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Today’s Headlines

  • SF Rec and Parks to Hold Meeting on Panhandle Path Improvements (SFBC)
  • Even on Weekdays, Churches Want Exemption From Parking Time Limits in RPP Area Q (Hoodline)
  • More on the Transportation Sustainability Fee for Developers (Business Times)
  • “Lyft Line” Riders Attacked by Two Men Sharing Their Ride (CBS)
  • SF’s Ride-Hail Drivers Earn Most in U.S., More Likely to “Double Dip” (SF Examiner)
  • More on Muni Metro’s Early Night Shut Downs Starting July 31 (SFGate)
  • In Oakland’s Temescal, Where Merchants Blocked Bike Lanes, Most Shop Sans Car (GJEL)
  • AC Transit Wants Rider Feedback on Proposed Service Expansion (ABC)
  • Driver Hits CHP Officer Investigating Crash Scene on Highway 580 in Richmond (ABC, SF Bay)
  • Santa Clara County Transportation Ballot Measure Polls Well for 2016 (Green Caltrain)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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SoMa Freeway Ramp Mistake Fixed at Nearly Twice the Estimated Cost

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Image: SFCTA

Image: SFCTA

SF agencies opened a newly re-aligned freeway ramp yesterday that lands on Fremont at Folsom Street. The ramp fix came in at a cost of $5,274,000, nearly twice the original estimate of $2,883,900.

The design of the original Highway 80 off-ramp, installed after the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway to whisk drivers from the Bay Bridge into east SoMa, was widely considered a mistake.

The purpose of the realignment project, as stated by the SF County Transportation Authority, was to change “the off-ramp configuration to function better as a gateway into a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood,” as well as to reduce the footprint of the ramp to make room for a building development.

The old ramp configuration, which shot car traffic diagonally into the intersection of Fremont and Folsom, represented the type of 20th-century freeway engineering that has made for deadly intersections along Highway 80 through SoMa. The ramp forked as it touched down, consuming additional land and encouraging drivers to merge onto Fremont without stopping.

The new ramp doesn’t split in two, instead landing mid-block at a perpendicular angle to Fremont, where there’s now a traffic signal.

The ramp fix was originally supposed to wrap up in January, but crews discovered that the soil was more heavily contaminated than expected with lead and motor oil [PDF], much of it likely from the heavy motor traffic passing by. That drove up the costs, along with “unexpected” changes in Caltrans engineering standards, planners said.

Read more…

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What Happened When Istanbul Opened Streets to People

Map of the Istanbul Historic Peninsula, with pedestrianized streets in blue. Image: EMBARQ Turkey via TheCityFix

Map of the Istanbul Historic Peninsula, with pedestrianized streets in blue. Image: EMBARQ Turkey via TheCityFix

By the end of the 20th century, the Historic Peninsula of Istanbul had a serious pollution problem. Writing for TheCityFix, Tu?çe Üzümo?lu says air quality was so bad that historic sites and monuments were degrading.

When a UNESCO study identified poor transportation infrastructure as a factor, the local government pedestrianized streets throughout the district. Ten years later, Üzümo?lu reports, the air is much cleaner.

Thanks to the recent pedestrianization efforts in the Historic Peninsula, vehicle emissions and pollution levels have come down significantly. A new report titled “Assessment of the Air Quality Effects of Pedestrianization on Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula” from EMBARQ Turkey analyses the impacts of pedestrianization on local air quality in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, the residential area in the Northeast of the Historic Peninsula — which has not been pedestrianized — has experienced little or no reduction in traffic-related emissions, demonstrating clearly the effect of pedestrianization on local air quality.

Üzümo?lu points out additional benefits to prioritizing people over cars, including safer streets and an overall boost to quality of life. “It’s critical that city leaders in Istanbul and beyond recognize the success that pedestrianization can have on urban communities and continue to support walkable, people-oriented streets,” Üzümo?lu writes.

Elsewhere on the Network: BikeWalkLee reports that local leaders have decided that impact fees, once reserved for road-building, can be used for transit and bike/ped projects; the Virginia Bicycle Federation finds a relaxed cycling culture in Florence, Italy; and ATL Urbanist wonders if the Atlanta region is “density-proof.”

