‘Eroding the Confidence’: SF Mayor Breed Blasts Muni Officials For Flawed Service

By Sam Brock : nbcbayareanews – excerpt (includes video)

One day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the Muni director in a letter, accusing him of “eroding the confidence” of riders in the system, the mayor took a ride on Muni and continued her criticism.

Breed said Tuesday you can’t push people to use public transportation and then have the transit not work. From widespread delays in service to the recent death of a construction worker, Breed said she’s fed up, and her concerns are echoing through City Hall… (more)

SFMTA Board reacted to the Mayor’s threats and the public’s outrage by ignoring it.

First, they ignored public request to limit the Geary BRT Red Lanes to Muni and taxis only, and retain some popular bus stops.

The Board approved recently unveiled plans to allow non-public transportation corporations access to Transit only Red Lanes.  Liz Brisson, SFMTA’s Project Manager for the Geary Project, claimed the definition of a bus is a vehicle transporting 9 or more people. This is news to many people who opposed the non-Muni vehicles at the meetings. When was this definition written and why was this intent not explained in previous presentations of the Geary BRT plan?

Were the Supervisors aware of this when they approved Phase I of the Geary BRT?

Will this new information be factored into the case against Phase II of the Geary BRT currently under litigation, or will City Hall settle the case rather than continue to fund the legal battles of this devious department?

Not only did we learn that Transit only does not mean public transit only, but, we also learned that the claims of time savings in the red lanes is not supported by factual analysis of existing red lanes. Perhaps we now can see the reasons why that may be the case. It seems that all red lanes are not created equal. It seems that the only time pubic transit only applies is when the lanes are “protected” inside a physical barrier. Otherwise you must read the signs to determine who is allowed on the red lanes. This begs the question, why paint the lanes red when the color is meaningless? Who is making a profit off this paint job?

After the startling bait and switch revelations and the Geary BRT approval, the Board went into private session for Ed Reiskin’s job review. As expected, the Board ignored the Mayor’s comments on the Director’s poor leadership and mismanagement of contracts.

The SFMTA Board commended Ed Reiskin on his work with the department, failed to scold or reprimand him for any of his mistakes or misdeeds, included those he admitted to, and announced their continued support for his leadership of the disgraced department.

What will our Mayor do about this rogue board and department that insults our intelligence by repeated attempts to deceive us? Will she appoint a strong new Director to the Board to replace the recently departed one hired by the department to handle the public through public outreach? Will the Board of Supervisors hand the decision over to the public in the form of a Charter Amendment? Will our Mayor support this option? You may want to weigh in if you have an opinion. Contacts with City Hall are here:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

REALATED:

Private buses have driven in city ‘transit-only’ lanes for years — with the city’s blessing, and in spite of the law

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

… Does it make sense to allow private buses or other such vehicles in red carpet lanes — or not — on a Byzantine, lane-by-lane, project-by-project basis? If you’re a transit layman, you’d probably say “no.” And, it turns out, if you’re a transit expert you’d say “no,” too…

The city’s administration of its “transit-only” lanes has only grown more haphazard and opaque in the past dozen years — not that the citizens who came out Tuesday to yell about the Geary Rapid Project (or, quite possibly, the commissioners they were yelling at) ever realized this was happening…

But is it legal? That’s confusing, too… (more)

 

Larkspur parking spaces lost as SMART moves in

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Larkspur ferry riders will have 300 less spaces to choose from now that the Golden Gate Bridge district must give up a portion of parking to make way for SMART’s Larkspur extension…

As work continues to bring commuter rail south from San Rafael, a portion of a parking area for Larkspur ferry patrons will be permanently closed Wednesday.

That will result in the loss of about 300 spaces. While the area is usually lightly used during the work week, ferry riders going to Giants games or to special events in San Francisco served by the boats do use them as other lots swell.

