How Driverless Cars Could Be a Big Problem for Cities

by Mike Maciag : Governing – excerpt

The technology could signal the beginning of the end of parking tickets and other revenue sources. Some cities’ budgets could take a big hit.

Like a growing number of cities, Austin, Texas, is getting ready for the arrival of autonomous vehicles. On any given afternoon, self-driving test models can be seen darting along a Formula One race track. More than 500 electric vehicle charging stations are already spread throughout the city. (Autonomous cars are expected to utilize electric drivetrains.) In March, the city council adopted a resolution prioritizing plans for self-driving vehicles.

Austin’s transportation director, Robert Spillar, is working to prepare the city. But earlier this year, a realization hit him about what driverless cars might mean for his budget. “It struck me,” he says. “Half my revenue for transportation capacity and operations improvements is based on a parking model that may be obsolete in a dozen years.”

In the not-too-distant future, fleets of fully autonomous vehicles could be transporting riders all across Austin’s urban landscape, largely eliminating not only the need for private vehicles but also the revenue they currently bring in. Parking fees are a critical funding source for the Austin Transportation Department, accounting for nearly a quarter of its total budget. Driverless vehicles would also cut into parking tickets and traffic citations, two other significant revenue streams for Austin and many other cities. “Municipalities generate a whole lot of revenue as a byproduct of parking management and traffic enforcement,” Spillar says. “If all that suddenly disappears, we’ve got a huge financial issue to deal with.”… (more)

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Central Subway project faces up to 10-month delay

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s Central Subway project may be delayed by almost a year.

If the construction contractor, Tutor Perini, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency do not catch up with ongoing construction delays, the project is forecasted to open 10 months late, according to the project’s required monthly monitoring report released in late May, the most recent report available.

That report, known as a Project Management Oversight Committee report, wrote that the SFMTA and Tutor Perini need to reach an agreement over scheduling conflicts, or those forecasted delays may increase.

“If we don’t change anything of what we’ve done so far, we will be 10 months late in revenue service,” Central Subway Program Director John Funghi confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner… (more)

Please comment at the source. This appears to be more evidence that SFMTA has too many projects going at one time. What does it take to convince City Hall to STOP approving more street projects until the SFMTA has completed the ones they have now. Fill the holes you have now!

Open Thread: Is it Time to Pilot a Sidewalk Bike Lane on Market Street?

A better approach to bike lane placement?

Meter Madness

By Roger Rudlick :streetsblog – excerpt

Call Them “Sidewalk-Height Raised and Curb-Protected Bike Lanes” Maybe?

Yesterday, I took a ride on a Jump electric bike on Market Street. Ryan Rzepecki, the CEO of Jump, was riding alongside. When we stopped, we talked about how nerve racking it is to ride on Market. We also discussed how comfortable it is to ride in Berlin, where, in many places, rather than stripe a bike lane on the street (American-style, in the gutter, as on Market Street) they stripe it on the outer edge of the sidewalk.

A short time later, I noticed the brick treatment on Market near Duboce, seen in the lead image, and thought to myself: that looks just like a Berlin bike lane.

I fear some readers are already foaming at the mouth. In San Francisco, the mere intimation of putting a bike lane on a sidewalk causes heads to…

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Closures, overcrowding, rats: New York City commuters face ‘summer of hell’

Meter Madness

By Tom McCarthy :theguardian – excerpt

Being trapped is a common thread in fictional future forecasts. Our urban planners’  future perfect plans for tiny crowded units with public transport ride-shares feel a lot like the futuristic city depicted in the 1985 Terry Gilliam movie, “Brazil”. where there is no easy way out.

The city’s aging subway has been declared ‘a state of emergency’. Combined with closures on other rail lines, riders are bracing for the worst

There was a time – somewhere between the 1990s exorcism of violent crime from much of New York City and Thursday, when a “state of emergency” was declared for the city’s transit system – when a nightmare scenario on the subway meant a rat crawling up your leg, over your chest and nearly into your hoody.

That remains a vividly awful prospect. But in the summer of 2017, rats are competing…

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Fast and cheap: Getting Caltrain to Transbay Terminal … this year

By Stanford M. Horn :sfexaminer – excerpt

It needn’t take a $2.5 billion tunnel construction project dragging out more than seven years to get Caltrain extended to the new Transbay Terminal. That goal could be achieved in 99 percent less time, at 99 percent less budget. In fact, the project is so simple that it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks or months to build, involving no new structures taller than a cantaloupe or excavations deeper than a watermelon. In short, there need never be an embarrassing white elephant along downtown Mission Street because trains would be running on the terminal’s first day under the interim solution proposed here. When the permanent tunnel is completed, in 2025 or so, service would be switched there… (more)

Steve Kawa, Mayor Ed Lee’s chief of staff and longtime City Hall power broker, to retire

Changes coming soon…

zRants

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

City Hall photos by Zrants

Lot’s of retiring going on at City Hall this week. Many are wondering why and what this will mean to the continuing reign on Ed Lee.

