FASTER Announcement Re: 2020

via email

Greetings BATWG friends,

I hope you are all healthy and safe.

I wanted you to know about a change in the timeline for FASTER Bay Area. As you know June 24 was already an incredibly tight deadline for state legislation, especially as FASTER is proposing a wide variety of transformative policy changes. With COVID-19 that timeline is no longer feasible. FASTER will continue to work towards passing legislation to authorize a Bay Area ballot initiative but we will no longer be proposing that it be eligible for the November 2020 ballot.  Please see the attached FASTER statement for more details.

FASTER has developed a framework and a proposal for a regional transit network plan that we believe can be truly transformative and will form the foundation for our work moving forward. . We are releasing these in the attached documents   Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes to you, your families and your communities as this crisis unfolds.

Stay safe and know that we need to continue to watch this program.

Newsom taps Bay Area Council CEO for Water Emergency Transportation Authority

By Brian Rinker : bizjournals – excerpt

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed a long-time political mover-and-shaker, Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman, to chair the agency that oversees Bay Area ferry services known as the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, or WETA.

Wunderman will move from his previous position as vice chair, a role he held since 2015, into the top seat, replacing Vice Admiral Jody Breckenridge, who had served as chair since 2014. The board is comprised of five members serving six-year terms, with the governor appointing the chair and vice chair. The governor has yet to announce a vice chair.

Wunderman will be taking over WETA during a time of great expansion. Transit advocates have hung their hats on ferry services as the great hope for easing the Bay Area’s road congestion, which steals an average 116 hours a year from the typical commuter, according to traffic research firm INRIX… (more)

 

Proposed Regional Transportation Sales Tax for the November 2020 Election

Details on the Sales taxes we are already paying as of:
SALES TAX LIST – Bay Area Trans Taxes 10 19 19

Watch for Future Community Meetings discussing further sales tax increases:
SFCTA: Potential Regional Transportation Measure Community Meeting: https://www.sfcta.org/events/potential-regional-transportation-measure-san-francisco-forum

 

Debate on SF Measure D

This debate was filmed by Regional Video and posted for public viewing on youtube.

Dedicated tax needs 2/3rds to pass. Guess what they will do with the money.

Early voting starts soon. Do your independent investigations now.

Safety Expert Says Muni Dragging Incident is About More than Faulty Doors

: streetblog – excerpt

The operator’s main job in the Market Street tunnel is to make sure it is safe to proceed. Either the new trains have serious blind spots or the operator didn’t do that.

Earlier this month, a woman whose finger was caught in the door of a new Muni train was dragged and badly injured at the Embarcadero Station. Recriminations are focusing on the doors, which apparently don’t always properly reset when a small object obstructs them from fully closing.

The city has responded by delaying funds for additional car purchases. According to a statement from SFMTA, they will be locking the rear doors on the new Muni trains so that “…operators can focus on seeing passengers entering and exiting the single doors nearest to them which adds a level of safety vigilance.” The agency also wrote that they “…want to remind customers to avoid holding the doors open in any way.”

But focusing solely on the doors, according to a safety expert and others familiar with transit operations, misses a larger issue…

 “Muni has a broken safety and operational culture if it allows a train operator to drag a woman who has her hand stuck in the door.”…

“Riders deserve to understand what went wrong and what’s being done to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Hyden. “We need Muni to take responsibility and be clear about any changes needed in management, oversight, training, maintenance, procedures, or testing.” (more)

 

Why Is U.S. Government Infrastructure So Costly?

By Chris Edwards : cato – excerpt

Tracy Gordon of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center writes interesting columns on taxes, fiscal federalism, and other economic issues. Before Congress and the administration enact another costly infrastructure bill, they should consider what Gordon wrote in a 2015 article:

“… it is an opportune time to reexamine the so-called consensus on infrastructure funding—that we need more of it and now. Focusing on how much we spend leaves out a more important question: how much infrastructure we get for our money.

