Tuesday, May 20, 2014

William Grindley before the state Senate's transportation committee

Grindley's presentation in document form: To have the train OR to obey the law

More reports on the California high-speed rail project by Grindley and others. 

Kathy Hamilton on this week's high-speed rail hearings.

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Anti-car groups appeal Sunday meters decision

Tom Radulovich

Who exactly are the folks appealing the city's decision to repeal Sunday parking meters? You won't learn much but the names by reading the Examiner's story or the Bay Guardian's account of the appeal, though you do learn more about the appellants in the comments to the Guardian's story. (The Guardian also appends a copy of the actual appeal. If the Guardian can do that, why can't the Examiner?)

Readers of this blog have a better sense of who they are---the usual suspects in the city's anti-car movement, including Tom Radulovich (click on "Tom Radulovich" below this post) of Livable City and Mario Tanev. (See this exchange with Tanev to get a sense of his mindset). And something called the San Francisco Transit Riders Union.

Click on this Livable City link to learn that "Livable City shares an office with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and projects may involve collaboration with SFBC..." Gee, what a surprise! And the San Francisco Transit Riders Union in turn is "sponsored" by Livable City (special bonus: Thea Selby is on the SFTRU's board of directors).

Mayor Lee has been candid about why he wants to discontinue enforcing Sunday parking meters in the neighborhoods: It's a crude, panicky attempt to placate city neighborhoods that are increasingly unhappy with meters and other City Hall "improvements" on city streets. From the Chronicle's story last month:

Before the MTA board vote Tuesday, the mayor had reiterated that continuing to charge for Sunday parking sends the wrong message to the public as key votes loom in the November election on a $500 million bond measure to finance transportation infrastructure and on a separate vehicle license fee hike. The mayor said dropping the charge would make the public "more receptive" to embracing those long-term measures "rather than be nickled and dimed every Sunday" at parking meters, especially because a good part of the money raised is from tickets. "People are getting shocked at it and not expecting it on Sunday."

Board members appeared to take the mayor's advice to heart. "This is going to help us gain support for our ballot measures," said board Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Brinkman. Another member of the panel, Joel Ramos, was more frank. "We have failed, frankly," to convince "the great majority of people" about the basis for the Sunday parking charge. "We have to take a few steps back so we can win in November."

Even long-time members of the city's anti-car movement like Joel Ramos and Cheryl Brinkman understand that Sunday parking meters lack public support, and, like the mayor, are worried about the $500 million bond on the November ballot that needs a 2/3 vote to pass.The vote against the 8 Washington project and the Proposition B initiative on next month's ballot show that the people of San Francisco are getting restless about City Hall's planning and traffic policies.

Also on the November ballot: Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco, an initiative, which for the first time gives city voters a chance to vote against City Hall's anti-car policies that are designed to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive in the city.

The anti-car folks are hoping that when their appeal is heard before the Board of Supervisors, progressive supervisors will vote to reject the MTA board's decision to repeal Sunday parking meters. But if the view expressed by Ramos and Brinkman is any indication, that won't happen. Progressive supervisors---elected by districts, not appointed like MTA directors---have to be even more concerned about political unrest in the neighborhoods. And they too are worried that, if the $500 million bond is rejected by city voters, the anti-car MTA gravy train will be derailed, so to speak.

We'll only learn how serious the appellants are if/when the Board of Supervisors rejects their appeal. After that you either go to court or go home.

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