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This Week: Better BART, Be a Walk SF Ambassador, and Bayview Bike Ride

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

    • Monday: Bike Talks: A Better Bart with Nick Josefowitz. Delays and bumpy rides have become an expected part of riding BART. We know the transit system is aging and requires significant maintenance, upgrades and enhancements. What exactly is going on and what is BART doing to address it? Join BART Board Director Nick Josefowitz and learn more about what’s to come and how you can get involved. Monday, May 2, 5:30-7:00pm, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, 1720 Market Street, San Francisco. RSVP requested.
    • Tuesday: Bike Camping 101 with Pedal Inn: Lafayette. Love camping? Love cycling? Learn how to combine the two! The Bay Area offers some of the most captivating nature destinations (and bike rides) anywhere, attracting camping and cycling enthusiasts from all over the world. Nick and Lindy of Pedal Inn will visit the Lafayette Library to share their knowledge and love of bike camping in the Bay Area. Find out what to pack, where to go, and how to eat well when you get there. Tuesday, May 3, 6:30-8:00pm, Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd #214, Lafayette. Register here.
    • Wednesday: Page Street Committee Meetings. Page Street recently got a green lane from Laguna to Octavia. But that is only the beginning. If you want to get involved in ongoing advocacy for cycling improvements to this important corridor, now is your chance to help. Join the first Page Street Committee meeting at 6:00-7pm on Wednesday, May 4, Cafe International, 508 Haight Street, San Francisco.
    • Thursday: Summer Walk SF Ambassador’s Training. Do you want to help educate your neighbors about Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School, and annual events like Walk to Work Day and Walk & Roll to School Day? This is a chance to learn how to be a Walk San Francisco Ambassador. Thursday, May 5, 6:30-7:45pm. RSVP is required (location provided to those who RSVP).
    • Friday: Women Bike SF Coffee Club. Once a month there’s an informal gathering of women bicyclists to talk bikes, share tips and do your morning caffeination. If you’re new to riding or interested but haven’t gotten rolling yet, this is a perfect place to find riding buddies and answer some of your questions about biking in SF! Stop by for route recommendations, maps and to get/share some tips from other women who will be riding all across the city for Bike to Work Day (and hopefully every other day too). Friday, May 6, 8:00-9:00am, Equator Coffee, 986 Market Street, San Francisco.
    • Friday: The SFMTA will hold a public hearing on a variety of street engineering changes around the city, including restrictions on parking, the construction of wider sidewalks, and more bike lanes. If you can’t make the meeting, you can review the proposed changes and submit comments via writing or email to sustainable.streets@sfmta.com with subject line “Public Hearing.” The public hearing will be held Friday, May 6, 10:00am, City Hall, Room 416, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco.
    • Saturday: Bayview Bike Ride: Exploring a New Community at Hunters View. The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) will host a ride in Bayview to explore the new community at Hunters View. The 256-unit public housing project provided workforce housing during World War II. It later fell into disrepair and the City of San Francisco took on a revitalization effort that began in 2005. Join SFHAC for a Saturday bike ride down to this large, mixed-use development. This will be a two-hour tour, including 30 minutes of slow pace biking to/from Hunters View from the starting place. Saturday, May 7, 10:00am-12:30pm. Meeting point is provided after online registration, which is required. There is a $10 charge for non-members of the SFHAC.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.

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This Week: West Contra Costa Transit, Walk & Roll to School, Market St. Hub

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

  • Tuesday: West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) is enlisting everyone who lives, works, or travels in West County to weigh in on a set of proposed “high-capacity” transit options to help relieve regional congestion. West County residents who might benefit from an express bus into Oakland or an extension of the Richmond BART are highly encouraged to pick the workshop that best suits their schedule and make their preferences heard. Tuesday, April 12, 6:30 pm-8:30 City Council Chambers, 13831 San Pablo Ave, San Pablo.
  • Tuesday: Walk & Roll to School Hub at Excelsior Playground is a welcome station and starting point for your walk, bike or scooter-roll to school. Meet your neighbors while the kids play: enjoy a hot beverage, healthy snack and some fresh air and exercise. Tuesday, April 12, 7:45-9:00 am. 579 Madrid St., San Francisco.
  • Wednesday: Market Street Hub project workshop. The Market Street Hub Project, or The Hub, seeks to study ways to provide more affordable housing, improve transportation and create placemaking opportunities in the area immediately surrounding the intersection of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue and the neighborhood south of Market Street from Valencia Street to 11th Street. This first workshop will focus on land use, urban form and public benefits, and will build on initial ideas and comments we’ve heard from community members and neighborhood groups thus far. Wednesday, April 13, 6:00 pm-8:00. SFMTA, 2nd Floor Atrium, 1 South Van Ness, San Francisco.
  • Wednesday: West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) transit options study. Wednesday, April 13, City Council Chambers, 6:30 pm-8:30, 2131 Pear St, Pinole.
  • Thursday: West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) transit options study.Thursday, April 14, 6:30 pm-8:30, 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Adeline Corridor Planning Process Update public meetings. Complete Streets 101: Placemaking, Mobility, and Parking. Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17: Saturday, April 16, 9:30am-12:30 at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St. (at Ashby Ave).
  • Saturday and Sunday: The 49th annual Cherry Blossom Festival. April 11 am-6, Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore Streets. The parade will begin Sunday at 1 and follow a route from Polk and McAllister streets, north on Polk Street and west on Post Street to disband between Fillmore and Steiner streets.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.