Put bluntly: the costs of US infrastructure are too damn high.”(more)

Los Angeles Rail: Ridership Decline Estimated at 42 Percent

By Wendell Cox : newgeography – excerpt

The Reason Foundation has just published an important review of transit in Los Angeles County, by transportation consultant Thomas A. Rubin and University of Southern California Professor James E. Moore II. A total of four reports have been released, under the title A Critical Review of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan. Links are provided at the end of this article. More reports are to follow.

Rubin, former Chief Financial Officer at the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) and founder of the Deloitte transportation practice, and Professor Moore have published extensively on transportation issues, and in particular, on developments in Los Angeles.

Background on the Rail and Busway System

Four decades ago (1980), Los Angeles County embarked on a huge rail transit development program, when the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) adopted Proposition A, which was enacted by the voters and took effect after successfully defending a California state Supreme Court challenge (Note). As a board member of LACTC, I was pleased to have drafted and introduced the amendment that created the rail funding set aside in Proposition A, out of a belief that such a system would alleviate traffic congestion in Los Angeles. Experience has proven otherwise, as traffic delays per commuter have risen 60 percent since the early 1980s, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute Annual Mobility Report.

Financial Assessment

Rubin and Moore demonstrate that building the rail (and fixed busway) system has cost considerably more than anticipated while the revenue from the multiple sales taxes passed by voters has fallen short of projections. Nearly $20 billion (not inflation adjusted) was spent on construction through 2016…

Links to the four reports are below.

1. Introduction, Overview, and the Birth of Transit in Los Angeles
2. The Rise of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
3. Metro’s Transit Ridership Is Declining
4. Metro’s Long Range Plans Overpromise and Underdeliver

Note: LACTC and SCRTD merged in 1993, creating Metro (the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority).…(more)

California reports show that robot cars love their drivers: Robot cars on average required a human takeover every 14 miles driven, says Consumer Watchdog

consumer watchdog : prnewswire – excerpt

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Updated reports required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles from companies testing robot cars on California public roads reveal a fleetwide average of 1 human takeover for every 14 miles tested, according to calculations by Consumer Watchdog. The number of times a human driver had to take control of the robot car during testing varied widely between companies.  Overall 28 companies including Uber, Apple, Toyota, Waymo (Google) and GM Cruise logged 2.04 million miles in testing and reported over 145,402 disengagements.

“These reports show that robot cars aren’t close to being ready for public deployment,” said Adam Scow, Senior Advocate for Consumer Watchdog. “While some companies are improving, others are sputtering out in the parking lot.”… (more)

Cars still hold No. 1 spot for getting around in SF — and it’s getting worse

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

Despite millions of dollars spent on new bike lanes and other transit improvements, people still favor cars when it comes to commuting in and around San Francisco, a new report by the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency concludes.

“We can change the roads, but human behavior hasn’t changed since William Shakespeare started writing about it,” quipped SFMTA board member Art Torres.

And people like cars, whether it’s their own or a hire…

Commuting by bike, which surged by 140 percent between 2005 and 2015, has dropped in recent years… (more)

It is very heard to force people to do things they don’t want to do. Is changing public behavior the proper role for public servants in Democratic society?

Mobility report shows bike trips on the decline in SF

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Franciscans may be spurning two-wheeled trips.

Nearly 20,000 fewer daily bicycle trips were taken in 2017 compared to 2016, data revealed Monday by The City’s newest “Mobility Trends” report shows.

The dwindling bike numbers look even worse when compared to The City’s record-setting year for bike trips, 2015, which reached a height of 126,000 average bicycle trips per day.

By 2016 those average daily trips dropped to 115,000, then down to 95,000 by 2017…

While solo bike trips in The City continue to fall, more people are hopping into cars and causing record-level traffic congestion, according to the mobility report. Muni ridership remains relatively stable…(more)

Valencia bike shop claims their business in on decline. We suggest a talk with the merchants on Valencia and other bike-friendly streets to see which industries are thriving and which are wilting under the combined weight of bike lanes and TNCs.