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Today’s Headlines

Roger is on vacation! Keep up with state stories at Streetsblog CAL and Streetsblog LA and national news atStreetsblog USA. I’ll be back to do another Today’s Headlines on Thursday.

  • All State: 6 Bay Area Cities Have the Worst Drivers in the Country… (SF Gate)
  • …Maybe It’s Because of the Rampant Texting Epidemic (SF Gate)
  • …So, Why Wants to Buy a $300,000 SUV? (SF Gate)
  • Columnist Names VTA Tax After Silicon Valley “Cheerleader” Carl Guardino (East Bay Times)
  • Critical Mass Cyclist Given Probation for U-Lock Attack (SF Gate)
  • Roadshow: There’s So Many Dangerous Streets We Can’t Fit Them All (East Bay Times)
  • There’s Only One Pokemon Go Story for Today’s Headlines (SF Gate)
  • Oh Wait, Here’s Another One (SF Weekly)
  • And Another One (SF Weekly)
  • Oh, for the Love of God, Here’s Another One (Examiner)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA


Streetsblog San Francisco is Taking a Mid Summer Vacation

And what does a Streetsblog SF editor do on vacation? Bike around Portland, of course. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

And what does a Streetsblog SF editor do on vacation? Walk and bike around Portland, of course. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26, we’re taking a mid-summer vacation from publishing Streetsblog San Francisco. Another California editor will update headlines every other day (notifications will go out via social media). And, of course, keep up with state stories at Streetsblog CAL and Streetsblog LA and national news at Streetsblog USA.

We’ll resume our regular publishing schedule on August 2. We hope all our readers get to take a summer break this year; have fun and travel safely. See you Tuesday, August 2.

Via Streetsblog California
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CAHSR Paints Rosy Picture, but Rail Line Is Still Political Hot Potato

After years of being beat up on conservative talk radio and in numerous other press outlets, the California High Speed Rail Authority finally hit a positive streak running several months this year. The organization broke ground on a major part of the program in Fresno, cleared a legal hurdle, passed a new business plan that pivoted construction to the Bay Area and Central Valley, and can now report that there will be high speed rail trains running in California within a decade.

The above video, created by the authority, covers these accomplishments and some lesser ones (We held hearings! We celebrated Earth Day!) and CAHSR is feeling, perhaps for the first time since funding for the first portion of the line was approved by voters in 2008, that they have the momentum needed to see this project through.

But that doesn’t mean that everything is in place. Even CAHSR’s promotional video concedes that funding to complete the line south from Bakersfield through Greater Los Angeles down to San Diego is uncertain.

The state’s cap-and-trade program has produced hundreds of millions of dollars every year for transportation and housing projects, including the California High Speed Rail program. But the program is currently set to expire in 2020.

Despite Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton’s observation that Governor Jerry Brown’s best hope to get the line funded is the election of Donald Trump, Brown’s immediate plan is to extend the expiration date for the state’s cap-and-trade program to 2050. Whether that will be possible remains uncertain – some legislators, mostly Republicans, argue that cap-and-trade is a tax and requires legislative approval. A ruling from a state lawsuit is expected later this year or in 2017. Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Oakland’s Pedalfest: Celebrating All Things Bicycle

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On Saturday, Bike East Bay’s annual Pedalfest at Jack London Square in Oakland brought out bicyclists of all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors to celebrate what makes bikes wonderful. Below are some the day’s highlights. All photos by Melanie Curry.

Rock the Bike offered live music, powered by audience members on stationary bikes.

Rock the Bike offered live music, powered by audience members pedaling stationary bikes.

The ping pong bike brought games to anyone who wanted to play.

The PingPong Bike brought games to anyone who wanted to play.

Testing out the handmade cycle contraptions. She wants to be the driver.

Testing out the handmade cycle contraptions.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Atlanta Looks for Options Where Bidirectional Protected Bike Lanes Intersect

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities connect high-comfort biking networks.

Bidirectional protected bike lanes, which put both directions of bike traffic on the same side of a street, aren’t ideal. But they can be useful in a pinch.

Like all protected bike lanes, well-designed bidirectionals are more comfortable to more riders than having no bike lanes on busy streets.

