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Today Headlines

  • Huge Turnout for the Wiggle “Stop-In” Demonstration (NBC, ABCSFGate, KRONHoodline)
  • SFPD Officials Say They Will Ticket Rolling Stops for Bikes Until Idaho Law is Adopted (SF Examiner)
  • Stanley Roberts Bows Out of Stop-In Because His Presence Shut Down the Last Wiggle Demo (Weekly)
  • Six Months of Early Night Closures in Muni Subway Begin Tomorrow (SFGate)
  • Nevius: Predicted Warriors Arena Traffic is a Drop in the Bucket for the City (SF Chronicle)
  • Patxi’s Pizza on 24th Street Applies for Parklet (Noe Valley SF)
  • Supes Approve Gas Station Site Purchase for Affordable Housing at 16th and S. Van Ness (Socketsite)
  • Mid-Market Development to Bring Sidewalk Extension, Pocket Garden, and Public Plaza (Hoodline)
  • Air District Board Approves $20 Million to Fund Caltrain Electrification (SF Appeal, SFBay)
  • Man Hit by Caltrain in San Bruno Dies from Injuries (CBS, SF Bay, Mercury News)
  • Elderly Woman in Martinez Kills Husband With Car After Mistaking Gas Pedal for Brake (CBS)
  • Bicycle Safety Cited By Danville NIMBYs in Case Against Residential Development (Cyclelicious)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Mayor Lee on Bike Demo: “I Won’t Bend to Interests Who Disregard Safety”

Contrasting with Supervisor London Breed’s sensible position on the demonstration planned in response to the SFPD’s impending bike crackdown, we bring you a dispatch from the hidebound side of City Hall — Room 200.

Mayor Ed Lee weighed in today on the plan from bike commuters on the Wiggle to fully comply with the stop sign law en masse this evening, to highlight its absurdity.

Mayor Lee on Bike to Work Day. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Lee told reporters that he’s “not going to be bending to interests that simply want to disregard public safety”:

We’re a great city for first amendment voices. I’m willing to listen to them. But I’m going to always say everybody’s safety has to be the number one priority. I’m not going to be bending to interests that simply want to disregard public safety. That’s not what our city should be doing.

We’re investing a lot of money in bike lanes. A lot of money in dedicated lanes. A lot of money in making sure that people can get to work without driving more cars. We have environmental goals for that to happen. But you’re talking to a mayor, and I think a very strong Board of Supervisors, who will not compromise safety for the sake of other interests.

Mayor Lee is, of course, missing the point of the demonstration entirely: SFPD’s Park Station captain is disregarding safety data and wasting precious enforcement resources on compliance with an impractical stop sign law, which won’t make anyone safer. Meanwhile, the driver violations that hurt the most people go under-enforced.

The “interests” Lee referred to — bike commuters rallied by the Wigg Party — say they “intend to show” that the unrealistic prospect of not practicing rolling stops on bikes (which Idaho legalized 32 years ago) would “have disastrous effects to traffic patterns” by disrupting the existing expectation of efficient turn-taking.

“That may be their point of view,” Lee said to a reporter. “Is it shared by everybody else?”

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Congress Set to Pass Yet Another Short-Term Transpo Funding Patch

Who says there's gridlock in Washington? Congress manages to pass a transportation extension every two months, on average. Photo: ##https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gridlock##Wikipedia##

Who says there’s gridlock in Washington? Congress manages to pass a transportation extension every two months, on average. Photo: Wikipedia

The 35th transportation extension in the last six years is about to pass. The House had passed a five-month extension, the Senate insisted on moving forward with its six-year bill, then the House proposed a three-month extension, and somehow that sounded great to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

To win McConnell’s support for the short-term patch, House leaders had to pinky-swear that they would work on a long-term bill just as soon as they get back from August recess. Seven states have already halted construction projects valued at $1.63 billion because of uncertainty at the federal level.

The three-month extension isn’t funded with sales of oil from the nation’s strategic reserve and it doesn’t include an extension of the Export-Import Bank’s authority, both controversial issues that threatened to gum up the works.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer warned he could encourage Democrats to vote no on the three-month bill, but it seems clear lawmakers are going to do what they need to do to avoid a shutdown and then head home for recess. The House is planning to celebrate its success by adjourning a day early.

The patch expires October 29. See you all then — same time, same place, same insufferable paralysis.

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Sup. Breed Backs Idaho’s Common-Sense Law: Let Bikes Yield at Stop Signs

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Updated at 1:04 p.m. with comments from Dave Snyder of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Supervisor London Breed has come out as the first known elected official in San Francisco to publicly support a sensible change to California traffic law: allowing people on bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs.

Supervisor Breed rides the Wiggle with the SF Bicycle Coalition's Noah Budnick (right) and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin after a recent celebration of the Fell and Oak bike lanes. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

Supervisor Breed rides the Wiggle with the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Noah Budnick (right) and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin after a recent celebration of the Fell and Oak bike lanes. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

Breed voiced her position today in today’s deftly-crafted article by SF Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on changing the stop sign law:

“I think that’s how it should be,” she said, when asked if she supported San Francisco introducing Idaho-style rolling stops. “A bicycle is not a car, and they should be handled differently.”

