Credit union files taxi medallion suit against SFMTA

By Julia Cheever : sfbay – excerpt

A credit union that helped The City of San Francisco sell taxi medallions has sued a city agency over financial losses caused by the collapse in value of the medallions amid the rise of ride-booking services such as Uber and Lyft.

The lawsuit was filed against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday by the nonprofit, member-owned San Francisco Federal Credit Union.

It seeks $28 million in compensation plus an order requiring The City to buy back unsellable medallions for the $250,000 purchase price.

The lawsuit charges the SFMTA violated alleged promises to keep the taxi business vibrant, shore up the value of the medallions and buy back any medallions that it couldn’t resell.

Instead, the law suit claims:

“…[SFMTA] has elected to stick its head in the sand while the credit union and hardworking taxi driver medallion owners are saddled with all the burdens.”… (more)

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Falling transit ridership poses an ‘emergency’ for cities, experts fear

washingtonpost – excerpt

Commuters tire of the \shuttle bus shuffle that crawls through San Francisco streets. Crowded Muni is painfully slow and standing room only is hardly a ride worth taking when other modes offer clean, comfortable seats.

Transit ridership fell in 31 of 35 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. last year, including each of the seven cities that serve the majority of riders, with losses largely stemming from buses, but punctuated by reliability issues on systems like Metro, according to an annual overview of public transit usage.

The analysis by the New York-based TransitCenter advocacy group, using data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Transit Database, raises alarm about the state of “legacy” public transit systems in the Northeast and Midwest and rising vehicle ownership and car-based commuting in cities nationwide.

Researchers concluded that factors such as lower fuel costs, increased teleworking, higher car ownership and the rise of alternatives such as Uber and Lyft are pulling people off trains and buses at record levels…

“Transit systems should deliver quality service to low-income people. But low-income people do not owe us a transit system.”…

Metro is mulling a major redesign of the bus system. But first, officials need to figure out why people aren’t riding.]… (more)

BART closures cause congestion

Getting home should be considered mundane and common but for some BART riders, it will soon become dangerous and difficult.

In a few months, the Civic Center BART station will permanently close entrances at Grove, Hyde and Market Streets and the entrance outside Hotel Whitcomb will be permanently closed.

This decision is to make way for a new power substation that is needed to ensure there’s enough electricity when the plan for 2025 runs 25 percent more trains beneath downtown and the Transbay Tube.

“Things will become much more noticeable during peak time such as the 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. transit times,” said Thomas Edwards, utility worker for BART… (more)

It isn’t April Fools yet. What is gong on here? Is this true? Will BART stop at Civic Center? Which exits will remain open? How will this effect the Muni underground?

RELATED:

BART Plans To Close Some Civic Center Station Entrances

cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

…it’s a necessity to grow the BART system using measure RR funds to put in a new power substation at Civic Center…(more)

This is what our regional tax funds get us. Less service so they are GROW BART. Good reason to oppose any more regional bills such as this year’s RM3 that will increase $3 bridge tolls at the same time they are cutting back on BART service.

PLAN-IT LOS ANGELES

A collection of important articles and original commentaries on planning issues in the greater Los Angeles area

Updated analysis of Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 827 Real Estate Deregulation Bill

Platkin on Planning: Los Angeles is heading toward a perfect storm of gentrification, well camouflaged behind spurious claims of boosting transit ridership and addressing LA’s housing crisis through planning, zoning, and environmental deregulation.

This perfect storm is propelled by huge tail winds from the State Legislature in Sacramento, with big city Democrats fronting for the real estate interests that fund and mentor them. San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are their current favorites, but many more are lining up at the trough.

To begin, there is a treasure trove of successful programs that they could turn to if they truly wanted to increase transit ridership and address the climate and housing crises, but they are totally mute on these options. As for their cheerleaders, their silence is also deafening since the following public programs are at odds with their mantra to magically solve LA’s many urban ills: “build more market housing.”

Increasing transit ridership through the following is not on their to-do list:..

My conclusion about SB 827, by itself, and in combination with the supplemental land use ordinances I reviewed above, is that it is one of the most destructive pieces of planning legislation I have encountered in over three decades of professional work in the city planning profession.  Like all miracle cures, it won’t work.  It might make some landowners and landlords rich, but its fatal flaws will destroy many neighborhoods, without increasing transit ridership or reducing the cost of housing…

Dick Platkin is a former Los Angeles city planner who reports on local city planning controversies for CityWatchLA…(more)

Please read and comment at the source if you can.