This month in downtown Atlanta, something interesting is happening for the first time in the United States: two bidirectional protected bike lanes are crossing each other at a four-way intersection.

Fortunately, both of them are on the “left” side of signalized one-way streets. This is generally the best way to use a bidirectional protected bike lane, in part because it prevents total chaos in situations like this one.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Will More Bike-Share Systems Opt for “Smart Bikes,” Not “Smart Docks”?

When Portland launched its bike-share system last week, it became the biggest American city to go live with a “smart bike” model. The system allows users to drop off bikes anywhere within the service area, as opposed to the more prevalent “smart dock” model, where users pick up and return bikes only at fixed stations.

Portland's new bike share system moves away from docks. Photo: Bike Portland

Portland’s new bike-share system has stations, but you can lock your bike up anywhere in the service area. Photo: Bike Portland

James Sinclair at Stop and Move considers some of the advantages and disadvantages of each system:

In a smart dock system, everything is handled by the dock and an attached kiosk. On a smart bike system, the bicycle itself carries all the technology. That means you can lock your bicycle to anything. You use a pin code to remove the built in lock and when you’re done, you reattach the lock to the bicycle (and another fixed object of course). Built in GPS ensures the company knows where the bike is.

So why pick one system over another? If most cities have used smart docks, why did Portland go with smart bikes?

The biggest factor involves cost and ease of deployment. A smart bike system actually requires zero infrastructure. You can release the bicycles and let users dock wherever they want — existing racks, fences etc. Docking areas can be created virtually, and displayed with signs or stickers…

One of the major problems with a smart dock system is arriving at a station where every dock is full. That scenario can simply never happen with a smart bike system, since you can lock up to a pole or fence.

But systems like Portland’s have drawbacks too, he says:

Read more…

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This Week: Progressive Parking, More Bike Share Stations, Solving Housing

sblog_calendar1Here are this week’s highlights from the Streetsblog calendar:

  • Monday Today! Hayes Valley Bike Share Planning Workshop. Join Bay Area Bike Share to have a say in where the next Bike Share stations should be located in Hayes Valley. These workshops are also a great way to learn about how bike sharing works in the Bay Area. Monday, July 25, 6-7 p.m. African American Art + Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St, S.F. For more information about this workshop, visit Bay Area Bike Share’s website here.
  • Tuesday Balancing Cities and Their Parking Many of the reasons that people love cities—excitement, opportunity for chance encounters, the capacity to delight and surprise—are due to density. But how do you support urban density while also managing residents’ occasional need for parking? Come hear about progressive parking policies that support city life, including a proposal to revamp Oakland’s parking. Tuesday, July 26, 12:30 p.m. SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland. Free for SPUR members, $10 for non-members.
  • Wednesday Can Regional Government Solve the Housing Crisis? Cities throughout the Bay Area are debating how to add housing and what affordable housing requirements should be. Should the Bay Area’s regional agencies require all new commercial developments to pay a fee to support affordable housing? Should there be regional housing bonds? Join policy experts in a discussion about housing solutions. Wednesday, July 27, 12:30 p.m. SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland. Free for SPUR members, $10 for non-members.
  • Wednesday Casual/Social Group Ride – Sports Basement. Join Sports Basement for a weekly social ride, averaging from 16-18 miles. Afterwards, socialize with riders over a beer or coffee. Wednesday, July 27. 6-7:30 p.m. Sports Basement, 2727 Milvia St, Berkeley.
  • Thursday TransForm Social – San Jose. This summer Transform is hosting their first-ever TransForm Social. Learn about solutions to public transportation, housing, and climate woes while connecting with other TransFormers, staff and supporters. Drinks + Food + Raffle Game = TransForm Party! Thursday, July 28, 5:30-8:00 p.m. Vyne Bistro, 110 Paseo de San Antonio Walk, San Jose Tickets: $10 (includes one drink ticket + light appetizers).
  • Thursday. The Gaze from the Bicycle. Indira Urrutia and Marc Hors invite you to travel with them across the American continents through their photographs collected during a 4.5 year bicycle journey that started in Alaska on May 2nd, 2007, and ended in Puerto Williams, Chile on May 27th, 2012. The free event is hosted by Mullen Brothers Imaging and includes a printed exhibition and audiovisual projection. Thursday, July 28, 6-8 p.m. Mullen Brothers Gallery, 2040 Oakdale Ave., S.F.
  • Saturday The Oakland Scramble. A rich history, amazing amenities and hidden secrets make Oakland the perfect backdrop for SPUR’s first scavenger hunt in the East Bay. Join up with fellow young urbanists and follow an elaborate set of clues to leave no stone, building, tree or sculpture unturned. Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m. SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland. Register for free here.

Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.


Today’s Headlines

  • More on L-Taraval Boarding Islands (SFBay)
  • More on Weekend BART Closures Between Glen Park and Daly City (KQED)
  • More on Tech Shuttle Stops and Appeal of Suspended Provider (SFExaminer)
  • Fight on Muni Bus (SFGate)
  • Pedestrian Badly Hurt in Haight Hit and Run (SFGate, Hoodline)
  • Apparent Hit and Run Death in Concord (EastBayTimes)
  • Motorist Hits and Kills Pedestrian in Palo Alto (SFBay)
  • New Downtown Redwood City Police Division to Patrol on Bikes (DailyJournal)
  • Housing Too Expensive For Sonoma-Marin Train Drivers (MarinIJ)
  • Slow Down On Driverless Cars (KQED)
  • Muni and the Sunken Ships of San Francisco (SFist)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA


More Grumbles at Final Hearing on Taraval Changes

Some 60 people came to address a Friday morning hearing on proposed changes to the L-Taraval. Photo: Streetsblog.

Some 60 people came to address a Friday morning hearing on proposed changes to the L-Taraval. Photo: Streetsblog.

SFMTA, at long last, held its final hearing on the proposed Muni Forward safety and speed improvements to the L-Taraval. The two-hour meeting, which started at 10 a.m. at City Hall, was attended by some 60 people.

Streetsblog readers will recall the last large hearing for Taraval was held in February and, as with many of these big public hearings, there were outbursts, groans, and grumbles.

This meeting was more under control, thanks to Mike Hanrahan with the hearings section of SFMTA. “Two minutes is plenty of time if you’ve thought about what you want to say,” he said to the audience, prepping them for the comment period. He then introduced Michael Rhodes, who gave some brief background on the project and explained some amendments. Almost immediately, grumbles came from the audience and someone tried to ask a question. Hanrahan reminded them the comment period is coming up and, “We can’t have interruptions.” Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Naomi Doerner on How Street Safety Advocates Can Support Racial Justice

When a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, shot and killed Philando Castile earlier this month, the encounter began with a traffic stop. The stop fit a pattern: Castile had been pulled over many times before — 46 times in 13 years — but few of those citations were for dangerous driving. More prevalent were stops for minor issues like vehicle defects or misplaced license plates — the type of justifications that police are more likely to use when stopping black and Latino drivers throughout the country.

Naomi Doerner is a consultant who helps biking and walking organizations development social equity and racial justice plans. Photo: Bike Easy

Naomi Doerner helps biking and walking organizations development social equity and racial justice plans. Photo: Bike Easy

Street safety advocates often call on police to reform traffic enforcement practices in order to reduce dangerous driving that jeopardizes people walking and biking. Given the pervasiveness of racially discriminatory police work and the prevalence of police brutality in many communities, how should biking and walking advocates shape their strategies and messages?

Naomi Doerner, the former executive director of New Orleans’ advocacy organization Bike Easy, is a consultant who specializes in helping biking and walking advocates develop racial justice and social equity plans. She says advocates should be grappling with structural racism and considering how their own choices can entrench or dismantle it.

Here is a lightly edited transcript of our interview.

What’s a mistake some biking or walking organizations are making with regards to diversity?

I think that one of the things I see is hiring of people of color and then making them sort of the voice for diversity and equity, which are not the same thing.

It is great to hire the folks, to have the folks who do potentially have better understanding. Even if you had a staff that was diverse, if there’s not a co-created understanding of equity within your organization and how you’re contributing to it, it won’t succeed.

Read more…