New plan to ban encampments at ‘Hairball’ emerges as homeless and cyclists clash

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Freeway2

City officials are exploring ways to remove encampments from the “Hairball” to address the growing number of clashes there between cyclists and homeless people…

The new parking restrictions and bike lane are the first steps among dramatic changes by city officials coming to the Hairball, as bicyclists and people living on the streets increasingly clash…

Peggy Howse, owner and president of All Seas Wholesale, a fish distributor located on Jerrold Avenue said… parking restrictions on Jerrold Avenue may hurt her workers, who travel from as far as Antioch and already battle for parking with nearby RVs…

But in an SFMTA board meeting on Sept. 21, staff said parking restrictions on nearby Barneveld Avenue were put in place to ensure nearby employees could fairly compete with RVs for parking.

Leave it to SFMTA to claim that by eliminating parking spaces they are making parking more available by forcing more competition for parking spaces. Not sure which of the new math programs they studied where subtraction equals more not less, but, most of us live in the real work where subtracting gets us less not more.

Some vitriol from local cyclists has emerged on social media and among the cycling community, concerning the Hairball and its tent-living residents. Cyclists also often vent frustration alleging they’re targets of theft for “chop-shops” run at homeless encampments… (more)

Given the constant nasty comments on social media and the new lack of civility in San Francisco you might want to consider who is moving here and why you may prefer less of them. People used to move here because they loved San Francisco the way it was. Now they come to get rich and change it.
Plan Bay Area forecasts elimination of 40% of the middle class. For that plan to happen, middle class citizens will leave or become extremely rich or extremely poor. Think about that next time you consider who you want to represent you at City Hall. Ask them how they feel about the Plan Bay Area.

SF leader on ‘Smart City’ challenge leaves SFMTA for Google X

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Office of Innovation, which looks to pioneer transit of the future like driverless cars, needs to find a new chief dreamer.

Tim Papandreou, head of the Office of Innovation, is leaving his city job to join Google X, the company’s self-driving car project, Papandreou announced at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting in late June.

He was the lead point of contact with Google and other tech innovators on developing policy initiatives around driverless cars and other transit innovations.

When asked if losing Papandreou would slow down those efforts, Ratna Amin, transportation policy director at SPUR, wrote in an email, “There could be a lag,” but not if “someone else is made accountable soon.”…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future…

Papandreou told the SFMTA board, “It was a really hard decision to leave” after seven and a half years of service. He will now work as the new head of partnerships for Google X, he told the board. “I believe the future is automation. I want to get ahead of it.”

His departure comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by San Francisco for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in a national contest called the “Smart Cities Challenge.” San Francisco was one of seven finalists pitching tech-oriented solutions to launch transportation systems of the future.

“The immediate reaction we had from our partners was, ‘Let’s continue forward in any case,’” Reiskin said…

Who are these partners?

SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan congratulated Papandreou on his new job, and added, “Can we each get one of those new driverless cars? We can test them for you!” … (more)

If there was any doubt about the connection between SPUR, SFMTA, MTC and Plan Bay Area, and the Tech titan’s plans to privatize and control public streets and transportation, that doubt is now gone. In their own words we hear their plan.

It is up to you now, Bay Area citizens to vote for your preference in November. Do you favor a private corporation deciding where and how you should get around, while tracking your every move and purchase, or would you prefer to step back into a world where you decide what you want to do and where you want to go?

RELATED:
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in American cities

Uber Is Experimenting With a Service in Manhattan That’s Cheaper Than the Subway:
How dose putting more private buses on the streets that compete with the subway help the traffic flow? Is there nothing these corporations can’t leave alone? Bring back private jitney buses that do the same thing but don’t rely on apps. Just roll along the streets and pick up passengers for a few bucks and allow private citizens without smart phones and apps. How dose putting more private buses on the streets help the traffic?

Number of ‘Google Bus Stops’ grow, even in the west, activists say

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Where the “Google buses” go, evictions follow.

And those private shuttles are expanding all across The City, with more than 20 new stop locations and over 900 more annual pickups made by shuttles so far in 2015, compared to last year, according to new data.

Those are the assertions of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and some advocates suing San Francisco and various tech companies. The goal of the suit is to compel an environmental review of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program, which legalized private commuter shuttle activity.

The data on the growing number of private commuter shuttles, nicknamed “Google buses” comes via public records requests of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency by activist Sue Vaughan.

Vaughan is one of the litigants in the lawsuit, along with local activist Sara Shortt and the local SEIU.

Mapping project activist Erin McElroy famously protested a Google Bus in 2013, along with groups like Heart of the City, demanding Google and other tech companies help stem evictions.