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Today’s Headlines

  • Sup. Wiener Introduces Transportation Sustainability Fee With Mayor Lee’s Backing (SFGate)
  • SFBC Member Makes Case Against Organization’s Bid to Change Board Election Bylaws (Cyclelicious)
  • City Presents Plans for Folsom Street With Protected Bike Lanes Near Transbay Center (Hoodline)
  • SF Examiner Readers Back SFPD Park Station Captain’s Crackdown on Bike “Scofflaws” (1, 2)
  • Mayor Lee: City Vehicles to Switch to Biodiesel By End of the Year (SFBay)
  • Stanley Roberts Finds Uber Drivers at SFO Illegally Using Passenger Drop-Off Level, Skirting Fees
  • BART: Stay Home During Transbay Tube Closures; Bus Plans Detailed (KTVU, ABC, Examiner, SFGate)
  • Caltrans Officials Say They’re Serious About Tripling Bicycling in California (SFGate Bay Bikers)
  • Oakland Gives Toyota Dealership Retroactive 20% Tax Break; Majority Owner Buys Mansion (EBX)
  • Oakland Driver, Passenger Ran After Crashing Into Funeral Home, Leaving Occupant Dead (CBS, ABC)
  • Foster City Postpones Employee Shuttle Launch Due to Disagreements Over Service (Daily Journal)
  • Palo Alto Sees Spate of Bike Thefts (Palo Alto Online)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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SFPD Charges Trucker Who Killed Rose Kelly, 61, in Richmond Crosswalk

33rd Avenue at Cabrillo Street in the Outer Richmond. Photo: Google Street View

33rd Avenue at Cabrillo Street in the Outer Richmond. Photo: Google Street View

Updated 6/22 with the name of the driver.

The SFPD has filed misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against the truck driver who killed 61-year-old Rose Kelly in a crosswalk in the Outer Richmond yesterday afternoon. It’s now up to District Attorney George Gascón to follow through with the prosecution.

Kelly was walking east in a crosswalk on Cabrillo Street at 33rd Avenue when she was hit by a GMC truck driver at 1:21 p.m, SFPD told the SF Chronicle and Bay City NewsKelly died from chest and head injuries at SF General Hospital.

Kelly was killed at an intersection with four-way stop signs, where pedestrians always have the right-of-way in a crosswalk. [Update] SFPD officials confirmed that the charges were filed against the driver, Bing Zuo Wu, a 62-year-old SF resident.

Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara said the organization “sends our regards to the family and friends who are mourning the loss of Rose Kelly, who was killed by a large vehicle driver who failed to yield.”

“It’s a stark reminder that large vehicles result in more severe crashes than smaller vehicles,” Ferrara noted, pointing out that the SFMTA is in “the final stages of developing a large vehicle training curriculum” announced in February. “It’s in the best interest of companies that use large vehicles to require that all employees take this training.”

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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After Another Cyclist Dies, David Cameron Considers Truck Ban in UK Cities

Following the death of 26-year-old cyclist Ying Tao, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would look into a truck ban for city centers throughout the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. Photo via Thinking About Cycling

In a meeting with the British equivalent of the Congressional Bike Caucus, Cameron promised to ask Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to come up with recommendations for improving cycling safety in the country. He suggested that that list could include a ban on trucks in city centers, improved intersection design, and staggered traffic light phasing. Cameron also said he would ask officials to look into greater enforcement of rules mandating that trucks feature certain safety features.

More than half of London cyclist deaths involve trucks. Six of the seven cyclists killed in London so far this year were women hit by construction trucks.

Parliamentarian Ben Bradshaw, the cycling group’s leader, noted that Britain’s major cities “have a lamentable record both for levels of cycling and for cycle safety compared to those of our European neighbours, and it would take very little public investment to make a big improvement in the climate for cycling.”

The government is currently drafting a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Currently, about 2 percent of trips in Britain are made by bike, but less than 1 percent of transportation funding goes to cycling.

Several European cities prohibit the entrance of heavy vehicles into downtown areas during peak hours, including Paris, Dublin, and Prague.

Earlier this year, London mandated that trucks over 3.5 tons need to have side guards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels and extra mirrors to eliminate blind spots.

While the city maintains a peak-hour ban on the largest trucks (over 40,000 pounds) on specified city streets, Mayor Boris Johnson has rejected calls for more comprehensive regulations, like extending the ban to cover the type of truck involved in the killing of Ying Tao.

Streetsblog.net
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Will Washington Governor Jay Inslee Sacrifice Safer Streets?

As we reported yesterday, it looks like Washington Governor Jay Inslee may move forward with a low-carbon fuel standard, triggering a legislative “poison pill” that would eliminate funds for transit and street safety initiatives.

Safe Routes to School funding would be cut if Washington Governor Jay Inslee swallows the poison pill. Photo: Washington Bikes

Safe Routes to School funding would be cut if Governor Jay Inslee swallows the poison pill. Photo: Washington Bikes

The Seattle Times reports that Inslee is gambling on restoring those funds at a later date, but Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog says the governor would be making a costly mistake:

By abandoning the only funds in the transportation package that would actually help residents of our state get around without a car, he’s not doing the environment any favors.

But far worse, the money he’s considering pulling is designed to prevent people from being killed or seriously injured while walking or biking. This isn’t just horse trading one environmental policy for another. These are lives we’re talking about.

Safe Routes to School would be slashed nearly to death by this decision. $56 million can build a ton of safe crosswalks, sidewalks and bike routes for kids all across the state to get to school safely. That’s the great thing about walking and biking safety projects: Your money goes a lot further. $56 million doesn’t get you very far in a highway expansion project (it’s about 1.3 percent of the 520 Bridge Replacement budget), but it could dramatically improve safety in communities across the state.

