Today’s Headlines

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  • jonobate

    There’s an easy way to deal with Uber/Lyft stopping in bike lanes or travel lanes to unload passengers – remove parking spaces in busy commercial areas and repurpose them as as pickup/drop off zones. If you removed three parking spaces on each side of each block and only allowed pickup/drop off in those locations, everything would run much smoother and safer. Simply prohibiting stopping in travel lanes isn’t going to work without providing alternative places to stop.

  • Corvus Corax

    That would make good sense, but can you imagine the screams of indignation from the car-supremacists at the loss of that many of their precious free parking spaces?

  • Corvus Corax

    What if, instead of spending millions on legal actions to get some sunlight into Uber’s and Lyft’s data, the city spent that money subsidizing the taxi industry? Now that taxis have their ride-hail, and I am assuming ride-share, apps, more people would be using them if the taxis cost less than Uber and Lyft. Do to them what they have done to the taxi industry. Just wonderin’.

  • Stuart

    and only allowed pickup/drop off in those locations

    Uber/Lyft drivers already routinely stop in bike lanes within sight of empty curb space (to avoid the risk of a negative review because their passenger would have to walk an extra 20 feet, I guess?), or even directly next to empty curb space because they simply can’t be bothered to pull all the way over.

    Given that, I’m very skeptical that just adding loading zones would be an easy solution. Things would improve somewhat, but the drivers who currently block bike lanes even when a better option is staring them right in the face aren’t going to suddenly change. So we still need either meaningful enforcement, or physical separation.

  • thielges

    It is just straight up laziness. Much easier to stop in the bike lane than it is to park against the curb. Nevertheless I routinely say “Hey, there’s a parking spot right up there.” when maneuvering around Uber drivers twiddling their smartphones in bike lanes.

    Yes, conversion of parking into dedicated white curb drop off zones would certainly help, but it is really hard to compete with sloth combined with lack of enforcement.

  • jonobate

    We need to provide an alternative to stopping in the middle of the bike lane *and* bring down heavy enforcement on anyone who continues to do so. With a loading zone on each block there will no longer be any excuse.

    Right now, drivers might fear a bad review from passengers if they try to find a parking space, because dropping off anywhere is the norm. If the city makes it clear that Uber and Lyft have to use loading zones in certain parts of the city, passengers will come to expect this and won’t give the driver a bad review for complying with the rules.

    Passengers might even appreciate the loading zones as they would provide clarity as to where to pick up passengers. Right now in can be hard to find your ride among all the other vehicles stopped on the street.

  • jonobate

    Eventually, autonomous cars will become a thing, and almost all parking will be converted to pickup/drop off zones. The prevalence of Uber and Lyft is just bringing that battle forward by a few years; may as well get started on it now.

  • Corvus Corax

    Are you seriously suggesting that AVs will be driving around 24/7?

  • Stuart

    Where is this heavy enforcement going to come from? One of the hotspots of regularly blocking the bike lane is literally within sight of the Mission police station. Ticketing people for stopping in a busy bike lane right by their station is such a rare event that they tweeted about it a while ago when they decided to actually enforce that law in their own front yard for a single day. Adding loading zones isn’t going to give the police more time for and/or interest in enforcement.

    And unlike the SFO case, where it’s clearly necessary to connect drivers and passengers, Uber and Lyft have no incentive to be helpful in this case. Given that they’ve been obstructionist about even making it possible for non-passengers to report their drivers for dangerous and illegal behavior, I wouldn’t hold my breath on them suddenly deciding to help out here out of the goodness of their hearts.

  • p_chazz

    No worse than the screams of indignation from bike supremacists at finding their bike lane has been blocked.

  • Corvus Corax

    How sweet of you to stalk me, Peaches.

  • jonobate

    Heavy enforcement will come when the mayor puts pressure on SFPD to enforce the law. And Uber and Lyft will have an incentive to use the loading zones when the city passes a law saying that they have to use those zones if they want to continue operating in the city, and takes steps to enforce the law.

    The SFO example is instructive because the airport made it clear to Uber and Lyft that they had to comply with those regulations (and pay an exit fee) if they wanted to continue operating on the premises. There’s no reason why the city couldn’t do the same. This isn’t about asking Uber and Lyft nicely, it’s about regulating them in the interests of congestion reduction and public safety.

  • jonobate

    Yes. Are you seriously suggesting they won’t be?

  • p_chazz

    The point, which you seem to have missed or willfully overlooked is that everyone squawks when they are inconvenienced. Also, it gave me an opportunity to use the phrase “bike supremacist”. Glad you got a chuckle from your strained attempt at making me look silly. Better luck next time.

  • thielges

    Eh, blocking the bike lane is unsafe and illegal. Reallocating street parking to passenger dropoff zones is safe and would be done legally. And it still benefits those who travel by car.

    The two are not comparable.

  • Corvus Corax

    Whyever would it be acceptable for any AV to be running when it is not needed to go from A to B? Do you not think we are wasteful enough already without further using energy moving empty cars around just so they won’t have to be stopped somewhere?