“We found that evictions were up 69 percent more in proximity to [shuttle] stops between 2011 and 2013,” McElroy said, adding the newer commuter shuttle stops would likely bring higher rents and evictions.

The mapping project also released an interactive map last week, showing new commuter shuttle stops in the west and south ends of San Francisco:
http://www.antievictionmap.com/

When the San Francisco Examiner asked SFMTA if they had studied the correlation between evictions and shuttle stops, they said questions should be referred to the Planning Department.

Gina Simi, a spokeswoman for the Planning Department, said “This isn’t something that would fall under Planning’s jurisdiction or analysis.”

As previously reported by the Examiner, public documents show the SFMTA is working hand-in-hand with the Planning Department to exempt The City from conducting environmental impact reports, which may include measuring community displacement effects…. (more)

The SFMTA is using our tax dollars to hire lobbyists in Sacramento, and possibly Washington to change the laws in favor of the tech buses. This is especially concerning because no other city has this problem that we know of.

Please let us know if there are other cities, particularly in California that have tech buses.

A gentrification report came out, or was discovered on twitter this week that shows a strong correlation between the transit-oriented development and gentrification that further proves the point many have been making for some time.

The goal is to build, not build a green or clean city. Just build, and any story, no matter how true, will do to get that next project approved and shift the demographic in San Francisco to one that can be easily controlled.

The question that arises out of this realization is: Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

RELATED:
Tech bus drivers forced to live in cars to make ends meet
Scott Peebles drives employees to their jobs at Apple, the wealthiest tech company in the world, yet he can’t afford a place to live. (so he lives in his van.)

Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

A new twist in the power struggle over Bay Area planning

48hillsabagcommuteflows

This fancy ABAG graphic shows the commute flows into and out of the nine Bay Area counties.

The power struggle between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments got a lot more complicated over the past week.

Since MTC voted in late June to fund ABAG’s planning staff for only the first half of fiscal year 2015-16—an action followed by revelations that the regional transportation planning agency wants to take over ABAG’s land-use planning functions before their joint December move into fancy new digs in San Francisco—the two entities seemed destined to consolidate by the end of the year. Only the Sierra Club had registered its opposition to a merger.

But with ABAG’s Executive Board meeting on September 17 and MTC convening on September 23, several other influential parties, including SPUR, the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area, SF Planning Director John Rahaim, and ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport, have come out against hasty action, if not against consolidation, while the SF Labor Council has warned MTC not to take over ABAG’s planners, period.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature could be dramatically changing the entire regional planning picture. A bill by Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Marc Levine, ABX1-24, would turn MTC into an elected board, forcing the organization to accept a level of democracy that has never remotely existed in the past.

The bill would re-name MTC the Bay Area Transportation Commission and replace the body’s current 21 appointed members with commissioners elected by districts of about 750,000 residents. Each district would elect one commissioner, except a district with a toll bridge, which would elect two. A citizens’ redistricting commission would draw the district boundaries, and the campaigns for commissioners would be publicly financed. Elections would be held in 2016, with new commissioners taking office on January 1, 2017.

“It’s time to take a hard look at reforming this agency,” Ting told us. “We need to make it more accountable to the voters, the state, and the region.”… (more)

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What is the Bay Area’s Plan for 21st Century Transportation?

As part of our series, Boomtown, we’re answering questions from KQED listeners and readers. Our first one comes from Chris Tann, who lives in south San Jose and gets stuck in congestion when he commutes alone to his job in Cupertino on Highway 85.

“When will the city and county planners actually think more than a few years ahead, and put in place the necessary changes to bring Bay Area transportation, both roads and public transit, into the 21st century?”

Bay Area transportation planners are actually looking many decades into the future, but the changes, as an Orinda city official once put it, will be “evolutionary rather than revolutionary.”

Moving more people around the Bay Area will require us to make better use of our current infrastructure, expand public transit, build dense housing around transit corridors and make the streets safer for people to bike and walk, according to three experts who study Bay Area transportation…

“We don’t want to build our way out of this crisis,” says Randy Rentschler, the MTC’s legislative and public affairs director. “We need some strategic investment, we do. We need to fix some highways, we do. We need to widen some, fix some interchanges, we do. But we don’t want it to be what we are only doing here in the Bay Area.”… 

Plan Bay Area, which provides a long-range transportation and housing vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encourages new housing along transit corridors so people have the option of taking a bus or train, instead of driving….  (more)

Smart Cities”/Stupid Cities—Walking is a “Technology”

By Stephen Frank : capoliticalreview – excerpt

I have three grand daughters, ages 5,2 and 1. All have learned how to walk, naturally. They lifted themselves up, and then eventually took steps, holding on to things. Finally, walking and running on their own. No computers, no fancy equipment, no high tech needed to learn to walk. But, if you live in a nutty “smart city” you will learn they you need to relearn how to walk via “technology of walking”. Someone is making a bundle out of what Jon Gruber would call “the stupid Americans”.

