Feinstein proposes new bridge across the Bay Feinstein proposes new bridge across the Bay

By Emiy Mibach : dailypost – excerpt (includes map)

southern-crossing

Illustration by MTC

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is pushing to have a new bridge constructed across the Bay, midway between the Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge, in the hopes of alleviating congestion on those two bridges.

Feinstein, along with Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, sent a letter Wednesday (Dec. 6) to Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Executive Director Steve Heminger in support of the new bridge, which has been discussed for decades. Over the years, it’s become known as the “Southern Crossing.”

Their letter also says that MTC’s plan to put a $3 toll increase on the state-owned Bay Bridges won’t “come anywhere close” to reducing congestion on the Bay or San Mateo bridges.

Feinstein and DeSaulnier also want to put BART on the new southern crossing bridge…(more)

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Rail CA: Some Mission Bay Neighbors Fuming Over Caltrain’s Diesel Dust

: mastransitmag – excerpt

Nov. 27–Toby Levine braced for noise and pollution 10 years ago when she moved into San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood, two blocks away from the Caltrain station at Fourth and Townsend streets.

Yet the pervasiveness of the diesel dust surprised her. It frosted the geraniums on her balcony and caused the leaves of the podocarpus trees to droop and turn brown. It stuck to her windows, freckled her neighbors’ deck furniture and collected in air vents.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if we were dealing with a less-dangerous chemical, but diesel is poison,” said Levine, who for years has led a neighborhood campaign to get Caltrain to minimize the emissions from its locomotives while neighbors wait for the rail system to go electric in 2022.

At the San Francisco station, which has 12 tracks, the first trains start rolling around 4:10 a.m. every weekday, and the last one pulls in at 12:05 a.m. During the slower-paced weekend schedule, trains run from 8 a.m. until midnight.

So for much of the week, diesel wafts through the air up to 20 hours a day in a booming new neighborhood. Plus, Caltrain’s fleet is more than 30 years old — “near the end of its life span,” said spokesman Dan Lieberman — and its engines don’t burn fuel that efficiently.

To further complicate matters, there are no state or federal laws that regulate idling diesel locomotive engines, so neighbors have depended on the rail line and its contracted manager, TransitAmerica Services, to write their own rules… (more)

L-Taraval: SFMTA Seeks To Remove Parking, Add Boarding Islands

by Fiona Lee : hoodline – excerpt

With the recent release of the final results of a six-month boarding zone pilot, SFMTA hopes to add boarding islands and remove multiple stops to make the L-Taraval corridor safer for pedestrians and passengers.

The boarding zone pilot took place over a six month period at inbound stops at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues and included improved signage, flashing lights and painted lane markings to alert drivers…(more)

As you can imagine the removal of these stops is not popular with Muni riders on the L-Taraval. They will show up and are asking for support from other Muni riders and people who oppose bus stop removal at the SFMAT Board Meeting on December 5th. Please see this letter from Paula of Save Our L Taraval Stops!

Most of you do not ride the L Taraval, but you have supported our efforts over the past two years to help us keep our stops.  Sadly, earlier this year we lost 8 of our L stops.  This coming Tuesday, December 5, the SFMTA (Muni) Board of Directors will decide whether to remove 4 more:  inbound and outbound at 44th Avenue, and inbound at 35th Avenue and for a variety of reasons, the staff recommends removing them.  We need your help one last time!
1.  Can you please attend the Board meeting on Tuesday December 5, City Hall Room 400, at 1 pm?  We need a very big presence, and so many L riders cannot get off from work.   We can provide you with written statements.  A few of us need to provide more information than we can say in 2 minutes, so we will have statements for a few others to finish.   And we are hoping to have folks read some of the many moving emails that L riders are sending discussing how losing their stops will be a hardship to them and their families, so that the Board members will hear the words that they might or might not have read.  And if I can put it together, I’ll try to get photos of some of those folks so the Board members can see their faces, tho I am not sure if that will happen.  And it’s fine if you prefer to make your own 2-minute statement on the hardships that seniors, people with disabilities, families with young children, and other riders will face if their stops are removed, and how in the world can they remove the inbound stop across from Safeway!  There will be a number of people saying that.  Please let me know if you can make the meeting.
2.  Can you please email public comments this week to MTABoard@sfmta.com and katy.tang@sfgov.org and norman.yee@sfgov.org  with a blind cc to saveourLtaravalstops@gmail.com   Tell them how it will be a hardship for seniors, people with disabilities, families with young children, and others if the L Taraval stops at 44th, and inbound at 35th and 17th are removed.  Pease email them even if you plan to attend the Board meeting on Tuesday.
So many of us across the City have struggled and fought the many changes that SFMTA has tried to impose on use.  We have tried to support you when we can.  We hope you will be able to support us this one last time.

