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Today’s Headlines

  • Hit and Run Suspect Charged with Murder of Heather Miller (SFExaminer)
  • SF Supes Pass Budget and Get Transport-Funding Sales Tax on Nov. Ballot (SFExaminer)
  • More on In-Law Units (Socketsite)
  • Oakland Backs Rent Control (SFGate)
  • BART Looking for a Few Good Engineers (EastBayTimes)
  • BART Delays Between Freemont and Hayward (Kron4)
  • New Golden Gate Park Bike Cut Throughs (Hoodline)
  • Ped and Other Improvements Discussed for South SF Intersection (DailyJournal)
  • Rent Control Will be on San Mateo Ballot (DailyJournal)
  • Republicans Who Like Public Transit and Livable Streets (SFBizTimes)
  • Call for More Regulation of Driverless Cars (MercNews)
  • Commentary: Landlords Did Not Create Housing Crunch so Stop Blaming Them (EastBayTimes)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

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SPUR Talk: Gabe Klein on Technology and Past and Future Cities

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Transportation guru Gabe Klein presents to an audience at SPUR in Oakland. Photo: Streetsblog.

Transportation guru Gabe Klein presents to an audience at SPUR in Oakland. Photo: Streetsblog.

Gabe Klein, entrepreneur, writer and former head of transportation for Chicago and Washington DC, spoke yesterday afternoon at the Oakland office of the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) about how technology can be guided to shape the future of our cities.

He put up a slide with a chilling number on it: 1.24 million–the number of people killed in car wrecks every year globally. That number will reach 3.6 million by 2030, as driving becomes more prevalent in the developing world. He wondered why people tolerate so much carnage. “We [the US] lost 35,000 people on the road last year–an increase of 10 percent because gas was cheap and people were driving more.”

Sadly, those alarming numbers don’t even account for deaths from automobile pollution or rising sea levels and other effects of global warming. “The transportation sector is spewing out more [greenhouse gas emissions] than everything else,” Klein said. Global warming “…is man made. We’re the only country with people who think it’s not real; convenient if you’re a Koch Brother, but not for the rest of us,” he quipped.
Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Vox Pulls Back the Curtain on “Scam” to Save Lives With Red Light Cameras


You can usually count on Vox for accurate, research-based explainers of public policy issues. That’s why the new Vox video on red light cameras is so monumentally disappointing.

Researchers have established that red light cameras make streets safer by reducing potentially fatal T-bone collisions, though they do lead to more rear-end crashes, which tend not to be very serious. But motorists upset about receiving fines for dangerous driving mobilize tenaciously against automated enforcement. The use of red light cameras in Colorado, for instance, is consistently under siege in the state legislature. They are currently outlawed in more than a dozen states.

Campaigns against automated enforcement could hardly ask for better propaganda than this Vox video. Here’s a look at what’s so wrong with it.

1. Red light cameras save lives — but who cares?

Once you get past the click-bait title, “Why Red Light Cameras Are a Scam,” the piece starts out well. There are more than 30,000 traffic deaths every year in the USA, we’re told, and “23 percent are intersection related.” Vox also notes that the cameras reduce T-bone collisions and that they “really can and do save lives” — but for some reason this is immediately overshadowed in the video by the increase in less deadly rear-end fender-benders.

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Today’s Headlines

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

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San Mateo Holds First Bike Ped Advisory Committee Meeting

San Mateo County's new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets quarterly at San Mateo City Hall. Photo: Andrew Boone

San Mateo County’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets quarterly in San Mateo City Hall Conference Room A. Photo: Andrew Boone.

San Mateo County’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee kicked off its first meeting on Thursday evening at San Mateo City Hall. Ellen Barton, San Mateo’s Active Transportation Coordinator, proposed that they develop criteria for safer street striping ahead of the county’s annual resurfacing program. Other projects they discussed included establishing bike parking standards, evaluating progress of the county’s 2011 bike/ped plan [PDF], developing Safe Routes to Schools programs, and supporting the county’s annual bike and pedestrian count.

“It’s an American dream that you can bike or walk to school,” said 17-year Woodside resident Susan Doherty, who represents Safe Routes to Schools efforts on the committee. “And we’d like it to be a dream as opposed to a nightmare.”

“The county presents a tremendous challenge because it’s both rural and urban,” said Redwood City resident and long-time safety advocate Bob Page, one of only two members of the public in attendance. “I hope that the advisory committee will play a vital role in fostering communications and cooperation within and among the cities in developing safe regional bikeways.” Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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ClimatePlan Studies SCAG’s Progress on Climate Change

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Climate Plan’s report looks at the results of SCAG’s Sustainable Communities Strategy

Can California meet its climate change goals? A.B. 32, which set in motion the state’s current climate change policies including cap and trade, is set to expire in 2020. The legislature and the governor are taking up the question of what’s next. Do we continue down the same path? Adjust our policies? Scrap them entirely and start over?

Now would be a good time to ask questions about whether we are on the right track. ClimatePlan, a coalition of environmental, equity, and transportation advocacy groups, just spent two years asking questions about one such policy in one part of the state.

Its report, Towards a Sustainable Future: Is Southern California on Track?, looks closely at the Southern California Association of Governments‘ Sustainable Communities Strategy. The SCS is part of SCAG’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP/SCS), as required by S.B. 375. These strategies are supposed to outline how each region will meet its state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction targets, including how changing land use patterns will reduce vehicle travel.

The Air Resources Board is charged with checking every region’s SCS and judging whether the plans will help the region meet targets. But its oversight seems to end there. That’s a big problem, because while the regions come up with the SCS, local cities and counties actually plan and approve land uses and the transportation that connects them. It’s possible for the SCS to be ignored at the local level where planning decisions are made, especially if no one is tracking or monitoring progress at that level.

SCAG adopted its first SCS in 2012, covering a massive and diverse six-county region including Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial Counties. The plan’s goals included reducing passenger vehicles greenhouse gas emissions by nine percent per capita by 2020, and 16 percent per capita by 2035. SCAG has since updated the plan, in April of this year, to include a 21 percent reduction in GHGs by 2040. Attainment will be achieved by increasing carpooling, biking and walking, and transit use, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and increasing transit ridership.

So they say. But have the strategies in the first SCS even been put into practice? If so, are they working? ClimatePlan and its nonprofit partners studied SCAG’s 2012 SCS and asked two questions: is the region meeting its goals? And is that enough?

“The Sustainable Communities Strategies are twenty-year plans,” said Chanell Fletcher, Associate Director of ClimatePlan, “and they’re not going to change everything overnight. But climate change is happening right now. We need to know whether what we’re doing is working, and how to avoid exacerbating the problem. We need to be able to show whether these plans are being implemented, and whether we are making the needed changes—not just in our planning but in our decision making.”

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Streetsblog USA
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AASHTO’s Draft Bikeway Guide Includes Protected Bike Lanes and More

Bike guide contractor Jennifer Toole speaks last month at the annual meeting of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Design.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities connect high-comfort biking networks.

As the most influential U.S. transportation engineering organization rewrites its bike guide, there seems to be general agreement that protected bike lanes should be included for the first time.

A review panel appointed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials will meet July 25 to start reviewing drafts of the new guide, including eight new chapters highlighted here in blue:

If the panel likes what they see and the relevant committees sign off, AASHTO members could vote on possible approval next year.

When AASHTO’s design subcommittee held its annual meeting in Baltimore last month, members who focus on bicycling facilities said they often need the sort of engineering-level detail and guidance about physically separated bike lanes that AASHTO guides are known for providing.

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Streetsblog USA
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Focusing Only on Commutes Overlooks Women’s Transportation Needs

In the UK, men devote about 23 percent of miles traveled to commuting. For women, it's only about 15 percent. Graph: Kasdekker

In the UK, commuting accounts for about 23 percent of the distance men travel. For women, it’s only about 15 percent. Graph: Katja Leyendecker

Commuting accounts for only about 15 percent of trips in the United States. But when planners make transportation infrastructure decisions, they often base them on commuting patterns, not other types of trips.

One side effect of this convention is that it undervalues trips by women, writes U.K. blogger Katja Leyendecker, and contributes to a built environment that is poorly suited to women’s needs. She digs into some of the U.K. data:

The commute makes about 20% of all the mileage (combined 19%, men 23%, women 15%), whilst shopping trips accumulate considerably less mileage (combined 12%, men 9%, women 14%).  The highest category for women actually is “visiting friends at private home” (18%), joint second followed “commute” and “holiday / day trip” (each 15%) and shopping hence coming fourth (14%). Men’s mileage, on the other hand, is somewhat dominated by the commute (23%), then jointly followed by “business” and “visiting friends at private home” (each 13%), with “holiday / day trip” (12%) in fourth place…

We historically have looked at the commute for its coincidence with the rush hour, to deal with peak travel demand. In the UK at least, a real and honest look at space as a limited precious resource (and how to carve it up fairly and effectively) has not taken place. The commute focus has not brought about a better transport system with alternatives to the private car largely still excluded. I suggest that taking the commute approach brings the problem that over 80% of all trips have been neglected in transport assessments. These trips require attention for other reasons than the peak demand. Reasons are for example safety needs when travelling with kids and transporting  shopping. In cycle cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam these trips are still carried out by women, [but] they are cycled. Removing those trips from the transport agenda marginalises the importance of women’s everyday activities and careful and sensible provision for these activities.

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This Week: Car-Free Twin Peaks, Human Centered Design, Treasure Hunt

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

  • Tuesday New Strategies from the SFMTA. What is the future of the city’s buses and light rail? The SFMTA recently developed two new strategies: one that details what it will take for every San Franciscan to have access to a high level of light rail service, and one that looks at how Muni can better meet the needs of all its users. Hear how both studies will shape our transit service for years to come. Tuesday, July 19, 12:30 p.m., SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, S.F. Free for SPUR members, $10 for non-members.
  • Tuesday Going Car-Free on Twin Peaks. Celebrate the new car-free connection along the scenic east side of Twin Peaks Boulevard. SFMTA and San Francisco Recreation and Parks are launching a two-year pilot to limit the eastern half of Twin Peaks Road’s figure eight to people on foot and bicycle, eliminating potential conflicts with cars. Walk SF and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition invite you to a celebration walk to preview this new open space. Tuesday, July 19 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Walk starts at the intersection of Crestline Dr. and Parkridge Dr. RSVP is required.
  • Wednesday Changing Travel Behavior. As with smoking or eating, it takes a little work to change daily habits. This is especially true when we’re encouraging people to make the transition from driving to using a mix of transit, biking, walking, and other modes. What are successful strategies for changing traveler behavior, and how can we better apply what we know to the cities of the Bay Area? Wednesday, July 20, 12:30 p.m., SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, S.F. Free for SPUR members, $10 for non-members.
  • Thursday Can “Human-Centered Design” Reinvent Government Services? Government services too often fail to put customers first, but recent legislation has created an opportunity for the government to reinvent workforce training at the state and local level. Join us to hear how a pioneer in the human-centered design movement is leading a redesign in how we deliver workforce development throughout the country. Thursday, July 21, 12:30 p.m., SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street, S.F. Free for SPUR members, $10 for non-members.
  • Thursday TransForm Social – San Francisco. This summer TransForm is mixing it up a bit by hosting a party. Learn about solutions to our public transportation, housing, and climate woes while connecting with other TransFormers, staff, and supporters. There will be drinks, food and a raffle. Thursday, July 21, 5:30-8:00 p.m. 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street, S.F. Tickets are $10 and include appetizers and a drink.
  • Saturday Trekking Three Hills – a Petite Peak2Peak. Take a heart-pumping, trail- and stair-filled climb to the tops of Buena Vista Park, Corona Heights, and Clarendon Height’s Tank Hill with walk leader Randy Wittorp, an avid hiker and cyclist. Saturday, July 23, 10-noon, Buena Vista Park, S.F. RSVP required.
  • Saturday McLaren Park Treasure Hunt & Fun Day. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department invites you to join a treasure hunt that will take you to all of McLaren Park’s best spots for views, picnics, and hiking. In addition, there will be a rock climbing wall, BMX biking, skateboarding and more. Saturday, July 23, 10-2 p.m., at the Group Picnic area at 116 John F. Shelley Drive, S.F. RSVP Requested.

Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Suspect Arrested in Hit and Run Killing of Heather Miller (SFGate, Hoodline)
  • Bike Signals Get an Update (Hoodline)
  • Muni Addressing Increase in Bus Crashes (SFBay)
  • BART Slow on Camera Installation (KQED)
  • Condo Prices Dropping (Socketsite)
  • NIMBYs Fight Fremont BART Development (BusinessTimes)
  • More on Asphalt Junkie Push to Widen 101 (DailyJournal)
  • Facebook to Pay Menlo Park as Part of Expansion Deal (Almanac)
  • Consumer Group Wants Slow Down on Self Driving Cars (SFChron)
  • Editorial: Self Driving Cars Going Too Fast (SFChron)
  • Editorial: Marin Drivers Need to Stay off the Tracks (MarinIJ)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA