SF’s damaged transit center closed for weeks — park could reopen sooner

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Buses won’t return to the damaged Transbay Transit Center until its broken girders are repaired — a process that could take at least several weeks. The rooftop park, however, could reopen sooner, officials said Tuesday.

At a special meeting of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Executive Director Mark Zabaneh said the agency should know by Nov. 1 what caused two large support beams to crack

But resuming bus service will have to wait until the permanent fix is completed, Zabaneh said. While the temporary bracing could support the weight of people on the park plus buses on the deck, he said, Transbay officials prefer to be cautious.

Construction crews will also be on the bus deck working, which would make it difficult, and possibly dangerous, for drivers… (more)

SFMTA already specializes in creating gridlock in the “East Cut”. What we really needs is an expensive park with no view to draw in the tourists. I think I’ll pass on the offer. Maybe they should turn it into a fake earthquake experience ride to prepare us for the real one. Sell t-shirts that say, “I survived the Transbay Terminal.” or “I Rode the Trasnbay Wave”.  Make it a teaching moment.

RELATED:

Responsibility for Salesforce Transit Center fix remains an open question

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Just who will pay to fix cracked steel beams at the Salesforce Transit Center is still an open question, but the cost won’t be covered by a contingency fund set aside for construction errors and fixes, officials said at a City Hall meeting Tuesday.

Dennis Turchon, senior construction manager at the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said at an authority meeting Tuesday that determining who is financially responsible for the needed fixes will have to wait until a cause is determined.

“The focus,” Tuchon is first and foremost on fixing the transit center, he told reporters… (more)

Rapid Growth in Sunnyvale Spurs Concerns in Public Safety

Police officers and firefighters in Sunnyvale are going public with their concerns that the city is allowing business to boom without enough consideration for public safety.

Police officers and firefighters in Sunnyvale are going public with their concerns that the city is allowing business to boom without enough consideration for public safety…

So, the union sent the letter to City Council members, formally requesting impacts to public safety be specifically analyzed…

A union consultant and adviser said the focus is on protecting public safety but added litigation has not been ruled out…(more)

Scooters, e-Bikes and jet packs: Mobility tech’s big moment.

by Elizabeth C. Creely : nextdoor – excerpt

Scooters, e-Bikes and jet packs: Mobility tech’s big moment. Can a man who helped create gridlock and traffic congestion in the Bay Area really solve our traffic woes?…

Fair is foul and foul is fair, say the witches in Macbeth, warning that what seems to be appealing will seem less so as the plot grinds to an end. This is how I feel about the scooter situation and the onset of for-profit mobility companies who are perpetual launch mode in this city, arriving daily with mobility vehicles tucked under their arms. “The next idea that comes along, I’m not even going to try to speculate what it is,” said Jeff Hobson, deputy director of planning at the SFCTA who spoke of “dockless jet packs” as a real possibility. The hyper activity of the mobility industry is no joke. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I saw someone land in the middle of Mission street with a jet pack strapped on their back…

It’s so much easier to disrupt if the public doesn’t know you’re up to.

DDND: Disruption depends on non-disclosure…

Do what thou wilt is the whole of their law. Travis understood how to position the scooters as a cavalry that’s arriving—just in time!—to decongest this city, because Travis oversaw the catastrophic growth of Uber, which was so rapid as to resemble dumping, as the Vice President of Global Driver Growth at Uber from 2014 to 2016. Before that, he was the COO of Lyft… (more)

To See the Future of Cities, Watch the Curb. Yes, the Curb

By Aarian Marshall : wired – excerpt

When Greg Rogers left his gig as a Washington, DC, lobbyist in 2015, he did what any savvy, mid-20s kid with a car and a light wallet might: He signed up to drive for a couple of ridehailing services. “Living the millennial dream means quitting your job, driving for Uber and Lyft, and trying to figure it out,” he says…

Space Wars

Rogers, the driver-turned analyst, was inspired by his struggles to come up with a new curbside management concept, one that Washington and other cities are beginning to take very seriously. He calls it “shared use mobility zones,” and you can think of it as flex-space: At certain times of day, the city reserves the curb for specific functions. During rush hour, maybe, it’s a pick up stop for a microtransit service. In the afternoon, it’s a spot where trucks can pull over and drag in deliveries without double parking. At night, it’s a designated point where a for-hire car can meet passengers pouring out of the bar on the corner. “The best part is that cities can adjust based on what their goals are,” says Rogers.

