With the holiday season here, the Municipal Transportation Agency has paused some of the most visible and disruptive construction of the Central Subway in Union Square.
The long-closed stretch of Stockton Street between Geary and Market streets has been opened to relieve traffic – and pedestrian – congestion during the busy holiday shopping season.
But hey! What about us? say subway opponents and some business owners in North Beach and Chinatown…
No North Beach Dig held news conferences in Chinatown and North Beach on Tuesday to call for a holiday construction moratorium in North Beach as well, saying businesses near construction sites are seeing business drops as big as 50 to 70 percent during a busy time of the year, according to Howard Wong, another No North Beach Dig member.
“Union Square managed to get a moratorium and we did not,” Carnes said.
Not so, said Paul Rose, an MTA spokesman. All construction in North Beach was halted over Thanksgiving weekend, he said, and the same construction plan that pauses construction in Union Square for the holidays also stops work in the right-of-way at Columbus and Union streets in North Beach.
However, work in the parking lot of the Bank of America at 1455 Stockton St. and at the former site of the Pagoda Theatre at 1731-1741 Powell St., across the street from Washington Square, continue – with work hours extending to 11 p.m.
The complaining, of course, also continues… (more)
Along with the Hogwarts Express and Polar Express, California’s proposed High-Speed Rail line is quickly becoming one of the world’s most illustrious imaginary train lines.
A pair of rulings last week from a Sacramento judge potentially broke the back of the long-gestating, fantastically expensive train project; the state High-Speed Rail Authority was prevented from selling $8 billion in bonds, and also found to have no inkling how the $68 billion endeavor would be funded. Those crippling blows come on the heels of August rulings against the High-Speed Rail Authority for failing to pony up $25 billion in initial funding and neglecting to undertake onerous environmental studies over the course of hundreds of miles of potential tracks.
As a pot-sweetener for local transit agencies, along with the billions in state High-Speed Rail dollars voters approved in 2008, some $950 million was earmarked for regional projects providing “connectivity” to the future bullet train. Muni was allotted $61.3 million of that pile for work on the Central Subway project. In bagging that money, it executed a neat trick: It applied “connectivity” funds to a project critics claim actually reduces connectivity to the potential High-Speed Rail line — a line that, increasingly, seems fated to never exist beyond renderings, watercolors, and huge vats of receipts…
Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose blithely assures SF Weekly that last week’s legal stake through High-Speed Rail’s heart won’t affect the millions set aside locally to connect to the doomed line…
“The connectivity funds are already in hand,” continues Rose, “and the recent ruling will not have an impact on the Central Subway project.”
Being showered with scores of millions in state funds to provide less access to an imaginary railroad certainly sounds like something out of a fantasy. But it turns out that, not only is reality stranger than fiction — it’s more expensive, too… (more)
n a setback for progressive parking policy in San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors voted last week to eliminate the SFMTA’s ability to install any significant amount of new parking meters under a new five-year contract to upgrade existing meters… No supervisors opposed reducing the number of meters to be purchased in the contract. Supervisor John Avalos, who introduced the contract amendment, said the SFMTA is expected to allocate the 5,000 additional meters like so: 1,200 to replace meters on Port property, 2,800 to replace damaged meters, and 1,000 “to be used as a maintenance flow.”“There will be no expansion of meters,” said Avalos. “If that’s gonna happen, it’ll be another go-around from the MTA to describe how they will implement and with a lot of outreach to the public.”… As Radulovich noted in his letter, “limiting parking meters will mean more congestion, and more pollution.”… (more)
We won this battle, but we will have to watch for SFMTA’s next move. Send appreciative notes and letters to the Supervisors to let them know that we know they supported us this time. Be sure to report any new meters any reduction in parking due to tow away signs and other tricks they use to limit parking. We won the battle but there is much more to do.
I made the mistake when I was mayor of promising to “fix Muni” in 100 days. Now, Mayor Ed Lee has a task force that says it’s going to take another $10.1 billion to get the job done.
Yes, we clearly need a lot more money for our public transit system, particularly since our clogged streets are making San Francisco almost unlivable.
But I’d like to add a couple of practical yet politically incorrect thoughts that you won’t find in any City Hall report.
For instance, the years-long campaign to make it nearly impossible to build garages is causing probably 30 percent of the traffic problem – those being all the drivers looking for a parking spot.
And for all of you transit-first folks who pushed to ban parking in buildings so people would be “encouraged” to take a bus, I say: Good luck finding a seat… (more)
Thank you Mayor Brown. We appreciate people who admit mistakes. Let’s hope the trend at City Hall to listen to the voting public continues. Here is one for you to chew on.
Since removing parking spots and traffic lanes has not convinced people to get out of their cars like SFMTA claimed it would, let’s try a different approach.
Offer the voters a choice between continuing to finance the anti-car campaign or reverse course.
Most of the traffic jams would be eliminated immediately by re-instating the traffic lanes and parking that have been eliminated, and by timing the lights appropriately.
Building Parking Transit Hubs near freeway exits would take care of a lot the commuters as well. When you invite hundreds of thousands of people to come into the city to work every day, and all the public transit systems are maxed out and unreliable, some people have to drive.
We need to reverse the rules limiting parking garages in new buildings. This is just another windfall for developers that creates a nightmare for everyone else.
Why are we spending more money on BRTs when the ones we have are not working. No one is happy with the T-Line. We don’t need more BRTs. We need more drivers and buses on the road. When Muni has money to hire and train the drivers and can’t get that done, do they think we will trust them with more money?
SFMTA should get us where we need to go not tell us how to get there.
A San Francisco-based company has become the first ride-sharing business to begin operating legally at San Francisco International Airport, an airport spokesman said.
RelayRides, which allows Bay Area travelers to park for free at hotels near SFO while their cars are rented out to visitors during their trips, is the first peer-to-peer car sharing company to be granted permission to operate at the Bay Area’s busiest airport, SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said.
During negotiations with the airport, the company’s executives showed a “unique” willingness to comply with state and local rules governing airport ground transportation that Yakel said other ride-sharing companies—such as Lyft, UberX and FlightCar—have so far lacked.
“What really differentiates RelayRides from other transportation network companies is their willingness to work within the existing business structure at SFO,” Yakel said.
The company has also agreed to pay SFO 10 percent of the profits it earns from business generated at the airport, Yakel said… (more)
I wouldn’t call it a “car share” since the owners are renting their cars, but, there is a legal framework for anyone who wants to rent their car out instead of paying to park it.
A federal appeals court has refused to dismiss a suit by a San Francisco limousine driver who said a city parking control officer followed him out the door of a fast-food restaurant after a shouting match, then pepper-sprayed and punched him… (more)
Many interesting points to this story, but what concerns us is finding out who authorized the parking officers to carry pepper spray and how does the public feel about that? Do they carry other weapons we should be aware of?
San Franciscans can be a fairly entitled bunch. But we are, at the very least, entitled to ride on a vehicle that also carries a driver. So, the Muni light-rail passengers who earlier this month noticed their driver standing on the platform while their train took off from Castro Station — they’re entitled to complain.
The rest of us are entitled to confusion at Muni transit director John Haley‘s subsequent statement that “the system worked the way it was designed.” Muni trains weren’t designed to require quick-thinking passengers emerging from horrified crowds to stop the vehicle. And they weren’t designed to be operated without drivers… (more)
I’m not the only one who finds Rose’s comments curious.
For some parents at E.R. Taylor and other schools, relying on the city’s transit system to get their children to school can provide a rough start to the day.
In 2011, due to dwindling enrollment and an aging vehicle fleet, the San Francisco Unified School District began phasing out its yellow school buses and had sidelined half of them by the 2013-14 school year.
Muni stepped in to assist the new class of riders and offered free youth passes to low-income students.
But there are holes in the system. Parents complain on blogs and websites that J-Church trains and buses on the 39-Coit and 22-Fillmore lines are frequently too packed to stop, leaving children behind.
Frustrated parents at E.R. Taylor Elementary took a more direct stand recently. They circulated a petition and complained to Muni officials that the 54-Felton, which serves three schools in the southern part of the city, was often late, overwhelmed or missing-in-action… (more)
A Sacramento judge on Monday tore up California’s funding plans for its bullet train project in separate orders that could force the state to spend months or years redrawing its plans for the $68 billion rail line. Judge Michael Kenny rejected a request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to sell $8 billion of the $10 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008, saying there was no evidence it was “necessary and desirable” to start selling the bonds when a committee of state officials met last March. He said the committee was supposed to act as “the ultimate ‘keeper of the checkbook’” for taxpayers, but instead relied on a request from the high-speed rail authority to start selling bonds as sufficient evidence to proceed. In a separate lawsuit, Kenny ordered the rail authority to redo its $68 billion funding plan before continuing construction, a process that could take months or years. He had previously ruled that the authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law. The judge said the state failed to identify “sources of funds that were more than merely theoretically possible.”… (more)
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A recent audit by the San Francisco City Controller has come down hard on the hiring practices of Muni and the training program of its drivers.
According to auditors, Muni had no accurate count of how many drivers the agency needs, leading to not enough drivers being hired.
The audit found that the lack of hiring drivers is not related to money, as the agency has the positions budgeted. Rather, Muni has not been able to come up with a staffing analysis to show the true number of drivers it needs. That driver shortage led to thousands of missed runs last year… (more)
Thank you Phil, for filling us in on the details. Many of us know how glutenous and obtuse the SFMTA has become, but you can’t repeat the details and facts too often, for those who haven’t figured it out yet. The nerve of these folks who want more money when they don’t spend what they have wisely. Garbage in, as they say.
SFMTA IS TOO BIG AND OUT OF CONTROL. This sounds like a familiar song. This Muni problem is NOT RELATED TO MONEY. SFMTA has the money to hire and train, they just can’t figure out how to do the one job they have money for. Could it be that they are farming the job out to incompetent contractors, and SFMTA is too busy hiring and training overpaid managers, lobbyists (to convince state representatives to change state laws that punish car owners), and PR firms (to convince the voters to pony up $3 billion in 2014)? Five management positions paying over $!00K were listed last week.
TIME TO TRIM THE SAILS. CUT OUR LOSES. CHANGE THE PLAN. Everyone should send letters to the Supervisors and MTA Board letting them know how you feel about the bang up job the SFMTA is doing and how likely you are/are not to vote to give them more money.