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Jobs Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are the current listings:

Executive Director, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s mission is to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation. We are seeking a leader — a visionary with the ability to build and execute a robust strategic plan; the capacity to inspire, motivate, and support staff in acting on the organization’s mission and goals; and the acumen to mobilize our members as we strive to make San Francisco an even better city for bicycling.

Policy Analyst / Sr. Policy Analyst, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, New York, New York
Under the supervision of the Assistant Commissioner for Data & Technology, the Policy Analyst/Senior Policy Analyst will review and select new technology providers and monitor their compliance with the TLC’s rules, participate in project planning and implementation, conduct research, write memos and reports, correspond with relevant industry stakeholders, community groups, and potential technology providers, contribute to transportation policy development, and perform other related assignments.

Analytics Manager, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, New York, New York
The advent of electronic dispatch applications like Uber and Lyft has led to explosive growth and transformation within the industries that the TLC regulates. This transformation has underscored the importance of collecting and analyzing data from all of the TLC-regulated industries. The Analytics Manager supervises the Analytics analyst and will be responsible for creating dashboards and automating data collection, cleaning, and analysis processes to help track changes in TLC-regulated industries and inform policy decisions.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Washington, DC
The Regional Policy Manager maintains the regional network in the Greater Washington, DC region and will be building a network in Baltimore City. The primary focus of this position is to increase funding and improve policies that result in more infrastructure and programs to support safe walking and bicycling for children and families, especially in low-income communities.

Read more…

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SF Mayor’s Veto of Increased Transportation Sustainability Fee Stands

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 Left to right: Thea Selby of the Transit Riders Union, Peter Cohen, Council of Community Housing Organizations, Margaret McCarthy, SFBC, Supervisor John Avalos, Peter Straus, Transit Riders Union, and Calvin Welch, Human Services Network at a presser pushing to override Mayor Lee's veto. Image: Jeremy Pollock.

Left to right: Thea Selby of the Transit Riders Union, Peter Cohen, Council of Community Housing Organizations, Margaret McCarthy, SFBC, Supervisor John Avalos, Peter Straus, Transit Riders Union, and Calvin Welch, Human Services Network at a presser pushing to override Mayor Lee’s veto. Image: Jeremy Pollock.

Supervisor John Avalos, backed by safe streets and transit advocates, and Supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim, made a push today to override Mayor Lee’s veto of a proposed increase in the Transportation Sustainability Fee (TSF) on large commercial developments. But the override only got six votes rather than the eight required.

The proposal would have increased the one-time fee on large commercial projects by $2 from $19.04 to $21.04 per square foot (and that only applies on the portion above 100,000 square feet, if the project is large enough to qualify). It also requires commercial projects in the pipeline that have not received Planning Commission approval to pay half of the difference between the new TSF and the previous fee.

The TSF was a huge step forward, requiring developers to pay a fee for for impacts on transportation infrastructure brought about by the workers and residents they bring to the city. The proposed increase, meanwhile, would have generated an estimated $2.4 million a year along with $30 million in one-time revenue for the SFMTA.

“Mayor Lee’s veto of the TSF ordinance preserves a backroom deal with developers and forces tax payers, Muni riders, and workers to subsidize the increased transportation impacts of big developments,” said Supervisor John Avalos. “The SFMTA will be forced to make up for the gap in revenue through increased fares and fines or further defer much-needed maintenance and capital projects.”
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Lesson in Upcoming Memorial for Thu Phan: Stop Compromising on Safety

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SFMTA crews are improving crosswalk viability. Photo: SFMTA.