Of rolling stops, she said, “On my bicycle, that’s what I do.”

“She’s speaking common sense,” said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition, and former head of the SF Bicycle Coalition.

Breed’s District 5 includes some of the city’s busiest bike routes like the Wiggle and Page Street, where two recent captains at SFPD’s Park Station have called for letter-of-the-law crackdowns on bike violations at stop signs. They aren’t a major cause of injuries, and the practice is even followed by officers biking in the district.

Breed’s views on bicycling issues have evolved since 2013, when she tweeted that “the biggest obstacle to creating safer streets for bicycling” was “the bad behavior of some bicyclist” [sic]. She later clarified that she meant that the perception of bad bicycling behavior made it “harder to win public and political support” for bike safety improvements on the streets.

The complaints that drive SFPD’s bike crackdowns largely result from unrealistic expectations set by a strict interpretation of the state stop sign law, which treats 30-pound bikes the same as three-ton motor vehicles. The vast majority of people on bikes already negotiate stop signs safely by slowing, looking, and being prepared to yield when others have the right of way.

Allowing rolling stops on bikes “would normalize, and legalize, behavior people are doing safely anyway,” Morgan Fitzgibbons of the Wigg Party told the Examiner. The Wigg Party plans to hold a “Wiggle stop-in” this evening to demonstrate the absurdity of the current stop sign law by rallying riders to make full stops at every sign.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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Data-Driven Parking Policy Pays Off in Seattle

Inset of Seattle parking rate map. Image via The Urbanist

Inset of Seattle parking rate map. Image via The Urbanist

Seattle is set to improve upon its successful street parking program by setting meter rates based on demand.

The Seattle Department of Transportation keeps a close watch on curbside parking, reports Stephen Fesler at The Urbanist, with regular audits and adjustments to rates and hours for close to 12,000 spaces. SDOT’s goal is to reduce congestion, noise, and pollution by helping motorists find parking more easily. Increasing turnover also helps businesses by improving access.

It’s a common sense approach that gets results. Writes Fesler:

The paid parking program is managed on the basic principles of supply and demand. With a limited number of available parking spaces and inconsistent demand throughout areas and time, SDOT uses price and time limits to manage how consumers choose to occupy space and smooth out utilization.

With this in mind, SDOT’s primary goal of the paid parking program is to maintain an average of one to two open parking spaces per blockface throughout the day. This typically translates to 70% to 85% parking utilization, a key metric for SDOT.

This year the city will begin to expand variable parking rates, adjusted based on demand at a given time, to the entire system:

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • SF Examiner Looks at Why Idaho’s Stop Sign Law Works; Wiggle “Stop-In” Demonstration Tonight
  • More on SFMTA’s Revised Plan for McAllister Includ With Two Traffic Circles (Hoodline)
  • SF Bicycle Coalition Features Arguments For and Against Changes to Organization’s Bylaws
  • Mysterious Pro-Parking Permit Flyers Posted By “NE Bernal Parking Alliance” (Bernalwood)
  • Report: 74 Percent of Bay Area Roads in Substandard Condition (Quartz)
  • BART Releases Videos to Help Navigate Transbay Tube Closure This Weekend (NBC, The Alamedan)
  • Along Oakland’s Lake Merritt, There’s a Button to Press to Continue Walking On the Sidewalk (GJEL)
  • Driver Dead After Three-Car Crash on I-880 in Oakland (CBS, Mercury News)
  • Millbrae Red Light Camera Generates Over 1,500 Traffic Citations in June (ABC)
  • Man Struck by Caltrain in San Bruno (SFGate)
  • Redwood City Mayor Says Underutilized Downtown Garage Will Be Used More With New Exit (SMDJ)
  • Report Recommends Giving Police New Tools to Determine if Drivers are Stoned (East Bay Express)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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SFPD Tickets Bike Commuters Trying to Get By Car Queue on Page Street

Here’s today’s edition of egregious waste of SFPD resources used to harass people on bikes.

SFPD officers were posted at the bottom of the hill on Page Street at Octavia Boulevard this morning ticketing bike commuters who squeezed to the left of stopped cars. Freeway-bound drivers routinely queue up to turn right, occupying several blocks of Page’s only eastbound traffic lane.

Tickets were issued to people headed downtown who are essentially given no safe, legal, or practical alternative to use this official bike route. It’s one more sign that the department has no plans to stop targeting innocuous, common-sense behaviors by people on bikes while violations that hurt people remain under-enforced.

“It’s adding insult to injury,” said Jason Henderson, a board member of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and author of “Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco.”

“Bicyclists don’t want to be doing that,” Henderson said. “It’s because the city has shirked its moral responsibility and left bicyclists to fend for themselves at that intersection.”

Squeezing to the left on Page, where the oncoming westbound traffic lane is mostly empty, has been normal for years and hasn’t been known to cause any crashes. The SFMTA has actually proposed a partial center-running bike lane on Page to legitimize the behavior as part of street improvements on and around Octavia.