In order to get trains through the Cal Park Hill Tunnel and to the Larkspur stop, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency needs the area to construct a station and other amenities as part of the $55.4 million project. The parking area is situated up a hill above 300 Larkspur Landing Circle. SMART plans to commence its Larkspur service in 2019… (more)

Here is a perfect example of how regional transportation systems under state directives, play musical chairs with the commuting public:

They remove service for existing riders under the guise of adding more future customers to their the “future perfect” system they are designing for. Meanwhile, drivers are faced back in their cars to cope with the loss of service. The winners in this game are the planners, consultants, developer sand the politicians they support. The losers are the commuters.

The Best thing voters can do is take back our streets and kick the “future perfect’ planners out at the ballot box when they get the chance. Grill the candidates on thee topics before you pledge support for them.

Van Ness BRT project delay may impact Golden Gate Transit operating costs

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s traffic woes are the Bay Area’s traffic woes.

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District officials pointed to the two-year delay of San Francisco’s Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project as a source of financial pain at a finance committee meeting Thursday, during a review of their 2017 strategic financial plan.

But the bridge district’s budget would also look more rosy — to the tune of $1.5 million — if San Francisco roads were simply less clogged, according to district documents… (more)

Most people blame the SFMTA for the mess that makes the Millennium Tower look like small potatoes. We need Peskin to direct the 30 plus SFCTA staffers at the SFCTA to prepare a report on the Walsh contract. Who suggested using a Design-to-Build contract, used in small construction jobs, as a good way to design and manage the massively complex and growing multi-contractor mess that we have on Van Ness Avenue.
Who supported this project management style and who advised against it? Can we quit listening to the people who get it wrong and start paying attention to the people, and the public, who get it right?
Until this mess gets sorted out City Hall should stop all non-essential new projects from breaking ground.

We should stop installing building billion dollar old technology on our streets when new tech may solve much of the problem. See this new system being tried on China now and then decide how to “design for the future”. http://www.sfexaminer.com/v…

SF for Sensible Transit prepares Lawsuit to block MUNI BRT throughout San Francisco

missionstreetdiscussion

At the heated meeting on the Mission Red Lanes, Ed Reiskin holds the red folder we handed him, containing comments from over 4500 signatories of the StopSFMTA petition. How many do you think he bothered to read? Regardless, these comments are in the public record. Keep them coming. (Ignore the spam on moveon.)

What does it take to stop SFMTA’s destruction of our streets and businesses?
The voters resoundingly opposed the sales tax increase and federal funds could dry up soon, but that hasn’t stopped the SFMTA and their counterparts from digging up more streets. They gridlocked Van Ness and Polk and are aiming for Lombard and the Golden Gate Bridge next. Does it take a lawsuit to stop them?

The redcarpetmess.org website and the petition page have been updated and include a new video introducing San Franciscans for sensible transit. Please share this link with anyone who supports a more sensible approach to transportation in San Francisco:  https://youtu.be/1aezGHnmsD8.

Rough waters ahead: Repair work for dilapidated ferry ramps face delays, cost increase

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

A San Francisco ferry terminal used by Golden Gate Ferry passengers is dilapidated and badly in need of repair — which was already budgeted and pledged by the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

But those repairs are now delayed and facing a cost increase of $3.3 million after Sausalito neighbors complained about repairs to a ferry facility in their town.

The projects are linked, meaning Sausalito’s delays are, by extension, San Francisco’s as well, according to the Golden Gate Bridge district…(more)

Muni sets date to begin Van Ness BRT construction

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Construction of San Francisco’s first bus rapid transit system will now start in November after transit officials said it would break ground on the project this summer.

A subcontractor dispute led to the delayed start of construction along Van Ness Avenue, said Paul Rose, spokesman for the Municipal Transportation Agency.

SFMTA documents show that The City’s Public Utilities Commission and a subcontractor chosen to do sewer and water line replacement work could not agree upon a price for the work. Instead, the Public Utilities Commission decided to bid the work out.

The SFMTA’s Board of Directors at its Aug. 16 meeting approved a contract amendment with Walsh Construction Company II, LLC, which is overseeing the construction of the project, to allow the company to begin work.

