Bicycle Slalom: Why One Local is Mapping City Streets Like Ski Runs

Written by Sarah Wright : sfstandard – excerpt

When Jason Ford moved back to San Francisco in May, he found a city transformed by COVID-19. Parklets were everywhere, the Financial District was a ghost town and the Tenderloin had become a flashpoint in the culture wars. He also discovered that the city had closed off many streets to cars, and that he could ride his bike from his neighborhood to the next without worrying about being hit by an automobile…

So Ford set out to build his own map of the city, one that puts safety first and shows, with a very simple color-coded system, how anyone can navigate the city along the safest, least car-centric roads. He started with an iPad and a stylus, then grabbed a pencil and some graph paper. Finally, he moved to something more sophisticated—an overlay on Google Maps. To Ford, the goal of the map was to highlight where anyone, including his 3-year-old, could ride safely. He posted an in-progress map on Twitter this month to share with locals and get feedback…

Ford’s mapping project comes at a time of heated debate about how bikes and cars should get along in the city. While cyclists have been ecstatic about the closures of JFK Drive and the Great Highway, many car-owners in the neighborhoods are opposed. The same goes for other pandemic-born “slow streets” around the city…

Many of the blue routes on Ford’s map are part of the SFMTA’s Slow Streets program, launched in April 2020. It closed some residential streets to through traffic to prioritize biking and walking, offering residents safe ways to move around the city during the shelter-in-place order. Two years later, some neighborhood streets like Lake and Sanchez streets remain open to local traffic only…

A bigger battle over the future of JFK Drive will be decided early next year. Nesrine Majzoub, marketing and communications director at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said her group has been calling on the Board of Supervisors to support existing car-free avenues and look at opening new car-free corridors in the eastern areas of the city.

​​”We’re focused on not just creating great individual corridors that are safe and protected, but also that those are connected to each other,” Majzoub said…(more)

Closed streets have polarized San Francisco

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Neighborhoods divided, residents frustrated and city supervisors trepidatious

Some issues in The City are just too hot to touch.

Such is the case with the future of San Francisco streets that have been partially or entirely closed during the pandemic. Their fate remains as uncertain as ever, despite months of calls from residents to chart a path forward.

Whether to keep iconic corridors such as Golden Gate Park’s JFK Drive and the Upper Great Highway permanently reserved for people over cars has become one of the most contentious and divisive issues of San Francisco’s COVID-19 experience.

As neighborhoods have become severely polarized, residents progressively more frustrated and supervisors increasingly trepidatious about wading into the debate-turned-political-minefield, Mayor London Breed has remained largely silent on the matter.

She finally weighed in Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting. But if anyone was hoping for Breed’s appearance to shed light on how this ongoing saga will end, they were left disappointed…

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Recreation and Parks Department collaborated to close a 1.5-mile stretch of JFK Drive plus the Upper Great Highway to vehicles. The transit agency also rolled out Slow Streets, a program that limited portions of 30 residential streets to thru-traffic only.(more)

This is one of the more impressive articles on the author covers more of the details and facts uncovered and admission by city staff than most. Read the article and write your letters to the editor or comment at the source if you can. Given the difficulty with data, it seems like the best approach is a ballot initiative. We understand that Connie Chan is working on something, not exactly sure what, but the voters are getting antsy and blaming the Mayor and supervisors. We can all see the mess and want relief. Who will be brave enough to do the work to give the voters their chance to vote on what the future of their streets should be?

SaveMuni : Transit Appreciation 2022

From Howard Wong

everyone’s support—to assure a world-class system for all and mobility equity for the
disabled, disadvantaged, seniors and youth. To create a post-pandemic/ sustainable/
integrated system, everyone needs to ride transit—frequently, at every opportunity, to every
destination. Transit operators and workers have taken risks for us during the epidemic. Let’s
reciprocate by taking transit today, building back better and transforming transit tomorrow.

Caltrans Powers

Caltrans has a great deal of power over arterial streets that designated California State Routes.

This has been a trade-off between cities and the state for well over a century.  For the cities, the “good news” is that the State is responsible for the road, including paying for maintenance and upgrades – and this can be the most expensive street to maintain in the City, longest, widest, most intersections, and most traffic, which means most wear-and-tear.  Also, if someone doesn’t like the way the road is working for them, for most things, the city can pass the blame.

The bad news for the city is that it has very little control over the road.  If Caltrans is slow in making repairs, the city can’t do a whole lot other than try to get Caltrans to do what the city wants.  If the city wants to make almost any changes of any kind, it has to go through Caltrans to get anything done.  Sometimes, particularly if there are budget issues with Caltrans – which is every year, just a question of how deep, — then it can take a while to get things done.

