S.F.’s Prop. A is first step on road to put driving last

By Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

There’s a lot more to San Francisco’s $500 million Proposition A than fixing roads — it’s really the first step in a master plan to put buses, bikes and pedestrians on the fast track and move cars into the slow lane.

A close look at the projects that would be funded by Prop. A shows the overall plan calls for reducing miles of traffic lanes for cars, removing an unknown number of parking spaces and reducing stops on several Muni lines to enable the buses to cross town faster.

The biggest chunk — $142 million — would go into new traffic signals, crosswalks and other projects to speed Muni and make it safer to cross the street.

Market Street would get $90 million for rehabbing and upgrading Muni boarding islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic signals and bus and streetcar service between Castro Street and the Embarcadero.

Prop. A would also provide $30 million to help repair or replace 40 escalators and elevators that are forever breaking down, many of them at stations shared by BART and Muni Metro… (more)

Don’t know if this is the first step, it is definitely the next step. SFMTA and their supporters are really on the block. Most critics of Prop A point to language that states the SFMTA “may” spend the money this way, which is not the same as saying the money “shall be spent this way.”

According to the city controller, passage of this bond will result in higher property taxes and those taxes may be passed through to renters.

The bottom line is do you trust SFMTA to do what it promises based on past performance? If the answer is “no” and you want the right to own a car, you will want to vote No on A and B and Yes on L. For more on why go here: http://savesfmuni.wordpress.com/

Prop. A aims to help city with transit upgrades

by sfexaminer -excerpt

One of three transportation measures on the November ballot, Proposition A would allow San Francisco to borrow up to $500 million by issuing general-obligation bonds to go toward improving its transit infrastructure and aging roads…

Prop. A permits a property-tax increase to pay for the bonds if necessary, and landlords could pass up to 50 percent of the tax increase to tenants. According to projections from City Controller Ben Rosenfield, the highest estimated annual property tax for a homeowner with an assessed value of $500,000 would be about $91.02.

Groups including Save Muni, the San Francisco Taxpayers Association and Libertarian Party of San Francisco allege the proposition will raise property taxes and rent. Save Muni founding member Howard Wong said the proposition would incur $1 billion in new debt over a few decades with no guarantee of making Muni more reliable…

SFMTA funding, parking fees are on ballot with Props. B, L

Joining Proposition A, which transit officials and advocates are counting on for a reliable source of funding for infrastructure work, two more transit measures are on the November ballot. These, propositions B and L, seek to take The City’s transportation system in different directions.

A transit-funding measure like Prop. A, Proposition B would amend the City Charter to allocate a greater amount of the general fund toward the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency each year, based on population growth…

Opponents argue Prop. B would take general fund money away from other programs.

Prop. L was sparked in April from a dozen San Francisco residents who wanted to reboot transit policies back to 2009, before Sunday parking meters and demand responsive meter pricing went into effect and meters got installed in certain neighborhoods.

“It’s simply getting back on a balanced course in San Francisco which we have had for 50 years in The City until then,” said Chris Bowman, 68, a Twin Peaks resident and one of the original proponents of the proposition… (more)

The Ides of “May”: The Language of the Mayor’s Pet $500 Million Bond “May” Alarm You

By sfweekly – excerpt

Well, it’s October again. The Giants are in the playoffs. We’re blessed with the sundress weather that enables million-dollar median home prices. And ’tis the season when every area chiropractor offers up a silent, thankful prayer, knowing he or she will soon be visited by legions of ailing letter carriers, hobbled by the reams of political mailers and the Tolstoy-length election materials facilitating San Franciscans to vote on damn near everything

Voters, it was argued, would be put off by this onslaught of revenue measures. But voters may yet be put off by another element of the big Muni bond — its very language.

The key word here is “may.”…

“Shall” and “may” do not mean the same thing, period. In legal parlance, “shall” is “prescriptive” language and “may” is “permissive” language.

The language in Prop. A is permissive. Everything listed within it is something that “may” be funded, “may” be done…

So, per Reiskin, this bond “will” enable great things. It “may” all work out well.

It “shall” certainly work out well for somebody (more)

Compare SF (Most Expensive Parking Tickets in the Western Hemisphere) with Downtown San Mateo (50 Cent/Hr Parking Meters)

sfcitizen – excerpt

Compare A with B, as seen in the City of San Mateo:

But the SFMTA wants more more more, so it’s hatched a plan called Prop A, to raise your rent (literally) and/or take your property taxes to pay for, among other things, cost overruns on the entirely unnecessary pork-barrel project called the Central Subway.

Hey, speaking of which:

“During a pair of recent presentations at city political clubs, MTA commissioner Cheryl Brinkman, arguing on behalf of Prop. A, stated that a City Attorney’s opinion concluded that, when it comes to bond language, the terms “shall” and “may” are identical.
Huh.
Brinkman now says she’s not entirely sure what she said. Multiple witnesses are more certain: ‘She did say that!’ recalls Potrero Hill Democrats president Joni Eisen.”… (more)

S.F. tries to vote its way out of chronic traffic jam

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

The question about transportation being posed to San Francisco voters this fall might be summed up this way: Do you want to get on the bus and be on your way, or do you want to stand there and keep waiting?

Transportation, always a topic of complaint or debate in San Francisco, stands front and center on the November ballot. Voters are being asked to decide on three propositions that test the city’s commitment to transit, how it should be funded and the direction of its transportation planning.

The trio of propositions consists of a $500 million bond measure, a plan to increase the Muni budget to keep pace with population growth, and an advisory measure that would ask decision-makers to freeze parking rates and make cars and driving a higher priority…

David Looman, who led the drive to put Prop. L on the ballot, says it’s “simply a way for people to have their voices heard that city policies on parking and traffic are out of control.”

Officials at the MTA and City Hall may wish for a world in which everyone bikes, walks or rides Muni, he said, but 79 percent of residents still own cars and should be accommodated…

“This is a very transportation-heavy election cycle,” Jawa said. “The sense that we need to start doing things differently in transportation is alive and well in San Francisco.”… (morei)

 

SFMTA Secures Grant Funds to Expand Muni’s Bus Fleet

sfmta – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, including Municipal Railway (Muni), announced today that it will receive grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. These funds will allow Muni to add twelve, 60-foot buses to help meet the growing demand of the city of San Francisco’s transit needs, address existing crowding, improve service reliability, and increase economic opportunity by improving access to jobs and services.

“New larger buses will help us expand service for a growing San Francisco. Thank you to Secretary Foxx and the Department of Transportation for their more than $9 million investment in our City’s public transit system,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “While these new vehicles are very important to Muni’s fleet, the infrastructure they run on is equally important, and this November, voters have the opportunity to approve a $500 million transportation bond that will provide critical infrastructure improvements, including $358 million dedicated to infrastructure projects that will make Muni faster, more frequent and more reliable.”…

The new 60 foot buses are projected to be in service by end of spring 2015… (more)

SFMTA hearing to address near-term service response before new light-rail cars arrive

By sfexminer – excerpt

San Francisco officials have celebrated the contract approval for top-of-the-line light-rail vehicles to improve a dismal Muni service, but before the first new cars show up, riders will have years of waiting to do.

That’s why Supervisor Scott Wiener, who has made Muni and transportation infrastructure one of his top political causes, has called for a hearing to learn what the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to do in the meantime.

“We need to know what the current situation is, what the plan is to get us out of this current situation, and how Muni sees the next three, four, five years going,” Wiener said last week. He said the agency’s response should not be: “Riders don’t worry, at some point in the future it’s going to be all fixed.”…

On Friday, Muni spokesman Paul Rose provided some insight into the transit agency’s short-term strategy for improving service.

“We look forward to working with Supervisor Wiener to help share information about the work we are doing to improve Muni,” Rose said. “The procurement of up to 260 light-rail vehicles is the single most significant thing we can do to improve service and we will continue to try new things to ensure our existing equipment works to the best of its ability.”…(more)

Good to see that someone else is starting to want some relief sooner rather than years later. There is no immediate plan other than to ask for more money. Read the report and see if you can find one. These guys only know how to do one thing. Demand money. JUST SAY No on A and B.

Chris Daly Breaks Up With Union, Pro-Car Measure Apparently Not To Blame [Updated]

sfist – excerpt

We don’t have Chris Daly to kick around anymore (again). The bombastic former city supervisor whom everybody loved to hate has severed his ties with San Francisco’s most-visible union, the purple-shirted army of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, for whom he had been working for the past three years…

The longtime friend-of-Daly SF Bay Guardian noted yesterday that Daly parted ways with the union at the same time as it endorsed Proposition L, which has backing from Republicans as well as tech maven Sean Parker. The measure would steer city transit funding towards motorists and make it tougher for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to stick parking meters wherever it damn pleases…

SFist: If you didn’t leave SEIU over Prop L issues (as you told Steve Jones) what was the reason behind your departure?

Daly: Even though I disagree with the decision 1021 made on Proposition L, it had no bearing on my departure. In fact, internal discussions about me leaving my post as Political Director started about 6 months ago — long before Prop L was even a glimmer in Sean Parker’s eye… (more)

30 Stockton Muni station changes changed again

By John Zipperer : marinatimes – excerpt

A change of station stops by the 30 Stockton bus appears to be short-lived, following rider reaction. Several folks complained that Muni failed to respond to their complaints, but apparently those complaints were still heard loud and clear.

The controversy involves the switch of a stop from Divisadero and Chestnut Street to Fillmore and Chestnut Streets. What should have been a simple switch of locations caused trouble for riders who missed connections, were forced to exit the bus in the street because there wasn’t room for the bus to pull up to the curb, and other inconveniences.

The complaints came flooding in; the Marina Times received numerous calls and letters from people upset with the changes. Resident Janet Maslow pointed out that when the driver stops to take a 15-minute break, passengers have to disembark and wait for the next 30 bus. “Sometimes there is a bus waiting and sometimes not. If one is waiting and you get on it you usually have a few minutes’ wait because he is still on break. I don’t have the patience to wait, and I usually walk the rest of the way [home], which is OK during the day but late at night not OK. When I am almost home, a 30 drives past, very often empty because most people don’t wait,” she noted. “I understand that this is a pilot project, but it sucks; even the bus drivers detest it.”… (more)

Reasons why the buses are more reliable than cable cars and trains

In case you haven’t noticed, when their is a problem on a bus line, the buses CAN be rerouted. Every day you see numerous notices from SFMTA about re-routed bus lines due to emergency conditions such as fires – SF Muni Bus Lines 12, 14, 27, 49 Being Re-Routed or other alterations caused by heavy construction or roadwork.

Almost daily you also see notices about stopped trains and cable car lines -
SF Muni California Cable Car Line delayed due to an Accident. There is no way to re-route a rail or cable car so the whole line must come to a halt when such an incident occurs.

If the lower costs of purchasing, and operating a bus line were not enough to convince you that buses make the most financial sense, the reliability factor should be considered as well. That is why many professional transportation professionals favor buses over rail. You need a certain number of buses just to cover for the downtime of rail.

RELATED:
THE ECONOMIST:  “Streetcars and Urban Renewal:  Rolling Blunder”, “Federal subsidies have inspired some silly transit projects”, August 9, 2014:  http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21611123-federal-subsidies-have-inspired-some-silly-transit-projects-rolling-blunder