Ballot Measure Battle Royale, Episode 1: Charter Amendments

by Diego Aguilar-Canabal : thebaycitybeacon – excerpt

What is a charter amendment, and which could end up on your next ballot?

Charter Amendments are explicit changes to the city charter, which must be approved by a citywide vote. These are the hardest-sought ballot measures that can have the most meaningful impact on how city government operates. Some of these are spats between factions or rivalries, while others represent more significant power struggles between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Others may be more mundane or popular issues that, for whatever reason, can only be addressed through the city charter.

Whether the Board of Supervisors votes to put it on the ballot, or activists gather thousands of signatures to qualify, here’s an exhaustive list of all the proposed charter amendments under consideration: … (more)

If you do not understand how the local government operates you will be confused by what is going on at City Hall. This article describes this year’s list of ballot initiatives up for consideration.

Metermadness will only concern itself with the Charter Amendment to Split the SFTA. read the rest of the article for the issues in the article.

Splitting Apart the SFMTA:

Despite their endorsements of rival candidates in the 2016 election, Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin joined forces to introduce a ballot measure that would rescind authority over automobile traffic from the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Parking and traffic policy would instead by governed by a new Department of Livable Streets, under the auspices of a commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors…

Supervisor Safai’s office believes constituents may want to see car traffic decoupled from the central agency’s jurisdiction, as a bureaucracy under mayoral control may be less politically responsive than your District Supervisor. Ingleside residents repeatedly requested a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Avalon and Edinburgh—if the SFMTA hadn’t denied these requests, Safai contends, then Supervisorial control these sorts of traffic decisions could have prevented several injuries.

If passed, the ballot measure would give a Supervisor receiving such complaints “final oversight on mobility management, parking, and traffic calming” under the Livable Streets Department, according to Safai’s office…

Safai’s legislative aide Cathy Mulkey Meyer was notified by the Ingleside Police Station that a pedestrian had been hit at the intersection. A car crash followed just last week, on January 18. According to Meyer, the SFMTA only provides “significant” traffic calming measures—like a stop sign—“if the SFMTA engineers observe right number of pedestrians are interacting with a hazardous number of cars travelling at rapid speeds during a few hours on one day of the year.”

Meyer added that these traffic audits “don’t reflect the nuances neighbors plan their daily lives around, whether walking across the street or deciding what time to leave for work”—or, in the case of this intersection, three schools within a three-block radius. One local traffic engineer, speaking to the Beacon under the condition of anonymity, insisted that “any assessment” for traffic calming purposes would have “absolutely” included factors such as nearby schools(more)

Seattle Plans to Improve Road Safety by Replacing Traffic Signals with Stop Signs

by Charlie Sorrel : xist – excerpt

Just this one trick works remarkably well in reducing speed, crashes, and pedestrian fatalities. But for truly safe intersections, you need to remove the signs altogether.

Seattle may ditch traffic signals in order to make its streets safer. This counterintuitive move should slow traffic, and make drivers more attentive around intersections. And if you live in Seattle, you can send your suggestions for suitable intersections to the local government.

The problem with traffic signals is one of entitlement. If you see a green light, you speed on through, not even giving much thought to the fact that you’re even at a road junction. Worse, if the light changes as you approach, you’ll either jump on the gas, or jump on the brake, either of which can be dangerous for you and other road users. Traffic signals, then, make for efficient intersections, but not safe ones.

According to the Seattle DOT, the city has over 1,000 traffic signals, and it plans to replace up to ten of them of them with four-way stop signs, with more to come if the trial works out. Not only do stop signs force drivers to pay attention, and slow down, it also makes the area unattractive as a through-route, so drivers may instead opt for a bigger, light-controlled road nearby. If properly planned, this can be a powerful traffic-shaping tool… (more)


SF issues more tickets as part of pedestrian safety push

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

As their piece of The City’s push to reduce pedestrian fatalities, San Francisco police are ratcheting up enforcement, which shows in their traffic citation numbers that are up more than 50 percent since last year.

From January 2013 to January 2014, the Police Department reported 43 percent more citations citywide, and from January 2013 to preliminary numbers for last month there was a 54 percent increase, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

“All the stations are up. Across the board, they are writing more tickets,” Suhr said. “Whereas we might have been exercising more discretion and some sort of counseling, now there’s less counseling and more citation issuing.”

Catching traffic violators has become highly emphasized at all 10 police stations, regardless of what other individual issues they face, said Cmdr. Mikail Ali, who works with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency… (more)

Should cyclists yield at stop signs? Riders and motorists weigh in.

By Nicholas Goldberg : latimes – excerpt
I’m used to reading nasty messages after I post on The Times Opinion blog. The comments section often draws angry people — or in any case, people who vehemently disagree with me. When I posted about bicycle laws a couple of weeks ago as part of our Roadshare project, a commenter noted that “this article ranks among the dumbest I’ve read on the subject.”
That struck me as strong language; surely he’d read many dumber things than my post. I know I have.
But my point is not to complain. Rather, it’s to say that my most recent post — on whether cyclists should be allowed to treat stop signs as yield signs as the law allows in Idaho (i.e., slow down and be careful but don’t necessarily stop) and to treat red lights as stop signs (i.e., stop but then go even before the light turns green if the coast is clear) — received a more polite batch of comments than usual.
I expected vituperative remarks, especially from drivers who would vow to run down any bicyclist who dared to ignore a stop sign or red light. (And there were a few of those.) But for the most part, the responses were thoughtful and articulate… (more)
FULL COVERAGE: Sharing the road in L.A.


It is time for drivers and cyclists in San Francisco to have a conversation about the rules of the road. Cars follow the rules to avoid collisions. It helps them to anticipate what other cars will do. When cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles don’t follow the same rules they put themselves at risk. No amount of police or enforcement is going to protect them as much as the driver’s ability to predict their movements.