By Patrick Monette-Shaw : westsideobserver – excerpt
SFMTA MAKES TECH BUSES PERMANENT
After publishing my November describing problems with the trial of “tech” shuttle buses all over the City, including on the West Side, and noting that problems may rapidly worsen if the program is made permanent, that’s just what SFMTA’s Board of Directors did when it approved a permanent program on November 17 ignoring a detailed Secondary Analysis highlighting deep flaws in the October 5 Evaluation Report of the 18-month trial period.
…the problem with blocked Muni zones is about to worsen come February 2016, since the MTA Board also approved … smaller shuttle bus operators who provide free intra-city rides to also use Muni red zones…”
Concerned citizens may want to make a point of reading the full Secondary Analysison-line.
After MTA’s Board received impassioned testimony from members of the public opposing making the Commuter Shuttle Program permanent, it did so anyway, including allowing the permanent program to expand from 124 shuttle zones to up to 200 shuttle zones.
Not one of MTA’s Board of Directors bothered questioning in depth SFMTA’s Shuttle Project Manager, Hank Willson, about data in the October 5 MTA Evaluation Report concerning problems with commuter shuttles interfering with red Muni bus zones. Worse, none of MTA’s Board of Directors even thought to ask questions about the Planning Department’s second EIR Exemption letter.
Of note, the 41% increase in shuttles the Planning Department anticipates may worsen incidents in Muni red zones, which MTA’s Board didn’t even discuss, let alone discuss in depth. Extrapolating data from MTA’s October 5 Evaluation Report, things may rapidly worsen:…
And not one of the SFMTA’s Board of Directors bothered asking whether the Evaluation Report may have low-balled data in the Evaluation Report…
Compelling Public Testimony During Hearing
One member of the public who testified on November 17 indicated he is a lawyer who uses the shuttle buses. He noted not only that his tech company employer is able to, but would be more than happy to, pay higher fees to help fund public transportation infrastructure…
Ignoring the Elephant in the Room: Transbay Terminal as “Hub”
Ignoring the elephant in the room, SFMTA has all but turned a blind eye towards considering making the commuter shuttle bus program use a “hub” approach, as most transportation planners have used since the mid-1800’s.
Did SFMTA simply forget that the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) are building the $4.5 billionTransbay Transit Center a transportation hub?
San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal is a transportation complex in San Francisco that opened in 1939 but was relocated on August 7, 2010 to build the Transbay Transit Center. Its function during the past 75 years was being a transportation hub.
During public testimony on November 17, at least five members of the public advocated that SFMTA use a central hub location for shuttle bus operators…
In other words, rather than creating one, or a few, central hubs, SFMTA simply turned the major and minor arterial streets of San Francisco all over the City into “spokes” — that poke into the flow of Muni buses and cause greater traffic congestion — and converted up to 200 restricted Muni red bus zones into commuter shuttle “hubs” scattered across the City…
Muni Drivers Locked Out of Process
TWU Local 250-A president Eric Williams testified during the MTA Board’s November 17 hearing, that the shuttle program was a “done deal no matter what we say in here, bought and paid for [by the tech companies].”…
SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin: “Open Mouth, Insert Foot”
Comically, two days after the SFMTA Board approved making the shuttle program permanent, the San Francisco Chronicle carried an article on January 19 reporting on the MTA’s Central Subway project, in which MTA’s director, Ed Reiskin, noted:
“As the second-most-densely populated city in the country (New York City is first), I think our roadways are nearly at capacity, and our streets are not going to get any wider.”…
It is widely expected that the Coalition for Fair, Legal, and Environmental Transit will appeal the absence of a second EIR for making the commuter shuttle program permanent to the full Board of Supervisors, since the potential for unlimited expansion is the heart of the issue going forward.
And for all anyone knows, Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong may — hopefully — rule that a full EIR was required for the pilot program and should have been performed, and a permanent expansion definitely requires a full EIR.
An increase to 1.19 million commercial commuter shuttle buses stopping in Muni red zones, plus an additional as yet unknown number of smaller “free” shuttles” the SFMTA Board approved using Muni red zones, must surely have quality of life, housing displacement, roadway wear-and-tear, and other environmental impacts that must be mitigated through an EIR.