Find out if San Francisco owes you $$ for overpaid parking tickets; deadline soon

By Amy Graff : SFGATE – excerpt

Those who are used to owing the City of San Francisco money for unpaid parking tickets will like this news: SFMTA is offering people the opportunity to claim cash for their overpaid parking tickets.

The Municipal Transportation Agency has $600,000 in unclaimed funds from a couple of hundred people and businesses who either overpaid or double-paid parking and transit citations issued between Jan. 1, 1995, and June 30, 2014.

The agency will reimburse individuals who file claims by Dec. 14, 2017. After the deadline, unclaimed funds will become property of the city… (more)

We know that ticket complaints are high on the list of our readers. Unfortunately, we can only point to general remedies as each case needs special investigations. Here is your chance to handle one of the many issues regarding parking tickets. One wonders how so many people were convinced to pay twice.

What kind of glitch caused this and has that glitch has been fixed? One also wonders if any interest on the will be returned, since the SFMTA charges us additional costs for late payments one hopes they will return interests on mistaken overcharges.

How are tourists and visitors going to be reimbursed? Can’t the SFMTA just return the balance on credit cards without claims? They know who overpaid.

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Van Ness BRT project delay may impact Golden Gate Transit operating costs

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s traffic woes are the Bay Area’s traffic woes.

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District officials pointed to the two-year delay of San Francisco’s Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project as a source of financial pain at a finance committee meeting Thursday, during a review of their 2017 strategic financial plan.

But the bridge district’s budget would also look more rosy — to the tune of $1.5 million — if San Francisco roads were simply less clogged, according to district documents… (more)

Most people blame the SFMTA for the mess that makes the Millennium Tower look like small potatoes. We need Peskin to direct the 30 plus SFCTA staffers at the SFCTA to prepare a report on the Walsh contract. Who suggested using a Design-to-Build contract, used in small construction jobs, as a good way to design and manage the massively complex and growing multi-contractor mess that we have on Van Ness Avenue.
Who supported this project management style and who advised against it? Can we quit listening to the people who get it wrong and start paying attention to the people, and the public, who get it right?
Until this mess gets sorted out City Hall should stop all non-essential new projects from breaking ground.

We should stop installing building billion dollar old technology on our streets when new tech may solve much of the problem. See this new system being tried on China now and then decide how to “design for the future”. http://www.sfexaminer.com/v…

This is a prime example of privatization of our city streets

What are we going to do about it?

photo of rental parking and vehicle parked in daylight zone by zrants

SFMTA is NOT eliminating cars from our streets. They are replacing our cars with corporate-owned cars by creating unfair parking policies and signing private agreements that give parking preferences to corporate vehicles through a repressive parking program. They are selling public parking right-of-ways to their choice of private enterprises. SFMTA is picking winners and losers without regard for public opinion or engagement. Agreements and contracts are signed years before the pubic is notified.

What is the difference between privately owned Ford Gobikes, and Scoot parking spots for scooters or cars? They all remove public right of ways on public streets. Some corporations don’t even pay for the rights to do so because they created a deal to “share” the profits with the government entities that are removing your parking. (The first agreement was signed by MTC, a regional entity to conduct a pilot project to test the program. A more recent agreement was signed by SFMTA with Motivate that detailed how they would “share” profits. This agreement also gave Motivate much of the “free” curb parking space that belonged to the public. Motivate doesn’t even pay for the permit to install the bike stands. You do.) Who asked your permission to remove your parking rights?

Sharing or taking: The SFMTA is removing space from the public and giving exclusive right to use of that space to on-demand systems, they call “sharing” systems. As some supervisors have famously pointed out, sharing does not involve cash transactions. Free parking on city streets is true sharing and that is what the SFMTA is eliminating.

We have two choices to stop the privatization of our city streets:  One of them is to sue the city. The other is to remove the powers an authorities that the agency has uses to remove our rights. through the ballot intiative system. To do that you need to convince four Supervisors to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot to repeal or amend Prop E to alter the powers of that system. Or you need to collect a lot of signatures to put it on the ballot. Either one takes a lot of time and money and effort.

Talk to the candidates. Start by demanding support for change from the candidates running for mayor and supervisor positions. All the even numbered districts are up for election and candidates are looking for support now, along with those running for mayor. Find your local neighborhood groups and work through them to demand change.

