How the Supercomputer in Our Pockets Can Help With Road Redesign

By Ryan McCauley : govtech – excerpt

Experimental red lanes on Mission Street were given the red carpet treatment without any repairs on the street. You can easily see the condition of the unpainted lane on the bottom right of the photo. The painted lanes are dangerous in the rain. Photo by Zrants.

This article appears to be written by people in an industry that spies on us by somehow accessing the data on how we drive and move about. Who authorized this use of our personal data? Who is keeping it and for how long and for what purposes?

Public perception may not be the most accurate measurement when assessing a project’s effectiveness. After a massive street redesign project, for instance, residents may complain that parking has been affected or traffic is now slower.

So getting large amounts of high-quality data to city planners so they can objectively judge a project’s true effectiveness is of the utmost importance. And the San Francisco Bay area’s increasing population has forced city officials to think about new ways to accommodate the influx — especially in San Francisco and Oakland, both of which have recently pursued “road diet” projects, which are essentially creating bus- and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Something I have been trying to emphasize with staff is the importance of collecting data and talking about performance,” said Jeff Tumlin, interim director of the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT), which formed last summer, and was charged with improving mobility in the rapidly growing city while aligning transportation projects with the city’s values on equity…

Traditionally, the SFMTA would rely on collision data and count the amount of vehicles that would pass through intersections to judge how traffic and safety has improved. Through the Zendrive software, which works in the background and measures rapid acceleration, hard braking, phone usage and excessive speeding, the company can measure the behavior of specific drivers and understand where problem areas are.

The company released a report that analyzed more than 1 million miles of driver data on the Mission Street corridor before, during and after the construction. By tracking the data in individual vehicles, the SFMTA was able to recognize exactly where and how the project improved congestion…(more)

Anyone who doubts the true purpose of the road diets can read the words of Jeff Tumlin (a consultant for SFMTA who was fired by the city of Santa Monica for lying about his accomplishments here).

According to Tumlin, SFMTA is “creating bus-and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians. No word on how they are helping anyone who drives or takes public transit, because SFMTA wants us to bike or walk. They don’t have the capacity to carry more people on public transportation and they only seem to support corporate vehicles like privatized parking spaces for ride shares that they benefit from.

If you take the Muni, you are costing them money. They are not making any profit off of you. You should be biking or walking instead.

There are a few problems with this plan. We have an aging population that is not likely to ride or bike, that SFMTA is ignoring. They don’t think they need to cater to taxpayers because they are busy hiring lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington to circumvent local taxpayers. If you don’t like it you better support the next ballot initiative that removes their power.

Otherwise, get some walking shoes or prepare to stand on a crowded bus that may or may not get you where you need to go. Watch out for the potholes. SFMTA is too busy painting streets to repair them. Of course you can sue them if you fall and are injured, but who wants that.

If you don’t like the way the SFMTA operates, (even cyclists are mad about the condition Potrero is in and the huge barriers in the middle of the street that force them to cycle on Potrero), be sure to register your complaints with 311 and demand  your supervisors take actions. If potholes bother you, check out suggestions here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

If you feel creative you may want to follow in the steps of a Chicago mosaic artist who sees potholes as an empty canvases waiting to be filled.

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Study shows Mission red lanes improve street safety, signal citywide implications

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ed Reiskin holds a red folder full of printouts of comments by angry citizens who signed the StopSFMTA petition at the confrontational  community meeting on Red Lanes in the Mission. These folks will not support any additional funds for SFMTA until the red goes away.

A red-hot debate over “red carpet” bus-only lanes in the Mission District has pitted neighborhood advocates against the transit officials behind the project.

Now, an independent study shows myriad safety benefits to the Muni-only red lanes and demonstrates drivers behaving with more precaution on the road since the lanes were painted.

Supporters of the red lanes say the findings by local tech company Zendrive may be applicable across numerous transit projects in The City, many of which mirror the Mission red lanes not only in benefits but in rebuke from the community...(more)

The Safety report is bogus.

Mission residents are not safe. They are threatened by the luxury housing going up along the transit rich corridors marked by red paint that are closing long-time local-serving businesses and pressuring residents to leave. Many families must chose between living in vehicles or tents or driving long distances to commute in to work. As people are forced to move out and must commute in, they add to the already clogged regional traffic problem.

How can the Red Lanes be safe when Emergency responders can’t get through in a timely manner? The painted-over potholes on Mission red lanes are slick and dangerous for everyone, including two-wheelers, especially in the rain, and at night.

