Category Archives: State Highways in SF

Fire Department and Emergency Response Issues

Fire Department issues with the street improvements:

SFFD 1-desktop from zRants on Vimeo.

CSFN General Assembly Presentation by Assistant Deputy Chief Anthony Rivera, July 18, 2017
Powerpoint attached

Most difficult issues: When asked which of the many issues SFMTA is throwing at the department, the chief had to pause to think about it. His final answer was the parking protected bike lanes. They create a lot of issues, especially when they are near the Muni power lines, or any high-voltage power lines when steel ladders are needed. They create additional problems with ladder access. Anything that creates a barrier between the response vehicles and people in distress, or property that needs protection is a problem. The only thing the public can do to improve the situation is to apply political pressure. Let your authorities know who you trust to put out fires and protect human life in emergencies. Insist that they set the standards for doing their jobs.

Standards: There are state regulations and OSHA regulations that apply to the Fire Departments and their personnel. We need to look into where the authorities lie at the state, federal, and city levels and act accordingly. (more on this subject as we look into it.)

Time: Fires double in size every minute. We need to watch the response times as those are a major factor in determining the effects of traffic on arrival times. All arrival times are tracked and information is available to the public.

Geography: SF has a unique set of problems with geography, hills, narrow roads, winding roads, etc. that make the job of fighting fires more challenging. Trucks must carry huge heavy loads of water because not all fire hydrants are working of available.

Bulbouts: are dangerous on a number of levels. The trucks are meant to be level to balance heavy loads. Trucks need 4″ high to roll over. Most are 6″ high. If SFMTA changes to 4″ they may rollover them, but the trucks are not level and the pedestrians must know to avoid being hit by trucks rolling over “pedestrian safe” bulbouts. This concerns fire department as it puts pedestrians at risk. Some hydrants were moved to accommodate bulbouts without their notice or approval and cannot be easily accessed.

Truck specifications: City is spending millions to replace trucks that were purchased around six years ago that don’t meet the new “Wiener” standards that require more narrow trucks for the narrowing lanes. Not all will be replaced so they will have a mix of trucks. (This makes for a more expensive repair shop, my comment)

Damages due to road conditions: All the trucks are susceptible to damage as they hit higher than 4″ bumps. New buses, ordered to specifications, are on order but will not be delivered for a while. They will have a better turning radius and a better fit for the narrow streets. Much of the ambulance equipment is delicate and easily damaged by flying over and landing after hitting a bump. The public may request reports and cost of repairs.

General Hospital: There were major designs changes after approval of the project. As we understand it, medians were approved based on ER the entrance on 23rd Street. At some point the entry was moved to 22nd street. The Fire department was not involved in that decision and no one looked at the medians in front of the 22nd Street entrance that are hampering the access for ambulances and ER vehicles.

Parking protected bike lanes: OSHA sets standards for workers safety around electric wires. Steel ladders cannot touch or be within 10 feet of those wires because they are high-voltage and may arc. Rain creates a particularly dangerous situation. Trucks have to balance their loads and extending ladders may require a space of up to 16 feet of open space on the opposite side of the ladder. Ladders need to be as vertical as possible to balance loads so they need to be as close as possible to the buildings where they are deployed. More details and more accurate information may be gleaned from the powerpoint presentation.

Incident counts: We understand the average counts of fires and incedents involving emergency vehicles is one significant fires per day and around 700 ambulance calls a day, so emergencies are not rare. Some neighborhoods experience a lot more than others.

Fire Truck and Engine Maneuvers on Potrero prior to the medians and other street obstacles.

Come tell the SFMTA what you want them to do about Mission Street

Join the Merchants who are protesting the Red Carpet Bombing of Mission Street and tell the Supervisors to StopSFMTA from expanding their business killing plans to other neighborhoods.

PUBLIC MEETING Monday, June 21
2868 Mission Street, (24th and 25th )
at the Mission Cultural Center

Bring your Mission Street concerns to the SFMTA and let them know how you feel about the red carpet bomb on Mission Street.
The SFMTA has set it up as a community hearing with speaker cards so that they could document feedback and incorporate into any revisions of the program: See you Monday.

flyer below that you can share.

