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.

YIMBYs: The “Alt-Right” Darlings of the Real Estate Industry

By Toshio Meronek and Andrew Szeto : Truthout – excerpt

Shuttle buses and red lanes obstructing traffic on our streets is just one of the many indications of the economic “progress” is being stamped on the streets of our quaint SF neighborhoods. It is hard to imagine how slowing traffic that is already crawling is going to make people safer.  photos by zrants.

In San Francisco’s Mission District, flyers pasted on mailboxes and light poles warn longtime residents of the new “conquistadores,” the hordes of wealthy tech industrialists who’ve descended on the neighborhood en masse over the past few years, displacing many in the Latinx-heavy neighborhood to the outer reaches of the Bay Area.

But it’s not just lower-income people who are feeling set upon. Rich newcomers also see themselves as an interest group in need of a voice. “Someone needs to represent people who haven’t yet moved into a neighborhood,” said pro-development activist Sonja Trauss, who moved to Oakland in 2011, at an April real estate industry soiree in Vancouver. In San Francisco, “the people who haven’t yet moved in” most often means the tech industrialists, lured by high salaries, stock options and in-office employee benefits like massage therapists and handcrafted kombucha.

But these new tech “immigrants,” as Trauss refers to her kinfolk, spell disaster for current San Franciscans. In 2015, the city-funded homeless count found 71 percent of homeless San Franciscans were housed in San Francisco before being pushed onto the streets…

A Campaign to Legitimize the Luxury Condo Boom

A founder of the web empire, Jeremy Stoppelman, bequeathed $100,000 upon new Oakland resident Trauss in 2015, with the stated goal of clearing the way for more housing units, even if those units were only accessible to the richest of the rich. That investment helped to spark a libertarian, anti-poor campaign to turn longtime sites of progressive organizing into rich-people-only zones…

A Grassroots Facade…

YIMBY brings together community groups, advocates, and grassroots organizations,” reads the Toronto YIMBY Party’s website. But North America’s first YIMBY convening, YIMBY2016, was funded by groups, such as the National Association of Realtors and the Boulder Area Realtor Association…

Are the people-of-color-led community groups like Causa Justa that supported a moratorium on luxury condo construction “just as bad” as anti-immigrant Trump supporters? Trauss thinks so, calling people who didn’t support new market-rate condo projects in central San Francisco “nativists” because they don’t welcome with open arms the construction cranes building lavish condos with butterfly gardens and valet parking in traditionally working-class neighborhoods… (more)

The BARFERs (Ms. Stauss YIMBIEs are known as BARFERs) got in trouble when they used the term “nativists” at a Board of Supervisors hearing after Trump was elected. None of the supervisors appreciated that moniker and the project Ms. Strauss was supporting has been radically changed. It is slated to be a temporary homeless shelter.

Deadly Neoliberal Policies

Infill, with its self-aware, geek-chic name, is the podcast that Trauss co-hosts with another YIMBY-to-watch, Laura Foote Clark. When Truthout asked for evidence that the YIMBY trickle-down model would benefit people who aren’t making tech salaries, Foote Clark was quick to send a dozen papers that claim to show how neoliberal deregulation will end the housing crisis, and that rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…(more – Leave comments here if you can.)

This fresh look at San Francisco politics on the national stage contains helpful new observations and about our political divide. Most people want to same thing, they just disagree about how to get there.

“…rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…”

The above statement is evidence of a misplaced jealousy of people who own homes, and a misunderstanding of the concept of liquid assets, true values, and security. People who own homes are just as stuck as people who rent. The only thing they have going for them is a little more control over their finances until they lose their source of income and are foreclosed on if they bought into an equity loan scheme.

If you do sell your home to realize an increase in equity value, where do you move? You can hardly afford to trade up in the market.

One of the major things that sets Yimbies apart from the rest of us is that along with a strong sense of jealousy, they live in the perfect future while the rest of us live in the present. Waiting for the world to turn into a perfect vision is not something that appeals to people who live in the present. We built the city to live in, not as a get rich scheme.

