SFMTA Releases Final Proposal For Upper Market Street Safety Project

 

On Thursday, the SFMTA released its final project proposal for the Upper Market Street Safety Project, which aims to increase safety and comfort for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike on Upper Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street. The project has been a long time coming, after months of meetings, presentations and most recently, an open house in May(more)

Traffic moved for decades without much trouble. Why is it such a dilemma now? Could it be the wrong people are in charge of it as has been suggested by a lot of people? Time for a change in personnel.

The fastest way to make the streets safer is to hire a new traffic light manager who knows how to move traffic. Left turn signals are a good start. Longer yellow lights would also help. In November the voters will get to voice their opinion on the red street carpets.

If the reaction to the Mission Street mess is any indication, they will vote the red carpet masters down.

 

Supervisors attempt to reduce mayor’s powers with suite of new measures

Supervisor Yee needs support to get a Charter Amendment on the November ballot that would split the MTA Board appointments between the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.

Grassroots Actions

By Riley McDermid :sfbusiness – excerpt

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have introduced a suite of measures aimed at taking power away from Mayor Ed Lee in five major departments, as the deadline to introduce charter amendments for the November ballot arrived Tuesday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a charter amendment introduced at the meeting by Supervisor Aaron Peskin would reconfigure how much oversight the mayor has over the Department of Real Estate, Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

In addition, Supervisor Norman Yee introduced a charter amendment that would allow the board to appoint three of the seven board members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors, while taking away the mayor’s power to appoint all seven.

The mayor’s office immediately pushed back against the measures late Tuesday, saying the moves came as a surprise and weren’t necessary –…

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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)

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.

SFMTA Board Approves Contested Transit Signals, Bulb-Outs on Haight

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

On Tuesday, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved plans to add traffic signals and bulb-outs along Haight Street, which could speed up Muni’s 6 and 71 lines and improve pedestrian safety. The approval came despite complaints from Upper Haight merchants over removing parking for bus bulb-outs, and mixed support for new traffic signals from pedestrian safety and transit advocates…

But the speed benefits of signalization are contested by Michael Smith, the former Chief Technology Officer and General Manager of NextBus, who co-founded Walk SF. SFMTA staff have not responded to his challenge to their estimates — neither to a request from Streetsblog, nor at the board hearing — but street safety advocates say that they might not justify costly signals, which restrict movement for people walking and biking (in this case, on the Wiggle). “MTA hasn’t convinced neighbors and pedestrian advocates of that,” said Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich

But Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider told the SFMTA Board she “comes at this with some mixed thoughts. ” Planners in Sweden, the birthplace of Vision Zero, say they avoid adding signals in favor of treatments like roundabouts, which maintain slower speeds and “forgive” mistakes by street users and minimize the risk of crashes. Traffic signals, meanwhile, give motor vehicle drivers carte blanche to coast through an intersection…

Peter Straus, an SFTRU member and retired Muni service planner, told the SFMTA Board that he lives a block away from Haight and Pierce Streets, one of the intersections set to get traffic signals. “I don’t think they’re things that people should be afraid of, if they’re properly managed” by synchronizing signals for slower speeds, he said. The SFMTA says it plans to do so…

Aside from the signals, several merchants at the hearing protested the SFMTA’s plans to remove parking and loading zones to create sidewalk extensions at bus stops and crosswalks. A few, including the owners of Amoeba Music, also said they thought transit bulb-outs would cause car traffic to back up, since buses would stop in the traffic lanes to load passengers…

Breed doesn’t have a specific position on the proposals, said Johnston, but she is concerned that shelters and signals could affect public safety…

Evans said that the Muni Forward plans for Haight “are in conflict” with the Haight-Ashbury Public Realm Plan, a community planning effort that the Planning Department is undertaking, with a focus on streetscape improvements. City planners have said the two plans will work in tandem, and that the Muni improvements up for approval were vetted by the public through the Public Realm Plan…

The only SFMTA directors who voted against approving the changes were Jerry Lee and Gwyneth Borden, the board’s newest member. Borden said more time was needed to work out the issues, and that she “had a hard time with” the appearance that those voicing concerns weren’t being taken seriously. “I don’t think you can overlook when there are so many diverse groups of people, with varying problems, in a particular area,” she said… (more)

Even people who normally agree with the SFMTA disagree with this plan. Most don’t want traffic signals and many don’t like the shelters. Merchants don’t want to lose any parking. If it ain’t broke leave it alone.

