Muni’s brand new buses struggle with SF’s hills, test results show

By : sfweekly – excerpt

Buses the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency recently bought from New Flyer Industries Inc. are not meant to tackle hills with a grade higher than 10 percent.

San Francisco is on a bus-buying spree. In the name of shoring up service, Mayor Ed Lee has invested nearly $26 million in purchasing new Muni buses since last year.

There is, however, a bump in the road: Some of Muni’s newest buses appear to struggle up San Francisco’s hills.

While the buses aren’t exactly rolling back down The City’s slopes, underpowered buses slow down Muni’s system, operators tell the San Francisco Examiner.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency tested its newest buses last November before letting rubber hit the cement, but the results of those tests — obtained by the Examiner — show Muni’s
new 60-foot electric buses don’t meet the agency’s own acceleration requirements for even moderately steep hills.

SFMTA officials told the Examiner they knew the buses couldn’t handle grades above 10 percent, so the agency would run them only on The City’s flatter routes.

Among the steepest routes in the Muni system are the 1-California and the 22-Fillmore. One portion of Fillmore is graded at over 18 percent, according to topographical maps.

Hills that steep will be off limits to the new buses.

The tests show, however, that the buses struggled even on the more modest hills — those measured in grades of 5 to 10 percent… (more)

We are a little too flabbergasted by the report. One wonders who is benefiting from this contract deal that has delivered slower buses on the hills, while the SFMTA is spending millions of tax-payer dollars destroying our streets to supposedly speed the buses up and save them seconds or minutes on each trip. WHO IS BENEFITING?

Suggest you read the entire document yourself, (see all the charts and graphs) and either write to the editor or author at the SFExaminer. Since there are no comments on the source site, comments are welcome here!

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Demolition of one-mile stretch of I-280 part of proposal to link Mission Bay with surrounding area

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mission Bay is San Francisco’s neighborhood of the future.

That’s Mayor Ed Lee’s publicly stated vision. And in public documents, his office said a key to that future may be razing Interstate Highway 280 — now the source of much public ire.

Mission Bay has become home to gleaming new UC San Francisco hospitals, and is the potential new home to what some call the mayor’s “legacy project” — the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center. The Mission Rock and Pier 70 housing developments could also soon considerably boost the neighborhood’s population.

And one day in the far-flung future, perhaps decades from now, Mission Bay may become the conduit for a second transbay tube that would connect BART and — for the first time — newly electrified Caltrain service to the East Bay.

But the future comes at a cost…

Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning at the Planning Department, presented the plan Tuesday night to nearly 150 neighbors, who packed an auditorium at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center. The project is still in early phases — preliminary designs may not arrive for at least a year.

Still, opposition is already brewing over the possibility of tearing down a portion of I-280…

Future Transit Connections

Boos and hisses rang through the rec center as Kelley discussed the proposal to raze I-280.

Details were sparse about the proposal, however. Kelley said the concepts were “mix and match,” and did not depend on each other to come to fruition.

Though many defended I-280 as vital for drivers, it was recently listed as one of the Bay Area’s most congested freeways by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission…

The railyard alternatives plan also explores tunneling from the Transbay Transit Center to Mission Bay, which later could serve as the beginning of a new transbay tube under the bay to Alameda.

Additionally, it looks potential alternatives to possibly run Caltrain along 3rd Street for a combined Caltrain/Muni station, as part of the downtown extension of the Transbay Transit Center.

Teardown Opposition Grows

Removing a portion of I-280 was the most controversial part of this plan prior to the meeting, and that sentiment intensified Tuesday night.

Surrounded by angry neighbors at the rec center, former Mayor Art Agnos — no stranger to fighting development, as evidenced by the recent “No Wall on the Waterfront” campaign — told the San Francisco Examiner he will personally combat any effort to tear down I-280.

In 2014, Agnos and now-Supervisor Aaron Peskin blocked a luxury housing development along the Embarcadero, and passed a ballot measure calling for voter approval of all height-limit increases along the waterfront.

Agnos promised a similar fight against tearing down I-280.