And even though Rogers hasn’t actually approached any local governments about his personal zoning idea, cities are acting on similar notions: In October, Washington rolled out a year-long pilot program modeled on the concept of flex-space. Monday through Thursday, a stretch of Connecticut Avenue in the busy Dupont Circle neighborhood is a great place to shop or grab lunch. Thursday through Sunday, 10 pm to 7 pm, it’s one of the most zoo-like nightlife spots in the District.

That’s why the city reserves four blocks on those evenings for ridehailing pick-up and drop-off zones. “Folks were spilling out into the travel lane,” says Evian Patterson, the DC Department of Transportation’s director of parking and ground transportation. Now, just a few months on, he says the city has seen safety improvements. The traffic has gotten better, too. San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale have similar pilots in the works…

Or, faster transportation overall. In 2015, Chicago’s government reserved curbside lanes on a major downtown thoroughfare for buses only, painting them a bright red. In the following year, moving and stoping violations on the road fell. Standing and parking violations almost disappeared. Bus riders were getting to where they needed to go, closer to on time—and so was everyone else… (more)

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…

SFMTA: Residents prefer ride-hailing companies to buses and bikes

by curbed – excerpt

Public transit, bike, and pedestrian travel up in yearly survey, but not by much

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) presented the results of its fifth annual transit survey, which found that fewer San Franciscans are getting around via their own cars. But many residents have eschewed public transit or bikes in favor of the newfangled car services.

SFMTA began conducting the annual Transportation Decision Survey in 2013 to measure efforts to curb the use of private cars.

While private car use has declined almost every year—it’s now a minority option for daily commuters—that doesn’t necessarily add up to fewer cars on the road…(more)

This leads one to wonder if we are not better served by restoring parking for residents to avoid the hoards of Ubers and Lyfts commuting into the city to drive us around.

Measuring Cognitive Distractions

Report by AAA : .aaafoundation – excerpt

In this landmark study of distracted driving, the AAA Foundation challenges the notion that drivers are safe and attentive as long as their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. Using cutting-edge methods for measuring brain activity and assessing indicators of driving performance, this research examines the mind of the driver, and highlights the mental distractions caused by a variety of tasks that may be performed behind the wheel.

By creating a first-of-its-kind rating scale of driver distractions, this study shows that certain activities – such as talking on a hands-free cell phone or interacting with a speech-to-text email system – place a high cognitive burden on drivers, thereby reducing the available mental resources that can be dedicated to driving. By demonstrating that mentally-distracted drivers miss visual cues, have slower reaction times, and even exhibit a sort of tunnel vision, this study provides some of the strongest evidence yet that “hands-free” doesn’t mean risk free.

More distracted driving related research:

Report
Presentation
Fact Sheet

RELATED:
SFMTA Rep Takes Heat as Everyone Objects to Dangerous Potrero Slalom Run

Local Readers blast their horns about Uber and Lyft

By David Talbot : sfchronicle – excerpt

Tuesday’s column about the flood of Uber and Lyft cars on the streets of San Francisco triggered a tsunami of reader email and social-media outbursts. So I’m turning over today’s platform to my impassioned readers. The public is clearly reaching its tipping point on the out-of-control ride-hailing industry. The last time something like this happened, Airbnb cut a sensible deal with the city. So who knows? The boys-will-be-boys bro-ocracy at Uber might also finally accept some reasonable regulations…

My column also provoked howls from those who thought I was unfair to the ride-hailing corporations. “The reason people take Lyft and Uber is because Muni and taxis suck,” stated Jamey Frank. “Neither are reliable nor convenient, especially for my disabled parents. We take (the TNC) cars rather than climbing down a filthy (Muni) staircase due to a broken escalator and elevator, to a filthy and dark platform and wait a random amount of time for a train. … The MTA’s policy is not solution-based. Instead, they prefer to punish people out of their cars through red lanes, road diets and parking confiscation, creating huge amounts of artificial traffic congestion. But no amount of driver punishment overrides the fact that San Francisco has one of the least reliable, least pleasant transportation systems in the world.”

Speaking of solutions, Philip Macafee proposes a sensible new approach on his website, the Rideshare Justice Project (www.ridesharejustice.org). “The web, mobile devices and GPS location technology offer a great advance in secure, trustworthy and fair transportation,” he writes. “But only if implemented properly. States and municipalities need to step up to the plate by setting standards that blend the benefits of game changing new technology with time proven practices of reinforcing good behavior on the part of workers. (They also need to ensure) fair wages and safety for drivers. And they need to do it before the problem gets worse.”