Peskin seeks to block dockless electric rental scooters in SF

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Aaron Peskin introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit and assess fines for dockless motorized rental scooters if they show up on San Francisco’s streets.

Last year, The City took steps to block the emergence of dockless rental bikes from being dumped on San Francisco streets without permits. Peskin on Tuesday said the most recent emerging technology is dockless motorized scooters, which are rented through smartphone apps. The devices are motorized push scooters resembling large Razor scooters…

Currently is no permit required for leaving unattended motorized scooters that are part of a rental program. The legislation would require motorized scooter rental companies to obtain a permit from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Without a permit, the scooters could be deemed a nuisance, and Public Works could confiscate them.

The legislation, which requires approval by the full Board of Supervisors to become law, would also allow the SFMTA to assess fines and the City Attorney to seek civil penalties against companies operating without a permit… (more)

SF supes want infrastructure impact fees for Uber, Lyft

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants state law changed so The City can charge Uberand Lyft with fees for using the streets.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday a resolution from Supervisor Aaron Peskin that urges San Francisco’s state legislators to introduce legislation enabling San Francisco to impose infrastructure impact fees on transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft will be communicated to San Francisco’s state representatives in Sacramento: Senator Scott Wiener and Assembly Members David Chiu and Phil Ting…

The resolution will be communicated to San Francisco’s state representatives in Sacramento: Senator Scott Weiner and Assembly Members David Chiu and Phil Ting… (more)

Will our state representatives, who are whipping up new bills to remove local government jurisdictions, listen to our City legislators as they attempt to deal with the aftermath of the bad decisions being made in Sacramento?  Will the voters retaliate by removing those state representatives next time they get the chance to vote them out of office?

Transit-oriented development? More like transit rider displacement

For five years, pundits, planners, and policy-makers have scratched their heads at Los Angeles’ steep public transit ridership decline: a 21% decrease on buses,15% in total. To explain it, they cite ride-sharing, cheap gas, even the law that lets undocumented immigrants get licenses to drive. But another answer should be obvious: We lose transit riders when we displace the low-income families who rely on it.

Data from Policy Link/PERE shows that L.A.’s transit riders are mostly low-income black and Latinos: 88% of Metro bus riders are people of color, and more than 50% have annual family incomes under $15,000. When they lose housing near bus or rail lines, they lose access to transit…

We have a name for this kind of displacement: Gentrification. It pushes out low-income residents of color, the same populations most likely to take public transportation.

But transit in Los Angeles isn’t just suffering because of gentrification, it’s causing gentrification. According to a recent UCLA/Berkeley study, transit-adjacent L.A. neighborhoods gentrify at higher rates than other neighborhoods. It’s part of the plan…

If we want to stave off further transit ridership losses — not to mention meet our obligations as human beings to each other — we need to establish a new common-sense planning policy. We must prioritize tenants, not the supply of housing units. Stable housing should be a human right. With universal rent control and more public housing, we would link the well-being of low-income Angelenos of color to a greener future for our city of cars.

The cure to the displacement and ridership crises won’t come from more of the cause…

(more)

A community built for cars of the future

By Katie Burke : autonews – excerpt

Bosch teams up with developer on San Francisco connected neighborhood

SAN FRANCISCO — In the tech industry’s backyard, the neighborhood of the future is growing without the local industry.

Real estate developer FivePoint is working with German supplier Robert Bosch to build a residential and commercial neighborhood that has connected infrastructure for autonomous and electric vehicles on land formerly occupied by the San Francisco Shipyard naval base and Candlestick Park stadium.

FivePoint said it chose Bosch after local tech companies would not agree to a mutually beneficial partnership…

As part of the joint venture, Bosch supplies technology, including connected parking sensors and home appliances. It also acts as a go-between, gathering specifications from its affiliates developing products for the project to make sure the infrastructure is built with their needs in mind…

The companies plan to run an autonomous shuttle from the edge of the neighborhood inward, and eventually operate a self-driving vehicle on a bridge between the shipyard and Candlestick areas, which are separated by a small waterway… (more)