“In today’s auto-centric culture, the operative question for local and regional leaders as well as transportation planners is this: How do we address the growing list of public externalities ensuing from America’s perceived love affair with cars? Traffic congestion, parking demand, environmental issues, and more garner concern as today’s built environments increase in size and complexity.

Shifting this current trajectory necessitates a new mindset—one requiring city leaders to think more like engineers and behavioral psychologists and less like regulators. Amid this is a new trend that promises to accelerate the movement toward more sustainable ways of getting people from point A to point B.”

Fancy phrase for outlawing cars in dumb cities. Will we allow billions meant for roads to be spent on money losing choo choo trains, horse and walking trails and bike lanes? Apparently we are… (more)

Well put. It is good to see someone pointing out that the emperor is naked. Let’s take the money out of walking. Make walking free for all.

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.

 

San Ramon needs to plan transportation before building

by Jim Gibbon, Sierra Club Mount Diablo Group – theyodeler – excerpt

The Sierra Club is urging San Ramon to prepare a transportation master plan to figure out how to solve our transportation problems for the coming decades–before  spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects that may not help in the short term and that may close off long-term solutions. (There is a 2009 Countywide Comprehensive Transportation Plan, but it doesn’t really do the job.)

For example, the city is studying building on- and off-ramps for high-occupancy vehicles in the middle of I-680 at the Norris Canyon overpass. The ramps might shave three minutes off commute times for about 500 bus passengers a day using the Walnut Creek and Dublin BART stations–but at a cost of $101 million dollars. Unfortunately, because the freeway right-of-way is limited, the ramps would require reducing the number of freeway lanes, thus turning what is now a congested stretch of freeway into an absolute bottleneck. The ramps would replace the current Norris Canyon Road overpass, which provides a safe path for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians between neighborhoods on the west side of the city and the schools and parks on the east side. Even worse, the ramps would preclude other future freeway traffic solutions… (more)

Plan Bay Area is an attack on a way of life

By Mimi Steel, guest commentary : Bay Area News Group : mercurynews – excerpt

Plan Bay Area will fundamentally transform the 101 cities and nine counties into urbanized, transit-oriented, high-rise developments. It is a draconian, top-down, 25-year plan conceived by unelected bureaucrats supposedly in response to a problem (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) that will already be solved (per California Air Resources Board) due to transportation technologies such as more fuel-efficient cars, electric cars and telecommuting.

The most unsettling parts of the plan deal with imposition of unfunded mandates on cities and counties. It subverts local control of land use and zoning decisions. It requires:

  • Cities must set aside priority development areas (PDAs) for mixed-use development (stores on first floor with housing above). Most development over the next 25 years is supposed to be in these highly restricted areas.
  • Cities must bear the unfunded costs that the additional populations will force on services such as schools, fire, police, etc.
  • The unique characters of most small towns will be destroyed. Towns such as Saratoga, Los Gatos, Dixon, Marinwood must all follow the same template of a downtown center with mid- to high-rise development near mass transit.
  • Transportation funds will go to projects such as light rail and commuter rail, which are the least cost-effective options for transportation choices.
  • Road repair and expansion will be neglected because the point of this plan is to get people out of their cars by purposely causing congestion and restricting parking. (while claiming the intent is to manage parking)…

Media coverage has been sparse to nonexistent… .(more)

Media coverage has been sparse to nonexistent, and those who dare warn us like Tim Redmond are cut. Tim Redmond Departs Guardian Amid Staff Cuts (Update)

Watch the video of the only debate that was held in San Rafael (www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOE7Hyd5B40).
Our favorite remains this one: Social Engineers 

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Regional planning staff respond to public comments on Plan Bay Area Reports gauge resident support for regional plan

by Jessica Lipsky : sanramonexpress.com – excerpt

Planners from the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) reviewed and discussed public comments on Plan Bay Area. The long-range transportation and land-use/housing plan aims to provide more housing and transit choices to reduce pollution in all nine Bay Area counties.

The effort grew out of the Senate Bill 375, which requires each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks. Local activists have been vocal in their opposition to the plan, which calls for more clustered development near transportation centers to decrease environmental impact… (more)

Read the rest of the article and comment on the source article if you can. This is the most important issue facing us today. The new bill to oppose is SB 1273, which would  take control of San Francisco’s waterfront from the taxpayers and local elected officials. This sets a dangerous precedent and upsets a lot of people.

 

The MTC Planning Committee and ABAG Administrative Committee will meet again on July 12 to present the final plan and EIR. Officials are tentatively scheduled to approve the plan on July 18.

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