The amazing thing is that WE are accused of being the obstructionists, while THE YIMBIEs and BARFERs, along with SFMTA and SPUR are the real obstructionists. They are creating havoc on our streets impeding our movement, while claiming we are impeding their ability to stop us.

Everyone does agree on some things. We have too many homeless on our streets and we need to enforce the eviction laws to keep people in their homes. The entire Board of Supervisors are intent on fixing that problem.

Speed Camera Pilot Program in San Francisco and San Jose was stopped by people in Southern California

Thanks for your help!

WE STOPPED THE SPEED CAMERA BILL AB-342, AUTHORED BY DAVID CHIU THIS YEAR, BUT IT WILL RETURN. If you haven’t yet,  SIGN THE PETITION. has a full explanation of the bill, a petition to sign, and phone numbers of legislators to call. Call David Chiu at (916) 319-2017 and tell him you don’t appreciate him introducing legislation that takes away your rights!

Assemblymember David Chiu from San Francisco has introduced legislation to allow speed cameras to be used in California for the first time. The bill, AB-342 does not simply allow enforcement of speed laws using an automated enforcement system rather than a live police officer.

AB-342 drastically changes California speed laws and enforcement in very negative ways. While some might view the use of speed cameras as a tool in promoting roadway safety,

AB-342 is seriously flawed. It eliminates virtually all current protections afforded to motorists in speed related cases and allows jurisdictions to run speed traps in their cities, ensuring that the program will be used as a revenue generation scheme, not for public safety.

AB-342 makes the vehicle owner responsible for speeding tickets and takes away a defendant’s right to a trial. Instead, the ticket is treated as a civil violation which will be adjudicated in an administrative hearing without traditional due process rights.

Now sign the Petition to Protect Your Rights! Tell David Chiu you don’t appreciate his legislation that takes away your right to a trial, makes you responsible for the actions of others, and eliminates protections against cities running speed traps.

Shuttle Bus Petition


Shuttles on 24th Street at rush hour

We the undersigned request that the City and County of San Francisco institute measures to relieve traffic congestion and mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the Commuter Shuttle Program. We urge the exploration and adoption of alternative transport modes, such as the use of smaller, more efficient vehicles and ride-share platforms, the consolidation of bus routes, and the wider dispersal of the traffic presently concentrated on a narrow selection of over-burdened streets… (sign here)

Please support this petition if you don’t want this coming to your streets. It is out of control in Noe Valley and many other neighborhoods. The plan comes up for review around the end of March. Get to your supervisor about it before then.

Shuttle bus facts:

  • There is no Environmental Review and that is the problem.  The reference is to the “HUB” Study written by MTA and the SFCTA utilizing the SFChamp Transportation model.   The HUB Study was published in November 2016.
  • The SF CHAMP model was based on assumptions (surveys, studies) 10 to 15 years old.  The HUB study was unable to collect current salary information, travel distance, (only zones on the Peninsula).  The Millbrae BART option was discounted because it was not in SF although it has ten bus bays available.
  • The Bottom line, Retaining the One Seat Commute (in a half empty commuter bus) is the objective of the Bay Area Council justifying the reduction of drive alone autos.  The assumption of drive alone is questionable since many young people do not own autos and rely on Uber/Lyft.

Details of the Taraval “improvements”


The Supervisors to contact about this plan are:
D-7 Supervisor Eric Mar:

D-4 Supervisor Katy Tang:

Hello Supporters of Keeping Our L Taraval Stops:
Here are some of the “Improvements” coming to Taraval and how you can comment on them. 

Many of you have : seen the signs posted on various corners and the big electric signs flashing that changes are coming.  We wanted to update you on he details so you will know what to expect on Taraval Street and where you may go to comment on them:

SPUR Talk: Update on Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit

by Roger Rudick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

cta-580x423The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (CTA), along with SFMTA, is completing its final environmental review for “Bus Rapid Transit” and other street improvements on Geary. Last week, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) held an update/discussion about this busy corridor.

