Clipper Card Upgrade Could Bring Seamless Regional Travel, Or Not

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission will soon renew its contract for Clipper, the Bay Area’s “all-in-one transit card.” Transit advocates are urging MTC to use the opportunity to create a more seamless fare system, and remove barriers that could allow Clipper payments on both the region’s transit agencies and “first-and-last-mile” trip services.

Transit riders can currently use the Clipper card to pay fares on the Bay Area’s seven largest transit agencies (Muni, BART, AC Transit, VTA, Caltrain, SamTrans, Golden Gate) and the San Francisco Bay Ferry, and it’s set to include several other smaller transit agencies by 2016. While using a single card is certainly more convenient for customers whose trips take them across seemingly arbitrary transit agency service boundaries, it hasn’t made those trips faster or more affordable.

“Take the trip from U.C. Berkeley to Stanford: important destinations that are both inherently walkable places with daytime populations in the tens of thousands,” SPUR Transportation Policy Director Ratna Amin wrote in a blog post last week. “It’s logical to think they’d be linked by high-quality transit connections. But even during the morning rush hour, this trip takes nearly two hours.” It also costs $10.10, or about $400/month for a weekday commuter.

“In other regions where transit works better, you don’t have to think about what brand of transit you’re taking or who operates it,” said Adina Levin, co-founder of Friends of Caltrain. “And you don’t pay a lot extra to take different brands.”(more)

“Let’s take a hard look at late night transit options” Says Supe, Forms Working Group

Sasha Lekach : Bay City News – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a resolution at this afternoon’s Board of Supervisors meeting to form a late night transportation working group that will create a plan to improve after-hours public transit in the region.

Earlier this month, Wiener convened a hearing at the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development Committee with select city agencies, entertainment and nightlife advocates, transportation officials as well as late night and early morning workers and employers to discuss the apparent dearth of late travel options.

Wiener has called for better and safer after-hours service, especially since BART and the San Francisco Municipal Railway do not run 24 hours.

He said there are limited public transit options for late night workers and residents and visitors leaving bars and other nightlife venues.

The supervisor said after the hearing it was determined that economical options such as transbay bus service and Muni late night OWL service is sporadic and not well publicized for late night travelers… (more)

How much time and money will the city spend to avoid the obvious solution to the late night transportation that cost the city nothing? Private cars and cabs work fine and are the safest transportation at night.

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)

SFMTA “Budget Town Hall”

sfist – excerpt


Hey, wants to watch the SFMTA “Budget Town Hall” that was held on Saturday? (Fave quote, from a public commenter to the SFMTA: “You’re oblivious. You’re delusional.”) Here it is, below. [SFGovTV/YouTube] … (more)

San Francisco expected to set goal of reducing bike thefts by 50 percent in 5 years

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

City officials want bike thefts reduced by 50 percent within five years, as cycling, along with the value of what people are riding, continues to increase in San Francisco.
The crackdown comes as bike thefts have soared and as San Francisco’s transit planning relies on more people biking to get around town. However, the crimes are a deterrent.
“A high hurdle for increasing bike ridership is our ever-present problem of bicycle thefts,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who has made bike theft a priority in his final term in office…
A resolution introduced by Mar, which is expected to be approved Oct. 1 by the Board of Supervisors, would make it a city goal to reduce bike thefts by 50 percent by August 2018… The resolution also calls on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to “greatly expand bike parking.” Mar said it’s woefully inadequate, with just 3,000 on-street bike racks to handle the 75,000 average bike trips daily… And it would enshrine in city policy the bike registry program, which is expected to be launched as early as Dec. 1 by the nonprofit San Francisco Safe, which earlier this year received $75,000 from The City for the effort. Using an online form, bike owners can register their wheels. If police recover a bike, they can call the group to see if it’s in the database and then contact its owner. Riders also will receive stickers for their bikes to identify if they participate in the registry….
One new effort on the enforcement side is that Officer Matt Friedman has launched a twitter feed, @SFPDBikeTheft, that he said is wildly successful in cracking down on chop shops and thieves. He tweets out mug shots of bike thieves and often receives tips…

Some people might find a free bike registration service discriminatory. Will the city also run the bike recovery program for free? Car owners are charged a tow fee and a daily storage fee when their vehicles are found.