Transit New regulations for jitneys leave ban on Muni competition in flux

By Joe Fitgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco transportation officials approved The City’s first-ever regulations for jitneys Tuesday.

The regulations will require private transit to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles and to submit operating data to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, among other new rules.

A controversial ban on allowing private transit routes to mirror Muni routes is still in flux, however, and SFMTA staff said the provision to curtail duplicate service needs more work behind the scenes.

The SFMTA Board of Directors approved the regulations Tuesday after a heated discussion, and asked staff to come back to the board with its final proposal to ban competition with Muni…(more)

What do routes have to do with competition when the whole point of the service is “on-demand” pick-up and drop off. There is no competition since Muni doesn’t offer that service. The routes a vehicle travels on between the pickup and drop off spots is irrelevant to the beginning and ending points, and probably has more to do with traffic flow than anything else.

Regulate Chariot, charge fair-market value for use of government property

Op-ed by Susan Vaughan : sfexaminer – excerpt

Photos by zrants

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is an vital organization in The City’s efforts to combat climate change and income inequality. In its 2016 Annual Report, the SFMTA announced a 10 percent increase in service, daily ridership of 725,000 and one-year reductions of nearly 45 percent in carbon emissions…

In recent years, private, for-profit carriers that The City doesn’t regulate or regulates loosely, and that exclude many categories of riders, have proliferated on local streets: the technology shuttle buses, aka “Google” buses; transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission; and now private transportation vehicles (PTVs)…

This is legal. In fact, in 2012 and 2013, local cab drivers sued the SFMTA over the cost of medallions (permits to operate taxis) arguing that the medallion fee — $250,000 — was an illegal tax. A legal brief, signed by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Deputy City Attorney Wade Snodgrass, made the winning argument that the medallion “grants its holder the ‘special privilege’ of ‘us[ing] … public streets for private enterprise.” Elsewhere, they wrote: “California law … [authorizes] local government entities to allow the private use of public property, and to sell or lease public property, at market rates … in order to protect the public fisc.” In fact, in 2010 town hall meetings, the proposed medallion fee was identified as a source of revenue to support the SFMTA. But those medallion fees have dropped into negative numbers because of the competition from TNCs… (more)

The Board of Directors must include fair-market charges for every PTV — and shuttle bus — for “[t]he right to use streets as a place of business for private gain.”

Susan Vaughan is a local transportation advocate... (more)

How is Chariot different from Tech buses and hospital shuttles? Why are we dealing with so many different attitudes toward the same thing? Should not all these “private” transportation systems that transport the public be “regulated” is equals? The SFMTA should not be in the business of regulating private vehicles. They should stick to doing the one thing they can barely do. They should fill the holes in the road they dug up and they should manage the Muni. If the Muni were properly managed it would BE the choice of most people.

What does the director of the agency do with this time? He sits on many boards and does a lot of back slapping and self-congratulatory speeches, claiming he runs the best transit system in the world, while San Francisco traffic and businesses are being run into the ground by a construction nightmare of his own making.

City Hall is anticipating offering small sums of cash grants and low-interest loans to prop up the failing businesses long enough to get through the various hopelessly behind schedule construction projects, many neighborhoods opposed to begin with. Maybe we need to let the director go and work on his private projects and hire a new focused one who can get the jobs done effectively, ONE AT A TIME instead of 29 at a time.

If all the street construction projects went away tomorrow no one would care about the Chariots, tech buses, Muni, delivery trucks or taxis. The street constructions are creating the headaches for everyone and sucking up the Muni money. Kill the projects and you can have a free Muni.

 

Bicycle Rental Company Gets Caught With Bikes Parked Where They Shouldn’t Be

Spin, a stationless bike rental startup, might be catching some heat from the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency soon as someone snapped a photo of the app-unlockable bikes parked where they shouldn’t be, complete with a missing wheel because hey, it’s still a bike parked in the city and all. Such is the tax for riding a bicycle in San Francisco.

According to Hoodline’s report on Spin and their wayward bikes, the startup has a “partial” agreement with the SFMTA and co-working space WeWork, allowing them to provisionally operate in the city. The stipulations of that agreement require Spin to only allow their bikes to be parked on WeWork property grounds. Thus far, there are only about 50 Spin bikes in operation around the city (49 if you knock off the one with the missing wheel in the photo above), all of which need to be parked in one of WeWork’s 10 San Francisco locations.

