Friday San Francisco News Roundup
BART TRANSBAY CLOSURE TO AFFECT 80,000 WEEKEND RIDERS
Plans to head across the bay this weekend? Unfortunately, Saturday and Sunday commuters will have to count BART out as a transit option.
BART will be halting service from its West Oakland Station to the Embarcadero station in San Francisco and vice versa all day this Saturday and Sunday for critical track maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. The West Oakland BART will also be completely closed during that time, according to BART officials.
Closures will be in effect from the end of service on Friday, and Monday service is scheduled to resume as usual.
BART officials estimate that approximately 80,000 riders who rely on BART to travel across the bay during the weekend will be affected. The California Highway Patrol said that motorists can expect more cars on the road and additional congestion throughout the Bay Area.
The Oakland A’s will be hosting two home games at the O.co Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday. A’s officials are encouraging attendees to consider other modes of transit that will be available, including the ferries and the AC Transit bus service. In addition, the Oakland Art + Soul Festival and the 42nd Annual Nihonmachi Street Fair in San Francisco falls on this weekend, as well as the Oakland Jazz Festival in Hayward on Saturday.
While transportation will be limited with the scheduled BART closures, other public transit routes are planning on accommodating their schedules to the BART closures.
The San Francisco Bay Ferry will be doubling its usual weekend service on the Alameda/Oakland/San Francisco route and enhance service on the Vallejo/San Francisco route, according to San Francisco Bay Ferry officials.
However, ferry riders are encouraged to arrive early and have alternate back-up plans as it is unknown what the rider volume will be, ferry officials said in a statement.
BART will also be running a free AC Transit bus bridge between the 19th Street Bart Station in Oakland and the Transbay Temporary Terminal in San Francisco, which is a couple of blocks from BART’s Embarcadero station, BART officials said. However, BART officials estimate taking the bus bridge will be one to two hours longer than the regular BART commute and that the bus bridge is intended only as a last resort for those with no other options.
Access to the West Grand Avenue on-ramps to Interstate Highway 580 will be restricted to buses only, CHP officials said in a statement.
The California Highway Patrol is encouraging motorists to plan ahead and allow for additional travel time or considering alternate routes that avoid the Bay Bridge or the San Mateo Bridge. This weekend, it will be important for drivers to ensure that vehicles have enough fuel in case of delays and that they are in working order, to prevent accidents and further delays, according to CHP.
CHP officials also suggest that if a trip across the bay is non-essential that commuters reschedule their plans to another weekend.
The Transbay Tube is also planning another scheduled closure Sept. 5-7, according to BART officials.
ELDERLY MAN DIES AFTER ALLEGED ASSAULT BY MAN WHO DIED IN SFPD CUSTODY
A man who died in police custody in San Francisco’s Marina District Thursday morning after allegedly fleeing a crash was being sought in connection with a brutal attack on a 96-year-old man in the Graton area of Sonoma County, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Filimoni Raiyawa, 57, was wanted by the sheriff’s office in connection with an assault reported around 5 a.m. Thursday at a home in the 13000 block of Dupont Road in Sonoma County.
Someone at the home called for an ambulance and reported that the 97-year-old resident had suffered a fall, Sonoma County sheriff’s Lt. Carlos Basurto said.
The victim’s injuries were found to be suspicious, and sheriff’s deputies determined the victim had been badly beaten with an unknown object, Basurto said.
The victim suffered serious head injuries and was taken to a hospital. He is not expected to survive, according to San Francisco police.
Raiyawa, the elderly man’s caretaker, had fled the victim’s residence in a light blue Honda Odyssey van with California plate No. 3VWY823, Basurto said.
At about 5:30 a.m., Raiyawa drove into San Francisco and was involved in a collision and then an encounter with police officers.
San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said that around 5:30 a.m., police received a 911 call reporting aggressive behavior by a motorist following a collision at Richardson Avenue and Francisco Street.
While en route to the scene, officers learned that a driver had rear-ended another driver. Suhr said that immediately after the crash, the driver of the rear-ended vehicle got out of his vehicle to discuss the crash with the other
But when he approached the vehicle, the driver of the rear vehicle was “seated, transfixed, looking forward, hands on the steering wheel, the airbag had been deployed and he was speaking something about God, God’s will,
things about God,” Suhr said.
The forward driver became scared and backed away. The rear driver then exited the vehicle and started going after the forward driver, Suhr said. The rear-ended driver ran away and called 911.
Minutes later, two female police officers located the man about five blocks away from the crash, at Lombard and Pierce streets, and attempted to make contact with him.
Suhr said the suspect then struck one of the officers on her head and shoulders, knocking her to the ground and “nearly unconscious.”He then struck the other officer, injuring her knees, legs and wrist.
The suspect then attempted to enter an IHOP located at the intersection via an exit-only door. He began pounding on the door, but none of the restaurant employees would let him in, according to Suhr.
Additional officers responded and just outside the Surf Motel, a struggle ensued, he said. The suspect was taken to the ground in handcuffs. He was breathing and talking to the officers while on the ground, but within minutes he went into distress and stopped breathing, according to Suhr.
Officers rendered CPR and first aid until paramedics took over and ultimately pronounced the man dead at the scene. The cause of his death has not been determined, police said.
Suhr said the suspect was unarmed and police did not use their firearms, but one of the female officers did deploy a collapsible baton.
Both officers who were injured this morning have been released from the hospital and are recovering, Suhr said. Both female officers and all officers who had contact with the suspect will be placed on administrative leave during the investigation, per department protocol.
Suhr said the names of the officers would likely be released to the public within a week.
APPEALS COURT DISMISSES CITY’S LAWSUIT AGAINST FEDERAL PIPELINE SAFETY AGENCY
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit in which the city of San Francisco claimed a federal pipeline safety agency failed to enforce safety standards for natural gas pipelines in California.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on behalf of San Francisco in 2012 in the wake of the fatal PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010.
