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Someone Finally Figured Out How to Fix Parking Forever. Blame Canada!

Who’s taking your parking space now? Delaware and Canada!

Car owners in Hayes Valley will not stand by as “their” parking spaces are usurped by safe streets measures and “foreign” car-share “corporations” from places like “Delaware” and “Canada.”

That’s according a couple of bizarre anonymous flyers spotted recently around the neighborhood that appear to take aim at the arrival of on-street car-share parking spaces and plans to make crosswalks safer with daylighting and sidewalk bulb-outs.

On the subject of car-share spaces — each of which, by the way, helps people let go of owning a private car — one barely-coherent flyer has this to say:

STREET PARKING BELONGS TO HAYES VALLEY RESIDENTS NOT TO FOREIGN (CANADA– GETAROUND—ZIPCAR HERTZ A DELWARE CORPORATION EXEMPT FROM PARKING TICKETS

At the risk of taking this all too seriously, a quick Google search reveals that Getaround, which lets people rent their cars to their neighbors, is based in San Francisco, though its vice president of marketing was born in Canada (A-HA!). ZipCar is based in Boston, and owned by New Jersey-based Avis, not Florida-based Hertz — but we digress.

No word yet on whether the car owners who take up the other 99 percent of Hayes Valley’s curb spaces are 100 percent native San Franciscans with a legitimate birthright to free parking.

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Looking to Curb Traffic, Palo Alto Rebuffs County’s Plans for Wider Roads

Santa Clara County planners want to widen Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. Palo Alto wants to reduce driving instead. Photo: Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County’s plans to widen expressways are out of step with cities like Palo Alto that are striving to curb traffic by reducing car commuting. Last week, Palo Alto City Council members balked at the county’s $98 million plan to expand Page Mill Road near Highway 280, which would only encourage more driving. If any expansion of the road should be studied, the council said, it should only be to add carpool lanes.

Last year, Palo Alto created a Transportation Management Association (TMA) aimed at reducing solo driving by 30 percent in three years through commuter benefits like free Caltrain passes or employee shuttles, which would be provided by employers. Such programs, including one at Stanford Universityhave proven effective at alleviating traffic and are far cheaper than building more roads and parking.

But when crafting the $3 billion Expressway Plan 2040, Santa Clara County didn’t account for local transportation demand management programs like Palo Alto’s because the county doesn’t fund or operate those services, county planner Dawn Cameron recently told the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission.

“The county’s responsibility is to operate the expressways,” said Cameron. “The kind of TDM programs that you’re discussing are typically implemented locally, by employers… We can’t require them to operate shuttles, or to provide passes to their employees.”

But the county’s prescription for wider roads will only result in more driving, Council Member Greg Schmid noted. “With your improvements, the [traffic] numbers actually go up.”

Read more…

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Scott Walker’s Own Party Rejects His Milwaukee Highway Boondoggle

Among other excellent decisions, the Joint Finance Committee decided to kill funding for I-94 expansion between the Zoo and Marquette Interchanges. Photo: ##http://wuwm.com/post/zoo-interchange-reconstruction-triggers-more-closures-some-openings##WISDOT via WUWM##

Among other excellent decisions, the Joint Finance Committee wants to kill funding for the I-94 expansion between the Zoo and Marquette Interchanges. Photo: WISDOT via WUWM

Governor Scott Walker might be too busy campaigning for president to care, but the Wisconsin legislature handed him a rebuke last week, rejecting his plans for debt-fueled highway expansion.

The Republican-controlled legislature’s Joint Finance Committee trimmed about 35 percent off Walker’s proposed $1.3 billion in borrowing for highways. If approved by the Assembly and Senate — a big if — the committee’s budget proposal could spell the end for Walker’s plans to widen a section of I-94 in Milwaukee.

The finance committee also ordered an audit of the state DOT’s spending. Advocates from WISPIRG, Sierra Club, and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin want state officials to hold off on beginning construction on any new highway expansion projects until the audit is completed.

“We just can’t afford to keep repeating the mistakes that got us into this year’s budget mess,” said WISPIRG Director Peter Skopec in a statement. “For years, we’ve wasted billions of dollars on highway expansions based on inflated traffic forecasts, and our existing infrastructure has been left to crumble as a result. This audit brings unprecedented and much-needed scrutiny to WisDOT’s highway expansion plans and the methods used to justify billion-dollar projects.”

