Tales from the tracks

Joe Fitzgerald : sfweekly – excerpt

BART’s trains will keep running, for now, after a San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered the 60-day cooling-off period that Gov. Jerry Brown was angling for last week to address BART’s labor contract impasse. The injunction is in effect until Oct. 10, blocking any strike or lockout until then…

A couple profiles of BART workers:

First we met Robert Earl Bright, a 47-year-old transit vehicle mechanic at the Hayward yards, where he’s been for three years. BART trains seem tame compared to the machines he used to work with, starting out as an Air Force mechanic working on cargo planes…
“They’re short on people, and it’s cheaper for the managers to pay for overtime than to pay for another person,” he said…  (more)

Phyllis Alexander has been with BART for 16 years in systems service, which she said basically means, “cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.”
“Wherever they need me, that’s what I do,” she said.
Alexander often starts her days cleaning the elevators and escalators at Powell Street Station, and if you’ve been reading the news lately, you know what that means… (more)




Some very important information regarding the Le Moullac tragedy

Some very important information for drivers from the California Vehicle Code:

“Turning Across Bicycle Lanes:  Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane that is adjacent to his lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall drive the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn and shall make the turn pursuant to Section 22100 [general turning regulations].”
In other words, if you are making a right turn you are SUPPOSED to block the bike lane, and bikers are supposed to either stop behind you or safely go around you on your left.
But expect to hear a lot of expletives when you follow this law providing for biccyclist safety.

The time is now to fix Muni

sfbg.com – exceprt

EDITORIAL San Franciscans love to bash Muni, but this city would be a gridlocked nightmare without it. Despite its many flaws, Muni does a pretty good job at getting people around the city, particularly for a system that has been plagued by chronic underfunding and which is at capacity during peak hours.
Yet in a growing city that has ambitions to grow even faster — pushed by regional motivators such as Plan Bay Area and pulled by the grand designs of powerful capitalists and their neoliberal political enablers — Muni is well on the way to earning all the scorn that critics can heap on it and becoming the self-fulfilling prophecy of dystopian dysfunction.
Into this critical moment comes the city’s Transit Effectiveness Project and its promise to reduce travel times by 20 percent on busy corridors and to improve reliability and service to underserved areas such as the Excelsior. The TEP’s 793-page environmental impact report dropped on the city with a barely noticed thud last month, and it will be the subject of an informational hearing at the Planning Commission this week (Thu/15) and a series of community hearings in the weeks that follow, with public comments due into the Planning Department by Sept. 17.
So now is the time to get serious about addressing long-simmering conflicts between the Muni’s needs and the desires of private automobile drivers, which are often in conflict on roadways where they’re forced to share space. And on a deeper level, this city must resolve the conflict between the need to substantially increase investment in vital public infrastructure and the destructive fantasies of anti-government ideologues who want a functional city but don’t want to pay for it or be inconvenienced.
Only then can we really delve into the devilish details of the TEP, with tough-to-resolve conflicts between reducing stops to speed service and the needs of the elderly and disabled, whether to limit cycling in certain stretches, how to slow traffic and limit parking without triggering motorist backlash, and how to quickly expand capacity again after you’ve improved the system and encouraged more people to use it.
But these are solvable problems if San Franciscans of all stripes acknowledge the realities of a growing city with a finite capacity to accommodate cars and an infinite need to improve Muni and the safety of pedestrians, laudable goals of the TEP and its new EIR, which is designed to smooth the way for many transit improvement projects to come.
We won’t get there by pandering to people who are pissed off about efforts to regulate street parking in their neighborhoods (and we certainly won’t get there if certain supervisors now making rumblings about taking parking regulation back from the SFMTA get their way). It’s time to truly become the transit-first city we claim to be, and that process starts now.

The SFMTA has had plenty of leeway to fix the Muni and so far, most folks feel they have done a lousy job. Most people do not feel that generating funds is the problem. Allocating funds is. Muni management is confused and failing to convince the public that they are succeeding in their chief goals of fixing the Muni and balancing the budget. We suggest, once again that they concentrate on “getting us where they need to go, not telling us how to get there.”

SF’s pricey bike counter on Market Street isn’t as reliable as billed

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

A cyclist on Market Street is counted as two bikes by the new digital counter. Other cyclists do not register. - JESSICA KWONG/THE S.F. EXAMINER

Market Street Bike Counter

Every biker counts in San Francisco — but some count more than others.
A Market Street bicycle counter that lets cyclists see the day’s bike traffic total increase by one rider as they pedal by, in fact isn’t always showing them their contribution.

Sometimes, bikers don’t cross the counter’s trip wire near its center and are not counted. At other times, a biker will pass through and count for two. Either of these things can happen when cyclists ride through side by side with a fellow biker. And motorcycles, automobiles, law enforcement vehicles and Recology garbage trucks have all been spotted counting as bicycles…
Market Street Bike Counter…  (more)