Skip to content

6 Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • Mayor Lee Says He Doesn’t Have a Position On Wiener’s Transit Funding Measure (SFBG)
  • SF Weekly: ”There is Scant Empirical, Historical, or Even Anecdotal Evidence” Behind Lee’s Strategy
  • Locals Voice Gentrification Fears at Open House on Improving Mission Street (Mission Local)
  • Former SFBC Director Dave Snyder: Leah Shahum Was a “Special Talent” From the Beginning (CalBike)
  • More From the D10 Supervisor Race Forum Where Candidates Weighed in on Transpo Issues (Potrero)
  • Uber’s Extreme Surge Pricing Could Return for Paul McCartney Concert (ABC)
  • More on Uber’s Fight With Lyft and Campaign Against State Regulations (SF Weekly)
  • BART Makes a Video With Tips on How Not to Fall (SF Weekly)
  • Berkeley’s First Parklet Opens on Shattuck in the Gourmet Ghetto (Berkeleyside)
  • Oakland Police Still Looking for Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed 68-Year-Old Man in April (ABC)
  • Millbrae Traffic Camera Sees Spike in Ticket Issuances Due to Capturing “Rolling Rights” (ABC)
  • Still No Charges for Driver Who Struck, Killed 58-Year-Old Man on Sidewalk in San Jose (Mercury News)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

41 Comments

Prop L Proponent Makes False Accusations Against SFBC, SFMTA About Polk

Chris Bowman, a Republican proponent of the Prop L “Restore Transportation Balance” ballot measure, aimed false accusations at the SF Bicycle Coalition and pro-bike SFMTA officials in a panel discussion this week.

Chris Bowman, right, with Supervisor Scott Wiener at a panel discussion this week. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Bowman and Supervisor Scott Wiener were featured at the forum, organized by the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, to discuss Prop L. The proposition claims to promote motorists’ interests, calling to enshrine free parking and build more garages. Prop L is funded by tech billionaire and Mayor Ed Lee backer Sean Parker and the SF Republican Party.

Even though nobody else at the meeting brought up the SFBC in discussing Prop L’s implications, Bowman devoted much of his speaking time to attacking bike lanes, and making false claims about the SFBC and SFMTA Vice Chair Cheryl Brinkman.

Bowman said that the SFBC urged a boycott of certain Polk Street merchants who had opposed removing car parking for protected bike lanes: ”The Bicycle Coalition, to add insult to injury, got the transcripts from [an SFMTA Board] hearing and put on their website, ‘these people testified, these are their businesses, boycott them because they’re anti-bike’… That is hardball politics and that does not create a respectful dialogue. That never should have been tolerated by anyone.”

In fact, the SFBC did the opposite — the organization has “actively encouraged our members, and the broader bike community, to frequent Polk Street businesses — and show support for biking to local businesses on popular bike routes,” said SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum. ”Those claims are absolutely untrue.”

As to where such misconceptions could come from, Shahum noted that the SFBC did hear from individual members, who had urged the organization to launch a boycott through social media posts on Facebook. She said she suspected that those spreading the lie could have misconstrued such messages, although they were written by individuals who don’t speak for the SFBC.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA No Comments

After Cyclists Protest, Toronto Will Protect Downtown Bike Lanes

In a victory for bike safety in Toronto, officials have agreed to add protective posts to three new downtown bike lanes.

The addition of plastic posts should make Toronto’s downtown bike lanes self-enforcing. Photo: I Bike TO

Toronto striped two buffered bike lanes in July and is preparing to add another. Local cyclists were expecting the lanes to have some physical protection to keep out illegally-parked cars and shield riders from traffic, but as we noted yesterday, they were alarmed when the city failed to add any separation besides paint.

When local bike advocates refused to accept the un-protected lanes as a finished product, Toronto officials bowed to the pressure and agreed to add protective plastic posts to the three new bike lanes. (Physical barriers, even plastic bollards, have been found to have a dramatic effect on ridership.)

Jared Kolb of advocacy group Cycle Toronto says officials shouldn’t stop there. He told Now Toronto the city should be experimenting with more substantial forms of protection such as curbs and concrete planters, especially on pilot projects like the new downtown bike lanes.

Streetsblog USA No Comments

Talking Headways Podcast: Zoned Out

Welcome to the dog days of summer! Before skipping town, Congress passed a transportation funding patch so they wouldn’t have to deal with the real problem of the unsustainable way our nation builds and pays for infrastructure. I give the briefest possible rundown of where we are now before Jeff and I launch into discussions about the issues of the day: zoning and ride-share.

Houston is famous for its wild-west attitude toward zoning, but that laissez-faire approach was put to the test recently when residents of a single-family neighborhood protested the construction of a 23-story apartment building. No matter how the situation resolved itself, it was bound to have ripple effects.

We also talk about new services offered by Lyft and Uber that bring them a little closer to true ride-sharing — though, as we note, they’re still a far cry from the platonic ideal: hitchhiking.

The comments section is open for your witty comebacks and retorts. Check us out on iTunes and Stitcher, or sign up for our RSS feed.

Streetsblog LA 1 Comment

List of Projects Poised for Funding From CA’s Active Transportation Program

The California Transportation Commission recommended 145 bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs for funding from the new Active Transportation Program, including this pedestrian-cyclist-equestrian bridge over the L.A. River. Image from LARRC

The California Transportation Commission has released a list of recommended projects that could get funding from the state’s Active Transportation Program. The ATP is a new statewide grant program that funds bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout California. The list is expected to be approved by the full CTC at its August 20 meeting.

Under the ATP, the CTC is preparing to distribute $221 million for projects and programs in two categories: a statewide competition and a separate competition for small rural and urban projects. A third category of funds will be distributed later this year through the state’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) (more on that below).

The $221 million for the first two categories will be matched by another $207 million in local matching funds, yielding a total of $426 million in bike and pedestrian projects that will get the green light in the first two-year funding round. The 145 successful applications include 124 statewide projects [PDF] and 21 small rural and urban projects [PDF].

Read more…

Streetsblog.net No Comments

Why Charging Transit Riders to Transfer Makes No Sense

Paying twice for a transit trip that requires two buses makes no sense, says Jarrett Walker. Photo: Flickr, Mynameisharsha

Paying twice for a single trip that requires two buses makes no sense, says Jarrett Walker. Photo: FMynameisharsha/Flickr

Los Angeles Metro recently eliminated the charge for transferring from from one transit line to another. Eliminating transfer charges is becoming more widespread among transit agencies, and at Human Transit, Jarrett Walker explains why that’s a very good thing:

The core of the Los Angeles transit network is the liberating high-frequency grid, which relies on the assumption that passengers can be asked to change buses once. Until now, the agency’s policy of charging passengers extra to change buses was in direct conflict with the foundational principle of its network design.

Once more with feeling; Charging passengers extra for the inconvenience of connections is insane. It discourages exactly the customer behavior that efficient and liberating networks depend on. It undermines the whole notion of a transit network. It also gives customers a reason to object to network redesigns that deliver both greater efficiency and greater liberty, because by imposing a connection on their trip it has also raised their fare.

For that reason, actual businesses don’t do it. When supposedly business minded bureaucrats tell us we should charge for connections, they are revealing that they have never stopped to think about the geometry of the transit product, but are just assuming it’s like soap or restaurants. Tell them to think about airlines: Airfares that require a connection are frequently cheaper than nonstops. That’s because the connection is something you endure for the sake of an efficient airline network, not an added service that you should pay extra for.

Walker says that in the past, some agencies charged for transfers in order to avoid abuse of the system, such as selling a discounted transfer to a new passenger. But current fare payment technology can eliminate that problem, he says. Transit agencies that still maintain a transfer fee might just be trying to raise extra revenue without raising base fares. But that just masks higher costs while detracting from the usefulness of the system, he says.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Reno Rambler pays tribute to Robin Williams, the cyclist. And Strong Towns explains how the prevalence of pedestrian flags illustrates the second class status of people on foot.

1 Comment

Today’s Headlines

  • More on Leah Shahum Leaving the SF Bicycle Coalition (SFGateSFBGSF Examiner)
  • 375 Muni Operators Still Haven’t Submitted Doctor’s Notes for “Sickout” (SF Chronicle)
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi Touts Jobs Created by Central Subway Construction (CBSSF Examiner)
  • Supes Farrell and Wiener Weigh in on Accommodating Transportation in a Growing City (Marina Times)
  • Proposed 13-Story Building at Mission and 9th Could Come With “Living Alley” (SocketSite)
  • Check Out Photos of Hayes Valley When the Central Freeway Was Being Torn Down (Bold Italic)
  • KQED Forum Discusses the “War” Between Uber and Lyft
  • Mission Local Finds Valencia “Oddly Empty of Tech Buses” One Morning
  • Alameda Locals Want Tech Bus Regulations Similar to SF’s Pilot Program (Alamedan)
  • Property Managers in San Mateo County Starting to Get That Workers Don’t Want to Drive (PTA)
  • San Mateo Bridge Closed for Four Hours After Multi-Truck Collision, Oil Spill (KTVU)
  • Caltrain Electrification Funding More Certain From California CAHSR Court Ruling on Bonds (SMDJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

3 Comments

Leah Shahum to Step Down as SF Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director

Leah Shahum announced today that she will step down as executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, after 12 years at the helm.