If anyone wants to read the staff report, slide presentation, or agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, the links are below.  About a third of the discussion in the staff report is on stop removal.  Thank you so much for all your support these past two years.  We are in the stretch run.

Paula, Save Our L Taraval Stops!

Can crowd-sourcing bus routes solve Bay Area commuters’ woes?

SAN FRANCISCO — Long maligned as the least desirable form of public transit, buses are making a comeback.

These aren’t the lumbering behemoths most often associated with frequent stops, long rides and dingy carriages. Enter Chariot, Lyft Shuttle, MagicBus and the latest addition to the East Bay, OurBus. With crowd-sourced routes and app-based hailing, cushy interiors and shorter rides, these privately-owned services are positioning themselves as serious competitors to public transit.

That has transportation experts hopeful the new services will get cars off the road, reduce traffic and provide options for commuters where there are limited or no bus routes. But those same experts also question whether the upstarts will threaten the viability of public transit by siphoning passengers and making it more difficult for public operators to serve the lowest-income and wheelchair-bound riders who depend on them…(more)

How is a jitney style bus different from a rideshare? Companies have been using similar size vehicles as rideshares to transport employees for a while. These pre-dated tech buses and empolyees have been encouraged to share rides for a long time before the “sharing economy” was established. This is much like hitchhiking, which is what we had prior to Uber and Lyft. Maybe we should consider going backward and actually sharing rides the old-fashioned way. Put the corporations out of business by offering free services. How much more dangerous is hitchhiking than taking Uber or Lyft? presumably the drivers know there way around, which is more than can b said for the Uber and Lyft drivers. As for why private car owners are working “for” Uber and Lyft – probably many are working to pay the exorbitant rents that must pay since the advent of the PAID, formerly free, sharing services. Some may be working to pay to park their vehicles. This is the face of gentrification brought to us by City Hall and SFMTA. They cleared the streets to make room for “their” corporate buddies. There is a name for this kind of government.

Private security company failed to fulfill SFMTA contract

By  Bay City News : sfexaminer – excerpt

The private security company hired to protect San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency employees failed to fulfill its contract in four key areas, according to a report released Thursday.

Cypress Security LLC was paid for 34 hours of security services over an eight-week period during the 2015-16 fiscal year that weren’t supported by time records, according to an audit report from the Office of the Controller’s City Services Auditor Division.

This calls into question whether or not payments related to the 24 guards’ activities – about $41,500 – should have been made during the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to the audit report.

Also, Cypress couldn’t demonstrate that its three subcontractors comply with liability insurance and minimum compensation requirements, nor could the company demonstrate its own or its subcontractors’ compliance with health benefit requirements, the audit report said.

The contract compliance audit was done by Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting, Inc., at the behest of the city auditor…(more)

Bad contracts are popping up all over the streets as we dodge the mess they are causing to our streets and the stress on our lives. Stop all new projects until the ones underway are complete. Celebrate finished jobs, not job starts and breaking more ground. We have enough broken ground already.

Excellent Uber Ad Distills the Problem With Uber in Crowded Cities

: streetsblog – excerpt

In a brilliant new spot, Uber inadvertently lays out exactly why its for-hire vehicles won’t solve transportation headaches in crowded cities…

There’s certainly a place for these services in the transportation ecosystem, but they’re not a solution to moving large numbers of people in crowded cities. No app, no matter how user-friendly, can turn cars into a congestion fix… (more)

My favorite false narrative that joins the fake news category is the claim that a troll is running on social media that “Uber is a pubic transportation system”. The Mayor of SF must have bought that article as he made a deal to transfer public property to Uber in exchange for data. Is it time for the public to start boycotting these cars by returning to “free” rideshares called hitchhiking?

Ask B. Sarah Jones at the November 20 SaveMuni Meeting

To all SaveMuni members, friends and associates:

At the next SaveMuni meeting (11/20/17, 5:30 p.m. Turk/Fillmore Police Station) we will have an excellent opportunity to learn more about the SFMTA, it’s objectives, its priorities, its structure and how it functions. Sara Jones, SFMTA’s new Planning Director will be at the meeting to explain the program, answer questions and exchange ideas with us.

This is your chance to find out how MTA plans to cope with San Francisco’s worsening transportation condition. Come and invite your friends!

Drive time

By Susan Dyer Reynolds : marinatimes – excerpt

With 45,000 Uber and Lyft drivers, it’s time for digital medallions

A year ago, San Francisco Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez sent shockwaves with one big number: 45,000. According to data he received from the San Francisco Treasurer’s Office, that was the estimated number of Uber and Lyft drivers operating in the city. That was up from around 37,000 drivers six months prior (for reference, there are around 1,800 taxicabs).

I experienced the effect of all those ride shares on the road last month while trying to get from Oak and Webster Streets to Third and Mission Streets. From the time I hit Mission, it took more than 45 minutes to reach my destination…(more)

 

America’s Buses Lose Riders, Imperiling Their Future

By David Harrison : WSJ – excerpt

A staple of American urban life—the city bus—is in a state of steady decline.

Ridership on city buses around the country was down 13% in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter in 2007, according to Transportation Department data, a drop that has left transit agencies scrambling to make up for lost revenue and contemplating additional service cuts on top of ones they have already made … (more)

If Muni spent more money on doing what riders ask for and less on high-level salaries for managers who ignore the public, PR schemes they claim are outreach, and high tech gadgets they might see an increase in ridership. When has the SFMTA responded to any public suggestions that did not fit their plans? How many people warned against the Design and Build Walsh contract?

I have a suggestion for them to ignore. Loose the attitude that you KNOW IT ALL and react to what the public is telling you by taking alternatives to the Muni.

The public is voting for smaller more comfortable vehicles when they switch to Chariot, Uber and Lyft. The SFMTA is still buying larger, longer, less comfortable buses and planning for standing room only crowded conditions for its riders. Hire more drivers and lay off the planners. Muni is a NOW thing not a 40 year plan.

Instead of punishing the ride hail services for getting it right, learn from them and add some jitney-size vehicles to the Muni fleet. Ask the Muni drivers who deal with the public for suggestions on how Muni can improve the ride and routes. Maybe return some of the bus stops.

Big Philanthropy Takes the Bus

By Benjamin Ross : dissentmagazine – excerpt

In 2002, Royal Dutch Shell’s grant-making arm set out to influence transportation policy in developing countries. Initial “market testing,” the Shell Foundation itself has said, revealed that a program directly funded by Shell would lack “credibility,” and so Shell decided to channel its money through an “intermediary.” Several bidders competed to play this role. Shell chose the World Resources Institute, a business-oriented environmental nonprofit.

The resulting program was dubbed EMBARQ. With Shell’s financial support—starting with a $7.5 million grant—and ongoing guidance, EMBARQ urged cities to rely on buses that run on Shell’s product instead of building electric-powered subways.

Buses, to be sure, are essential to any transit system, and they rarely get the respect they deserve. Improving them can serve social justice as well as transport. But ordinary buses are hardly a credible substitute for subways. So EMBARQ promotes what is called bus rapid transit, or BRT. This refers to bus routes with special features, such as travel lanes where cars are excluded, that are said to offer rubber-tired travel that’s as good as rail but costs less. It’s an elastically defined concept that comes in many flavors; the common element is less the transportation than the politics of it. BRT is the bus you get when you don’t get a train…

BRT was newly in vogue among transit planners when Shell and EMBARQ took it up. But it’s an idea with a history… (more)