MTC News Headlines

mtc – excerpt

Headlines For Dec 14, 2018

Ford GoBike will boost fleet of electric bikes in SF from 250 to 850
San Francisco Chronicle

Ford GoBike more than triples its SF electric bike fleet today
Curbed

Transbay Transit Center inches toward repair
San Francisco Chronicle

Holes cut into steel contributed to beams cracking at SF’s Salesforce Transit CenterEast Bay Times

Holes cut into Transit Center beams ‘probable cause’ for cracks
San Francisco Examiner

Video: No Date Set on When Transbay Transit Terminal Will Reopen
NBC – Bay Area

(more)

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Breed, Schaaf call for regional agency to review Salesforce Transit Center investigation

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfchronical – excerpt (includes open letter to the MTC)

Two Bay Area mayors want a second opinion on the cracked steel beams at the Salesforce Transit Center.

Mayor London Breed and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on Thursday jointly called on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Thursday to “assist in evaluating” the cause of those two cracked beams.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, known as the TJPA, is conducting its own analysis, the mayors noted in their joint letter, but the pair said “we believe the only way to ensure” public confidence “is by engaging an outside firm to review and verify any findings,” and for that peer review to be managed by the MTC. The MTC’s role is to help the myriad transportation agencies in the nine-county Bay Area coordinate financial planning and financing… (more)

 

 

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.

Got a $1 billion-plus idea to fix traffic, transit in the Bay Area?

By Erin Baldassari : mercurynews – excerpt

The MTC is putting out a call for projects that would transform transportation as we know it in the Bay Area. Pictured here is a proposal architect Jeff Heller proposed more than a year ago to put a new “Southern Crossing” that would carry trains, autonomous vehicles, bicyclists and more, as one of several imagined transportation investments in the Bay Area…

SAN FRANCISCO — Think you know how to solve the Bay Area’s nightmarish traffic? Have you been fantasizing about where a future BART system could go? Do you have a tech-savvy solution for reducing solo-driving or integrating autonomous cars into Bay Area freeways?

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission wants to hear from you…

Don’t worry about cost, says MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler. The minimum price tag for capacity-adding transit or road projects is $1 billion, and there is no maximum.

“If we can get enough interest in a bold vision,” Rentschler said, “we can chase the money for it later.”….

The problem, he said, is that government agencies are constrained — by what is politically feasible, by laws that require them to use existing funding streams when sketching out their visions for the future, by being focused on what is achievable in the short-term. Over the past several decades — ever since the BART system was envisioned and built — those constraints have led to small, incremental changes, he said.. (more)

Pay attention to these warnings. There is no limit to how much taxpayers will pay to stay in the bay as long as the MTC is running the programs. How do the taxpaying residents of the Bay feel about that? Do we want the constraints on the government agencies lifted? Or do we want unlimited, unrestrained costs and taxes and price hikes to support unlimited growth?

What do MTC, Ford GoBikes, Motivate LLC and Related Real Estate have in common and why bring it up now?

Photos of GoBikes in the Mission by zrants

It is important to understand the role, the mission and methods of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) that unleashed this invasion on our streets and is now trying to convince the voters to pony up more money for more of the same through RM3, the $3 bridge toll.

People are complaining about the proliferation of GoBikes and the contract that brought them to our city. The subject moved into the Mayoral race when Supervisor Breed was recently credited with removing a station near her abode.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission,(MTC) signed an agreement with Motivate LLC that created a public/private partnership in 2015.
BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC
Or download it here: Program_Agreement

The agreement supposedly obligates bay area communities to hand over public space for the exclusive use of Motivate’s privately owned and managed bike-share stations. As we understand it, Motivate is supposed to share the profit with the local transit authority after a certain level of profit is realized. You would probably need an audit to find out whether this relationship is paying for the space it is taking from the public.

Since MTC is going to the ballot for more money in June, it is important to understand how they operate. Where does MTC get authority to make a deal to privatize public space by handing it over to a private corporation without pubic knowledge and is this the proper role of the MTC? If you don’t approve of MTCs activities, you might want to oppose RM3.

The June 5 ballot includes Regional Measure 3 and a $3 bridge toll increase. The measure includes language that would peg future bridge toll increases to the inflation rate and bypass further voter approval of those increases. Regional Measure 2 increased the property tax and pegged that to inflation. Who benefits?

Ford GoBike (Bay Area Bikeshare) Update

Potrero Boosters August Meeting agenda includes this issue:

In Boston, it’s Hubway, sponsored by New Balance; in Portland, the Nike Biketown. Chicago has the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Divvy, and New York has the CitiBike. And now the Potrero has Ford GoBike, an expansion of the newly rebranded Bay Area Bike Share. Bike pods have appeared at 16th and San Bruno, in front of Whole Foods, at the Arkansas and 17th corner of Jackson Park, at Mississippi and 17th, and at the 19th and Minnesota corner of Esprit. They’ll soon be at the 22nd Street Caltrain Station.