As many Streetsblog readers already know, the planned improvements are primarily in response to the overcrowding on the 38 bus, which runs the length of Geary to downtown San Francisco. “At 52,000 daily riders, it’s pretty crammed,” said Colin Dental-Post, Transportation Planner with CTA. “They’re stuck in traffic, so adding additional buses doesn’t necessarily work out…buses are so frequent they just bunch up…which results in further delays.”…

Construction is slated to begin some improvements as early as next year, start major construction in 2019, and take about two years to complete…(more)

Geary BRT reached an important milestone on October 2, 2015, with the release of the project’s draft environmental document. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in partnership with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) describing an analysis of the expected project benefits and impacts for four design alternatives, including one that has been identified as the staff-recommended alternative (SRA). To access the Draft EIS/EIR please visit the Draft EIS/EIR download page.  MUNI BRT sales pitch

Why does Muni Silence the Community? SFCTA denied the public (the right to speak) because their plan does not hold up to public scrutiny. Many public statements are online here:
and here: SaveGearyBlvd

The Small Business Owners oppose the Geary BRT
The SF Small Business Commission passed a resolution at its Jan. 29 meeting calling for an economic impact study to be conducted as part of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning process…
Geary area merchants and many residents fear the construction and elimination of vehicle lanes on Geary will choke the neighborhood. The coalition resolution complained that the current San Francisco Transportation Authority plan for the Geary project states it will not include an economic assessment “at this stage.” That will be considered at a later time in the Environmental Impact Report, the plan says… (more)

Keep Our L Taraval Stops

Keep Our L Taraval Stops
September 20 at 1:00 pm
Room 400 City Hall SFMTA Board Meeting Hearing
Up for Approval: Making Taraval Safer and Better for Muni Riders

The neighbors and Riders oppose many aspects of this project and request your help in making this a temporary pilot project:

Hello Supporters of Keeping Our L Taraval Stops,

Below are links to the staff’s presentation to the SFMTA Board of Directors for their meeting on Tuesday September 20 at 1 pm. at City Hall Room 400. All of the arguments that we made at the July 22 Public Hearing were rejected, and the staff rebutted each of our arguments, and specifically discussed on pp. 22-23 why the stops at 17th, 24th inbound, and 28 should be removed.  If you are interested, you can skim through the presentation to see what they said about the items that interest you, and you can rebut it in your emailed public comment if you want.
Staff Report PDF
Slide Presentation PDF


1.  Please make every effort to attend the meeting on September 20 at 1:00 pm in City Hall, Room 400.  We are the only item on the regular agenda and should come up by 1:30 or 2.  The staff will present the Project, and then we will make our public comments.  We will be allowed to speak only 1-2 minutes.  We need the largest turnout possible to have an affect on the Board’s vote.  Let us know if you can attend.

2.  Email a public comment, even if you are attending the meeting.  We found out that If emailed by Monday noon, the Board members will receive it in time, but the sooner they receive the emails, the more time they will have to read them. Sample letter

3.  Forward this email and the l-taraval-save-our-stops-postcard-for-9-20-board-meeting-jpeg to your friends and family members, post the relevant information on Facebook and your other social media sites, and encourage your friends/family to email the Board (with cc to us) and to attend the meeting on Tuesday September 20 if they can.

Thank you so much for your support.  We are all in this together, and we need your help now!

Paula Katz, Save Our L Taraval Stops!

SFMTA Charter Amendment for November Ballot

Yes on Prop L – MTA Appointments and Budget

Let City Hall know you are fed up with the SFMTA. Return the power to the people.  The amendment will split the MTA Board appointments between the Mayor and the Supervisors, 4 to 3 and lower the requirement to reject the SFMTA’s budget from 7 to 6 supervisors, putting the SFMTA management in line with other city departments, and making it easier for the Board of Supervisors to respond faster to voter requests. Ballot language.

They work for us. We don’t work for them.  The SFMTA is the one that needs to shift policies and goals, not the residents. San Francisco needs a transportation system that works today, not a plan for the future. We need a Board who listens to the public not one that dictates to us. Taking seats out of buses and removing bus stops will not help our aging population take public transportation.
Link to a Sample letter to the supervisors

Norman Yee’s Statement

Prop L Graphics

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.