If they fail to comply with this rule, the company could be hit with some serious fines. Hoodline also shared the above photo with SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose, who commented, “The two bikes on the left—side-by-side cluttering a very busy sidewalk between a sign pole and outdoor seating—represent the type of situation we seek to avoid by requiring the operator to comply with conditions of our permit.”…(more)

FewerPotholes repair effort kicks off in the Richmond District

Sarah B. : richmondsfblog – excerpt

Have more potholes to report? Be sure to use 311 to let the city know. You can call 311 or use their handy mobile app which lets you mark the location accurately and even upload a photo. Photo by zrants.

Last month, we asked you all to submit reports of your peskiest potholes in the neighborhood as part of the #FewerPotholes campaign. The project was created by District 1 Supervisor Sandra Fewer who convinced DPW to commit a dedicated crew to the Richmond District to repair potholes reported by residents…

The #FewerPotholes repair effort kicked off last Friday with Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisor Fewer and Public Works Deputy Director Larry Stringer donning hard hats and picking up shovels to fill in the first pothole on 27th Avenue between Geary and Clement…

“I’ve heard for months that the state of our roads and the number of potholes were of concern to residents in my neighborhood,” said Supervisor Fewer…(more)

RELATED:
Motorcyclie Mama : Even if you don’t live in the Richmond District, you can still ask the DPW to take action: According to their website, people who report potholes via 311 can expect them to “repair any pothole that is our responsibility within 48 hours during week days.” So go ahead, report those potholes, and let us know how it goes!

Report but don’t hold your breath. I filed a report with photos of the ones on Carolina at least 3 months ago, and that street is still a mess.

 

 

Twin Peaks Tunnel repair back off track

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s confused staff is confusing everyone with their signs. They need to get out of the construction business and get back to running Muni services for the people who need it or hand it over to someone who knows how to run it. photo by zrants.

For riders taking the 80,000 daily trips on three of Muni’s light-rail vehicle lines, slow-moving trains and delays are a way of life.

Now, work planned to repair the Twin Peaks Tunnel — which would lessen those Muni slowdowns — is itself delayed, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The delay will also cause other Muni construction projects to start later than planned, as these projects are often timed in sequence…

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has terminated its $32 million contract with NTK Construction, Inc., for that repair work, after the agency met “logistical issues” planning tunnel shutdowns that would have necessitated 40,000 riders to take replacement shuttle buses…

Those repairs are needed, staff wrote, to “lift the speed restriction currently in place for trains moving through the tunnel and cut down on unexpected service disruptions.”

For eight years, that restriction was 35 mph, and a year ago became 40 mph, but may jump to 50 mph after repairs, said John Haley, SFMTA’s director of transit…

The SFMTA confirmed another construction project has been rescheduled due to the Twin Peaks Tunnel Replacement Project delay, as work at Junipero Serra Boulevard and 19th Avenue was “supposed to align with the Twin Peaks shutdown for pedestrian improvements, but will have to be rescheduled to perhaps beyond July,” said SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato.

Multiple projects may ultimately be rescheduled, Kato confirmed(more)

There are no more construction crews left to do maintenance because they are all working on street diets and bus lanes and adding more assets that have no maintenance plans of their own. Some of us saw this coming and tried to steer the SFMTA toward maintenance and away from expanded capital improvements.

Many requests are made for cheap safety improvements like paint on cross walks and added traffic signals. Nobody can suggest anything to the SFMTA. They have an excuse for why they can’t do anything the public requests.

In a recent article in the Ingleside-Excelsior Light, Safai is quoted as saying that he gets requests for adding more crosswalks to the most dangerous streets. Many people have asked for more traffic signals, but, according to the SFMTA these simple relatively inexpensive solutions are held up due to their lack of staff and the fact that they can only add 10 traffic signals a year in the entire city.

These excuses are coming from an agency that has over 50,000 employees and over a billion dollar a year budget. They can’t figure out how to do the small cheap projects that public wants because they spend all their time working on solving perceived problems that may crop up in the future.