And how about a twitter feed for stolen cars. They cost far more than stolen bikes.

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?

Planning for displacement

By Tim Redmond : – excerpt

Regional planners want to put 280,000 more people into San Francisco — and they admit that many current residents will have to leave…
Social Engineering video


The threat of global climate change hasn’t convinced the governor or the state Legislature to raise gas taxes, impose an oil-severance tax, or redirect money from highways to transit. But it’s driven Sacramento to mandate that regional planners find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California cities.
The bill that lays this out, SB375, mandates that ABAG, and its equivalents in the Los Angeles Basin, the Central Coast, the Central Valley and other areas, set up “Sustainable Communities Strategies” — land-use plans for now through 2040 intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent…
The notion of smart growth — also referred to as urban infill — has been around for years, embraced by a certain type of environmentalist, particularly those concerned with protecting open space. But now, it has the force of law…
And while ABAG is not a secret government with black helicopters that can force cities to do its will — land-use planning is still under local jurisdiction in this state — the agency is partnering with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which controls hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal transportation money. And together, they can offer strong incentives for cities to get in line…
The vast majority of the housing that will be built will be too expensive for much of the existing (and even future) workforce and will do little to relieve the pressure on lower income people. But there is nothing whatsoever in the plan to ensure that there’s money available to build housing that meets the needs of most San Franciscans.
Instead, the planners acknowledge that 36 percent of existing low-income people will be at risk for displacement. That would be a profound change in the demographics of San Francisco… (more)

Continue reading

Land Use Committee Meeting, May 28 – Hearing and Monthy Report from the MTA Controller – excerpt

Link to the Land Use Committee Meeting on Muni, May 28:
130053 – Hearing and monthly report, directed to the Municipal Transportation Agency and the Controller, analyzing and disclosing the state of Municipal Transportation Agency service and maintenance, including month-on-month comparisons, and the loss of economic productivity in San Francisco resulting from Municipal Transportation Agency service disruptions.

Watch the live action. The download should be up soon.

SFMTA to Pilot one-way Car Sharing

by : – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) clarified their position on car sharing.  Paul Rose, the spokesman for the SFMTA, stated that they are planning to do a pilot with “one-way” car sharing, but he did not say whether this pilot would involve Smart Electrics.  The SFMTA has parking concerns with one-way car sharing.  The term one-way refers to Car2Go’s convenience car sharing model that allows the driver to leave the vehicle in a legal parking spot anywhere within the company’s local service area.
This one-way model is a differentiator for Car2Go.  It turns car sharing into a quasi-self-serve taxi service.  Instead of waiting around for a taxi, Car2Go members can be their own taxi service, by simply hopping in any available Car2Go Smart Car and leaving it at their destination for any other member to utilize.  The idea makes so much sense that I suspect that the SFMTA will have to adapt to the model in some respects.  Obviously, there is going to be some problems with street cleaning, peak hour lane restrictions, and other parking issues that need to be addressed.
Paul Rose expressed that the MTA is not opposed to car sharing and that the MTA sees car sharing as being one part in a sustainable transportation system.  In an ideal world, the MTA would prefer more people taking public transportation to avoid congestion issues altogether.  However, sometimes a car is simply more convenient for life’s daily adventures, and convenience is a luxury that human beings will always desire.  Hence, there is the one-way car sharing company, Car2Go… (more)

Ed Lee takes new track on Muni management from previous mayors

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer – excerpt

In December 2009, during a routine news conference to announce the unveiling of some painted bike lanes, former Mayor Gavin Newsom somehow managed to create a morsel of news out of a ho-hum event.
Frustrated by the lack of progress in his cherished citywide bike-sharing network, Newsom told local reporters that Nathaniel Ford, then the director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, would be looking for a new job if the cycling project wasn’t completed.
The remark was typical of Newsom, a hyperkinetic manager who often immersed himself in matters related to The City’s transportation agency… Newsom loomed large over all transportation-related matters — an approach that made him very different from his chosen successor, Mayor Ed Lee…
“Mayors can use their bully pulpits to really stick up for their agency and make transit-first policies a priority. Mayor Lee has potential to lay out that big vision for Muni, but frankly, he’s never done it before. We’re still unclear about what he wants for the agency, and his leadership definitely leaves a little bit to be desired.”… (more)