Today’s Headlines

  • SF to Consider Raising Taxi Rates to “Priciest in the Nation” (City Insider, SF Examiner)
  • SFMTA “Goes Off the Rails on Overtime” (City Insider)
  • LA Times Editorial: California “Can Do Better” on High-Speed Rail
  • Thousands Take to the Streets for Bay to Breakers (SF Gate, SF Appeal)
  • Group Vows Appeal of Ruling Validating Caltrans Minority Contract Program (Sac Bee)
  • City Launches Art in Storefronts Project on Market Street (SF Examiner)
  • Mission Playground Closes Today for a $7.5 Million Makeover (SF Gate)
  • Budget Woes Will Force 70 State Parks to Close in Sept. (SF Gate)
  • Brookings Study Gives High Rankings to Fresno’s Transit System (Fresno Bee)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    DUI suspected in GGB Head on collison.

    http://sfist.com/2011/05/16/dui_suspected_in_last_nights_golden.php

    This will bring up again the hue and cry to “Fix the Bridge” with a movable barrier. Which brings up 2 topics of relevance. Anyone who tries to oppose the Masonic changes based on “Well, the cyclist and pedestrian who died were killed because of drunks, not because the road is unsafe” is in a pickle – if the problem with the bridge is road design, then how is that not true of Masonic? If the accident on the bridge was caused by a drunk driver, why do we need to spend millions to fix it when what’s needed is for people to stop driving drunk?

    Second, here we have a big injury crash on the car lanes. The response is “we should make the road safer” (foolproof?). Yet the bike path which has very few actual incidents should not be “made safer”, we should impose a speed limit. Instead of building an expensive barrier, just lower the speed limit on the bridge to 25 MPH and be done with it.

  • jd

    Re: increased taxi fares in SF

    I have to say, I think this is a good idea. Though clearly better than single-occupancy vehicles, taxis are, in my opinion, overused and therefore contribute to our automobile-centric urban design and so their use should be discouraged (though is preferred over somebody owning a car, of course). Further, being professional drivers, you would expect them to be the best drivers on the road: the most courteous, the most smooth, etc. Instead, they are the opposite: they are the worst. They are aggressive, speed, and to top it off, riding with one is a lesson in how not to be smooth (and hence fuel efficient).

    Further, taxis regularly cut through neighborhoods, usually at high-speeds and aggressively, rather than using thoroughfares, and this really annoys me and detracts from the livability of our cities. I already have a problem with cars being able to drive on every single block, but most drivers who are passing through an area stick to the major thoroughfares for the most part. But not taxis. For example, I took a taxi once from Potrero Hill to the west side of the Mission (basically completely across the Mission). I was on about 22nd St and going to 24th St, so I just told him to go on Cesar Chavez because I didn’t think it was appropriate to be cutting through neighborhoods which are quiet and have pedestrian and bicycle traffic. He totally ignored me and instead roared through the entire Mission, starting and stopping at every damn block or half block in what didn’t get us there any faster and which just showed a total lack of respect for our neighborhoods.

    So bottom line: I think it’s good to make taxis more expensive. They are still cars, and though better than people owning their own vehicle, they still cause most of the same problems (especially since they are horrible drivers), so their use should be discouraged over walking, cycling, and public transit.

  • Anonymous

     Can’t say I agree. Raising fares will do little to fix any of those problems. Instead, it’ll probably result in an increase in the rent the companies that own the taxi medallions charge to the drivers, which helps no one (except those companies).

  • SteveS

    I think the comparison brings up another important point: the bridge is in a better position here because it has a use fee. If the users of the bridge want a barrier, the use fee can be raised enough to pay for its installation and maintenance. Everyone who doesn’t drive a car across the bridge doesn’t have to care about the issue, since the users would bear both the costs and the benefits, and can make their own decision about whether the benefits justify the cost.

    If we had use fees for city streets, we could reap some of the same benefits of cost/benefit alignment and depoliticization.

  • jd

    @baklazhan:disqus: making anything more expensive discourages its use (just like how, conversely, lowering the cost of something increases its usage). The end result is that passengers will pay higher fares (regardless of what happens with the medallions), and that means less people will want to ride in them. Of course, this will be even more so if we improve their other options, namely walking, cycling, and public transit.

  • Anonymous

    The problem jd, is that this won’t drive people from Cabs to MUNI, it will drive them to their own cars. Perhaps someone decides to get a car who nominally relies on MUNI/bike/walk – and once they have a car they use MUNI/bike/walk less. Taxis reduce the barrier to going car free.

    MUNI is alerady much much cheaper. To reduce taxi usage, make MUNI better.

  • jd

    @murphstahoe:disqus : agreed that we need to make MUNI better. And also, we need to make driving more expensive. Both will discourage taxi usage, and both must be done as well as making cabs more expensive. By the way, SF Park should help make driving/parking more expensive to help counter the increase in cab costs. As long as we make cars more expensive than cabs which are more expensive than public transit/cycling/walking, we’re doing the right thing.

    Regardless, it still won’t solve the problem that taxi drivers are horrible at what they do and hence epitomize the worst problems of our car-centric urban design.

  • SteveS

    It will be interesting to see how Uber reacts to this, since they set their own prices. I think disruptive business models like that are the real answer to how we improve taxi service. Obviously the taxi commission is not going to be part of the solution.

  • Daniel Jacobson

    Wow, that Brookings Study is idiotic.  Being 3/4 mile from a bus stop is the most bizarre metric I’ve ever heard.

  • Kevin

     Let’s use these increased taxi fares to fund MUNI.

  • The taxi fare increase is being requested by cab drivers and cab companies. The increased revenues will go to them. Obviously since they are requesting it, they don’t believe the higher fares will hurt their business.

    In general I’m for cabs if they make it possible for people to live in the city without a car, though I do agree that cab drivers should be held to a higher standard than non-professional drivers. As for cutting through neighborhoods, it’s not clear to me why San Francisco is so insistent on just about every street in the city being a mini-arterial.  Having neighborhood streets closed off every six blocks or so (but allow bikes and pedestrians through) would make for local traffic only and calmer, safer neighborhoods. It would also encourage biking and walking for short trips.

  •  Their math also makes no sense. The most frequent bus in Fresno runs every 20 minutes, 6am to 6pm. Thats it, there are 2 bus lines that run 3 times an hour, and even then, after 6pm, theyre down to 30 and then 60 minutes.

    And service ends at 10pm.

    And thats considered good?

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