The Van Ness Improvement Corridor Project will include dedicated center-running transit lanes for Muni’s 47-Van Ness and 49-Van Ness/Mission routes that officials said will help improve reliability and reduce transit travel time for Muni riders by over 30 percent. Both routes currently serve about 45,000 riders a day.

Buses will change to low-floor buses and new station platforms will be able to accommodate riders waiting for the bus and for two buses to load and unload passengers at the same time.

Improvements such as pedestrian countdown timers, pedestrian bulb-outs and eliminating most left turns on the Van Ness Avenue corridor are also part of the project.

SFMTA documents show that primary bus rapid transit portion of the project will cost $189.5 million, which includes the cost of procuring new buses…

The total cost of all the improvements along the Van Ness Avenue corridor is $316.4 million, according to SFMTA documents. Funds for the project will come from federal grants, state funds, revenue bonds, local Proposition K funds and local funds from the Public Utilities Commission.

Officials began the bus consolidation portion of the project in June so that riders and Muni operators can get used to the changes before the opening of the bus rapid transit system in late 2019.

(more)

A balancing act on Chestnut Street

By MARK E. FARREL : marinatimes – excerpt

With our city’s population marching higher month after month, some of those growing pains are felt on our city streets in the form of traffic congestion, crowded Muni buses, and overflowing sidewalks with pedestrians. I firmly believe a responsive and accountable city government should and can impliment needed improvements to address problems. But the responses to the growing pains must take into account the reasonable concerns of the residents and neighborhoods affected.

For more than a year now, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) has been working on designing improvements to the 30 Stockton line, which is one of the busiest routes and serves approximately 28,000 customers daily. As part of the SFMTA’s “Muni Forward” initiative, the SFMTA is proposing changes to the route that seek to speed Muni times, add pedestrian safety improvements, increase transit capacity and frequency, and to enhance the overall customer experience on the route.

Their original proposal, the 30 Stockton Transit Priority Project, was introduced to the community and my office in April 2015. Unfortunately, at the outset it was designed without the input of my office, the community, or the merchants along Chestnut Street. Though well intentioned, the initial proposal involved changes that would have remarkably changed the character of Chestnut Street. It included prohibiting parking on the south side of Chestnut in the mornings, traffic signals at eight intersections between Divisadero and Gough Streets, bus bulbs at a number of intersections, and the removal of more than 40 parking spaces throughout the corridor.

Our office worked with the Marina Community Association, community members, and merchants to understand their concerns, and we worked with the SFMTA to try to find a balance between their concerns and the objectives of the proposal to improve service on the 30 and to enhance pedestrian safety in the corridor. After several meetings with my office, the SFMTA agreed to eliminate their idea for a transit-only lane along Chestnut Street in the mornings, and to eliminate their proposals to install traffic signals west of Fillmore through Divisadero. They also reduced the number of bus bulbs and turn pockets, which meant the project would no longer involve the elimination of any parking spaces…

I asked the SFMTA to take another look at their proposal to install traffic signals at these intersections and to further engage with the residents in the area. The proposal was scheduled to be heard at the SFMTA board of directors meeting on Jan. 19, but I asked Ed Reiskin, the director of the SFMTA, to postpone the matter to allow those discussions to take place. They have not yet scheduled another hearing date and will work with the community before setting another date.

Personally, I am very supportive of the goals to reduce transit travel time and to improve transit reliability on the corridor. I am also mindful and supportive of the need to improve pedestrian safety and over the past few years have successfully advocated for pedestrian improvements to many corridors around District 2, including Bay, Chestnut, and Lombard Streets. However, as someone who grew up in the Marina, eating at our local restaurants, working at our neighborhood stores, and riding the 30 Stockton, I believe a balance must be struck between these improvements and maintaining the charm and character of our neighborhood that we all love.

Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors does not have any control over these decisions — due to a ballot measure years ago, all decisions around Muni and the SFMTA are made by the MTA board of directors, not the mayor or Board of Supervisors. I will continue to work with neighbors and residents on these proposals and advocate on your behalf, but if you have a strong opinion I would also urge you to contact the SFMTA directly with your thoughts on the Chestnut Street proposed improvements. The planner to contact is Sean Kennedy at sean.kennedy@sfmta.com.