The committee picked one highway project to axe: the $850 million expansion of I-94 between the Zoo and Marquette Interchanges, where traffic has actually been declining. The state had previously decided in February to scrap plans to double-deck that segment, opting for a different expansion method.

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StreetFilms
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It’s Smart to Be Dense

As the world’s population continues to urbanize, our cities have two options for growth: densify or sprawl. To accommodate a more populous and more prosperous world, the spread-out, car-dependent model of the 20th century must change. In this video, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Streetfilms team up to bring you the most important reasons for building dense.

If you like this one, don’t miss our other productions with ITDP:

Streetsblog.net
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When Transit Goes Down at the Polls, Here’s Some Advice on How to Regroup

Last week, voters in the Vancouver region rejected a half-cent sales tax to pay for a package of transit infrastructure and service expansions necessary to handle growing demand. Even in the city of Vancouver, the measure fell shy of a majority. Polling revealed that most “No” voters didn’t trust the regional transit agency, TransLink, to make good use of the additional revenue.

Vancouver won’t be getting more SkyTrain service after a regional referendum on a sales tax to support transit garnered less than 40 percent of the vote. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In a postmortem, Jarrett Walker at Human Transit says public perception of TransLink is at odds with its cost-effective performance. Regional transit agencies, he writes, are generally in a difficult political position, susceptible to blame-shifting from elected leaders with more power than the agency wields itself.

Here’s his advice about how to move past a stinging rejection like Vancouver’s referendum (the full post is definitely worth your time):

Hating your transit agency is easy and fun. You don’t have to understand your regional politics, in which the real power to fix transit is usually not held by the transit agency. You can also have the thrill of blowing up a big institutional edifice, as Metro Vancouver voters may now have done.

But a lot that’s good will also be destroyed. In Metro Vancouver, amid all the recriminations, TransLink has lost the credibility it needs to lead reality-based conversations about transit. Maybe some other agency will step into that role. (Indeed, core cities for whom transit is an existential issue must develop that capability.) Or maybe there will just be many more years of blame shifting among the elected officials who really control transit in the region.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Temporary Barrier Installed After Truck Driver Plows Into Rain Garden at Fell and Divisadero (Hoodline)
  • A Progress Report on the Housing Built in the Footprint of the Central Freeway (Arch Newspaper)
  • Willie Brown Worries How “Cutting Down Car Lanes on Second Street” Will Affect Firefighters (Chronicle)
  • No, Muni Fares Won’t Stop Rising: They’re Tied to Economic Cost Increases (SF Magazine)
  • Caltrain Electrification is Subject to CEQA, Rules Federal Board on Atherton Lawsuit (DJGC, Almanac)
  • More on the Caltrain Board’s Vote to Increase Bike Space, Reject Bathrooms on Electric Trains (GC)
  • Survey: 45% of Downtown Palo Workers Commute Without Driving Alone; 15% Bike (PTA)
  • As Millbrae Plans Development at BART/Caltrain Station, Some Residents Fear More Car Traffic (SMDJ)
  • GG Bridge District to Launch Free Shuttle Connecting San Rafael Transit Center, Larkspur Ferry (MIJ)
  • Marin County Continues Study on Re-Opening Alto Tunnel for Bikes, Peds Near Mill Valley (Marin IJ)
  • “FasTrak Flex” Transponders Come to Bay Area for Highway Drivers to Use in Express Toll Lanes (CoCo)
  • 6-Cent Drop in State Gas Excise Tax Cuts Transpo Funds, Saves Little for Consumers (Chron – Scroll)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Caltrain Board Ups Bike Capacity, Dumps Bathrooms on Electric Trains

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Image: Caltrain

Image: Caltrain

Note: An earlier version of this article’s headline indicated that the increase in bike capacity came at the expense of bathrooms. The two were features were essentially unrelated.

The Caltrain Board of Directors voted today to increase the share of space on its future electric trains devoted to bike capacity, though the trains may lack bathrooms.

More room for bikes on Caltrain’s electric train cars will let more commuters board with bikes, but they may not have a bathroom on the ride.

The Caltrain board rejected a proposal from its staff to include one bathroom on every six-car train while maintaining the same seat-to-bike ratio that exists today of ten-to-one. After a push from board member Tom Nolan, who is also the chair of the SFMTA Board, that ratio was increased to eight-to-one in the request for proposals from train manufacturers

The board also requested a report on the costs of adding more bathrooms and bike parking at stations.

