Firefighters concerned about narrowing SF streets

By Eric Rasmussen : KTVU – excerpt

The recent efforts to make San Francisco streets more pedestrian friendly may have the unintended consequences of slowing the response time of fire trucks answering emergency calls.

San Francisco streets can be frustrating and dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Just ask San Francisco firefighters.

KTVU recently rode along with teams on two hook-and-ladder trucks in the city. They said some tight streets are getting tighter.

“They’re making bike lanes and putting palm trees in the middle, taking out a lane of traffic,” said firefighter Jim Fewell as he navigated down a stretch of Cesar Chavez.

Streetscape plans for the busy thoroughfare include a wider median, trees and something called “corner bulb outs.”…

But San Francisco firefighters argue the changes could make navigating city streets even more difficult.

“We don’t want to keep piling on these challenges,” said San Francisco Fire Dept. spokesperson Mindy Talmadge. “That will affect our response time.”

Response times are already ticking up.

According to the department, first units are arriving on scene in about five and a half minutes after a call is received. That is as much as eight seconds slower than during the first part of last year… (more)

I hope the folks who are pushing narrow streets against the concerns of emergency personnel don’t mind the extra time it will take to pick them up and deliver them to the hospital next time they need that service. I think I speak for the rest of us and I would prefer to make it easier for them to do their job.

SF exploring ways to regulate ride services like Uber, Lyft

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

As many as 4,000 rideshare vehicles are on San Francisco streets during peak times, according to Supervisor Eric Mar.

San Francisco city officials are exploring whether they have legal authority to regulate transportation services such as Uber or Lyft as the taxicab industry continues to complain about impacts to revenue, safety and disability services.

Supervisor John Avalos said Thursday that he is working with the City Attorney’s Office to explore a legal case for imposing certain local regulations.

“We’ve gotten to almost a crisis mode,” Avalos said. “We cannot let [the taxicab] industry fail.”

The so-called transportation network companies emerged out of a movement known as the sharing or peer economy, even though nothing is technically shared since the services cost money. Their growing popularity has created controversy, including with the traditional taxicab industry, which is held to stricter regulatory controls… (more)

Firefighters concerned about narrowing SF streets

By Eric Rasmussen : ktvu – excerpt – video

SAN FRANCISCO — The recent efforts to make San Francisco streets more pedestrian friendly may have the unintended consequences of slowing the response time of fire trucks answering emergency calls.
San Francisco streets can be frustrating and dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Just ask San Francisco firefighters.
KTVU recently rode along with teams on two hook-and-ladder trucks in the city. They said some tight streets are getting tighter…
“They’re making bike lanes and putting palm trees in the middle, taking out a lane of traffic,” said firefighter Jim Fewell as he navigated down a stretch of Cesar Chavez.
Streetscape plans for the busy thoroughfare include a wider median, trees and something called “corner bulb outs.”…
Those “bulb outs” and wider sidewalks are a key part of pedestrian safety legislation passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and written by Scott Wiener.
“We have an epidemic of pedestrians being hit on our streets,” said Wiener.
But San Francisco firefighters argue the changes could make navigating city streets even more difficult.
“We don’t want to keep piling on these challenges,” said San Francisco Fire Dept. spokesperson Mindy Talmadge. “That will affect our response time.”
Response times are already ticking up…
When asked if city officials were trying to make it as miserable as possible to drive in San Francisco, Wiener replied “The goal is to give people really good options other than driving a car.”… (more)

If you feel that this is a dangerous situation, let the Supervisors know how you feel: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/district-supervisors

Insured taxis get green light

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer.com – excerpt

After being left in the lurch for a day without valid insurance, more than 500 cabs returned to San Francisco streets Thursday with the required coverage to operate.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates cabs, ordered the 525 taxis off the street for Wednesday, after it was discovered a policy to cover the mandated $1 million insurance coverage for each cab had expired Tuesday night. Despite the threat of fines and permit revocation, an untold number of the cabs continued to operate.

However, by late Thursday morning, Dmitry Erenkov, the insurance broker for the 525 taxis, was able to secure the $1 million coverage plan for the cabs, according to Mark Gruberg and Rich Hybels, founders of Green Cab and Metro Cab, respectively. Those companies were two of the largest collectives affected by the policy lapse. Overall, about one-third of The City’s 1,500 taxis were temporarily left without insurance Wednesday…

(more)