Proposal Approved, But It’s Not Over Yet!

Apr 25, 2016 — update on the Twin Peaks petition and meetings.

Hi.

As you may already know, at the meeting on 4/19/16, the SFMTA board approved the proposal to prohibit vehicles on the east side of the figure 8 and make the road two-way traffic on the west side. About twice as many people testified against the proposal as those in favor, and I gave a detailed statement on the safety hazards, but the board decided to go ahead with it anyway.

That being said, things may yet change. There is a meeting of the City-chartered Bicycle Advisory Committee on Monday, 4/25/16 at 6:30 PM in room 408 at City Hall, and I will be there to discuss the unfortunate consequences if the proposal is implemented. Information on the committee is here:
http://sfgov.org/bac/about-us
And the agenda for the meeting is here:
http://sfgov.org/bac/bicycle-advisory-committee/meeting/2016-april-25-agenda

Meanwhile, please continue to spread the word, and get more people to sign the petition. The proposal is considered a “pilot” by the SFMTA, and if negative effects come to light, such as onerous traffic jams at the overlook, they may consider canceling the pilot early. Petition signers will get timely updates when the pilot is being evaluated, so that additional input can be provided when that’s most important.

Thanks again.

Jeff

Survey Floats Proposal To Add Parking-Protected Bike Lanes To Oak And Fell Along Panhandle

by Nuala Sawyer : hoodline – excerpt

The North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA) has released a survey polling the community about a radical plan: to install separated bike lanes on both Fell and Oak streets, running the length of Panhandle Park between Baker and Stanyan. To achieve such a feat, one lane of traffic may have to be removed, and parking would be set back from the curb to create a buffer between the bike lane and car traffic (similar to the setup on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park)…

The Panhandle currently has two paths running through it. The path on the south side, commonly used by pedestrians, is bumpy thanks to tree roots pushing through the soil, and meanders to and fro along the edge of Oak Street.

The north side of the park is a different scene. The wider two-way multi-use path is used by runners, pedestrians (often pushing strollers), rollerbladers, skateboarders, and cyclists. Particularly during the morning and evening rush hour, it can become a highway for two-wheeled commuters, connecting them from the popular Wiggle bike route to Golden Gate Park, the Richmond and the Sunset…

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) supports the work of NOPNA in polling the community about these issues. “It’s so great to see the neighborhood association seeking the community’s feedback on how best to improve the Panhandle and neighboring streets,” said Chris Cassidy of SFBC. “We’re excited to see the results of this community survey, and eager to see streets around the Panhandle reflect the hopes of those who use them the most.”

But it’s likely that not everyone in the neighborhood will be a fan of the proposal. As readers well know, the addition of new bike infrastructure, which can spell less space for cars on the road, is perennial hot topic around these parts (see the discussion around this week’s story on a new Tenderloin bike lane). If implemented, the new bike lanes could require the removal of a lane on both Oak and Fell streets, which serve as main arteries for east/west car traffic in the area… (more)

Surprise move on Masonic – last minute meeting notice

Tuesday, January 26, 6:30- PM
Masonic/Hayes,
John Adams Campus Room 139, SFMTA meeting to explain the Masonic plan to will begin construction of the Masonic bike lane project in mid-2016.  They will provide more information at this meeting. This meeting will be a good opportunity to find out information, question MTA and express your opinion about this $18 million project. Unfortunately, for some reason, the meeting notice does not appear on the MTA Masonic project webpage.

If you object to this project sign the Save Masonic petition and tell the supervisors and the candidates why you object and ask them what they plan to do to reign in the SFMTA. All comments go directly to the recipients.  Comments on the meeting are welcome here. Let us know if this is a Show and Tell or a serious discussion meeting.

RELATED:
North of Panhandle Meeting Stressed Data and Parking Parking Parking

sf.streetsblog – excerpt

…To add more parking, the city is considering blocks of nearby Turk, Central, Lyon and other streets for 90-degree, angled parking. An audience member brought up that she doesn’t like angled parking, because it’s hard to see oncoming cyclists. At that point, I chimed in. It occurred to me that if they’re re-configuring parking, why not add a cycle path between the curb and the parked cars, to created a simple protected bike lane? It would require blocks to make sure cars don’t pull up too far, but that’s cheap. Not exactly a ground breaking idea, so I thought.

