Assembly Bill 61 may cause more problems for people who use public transit

AB 61 – Assembly Member Travis Allen: is sponsoring a bill that many in San Francisco oppose. Read and decide for yourself. Details are below: https://legiscan.com/CA/text/AB61/id/1055426

Bob Planthold, a concerned SF citizen who often speaks on behalf of disabled people and Muni riders, outlines some of his concerns with the bill below along with a request that people contact the Assembly members responsible for passing this bill, listed here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

Folks,

I send this specifically to various disability advocates. Assembly Bill 61 may cause more problems for people who use public
transit, especially: those with disabilities, some seniors, those pushing a baby in a stroller or accompanied by a toddler.

Assemblymember Travis Allen, from the Huntington Beach area of Orange County, introduced a bill that would allow any employer shuttle anywhere in California to use any transit bus stop anywhere in California.

He believes this promotes an alternative to private car use , such that congestion and air pollution might be reduced. All that can be very appealing to state legislators, especially since so many show enthusiasm for actions that promote “innovation” and “tech.”

What is left unstated, or is not noticed, is how behavior of these employer shuttles in SF and Bay Area cities affects people with disabilities, some seniors, and those with a baby in a stroller and accompanied by a toddler.

These employer shuttles often lurk in a transit bus zone for several minutes, waiting for all the employees who are listed as boarding at that stop. Sometimes, two different employer shuttles will be at the curb of the same transit bus stop.

This curbside delay means regular transit busses cannot pull in to the curb. Thus, anyone who needs to use a lift to get on or off a transit bus may be blocked from doing so by the employer bus[es] at the curb. But, this is not just a problem for those using a lift.

When employer shuttles are waiting at the curb, their height and bulk can block the view of a transit bus driver from seeing any passengers waiting at the curb. Those who may be slow in mobility, such as an adult with a baby in a stroller and a toddler, or some seniors, may not be able to get to the corner fast enough to pass in front of a waiting employer bus to get to the transit bus before it leaves. Some transit passengers out in the street, especially if short-statured, might not be easily & quickly seen by a shuttle driver when pulling away for the curb.

There also is a collision factor that can occur. During morning and evening rush hours, a transit bus stopping in an active traffic lane, away from the curb, might be rear-ended by motorists trying quickly to go around it.

AB 61 does not take into account these behavioral problems.

SF Assemblymembers, Phil Ting and David Chiu, have shown themselves strongly in support of various “tech” or Innovation” ideas. So, even though this AB 61 has been introduced by a Republican, there can easily be bi-partisan support – WITHOUT any consideration of the impact on vulnerable transit passengers waiting at the curb.

Already, California Alliance for Retired Americans, CARA, has expressed some concerns.

I ask each of you recipients, and the agencies on whose boards of directors or advisory committee you sit on, to communicate your concerns and questions to your respective Assemblymembers, www.findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov and to Jim Frazier, the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Jim Frazier represents a district that includes Fairfield in Solano County and Antioch in Contra Costa County. His chief of staff is Jim Day, jim.day.

It’s is even better if you ask the Assembly to take into account the effects on transit passengers, and delay any action on AB 61.

Time is of the essence, to get some legislators to think about us.

Thanks.

Bob Planthold

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SF General Hospital seeks solutions to parking headache

Meter Madness

ByJoe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco General Hospital has a parking problem, and without intervention it may only get worse.

That was the message at a Health Commission meeting Tuesday, where officials said new construction projects at San Francisco General may need as many as 500 new parking spaces by 2020, or a resulting car crisis may drive patients to competing hospitals.

In response, the Health Commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution urging the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to expand a nearby parking garage, in the first of many goals meant to address the need for more parking.

“Even with the most aggressive programs, we project will have deficits in parking,” Kathy Jung, director of facilities and capital planning at the Department of Public Health, told the Health Commission….

…that new hospital, as well as other new buildings on site, will soon eliminate some…

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Howard on the SFMTA BOARD RETREAT

The SFMTA Board Meeting was actually their RETREAT—but it wasn’t very well advertised because public attendance was dismal (maybe 10 people). Most of the audience was MTA managers and presenters. Ironically, one topic of discussion was improving public outreach and particiapation. MTA staffers reported on the items in the Workshop Presentation powerpoint and handout.

Ed Mason, Herb Weiner and I spoke on every item—offering “alternative” viewpoints.

On earlier items, the Bicycle Coalition, SF Walk and SF Transit Riders Union spoke. The former two had positive comments because they will receive much of Prop A’s money.

We spoke about Muni’s unresolved issues, falling transit modal shares, need to emphasize transit-priority programs, restore neighborhood services (not rapid corridors)…. After 7 hours, Ed/ Herb/ Howard were the only public remaining.
The data in the Workshop Presentation are skewed. Charts have exaggerated spacing to give the impression of progress—but ridership gains are minimal etc.

Also, the cold Hall of Flowers had poor audio system and the Retreat was not televised.
This very informative meeting should have been widely advertised, televised and used as a forum to bring out ideas. The MTA Board did speak much more about ideas than at regular board meetings.

– Regards, Howard

Informative SFMTA Board Meeting

Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 9am
Hall of Flowers, 1199 9th Ave. (at Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park)
http://www.sfmta.com/calendar/meetings/board-directors-meeting-february-3-2015
The next SFMTA Board Meeting will be an informative overview of SF transit, goals and projects.  Feel free to attend or watch on SFGOVTV.  You may want to speak – to support accelerating Transit-Priority Street projects, stopping low benefit-to-cost projects like the Central Subway etc.

BOARD WORKSHOP PRESENTATION:  Includes good data and project descriptions:  SFMTA Strategic Plan, transportation trends, modal share goals, Vision Two:  Transit-First, Vision Three:  Central Corridor Projects & Planning Initiatives…..
http://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/agendaitems/2015/2-3-15%20Board%20Workshop%20Presentation.pdf

It’s interesting to note that SF’s transit modal share has remained stagnant at 24% for decades.  Despite billions of dollars of expenditures, SF hasn’t significantly moved towards the 60% transit modal shares of Zurich, Bogota and Curitab (or the 52% pedestrian modal share of Paris).  A major blame is the Central Subway, which has drained $605 million of local/ state matching funds from Muni (and $983 million of federal funds that could have gone to effective projects).
Like Zurich, San Francisco has the choice of fast-tracking Transit-Priority Projects to strive for the goal of 60% transit modal share—because we have seen that it is possible.

– Regards, Howard