“I’m going to make the [No Wall on the Waterfront] fight look like a minor league skirmish,” he said…(more)

The truth about High Speed Rail

There have no money. They are $440 million dollars short the money they need to finish electrifying  the train. (phase one.) They need private funds. Public money will not be sufficient to build the high speed rail. They are trying to convince people to give up their cars to create demand for public transit so they can convince investors that there are profits to be made by investing in public transit systems such as high speed rail. That is why they are trying to increase the population. They will need a lot more people to pay for the transit systems they want to build.

Proponents in Washington promote California’s bullet train

Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Program – excerpt

The SFMTA is conducting an 18-month pilot that will test a limited network of shared Muni and commuter shuttle stops. Shuttle service providers must apply and pay for a permit to use the network. This pilot aims to minimize impacts of commuter shuttles while supporting their beneficial operations. The pilot addresses commuter shuttles that operate within San Francisco and between San Francisco and jobs in other cities. The pilot term is August 2014 through January 2016. An evaluation of the pilot is now available: see the Documents & Reports tab.

Submit concerns and inquiries about specific commuter shuttle activity to the 311 Commuter Shuttles feedback form .



Citizen group votes to abolish illegal church parking near Dolores Park

By Joe : sfexaminer – excerpt

Illegal parking for churchgoers on the streets near Dolores Park must go.

So says a citizen advisory group convened by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to address parking concerns created by churchgoers on Dolores and Guerrero streets in the Mission district.

For decades, weekend churchgoers illegally parked their vehicles along medians on Dolores and Guerrero streets, blocking the middle of the street. But the vehicles were not regularly ticketed, which neighbors have complained amounts to a de-facto “turn the other cheek” from city officials.

In response to neighbors’ concerns, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency convened a group of citizens, from church representatives to secular neighbors, to settle the issue.

Now the Dolores/Guerrero Median Parking Advisory Committee has spoken: a vote by the Dolores/Guerrero Median Parking Advisory Committee on Thursday morning recommended parking along road medians on Guerrero and Dolores be abolished.

The decision is not final, but is instead a proposal SFMTA staff will present to its Board of Directors in about three months, said John Knox White of the SFMTA.

SFMTA staff may also submit a proposal separate from that of the citizen group, Knox White said.

Still, the citizen group’s proposal to abolish median parking could impact that final vote… (more)

As the SFMTA city authorities squeeze the parking out of San Francisco more people will feel the pinch and stay away. Getting rid of the churches, and other charitable organizations who serve the less advantaged citizens will put more disadvantaged people at risk. This is part of the plan to rid the city of undesirables. A church is not required to serve the gods of greed.



Muni vies for pricey training facility

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transit agency wants to spend $2.4 million annually — a 1,500 percent increase from what it’s currently spending — for a training facility for Muni drivers.

Transit officials, however, failed to justify such a cost increase for the facility to members of the Board of Supervisors at a budget committee hearing Wednesday. Instead, transit officials will make their case to the committee March 9… (more)

Good for them. Why spend more that much more money when Muni is broke? How much do other cities spend on training facilities? Probably a lot less.

Cost of new Muni training facility questioned The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is seeking a new training facility in South San Francisco for its Muni operators, but will have to prove to The City’s Board of Supervisors that it actually needs one.

San Francisco Considers Tearing Down Interstate 280 Extension for High Speed Rail, Caltrain

By Jean Elle : nbcbayarea – excerpt – video

The planning department said removing the freeway extension would free up space for housing and offices.

San Francisco is considering tearing down the Interstate 280 extension to get Caltrain and high speed rail into downtown. City officials said that portion of the freeway would turn into a boulevard, while tracks are built underground.

Residents opposing the plan jam packed a meeting late Tuesday in Potrero Hill to share their concerns. Some residents call the I-280 extension north of Mariposa Street a “vital line” that should not be torn down… (more)


The truth about High Speed Rail

Your thoughts and comments on this story are appreciated. Stay tuned for more to come.


They have no money.

At the much touted unveiling of the DTX Extension and 280 Tear Down plans last night on Potrero Hill, San Francisco officials admitted that there is no money to finish the electrification of CalTrain. They are $440 million short on what they need to electrify 70% of the trains. This was repeated a few times last night.

We were told that the Fast Train is not going to be paid for with public funds and will only happen if “they” can convince a private investor to invest in it. It appears the real reaosn they are trying to force us out of our cars  and onto Muni buses, is to prove that there is a market for a “potential” private investor to invest in a “public” transit system to attract private capital. All the mad street painting and street diets are really part of the plan…

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If car sales collapse, it won’t be because of sharing

by Gabe Nelson : autornews – excerpt

“In the long run,” the report says, “autonomous vehicles will have a much greater impact on new-car sales than car-sharing will.”

OAKLAND, Calif. — Around the corner from my house, two Ford Focus hatchbacks sit side by side in a gas station parking lot. They belong to City Carshare, a 15-year-old San Francisco nonprofit that rents cars by the hour like Zipcar…

But as much as I like the idea of car-sharing, it wouldn’t make much sense. Unless I’m running errands or shopping at Target, it’s easier to use a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft, which doesn’t require me to find a parking space and doesn’t charge me for a car that’s sitting idle in a parking lot.

So I wasn’t surprised at all to read the results of a report today by Boston Consulting Group, which estimated that car-sharing will reduce global vehicle sales by 550,000 in 2021 and cost manufacturers roughly $8 billion in revenue.

That might sound like a lot of cars and money. It’s not…

So why are automakers pushing so hard into car-sharing?…

The reason is autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles, according to BCG, promise to erase the distinction between ride-hailing and car-sharing. Zipcar and Uber are almost exactly the same if no one is driving.

“In the long run,” the report says, “autonomous vehicles will have a much greater impact on new-car sales than car-sharing will.”

That’s the important point. Right now there’s a competition to get ready for a future with ubiquitous autonomous pods. Car-sharing may not be economically viable on a large scale, but experts believe that autonomous pods will be.

For companies like GM, which formed Maven as its “personal mobility” brand in January, car-sharing serves as a transitional business model to get there… (more)

Commuters Voice Mixed Feelings About Mission St. Changes

By missionlocal – excerpt

San Francisco’s Mission Street is undergoing significant transformation in the coming months, but there is skepticism among drivers and bus riders that the changes will be for the better.

As of last Friday, several bus stops along the corridor including those at 15th, 19th, 21st and 23rd streets had vanished. The city will now begin turning one of the lanes in each direction into a bus-only lane, with painting expected to be completed at the end of April. Beginning in March, left turns off of Mission Street will be prohibited, and northbound drivers will be required to turn right off of Mission at 26th, 24th, 22nd and 20th streets.

The response to these changes on social media was swift and angry: “Nooo,” “Horrible,” “This is terrible,” or simply, “Grrrr.”

Others had more specific complaints.

“They got it backwards. You start implementing transit first after you have a transit system,” wrote Daniel Bucko on Facebook.

“Who do we have to vote out of office to make this go away?” wondered Facebook user Gary Siegel.

After the changes were announced, Dave Smith, a Mission resident dedicated to reducing dangerous crashes on South Van Ness Avenue, wrote an incensed letter to the transit authority’s head Ed Reiskin. Now he wrote, even more drivers will be diverted to the notoriously high-injury corridor.

“You, due to your negligence have created an unsafe situation on South Van Ness Ave. and it will only get worse once you limit cars on Mission St.,” Smith wrote. “It makes zero sense to funnel traffic from Mission St., which is commercial, to South Van Ness, which is mainly residential in nature.”…(more)

Why are city officials approving spending money on controversial programs like this? As someone who works late at night pointed out, Mission is not a safe street to walk on in the middle of the night, and he fears for the safety of his co-workers. We have a growing homeless population living on the streets of our city while the SFMTA waste millions of dollars needed to house them. Who indeed do we need to fire to set the priorities straight?

SFMTA Owes $6 Million to Residents

KGOradio – (audio)

SFMTA overcharged and collected over $6 million. If you think they owe you money,  contact them.

If you think you are owed money, you can submit a claim form here(more)