A typical queue of cars on Page Street at Octavia Boulevard. Photo: Aaron Bialick

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Streetsblog USA
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How Cutting Back on Driving Helps the Economy

Cross-posted from City Observatory

As Americans drive less and spend less on fuel, they have about $150 billion annually to spend in other ways.

There are two kinds of economics: macroeconomics, which deals in big national and global quantities, like gross domestic product, and microeconomics, which focuses on a smaller scale, like how the prices of specific products change. Macroeconomics gets all the attention in the news cycle, as people talk about the unemployment rate, the money supply, inflation, and the monthly payroll reports. Micro-economists usually labor in obscure corners, studying things like commodity prices, wage rates, and industry trends.

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) is the nation’s leading group of economists, focused heavily on understanding and explaining big macroeconomic trends.

A new CEA report, “The Surprising Decline in U.S. Petroleum Consumption,” highlights an important decades-in-the-making trend in the U.S. economy: we’re consuming a lot less oil that everyone thought we would. Obviously, oil consumption is a big deal in the macro economy. Oil imports are the biggest factor in the nation’s long running balance of trade deficit (we imported 2.7 billion barrels of oil in 2014, at an average cost of $91), and from the first energy crisis of the early 1970s onward, there’s been a strong recognition of the critical role that oil supplies and oil prices played in shaping global and national economic conditions.

While all of the models constructed by the experts, including the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy, predicted that U.S. petroleum consumption would grow from 18 to 30 million barrels per day between 1970 and 2030, something very different is happening: U.S. oil consumption has leveled off at about 21 million barrels per day. Even though population is increasing, and the economy is still growing, petroleum consumption has been essentially flat.

What’s keeping consumption down? According to the CEA analysis, transportation explains 80-90 percent of the trend. While industrial, commercial, and residential energy use have generally followed predictions, energy use for transportation is far below where it was predicted.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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If Walmart Urbanizes Its Headquarters, What’s Next for Its Stores?

The Washington Post reports that Walmart, the retail behemoth whose name is synonymous with big-box sprawl, is looking to attract young people to work at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. To make that happen, the company is investing in amenities to make its hometown — population 40,000 — more urban.

Sam Walton’s first store, in downtown Bentonville, where the company hopes to draw young employees. Photo: brad_hot/Flickr via Washington Post

Sam Walton’s first store, in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, where the company hopes to draw young employees. Photo: brad_holt/Flickr via Washington Post

To remain competitive, the Post says, Walmart must draw professionals “who might not have a car” away from “large cities that have lots more to offer.”

Robert Steuteville at Better! Cities & Towns believes new development in the Bentonville area will have repercussions across the U.S.:

In the middle of the 20th century, northwest Arkansas consisted of a few sleepy towns on a railroad line. Now it has half a million residents in disconnected subdivisions.

The area must urbanize to move forward economically, and the implications of that necessity will turn suburbs on their heads. The needs of Bentonville and Walmart will reverberate coast to coast.

Walmart, the Walton Foundation, and local leaders are investing heavily in art museums and other cultural attractions, bicycle trails, and mixed-use infill development that brings restaurants and brew pubs.

Nearby Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville (home of the University of Arkansas) are moving in the same direction. Urban amenities have gained status in the land of Walmart — arguably the largest, most suburban-oriented enterprise in the world.

“In order for us to compete for the type of talent it’s going to take to allow these companies to remain competitive in the global economy, we have to be a place where people want to live, where they can spend their free time doing things they enjoy,” one Bentonville official told the Post.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Family Friendly Cities says Seattle’s proposed residential zoning update won’t lead families with kids to flee the city.

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Today’s Headlines

  • UCSF Will Only Support Warriors Arena With UCSF’s Traffic Plan (SFGate, ExamABCAppeal)
  • Man on Bike Collides With Driver at Seward and Douglass Streets (SF Appeal)
  • Woman Severely Injured By Driver at Wisconsin and 16th Streets (SF Appeal)
  • Muni Bus Driver Hits Woman in Her 60s in Crosswalk on South Van Ness and 25th (SFBay)
  • Video Shows Muni Bus Driver Refusing to Let Disabled Woman Board (SFist)
  • SFMTA to Pay $525,000 Settlement for Not Properly Monitoring Fuel Storage Tanks (SFGate)
  • Several Housing Developments Planned Along Growing Van Ness Transit Corridor (Biz Times)
  • Water Taxi Survey Asks People to Weigh in On More Commuter Routes (Hoodline)
  • CalTrans’ $79M Project to Soon Give Drivers Real-Time Traffic Info Signs on I-80 (Berkeleyside)
  • Study Shows Bay Area Carpool Lanes Not Moving Cars at Federally-Required Speed (NBC)
  • Drunk Driver Goes Wrong Way, Kills Other Driver in Pacifica (SM Daily Journal)
  • Sacramento Police Catch Bike Thief Three Times Using Bait Bikes (KQED)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA