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Today’s Headlines

  • Poll: Most Bay Area Voters Won’t Hike Driving Fees, But Might Pay Tax for New BART Tube (SFGate)
  • Transit Activist: City Hall Shouldn’t Let Private Transpo Services Reduce Urgency for Better Muni (Chron)
  • Calle 24’s Strategy to “Prevent Another Valencia” (Gentrification) Includes “Protecting Parking” (UA)
  • Car-Free 1050 Valencia Condos Allowed to Resume Construction, But Neighbors Keep Fighting (SS)
  • SF to Pay $11M to Woman Hit By Muni Train at 19th and Junipero Serra in 2013 (SFGate)
  • Transbay Transit Center Starting to Take Shape in SoMa (ABC)
  • The Case for More Bike Space on Caltrain (SMDJ); CAHSR Planning Will Affect Caltrain Car Design (GC)
  • Bolts on New Bay Bridge East Span Have More “Ominous Cracks” That (SFGate)
  • BART Stopped Between Lafayette and Concord After Tree Knocks Power Line On to Tracks (NBC, ABC)
  • 18-Year-Old San Leandro Driver Turns Self in After Killing Woman and Fleeing (CBS)
  • Google’s Natively-Produced Self-Driving Cars Are Roaming the Streets of Mountain View (CBS)
  • San Jose to Launch “CalleSJ” Open Streets Program This Fall (Inside SJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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SFMTA Plans to Install Painted “Safety Zones” at 40 Intersections This Year

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A painted bulb-out, a.k.a. “safety zone,” at Sacramento and Stockton Streets, where 78-year old Pui Fong Yim Lee was killed. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The SFMTA has ramped up its roll-out of painted curb extensions, which the agency calls “safety zones,” at some of the city’s most dangerous corners. Twenty-one have been installed at at least 11 intersections, and the tally should reach 40 intersections by the end of the year, said SFMTA spokesperson Ben Jose.

Painted bulb-outs are a low-cost measure to slow down turning drivers, using khaki-colored gravel and epoxy to expand sidewalk corners. When the bulb-outs replace parked cars at street corners, they also make people more visible to drivers approaching intersections, a measure known as daylighting. Once funding becomes available, they can be upgraded to concrete sidewalk extensions.

“We are installing painted safety zones on the city’s pedestrian high-injury network, where just 6 percent of city streets account for 60 percent of pedestrian injuries and fatalities,” Jose wrote in a recent blog post. “Painted safety zones are one of the elements we are quickly installing to improve safety in support of our Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic deaths.”

So far, most of the bulb-outs can be found along Howard Street in SoMa and as part of the first phase of safety upgrades on Polk Street.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Senate Committee Passes DRIVE Act Unanimously After Some Tinkering

Given the bipartisan gushing that accompanied the release of the DRIVE Act on Tuesday, it came as no surprise that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the bill unanimously yesterday, with more gushing for good measure.

The insertion of a few little words will make the DRIVE Act a virtual complete streets policy for the entire National Highway System (except interstates). Photo: ##http://www.ca-city.com/complete_streets/fundamentals.html##Crandall Arambula##

The insertion of a few little words into the DRIVE Act may lead to safer designs for walking and biking on major streets. Photo: Crandall Arambula

None of the 30-odd amendments offered for the DRIVE Act passed, but the committee leadership did accept some changes in what’s called a manager’s amendment, a group of amendments agreed to by the chair and ranking member and inserted into the bill. By and large, these small changes improved upon some provisions that were already a step up from the current law, known as MAP-21.

Transportation Alternatives Program: The bill had already improved upon MAP-21’s version of Transportation Alternatives Program by giving all biking and walking money directly to local governments instead of giving half to the state. But in its original form, the DRIVE Act allowed states to take back half that money, making the “improvement” symbolic at best. The manager’s mark struck that part, meaning local communities will have the certainty that they can spend 100 percent of their biking and walking funds without fear of having some taken away.

Complete Streets: Inhofe and Boxer added the word “safety” in a key place: a provision requiring traffic engineers to consider “the access and safety” of non-automobile modes on non-interstate roads. According to Caron Whitaker of the League of American Bicyclists, “These two changes taken together come very close to a Complete Streets policy for the National Highway System.”

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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Atlanta’s Big Turnaround in Walkable Development

Graph via ATL Urbanist

Graph via ATL Urbanist

A new report that quantifies development in walkable urban places (“WalkUPs”) has good news for Atlanta.

Darin at ATL Urbanist reports:

A full 50 percent of new properties developed in the Atlanta region from 2009-2014 happened in walkable urban places, which is not only a higher amount than what’s happening in the other regions as charted here, it also shows a much bigger jump between that time period versus what was happening in 1992-2000, when the Atlanta region was really lagging behind and producing a lot of new construction in sprawling patterns

The studies are showing a shift away from car-centric development patterns that dominated development in US metros during the latter half of the 20th century.

According to the report, 73 percent of WalkUP development from 2009 to 2013 occurred in areas served by MARTA.

“[T]here’s also a trend happening in the absorption of empty office space in Atlanta’s walkable intown areas that are near transit,” writes Darin. “Just this week we have news that Coke is moving another 500 employees from suburbs to existing offices in Downtown Atlanta — this comes on top of another recent shift that saw Coke relocating 2,000 workers to the downtown locations.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: Streets.mn notes the discrepancy between riders and seats on Minneapolis Metro, and Washington Area Bicyclist Association says a pending DC Council bill would help cyclists recover damages after a crash.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Transit Activists Rally for City Hall to Fund Downtown Extension for Caltrain, High-Speed Rail (SF Appeal)
  • Tuesday: North Beach Neighbors Meeting on Bulb-Outs, Hated By NBN Prez and Firefighters (Hoodline)
  • Sup. Wiener Proposes Reducing Towing, Storage Fees for Recovered Stolen Cars (KQED)
  • SFPD Tenderloin Captain Steps Down Citing “Personal Matters” (SF Examiner)
  • Getaround Car-Share to Get a Promotion Boost From Ford Motors (Business Times)
  • Caltrain Board to Vote on Design of Electric Train Cars July 2; SFBC Pushes for Bike Capacity
  • BART Considers Re-Opening Bathrooms With Some Security Modifications (SFGate, ABC)
  • BART West Dublin/Pleasanton Station Closed Yesterday After Death on Tracks (IBAABC)
  • Ferry Fares Set to Increase on July 1 (ABC), Along With Golden Gate Bridge Tolls (Mercury)
  • More on the Plan for a Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Bike/Ped Path, Additional Traffic Lane (CBS)
  • Sausalito Officials Don’t Want More Ferry Service, People (Marin IJ)
  • Lyft Protests Regulations for Airport Access Approved By San Jose City Council (SFBay)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Cars Will Remain on the Crooked Block of Lombard Street Until at Least 2016

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A dance mob makes its way down Lombard. Image via Youtube

Cars will continue to fill the crooked block of Lombard Street until at least 2016. Although the trial car closures last summer were seen as a success, the gears of city bureaucracy appear to have slowed the momentum for going permanently car-free. It will take until December for the city to issue a report on the restrictions. No timeline has been laid out for implementation.

Funding for the study was recently approved by the the SF County Transportation Authority board, comprised of the Board of Supervisors. Proposition K sales tax revenue will account for $100,000 in funding, and another $25,000 will come from D2 Supervisor Mark Farrell’s office.

The study will look at three scenarios, ranging from “limited access” to “car-free,” according to an SFCTA report [PDF].

Last summer, the SFMTA collected data on how the famous crooked block of Lombard and surrounding streets worked during the car restrictions. During the trial, all cars were banned except taxis and drivers who were accessing homes on the block.

The idea is to reduce the car queues that back up for blocks and make the street safer and more welcoming for people on foot. While it doesn’t take data to see that Lombard serves no transportation purpose for through-traffic and is a far better street when it’s open to families and dancing flash mobs — “chaos,” in the eyes of one reporter — challenging the primacy of cars apparently has to be a major undertaking, no exceptions.

Streetsblog.net
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Anatomy of a Dangerous Intersection

Image via Where the Sidewalk Starts

Image via Where the Sidewalk Starts

Streets designed to facilitate fast driving are not suitable for safe walking.

Unfortunately, transportation engineers often don’t design for safety unless a catastrophic event triggers public outcry. Katie Matchett at Where the Sidewalk Starts says the city of San Diego is planning changes at one intersection in an area where motorists routinely hit and injure people, but only after a driver killed an infant.

“We say it so often that it’s cliche,” writes Matchett, “but it shouldn’t take the death of child to fix intersections that are so obviously dangerous.”

Notice that the northbound right “turn” isn’t really a turn at all, more of a channelized “veer” that aims high-speed traffic straight at a crosswalk. Moreover, the crosswalk is set back just enough from the intersection to make pedestrians less visible to drivers. This is a space designed for cars, and cars alone. Is it any surprise that people are hurt and killed here?

The most frustrating part is that there really isn’t much purpose to this stretch of roadway, other than moving cars as quickly as possible at the expense of walkability and pedestrian safety — a point neighbors have picked up on. They’ve asked the City to close down the road and make the entire space into a park. Let’s hope the City listens, before someone else is killed at this crossing.

Even now it’s not clear that San Diego officials are serious about fixing the crossing. A local TV station reports: “City officials say they are putting up another traffic signal and re-stripe the crosswalk, but neighbors do not think it will be enough.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington on the power of positive transportation messaging, the League of American Bicyclists says small towns want better infrastructure too, and Enrique Peñalosa tells TheCityFix that the constant fear of dying in traffic is not a normal way to live.

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Today’s Headlines

  • 22-Day Muni Challenge: Minimal Participation From Mayor Lee (Examiner), Sup. Cohen (D10)
  • SFPD Finds Stolen Vehicle Used in Double Ped Hit-and-Run at Golden Gate and Leavenworth (Appeal)
  • SFBC: Police Must Investigate Bike/Ped Crashes, When Victims Are More Likely to Be Unconscious
  • Apple, Google, Genentech Want Back in as Defendants on Suit Against SFMTA Shuttle Program (Weekly)
  • Oakland Plans to Make Grand Avenue Safer With Road Diet; KTVU Looks for Angry Drivers
  • Oakland to Eliminate Need to Press “Beg Buttons” at Some Pedestrian Signals (GJEL)
  • Oakland Has 16 Parklets in the Works (East Bay Express)
  • KQED Forum Discusses Google’s “Bike Vision” for a Copenhagen-Esque Campus in Mountain View
  • Struggling to Cement Your Kids’ Childhood in Car-Dependency? There’s an App for That (Exam)
  • San Jose Considers Legalizing Uber and Lyft at SJ Mineta Airport (ABC)
  • San Mateo, Caltrans Want $71M and Some Homes, Businesses to Widen Highway 101 Interchange (DJ)
  • Marin County Transit Gets $10.4M Boost to Replace a Third of Its Bus Fleet (Marin IJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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The Final Tally Is in From the 22-Day Muni Challenge

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The final score at City Hall for the 22-Day Muni Challenge, as shown in a screenshot from SFTRU’s “Leaderboard.”

The final score for the 22-Day Muni Challenge is in. Based on the ride tally, about half of SF’s elected officials took seriously their commitment to get the everyday experience of riding Muni. The supervisors who have a record of legislating to improve transit scored well.

Tomorrow evening, you can join five of the top Muni-riding supervisors in a celebratory wrap-up with the SF Transit Riders Union. On the bill are Supervisors Jane Kim, John Avalos, Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, and Julie Christensen — all of whom logged at least 20 rides during the challenge.

The event will include awards for the supes, and not just for the most rides logged. Trophies will go out for “best interaction with a passenger,” “best picture,” and “crankiest tweeter,” among other categories.

When it comes to quantity of rides, however, Wiener dominated with a grand total of 106. I ran into him last week as I exited a 38-Geary bus with my wife at Geary and Fillmore Streets. (Thanks, all-door boarding.)

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Inhofe’s DRIVE Act — Not as Big a Disaster as You Might Think

Sen. Barbara Boxer unveils yet another stab at a long-term transportation authorization bill -- this time, as the minority party. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/AliABCNews/status/613351204559699972/photo/1##Ali Weinberg/Twitter##

Sen. Barbara Boxer unveils another stab at a long-term transportation authorization bill — this time as a member of the minority party. Photo: Ali Weinberg/Twitter

No, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s new six-year bill, obnoxiously named the DRIVE Act (Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy) [PDF], won’t usher in a more enlightened era of federal transportation policy. But neither would it be a significant step backward. And with the realization setting in that further extensions of current law might be impossible, the DRIVE Act could actually become the nation’s first long-term transportation authorization in a decade.

As Brad relayed in his post this morning, the “big takeaway” from the new bill, according to the League of American Bicyclists, is that it “is not a coherent vision of the future, or even of the present.” True that.

Note that this bill does not include the transit title — it’s up to the Banking Committee to draft that.

What the bill does, mainly, is continue existing policies related to streets and highways — meaning it’s not the nightmare you might have expected under the chairmanship of climate denying Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. When you look closely, the DRIVE Act actually makes some improvements at the margins. Here are a few examples:

Design Standards: The bill explicitly sanctions the use of the NACTO street design guide along with the old FHWA and AASHTO engineering manuals. The NACTO guide includes designs that are much more appropriate for city streets where people outside of cars need safe and reliable transportation option.

Read more…