SFMTA Planner Denies Plans to Create Evening Tow Away Zone along Upper Polk St

Press Release January 24, 2015

Luis Montoya, SFMTA lead planner of the Polk Streetscape Improvement Project, faced concerned residents and merchants in a closed door meeting Thursday in preparation for the upcoming January 30th Public Hearing to approve the agency’s long awaited project plans. Community members were alarmed to read that the MTA is proposing a morning and evening daily tow away zone for the implementation of a “temporary floating” bike lane from Pine to Broadway as posted on public notice posters wrapped along utility poles in their neighborhood.

Further questions and concerns grew from a report released from the planning department detailing the project’s exemption from an environmental impact report and the proposed plans including raised cycle tracks from Pine to Union, the removal of parking along the entire eastern side of Polk St, and the removal of up to 250 parking spaces at project completion. The report suggests the desire for future implementation of a full‐time raised cycle track along the east side of Polk St from Pine to Broadway (and permanent parking removal).

In response to these questions, Mr. Montoya commented that the posters were misprinted and there are absolutely no plans to implement a PM tow away zone along upper Polk St from Pine to Broadway.  He went on to comment that the report from the planning department is not his preferred proposal he will present at the public meeting on January 30th, but the planning department’s own interpretation of the project plans and data collected. How the Planning Department concluded the PM tow away zone he could not say. He did confirm his agency’s intention to implement the morning tow away zone despite minimal ridership numbers the SFMTA has recorded along northbound Upper Polk St on weekday mornings, and denied the SFMTA is planning to present a plan that calls for the removal of all northbound Polk St parking to create a raised cycle track from Pine to Broadway St  He added that his plan will remove approximately 150 parking spaces along the 1.3 mile Polk St. corridor (in addition to the hundreds of spaces being removed for the Van Ness BRT project), not the 250 listed in the Planning Department report.

At the conclusion of the meeting he asked the group for their trust and support despite the inaccurate and misleading public notice posters and planning department report, and left with a permanent marker in hand to personally alter the posted public notice signs.  On Friday a majority of the posters had been removed entirely, again questioning the agency’s accountability to the community in providing appropriate public outreach.

The Polk Streetscape Improvement Project public hearing will be held Friday, January 30th at 10AM in Hearing Room 416, City Hall.

This sounds like a real comedy of errors. Could this have anything to do with the Planning Department being overwhelmed with work requests? Time to slow down.

Sunday Meter Repeal Needs No CEQA Review, Say SFMTA and Planning Dept.

by : sfstreetsblog -excerpt

An appeal claiming that the repeal of Sunday parking meters is an action that requires environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act is baseless, according to responses issued by the SFMTA and Planning Department this week.

The appeal, filed by Livable City and the SF Transit Riders Union, is set for a hearing and vote at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The board will not vote not on the merits of running parking meters on Sundays. Instead, the board will vote on whether CEQA would require an environmental impact report for the SFMTA’s new budget, which directs the agency to stop charging for meters on Sundays. The supervisors’ decision is expected to be largely informed by the recommendations of the SFMTA and the Planning Department… (more)

 

Neighbor Grumbling Over Street Parking for Mercado Plaza Plan

Alex Bevk : sf.curbed – excerpt

The Mission Community Market is looking to expand their farmers market space on Bartlett Street into a permanent civic plaza, with permanent market stalls, pedestrian lighting, and street greening. Through a 2011 bond, the city has already dedicated $1.6M to pedestrian and public space improvements on Bartlett between 22nd and 21st streets. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?…
Interestingly enough, the project is sponsored by the New Mission Theater developers as an in-kind agreement for their project that backs up to Bartlett. The Planning Department, DPW, and SFMTA held a meeting last night on the proposed… (more)

Any time you see in-kind agreement, that means the SFMTA has agreed to re-direct transit fees from Muni operations to non-Muni projects. You can assume that every street project such as the Mercado Plaza project is going to drain milllions of dollars from Muni.

 

After draining millions of dollars from the Muni into these complete street projects, the SFMTA will claim they are broke and must raise the rates, (they just did that), and must sell more bonds or raise new taxes to pay for Muni operations.

 

Mayor pledges to fix Muni

By : KALW – excerpt

When he came into office last year, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said fixing Muni wasn’t a priority for him. But in his 2013 State of the City address, Mayor Lee devoted almost ten minutes of his speech to the often-reviled public transit system.
Muni’s cars and buses are often overcrowded, sometimes to the point where they can’t stop to take on new passengers. And about 40 percent of Muni vehicles run late, according to an independent analysis by the Bay Citizen published last June. It’s a system so hated by some riders, it even provokes poetry (read “Ode to (Not Muni) Transit” from Muni Diaries). Lee said he sympathized with a ridership plagued by overcrowded chronically late buses, and he promised that changes to Muni are coming soon…
In 2008, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) started a project called the Transit Effective Program. Known as the TEP, the project began as a comprehensive effort to overhaul the Muni system. It’s focused on two major issues: making changes that minimize delays on the Rapid Service lines and restructuring regular bus routes to reduce crowding and tardiness…
Currently, the SFMTA’s Planning Department is busy making sure the rest of the TEP proposals meet California’s environmental standards. The final draft of the Environmental Impact Report is expected in about a year. After that, the SFMTA will implement as many proposals as they can get funding for.
Now riders will just have to wait and see whether these changes are really going to be effective… (more)

More Cars = Less Congestion? Supes Grill CPMC’s Perplexing Traffic Analysis

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

How can more cars relieve congestion at an intersection?…

Scrutinizing the traffic impacts predicted in the EIR, supervisors grilled Planning Department staff over the perplexing finding that congestion at two intersections would actually be reduced, despite additional vehicle traffic…

(more)