Narrow side streets are choking with the traffic turning off and on Mission? Have the surveys taken into account all the extra exhaust from the slow, idling vehicles that are spending more time winding slowly through clogged streets than they did when the traffic flowed flawlessly? If it takes twice as long to get somewhere, there will be twice as much pollution.

Where are the Muni drivers? They are the real face of Muni, not the MTA Board or their paid consultants. They must put up with all the constant changes SFMTA throws at us daily. Why bother to publish routes and stops when they change daily?

We understand the SFMTA plans to put another Muni money bill on the 2018 ballot. What makes them think the public they ignore, that turned them down the last time they begged for money, will cough it up in 2018?

Who is benefiting from the SFMTA’s billion dollar budget? The spent how much money out of which account to hire a tracking service to conduct a survey on traffic?

At some point it has to be cheaper to ask the public what they like about the system and leave it alone. If there is less traffic on Mission Street it is because the businesses are closing and people are leaving. They go through the obstacle course once and swear never to return. Stopping traffic and killing the business wipes the area, preparing it for demolition and rebuild. That is the what the Red Lanes are about and that is why there is a legal suite pending. What does it take to stop the displacement program?

SF for Sensible Transit prepares Lawsuit to block MUNI BRT throughout San Francisco

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At the heated meeting on the Mission Red Lanes, Ed Reiskin holds the red folder we handed him, containing comments from over 4500 signatories of the StopSFMTA petition. How many do you think he bothered to read? Regardless, these comments are in the public record. Keep them coming. (Ignore the spam on moveon.)

What does it take to stop SFMTA’s destruction of our streets and businesses?
The voters resoundingly opposed the sales tax increase and federal funds could dry up soon, but that hasn’t stopped the SFMTA and their counterparts from digging up more streets. They gridlocked Van Ness and Polk and are aiming for Lombard and the Golden Gate Bridge next. Does it take a lawsuit to stop them?

The redcarpetmess.org website and the petition page have been updated and include a new video introducing San Franciscans for sensible transit. Please share this link with anyone who supports a more sensible approach to transportation in San Francisco:  https://youtu.be/1aezGHnmsD8.

S.F. business owners push back against red transit-only lanes in city

By

San Francisco business owners are pushing back against the red lanes used for transit in the city, saying that customers are confused about what they mean and often keep driving instead of stopping and shopping.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the red-painted transit lanes, which are still in the testing phase and were rolled out in 2013, have been frustrating for the merchants whose businesses border them…

But the experiment was supposed to last just two years, and involve periodic progress reports to the California Traffic Control Devices Committee and the Federal Highway Administration. The MTA’s first written report to the state agency, however, was not presented until Dec. 12,” the paper reports.

That long-term testing has been difficult for business owners, including Glenn Urban, who owns a car wash on Geary Boulevard with his brother, on a stretch where red transit-only lanes are now being planned.

“When [customers] see them, they don’t know what to do, so they stay away,” Urban told the paper. He said the Municipal Transportation Agency has “done little research on what this red paint means to businesses.”

A spokesperson for the MTA did not respond to a request for comment Thursday… (more)

The hubris of the SFMTA is enough to make you want to fight them. If you feel that way, there are plenty of things you can do, starting with a letter requesting a one month delay in approving any of the Geary BRT plans until the public and the new supervisors have time to review and comment on it. Do you want to spend $300 million dollars more than you have to? Why? So far none of the projects the SFMTA is busily working on have gotten them the results they anticipated.

Richmond residents and merchants want a chance to try it another, less costly way. See their Sensible Plan for Geary BRT: http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

Nightmare coming to Van Ness

by Chris Parkes : beyondchron – excerpt

Halloween has passed, but the nightmare has just begun. This week, most left turns, 2 car lanes, many parking spaces, 50 year old trees, and perhaps your sanity, will be permanently lost from Van Ness… aka Highway 101!

Unlike a bad dream, however, the ill effects of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will not go away when construction ends. The BRT project will remove two car lanes from the middle of Van Ness and convert them into two bus only lanes.  This well intended transit project has been misapplied, however. There are few, if any, other existing BRT projects constructed in the middle of a condensed, congested section of highway with so many closely spaced major arterial cross intersections as we have on Van Ness.

After 3 years, construction will be complete, but the frustration will remain, as drivers, residents, and transit riders become aware that the changes are permanent.

The project sponsor will argue that the impacts are positive. Are they?

