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The Taraval Boarding Island Question: Q&A with Katy Tang

Supervisor Katy Tang, at her desk at City Hall. Photo: Streetsblog.

Supervisor Katy Tang, at her desk at City Hall. Photo: Streetsblog.

Last week, Streetsblog brought you an editorial from Katy Tang about the issue of installing concrete boarding islands on Taraval as part of SFMTA’s Muni Forward project. This was in response to a headline in the SF Examiner, that declared “Supervisor Slams Brakes on L-Taraval Changes.”

As Streetsblog readers may recall, business owners were pushing back against the boarding islands because of the potential loss of parking in front of their shops; Streetsblog brought you the story of the rancorous public meeting about it, and other issues, back in February.

Is it true that Supervisor Tang was holding up safety improvements because of her small-business constituents and their objections? Streetsblog had reached out to Tang several times. Finally, Friday, Streetsblog was able to sit down with the District 4 Supervisor and get her perspective, face to face.

STREETSBLOG: The Examiner story was accurate, with the exception of the headline?

TANG: Factually, it was true. It just didn’t tell people all of what was going on.

SB: So what is going on? Let’s pick this up from that infamous meeting with the community at Dianne Feinstein Elementary about Muni’s proposed improvements to the L-Taraval.

TANG: At that large meeting, everyone was yelling at each other and not giving time to hear people. We heard from people that they were confused about what SFMTA proposals were on Taraval.  It’s not just about boarding islands. It might be about transit-only lanes. Parking removals associated with boarding islands. Traffic signals. Stop removals. So it was a whole host of things. You had to look at every intersection to know what’s going on. Because those meetings were just shouting fests, and it wasn’t just that one, there were several, we felt like, you know what? We’re not being productive. MTA wants feedback, and people aren’t providing feedback, they’re just yelling.

SB: So you arranged smaller meetings?
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We Can Do It: A Zero-Carbon Transportation System Is Possible

Cross-posted from the Frontier Group.

The Paris Climate Agreement, approved by world leaders last December, represented a bold commitment to prevent the worst impacts of global warming – a commitment that must now be followed by action.

Meeting the agreement’s target of limiting global warming to no more than 2° C (and ideally no more than 1.5° C) above pre-industrial levels will require the United States to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by more than 80 percent, and possibly as much as 100 percent, by 2050.

That is 34 years from now. And the clock is ticking.

Can it be done? In March, we joined with Environment America Research & Policy Center to produce We Have the Power, a report that argued that it is possible to repower America with 100 percent renewable energy. And in two weeks, we will release A New Way Forward: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution, which makes the case that America has the tools and strategies it needs to eliminate carbon pollution from urban, light-duty transportation by 2050.

The report explores scenarios by which U.S. metropolitan areas might reduce energy demand for light-duty travel by as much as 90 percent – making it possible to repower our transportation system with clean renewable energy at the same time we eliminate carbon pollution from other areas of the economy.

Ours will not be the first analysis to suggest that decarbonizing transportation is possible. Over the last several years, government agencies, academics, environmental advocates and others have explored a variety of pathways (warning: PDFs) by which we can move toward a zero-carbon transportation system.

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Streetsblog USA
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The Crucial Connection Between Street Width and Walkability, in 3 Photos

There’s a good deal of empirical evidence that narrower travel lanes are safer for everyone because they slow motorist speeds.

On a perceptual level, narrow streets just feel more inviting, writes Katie Matchett at Network blog Where the Sidewalk Starts. Matchett looked at Jewel Street in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, which varies in width. She shows how, as it transforms from a narrow neighborhood street to a wide road for fast-moving traffic, Jewel Street becomes more forbidding for people on foot:

Here’s what Jewel Street looks like when it’s 30 feet wide, with parallel parking on both sides and a parkway between the sidewalk and street.

Screenshot (186)

Notice that even with only a few scrawny palm tree for shade and relatively narrow sidewalks, the street still feels comfortable and “human-scaled.” (It also feels safe to bike on, even without fancy bike infrastructure, because the narrow travel way forces cars to slow down.) I regularly see kids playing in the street here, using the roadway as an extension of their yard.

Here’s Jewel Street a few blocks further down, with a 40-foot width. This would be considered the pretty much the minimum width for a street built today.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Transbay Delays Could Cost City More (SFExaminer)
  • More Signs the SF Housing Market Softening Slightly? (Socketsite)
  • Governors Proposal Could Accelerate Bay Area Transit-Adjacent Housing Development (BizJournals)
  • Ride of Silence (Hoodline)
  • Transbay History and Woes (BizJournal)
  • Stabbing on Muni Bus (EastBayTimes, MercNews)
  • Ferry Service to a Lucas Museum on Treasure Island? (SFChron)
  • Giant Tree Felled as Part of Alamo Square Renovations (Hoodline)
  • Central Marin Ferry Connection Project Bike Lane to Open this Week (MarinIJ)
  • Summer Discounts for Youths on VTA (SFBay)
  • Art Galleries in the Outer Sunset (Hoodline)

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


Tim Doyle Crash Demands Faster Fixes for SF Streets

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On Bike to Work Day, 48-year-old Tim Doyle nearly died demonstrating, once again, the fundamental flaw of painting bike lanes between fast-moving traffic and parked cars.

