How Transbay Transit Center deal’s collapse would alter S.F.

By John Coté and J.K. Dineen : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco could be left with a very expensive bus station or a new skyline minus a few towers depending on how threatened lawsuits over the city’s plan to fund a new downtown transit hub billed as the “Grand Central station of the West” play out.

The plan was thrown into flux Tuesday, when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of a community benefit district with a tax structure opposed by a number of developers, some with projects already under construction.

The most damaging impact of any lawsuit — two or three are being considered — is expected to be to the $2.6billion plan to extend the rail tracks from the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets to the new $1.9billion Transbay Transit Center under construction along Mission Street.

“What’s really threatened is not Transbay, it’s the Caltrain extension,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the urban think tank SPUR. “There is no point to having built the Transbay terminal if we don’t get Caltrain there. … The good news, if you could call it that, is that there is still time to work it out.”…

The special tax zone, known as a Mello-Roos district, was conceived during the economic boom of 2006 and 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the city proposed a tax rate for the district: 0.55 percent of assessed value, or, at the time $3.33 per square foot….  (more)

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