Until the voters and taxpayers stop these large projects, or convince the supervisors to quit funding them, we will never get our simple requests for traffic signals and crosswalk markings. SFMTA needs to move some of their high paid planning staff into the traffic signal and sign painting department and quit ignoring the public.

SFMTA Seeks Input On Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project Designs This Week

By : Hoodline – excerpt

Folsom-Plan

Page 92 of the 92 Page Eastern Neighborhood Plan from 2008

Anyone who commutes across the Bay Bridge should start screaming now… Sorry for the late notice. I just saw this.

Changes are in the works for SoMa through SFMTA’s $26 million Folsom-Howard Streestcape Project.

Now, after community meetings late last year, the agency will be holding two public open house meetings so the neighborhood can weigh in on upcoming design changes to Folsom and Howard streets.

As part of the Vision Zero initiative, the project would focus on making an area—Howard Street between 3rd and 11th streets and Folsom Street between 2nd and 11th streets—that the city has designated as a high-injury corridor more pedestrian and bike-friendly…

The two open houses  will be held Thursday, April 27th at 6:00pm-7:30pm and Saturday, (sorry we missed that one.) April 29th at 12:00pm-2:00pm at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School at 375 7th Street, between Folsom and Howard streets. Both meetings will cover the same material…(more)

No new plans that we can see online, but we know what they have in mind –  cutting traffic lanes and adding bike lanes to the two most heavily traveled, packed and gridlocked streets in the city.  City Hall doesn’t really want you to drive into the city on one the most expensive bridges ever built.

They want you to pack onto a BART train, or Transbay bus, or stay the heck out of THEIR city! Many people will choose to stay away once this nightmare goes into effect.

Watch for the boulevard plan, pictured above. Page 92 of the 92 page Eastern Neighborhoods Plan from 2008 shows Folsom street as a tree-lined civic Blvd.) There may be talk of turning it into a two-way street, removing making turns onto side streets and even installing a red lane. They would kill what is left of the businesses along the way and, make your commuting impossible. No wonder tech is moving to Nevada.

Any claims that the city is removing cars from city streets and thus reducing greenhouse gases are false. As you can tell, there are as many, if not more vehicles clogging our streets and the longer it take you to get somewhere the more emissions there are in the air during that trip. Slowing down the vehicles is adding to the pollution. Removing the hundreds of trees is removing the natural CO2 filter that was in place. Add the construction dust and fumes and you can pretty well guess that the air is a lot less clean than it was. We are lucky when it rains to put a damper on it. If there is one lie you do not believe, do not believe that the air is cleaner.

Traffic safety is no easy fix

Examiner readers – comments
Make traffic deaths a thing of the past,”
In My View, April 18

Traffic safety is no easy fix

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin proclaims that “each [San Francisco traffic fatality] is preventable” as though this is somehow self-evident simply because he proclaims it. It is no such thing.

As SFPD Cmdr. Mikail Ali discovered in his detailed analysis of 2013 and 2014 street fatalities, the majority of fatalities are due to “really, really bad behavior” on the part of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Anyone who cycles and walks in San Francisco every day, as I do, will be as confounded as I am at the notion that red-light-running, inattentive jaywalking and failures to yield at crosswalks can be prevented by “Vision Zero,” which is a slogan pretending to be a panacea.

Reiskin cites “data analysis” as the basis for ever more expensive and intrusive mismanagement of our traffic flow. Yet despite having more than 5,000 employees at his service, the SFMTA has been slow to publish its annual collisions reports so we, citizens, can review the data ourselves.

The latest canard is “speeding,” something we all know is nearly impossible to do on tight, congested inner-city streets. Yet, it will be cited as justification for massive new camera surveillance. I’m sure the vendors of the speeding cameras are pleased by Reiskin’s endorsement of their solution to a nonexistent problem, as well as Uber and Lyft, who smile upon his efforts to divert our attention away from the true current scourge: distracted ride-hail drivers.

Deane Hartley
San Francisco

Ed Reiskin has admitted that Vision Zero has failed to put a dent in traffic deaths. So, his solution is MORE OF SAME.

According to a February 7 report titled “SFMTA Board Workshop”, in 2016 there were 3 bicycle fatalities, 16 pedestrian fatalities and 11 people were killed in vehicles. Bus and rail collisions and traffic congestion was up.