What are we getting? Even if you ride the bus all the way from Market to Lombard, your typical ride today is 15-19 minutes.  How much time will you save for this huge expense?  3 minutes?  2 minutes?  Less?

What else will we get? Traffic jams, increased fumes. Loss of half-century old trees.  You’ll have to board the bus from the narrow median…(more)

I hope all the people who voted against L enjoy this traffic mess.

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Dangerous plan afoot to narrow and slow 16th Street traffic access to Mission Bay

The other day as I walked down 16th Street to the BART station I witnessed a traffic jam on 16th Street and shot some photos as the drama unfolded.  There was a repair truck stopped in back of the bus and three people directing traffic around it. There is a single East facing lane on 16th Street now and two West facing lanes so traffic may pass the broken bus without too much trouble now.

As you can see by looking at the photos, the traffic builds up rather fast when a lane is stopped. An ambulance came up 16th Street while I was there and it was directed around the stopped traffic, but stopping the other lane, but, I realized how difficult it would be to maneuver traffic around a broken bus if there was a BRT or separated lanes as the SFMTA plans for 16th Street.

Separated roadways, swerving traffic in narrow lanes do not slow traffic down it makes drivers mad and creates obstacles for the buses and larger vehicles. This is not a safe way to manage traffic.

Please stop this insane constant construction and destruction of our streets! Vote Yes on L and tell the SFMTA to back off. Leave the bus stops and return the service they cut. Stopsfmta.comStopsfmta.com

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Mission Street ‘red lane’ turn restrictions relaxed

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay– excerpt

San Francisco is relaxing some of its forced right turns on Mission Street as a compromise between merchants and residents…

This doesn’t sound right. There is no disagreement between merchants and residents. The compromise was between the Mission merchants and residents and the SFMTA Board. The Mission community, with minor exceptions, hates the red lanes. Support Yes on L to bring back some balance to the MTA Board. stopsfmta.com

The SFMTA is also working with The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to support marketing to highlight the neighborhood and transit options to get to the Mission District, Brill said.

He also addressed the reason why it was best to keep the forced right turn on Mission and Cesar Chavez streets:

“We did evaluate the potential for removing that restriction at that intersection. However, given that northbound Mission is now a single lane, if we were to remove that [forced right turn], the congestion along Mission Street would be far worse than it was before, which means both drivers and Muni riders will have a less good experience as they did prior to implementing the project.”…(more)

Drivers can deal with traffic congestion without being corralled. People who need to go on Mission will go and everyone else will find a different path. Cars are not on a track. They know how to avoid traffic. Nobody is having a good experience on Misison now. Support Yes on L to bring back some balance to the MTA Board. stopsfmta.com

Muni riders defend Mission ‘red carpet’ lanes

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Those seeing red over the new transit only “red carpet” lanes along Mission Street are now facing backlash from bus riders.

Led by the advocacy group San Francisco Transit Riders, supporters of the lanes are sounding off by creating a social media campaign called #KeepMissionRed.

The controversial bus and taxi-only lane stretches along Mission Street from 30th to 14th streets, and comes packaged with a number of turn restrictions that have frustrated drivers.

Also, Mission district shop owners the San Francisco Examiner spoke with said they saw a dip in business since the lanes were painted in February.

But Andy Bosselman, a spokesman for the transit riders, said they don’t want to see transit improvements sacrificed.

“The streets we have need to move more people,” Bosselman said. “That means prioritizing transit and bikes. Unfortunately, these changes affect drivers and we know without doubt that drivers are going to scream and holler.”

The 14-Mission and 49-Van Ness, two heavily trafficked commuter lines, are already speeding up because of the lanes, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Despite the outcry, the red lanes aren’t going anywhere — yet.

“No changes to report at this time,” said Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. But Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Mission, has called for community meetings about the lane…

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“We have committed to continue to work with Supervisor Campos’ office to coordinate an additional meeting with the community to listen to their concerns and make additional adjustments, if appropriate,” Rose said.

Campos said in a Facebook post that he’s heard from many frustrated Mission district businesses who’ve had problems with loading zones, as well as drivers who’ve seen “traffic jams” since the red lanes were installed.

“The changes look better on paper than in practice,” Campos wrote.

Rose noted that 60 percent of people get to the Mission by transit and only 12 percent by car.

“Riding (Muni) is much faster/smoother with the new transit lanes,” Jamison Wieser, one of the many to sound off using hashtag #KeepMissionRed, posted to Twitter.

Others using the hashtag on Twitter said buses are “key” for low income families.