Eight people died and 66 others were injured in the explosion of a high-pressure natural gas transmission pipeline and the ensuing fire.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, claimed the federal agency “abjectly failed” in its duty to oversee the California Public Utilities Commission’s enforcement of pipeline safety regulations within the state.
In Thursday’s decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco unanimously said the city didn’t have the authority to sue the federal agency.
It said the U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act allows citizens or public entities to file lawsuits only against utilities accused of violating the law, and not against the federal regulatory agency.
The court also rejected a second argument in which the city argued the federal agency violated an administrative procedures law. The panel said the U.S. agency had the discretion to decide when to dispute a state agency’s enforcement of safety standards.
Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas wrote, “San Francisco has presented very troubling allegations about the (federal) agency’s approach to monitoring the CPUC’s regulation of intrastate pipelines.
“However, we have no authority to compel agency action merely because the agency is not doing something we may think it should do,” Thomas wrote.
Herrera spokesman Matt Dorsey said, “We’re disappointed with the decision. But even in a ruling that didn’t go our way, the 9th Circuit conceded that San Francisco’s concerns about pipeline safety were legitimate.
“We can hope this outcome highlights the need for regulatory and policy changes,” Dorsey said.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion in San Bruno was caused by a rupture in a defective seam
weld in a pipeline segment that was incorrectly listed in PG&E records as seamless.
The appeals court judges noted in Thursday’s ruling that the NTSB also found that contributing factors included “regulatory provisions exempting the ruptured pipeline from pressure testing requirements (and) the CPUC’s failure to detect PG&E’s inadequate safety program.”
CYCLISTS STOP TO PROTEST SFPD CRACKDOWN
A mass of bicyclists blocked traffic during the first-ever “wiggle stop-in” on the popular bike route in San Francisco’s Lower Haight and Duboce Triangle neighborhoods during the evening commute Wednesday to protest the Police Department’s enforcement of a law requiring cyclists to come toa full stop at stop signs.
The stop-in led to significant traffic delays in the area as cyclists waited their turns at all the stop signs on the route.Streets that make up the “wiggle” bike path, including Duboce Avenue, Scott Street, Waller Street, Pierce Street and Haight Street, had traffic at a standstill beginning around 5:30 p.m.
The protest was organized by members of the group The Wigg Party who describe themselves as “urban sustainability guerrillas” and said their hope is to change the law to not require cyclists to come to a complete stop.
The group said additional “wiggle stop-in” events might be necessary to get the point across. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is also pushing back against a crackdown by the San Francisco Police Department’s Park Station officers on bicyclists who flout the rules of the road.
The SFPD’s Park Station has stated that their officers will be on the lookout for bicyclists in violation of the rules of the road.
According to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this crackdown is a “significant departure from the SFPD’s Vision Zero Commitment” and argues that the crackdown “risks lives by diverting resources away from the deadliest traffic violations.”
Vision Zero was adopted in San Francisco last year and aims to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities in the city by 2024. Chris Cassidy, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s communications director, said the crackdown would be at odds with Vision Zero, which is why the bicycle coalition has launched a petition to stop the Park Station from moving forward with it.
Police Chief Greg Suhr said hours prior to the bike-in that stopping at stop signs is still the law in San Francisco and needs to be enforced, but he noted that less than 1 percent of all citations go to cyclists.
Suhr said just in driving around the city, he has noticed that “there are not a lot of bicyclists who stop really when they’re supposed to stop. And unfortunately, we do have a certain amount of bicyclists get injured as they don’t stop or they go the wrong way.”
Suhr said bicycles are considered vehicles and need to follow the rules of the road.”I think the bicyclists sometimes are seriously injured or killed and they’re the party most at fault,” Suhr said.
Mayor Ed Lee shared Suhr’s view, expressing support for the Police Department’s decision to enforce the law on cyclists, as well as motorists.
IMMIGRANT ADVOCATE PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN SEN. FEINSTEIN’S OFFICE
Eight people who chained themselves together in the lobby of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco office Thursday afternoon have been arrested, event organizers said.
Luis Ojeda, an activist with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, said that eight activists were arrested in Feinstein’s office at 1 Post St. at about 12:45 p.m.
The activists were rallying with dozens of others in opposition to what they say is the senator’s support of anti-immigration legislation following a homicide San Francisco’s Pier 14 earlier this month allegedly at the hands of a Mexican national.
Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old Pleasanton native, was killed in the shooting on July 1.Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who has been charged with murder in Steinle’s death, was previously deported from the U.S. five times and had a criminal history including seven prior felony convictions.
Lopez-Sanchez was released from San Francisco County Jail prior to the shooting despite a federal immigration detainer request.
San Francisco has a “sanctuary city” policy that prohibits law enforcement personnel from detaining someone on the basis of an immigration detainer request whenthey would otherwise be eligible for release from custody.
Feinstein in an open letter to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee earlier this month said Steinle’s death was preventable and urged the city to participate in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new Priority Enforcement Program, which was created as part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration in November 2014.
Feinstein said in the letter that additional federal legislation on the issue may be necessary.Organizers of Thursday’s protest said in a statement that Feinstein plans to introduce legislation that will “undermine trust in law enforcement and cause serious civil rights violations.”
WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
Today will be mostly cloudy. Highs will be in the mid 60s. Southwest winds could reach 5 to 15 miles per hour.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy. Lows could drop to the upper 50s. Southwest winds could reach 10 to 15 miles per hour.
Saturday will be mostly cloudy in the morning before becoming partly cloudy. Highs will be in mid to upper 60s. Southwest winds could reach 5 to 10 miles per hour.