il Duce. Since when has our democracy in SF taken such a severe hit to the groin?

I also admonished the chairman for conducting a meeting without being able to be heard by the audience. When I first asked him to speak into the microphone, he looked up at me, and then went right back to mumbling whatever he said. After I denounced his contempt for the folks who came to participate, he went, again, right back to speaking without being heard. It is not a public meeting if the conversation of all the speakers cannot be heard.

Back to the car rental spots, this item will be heard on its own in some future meeting (not indicated at the time). Can you please get the word out to your mailing list that will be their chance to  argue against this public give-away to private profit companies.The more people the better, and the objective should be to take as much of the commission’s time as possible. Let them feel the pain of our outrage, since I’m sure they’ll approve the matter regardless of what the people have to say. After all, it is the MO of the MTA. “Muni: We don’t give a shit what YOU think”

– Ted

Rob Anderson and Mary Miles Take Aim at the SFMTA’s Plans for Polk Street

This was the team that tied SFGov up in knots with an injunction for four long years.

FROM:
Mary Miles (SB #230395)
Attorney at Law
for Coalition for Adequate Review
San Francisco, CA 94102
TO:
Edward Reiskin, Director
Roberta Boomer, Board Secretary
and Members of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Transportation Agency
#1 South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
DATE: March 3, 2015
PUBLIC COMMENT, MTA BOARD MEETING OF MARCH 3, 2015, AGENDA ITEM 12 (“Polk Streetscape Project”)
This is Public Comment on Agenda Item 12, the “Polk Streetscape Project” (“Polk Project” or “the Project”), on the MTA Board’s March 3, 2015 Agenda. Under the Brown Act and CEQA, you are legally obligated to accept and consider this Comment and to place it in all public files on the Project. Therefore, please assure that this Comment has been distributed to all members of the MTA Board and placed in all applicable files on the Project.
The “categorical exemptions” invoked do not apply to the Project, and therefore you may not lawfully approve the Project or any part of it as proposed, since such approval will violate the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) (Pub. Res. Code §§21000 et seq.)
The Project proposes to reduce traffic and turning capacity on Polk and other Streets by eliminating existing parking lanes, reducing traffic lanes and installing obstructions to traffic flow and turning on this busy commercial corridor.
The unusual and highly inconvenient scheduling of this hearing before the MTA Board after 3:00 p.m., on a day with an extraordinarily long MTA Board Agenda shows the MTA Board’s contempt for the public and the significant impacts of the Project. The hearing should be continued to a date and time when the public can be heard without waiting hours for hearings on unrelated matters, and where the public’s comments will receive the Board’s full and serious attention. The hearing precludes public attendance by many people, including all those people who have to be at work. Combined with the short notice, that scheduling deprives the public of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the environmental review and administrative proceedings on the Project.
On January 15, 2015, the San Francisco Planning Department issued a “Certificate of Determination of Exemption from Environmental Review” (“Exemption”) claiming that the Project was categorically exempt under Classes 1, 2, and 4 of CEQA, invoking 14 Cal. Code Regs. [“Guidelines”] §§ 15301, 15302, and 15304. None of those categorical exemptions apply to this Project. Further, the significant cumulative impacts on traffic, transit, parking, loading, and air quality caused by the Van Ness BRT project one block away, and by the CPMC Project at Van Ness Avenue at Geary Boulevard, make the Polk Project not categorically exempt. (Guidelines §15300.2) Both of those Projects also present “unusual circumstances” precluding categorical exemption of the Polk Project.
1. The Polk Project Does Not Fit Within The Categorical Exemptions Invoked… (more)
This is not the only legal threat that we know of. We heard from other attorneys at the hearings. We will watch this closely.

Bold Visions for the Embarcadero Emerge at Public Design Workshops

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Ever since the Embarcadero was uncovered from beneath a freeway more than two decades ago, San Franciscans’ appetite for a more people-friendly waterfront only seems to have grown.

At a series of recent public design workshops this month, groups of attendees were asked to put together a display of how they’d re-allocate street space on the Embarcadero. The main idea was to figure out how to provide a protected bikeway, so that riders of all ages can enjoy the popular waterfront without having to mix it up with either motor vehicles or crowds of pedestrians on the shared sidewalk.

