Proposition I would overturn an ordinance that has closed John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park to most private motor vehicles seven days a week and closed the Great Highway along Ocean Beach to such traffic on weekends and holidays. The city would be forbidden from proceeding with plans to eventually close the Great Highway between Sloat and Skyline boulevards — a stretch that is subject to coastal erosion.
Nine years after becoming the first agency in the nation to legalize ride-hailing — and after thousands of publicized sexual assaults on Uber and Lyft rides — the California Public Utilities Commission for the first time is requiring the industry to adopt comprehensive measures to prevent such attacks.
In a previously unreported vote last month, the commission issued a decision requiring that all ride-hailing firms train drivers to avoid sexual assault and harassment, adopt procedures for investigating complaints and use uniform terminology in their annual reports to the agency so it can accurately monitor them.
The state agency responsible for ensuring that rides with Uber and Lyft are safe has acknowledged that it failed to consistently monitor passenger complaints about rapes and assaults for years. The California Public Utilities Commission confirmed in an unpublicized ruling that it had let the ride-hailing giants use varying definitions of sexual assault and harassment in their mandatory reports to the agency since at least 2017.
Two key elected officials have criticized the California Public Utilities Commission’s inconsistent collection of information on passenger complaints about assaults and threats on Uber and Lyft rides and called for reforms. A leading researcher on sexual assault added that the commission’s methodology was out of line with accepted practice and that it suggested a “lack of concern” about monitoring the incidents.
The agency responsible for regulating the ride-hailing industry in California has failed to collect consistent data on complaints of assaults, threats and harassment on Uber and Lyft rides, a San Francisco Public Press investigation found.
As public transportation advocates and officials mark Transit Month in San Francisco and encourage riders to return to buses and trains, they are grappling with the reality that Muni needs, and has long needed, additional robust and long-term funding to meet the city’s transit demands.
Marg Gruberg, a San Francisco taxi driver since 1983 and a board member of the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance, talked with “Civic” about what this has meant for cab drivers and how he and others have stayed busy with advocacy even if they haven’t been driving in the pandemic.
Sean Nozzari, deputy director of traffic operations for the California Department of Transportation in the Bay Area told “Civic” that when the spring 2020 lockdown began, “the amount of travel initially dropped maybe 80%. But it started building up, and around December of 2020 it started going up steadily to a point that the amount of travel that takes place on our freeways is pretty much about what we had before.”
This year’s civil grand jury, a volunteer government oversight body, chose to focus one of its reports on the Van Ness Improvement Project to try to get a clear picture of what happened. Juror Judy Sanderlin detailed some of the findings of the report, titled “Van Ness Avenue: What Lies Beneath,” on “Civic.”
Ridership on BART is slowly returning at about 20% of pre-pandemic levels. Starting next week the transit agency will begin adding trains with a return to a near normal train schedule by August 30. “Civic” learns more about BART’s plans, ongoing budget problems, new trains, the homeless and how BART is prepared for a mass shooting like the one at a light rail yard in San Jose last month.