  • Corvus Corax

    Sometimes you’re brane don’t work to good, Peaches; there you go again, equating the inconvenience of having to look for parking with the out-and-out danger posed by double-parkers. I don’t have to make you look silly, Peaches; you do such a good job all by yourself.

  • jonobate

    It doesn’t really matter what you or I think should happen, it matters what technology, market forces, and government regulation will allow to occur.

    I strongly suspect the first widespread use of AVs will be to replace human-driven Uber and Lyfts with autonomous versions. The vehicles will initially be quite expensive so will need to make as many trips per day as possible in order to make financial sense.

    After dropping off a passenger they will circle until they get their next fare, just as human Uber/Lyft drivers currently do. Eventually, once demand drops, they will return to a parking lot on the edge of the city and recharge for the next day.

    So maybe not driving round 24/7, but I could imagine AVs taking “shifts” of about 18 hours in length with the rest of the time spent on recharging and maintenance. Shifts would of course be staggered so as to have some cars available at any given time.

  • dat

    False equivalency… and you know it. You’re better than that weaksauce fallacy.

    0/5.

  • Corvus Corax

    ” they will return to a parking lot on the edge of the city” – do you mean in the Bay? What other edge suitable for vast fleets of AVs are you imagining? Colma? Pave over the cemeteries? And what about the huge waste of energy it’ll take to move these AVs to and from these parking areas?

    Are you also envisioning that many people will want, and be able to afford, their own AV? Maybe they have parking at home, but when they are out and about, or drive into the city, will they be sending the AV to this secret parking area and have to wait for it to return? Do you think someone who owns his own AV will accept that?

    Do you really imagine that this city, as well as others, will have the funds to create these vast parking areas when they are knee-deep in encroaching oceans and are trying to save huge downtown areas with terrifically expensive seawalls?

    I ask, because you seem to think you have the answers…

  • Stuart

    Given the less-than-stellar response to the mayor’s pressure for the SFPD to follow the Focus on the Five initiative for Vision Zero, I’m much less optimistic than you are about that strategy working.

    I’d much rather see more protected bike lanes, so that we don’t have to hope for meaningful enforcement.

    […] when the city passes a law saying that they have to use those zones if they want to continue operating in the city

    My understanding is that the state has most of the power to regulate who can operate on the roads (I’ve seen it mentioned both with regards to TNCs and the shuttle program–the latter is actually optional because the city simply doesn’t have the regulatory power to require compliance), so this part would likely require changes in state law first.

  • Stuart

    He’s describing the AV-as-a-service model, where people mostly stop owning cars in favor of using high-availability, low-cost automated TNC-like services. Some people think that’s the inevitable outcome of AV.

    If (and it’s a big if; I certainly don’t personally think it’s inevitable that we’ll see that model anytime in the foreseeable future given the car culture in the US) that happens, you can in fact dramatically reduce parking needs. I’m not sure what the numbers for SF are, but nationally I’ve seen estimates that we currently have anywhere from 4-8 parking spots per car, which is unnecessary in this model. You can also get much better density in lots, because you don’t need most cars to be able to get out (since in the service model, they are interchangeable except for different categories of vehicle). So you wouldn’t need to build vast lots, just re-purpose some lots/garages we already have, and eliminate a lot of the need for parking near every source and destination–i.e., most street parking.

    It’s an interesting model to think about, but it would be foolish for us to rely on it arriving any year now and solving all the problems. We need solutions that can realistically be implemented in the short term.

  • John Murphy

    why would the cars be empty?

    Humans generally move around at peak rush.

    Freight doesn’t really care when it moves around. Off peak, repurpose the vehicles to deliver packages. You don’t think Jeff Bezos isn’t already sorting this out?

  • John Murphy

    You guys thinking on this is all blocked.

    The cars are going to parking lots outside the city because why? because there is no demand? there are no cars moving around on the roadways?

    Why park the car outside the city? Fell and Oak are what, 4 lanes in each direction right now? Off peak it needs maybe 1 lane. So just park the cars in the middle of the roadway. Do the same thing on Cesar Chavez, US-101, etc…

    Though as I mentioned, it’s more likely they would just deliver packages. Why have a special UPS truck?

  • Corvus Corax

    You are replying to the wrong poster: I am the one who questioned the whole idea of the outlying parking lots, not the one who suggested it.

  • Corvus Corax

    Sure, cuz you know how people love to get their packages at 3am. Huh?

  • John Murphy

    far more deliveries happen at 3 AM than probably any other time of the day – that’s how retail works. The delivery vendor takes the seats out of cars rolling starting at 8-9 PM, and you have room to do all sorts of small deliveries, with an optimized routing.

  • Corvus Corax

    There’s a long history of middle-of-the-night deliveries to restock stores: in Ancient Rome, wheeled vehicles were only allowed into the city then, were banned during daylight hours – except for Triumphs when Generals rode in chariots. Otherwise, people walked everywhere. Imagine if they had invented (discovered?) the bicycle!

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