“The board’s refusal to go along with the status quo” for on-board bike capacity “is a real victory for improving regional transit,” said SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Noah Budnick in a statement.

“We hear from folks all the time about how Caltrain’s current car design causes people to be late for work or to pick up their kids because there isn’t enough space for them on the train they needed to catch,” he said. “When transit options don’t meet the needs of a community, you see more people turn to private autos for their commutes.”

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Streetsblog USA
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19’s Plenty: Toronto Drops Speed Limit to 19 MPH on Residential Streets

“There is no war on the car,” said Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher. “There’s basically been this continued war on people who don’t have a car.”

30 km

The new speed limit is 30 kph, or 18.6 mph.

To remedy that situation, Fletcher, along with all of her colleagues on the Toronto and East York community council, voted last week to reduce speed limits to 30 kph (or 18.6 mph) on 240 miles of residential streets in the central districts of the city.

The lower speed limits are expected to encourage more people to bike and walk, and to improve air quality and noise conditions in the affected neighborhoods.

Toronto Mayor John Tory opposes the plan, preferring a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach. Previous Mayor Rob Ford was (not surprisingly) more blunt, called the idea “nuts, nuts, nuts.” But on this issue, the mayor doesn’t get a vote.

Opponents of the plan argued that it will backfire since some streets are designed for faster speeds. It’s true that lowering the posted speed limit is no substitute for street designs that slow motorists. That’s why 20 mph zones that have saved lives in London include engineering changes as well. But it’s also true that blanket speed limit reductions, with no additional interventions, have a track record of success.

The lower speed limits in Toronto will make difference, and hopefully will serve as an impetus to redesign streets for safer driving speeds too.

Streetsblog.net
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Killing a Transit Project Isn’t Going to Fix Your City’s Parking Crunch

Broad Street in Richmond. Photo: Jeff Auth/Wikimedia Commons via GGW

Yesterday we ran a post from Michael Andersen about how Newark fixed the glut of parked cars on Mount Prospect Avenue, the first street in New Jersey to get a protected bike lane: Instead of letting people park in the bikeway, the city started charging for parking. With a price on parking, people stopped storing their cars on the street all day long, and there was finally some turnover. Problem solved.

The same approach makes sense any time free or cheap on-street parking gets stuffed with cars, but street redesigns often intensify the need to get parking prices right. Canaan Merchant at Greater Greater Washington reports on another case in point — a Bus Rapid Transit project called The Pulse in Richmond, Virginia.

On some sections, The Pulse will run on dedicated bus lanes along the median of Broad Street, and the city will remove some parking spaces to make room. That has a neighborhood association in the nearby Fan District riled up, but as Merchant points out, parking dysfunction can’t be pinned on the transit project:

It may be harder to park in the Fan in the future, but the Pulse won’t be to blame if that happens. Lots of people park on the street because parking there is usually convenient and cheap, or even free. In most cities, parking is drastically underpriced given how valuable the space spots take up is.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Motorcyclist Crashes Into Two People at Market and Third Streets (CBS, NBC)
  • Woman on Bike Injured By Hit-and-Run Driver at Stevenson and Sixth Streets (Hoodline, SF Appeal)
  • Muni Awarded $41 Million Grant From Cap-and-Trade Program for New Metro Trains (SFBay, SFGate)
  • Cartoon: Why Did Mayor Lee Only Ride Muni Twice During the 22-Day Challenge? (SF Examiner)
  • Uber, Lyft: Don’t “Stifle Innovation” With New Regs (Exam); More on Their Lack of Public Data (Weekly)
  • New CA Law Gives Ride-Hail Drivers Basic Liability Coverage With Metromile (ABC)
  • Oakland Approves Budget to Fund City’s First Department of Transportation (SFBay)
  • Caltrain to Keep Restrooms in New Car Design, No Plan for More Bike Space (Socketsite, Green Caltrain)
  • BAAQMD May Give $20 Million for Caltrain Electrification (Green Caltrain)
  • Milbrae Station Development Plan Expects 70 Percent Car Usage (PTA)
  • Heat Creates Power Outages for VTA (NBC); Passengers Evacuated (ABC, CBS)
  • Caltrans’ “Largest Environmental Mitigation” Ever in Willits: Herbicides for a Highway Expansion (ABC)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA