September 4 Polk Street/Van Ness Neighborhood Meeting

Grassroots Actions

Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 11AM
SF County Transportation Authority
City Hall, Room 250 – agenda
Commissioners: Avalos (Chair), Wiener (Vice Chair), Breed, Campos, Chiu, Cohen, Farrell, Kim, Mar, Tang and Yee
item 3 Certify the EIR on Van Ness BRT. Hire Executive Director Ness

VAN NESS AVENUE BUS RAPID TRANSIT: Polk Street Stakeholders: As part of on-going coordination between the Polk Street Improvement Project and the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project, we wanted to bring to your attention this upcoming Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit public meeting.

Project Update: The Van Ness BRT Project is designed to improve transit on San Francisco’s major North-South corridor. The project will also provide pedestrian safety enhancements and modernization of the water and sewer lines.

Please join us! Wednesday, September 4,  (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
Old First Church Fellowship Hall, 1751 Sacramento Street (between Van Ness & Polk)

Hosted by the Middle…

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Transbay Plans: 60% Of SF Workforce Comes From Out Of Town

by : sfappeal – excerpt

With the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span opening in less than two weeks, Bay Area transit planners discussed looming capacity issues on the bridge and other transbay travel options at a San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association forum earlier this week.
Sarah Dennis-Phillips from the San Francisco Planning Department discussed at the Thursday lunchtime forum held at SPUR headquarters how job and housing growth in San Francisco and the East Bay by the year 2040 will translate into more people commuting in and out of San Francisco.
All new workers will not be living in the city,” Dennis-Phillips said. “We have to find a way to get them here.”…
The entire Bay Bridge will be closed starting 8 p.m. Wednesday and is scheduled to reopen the day after Labor Day at 5 a.m. when the new eastern span—a $6.4 billion project—will officially open… (more)

Bay Area bike-sharing venture rolls out Thursday

by sfexaminer – excerpt

Bay Area Bike Share will be operated by the same company that oversees New York’s bike-share, (Bike-share vendor coming to S.F. is accused of unfair labor practices.)
Thursday marks the start of the Bay Area Bike Share program, in which about 700 bicycles will be available for rent 24 hours a day at kiosks in San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto.
The bikes will be stationed near transit hubs and popular destinations, and they will be available mostly for short trips of 30 minutes or less, according to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
The $11.2 million program will offer rows of Canadian-made, seven-speed bikes at a cost of $9 for a daily pass, $22 for three days of rides and $88 for a full year, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District… (more)

High priority item for SFMTA as the bridge closes and millions are left to fend for themselves. What will it take to get a raincheck on bike activities?

Comments here are welcome.

Transit Options During Bay Bridge Closure

by : sfstation – excerpt

When the Bay Bridge closes on Wednesday night at 8:00pm, thousands of people who travel daily to and from San Francisco will need to find another way to get across the Bay.

The bridge is closing until Tuesday morning, September 3rd at 5:00am, when the new eastern span will be unveiled. Transportation officials have said the new bridge could open earlier, but it really depends on the construction process during the time it’s closed. So during the closure, here are a few ways to get around for those who take the span each day.
BART – the transit agency will be expanding service, including 24-hour service at 14 stations. Overnight trains will run on an hourly basis and all trains will transfer at MacArthur station in Oakland from early Thursday morning (August 29) through early Monday morning (September 2). Trains will run from Concord to SFO (and in the reverse direction) with stops at Walnut Creek, MacArthur, 12th Street (Oakland), Embarcadero, Powell, 24th Street and Daly City. Trains will also run from Dublin/Pleasanton to El Cerrito del Norte, with stops at Bay Fair, Oakland Coliseum, 12th Street, MacArthur and Downtown Berkeley. BART will also be adding extra cars to regularly scheduled trains during normal hours of operation.
AC Transit – During the closure, instead of traveling across the span, transbay lines will stop at four BART stations to drop off passengers going to San Francisco and pick up passengers coming from San Francisco (the temporary transbay stops will be at Oakland Coliseum, MacArthur, North Berkeley and West Oakland).
Ferry Service – Both San Francisco Bay Ferry and Golden Gate Ferry service will be expanded during the closure, with additional ferries running both during the week and through the holiday weekend. Police Will ‘Relax’ Parking Enforcement at Ferry Terminals During Bridge Closure. (see RELATED)
There will also be some adjustments for those who take Capitol Corridor trains, and WestCAT and Greyhound bus service. Those who insist on driving can also take alternative routes, including the Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo or Dumbarton Bridge. is a great tool for commuter options.  Bay Bridge officials have said that the new span could open sooner than expected, possibly even on Monday, September 2. We’ll let you know if we hear the bridge is opening earlier than expected… (more)

Increased Ferry Service Available For Bay Bridge Closure
Police Will ‘Relax’ Parking Enforcement at Ferry Terminals During Bridge Closure.
Alameda police will relax parking enforcement near both of the city’s ferry terminals, except for flagrant violations such as the blocking of driveways, sidewalks, handicap parking or fire hydrants, according to an announcement from the city manager’s office.
The San Francisco Bay Ferry during the week will be running 10 boats instead of its usual eight, and on the weekend and Labor Day will have five boats instead of three, according to SF Bay Ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez. More details of local ferry service are available here.

Increased Ferry Service Available For Bay Bridge Closure

Sleepless Train: Muni Idles its Rail Vehicles All the Livelong Night

by Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

A Muni operator’s job entails driving the vehicle from Point A to Point B — but it’s still a decent thing to thank him or her when you disembark.
The Muni system’s job entails not needlessly idling its buses for hours on end, which wastes fuel, wears down the machinery, and violates many laws. In June, however, we revealed that Muni was doing just that. Damning city audits had triggered front-page excoriations about idling buses all the way back in 1996, and internal critics had been slamming the practice since the Reagan administration. And yet the buses idled on, for decades…
the department that encourages city residents to sacrifice a degree of convenience but conserve energy by taking public transit will continue to burn through energy — because that’s what’s most convenient.
Until then, San Franciscans waiting endlessly for a train will have to comfort themselves that one will always be running, somewhere…  (more)

The Canary is Dead: With the Central Subway Project, the Only Way Out is Through

Fooled you once, and, as Mayor Agnos would say, “If you trust us, we have a bridge to sell you.”

By Joe Eskenazi :sfweekly – excerpt

News that the Transbay Terminal is something like $300 million over budget should not come as a shock to anyone. We always knew the initial estimate was way under the real cost. Just like we never had a real cost for the Central Subway or the Bay Bridge or any other massive construction project. So get off it. In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment. If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.
Willie Brown, San Francisco Chronicle, July 28

Losing by less is the new winning. Keeping your job is the new raise. And being honest about…

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Can we get an amen?

by Tony Robles : – excerpt

OPINION Senior and Disability Action recently learned of the outcome of the case of the elder who was killed in a collision with a bicyclist in the city’s Castro District. The victim, 71 year old Sutchi Hui, was walking across the intersection of Castro and Market Streets with his wife when he was struck by 34 year old Chris Bucchere, a self-described “entrepreneur, software developer, founder and CEO of Social Collective Inc.”
Our organization has been involved in the issue of pedestrian safety, advocating for improvements on the city streets, corridors and areas that pose safety risks for seniors, people with disabilities and the public in general. The tragic incident that took Mr. Hui’s life emphasizes the need for better pedestrian safety and the need to hold bicyclists accountable for their actions…
Senior and Disability Action was dismayed by the breezy attitude of the cyclist, who, after the collision that claimed Mr. Hui’s life, lamented the loss of his bike helmet in a blog:
“In closing, I want to dedicate this story to my late helmet. She died in heroic fashion today as my head slammed into the tarmac…may she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live and ride one. Can I get an amen? Amen”…
We all must adhere to the rules of the road; the rules apply to both motorists as well as cyclists. We recognize that there are cyclists that follow the rules of the road. But this case was egregious, not only in the loss of life, but in the arrogance of the cyclist, who was using an app that gauged his speed and overall performance on the road, offering a prize as an incentive. The metaphors are striking—plowing through an area as if one has the God-given right and too bad if you happen to be in my way. Mr. Bucchere’s actions in the aftermath is evincive of the race and class privilege that has permeated the city, where some lives are evidently worth more than others.
Can we get an amen?