SFMTA crews are improving crosswalk visibility. Photo: SFMTA.

On Tuesday, March 1, at noon, advocates for vulnerable road users will hold a memorial for Thu Phan, a woman who was killed by a city vehicle while she was crossing the street at 7th and Market in her motorized wheel chair. The memorial will be held at UN Plaza, adjacent to the crossing where she was hit. Afterwards, participants will walk to City Hall to testify at 1 pm at the SFMTA Board Meeting. 38-year-old Phan of Berkeley was fatally struck on the morning of Friday, Feb. 5, by a white Ford sedan making a restricted left turn across the crosswalk.

The turn was restricted to commercial and Muni vehicles. Although the car was owned by the city and was driven by an employee of a city clinic, it was not permitted to make that turn, despite conflicting reports at the time of the incident.

“It has been confirmed that city drivers are not exempt from traffic laws,” said Jessica Lehman, Executive Director of Senior and Disability Action, an advocacy group. However, trucks, taxis, and Muni vehicles are held to a different standard at that intersection.

It’s hard to imagine how a turn can be unsafe for private vehicles, but safe for everyone else. Is someone less dead if they’re hit by a taxi or a truck? Also, in defense of motorists, the intersection is confusing. Imagine being in the lane behind a bus, which makes the turn, and a cab, which makes the turn, and a truck, which makes the turn. How can a driver at the back of that queue, ideally watching out for pedestrians and other vulnerable users, also be expected to read a list of allowed and not-allowed vehicles and figure out what applies? The sign is a driver distraction. Safe street advocates intend to use the memorial to demand fewer exemptions from that turning restriction.

“It’s a ridiculous thing,” said Lehman, adding that she still does not think “confusion is an excuse for any driver making an illegal turn.” That said, both Lehman and Nicole Ferrara, her counterpart at Walk San Francisco, want the city to take a look at the engineering of that turn and how it can be made safer.
Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Can Ride-Hailing Apps Become More Like Buses and Less Like Taxis?

A big part of reducing car traffic involves using cars more efficiently. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are supposedly assisting in this transition by making car ownership less necessary. But even though both companies operate carpool-type services, most of their business still comes from single passenger trips.

Ride-hailing App Via is designed to ferry multiple passengers for less than an Uber fare. Photo: Via

Ride-hailing service Via takes multiple passengers who each pay a $5 fare. Photo: Via/Cap’n Transit

Other ride-hailing companies are all about shared trips. Network blog Cap’n Transit has an assessment of one of these services, Via, which operates in Manhattan and parts of Chicago. For a $5 fare, Via takes multiple passengers headed in the same direction:

Via is much more like a bus than a taxi. Twice I’ve gotten sedans, but the Via-cles are usually SUVs. I’ve had at least one trip with three other people, meaning I had to sit in the third row of one of those Suburbans or Navigators or Explorers. Since those aren’t really made for people getting in and out frequently, I’m wondering how soon Via is going to start running vans big enough to stand up in.

A number of people have objected to Uber and Lyft because of the “gig economy” arrangements they have with their drivers. Of course, they’re not much worse than the taxi medallion owners in that regard. But on one recent Via trip the driver was chatting with us, and he said that Via drivers are all paid by the hour, possibly even full time. If that is correct, it sounds like a much better deal for them than just about any other taxi arrangement.

As I’ve said before, Uber and Lyft are a huge improvement over the way we did taxis up to a few years ago, but in their current incarnations they won’t do much to help the transit capacity crunch we’re feeling in cities like New York. The Via model is much more promising, and the more Uber and Lyft act on those lines, like with Uberhop, the more helpful they will be in relieving our capacity constraints.

Elsewhere on the Network today: MZ Strategies looks at some reasons why American transit lags behind other countries. Bike Walk Lee has details about a road diet on an important southwest Florida corridor. And Green City Blue Lake takes a close look at Greater Cleveland RTA’s finances in light of looming fare hikes and service cuts.

Streetsblog LA
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Want to Slow Displacement? Then Build More Housing, Says Legislative Analyst’s Office

From the LAO report

From the LAO report

What will it take to make sure there’s a future for lower- and middle-income people in California? Anyone who has tried to look for a place to live recently knows that question is much more than an abstract policy discussion.

Increasingly, the high cost of housing in California is driving the state’s low- and middle-income workers farther from job centers and even out of the state.

In a report released yesterday, “Perspectives on Helping Low-Income Californians Afford Housing,” Sacramento’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), a nonpartisan advisory office that provides lawmakers with policy and budget analyses, tackles the sticky issue of displacement and what role, if any, new market-rate housing can play in stopping it.

It’s particularly timely, as no-growth activists in Los Angeles are currently gathering signatures to put a measure on the November ballot that would significantly hinder the city’s ability to plan for new housing growth.

The new report is a follow-up to the LAO’s report last March, which outlined the causes and consequences of California’s housing shortage, and, in short, says that given the scope of the problem, the only way to stem displacement on a large scale is to significantly increase the amount of new housing that gets built in California’s desirable coastal communities.

Too great a need for the status quo

The report notes that it’s simply unrealistic to expect that current strategies to prevent displacement, like voucher and affordable housing production programs, will meet the growing need of rent-burdened low-income households by themselves.

“While affordable housing programs are vitally important to the households they assist, these programs help only a small fraction of the Californians that are struggling to cope with the state’s high housing costs. The majority of low-income households receive little or no assistance and spend more than half of their income on housing,” according to the report.

“Extending housing assistance to low-income Californians who currently do not receive it — either through subsidies for affordable units or housing vouchers — would require an annual funding commitment in the low tens of billions of dollars. This is roughly the magnitude of the state’s largest General Fund expenditure outside of education (Medi-Cal),” the report says.

Policies like rent control, while they may benefit some existing tenants, don’t actually do much to address the problems in the long term because price controls don’t add new housing.

“Households looking to move to California or within California would… continue to face stiff competition for limited housing, making it difficult for them to secure housing that they can afford. Requiring landlords to charge new tenants below-market rents would not eliminate this competition,” according to the report. “Households would have to compete based on factors other than how much they are willing to pay. Landlords might decide between tenants based on their income, creditworthiness, or socioeconomic status, likely to the benefit of more affluent renters.”

How does new housing help the poor? Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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#DamienTalks 30 – SCAG’s Hasan Ikharta and the Pilot Program That Could Slay the Gas Tax

Today, #DamienTalks with Hasan Ikharta, the executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments about the pilot program that could be the second step in replacing the state’s gas tax with a vehicle miles traveled tax.

Ikhrata-2008Last week, the state announced it was looking for 5,000 drivers to participate in a pilot program to analyze different methods for replacing the state’s gas tax. Tax receipts have fallen in recent years as cars become more fuel efficient. While cleaner cars are a good thing, the state can’t keep up with the backlog of road repair projects that are needed to keep the state’s transportation network functioning.

So, they’re looking to do something different.

If you prefer your information in written form, and missed last week’s story on Streetsblog California, click here. If you’d like to sign up for the pilot program, click here.

At the end of the interview, we discuss SCAG’s long-term transportation planning and the opportunities to participate in that project. We are watching the LRTP closely at Streetsblog Los Angeles, and if you’re an interested Southern Californian, we urge you to follow that website for updates.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Via Streetsblog California
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OPR to Host Webinars on Transportation Impacts Under Environmental Law

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recently issued long-anticipated changes to a provision in California law that currently ranks traffic congestion as an environmental impact. For more details, see recent Streetsblog coverage here. The new guidelines are under a 45-day review period, with public comment being accepted until February 29.

OPR logoTo help educate and inform people about the upcoming changes, OPR will host two webinars in February. The webinars will give background information, go over the proposed changes, give examples of how the changes would affect various types of projects, and provide time for questions and answers.

Registration for each webinar is limited to 500 participants, but a recording will be available after the presentations on the OPR website.

OPR requests that people register for only one webinar to leave space for others, and you can always gather your colleagues and watch it together.

The webinars will be held on the following days. Click on the links below to register.

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Don’t Forget! There’s an SBSF Happy Hour at Virgil’s Monday the 25th

Virgils

Who wouldn't want to have a beer with this guy?

PPS: Who wouldn’t want to have a beer with this guy?

Join Roger Rudick and Damien Newton at the Streetsblog San Francisco happy hour on Monday, January 25th at Virgil’s Sea Room, 3152 Mission Street, starting at 6 pm.

Have a beer and talk about the latest news with Roger and Damien. Support staff for Streetsblog SF. Virgil’s Sea Room will be donating 10 percent of all bar proceeds to Streetsblog SF all night. Happy hour specials go until 7.

Looking forward to meeting you!

P.S. – If you were planning to make a donation for our end-of-the-year pledge drive and it slipped your mind, you can still donate by clicking here, or donate at the happy hour, Monday night.