Gajda was emphatic that there wasn’t room, and besides, they were building a bike lane on Masonic. I kept pointing out that building a raised bike lane on Masonic, as part of a relatively complex and expensive street improvement project, is not an argument for not building a simple parking-protected bike lane on another street. After all, the city is spending the money to reconfigure the parking regardless. Somewhere between 90 degree parking, which the city is considering, and parallel parking, there has to be an angle that will make enough room for a bike lane along the curb without blocking the car lane, even if that costs a handful of parking spots.

The neighbors would SFMTA put the bike lane on a side street and left Masonic along. That would make everyone a lot happier, especially the poor commuters who will not know what hit them unless we get the news out.

SF’s Unsolved Mystery: Hoverboards

By sfweekly – excerpt

This has got to be one of the strangest stories of the season. Does the Idaho Stop Law apply to hoverboards, one of the most controversial vehicles of the season. They make everything else look tame, but, look at how the SF Bike Coalition rates them…

Hoverboards are this holiday season’s hottest gift — literally. A defect in the lithium ion batteries that power the self-balancing scooters has led to reports of the devices exploding. (On Dec. 15, one caught fire inside an East Bay house.) Amazon has pulled some hoverboards from the company’s virtual shelves and urged customers in some markets to trash the unsafe product and collect a refund, while major airlines have banned the devices on planes…

Asked if the Idaho stop also applies to hoverboards, the bill’s sponsor, Supervisor John Avalos, declined to comment.

“I really have no idea,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who supported the bill.

Supervisor Mark Farrell (also a supporter) was unavailable to comment, although a spokesman from his office wrote, “I don’t believe [the Idaho stop] would apply [to hoverboards] — the ordinance specifically references bicycles.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, tasked with regulating traffic, wasn’t able to clarify matters either.

“I don’t have anything to say,” an SFMTA spokesman said. “I’m not being cagey, it’s just that hoverboards aren’t vehicles, so it’d be the cops who’d care. There are no real vehicle regulations associated with hoverboards.”…

Not vehicles? What is a vehicle if hoverboards aren’t one? How do they classify skateboards? Are those vehicles? Are those covered by the Idaho Stop law? Where are they supposed to hover? Sidewalks? Bike lanes? traffic lanes?

When Cmdr. Ann Mannix, the San Francisco Police Department’s traffic chief, was asked if hoverboard riders would be penalized if they cruised through a stop sign, she said, “Depending on how egregious the violation, death or serious bodily injury may be the ‘penalty’ if the rider passes through and strikes, or is struck by, a car or strikes a pedestrian.”

So does the Idaho stop apply to hoverboards? Mannix couldn’t say, noting that “further research is required.”

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which supports the Idaho stop, said that whatever the law, hoverboards should be low-priority for the SFPD. The behaviors that account for the majority of traffic deaths and injuries are when speeding cars run stop signs or red lights, fail to yield the right of way, or violate turn restrictions, they claim… (more)

Not sure how many members will drop their club membership after hearing this, but, if this is any indication of where that club is heading, they may be looking at a lot less support going forward. Comment on the source.

 

SF Bicycle Coalition Director Steps Down After Eight Months Amid Some Board Election Turmoil

by JAY BARMANN : sfist – excerpt

Longtime bike advocate Noah Budnick, who came from New York City’s Transportation Alternatives to take the exec director job at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition just over eight months ago, is leaving his post already amid some ongoing hubbub about the election for the organization’s board. Budnick, whospoke to SFist shortly after he landed the job last December, now tells us this was a “tough decision” but he’s “excited to work on new funding mechanisms to make cities around the world better connected, more beautiful and, of course, more fun!”

As the Examiner first reported yesterday, via a letter Budnick wrote to the SFBC membership, Budnick’s departure comes at a tense moment in the organization in which two competing slates of candidates are up for election to the board, with the incumbent slate advocating for the removal of voting rights for the 10,000 members of the Coalition… (more)

Tis the season of discord among the non-profits and their boards.

SF lawmaker announces ‘Idaho Stop’-style bike yield law proposal

By  : sfexaminer – excerpt

Supervisor John Avalos on Wednesday announced plans to introduce an ordinance to make citations for bicyclists who “safely yield at stop signs” the SFPD’s lowest law enforcement priority.

