To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Friday, August 8, 2014

Uber and Lyft Take a Step Toward Real Ride-Sharing


By Tanya Snyder, August 8, 2014

Uber and Lyft have set out to upend the taxi industry in American cities. But are they the traffic-busting “ride-sharing” services they’re often portrayed to be? Not really: Using an app to hail a driver and take you where you’re going isn’t fundamentally different than any traditional for-hire vehicle service.

Share this car with another passenger and save some money. Now that's ride-sharing. Photo: ##https://www.flickr.com/people/raidokaldma/##Flickr/Raido Kaldma##
Lyft is testing out a service in San Francisco that will let customers making similar trips share a vehicle. 

But both Uber and Lyft are getting closer to genuine ride-sharing through the new Lyft Line and UberPool services.

In the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo notes that Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer consider the Lyft Line launch to be a direct response to criticisms that the company doesn’t really reduce the number of cars on the road. Green also told Manjoo that he sees the service as one people will use for daily commuting, not just special occasions.

Both Lyft Line and UberPool will still use the company’s licensed drivers, as opposed to a ride-sharing service in which the passenger and the driver are matched because they happen to be going to the same place at the same time. The new part, though, is that if you use Lyft Line or UberPool instead of the regular services, you’re authorizing the companies to look for another passenger along your same general route. Incentives align neatly: Each passenger pays less than if they had gone solo, the driver makes more, and the company can get more customers even if its fleet stays the same size.

In Uber’s announcement of the project, the company boasts that fares could go down by as much as 40 percent compared to uberX fares. Both services will provide fare discounts for passengers who sign up, regardless of whether they get matched, for being willing to share.
Neither carpool app will be rolled out on a wide scale for some time. Lyft Line is starting just in San Francisco and only on Apple devices; UberPool is still in “private beta.”

California Bill Would Remove Legal Loophole for Hit-and-Run Drivers


By Melanie Curry, August 7, 2014

Assemblymember Steven Bradford
 California Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena)

The California Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill next week from Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) that would close a loophole in state law that allows some hit-and-run perpetrators to avoid criminal prosecution.

Current law requires any driver involved in a collision that results in injury, death, or property damage to stop and provide contact information to the victim or to police at the scene of the crash. But if the driver later returns, and eventually works out a civil agreement with the victim, the court can drop misdemeanor hit-and-run charges. Bradford’s bill, A.B. 2673, would remove that option when a hit-and-run causes injury or death.

“Hit-and-run crimes are a particularly dangerous offense, and they are on the upswing,” Bradford wrote in a press release. “A person involved in an accident who refuses to even stop poses a great danger to society and they should not be able to buy their way out of facing punishment for endangering the public. Writing a check may clear a dangerous driver’s conscience, but it should not automatically clear their record.”

The bill is sponsored by the Los Angeles City Attorney, which wrote in support:
Many of the misdemeanor hit-and-run cases … filed in the LA City Attorney’s Office were resolved through the use of civil compromise. Often the consequences agreed to under civil compromise were no different than if a driver had not left the scene after a collision. Motorists that flee the scene of a traffic collision commit a crime against the public as well against the other motorist.
California Walks fully supports the bills addressing hit-and-run collisions that are currently working their way through the legislature, said Deputy Director Tony Dang. “Strengthening the consequences for hit-and-runs makes it crystal clear that driving is a privilege — one that could and should be taken away when a driver recklessly disregards a human life behind the wheel.”

Dang pointed out that pedestrians and bicyclists made up 53 percent of all fatal and severe injury hit-and-run collisions in California, according statistics from 2011. In L.A. County, the figure is 64 percent.

“This aligns with overall trends where we are seeing collisions decreasing, but the pedestrian and bicycle share of collisions is increasing,” he said. “We know that people walking and biking disproportionately face death or serious injury in hit-and-run collisions.”

Three other bills addressing hit-and-run crashes await end-of-session votes from the Senate Appropriations Committee before heading to the Senate floor.

Two of the other bills are from Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles): A.B. 1532, which would raise fines for hit-and-run convictions, and A.B. 47, which would create a statewide alert system to help authorities quickly find vehicles involved in hit-and-run collisions. Assemblymember Eric Linder (R-Corona) also introduced A.B. 2337, which would extend the length of mandatory license suspensions for leaving the scene of a crash from one to two years.

In addition, Gatto’s A.B. 184 was signed into law last year, extending the statute of limitations on prosecuting hit-and-run cases to six years from three.

California Legislation Watch: Weekly Update


By Melanie Curry, August 8, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 4.34.24 PM

Here is Streetsblog’s weekly highlight of California legislation related to sustainable transportation.
The legislature just came back from its August recess and spent the week catching up on its to-do list. The next few weeks will see a flurry of bills being voted on—and amended—before the session deadline on August 31.

LOS gone from CEQA: Big news! California is taking a big step away from wholly car-centric planning measures. Jarrett Walker calls it the toppling of a tyrant. Earlier this week, a bit after its July 1 deadline, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research published its draft recommendation to replace Level of Service (LOS) standards with Vehicle Miles Traveled under the California Environmental Quality Act. A 45-day public comment period just started, so if you have something to add to the conversation, say it by 5 p.m., October 10: CEQA.guidelines@ceres.ca.gov.
School zones treated as safety zones: S.B. 1151 from Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres) flew through the Appropriations Committee Wednesday and is headed to a vote by the full Assembly. The bill would raise the fines for infractions and moving violations within school zones. Any funds generated would go into the state’s Active Transportation Program.

Gas price scare tactics: A.B. 69, the attempt by Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno) to delay the application of cap-and-trade emission limits to fuels, has been causing a ruckus. The press has been covering the issue with uneven success; some completely missing the mark (including  this story claiming that the law requires a gasoline “tax” to go into effect as soon as the new year hits: wrong). State Air Resources Board (CARB) chair Mary Nichols last week responded to a letter from Perea [PDF], emphasizing that any gas price volatility would likely  be less than what California consumers experience regularly.

Meanwhile the Legislative Analyst Office sent Perea’s office its analysis of the possible price effects of bringing fuels into the cap-and-trade program [PDF]. The LAO put its estimate of gas price increases—resulting from oil companies passing on the costs of cap-and-trade, NOT because they would be required to charge consumers more money—at between 13 and 20 cents per gallon by 2020 (and maybe as high as 50 cents). However, the letter continues, if fuels are not made subject to cap-and-trade, hypothetical alternative strategies might have a similar effect on gas prices. It also notes:
Even if cap-and-trade leads to a large price increase, it might be difficult to distinguish this increase from other fluctuations in gasoline prices. For example, a price increase of 60 cents per gallon of gasoline—an increase larger than many of the estimates we reviewed—would be smaller than the difference between the highest and lowest weekly gasoline prices observed in 2013.