Use the 311 system to file an official complaint with any of the City Departments.
  You can either call 311 and speak to an operator or to file a complaint online to get it entered into the record. Here’s the link to the online complaint forms. Go to this page and scroll down it to find the form for your complaint:
All feedback is linked to the 311 system and offers you a referral number, which you can use to check on the status of your complaint.

What SFMTA staff CAN and CANNOT do without Board approval:

What CAN this SFMTA staff group do? The Staff: It appears all they can really do is recommend. They can also change the timing on the traffic signals and they can change some color curbs up to 20 feet long without a public hearing.

What MUST the Board do? SFMTA Board MUST approve removal of: stop signs, no left turns, bus zones, blue zones, towing no parking and stopping signs, required right turns. All of these changes take place at the SFMTA Board meetings. That is why we are taking our issues to the SFMTA Board meeting.

What CAN the Supervisors do? Supervisors can do a lot if 8 or them agree to make the change. A Supervisor may be able to do something about enforcement.

We  asked about enforcement for this Mission Street project:
SFMTA enforces double parking. PCO who directs traffic at forced right turn on Cesar Chavez. SFMTA enforces protection for street painters. Police Department handles the rest of the enforcement. A Supervisor may be able to do something about enforcement.

Save Our Streets

SaveSFBannerStop SFMTA from disrupting the traffic flowing from the Golden Gate Bridge down Lombard and Van Ness Ave.  Write letters to your City Representatives. Complain about the traffic. Tell them you blame the SFMTA and want them held accountable.
( Sample letter)

Major issues and complaints with the Lombard/Chestnut plans apply to Van Ness, Mission, Potrero, 16th Street, Market Street, Geary, Masonic, 19th Ave., and many others. Help the Lombard Corridor Coalition preserve Lombard and Chestnut and oppose the following:

  • Lane reductions
  • Bus Stop reductions
  • Bus Stops in front of driveways
  • Parking removal
  • Loading space removal
  • Privatizing public streets
  • Extended tow-away zones
  • Extended bus tech zones
  • Tech bus stops
  • Bulbouts
  • Forced turns

These projects involve slowing cross-town traffic as it  enters the city from the Golden Gate Bridge emptying onto Lombard and Chestnut. We have seen no studies of the cumulative effects of slowing traffic on these two streets located within 20 feet of each other.

The Marina Cow Hollow neighbors and merchants will take the lead against SFMTA plans to slow traffic coming off the bridges and moving through the city on our arterial streets that are a part of Federal and State Highways 101 and 280 at the March 15th MTA Board Meeting.

We encourage everyone to come and complain about the situation in your neighborhood and demand a hearing on the SFMTA street projects that are crippling our city, stealing funds from Muni operations and maintenance, driving up fares, and destroying what is left of trust in our city government.

We have witnessed major negative impacts on businesses all over town resulting from lane reductions, parking shortages and difficulty with pickup and deliveries, and servicing accounts.  Some neighborhood merchants have experienced a 40% drop in revenues since the SFMTA completed their streets.

We invite you to send in your comments and show up at the SFMTA Board meetings to speak during public comment.


Support Our Van Ness Appeal And Save Money, Tress, and Historic Lamp Poles

There is a very important hearing and vote that will come before the Board of Appeals on Wednesday, 1/13/16, 5 p.m. at SF City Hall, Room 416. Can you support our Appeal? Please email TODAY!! We need supporters who can contribute to our efforts, as well as speakers to deliver a prepared message.

It involves the beautiful historic Civic Center District on Van Ness Avenue. This Appeal challenges a recent decision to remove trees, living on Van Ness Avenue since the 1950’s, and 140 historic trolley/lamp poles that were put up for the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition. 34 are in the historic Civic Center District. There are some other unique historic features that should be retained as well.

We are awaiting a separate decision on the fate of the remainder of the 195 trees along Van Ness. That decision will almost certainly have to be appealed also. Watch for another update on this soon.

Please note, the Mayor recently requested that all departments spend less money. Leaving the trees and lampost as they are will cost nothing and save the city millions of dollars it doesn’t have.