The proposal is called the “San Francisco Right-of-Way Policy,” but it closely dovetails what is commonly called the “Idaho Stop.” That state law allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign if no vehicles or pedestrians are present at an intersection.

Yielding at stop signs when no cars are present is a natural cyclist behavior, bike advocates argue, for safety and momentum. Now those cyclists may get their wish: Yielding at stop signs may soon be quasi-legal….

“This dramatic increase in bicycle traffic has led to an increase in conflicts between bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers,” Avalos said, in a statement. Board of Supervisors President London Breed told the Examiner she supports the “Idaho Stop.”…

Cmdr. Ann Mannix, who heads the traffic division, told the San Francisco Examiner previously, in an email, “If the public, legislators, voters want us to enforce anything else they must create it and get adopted as law.”… (more)

Safety Course Not Required For Uber, Lyft, Others

hoodline – excerpt

In the wake of an Uber driver arrested after allegedly hitting and injuring a cyclist in Fisherman’s Wharf on Sunday, more questions are being raised about driver safety requirements.

Specifically, taxis are regulated by SFMTA and are required to take 28 hours of classes through one of four approved private driving schools, and another day of training through the SFMTA. An hour of the SFMTA training includes instruction on sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, is taught by a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. At least two hours of testing is required. And as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024, SFMTA is instituting a large vehicle urban driving safety program for all large vehicle drivers who work for the city.

All told, as Central City Extra covered in their latest issue (PDF), there are 71 pages of dense regulations for cab drivers to follow.

Not so for drivers working for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar or limo companies, which are not regulated by the SFMTA – they only have 28 simple regulations to follow.

And the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, among others, is concerned about this gap in safety mandates. “We need to ensure everyone knows how to share the road safely,” said Tyler Frisbee, policy director at the organization. Many of the drivers, she said, aren’t used to driving in a city as busy as San Francisco.

“Whether cab, Uber, Lyft—they’re pulling over to the side frequently, they’re loading and unloading, they’re driving through crowded areas” such as Market Street, SoMa and the FiDi, Frisbee said. “The reason SFMTA hires us is they want to protect peoples’ lives,” she added. “There’s no similar training for Uber. Their drivers take a couple of very short safety classes that are taught online.”… (More)

Expect congestion next three years: Lombard, Polk, and Van Ness construction projects to run simultaneously

By Susan Dyer Reynolds : marinatimes – excerpt

In San Francisco, where extensive construction work has taken over the city’s neighborhoods and business districts, it seems almost absurd to attempt three enormous, overlapping projects on and around three major Northside thoroughfares, but that’s exactly what the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has planned. Here’s the latest news on the Polk Streetscape project, the Van Ness Transit Corridor Improvement and Bus Rapid Transit project, and the Lombard Street Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative… (more)

The author wants to know how you feel about these plans so let her know. Also let the city officials know. Save Polk Street has a letter here you can sign if you like:

http://www.savepolkstreet.com/

RELATED:
Future of Polk Street to be decided Tuesday – maybe

SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought By Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The SFMTA has nixed a block of protected bike lane planned on Polk Street, where merchants including Mayor Ed Lee’s optometrist have vocally opposed it to preserve car parking…

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin ordered the reduction, as shown in emails [PDF] obtained by Madeleine Savit, who founded Folks for Polk to advocate for a safer street. Reiskin and the SFMTA Board of Directors are mayoral appointees.

The Polk redesign, which is up for a vote by the SFMTA Board of Directors on Tuesday, has been fiercely opposed by a group of merchants called “Save Polk Street,” which has spread misinformation in its campaign to preserve parking. Under the proposed plan, partial bike lanes would be installed by removing about 30 percent of the 320 parking spaces on Polk, or 8 percent of parking spaces within a block of the street…

“I’ve heard from many different groups,” Lee told Streetsblog. “I know we want to make the streets safer, make it bike-friendly, small businesses don’t want to lose parking for their constituents… I can’t have a particular position on it except to endorse the most balanced approach that they have because there’s issues that should not be in conflict. We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety over pedestrian safety over cars and parking. I think they’re all going to be important.”