As San Francisco continues to grow, we must continue to make appropriate changes to support that growth, whether it means repaving our city streets, updating our sewer system, making public transit service upgrades, or building new housing. However, those changes must incorporate not only the benefits to residents across our city, but also reflect the voices and input of our local neighborhoods that are impacted by these changes. The soul of San Francisco has always rested in our unique neighborhoods, and we cannot lose sight of their character as our city population continues to grow… (more)

Our thanks to Mark Farrell for supporting neighborhood input. All supervisors should insist on their constituents being a part of any changes that effect them. Supervisors can make a difference if they want to. They can do what Mark did, cancel or postpone an agenda time; they can request a hearing in a sub-committee or before the full Board; and they can amend or reject a contract as either city or county authorities.

If you want to see more actions like this, thank Supervisor Farrell for his support and copy the other supervisors on your message.

 

San Francisco residents, businesses upset over proposed changes to Muni along Lombard St.

We are going to start demanding proof of service to the community of the notices they claim they are putting out. We need to see some proof that the notices were sent out. When they were sent out and signatures of the parties who posted the notices. No more “we posted notices on poles around the area and that suffices for public notice. We want legal
documentation to back up the claims.
RELATED:
Monday, August 31, 2015 – A new program has just been launched to make an iconic San Francisco street safer, in the wake of a recent shooting. (Protesting started a while ago.)

Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

A new twist in the power struggle over Bay Area planning

48hillsabagcommuteflows

This fancy ABAG graphic shows the commute flows into and out of the nine Bay Area counties.

The power struggle between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments got a lot more complicated over the past week.

Since MTC voted in late June to fund ABAG’s planning staff for only the first half of fiscal year 2015-16—an action followed by revelations that the regional transportation planning agency wants to take over ABAG’s land-use planning functions before their joint December move into fancy new digs in San Francisco—the two entities seemed destined to consolidate by the end of the year. Only the Sierra Club had registered its opposition to a merger.

But with ABAG’s Executive Board meeting on September 17 and MTC convening on September 23, several other influential parties, including SPUR, the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area, SF Planning Director John Rahaim, and ABAG Executive Director Ezra Rapport, have come out against hasty action, if not against consolidation, while the SF Labor Council has warned MTC not to take over ABAG’s planners, period.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature could be dramatically changing the entire regional planning picture. A bill by Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Marc Levine, ABX1-24, would turn MTC into an elected board, forcing the organization to accept a level of democracy that has never remotely existed in the past.

The bill would re-name MTC the Bay Area Transportation Commission and replace the body’s current 21 appointed members with commissioners elected by districts of about 750,000 residents. Each district would elect one commissioner, except a district with a toll bridge, which would elect two. A citizens’ redistricting commission would draw the district boundaries, and the campaigns for commissioners would be publicly financed. Elections would be held in 2016, with new commissioners taking office on January 1, 2017.

“It’s time to take a hard look at reforming this agency,” Ting told us. “We need to make it more accountable to the voters, the state, and the region.”… (more)

Continue reading

Golden Gate Bridge district signs lease for new Marin Airporter hub in San Rafael

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Marin Airporter transports about 500 passengers a day from its Larkspur Landing Circle site, above. It is being evicted to create more parking spaces for ferry riders.

The Golden Gate Bridge district has approved a lease with the Marin Airporter for a new hub in San Rafael after district officials reclaimed the Larkspur site for added ferry parking.

The bridge district board voted Friday to approve a five-year lease with the Airporter at a 3-acre site it owns at 1011 Andersen Drive. They have been at the Larkspur site since 1985.

The Airporter will pay $20,202 a month in rent. The lease begins May 15 and the Airporter could begin operations at the San Rafael site by July 1, bridge officials said.

“The rent is fair market value and based on an appraisal,” said Denis Mulligan, bridge district general manager… (more)

SFMTA needs to follow the Marin lead and provide parking near the transit hubs if they want more Muni riders.