There’s no need to watch this horrible wreck again, which was shot from the cell phone of someone driving a few car lengths behind Doyle, if you’ve already seen it. It’s sufficient to say Doyle was riding in the bike lane, doing everything right and legal, when a parked SFPD cruiser suddenly and completely without warning, pulled directly into him, catapulting him through the air. It’s a miracle that Doyle is alive to complain about San Francisco bicycle infrastructure. And it’s sufficient to say, again, that lanes like this don’t work. We’ve seen it again and again.

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More Views of Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day 2016 at San Francisco City Hall

Bike to Work Day 2016 at San Francisco City Hall. Photo: Streetsblog

Thursday was Bike to Work Day in many parts of California, including the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. That meant: lots of bikes on the road—maybe more than usual, maybe not—but also lots of smiles, bike-bell-ringing, and high fives all around for everyone who chooses to use this most environmentally friendly way to get to work and everywhere else. And not just one day a year.

However, on this day we get to make a big noise about how great it is to be able to bike to work and how much better it could be. Here are more photos of the event from around the Bay Area.

We’ll start with the East Bay, where no fewer than THREE ribbon cuttings on new bike facilities got the day started off right. That’s on top of the Telegraph Avenue protected bike lane ribbon cutting that took place two days ago—is this a record? Probably.

Plenty of pictures after the jump.

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This Week: Transportation Summit, Bike Gears and Fruitvale Ave Improvements

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

  • Monday-Tuesday: starts today! Transportation Equity Summit and Advocacy Day. Join California Bicycle Coalition and TransForm for the Transportation Equity Summit and Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Meet and network with advocates from across the state. Learn from California’s most innovative leaders and get updates on legislation. Then walk to the Capitol building and make your voice heard on the transportation issues you care about most. Monday, May 16, 12:00-5:00 p.m. and Tuesday May 17, 8:00-4:00 p.m. Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I Street, Sacramento. Details and pricing available here.
  • Monday: tonight! Gears and Shifting Class at the Bicycle Kitchen. Learn about gears and shifting. The experts at the Bike Kitchen will teach: the principles behind bike gearing, types of shift levers, setting up and adjusting a derailleur. No previous bike knowledge is required or expected. Class will be hands-on, so bring a functional bike and be ready to get greasy. Monday, May 16, 6:00-8:30 p.m., San Francisco Bike Kitchen, 650H Florida St., SF. Cost $30.
  • Tuesday: Make Transit Awesome Happy Hour, Grab a drink and celebrate three urbanist occasions: The last days of the Make Transit Awesome IndieGoGo Campaign, ending May 19th. Thea Selby’s Birthday, the chair of SF Transit Riders, which was the same day as Jane Jacobs’s Centennial! $1 of every draft sold between 5-7PM goes to the SF Transit Riders. Bring your friends to The Beer Hall and help these transit-Ninja advocates get to $25,000. Tuesday, May 17, 5-7pm, The Beer Hall, 1 Polk St, SF.
  • Wednesday: Creative Placemaking at the Foot of Lake Merritt. South of Lake Merritt the city grid gives way to the Oakland Museum of California, Laney College and the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. All are poorly connected to the lake, as well as one another, but a new initiative is exploring ways to tie these spaces together. Join SPUR for a discussion with Lori Fogarty of the Oakland Museum of California, Kelley Kahn with the City of Oakland ‎Department of Economic and Workforce Development and Walter Hood of the Hood Design Studio. Wednesday, May 18, 12:30 pm, at SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland. Free for SPUR members, otherwise $10.
  • Wednesday: The City of Oakland is working to improve the safety and experience for all modes of travel on Fruitvale Avenue from Alameda Avenue to East 12th Street. The Fruitvale Alive! Gap Closure Streetscape Project builds on past planning efforts for the area, including the Central Estuary Area Plan (2013) and the Fruitvale Alive! Community Transportation Plan (2005). Learn what’s planned to make Fruitvale avenue a more complete street on Wednesday, May 18, 6-8 pm at the Fruitvale–San Antonio Senior Center, 3301 East 12th Street, Suite 201.
  • Thursday: Support Vision Zero Technology for City Drivers. Vehicle telematics devices collect data about unsafe driver behavior such as speeding, hard braking, and rapid accelerating. Sometimes known as “black boxes” or global positioning system (GPS) trackers, these devices collect data for cars, vans, trucks or buses. The information includes vehicle location, maintenance history, speed, mechanical diagnostics, safety and other details. But telematics devices are installed in only 30 percent of city vehicles–and for those vehicles, the systems do not collect safety-related data to track and correct dangerous driving behaviors. Supervisor Norman Yee is introducing legislation to require that all city vehicles (excluding law-enforcement departments) be equipped with telematics devices and provide regular reporting and analysis by January 1, 2017. You can show support for the proposed legislation by giving public comment at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting of the Government Audit & Oversight Committee, Thursday, May 19, 9:30 a.m., SF City Hall, Room 250.
  • Friday: Tour the Renovated Hibernia Bank with SPUR. The Hibernia Bank was described by SF Architectural Heritage as “one of the finest of San Francisco’s uniquely superb collection of modified temple-form banks.” Designed in 1892 by Albert Pissis, it has survived earthquakes and transformations of the city. It was recently renovated and its entire 40,000 square feet are on the market to be leased. Come see the remarkable transformation of this historic structure and learn its history. Friday, May 20, 9 am. 1 Jones St, SF. $10 for SPUR members only.
  • Sunday: Bay Parade. Join the 3rd annual Bay Parade. Swim, stand up paddleboard, kayak, or boat along the San Francisco shoreline. All ages and levels welcomed. After party hosted by Anchor Brewing follows the Parade. The Bay Parade is the Bay Area’s premier on-the-water event celebrating a clean & healthy SF Bay. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Baykeeper’s work keeping pollution out of the Bay. Sunday, May 22, 10:00-1:00pm, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, SF. Register and get tickets.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.

