Local news Calling all cars … San Francisco motorists call for “transportation balance”

As San Francisco has implemented its 40-year-old Transit First policy more assertively in recent years, some car-loving residents have grumbled, fumed and quietly plotted revenge.

Their targets are the politicians and bureaucrats who have visited upon the city such evils as bike lanes, transit-only lanes, variable parking meter rates, higher parking charges and enforcing meters on Sundays (recently revoked).

Now, they’re prepared to unleash their fury. An unnamed coalition of  San Franciscans, including a Republican candidate for Assembly, submitted papers and started collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would establish a nonbinding declaration of policy “restoring transportation balance in San Francisco.”

“We realize that motorists contribute a disproportionate share of the funding to the SFMTA while receiving next to nothing in return,” the coalition said in a statement.

The group acknowledges the Transit First policy, which passed in 1973, but says that 79 percent of city households own cars and nearly 50 percent rely on cars to get to and from work.

“The Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation,” the coalition says in a statement. “Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety and freedom of movement.”

The group’s policy calls for:

  • Prohibiting parking meters on Sundays, holidays and outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Freezing for five years fees for parking meters, garages and residential parking permits, and limiting increases thereafter to inflation adjustments.
  • Banning new parking meters or variable meter pricing in neighborhoods unless a majority of residents sign a petition in support.
  • Earmarking a portion of new parking revenue, fees charges motorists and bond monies for construction and operation of neighborhood parking garages.
  • Requiring that any “re-engineering of traffic flow in the city should aim to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.”
  • Enforcing traffic laws “equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.”
  • Requiring motorists to be appointed to the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, and create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee.
  • Having the Board of Supervisors “make every reasonable effort” to adhere to the policy.

Coalition representatives say they need to gather 9,702 signatures  by July 7 to qualify their measure for the ballot. Look for them at a parking garage near you… (more)

San Francisco Deserves Sunday Free Parking

by Randy Shaw : beyondchron – excerpt

All San Franciscans should cheer Mayor Ed Lee’s plans to return to Sunday free meter parking. Meter fees are regressive, the fiscal shortfall causing the parking charges is gone, and Sunday is historically when working people take family outings. Yet two groups I normally agree with, pedestrian and bicycle advocates, oppose Lee’s plan. They want the city to keep Sunday meters and use the estimated $7 million gained to fund pedestrian safety measures. This view is divisive and shortsighted. Nickel and diming the public on Sunday parking meters is a bad idea that must end.

California progressives have learned the hard way that not all fees for government services are the same. Some very progressive and relatively small charges—like the long little noticed vehicular license fee, renamed the “Car Tax”—can result in a Governor’s recall and the installation of a Republican successor in a very blue state.

Parking meter fees are in this category… (more)

Letters: Give SF a parking break – San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco Hackathon To Focus On Improving Public Transportation

BY SARAH LAI STIRLAND : techpresident.com – excerpt

San Francisco is a laggard in the field of public transportation when compared to many other big cities of the world. Unlike Hong Kong, London or New York City, it’s often not possible to take a bus or subway to get somewhere in a timely fashion. And parking is a nightmare.
Hence many companies opt to locate themselves in the Peninsula, where employees can hop on WiFi-enabled shuttles to get to work.
San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee wants to change that, and to bring more companies back into the city. His staffers recently convened with Hattery Labs to figure out ways of making this happen. One idea they had was to arm San Franciscans with better information about their transportation options. So they’re convening a hackathon mid-October. The goal is to get 50 or so developers to create a variety of apps that will both help the city to engage in better transportion planning, to help San Franciscans to more easily plan their trips, and to better communicate how the city is fixing transportion problems.
The event is being organized by Hattery Labs, Engine Advocacy, the San Francisco Mayor’s office and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. Other sponsors of the event include Google, Keen.io, General Assembly, and Waze.

More details about there event are available here.


Someone should come up with an app to tell you which parking spots are legal. Most drivers can’t tell by looking at the curb color or reading the signs when and if a parking spot is legal. SF needs an app for that.

Physically moving bodies through space is not a virtual problem to solve. It is a physical problem. They could possibly solve some issues by creating a proper computer system for tracking parts for there many different types of vehicles. We hear they have none. They might need a better way of scheduling the routes and a computer program might help them with that, otherwise, you pretty much need real mechanics to keep the buses moving and there is no app for that, unless you want to replace the mechanics with robots.

No Way Subway

Perspectives : KQED Radio – No Way Subway – SaveMuni.com’s Bob Feinbaum describes why the Central Subway would be a loser for San Francisco.
discussion with Quentin Kopp and SFMTA on Central Subway.
The Subway to Nowhere


On June 29, 2012, the House passed their version of the Department of Transportation funding bill by a vote of 261-163 – House Approves the Fiscal Year 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill
Legislation holds the line on spending while targeting investments for transportation systems and housing programs Americans need the most.
MCCLINTOCK (R-CA)  AMENDMENT NO. 13 prohibits funds for phase two of the “Third Street Light Rail Central Subway” project in San Francisco. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 235- 136. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll446.xml

Next Steps in Legislative Process – The legislative process continues in the U.S. Senate and ultimately the Senate/ House Conference Committee—where the fate of the Central Subway will be debated for several months.  SaveMuni.com and San Franciscans will better inform the process in Washington.

Growing Non-Partisan Opposition to the Central Subway – Increasingly, opposition to the Central Subway Project has become non-partisan—with growing awareness of its meager transit benefits, higher costs, poor design, and the financial drain on citywide Muni. The Central Subway is draining $500 million of state/ local funds from Muni—triggering service cuts, crumbling infrastructure, higher fares/ fees/ rates/ tickets and more parking meters.  Democrats, Republicans and Independents are opposing the Central Subway Boondoggle.  In the Senate/ House Conference Committee, more Democrats will oppose the Central Subway, as details of data falsification, funding ineligibility and violations of funding legislation are revealed.

Quicker Jobs Now – Instead of a tiny 1.6 mile, $1.6 billion subway, $500 million of existing state/ local funds can be poured into the citywide Muni system and the broad bottom base of the economy—with massive local jobs.  San Francisco’s economy can be jump-started with hundreds of miles of beautiful transit-priority streets—energizing cafés, restaurants, retail, services, business corridors, neighborhoods…

The California Transportation Commission approved $61 million of High Speed Rail (HSR) Connectivity Funds for the Central Subway despite its elimination of the T-Line’s loop to the Market Street Corridor and Transbay Terminal. The Central Subway has compromised HSR’s credibility. (according to savemuni.org.)

MTA has been accused of falsifying data to justify the Central Subway and conducting an expensive misinformation campaign.

Related links:
House passes 51B Transportation-HUD spending bill for 2013
Documented true facts on the Central Subway – Quentin L. Kopp
North Beach residents angry about Central Subway construction plans
The Central Subway – Tony Gantner’s site
Project Funding Project
Save North Beach from central subway