Someone needs to request a hearing before the Board of  Supervisors to amend the contract.

RELATED:
SFMTA Board Approves $6.6M Project Along 71 Haight-Noriega Route

Wiener Moves to Make NACTO Street Design Guides Official Policy for SF

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced a bill that would make the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ guides for Urban Streets and Urban Bikeways official city policy. The SFMTA Board of Directors already adopted the NACTO guides in January, but Wiener’s legislation would establish them as official guidelines for other agencies to use, including the Department of Public Works, the Planning Department, and the SF Fire Department… (more)

We have Phil Ting’s AB 1193 to thank for this headache, and the lobbies hired by the SFMTA and the Bicycle Coalition who wrote and sold it to the state legislature.

Send inquires to the other city agencies that this legislation seeks to control, such as the Fire Department and other emergency responders. Find out how concerned they are about the narrow streets and other obstructions SFMTA is planning to fund with the Prop A Bond funds.

Let SF City officials know who you blame for gridlock and ask the state assembly candidates who they plan to support when they get to Sacramento.

 

Mayor’s Reappointment of Vice Chair Cheryl Brinkman to MTA Board

sfmta – excerpt

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 – Tom Nolan, Chairman of the Board of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), today issued the following statement congratulating Cheryl Brinkman on her reappointment as Vice Chair of the SFMTA Board of Directors.

“Cheryl Brinkman is a champion for transit and sustainable modes of transportation and her reappointment to the MTA Board of Director symbolizes this city’s commitment to achieving our transit first goals. Her work thus far has resulted in the support of effective policies, strong community partnerships, and sustainable strategies that have ultimately improved our transportation network. I certainly look forward to relying on her valuable experience and insight as a regular transit rider and transporation advocate as we work to secure two transportation funding measures on the November 2014 ballot. These potential new and stable funding sources would help support smoother roads, improved transit reliability, reduced crowding on Muni, pedestrian safety enhancements, and better defined bikeways.”

Brinkman was sworn in by Mayor Ed Lee today… (more)

Mayor Ed Lee apparently has no concern over conflicts of interests where Ms. Brinkman is concerned. Her husband’s company benefits directly from the North Beach tunnel project, and she has economic ties to the SFTMA and the SF Bicycle Coalition and the other “non-profits”  that profit from the city’s many contracts from  managing housing to  street calming and car sharing.

SFMTA Board Resolutions for 2011 and Vacancies on City Boards, Commissions, and Task Forces

sfmta.com – excerpt

Download a log of resolutions passed by the SFMTA Board during 2011 or view the minutes of the meetings. See the settlements, moneys allocated and spent, etc.
http://www.sfmta.com/cms/cmta/SFMTABoardResolutionsfor2011.htm

Vacancies on City Boards, Commissions & Task Forces:
http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=3045

SFMTA Eyes Parking Overhaul

By Megan Taros : sfbay.ca – excerpt

The City is finally catching on that its parking situation — to put it plainly — sucks.
It is now looking for ways to address the spidering mess that emerged from its residential parking program, which started 35 years ago.
The program lets residents of certain streets and areas park for 72 hours without moving if they purchase a handy $104 annual permit. The point was to keep out of town commuters and tourists from cramming in to residential areas and abusing their parking time…
The SFTMA will discuss possible next steps at its Board of Directors meeting later this month…

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