For some reason city agencies appear to be fueling the anger that is growing between extreme bikers and the rest of us, instead of calming it.
This story about the death at the hands of a cyclist is running in the same paper as the story about the SF Bike Coalition’s Memorial to a biker hit by a truck on Folsom Street. Does no one else see the irony in this?
We need someone at City Hall to put a stop to the growing war between extreme bikers and the rest of us.
With the closure of the Bay Bridge and the possible BART strike we need a reasonable balanced transit approach that does not cater to any one group.

Memorial for cyclist marred by SFPD harassment

The animosity that is being instigated between bikers and drives needs to stop. There is no better time than now for the bikers and the rest of us to stop fighting over the roads. A biker’s death by truck, is no more tragic than a pedestrian’s death by bike. Where is the outpouring of remorse for that victim? Did the biking community send flowers to his memorial? It is time for the city to re-evaluate priorities. The voters are fed up with the mess on the roads. The complete streets program is a complete failure.

Warriors open up the Waterfront Wars

Golden State Warriors Arena does battle with Art Agnos
by bgordonconculting – excerpt

Former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos is on a mission: to stop the Golden State Warriors from despoiling San Francisco’s exquisite public property known as the Embarcadero…
Mayor Agnos recently spoke at San Francisco’s Latino Democratic Club as part of his ongoing tour of the City’s various associations to share his urgent message. Let’s begin with a recap. To build this monstrosity, tons of concrete would be poured 50 feet into the Bay. Yes, the piers 30-32 are in sad shape and the costs of ultimately building a new arena could now top one billion dollars

Why not build a new arena at Candlestick Park?
So here’s a daring idea. Why not build a new basketball arena at Candlestick Park?  It’s set to be blown up at the conclusion of the 2014 NFL season. 49er fans had no problem driving out to Candlestick. Why would they complain about doing so for the Warriors? We’ve got the 29-Sunset Muni line, which takes you directly to Candlestick, though woefully inept to handle the crush of millions of more sports fans but a vast improvement over desecrating the beauty that is our waterfront… (more)

Yep. If you have to move the Warriors out of Oakland to San Francisco, Candlestick is the place for them to go.

Only San Francisco, the city that would be great, would consider tearing down a sports arena with a huge parking lot, nearby freeway access and public transit, to the most congested neighborhood in town, while plunging the taxpayers into deeper debt to billionaires.

The taxpayers need to win this round. If they lose, they gates are open to develop the entire waterfront.


SFMTA Headquarters Evacuated After 34 Sickened By Mysterious Substance

: excerpt

San Francisco firefighters are still searching for the source of an irritating substance that caused breathing problems in more than 30 people and triggered the evacuation of a city building this afternoon.
The building at 1 South Van Ness Ave., which houses San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s headquarters and other city offices, was evacuated at 3:07 p.m. after occupants reported breathing some sort of irritating substance, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said… (more)

Could it be somebody protesting the gridlock and disappearing parking spaces, or someone who opened their SMART parking meter bill, or a rider who can’t find the bus they used to take to get to work, or a food truck worker who got a parking ticket while serving lunch? The possibilities are endless.

BART Reliability Drops As Ridership Increases

by – excerpt

BART’s ridership continued to grow in the three-month period from April through June but train service reliability fell and customer complaints increased, a top manager told the transit agency’s board of directors today.
In presenting his quarterly performance report, Paul Oversier, BART’s assistant general manager for operations, said, “It was a mixed quarter—it wasn’t our best by a long shot.”
Oversier said the good news was that BART’s total ridership increased by 6.4 percent compared to the same quarter last year and average weekday ridership was 398,134.
Ridership on BART’s extension to the San Francisco International Airport grew by 5 percent, Saturday ridership increased by 6.1 percent and Sunday ridership grew by 7.6 percent, he said.
The bad news is that BART’s customers on-time service fell to 93.74 percent, below its goal of 96 percent and its 95.21 percent total from January through March and its 95.07 level the same quarter last year… (more)

Looks like public transportation systems are not ready for the hoards they claim they can carry. Some transportation consultants have been saying that for years. There is a limit at to what any system can handle. Remember how easy it was to get around a couple of years ago, before the government decided we need to get out of our cars and trust them to get us where we need to go?