The man who has acted as City Hall’s most influential behind-the-scenes power broker for three consecutive San Francisco mayors is stepping down from his post at the end of June.

The retirement of Steve Kawa, 55, often referred to as the shadow mayor, was officially announced by Mayor Ed Lee in an email to his staffers on Thursday afternoon…

Named as Kawa’s successor is Jason Elliott, who has been serving as the mayor’s deputy chief of staff. Elliott first joined the Mayor’s Office in 2009 as Newsom’s policy advisor, after working for Newsom’s failed campaign for governor, and stayed on to work in Lee’s administration.

For the Lee administration, Kawa marks the…

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SMART riders ponder North Bay-to-San Francisco by train, bus and ferry

By Derek Moore : pressdomocrat – excerpt (includes revised schedule)

The dream of making excursions to San Francisco from the North Bay aboard a train, or venturing north from the city to Wine Country, is closer to reality with the looming start of passenger rail service, but current timetables for the train, ferry and a connecting shuttle indicate riders will have to be adaptable.

While the focus since Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit released its schedule last week has been on commuters — the rail agency’s bread and butter ridership — another key component of service is linking people to San Francisco via the Larkspur ferry.

North Bay residents and others across the Golden Gate, have been looking at SMART’s new timetable to see if it will work for them…

(Revised schedule)(more)

 

 

These are the 5 biggest Bay Area transportation infrastructure projects

by Judy Cooper : bizjournals – excerpt (includes a slide show)

  1. Transbay Terminal/Caltrain Downtown Extention Phase 1 : $2.26 billion
  2. BART Railcar procurement program : $2.03 billion
  3. Caltrain Electrification : $1.98 billion
  4. Muni Third Street Light Rail Phase 2 Central Subway : $1.58 billion
  5. Toll Bridge Rehabilitation Program : $892.09 million

With San Francisco traffic congestion recently ranking as the fourth worst in the world and one poll showing 70 percent of locals are willing to pay higher taxes for a solution, it’s safe to say many Bay Area residents are fed up with their commute.

Several large-scale transportation infrastructure projects aim to alleviate some of that frustration. In this Friday’s issue of the San Francisco Business Times we spotlight the 25 biggest transportation projects underway in the region.

Projects on the List are ranked by total cost. All together, the top 25 projects are valued at some $14.1 billion combined. Data for the List was obtained from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission(more)

House Spending Bill Includes $100 Million for Key Caltrain Project

By Dan Brekke : kqed – excerpt

A House appropriations bill proposed this week as part of a package to fund federal government operations through the end of September contains what could be a welcome surprise for Caltrain.

Legislation from the House appropriations subcommittee on transportation includes $100 million for the Peninsula commuter railroad’s planned electrification of its route from San Jose to San Francisco.

It’s far from certain, however, that Caltrain will get to spend the money. Congress has yet to vote on the bill including the electrification funding — a project that has faced unanimous opposition from the 14 Republicans in California’s House delegation. And even if Congress approves the legislation and it’s signed into law, the transit agency will receive the funds only if the Trump administration signs off on a $647 million grant agreement that’s been on hold since February.

“It’s not a done deal, but it’s good progress,” said Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew. She added: “We still have a long way to go.”…

Chao has until June 30 to decide on the grant. That’s also the deadline set in Caltrain’s agreements with contractors for work to begin on the electrification project… (more)

RELATED:

Bill Would Permit Use of Bullet Train Bonds for Caltrain Upgrade

AB1889 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, would change the wording of previous legislation to approve selling the bonds to pay for upgrades to Caltrain, which for years has been included as part of the plan to build a California high-speed rail system… (more)

Did AB 1889 pass and will the legislature choose to use the funds this way?

New Beta site for SFMTA

After months of complaints about the difficult, non-user friendly experience in accessing information on the SFMTA web site and the lack of true public outreach and transparency in operating procedures many of us have experienced in dealing with the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, we discovered a new beta web site under development. Check it out and see what you think. https://sfmta.xtreet.org

SFMTA is accepting feedback and questions. If you have any feel free to contact them.

SF OpenData is here. It appears to include a lot more city data.

So far we see:

At least some SFMTA Board resolutions are now searchable by referencing particular details, such as project classification, or a specific location. We look forward to additional details such as date of proposed implementation, progress reports and completion date.

There were two maps last I looked: One of disable parking spots and one of temporary tow-away zones. The latter seem to out0-numer the former by a large margin. Limiting those temporary two zones could go a long way toward solving the double parking problem.

Resolutions appears to be the history of all the detailed little street alterations they take up at engineering hearings. This one starts in 2010. Seems to end at 3/7/17. Hopefully they will get enter the FUTURE actions soon, as those are the ones most people need to know about.
This includes video of meetings where supposedly these changes were discussed.

Now we meed to how this will work on future projects.