The recent expansion has not been without controversy. Further expansion plans promise additional pods in the southern parts of Potrero Hill and Dogpatch, extending into Bayview.

Justin Nguyen, the Outreach/Marketing Coordinator of Motivate, the company operating the Ford GoBike (and the other cities’ bikeshares mentioned above), will respond to our questions and comments regarding the program.

If you want to go find out more about Motivate and the Ford GoBikes, here is your chance. If I were going I would ask these questions:

What does this mean? “the newly rebranded Bay Area Bike Share” We assume the new brand is Motivate, which we recently learned from a program on KQED radio program, is the private/public entity that was created between MTC (the regional pubic funding entity that distributes government taxes and grants) and, what appears to be, a private corporate entity or entities.

Three questions arise from this information:

  1. Re-branding: What was the original brand before the re-branding?
  2. Expansion: Expansion of what? Who or what was in the original organization and who or what is in this iteration? Which government agencies or departments are involved and which private or corporate entities are involved in this deal?
  3. What is the government’s role and goal in these partnership agreements?

As a voting taxpayer, one must determine where or not this is a proper task for a regional transportation funding organization and how this effects our eagerness to pay higher taxes knowing how they are being used.

How did all of these contracts get signed by our government officials without our notice or discussion or consent? Do we want a government that excludes public from the discussion until after the contracts are signed? Are these legitimate contracts when the pubic is kept in the dark until they are signed?

Copy of the Contract: BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC

Program_Agreement download here

Bikes Sharing Companies Compete for Bay Area Market

Host Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt (audio track included)
Dan Brekke, editor and reporter, KQED News
Emily Stapleton, general manager, Ford GoBike

Ford GoBikes popping up all over photos by zrants

This is a corporate takeover of our streets.
Can you call the public/private corporate exclusionary deal MTC, Ford and Motivate have cooked up “competition” or fair business practices? Now the cyclists are threatening to boycott merchants who object to Ford bikes.
Time to fire back with boycotts of our own. Sign the petition to stop the Bikes in the Mission.

People voiced opposition and demanded removal of the GoBikes at the SFMTA Board meeting.  Board member Art Torres said “I think this is unacceptable… I’m glad you folks told us about this. This isn’t just going away.” He’s got that right.

If it seems like the Bay Area suddenly has a plethora of bike sharing options, it’s because it does. Several companies such as Ford GoBike, LimeBike and Spin are each looking to make a mark in the region’s bike-friendly culture. Ford GoBike, which utilizes docking stations where bikes are parked between uses, plans to expand its existing 700-bike program to 7000 bikes. Other cities like South San Francisco and Mountain View have made deals with stationless bike sharing companies, which allow riders more flexibility but risk bikes being left in random spots.

Both types of companies have faced pushback: In San Francisco’s Mission District, the neighborhood council banned a GoBike station from 24th Street and bikes have been vandalized throughout the Bay Area. San Francisco, which like other cities has a controversial exclusivity contract with GoBike, has yet to approve permit requests for several stationless bike share companies. In this segment we’ll take a look at how the bike share turf wars are helping and hurting the Bay Area…(more)

Corporate Connections:Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is a 9-county regional organization of unelected officials that manages state and federal funds and grants, including taxes for large public transit projects.  Motivate is a NY based corporation that operates bike shares on a national scale. Ford GoBike is the Bay Area bike share division of Motivate. Motivate contracts with the city of San Francisco under a controversial deal put together by the SFMTA.

Ford GoBike Financial arrangements: According to the information here, MTC has a partnership agreement with Motivate. MTC subsidizes bike share and most other public transportation systems. YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK! In this case, Ford is a patron of the GoBike program, to the tune of $49 million dollars over the next ten years. IF FORD DOES NOT SUPPORT YOU, YOU MAY NOT WANT TO SUPPORT FORD. This means that GoBike can expand whether or not people rent the bikes.

Ford GoBike Expansion Plans: GoBike plans to have 540 stations in San Francisco by the end of 2018. By their count, this would remove 1620 parking spots, many in residential neighborhoods. They expect to be the 2nd largest market in the country. Who is benefiting from this? How will this effect the Residential Parking Permit program?

Unfair Businesses Practices: How can a private/public partnership subsidized by public taxes and a corporate patron compete fairly with private bike owners and businesses associated with bike businesses and rentals that do not enjoy any subsidies? SFMTA is not approving any stationless bike rentals yet. Do they feel threatened by that model?

