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Supervisors Hearing on Bicycle Strategy Funding

Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee Agenda: [PDF]

Item of Note:

2.  130873   [Hearing- Funding the Municipal Transportation Agency's Bicycle Strategy]
Sponsors: Mar; Chiu
Hearing regarding funding the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Bicycle Strategy.

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Friday 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:

Transit Community Relations Officer, City of Santa Monica, California
Develops, organizes, directs and evaluates a comprehensive program to inform the community and the public of the activities and objectives of the Big Blue Bus. Consults with and advises top management on the community relations implications of the Department’s activities.

Policy Director, Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle
The Policy Director is a senior member of the staff leadership team and will lead our policy strategies at the regional, state, and (limited) federal level work. Transportation Choices Coalition is a statewide non-profit advocacy organization working to expand transportation choices for everyone.

Coaching Fellow, Scoot Networks, San Francisco, California
This is an opportunity to work with a fun, exciting, and rapidly growing start-up in San Francisco. Scoot Networks is looking for an enthusiastic and dependable intern to help execute some of the day-to-day logistics and tasks of our business.

Civil Engineer II (TFT), City of Vancouver, British Columbia
This position is responsible for managing projects and related studies dealing with the City’s active transportation network, including separated bike lanes, local street bikeways, public realm design, pedestrian accessibility improvements, and the promotion and enabling of active transportation modes.

Operations Manager, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco, California
the Operations Manager ensures organizational effectiveness and sustainability by overseeing the organization’s financial and operations functions. Areas of responsibility include financial management, bookkeeping, contract administration, reporting, budgeting, human resources, and office management.

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Cesar Chavez: A Traffic Sewer Transformed Into a Safer Street

As part of the newly-completed redesign of Cesar Chavez, there’s a new plaza at the corner of Mission and Capp Streets. Photos: Aaron Bialick

Western Cesar Chavez Street has been transformed after decades as a dangerous motor vehicle speedway that divided the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods. City officials cut the ribbon today on a redesign of the street, nearly nine years after residents began pushing for safety improvements.

Cesar Chavez was widened in the 1930s and 40s at the expense of safety and livability to serve as a thoroughfare from the 101 and 280 freeways to a planned Mission Freeway that was never built. As a result, it became a virtual no-man’s land for walking and biking, and crossing the street was a huge risk.

Fran Taylor speaking at the ribbon cutting today.

Fran Taylor speaking at the ribbon cutting today.

“Our neighborhoods were cut in two by this dangerous street that was in no way worthy of the man it was named after,” said Fran Taylor, who helped found CC Puede to push for a redesign of the street. “It’s taken a long time, and the efforts of many, but we finally have a Cesar Chavez Street to be proud of.”

With the redesign, the six traffic lanes on Cesar Chavez (known as Army Street until the nineties) were reduced to four. In place of those two lanes are unprotected bike lanes, bulb-outs with rain gardens, and a center median lined with palm trees. With fresh pavement and markings like continental crosswalks, the treatments have made the street calmer and more habitable for people.

The ribbon cutting was held on Si Se Puede! Plaza, which was created at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Mission Street, where Capp Street ends. Drivers can still pass through at the end of Capp, but permeable, textured pavement raised to sidewalk level signals that they are guests.

“We finally have a street that’s going to protect families and reflects what we value, which is safety, first and foremost,” said D9 Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes Cesar Chavez. “It took longer than it should have.”

The project snowballed from a simple re-paving planned by Department of Public Works into a full redesign as residents pushed for safety improvements, and city agencies sought to coordinate those changes with the re-pave to save costs. Andres Power was the project manager for the Planning Department until 2012, when he became an aide for Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“On one hand, it’s unbelievable that it takes this long to get anything like this done. On the other hand, it’s such a transformative project, and I think the wait was well worth it,” said Power. “We wanted to do something that was not just a street project, that was about bringing the neighborhood together, and encouraging people to use the street outside of their cars.”

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SFBC Safer SoMa Central City Member Committee Meeting

From SFBC

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San Jose Bike Party: Dia De Los Muertos Ride

From SJ Bike Party:

This Month’s Theme is Dia De Los Muertos as we Celebrate some merging of culture that is unique to San Jose. Come Celebrate the Day of the Dead with us!

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Folsom Complete Street Pilot Project Community Meeting

From SFBC:

Come and learn about the pilot project to improve safety along Folsom Street that the City is proposing and that you helped make happen through our Safe SoMa Now! campaign.

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Does Texas DOT Have the Authority to Kill Bike-Share in El Paso?

