Transportation Ballot Measure Fails to Balance Transportation Needs

By : sfweekly – excerpt

A bunch of people have collected 17,500 signatures to push an initiative onto the November ballot dubbed Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco. You’d assume with a name like, the measure might actually address balancing transportation needs of the city’s population… (more)

Gridlock drove this demand for change. Sitting in traffic makes people angry and they get real creative when they are angry. They think about who is to blame. They blame the SFMTA and swear they will not be fooled again. They cut off the money being used against them.
All the claims that there are vast numbers of people biking who need more bike lanes fall on deaf ears when we see very few bikes in the bike lanes and a lot of stalled and double-parked cars on the road.
Car owners are not the only ones fed up with the SFMTA. One of the proponents doesn’t own and car, and many of the supporters of the effort to “Restore Transportation Balance” ride Muni or bikes. If you think the transportation system sucks, join the battle to restore balance:

S.F. voters likely to give each other finger as Sean Parker’s pro-auto measure drives onto November ballot

By : bizjournals – excerpt

San Francisco voters will have their say on one of today’s hottest debates, whether the automobile provides unprecedented personal freedom or is the root cause of all that’s wrong with America.

The measure put forward by auto enthusiasts is designed to rein in San Francisco’s transit first policy by “restoring transportation balance in San Francisco,” as the initiative is titled. The full text is posted on the city’s Department of Elections website. Tech giant Sean Parker is providing the financial firepower behind the measure, TechCrunch reported. That’s likely to further inflame the tech backlash in San Francisco…

San Francisco voters will have their say on three traffic measures this November.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said Monday that he’s putting a $500 million bond measure on the November ballot to pay for transportation improvements. Supervisor Scott Wiener has placed a measure on the ballot that would tie Muni funding to the city’s population growth, with a 10-year retroactive feature.

The pro-auto initiative on the November ballot notes that 79 percent of San Francisco households own or lease an auto and that nearly half of the city’s residents who work outside their homes get to work by car… (more)


“Fixed App” Parking App Secures Funding


The mobile app that helps fight parking tickets, Fixed, recently closed $1.2 million in seed funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include Y Combinator, Merus Capital, and more. Fixed is based in San Francisco and launched this January.

Users of the app can snap photos of their parking tickets using an iOS device. Fixed then checks for errors before writing a customized contest letter on the user’s behalf, serving as a method of fighting the payment process. It is then sent to the city. Since opening, Fixed has seen 35,000 users sign up for its service, and has opened its waitlist to the San Francisco metro area.

However, San Francisco itself hasn’t been “cooperative,” which may have caused the lack of pushback by citizens.

“San Francisco doesn’t have a way to submit a contest electronically, they insist that you mail it in,” said co-founder David Hegarty in the article. “After one or two contests got ‘lost in the mail’ we started faxing our submissions so we’d have an electronic record of delivery.” The city, however, then put a stop to the faxes.

Currently, Fixed sees 1 percent of the city’s 28,000 weekly parking tickets being filtered through its app – about 300+ tickets per week. Since March, it has been growing its volume at 25-35 percent per week, even moreso since removing the waitlist.

For tickets themselves, “win rates are at 20 percent to 30 percent,” depending on what type of violation… (more)

Around 30% of the complaints on the Stop SFMTA petition are about the tickets. LA citizens are demanding a cap of $23 on their tickets and the mayor is listening to their threats. California citizens are in rebellion. SF voters will send a strong threat to city authorities by passing the Restore Balance Transportation Initiative in November. We already stopped the expansion of meters in the neighborhoods and got them to roll back Sunday parking. D-10 Supervisor candidates support more parking garages in that district because that is what the voters want. Raise your voices and complain loudly to your supervisors if you want changes in parking policies such as honest enforcement of the laws and help pass the Restore Transportation Balance initiative in November.

Fixed Raises $1.2 Million For A Mobile App That Fights Your Parking Tickets For You

Republicans and a Tech Billionaire Want to Make San Francisco More Car-Friendly


Over the past few years, San Francisco has become one of the nation’s more bicycle-friendly cities, reserving roads for pedal pushers, turning parking spaces into pop-up parks, and raising meter rates and parking fines on drivers who still insist on braving the city’s increasingly bike-congested streets.

Now comes the backlash….

The Restore Transportation Balance initiative calls for a five-year freeze on parking rates at public garages and meters as well as on parking ticket fees. It also would prohibit new parking meters in neighborhoods absent a request by a majority of affected households and businesses. The nonbinding measure’s backers also want representatives of drivers and the disabled to be appointed to the city’s transit authority board.

“Over the last 10 years, San Francisco’s moved in a really progressive direction in terms of transit prioritization, parking reform, and bicycling,” said Gabriel Metcalf, the executive director of SPUR, a San Francisco urban policy think tank. “What we’re seeing now is the right-wing backlash against those measures.”