Leah Shahum distributing flyers in 2008. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

“Leah leaves behind a legacy of one of the most bike-friendly big cities in America, and one of the most well-organized and effective membership groups in the country,” said Lawrence Li, the SFBC’s Board President. She will continue to serve in position until the end of the year, and the SFBC’s board has launched a nationwide search to fill the role.

“I’ve never felt more confident in where this organization and city can go, with the kind of leadership and passion and skills that we have on our team today,” said Shahum.

Shahum said she doesn’t have a long-term plan yet after she leaves the SFBC, but that she plans to take part in the German Marshall Fund Urban and Regional Policy Fellowship Program next spring. She’ll head to northern Europe to study how cities like Berlin, Rotterdam, and Stockholm have pursued Vision Zero — an end to traffic fatalities. She noted that she chose cities that have populations, densities, and other characteristics comparable to SF.

Another recent participant in the fellowship was Streetsblog founder Aaron Naparstek. Shahum was instrumental in convincing him to launch Streetsblog San Francisco in 2009. She has since written articles for Streetsblog, sharing lessons on livable streets from her time in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Paris

Shahum started as a volunteer for the SFBC 17 years ago, and eventually became the organization’s program director before succeeding Dave Snyder as executive director. Since then, the SFBC’s membership grew from 3,000 to 12,000 in 2011, making it the largest city-based bicycle advocacy organization in the U.S. Today, SFBC membership remains at more than 10,000, and the SFBC has a staff of 17.

Snyder, who jumpstarted the long-dormant SFBC as the sole staffer in 1996, said Shahum had planned to leave her part-time volunteer coordinator position to pursue a journalism career. “I didn’t want her to leave, so I offered her a full-time job as our first-ever ‘program director.’ I didn’t have the budget for it but I stretched, and the risk paid off,” said Snyder, who today serves as executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA No Comments

The Plan to Build Bicycle Highways Where Cleveland’s Streetcars Once Ran

A local group is proposing repurposing old streetcar rights of way into protected bike lanes. Image: Bialosky & Partners

A local group has proposed repurposing old streetcar rights of way as protected bike lanes. Image: Bialosky & Partners

Like many cities in America, Cleveland grew into its own as a streetcar city. In the early part of the last century, hundreds of miles of streetcars connected all corners of the city as well as its inner suburbs. The streets where tracks carried passengers — Lorain, Superior, Euclid — were the circulatory system of the city, around which neighborhood life was organized.

St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland was once bustling with activity, when it was a streetcar route. A group of Clevelandites wants to make it active again with bike infrastructure. Image: Google Maps

St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland bustled with activity when it was a streetcar route. A group of Clevelanders want to make it active again with bike infrastructure. Image: Google Maps

But around the middle of the 20th century, streetcars gave way to private cars — upending this way of life. Many Clevelanders got in their cars and abandoned historic urban neighborhoods at disastrous rates, moving to former farmlands where they could shop in big box stores. Streetcar tracks were mostly paved over and forgotten, leaving extra-wide streets behind. The retail spaces that lined those routes are now pocked with vacancies.

But some local residents see an opportunity to transform these historically significant corridors back into something vital and attractive. They call their plan the Midway — a proposal to transform former streetcar rights-of-way with landscaped, center-running bike lanes.

“It seems so obvious to me,” said Barb Clint, director of community health and advocacy at the YMCA of Greater Cleveland. Clint is also a board member at Bike Cleveland, the city’s bike advocacy group. (Disclosure: I’m also on the board of Bike Cleveland and have helped promote the Midway in Cleveland.)

Read more…

Streetsblog.net No Comments

Rob Ford Isn’t the Only One Holding Back Toronto Bike Infrastructure

New buffered bike lanes wdebuted in Toronto late last month. But why aren’t they protected? Photo: Brian Gilham via I Bike TO

Bike advocates in Toronto are frustrated.

Late last month, the city added buffered bike lanes on two major thoroughfares: Richmond and Adelaide. But Toronto officials are hesitating to implement one critical aspect: physical protection that will keep the bike lane clear of cars and get more people to feel comfortable biking.

The City Council approved a protected bike lane design for these two roads 39-0, reports Streetsblog Network member I Bike TO. And Toronto has adopted the NACTO bike guide, which includes engineering standards for protected bike lanes.

So what’s the stumbling block? Herb at I Bike TO zeroes in on Transportation Services chief Stephen Buckley, who has a history of letting motorists invade bike lanes:

Read more…