Just a few weeks ago, El Paso was all ready to go with a new bike-share network, or so it seemed. The city had lined up $400,000 in local funds from the city of El Paso, the University of Texas at El Paso and a grant from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The regional planning agency had unanimously signed off on awarding the project $1.6 million in federal transportation funds earmarked for air pollution reduction. Suburban communities had even started expressing interest in being added to the system.

TxDOT is trying to crush El Paso's bike share dreams. But does the agency have the authority? Image: El Paso Times

But last month the Texas Department of Transportation pulled the rug out. TxDOT told local and regional officials it did not support the use of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds for the project. State officials have been coy about what they’d rather see the money spent on, but they haven’t backed down. And, not content to strip funding, TxDOT officials are now plowing ahead to “deprogram” the whole bike-share project altogether, removing it from contention for any kind of funding.

Bike advocates in the city have been taken aback. After all, TxDOT officials were part of the unanimous vote by the regional planning body to disperse the CMAQ money in May.

“How can TxDOT and the [El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy] Board ever expect the community to trust in the transparency of our public agencies when a program that was planned and approved through legitimate channels was then shelved by bureaucrats in favor of vague, unnamed, and unpublicized projects?” wrote Scott White, a board member at Velo Paso Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition, in a letter to the planning organization’s board [PDF]. “The board must ask whether TxDOT overstepped its jurisdictional authority, and if so, was this the first time?”

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Today’s Headlines

  • BART Strike Ends, Trains to Run by 3 p.m. Today (SF Gate, SF ExaminerCoCo Times, ABC)
  • Strikes Cost Transit Agencies, But May Also Attract New Riders (SF Business Times)
  • …Not to Mention New Bike Commuters (CBSSF Weekly)
  • What If BART Included Marin County as Originally Planned? (Marin IJ)
  • More Cars on Most Bay Area Bridges Due to Strike (SF Appeal)
  • Dynamically Priced Parking Proposed for Downtown Berkeley (Berkeleyside)
  • Drivers Who Killed Cyclist Shayla Cypriano Sued by Family (CoCo Times)
  • Preliminary Bay Bridge Bolt Test Results Positive (CoCo Times)
  • Bay Bridge Opening Date to Be Made Public on Monday (CoCo Times)
  • San Francisco Startup UpShift to Offer Shared Car Leases (CBS)
More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill
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Mineta National Policy Summit on Transportation Finance: Catching up with the Rest of the World

From the Commonwealth Club:

Keynote: Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary

Introduced by Norman Y. Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Transportation (retired)

Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Ph.D., Director, Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Finance Center
Flora Castillo, Chair, American Public Transportation Association
Malcolm Dougherty, Director, California Department of Transportation
Jeff Morales, CEO, California High Speed Rail Authority
Mortimer Downey, Former US Deputy Secretary of Transportation – Moderator

This year’s Mineta Transportation Institute policy summit will feature experts representing viewpoints from both the national and state level discussing the financing challenges facing the U.S. transportation infrastructure. These leaders will also examine the results from the latest national survey polling Americans about transportation taxes and fees.
Location: SF Club Office
Time: 8:15 a.m. check-in and continental breakfast, 9-11 a.m. program
Cost: FREE
Also know: Underwritten by the Mineta Transportation Institute
Streetsblog.net 39 Comments

The Big Leap from Car-Lite to Car-Free

If you've already purchased a car, there are big financial incentives to drive it. Image: Better Institutions

While owning a car is a massive financial burden, economic incentives can still get in the way of the transition from car ownership to living car-free, even if you already don’t drive much.

As Shane Phillips at Network blog Better Institutions explains today, it’s a classic problem of “sunk costs”:

When someone is interested in shifting from car dependence to greater reliance on active and public transportation, they’re often faced with a problem: the vehicle itself, one of the greatest costs of car ownership, is already paid for. Unlike gasoline and parking, which are relatively fixed and recurring expenses, a car is a sunk cost–the purchase is in the past, and much of its value is irretrievable. At that point the only really noticeable costs of driving–the ones that affect you on a regular basis–are gas, insurance, maintenance, and parking. Taking only these into consideration can make driving seem much more affordable.

This is less applicable to those who wish to sell off their vehicle and abandon car ownership entirely, but few people are willing to take such a leap without trying a car-lite lifestyle first. For those who just want to dip their toes in the water, to try something between complete car dependence and complete transit dependence, using public transportation isn’t so much a replacement and reduction of costs as it is an additional cost. Not only do you still have to pay for insurance and some gas, you now have to pay for bus fare as well, and suddenly the savings don’t seem like such a great deal compared to the relative inconvenience of transit (excluding the few places in the country where transit is actually more convenient). It’s a catch-22: as long as you’re holding onto the car you’re not saving a lot of money, but unless you’re saving a lot of money you may not be convinced to get rid of the car.

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