A big part of the Caltrans influence game is working with the elected Sacto reps; in many cases, these will be from the city and are often former city electeds, and all electeds understand the importance of taking care of the local electeds in their district.

Of course, some Sacto electeds have more power, including power over Caltrans, than others.

Tom Rubin

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$315M in toll money locked up until court settles dispute over increase

By Elaine Goodman : padailypost – excerpt

About $315 million in tolls collected on Bay Area bridges is tied up in litigation, and it’s unclear whether the money will ever be available for transportation projects in the region.

The toll money is being held in escrow until the California Supreme Court issues a decision in a case that challenges Regional Measure 3, a series of three $1 toll increases that voters approved in June 2018. The first toll increase took effect in January 2019.

And despite the uncertainty surrounding the measure, the Bay Area Toll Authority is moving ahead with the second $1 toll increase on Jan. 1.

The regular toll for two-axle cars and trucks, as well as motorcycles, will increase to $7, up from the current $6 toll. The toll is collected on the Dumbarton, San Mateo-Hayward, San Francisco-Oakland Bay, Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez and Richmond-San Rafael bridges.

The third toll increase is slated for January 2025…(more)

Fresh forecast trims SFMTA budget deficits by more than $500 million

By Jerrold Chinn : sfbayca – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is not facing a financial crisis, or at least not yet, according to a report from the city Controller’s Office that shows the agency is projecting a better than expected budget forecast compared to the one projected by transit officials.

SFMTA officials earlier in the year had projected budget deficits over the next five fiscal years totaling $646 million. Now, the updated budget forecast shows some projected deficits will no longer exist and will shrink in future projections. The report, released last week, is now projecting the budget deficit to total $123 million over the next five fiscal years…(more)

No, Muni isn’t broke: New report challenges mayor’s austerity planning

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Controller’s Office says the system faces no serious deficits, contradicting what Breed and Muni leaders have said when they opposed restoring service or cutting fares.

For most of the past year, as Muni advocates and Sups. Dean Preston and Connie Chan have called for restoration of COVID-suspended lines and fare relief, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency has insisted that it can’t do much of anything to improve service.

Restoring lines or reducing fares would create a “fiscal cliff,” SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin said repeatedly. He cited figures showing that Muni would run a massive deficit in just a year or two, and that the result would be huge layoffs and service cuts.

Mayor London Breed vetoed a fully-funded Free Muni pilot project for the same reason.

Turns out that was completely wrong…(more)

Can you say tax and spend? All the city seems to care about is having an excuse to raise taxes. How can they push a new bond measure to pay for more Capital expansions if Muni isn’t broke?

Lawsuit Filed

Legal Complaint filed today

The public just got a big boost on opening the Great Highway and other major streets leading into the Golden Gate Park.

Lawsuit says: Time to “Hit Reset” on illegal street closures in SF

Today, after weeks and months of hard work by our core group and our Attorney we have filed a lawsuit against Phil Ginsburg and the SFRPD for harm done to plaintiffs and the public for the closures of Great Highway, JFK, and MLK.

A press release has been sent to the media and a press conference was held today at 4:30 PM. Several plaintiffs, including the Open the Great Highway Alliance, present a cross-section of individuals who have been harmed by these closures. The lawsuit asks for a preliminary injunction, which would return closed streets to their pre-Covid status during the litigation of this suit. We will keep you informed of any news about this.


For more information, read the press release here:

DONATE NOW!Forward this email to as many friends, family, and neighbors – together, we can take back our streets!

J-Church to return to downtown subway service

by Matthew S. Bajko : ebay – excerpt

J-Church trains will return to downtown subway service next winter after the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board rejected the staff’s preferred recommendation that the line continue to end at the Church Street and Duboce Avenue intersection.

Last December, SFMTA altered the route when it revived train car service along the J-Church through Noe Valley and the Castro neighborhoods. The transit agency had mothballed the subway line for much of 2020 due to the COVID pandemic…

Due to their objections, in particular from members of the Restore The J Workgroup that formed in the summer, the SFMTA board voted 6-0 to return downtown subway service to the J-Church at its December 7 meeting after a lengthy discussion about the plans. The route should return to its full service as soon as February but will be reduced in frequency to every 15 minutes in order to accommodate the line extension…(more)

Good news or fake news? Does this mean the street traffic will again be able to cross Market Street? Could this help the situation for the Safeway, other merchants and their customers who have been forced into taking long detours for months?