“We have to look at the future — what is it that thoroughfare suggests to us? And how do we take a look at that future and [find] the safest, expedient route that balances the different modes of transportation people have, but also supports the businesses at the same time. If it takes more time, then I’m going to suggest that more time should be taken.”(more)

Please send a letter to the Mayor and our city officials to let them know how you feel about the disruptions on our city streets, and speak at the March 3 MTA Board Meeting at City Hall, room 400, around 2:30 PM if you can.

For your convenience there is a Form letter here.

Thank you for taking a stand on this important issue.

California Legislation Watch: Weekly Update

Among the flurry of votes, the following bills passed out of both the Assembly and the Senate and are now waiting for the governor to sign—or veto:

  • Vehicle registration surcharge for bike paths and trailsSB 1183 from Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) would allow local jurisdictions–cities, park districts–to place initiatives on the ballot to fund bike paths and trails with a local vehicle registration surcharge. Because this fits Brown’s ideals about fiscal responsibility—that is, the surcharge cannot be imposed unless 2/3 of voters approve—let’s say this one is likely to be signed.
  • Bike racks on buses: AB 2707, from Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), would allow newer, longer buses to carry bike racks that fit three bikes. Right now buses are generally restricted to two-bike racks, except in a few places that argued for an exception. This would make the rules consistent statewide.
  • Traffic violation fines in school zones: S.B. 1151, from Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres). Despite unanimous passage in both houses and all the committees it passed through, advocates are worried that Brown may decline to sign this bill because it uses fines to generate revenue. In this case the revenue would have been used for active transportation projects.
    The bill originally called for fines to be doubled, to match fines in construction zones. However, the original language would have required new signage and legislators balked at burdening locals with those costs. Now, the bill merely adds a mandatory $35 increase to any other fines a scofflaw motorist would incur for unsafe driving in a school zone.

Meanwhile the following bills passed the Senate and returned to the Assembly for approval of Senate amendments:

  • Higher fines for hit-and-run convictions: A.B. 1532 from Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles).
  • Yellow Alert on hit-and-run perpetrators:A.B. 47, also from Gatto.
  • Vulnerable users defined:A.B. 2398, from Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). This bill was amended in committee to lower the fine for violations against vulnerable users from $1000 to $300. This is still over three times the current fine which is either $70 or $95 pending the severity of the crash.
  • Active Transportation Program list approved: At its monthly meeting, the California Transportation Commission approved the list of projects its staff recommended to receive funding—a total of 145 projects out of 771 submitted applications. Can you say: woefully underfunded?

Cap-and-Trade Auctions on Track: On Monday, the California Air Resources Board held a successful quarterly cap-and-trade auction, selling out all the available pollution credits at a price slightly above the minimum set by the board. The list of bidders included plenty of fuel companies, who will be subject to the cap come January—unless legislative attempts to delay that, such as A.B. 69 from Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno), gain some traction in the next week. Perea’s bill is awaiting its turn to be heard on the Senate floor.

Closing hit-and-run loopholes: The L.A. City Attorney and the L.A. Times endorsed A.B. 2673 from Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), which would end the use of civil compromises to remove criminal charges for hit-and-run crimes .

Protected Bike Lane Bill Still Being Amended: A.B. 1193 from Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) is the bill that would add protected bike lanes, or “cycletracks,” to the four types of bike facilities defined in the California Street and Highways Code, and would require Caltrans to create engineering standards for them by January of 2016.

A secondary aspect of the bill, which allows local jurisdictions to choose a different safety criteria than that created by Caltrans, is meeting some resistance on both sides of the liability debate (cities don’t want liability, and consumer advocates want someone to take responsibility). The bill actually passed on the Senate floor on Wednesday, but it was pulled back to make amendments to address those concerns.

The California Bicycle Coalition, the bill’s sponsor, is pleased with the results of negotiations. “We have come to an agreement with both sides of the debate,” said Dave Snyder, CalBike’s director. “We’ve agreed to new language and that this bill will not affect liability.”

A.B. 1193 will be heard again in the Senate. It’s expected to pass, but the Assembly will have to approve the new amendments.

.. (more)

Not all of these are problematic, but people should know all the laws our representatives are working on a decide for themselves which to support and which to oppose.

Anyone who is considering donations to the reps may want to find out where they stand.

Note that not one of these bills has anything to do with public transit. These are the bills that are being tracked by the California Bicycle Coalition. They obviously don’t care about public transit.

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