I like what he’s driving at…(more)

Comments go to dtalbot@sfchronicle.com

SF demands data from Uber, Lyft on city trips, driver bonuses

By Carolyn Said : sfgate – excerpt

It’s a San Francisco truism: Every other car on the streets these days seems to sport a logo for Uber or Lyft — and many double-park or block traffic as passengers climb in or out.

Now the city wants Uber and Lyft to share details on how many ride-hailing cars are roving the streets and when, so it can ensure that they comply with local laws; assess their impact on traffic congestion, safety, pollution and parking; and ascertain whether they are accessible for disabled and low-income riders.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Monday subpoenaed Uber and Lyft to disgorge records on four years of driving practices, disability access and service in San Francisco. The companies have steadfastly declined to share data other than that they have about 45,000 drivers in the Bay Area… (more)

The “Sharing Economy” has lost favor in San Francisco as citizens and politicians now realize the circle of benefactors is very limited.

Business interests hold first-of-its-kind meeting with SF to stop traffic congestion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The denizens of downtown have had it: Traffic congestion has got to go.
To that end, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce pitched to San Francisco a first-of-its-kind meeting with downtown interests and transportation planners in the hopes of tackling congestion in concert.

The idea was sparked by similar meetings convened by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to curb congestion during last year’s Super Bowl City, which proved to be a positive collaboration, said Dee Dee Workman, vice president of public policy at the chamber…

But more than just a community kvetch, the meeting is a call to action for The City. Workman said congestion doesn’t merely stymie commuters, businesses and residents in the Financial District, South of Market and Market Street areas, but ripples across neighborhoods.

“There’s gridlock all the time,” said Workman. “We want to talk to the [SF]MTA about what’s happening to the streets of San Francisco and how they’re approaching public transportation planning.”…(more)

SFMTA has NOT been responsive to anyone at any time in recent memory to anything other than requests for meetings. They have plenty of employees to send to meetings on the taxpayers’ dime, to waste the the taxpayers’ time. They like nothing better than wasting our time at meetings explaining their plans to ignore our requests.

There is a reason public transportation ridership is falling on BART and Muni. They don’t listen to people who ride when they tell them what they want. Riders want to keep their service and their seats. They don’t want to walk further, wait for transfers and stand on the bus. What is SFMTA doing about that? Ignoring them and doing the opposite of what they want.

Why Is Transit Ridership Falling?

Transit ridership took a turn for the worse in 2016. In all but a handful of cities, fewer people rode trains and buses, even in some places, like Los Angeles, that have invested significantly in expanding capacity.

It’s not just a one-year blip, either. In many American cities, the drop in transit ridership is an established trend. The big question is why.

Transit consultant Jarrett Walker at Human Transit wants more than vague speculation about the effect of low gas prices and ride-hailing services. He’s looking for more specific research about causes and effects — and soon:

Bottom line: We need research! Not the sort of formally peer reviewed research that will take a year to publish, but faster work by real transportation scholars that can report preliminary results in time to guide action. I am not a transportation researcher, but there are plenty of them out there, and this is our moment of need.

Here are my research questions:

  • Which global causes seem to matter?  Straight regression analysis, once you get data you believe.  Probably the study will need to start with a small dataset of transit agencies, so that there’s time to talk with each agency and understand their unique data issues.
  • What’s happening to the quantity of transit?  If ridership is falling because service is falling, this isn’t a surprise.  If ridership is falling because service is getting slower — which means lower frequency and speed at the same cost — well, that wouldn’t be surprising either.
  • How does the decline correlate to types of service?  Is this fall happening in dense areas or just in car-based suburbs? Is it happening on routes that are designed for high ridership, or only on those that are designed for coverage purposes (services retained because three sympathetic people need them rather than because the bus will be full).   Is it correlated to frequency or span changes? Heads up, local geeks! A lot could be done looking at data for your own transit agency — route by route and even (where available) stop by stop, to analyze where in your metro the fall is really occurring… (more)

I appreciate the thought that went into this article.  In my experience, people decide how to live their lives based on their personal needs, not based on datasets and studies. My questions would be of a more personal nature and I would put them to the public.

  • Why do you take public transit when you take it?
  • Why do you chose to take another transit option when you don’t?
  • Do your priorities align with SFMTA and City Hall priorities?
  • What Muni changes do you support?
  • What Muni changes do you oppose?
  • Do you prefer speed or comfort?
  • Would you rather stand on public transit if you get there faster?
  • Would you rather sit if it takes longer to get there?
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