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Today’s Headlines

  • More on SFPD Crashing into Cyclist in Bike Lane (ABC7, Road, KQED)
  • More on Cyclist Assaulted by Motorist on Market Street (SFExaminer, MercNews, SFist)
  • Ballot Initiative Aims to Block SOMA Development (Socketsite)
  • More on BART Efforts to Reduce Noise (SFBay)
  • Prop B to Help City Parks (SFExaminer)
  • More on Possible Ferry Service to Mission Bay (SFExaminer)
  • Can Transbay Get Back on Track? (BizJournal)
  • Revive Dumbarton Rail (SMDailyJournal)
  • Feds Give Marin Sonoma Rail Agency High Marks (MarinIJ)
  • Will Driverless Cars also Drive of Vehicle Miles Traveled? (SMDailyJournal)
  • Photos of Bay to Breakers Race (Hoodline)

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

Via Streetsblog California
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Governor’s Budget Revision: Nothing New for Transportation

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.13.31 AM

Governor Brown shows why California needs to prepare for a coming recession. Image: Screengrab from CATV

Governor Brown issued his May revision of the state budget proposal, and in terms of transportation, it’s pretty much the same story we told in January. That is, he proposes a variety of new revenues, including a “road improvement charge” and higher gas taxes, to fix California’s transportation infrastructure.

But the revision shows no fundamental change in thinking about transportation, despite the increasing realization in many quarters that we need to fundamentally shift the way people travel.

In Brown’s budget, money will still be allocated to “local streets and roads,” highway repairs, and trade corridors. Under the proposal, each of those sectors would receive an increase in funding from the new revenues. The governor also proposes using more money from cap and trade for transit, specifically an extra $400 million to the already existing Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, which provides money for capital (equipment, vehicles, track, and the like) but not for operations (to increase or improve service, for example).

And then there’s the still-undefined “Low Carbon Road Program” which Brown proposes allocating $100 million from cap and trade “for Caltrans to implement . . . local projects that encourage active transportation such as bicycling and walking, and other [undefined] carbon-reducing road investments, with at least fifty percent of the funds directed to benefit disadvantaged communities.”

It’s still not clear why this money isn’t being proposed for the already existing, already oversubscribed, highly competitive Active Transportation Program, which state agencies and advocates have already invested a lot of time and effort into creating and refining. And there’s still no indication of what those “other” road investments would be. Could repaving be considered a “carbon-reducing road investment”? Some would like to think so.

“We are disappointed that the Governor’s May Revised Budget reflects no changes to the proposed transportation allocations, despite the clear need to shift traditional transportation funding toward providing Californians better, safer, healthier, and cleaner travel options, especially for residents that can’t afford to drive,” said Jeannie Ward-Waller, Policy Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. “The Administration still directs the vast majority of the $16 billion for transportation to roads and highways, including $100 million of climate funds, with no new funds proposed for the state program dedicated to expanding walking and bicycling facilities.”

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For the Record, the Feds Don’t Require Streets to Speed Car Traffic

Don't blame the feds. Photo: T4A

Don’t blame the feds. Photo: T4A

When advocating for a street redesign that will take some space away from cars, it’s common to run up against this classic brush-off from your local transportation agency: The federal government won’t allow it.

Well, the Federal Highway Administration recently went on the record to shoot down that excuse. The FHWA doesn’t require states and local governments to speed cars through streets, even ones classified as part of the National Highway System. Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America published this excerpt of a memo from FHWA regarding Level of Service, or LOS, a measure of congestion:

…FHWA does not have regulations or policies that require specific minimum LOS values for projects on the NHS. [National Highway System] The recommended values in the Green Book are regarded by FHWA as guidance only. Traffic forecasts are just one factor to consider when planning and designing projects. Agencies should set expectations for operational performance based on existing and projected traffic conditions, current and proposed land use, context, and agency transportation planning goals, and should also take into account the input of a wide cross section of project stakeholders.

Davis explains why this matters:

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