Poll finds possible measures to fund SF transit lack two-thirds support

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

A new survey found a majority of San Francisco voters enthusiastic to approve new funding measures for transportation — but those measures may lack the two-thirds voter support needed to pass…

The results of the survey will be presented to the transportation authority Board of Directors, which is comprised of the Board of Supervisors, on Jan. 9… (more)

CITIZENS REVOLT. The lack of trust in the SFMTA is growing and probably accounts for the lack of public support for more transit funds. Maybe the City Hall should consider passing a SFMTA Charter amendment, changing SFMTA management, fixing the gridlock, reversing the traffic lane diet, giving the public back their streets and parking and returning the bus stops and seats to the Muni riders, before asking for more money. By then they might have opened the Central Subway, and finished some of the many projects that are hanging people up now and may be blamed for the debts the department is accruing. Hint: Stop all new street project starts until the current ones are done and paid for!

Why split the SFMTA?

I believe the Supervisors did not appreciate the type of open-ended contract they discovered when they investigated the Van Ness BRT project. I’m not going to describe it here. You can watch the many hearings that have been conducted on the contracts and delays. I’m not going into the financial shenanigans.

Other investigations into major mistakes made on projects such as the ones on Potrero next to the General Hospital lead to questions about communication within the department and SFMTAs dealings with other city agencies. At a public neighborhood meeting we discovered that the Project Manager for Potrero Ave. is also Project Manager for at least one other large project. This leads us to believe that they have bitten off too much to do well and need to put all new project starts on hold while they finish the ones the ones they have going now.

Disputes with the Fire Department and other city agencies involved in emergency operations along with daily transit meltdowns concern people who are responsible for handling a major disaster. How will a gridlocked city handle the next earthquake or other disaster that cuts off power when so much of our lives are electronica now. There is no evacuation plan. The plan is to shelter in place. That doesn’t work under all circumstances.

While you are at it, pay attention to public comments, especially where the bus stop removals and other inconveniences are opposed. Spitting SFMTA (not Muni) has less to do with cars and more to do with providing the service the Muni riders want instead of ignoring them. A business that ignores its customers will not survive long. In this case, the sales tax increase failed because no amount of lies and excuses will convince people they should pay more for less, especially when the salaries are not keeping pace with the tax increases.

The voters much approve the split and restructuring of the SFMTA by ballot.

Supervisors want to split municipal transit agency in two — here’s why

Dispute Over Parking Spot in San Francisco Ends in Stabbing

NBC Bay Area staff : nbcbayarea – excerpt

Two men were transported to the hospital Saturday night after being stabbed during a dispute over a parking spot in San Francisco, according to police.

Both men were taken to the hospital in critical condition, police said… (more)

We know people are pissed and stressed over parking and traffic conditions. What does it take to convince City Hall that SFMTA is starting a war on the streets that can be resolved by returning the streets to the public? We should at least try to do a test set up by the public to see if their ideas are not better than SFMTA staff ideas on how to manage parking.


Sowing discord, one block at a time

By Sally Stepherns : sfexaminer – excerpt

“When it comes to residential parking permits, San Francisco must do everything in its power to reduce tensions between neighbors.”  Jessica Christian

f you really want to get a neighborhood riled up, bring up street parking. Recently, I watched as parking — more specifically, expanding residential parking permits — created a rift in my neighborhood.

Parking permits don’t just affect the block that gets them; they affect nearby blocks as well. Permits were originally intended to keep “commuters” from parking all day in low-density residential neighborhoods. But when one block gets permits, the commuters just move to nearby permit-free blocks. One block’s solution becomes another block’s problem.

I went to City Hall for a hearing on a proposal to expand residential parking permits near my house. The woman who wanted the permits secured, as required, more than 50 percent of the people living on the block to sign a petition requesting permits.

The problem is that no one else knew about it, including some people who live on the block in question. Turns out, there’s no requirement that all residents on a block be notified of a petition. So some of the people most affected may never know about the permits until it’s too late. Why doesn’t The City require the notice of a proposed permit be mailed to everyone who lives within a few blocks?…

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is currently reviewing the parking permit program. My fear is that rather than focusing on how to make the process more fair, transparent and inclusive, the SFMTA will use the review as a way to further discourage people in low-density neighborhoods from having cars, e.g., by converting some parking spaces on a block to spaces for car share companies. That will only lead to more conflict.

Due to the opposition of many neighbors, the SFMTA put off a decision on the permit for my street until fall. But people have been riled up and feelings have been hurt.

In the meantime, every new proposal for parking permits on a block pits neighbor against neighbor, block against block and street against street. The City should do everything it can to reduce tensions between neighbors, not push a residential parking permit process that increases conflict.

Sally Stephens is an animal, park and neighborhood activist who lives in the West of Twin Peaks area... (more)

Sally pretty well sums it up. We need a city agency that does not pit neighbor against neighbor. Until recently we had no parking or traffic problems. Many people feel the wrong people are in charge and we need a change at the SFMTA Board to start to solve these issues. The first step is to pass the SFMTA Charter Amendment and vote in some new politicians who are ready to change the policies and priorities that have brought us to the is point. See details on that here: stopsfmta.com


Big changes coming to the busy lanes of S.F.’s Mission Street

By  Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Change is no stranger to the Mission District, and this time it’s the main drag — Mission Street — and the heavily ridden Muni lines that are set for transformation.

The bustling thoroughfare is gaining some red transit-only lanes, while losing a lane of traffic, in a bid to clear out many cars — especially double-parkers — and speed up buses that is reminiscent of transit-first efforts in other parts of the city, including Market Street downtown.

The shifts, which cover a 2½-mile stretch of Mission, begin Saturday, when Muni pares back what it considers an inefficient series of bus stops by eliminating 13 stops serving three bus lines — the 14-Mission, 14R-Mission Rapid and 49-Van Ness/Mission — and adding one.

Public-works crews will also break out paint and brushes and start adding red transit-only lanes between 11th and Randall streets… (more)

more millions of dollars poured into projects that bus riders and residents do not support and object to for vigorously. As one citizen pointed out, by eliminating bust stops the SFMTA is putting people at greater risk by forcing people to walk longer distances in dangerous neighborhoods. The are also making it more difficult for people who have health or physical problems. Not everyone is needs more exercise. Some people can barely get where they need to go as it is.

SFMTA Headquarters Evacuated After 34 Sickened By Mysterious Substance

: excerpt

San Francisco firefighters are still searching for the source of an irritating substance that caused breathing problems in more than 30 people and triggered the evacuation of a city building this afternoon.
The building at 1 South Van Ness Ave., which houses San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s headquarters and other city offices, was evacuated at 3:07 p.m. after occupants reported breathing some sort of irritating substance, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said… (more)

Could it be somebody protesting the gridlock and disappearing parking spaces, or someone who opened their SMART parking meter bill, or a rider who can’t find the bus they used to take to get to work, or a food truck worker who got a parking ticket while serving lunch? The possibilities are endless.

Boisterous audience slams One Bay Area Plan

by Richard Colman : halfwaytoconcord.com – excerpt

A wildly incensed audience on Monday night (April 22) vigorously protested plans to have regional bureaucracies determine land use and transportation plans for Bay Area cities. Over 300 people appeared at the Marriott Hotel in Walnut Creek to make statements about plans to force local governments to establish high-rise, high-density housing in Bay Area cities.
The gathering was sponsored by the Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The purpose of the gathering was to allow local residents to comment on the activities of ABAG and MTC.
Approximately 60 speakers, many of them from Orinda, called for changes or outright abolition of ABAG and MTC. The respective boards of directors of ABAG and MTC are not directly elected by voters.
With a few exceptions, most speakers strongly opposed plans to have ABAG and MTC construct tall buildings near such transit hubs as BART stations… (more)

Smart meters v non-smart meters – what difference does it make

by zrants

This article is in response to some recent stories from folks who profess a preference for Smart parking meters because they believe the rates are lower. We are also sharing a few facts we uncovered by attending public SFMTA meetings and talking to people who have experienced the destruction of their neighborhoods by the SFMTA.

SMART v DUMB meters: The non-smart meters started out at 25 cents an hour. They have been re-programed and can be re-programed again to raise or lower the rates. Parking rates are set by policy and have nothing to do with “smart” technology. Do you care what the rates are now when the SFMTA’s stated purpose for managing parking is to make driving and parking in SF difficult? How likely will they remain low?

The SFMTA admits to mistakes? Anyone who has attended public SFMTA meetings with neighborhood groups can attest to the fact that SFMTA officials freely admit their system is flawed in a number of ways:

Reiskin hands the floor to Funghi at the North Beach meeting.

SFMTA admits they lack proper public outreach: At a public meeting In North Beach SFMTA apologized for waiting four years after they signed the contract with the project developer to inform the neighborhood that Columbus Avenue would be closed down for an extended period of time while the contractor extracts boring equipment.

SFMTA admits they are digging a tunnel and they don’t know where they are aiming it: At the North Beach meeting SFMTA admitted their extraction plan lacks any clear benefit to the neighborhood since they have no exact station location, funding or clearance to build past the China Town station. This project represents billions of taxpayer dollars and a number of lawsuits are pending. Now we see why. Look at tapes of public meetings in North Beach and North East Mission decide for yourself how you feel the SFMTA:   http://vimeo.com/groups/168462

SFMTA rates are subject to changing times and rates without notice:
Meters in Mission Bay run from 7 AM to 11PM at night on some streets and the rates are subject to change during the day so you never know how much you are paying to park.

What is SFMTA doing with the additional money? SFMTA has raised rates on Muni, cut back service and taken in more money from parking rates, fines and fees, or at least budgeted to to so. Where is the money going? Not into Muni. Lines are being cut and service is at an all time low.

Ask people in negatively impacted neighborhoods: Ask the folks around Valencia how they like SFMTA parking policies. First they removed the Muni lines on Valencia, then they installed parking meters and put in bike paths and parklets to further eliminate parking. The final blow came when a developer got approval to build a higher denser apartment on Valencia with no off-street parking and no RPP rights. As soon as the ink dried on the permits, the developer switched the address to a side street so the residents can apply for RPP, further squeezing parking in the neighborhood.