At one of the workshops, two groups suggested that half of the roadway, on the waterfront side, be dedicated primarily to walking and biking, even if it includes a shared-space zone where delivery drivers can move through slowly for loading. Finding a design that allows deliveries to safely co-exist with the bikeway seems to have been the main challenge since the SFMTA launched its redesign process in July

If you want to keep your lifestyle alive, you better get out and let the SFMTA and your Supervisors know that roads are not for walking and biking. Most of the people are still getting around by cars and if they want to get more people out of their cars, they should quit cutting Muni service.

The Supervisors to contact about this plan are:

D-3 David.Chiu@sfgov.org and D-6 Jane.Kim@sfgov.org and D-10 Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org

You can also contact the SFMTA project managers if you can figure out who they are. We couldn’t find any information. You can always send your comments to the Mayor: mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org, Ed Reiskin: Ed.reiskin@sfmta.com and the MTA Board members:
MTABoard@sfmta.com

 

SFMTA Board Approves Contested Transit Signals, Bulb-Outs on Haight

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

On Tuesday, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved plans to add traffic signals and bulb-outs along Haight Street, which could speed up Muni’s 6 and 71 lines and improve pedestrian safety. The approval came despite complaints from Upper Haight merchants over removing parking for bus bulb-outs, and mixed support for new traffic signals from pedestrian safety and transit advocates…

But the speed benefits of signalization are contested by Michael Smith, the former Chief Technology Officer and General Manager of NextBus, who co-founded Walk SF. SFMTA staff have not responded to his challenge to their estimates — neither to a request from Streetsblog, nor at the board hearing — but street safety advocates say that they might not justify costly signals, which restrict movement for people walking and biking (in this case, on the Wiggle). “MTA hasn’t convinced neighbors and pedestrian advocates of that,” said Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich

But Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider told the SFMTA Board she “comes at this with some mixed thoughts. ” Planners in Sweden, the birthplace of Vision Zero, say they avoid adding signals in favor of treatments like roundabouts, which maintain slower speeds and “forgive” mistakes by street users and minimize the risk of crashes. Traffic signals, meanwhile, give motor vehicle drivers carte blanche to coast through an intersection…

Peter Straus, an SFTRU member and retired Muni service planner, told the SFMTA Board that he lives a block away from Haight and Pierce Streets, one of the intersections set to get traffic signals. “I don’t think they’re things that people should be afraid of, if they’re properly managed” by synchronizing signals for slower speeds, he said. The SFMTA says it plans to do so…

Aside from the signals, several merchants at the hearing protested the SFMTA’s plans to remove parking and loading zones to create sidewalk extensions at bus stops and crosswalks. A few, including the owners of Amoeba Music, also said they thought transit bulb-outs would cause car traffic to back up, since buses would stop in the traffic lanes to load passengers…

Breed doesn’t have a specific position on the proposals, said Johnston, but she is concerned that shelters and signals could affect public safety…

Evans said that the Muni Forward plans for Haight “are in conflict” with the Haight-Ashbury Public Realm Plan, a community planning effort that the Planning Department is undertaking, with a focus on streetscape improvements. City planners have said the two plans will work in tandem, and that the Muni improvements up for approval were vetted by the public through the Public Realm Plan…

The only SFMTA directors who voted against approving the changes were Jerry Lee and Gwyneth Borden, the board’s newest member. Borden said more time was needed to work out the issues, and that she “had a hard time with” the appearance that those voicing concerns weren’t being taken seriously. “I don’t think you can overlook when there are so many diverse groups of people, with varying problems, in a particular area,” she said… (more)

Even people who normally agree with the SFMTA disagree with this plan. Most don’t want traffic signals and many don’t like the shelters. Merchants don’t want to lose any parking. If it ain’t broke leave it alone.

Someone needs to request a hearing before the Board of  Supervisors to amend the contract.

RELATED:
SFMTA Board Approves $6.6M Project Along 71 Haight-Noriega Route

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/

Good MTA Director v. Bad MTA Director

by Alison Stevens Rodrigues : beyondchron – excerpt (first posted Aug. 17‚ 2005, re-posted Friday, Sept. 13, 2013)

At yesterday’s Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board of Directors meeting, members of the public were reminded of what they did not want from a new transportation director even before they were allowed to discuss what they did.
Before that, however, they were reminded of the San Francisco Municipal Railway’s (MUNI) current state of affairs. As a MUNI representative read results from the system’s quarterly report, it became clear that MUNI’s performance falls short of standards outlined in Proposition E. The lack of operators and number of missed runs are two of MUNI’s bad pennies… (more)

Remembering how we got here. How well did the process work the last time? Might people have different ideas now?