Washington Bikes is calling on people to urge Inslee not to sacrifice funding for safer streets. “There doesn’t have to be a choice between safer and healthier communities and climate change,” says policy director Blake Trask. “Governor Inslee knows he has other avenues to implement his climate change agenda.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region explains why New York has the smallest ecological footprint of all U.S. states (spoiler: it’s housing density and transit), and ATL Urbanist says a suburban bus rapid transit line should be a catalyst for a more humane public realm.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Man Suffers Head Trauma After Driver Strikes Him on South Van Ness and 16th (SF Appeal)
  • SFPD Park Station Captain Responds to Criticisms on Bicycle Crackdown Plan (SF Examiner)
  • Muni to Shut Down Rail Service at 10pm Starting July 31 for Six Months for Upgrade Work (SFBay)
  • Woman Killed by Suspects Fleeing in Car Not Included on Police’s Homicide List (SF Examiner)
  • Former SFPD Officer Took $25,000 in Bribes to Help Taxi Drivers Pass Exams (CBS, SF Examiner)
  • Department of Public Works Looks for Solutions to Keep SF Streets Clean (SF Chronicle)
  • State Legislation to Ban Pedestrian and Bike Tolls on GG Bridge Moves Slowly (MIJ)
  • 4.0 Magnitude Earthquake Delays BART (SFist)
  • Oakland Driver Dead After Crashing Into Object On Telegraph (SFBay)
  • Uber Can Get Sued Over Safety Claims (SFGate); UberASSIST Announced for Disabled (ABC)
  • CHP, Tow Companies Reach Agreement to Protect Drivers Who Abandoned Cars During Fire (ABC)
  • Broken Asphalt Paver Shuts Down Southbound I-680 Lanes in Dublin (NBC, SF Gate)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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SMCTA: East Palo Alto Can’t Use Highway Money for Safe Crossing at Less Cost

East Palo Alto wants to save money and build a ped/bike bridge over Highway 101 at the University Avenue interchange, but the SMCTA says it can’t use its highway grant for that. Image: AECOM

East Palo Alto is the latest city to be prohibited by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA) from using highway funds to build a bike and pedestrian bridge across a highway.

In this case, city planners actually found a way to cut costs on a planned ramp expansion at the Highway 101 interchange at University Avenue and use the savings to build an overcrossing for people on foot and bike. But according to East Palo Alto officials, the TA insists that its $5 million Highway Program grant must be spent primarily on highway lanes — not safe highway crossings.

Rather than build a new off-ramp, the city wants to add a second right turn lane to its existing off-ramp, which would move cars at least as quickly, according to a 2014 traffic study. (A note of clarification: This project is separate from the bike/ped bridge planned to the south of the University interchange, at Newell Road and Clarke Avenue.)

“The TA feels that the funding for Measure A highway operations is not flexible and cannot be used towards ped/bike improvements,” East Palo Alto Senior Engineer Maziar Bozorginia wrote in an email to Streetsblog. “The City believes that by providing a safer ped/bike route through this section, it would help to reduce conflicts and congestion on the highway system.”

With the money saved from forgoing construction of a new highway ramp, East Palo Alto could build a new bike/ped bridge. The rest of the funds for the interchange project would come from a $1.8 million federal grant awarded to the city in 2003.

Read more…

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Transpo Funding Intrigue in Washington State

Here’s a look at what’s happening around the Streetsblog Network today…

Washington Governor Jay Inslee may go ahead and swallow the “poison pill” that Republican legislators insisted on including in a state transportation package, reports Frank Chachiere at Seattle Transit Blog. That would mean Inslee will go ahead with a low-carbon fuel standard for the state, which will torpedo a funding package for roads, transit, and street safety projects. With Inslee having already secured a separate $15 billion authorization for Sound Transit that will be untouched by the poison pill, however, local transit advocates don’t seem too worried about the governor’s strategy.

A developer’s rendering of a mixed-use project in the works by the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station in DC. Not depicted are the 2,000 parking spaces the plan calls for. Image via GGW

Darla Letourneau at BikeWalkLee has a mid-year progress report on street safety in Florida’s Lee County. After spikes in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in recent years, street safety is getting more attention from the press and policy makers. However, injury rates for walkers and bikers don’t show signs of improvement yet. “The bottom line is that while there are lots of efforts underway to make it safer for people walking and biking in Lee County, we need to step up our game, if we expect to lower our stubbornly high bike/ped fatality and injury numbers,” she writes.

At Greater Greater Washington, Jonathan Neeley reports on a big mixed-use housing project coming to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station. While the development would replace car-oriented retail, the plan currently calls for 2,000 parking spaces — more than the number of new apartments. Is this the best DC can do?