Indeed, it was the city’s move in January 2013 to impose parking meter fees on Sundays that prompted the formation of Restore Transportation Balance, according to Jason Clark, a leader of the group and vice president of the Log Cabin Club of San Francisco. (The city rescinded Sunday metering in April.)…

“A group of us got together and said, ‘We’re really mad,’ then crunched some numbers,” said Clark. “Since 2009, parking fines have gone up 40 percent.”

“The city has been crushing people who choose to drive,” he added. “They’ve been enacting punitive measures.”…

Clark, who said he doesn’t own a car and takes the bus every day, counters that the measure—funded with a $49,000 donation from Parker and $10,000 from the San Francisco Republican Party—gathered 17,500 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Its supporters include business owners, neighborhood groups, and civic leaders…. (more)

Sean Parker, Bicycle Hater?
Next for Napster’s Parker: Politics social network

Motorists fight back

By Steven T. Jones : sfbg – excerpt

Ballot measure seeks to prioritize cars and undermine SF’s “transit-first” policy

Believing that they’re somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs last week [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the “Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco” initiative for the November ballot….

“I think it’s been building for a long, long, long time, but the real catalyst was the Sunday and holiday parking meters,” political consultant David Looman — the 74-year-old Bernal Heights resident who is one of three official proponents of the measure — said of the motorist anger that led to the campaign. “That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.”…

“The bike lobby is running transportation policy in San Francisco,” Looman said, even though motorists “are the overwhelming majority and we make this society run.” He said the city needs to do more to facilitate driving “so the economy can continue to function, so people can continue to shop.”… (more)

As with No Walls on the Waterfront, the voters will decide.

There are cities with transportation systems that work. San Francisco is not one of those. If the lack of parking doesn’t get your attention, the traffic jams do. We went from a city that you could reasonably get around in via Muni, car, or BART to a city that is paralyzed by a traffic management system that has spent billions of taxpayer dollars destroying what used to work well for everyone. SF is now has the second or fourth worse traffic in the country, depending on which poll you read.

Listen to the voices of the Directors of the MTA Board, most of whom are members of the SF Bicycle Coalition, to see what their priorities are. Read the agendas and you will see that most of their time and energy goes to figuring out how to oppress motorists and very little attention goes to solving Muni operations issues. They relish the thought of handing over each public parking spots to private corporations and “sharing the profits”.

Read the job listings and you will see far more opportunities for planners, engineers, meter minders, contractors and consultants than for Muni drivers and mechanics.

The city claims Muni is broke but SFMTA can’t buy enough bulbouts, bike lanes, BRTs and road diets. The plan is to sell voters a $500 million dollar bond to finance the capital improvements. Go to your neighborhood SFMTA show to see what they have planned for you. There are plans to tear down the 280 freeway and fill in the separated section of Geary that passes by Fillmore. Good luck getting to General Hospital in an emergency after they install a greenway in the middle of Potrero, guaranteeing a traffic jam during rush hours.

If you trust the SFMTA to get it right in 2030 when it isn’t working in 2014, and given their plans for more of the same, vote against the Restore Transportation Balance initiative in November. If you don’t trust the SFMTA to fix anything vote YES on the Restore Transportation Balance initiative.

Cars-First “Restore Balance” Measure Funded by Ed Lee Backer Sean Parker

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook and a major contributor to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, has spent $49,000 of his personal fortune to propel a ballot initiative that seeks to enshrine free parking as city policy, according to the SF Chronicle. Parker gave $100,000 to Lee’s mayoral campaign in 2011.

The ballot initiative, which proponents frame as an attempt to “restore balance” to city transportation policy, first surfaced in April. While the measure would be non-binding, if it passes it could further slow much-needed policies to prioritize transit and street safety in San Francisco. One stated goal of the campaign is to kill Sunday parking meters for good. The SFMTA Board of Directors, which is appointed entirely by Mayor Lee, repealed Sunday metering in April, after Lee made unfounded claims about a popular revolt against the policy.

Several veteran opponents of transportation reform in San Francisco are aligned with the ballot initiative. And, in addition to the backing from Parker, another $10,000 for the measure reportedly came from the San Francisco Republican Party… (more)

We’re not sure about the accuracy of these claims, but metermadness tries to cover all traffic and parking stories.

Measure To “Restore Transportation Balance” Qualifies For Ballot

Sean Parker gives $49k to make life easier for other San Francisco parkers  The measure would also roll back Sunday parking meter fees, except that already happened. As I wrote last week, the San Francisco Mass Transportation Agency has an avowed policy position of limiting the number of cars on San Francisco streets and incentivizing the use of mass transit, shared vehicles, bicycles and other transportation efforts that alleviate environmental harm and congestion.

The initiative, found here, would push back against that position by reasserting the interests of drivers and ensuring those interests are represented in city government, as part of a broad “balanced transportation” policy. Other backers of the measure include the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods, the Libertarian Party of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Republican Party… (more)