A survey conducted by the SFMTA before the red lanes were installed found that 63 percent of 500 residents polled were neutral about bus only lanes.

Bosselman said the SFMTA is often hamstrung by public anger.

“The result is that every project gets watered down,” he said, “The entire problem the project tries to solve ends up getting little or none of the intended benefit.”… (more)

SFMTA just announced their number priority is MODE CHANGE. If your number one goal is to stop traffic to force people out of their cars, painting red lanes all over town is essentially a great way to evict cars, and the people in the cars.

If your number one goal is to promote the economic viability of the Mission and avoid displacing the merchants and residents who live in the Mission this plan will not make your happy. Just like every other political argument we have in San Francisco, it all comes down to one thing. Do you support displacement or preservation of our San Francisco culture than celebrate freedom to choose.

SF businesses seeing red over new transit-only lanes

By : examiner – excerpt

Few foods are as synonymous with Mission Street nightlife as bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

The tantalizing smell of sizzling meat often emanates from Leo’s Hot Dogs, a 19th and Mission streets cart run for more than eight years by husband and wife Adan Gonzalez and Lucero Munos.

“Sometimes when people show up when they’ve had a few drinks, she makes them dance!” Gonzalez said of his wife, smiling, through a Spanish-speaking interpreter Wednesday.

Gonzalez has less reason to smile nowadays. Leo’s may be kicked off its Mission Street corner following the roll-out of one of The City’s new red-painted transit only lanes, the latest in a growing trend of businesses resisting the transit lanes.

San Francisco police told Gonzalez his permit to operate was no longer valid because of the new red Muni lanes, he said. The lane was installed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Mission Street from 14th to 30th streets in late February.

“Vendors, such as this, can receive a permit from Public Works to occupy a parking space. In this case, one vendor is located in the new right turn pocket, not the transit lane,” said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the SFMTA.

But the new turn changes accompanied Mission Street’s new red carpet lane. Cesar Ascarrunz, a former mayoral candidate and owner of Leo’s Hot Dogs, said the SFMTA did not contact him about any needed permit changes.

The lanes are for bus and taxi use only, to help transit avoid double parked cars and vehicles waiting to turn. The SFMTA has publicly said these are among the key ways Muni is snarled.

This newest conflict rises as SFMTA’s red Muni lanes meet resistance elsewhere in San Francisco.

On Taraval Street, a proposal to create a transit-only lane to speed up the L-Taraval was critiqued by neighbors for only saving two to three minutes per trip on the L. Those who supported the lane noted that two to three minutes adds up quickly for the line’s 29,000 daily riders.

In February, the SFMTA decided to implement the transit-only lane as a pilot.

And earlier this year, the agency backed off installing a red lane on Chestnut Street in the Marina that was intended to speed up the commuter-heavy 30-Stockton and 30X lines. Nearby businesses were worried a reduction in parking spaces would drive customers away.

Ariel Kelley, the past president of the Marina Community Association, was a key neighborhood negotiator with SFMTA throughout the process… (more)

Interesting that the SFMTA’s survey differs so radically from the merchants survey. They must be asking different questions of different people. We need details about how the surveys are conducted.

Telling business  how to conduct their business is not the business of the SFMTA. They work for us. We don’t work for them.

We are not surprised that the SFMTA has an anti-business attitude when it comes to small businesses and local merchants because they are part of the plan to displace the citizens and the non-tech jobs and rid the city of the unworthy citizens. We get that. Everyone else is starting to get it too. First they took our parking, then they took our cars, now they are taking our jobs and homes. What is left?

Muni gets red carpet treatment on Market

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Market Street drivers are going to start seeing red on the roadway very soon.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will start painting red transit-only lanes Friday night on Market Street between Fifth and 12th streets to let drivers know that the lane is for Muni use only.

Work for the $1.8 million project will begin from 10:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. on Saturday, which will require a partial lane closure of the eastbound track lane of Market Street between Fifth and Mason streets…

The westbound center lane of Market Street — currently open to all vehicles between Steuart and Eighth streets — will become transit-only from Fifth to Eighth.

The SFMTA has already painted red transit-only lanes on Church Street, Third Street and on Geary Boulevard and O’Farrell Street transit-only lane… (more)

Drivers are already seeing red. They will get to have their say in November when they vote to Restore Transportation Balance to the city. Having learned not to trust the SFMTA to do the right thing with bond money, many will not support the $5oo million bond measure either. That one needs a two thirds  majority to pass.

Here is a good example of what SFMTA does with bond money:  5 Fulton Capital Improvements