Events, News & Blog

San Francisco gets $15 million federal grant to start sprucing up Market Street

Author J.K. Dineen

The long-anticipated overhaul of San Francisco’s Market Street has received a push forward in the form of a $15 million grant from the federal government.

On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation announced the city would receive $15 million for the first phase of Better Market Street, a $604 million project that will bring pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation improvements to 2.2 miles of Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and the Embarcadero.

Phase one of the project will cost $71.5 million and will focus on the stretch of Market Street between Sixth and Eighth streets. Improvements in this phase will include roadway resurfacing, streetcar track replacement, new and upgraded traffic signals, and a new F-line streetcar turnaround loop at McAllister and Seventh streets.

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Breaking: Protected Bike Lanes on Valencia Approved

By Kristen Leckie on December 4, 2018

Safety can’t wait on Valencia Street.

That was the message we made clear at the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board meeting this afternoon, backed by 40 speakers and following nearly 500 submitted letters of support. Our urgent calls for change made a difference, as the SFMTA Board unanimously approved protected bike lanes on Valencia between Market and 15th streets.

Powerful testimony was shared over nearly two hours of public comment on this item. Our community organizer, Andy Gonzalez Cabrera, shared a story from streetside outreach where they connected with a man who bikes here every day but was injured after being doored. Speaking in only Spanish, he told Andy how he struggled to communicate with the driver because of language differences. When others stopped to see if he needed to go to the hospital, he refused because he didn’t have health insurance and didn’t want the police to show up.

A wide range of people spoke, including a sixth-grader from Friends School, parents who bike with their children on Valencia, and many people who have been hit by drivers while biking along this corridor.

At the end of the day, these are the people who are impacted when the City delays action for street safety, and that’s why we mobilized and showed up in numbers to make this protected bike lane a reality.

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Last engine of ‘Crookedest Railroad in the World’ coming back to the mountain


Engine No. 9, the last remaining piece from the fabled “Crookedest Railroad in the World” that once climbed Mount Tamalpais, is back in the Bay Area and on its way to a new home in Marin County.

The 98-year-old steam locomotive had been on display in the Humboldt County logging town of Scotia since 1953. A group of Marin residents purchased No. 9 at auction and earlier this week loaded it onto a flatbed truck and moved it to a ranch in Sonoma County.

There they plan to rehabilitate the engine to museum quality and display it somewhere along the old railroad line that ran 8.19 miles and 2,400 feet from Mill Valley to the summit of Mount Tamalpais.

The railroad, which had 281 curves, advertised itself as “The Crookedest Railroad in the World” and was a noted attraction in the early days of tourism in Northern California.

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Press Release: New ARB Report Finds California Regions are Falling Short on Climate Goals, as Pollution from Driving Increases

This new State report delivers the bad news:  greenhouse gases are still increasing in California.  And additional highways are still being funded.  Rail transit and bicycle paths need to be prioritized.

Author Ella Wise|

Sacramento—Today the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a new report finding that California regions are not on track to meet either their 2020 or 2035 climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additional action from every level of government is required, including more investment in sustainable transportation and affordable homes near jobs and transit. The report can be downloaded here.

Each metropolitan region in the state has a plan, required by law, to reduce emissions by reducing the need to drive. However, the report finds that regions are failing to deliver on their plans. Part of regions’ failure is due to challenges beyond their control, such as limited state funding and local land use decisions. But regions continue to invest in highways, which results in more driving, not less.

“If we are going to meet California’s bold climate goals, we must hold ourselves accountable,” said State Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), who authored the law (SB 150) requiring the report. “To do that effectively we need to understand our progress through active monitoring and real-time data and be ready to make the changes needed to get us on target.”

“The largest source of carbon emissions in the state is growing: transportation,” said Victoria Rome, California Legislative Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Cleaner fuels and electric vehicles are crucial in slowing those emissions down but Californians also need options other than driving.

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Four new rail cars costing $11 million damaged upon delivery to SMART

Four new diesel rail cars Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit planned to put on the tracks in December to close a hole in its nightly weekday schedule arrived here from Japan damaged, delaying any schedule changes on the commuter rail line until at least the middle of next year.

SMART officials had hoped to incorporate the pair of two-train sets into its existing fleet of 14 cars to help address what it recognizes are shortcomings in existing service.

“We made good guesses what the schedule should look like,” Farhad Mansourian, SMART’s general manager, told the agency’s 12-member board earlier this month. “A year later, (we’re) getting great feedback from members of the public. We were all gunning to do all of this. Now we don’t have the vehicles.”

The new cars cost $11 million and were a separate purchase from an original $46 million order SMART placed with Nippon Sharyo in 2010. The company previously assembled the trains in Illinois, but the new cars were built at its factory in Toyokawa, Japan, before boating them to a port in Savannah, Georgia. From there, the 149-ton rail cars were shipped across the country aboard Union Pacific’s freight line.

Somewhere in transit, the cars were damaged when they arrived last month to the North Bay’s public rail agency — one set more than the other.

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