Regulatory Practices: How can the SFMTA fairly regulate their competition? How widespread is the competition?

Public criticism: Many residents claim they had no notice before the stations popped up and there has been a lot of pushback and vandalism. GoBike officials claim they are prepared to handle this and since city policies override voters and taxpayers wishes they do not appear to care. With our money backing them, they don’t need to. THINK ABOUT THIS NEXT TIME YOU ARE ASKED TO SUPPORT MORE TAXES FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Let Ford pay instead.

RELATED:
Bicyclists Boycott Bernal Businesses Seeking Removal Of Bike-Sharing Stations
Last week, the Examiner reported that the MIssion-Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to immediately remove a new Ford GoBike station installed in front of the UPS Store at 60 29th Street between Tiffany and Mission… (more)

 

Employers warned to offer commuter benefit to workers in Bay Area

By Denis Cuff : eastbaytimes – excerpt

80 Shuttle buses staging on 24th street twice a day idling, spewing out toxic air and running loud engines for air-conditioners are not tenable for residents on the narrow residential neighborhood. This is not a green commuter solution.

An air pollution rule requires large Bay Area employers to offer incentives or pre-tax benefits to workers to take van pools, car pools, public transit, or bicycles to work.

Air pollution regulators are warning thousands of Bay Area employers they could be fined for failing to comply with a rule requiring them to offer a commuter benefit to employees who get to work via van pool, bus, train or bike.

Under the 2014 rule made permanent last year, employers with 50 or more full-time workers must offer them a benefit encouraging commute methods that reduce gridlock and air pollution.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has estimated that about 8,000 employers are covered by the rule, but only about 4,200 have registered with the air district and demonstrated they offered a benefit, officials said Tuesday…

The benefit can save employees several hundred dollars a year, as well as lower payroll taxes for employers, according to the air district and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Continued noncompliance could result in companies being cited and fined, said Tom Flannigan, an air district spokesman.

“Our first option will be working with companies to get them to comply,” he said, “but companies at some point could be cited for violations just like businesses that pollute.”

Companies can register at 511.org, and find more out more information about it at http://511.org/employers/commuter/news... (more)

REPEAL THIS LAW – “Employers also can offer workers a free or subsidized bus or shuttle service such as buses offered to Google workers.”

 

Does this look like the source of the problem we are having with commuter shuttles to anyone else?

It is time to fix the shuttle bus problem by repealing this law or re-writing the rules to allow for more local control over the shuttle option. If the point of this program is to clean the air, and the idling shuttle buses are adding to the problem, this is not the solution to the clean air problem.

Costly Transbay Transit Center in busload of trouble

Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

…“The elephant in the living room is solving the operating subsidy problem, which could be as large as $20 million a year — and without a source of revenue,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who chairs San Francisco’s Transportation Authority…

Taxpayers and bridge commuters will probably be on the hook to pick up millions of dollars in costs, although the exact amount still isn’t known…

“We expect to have an operating deficit,” said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the public Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is building the center.

Without the foot traffic that high-speed rail could draw, the mall is looking a lot less attractive to potential renters. That means the authority may have to offer sweetheart deals to lure stores — which, of course, means less money…(more)

The City has a lot of nerve coming to the voters and tax payers begging for funds to operate a transit center many never wanted in the first place. When do we quit digging holes to fill and just fill the ones we have already dug?

Given the choice between paying for health care and paying for street diets and sidewalk widening, which do you think the voters would prefer? Housing and transportation are not the only think we need and the sooner City Hall wakes up to that fact the sooner we can start to repair the damage.

Bay Bridge rainy-day fund runs low, leaving toll-payers on hook

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The new Bay Bridge span, beset with construction problems, could cost as much as $270 million to complete.

Three years after it opened, the eastern span of the Bay Bridge has been beset with so many problems that a multimillion-dollar rainy-day fund set aside for unanticipated expenses has been nearly devoured, leaving toll-payers responsible for any additional costs.

In a report sent to the Legislature on Thursday, the three-person committee that oversees the $6.8 billion bridge project said just $67.7 million remains in the contingency fund, far short of the estimated $184 million bridge authorities say they need. The fund was $900 million when it was created in 2005.

The committee said the estimated cost to complete the span — including any remaining repair work — could run as high as $270 million or as low as $100 million. But in any case, the Bay Area Toll Authority will have to pay the bill — with money collected from drivers crossing the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges.

Toll hikes will not be needed, according to officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which operates the authority.

“We’re not going to raise the tolls to pay for this,” said Randy Rentschler, a commission spokesman. “There’s no question about that.”

Instead, cash that the authority has already banked for improvements on the region’s toll bridges and their approaches will cover the costs…(more)

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