City withholds Salesforce Transit Center funding as allegations of mismanagement mount

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco city officials are withholding $9.6 million meant to fund expansion planning for the Salesforce Transit Center, in a bid to hold its leadership accountable for alleged mismanagement of the $2.2 billion project.

The move to delay the funding Tuesday came the same day as a lawsuit filed by a major contractor, and amid new revelations that the transit center may lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue due to its closure following the discovery of two cracked beams holding up its rooftop park in late September…

“We are taking a little ‘time out,’” Peskin told the Examiner Tuesday. … (more)

My mind is boggled. I can hardly think. Someone is finally questioning the rush to prop up failing projects with more tax dollars. TIME OUT is the right move. We need a chart to follow the action with these fast-paced legal maneuvers coming from all directions.

TJPA just got a strong wave of descent rippling through their regional quarters as the change order system is turned off. If a few hundred buses rattling though the center are going to crack beams, imagine what the vibrations of fast moving trains will do. And has anyone considered how much weight will rain add to the rooftop garden? We might find out next week.

At least we know who is NOT to blame. The motor vehicle drivers and the taxpaying public, unless you blame them for passing the legislation that funded this regional monster ie: passing regional tax and the bridge toll bills. How many new “world class” exhibits in bad designs can any city handle in a decade?

 

 

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SF to ban most of taxi fleet from SFO to help struggling cabbies

by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexminer – excerpt

The City walked back a controversial proposal to shrink the local taxi industry Tuesday night, but did approve restrictions on which taxis can pick up passengers at San Francisco International Airport.

The change was crafted with the intention of shuffling some taxi medallions back into San Francisco, instead of allowing large numbers to wait at SFO for one plum ride.
There are about 1,450 medallions in service today, according to the SFMTA, used across 4,800 active taxi drivers.

Among calls of “shame!” and “you should all go to hell!” as well as a stream of four-letter words, taxi drivers blasted the proposal for San Francisco to phase out about 260 decades-old taxi permits, called medallions, to help divert business to more struggling taxi drivers with more recent, more expensive medallions.

“They’ve killed the taxi industry,” said Yellow Cab driver Marcel Fonseca just after the vote. He wasn’t alone in his critique.

Five members of the Board of Supervisors also penned an eleventh-hour letter objecting to the reforms, arguing for a more incremental approach…

The San Francisco Federal Credit Union also opposed the taxi reforms. The credit union is suing the SFMTA to the tune of $28 million for allegedly allowing taxi medallions to become worthless, even as the credit union offered loans to taxi drivers. A letter in opposition to the reforms sent by Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Sandra Fewer, Rafael Mandelman, Norman Yee and Hillary Ronen called for the SFMTA to oppose limiting taxi pickups at SFO, and phasing out older taxi medallions.

“The City walked back a controversial proposal to shrink the local taxi industry Tuesday night, but did approve restrictions on which taxis can pick up passengers at San Francisco International Airport.”

I think you mean the SFMTA walked by a controversial proposal? They do not yet represent the city.

 

Who will be allowed to drive in the Red Lanes?

Director Ed Reiskin is leaving it up to the Board of Supervisors to decide.

Don’t miss your chance to comment on the Red Lanes.
The matter will be heard on Monday, October 29 1:30 PM
Room 250 City Hall – Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Meeting

Continue reading

Muni delays make politicos late to Transit Week event

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

All told, three Muni routes experienced breakdowns Monday morning, causing elected officials, candidates and everyday transit riders to arrive at the Transit Week celebration at City Hall late or just barely on time… (more)

Salesforce Transit Center to remain closed after crack in second beam discovered

By Michael Barba : sfexaminer – excerpt

The $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center is expected to remain closed at least through the end of next week after inspectors found a second cracked steel beam beneath the center’s rooftop park, officials said Wednesday.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority shuttered the brand new transit center shortly before rush hour Tuesday after workers installing ceiling panels on the bus deck above Fremont Street discovered the initial crack at around 10 a.m… (more)

A bad week for public transportation in San Francisco this week has lead to a bad week for everyone’s commute. Will the voters rebel against the failed agency or will City Hall finally say ENUF and abandon the failed agency?

 

Show us the Contract

Show us the Ford/GoBike/Motivate/Lyft Contract

17thArkansas

Corporate takeover of 17th Street at Arkansas by zrants

Show us the contract and explain why it immune to amendments. We have witnessed a lot of amendments to a lot of contracts that were signed by the SFMTA on our behalf. What is sacred about this Ford/GoBike/Motivate/Lyft contact? Where is that contract? Who signed that contract? When and where and under what circumstances?

A number of surveys and recent public polls have shown a preference for station-less bike rentals such as Jump and Scoot. If that is the preference of the renters and that is the preference of the general public, why are we expanding Ford/GoBike/Motivate/Lyft stations in San Francisco? Is this another failed business model being propped up by investors at the public’s expense?

If the state CPUC is involved, it is time to talk to our governor wannabe’s about how they plan to fix that problem when they are elected. This is one of the largest thorns in our sides and it appears to be one of the governors’ responsibilities to release that entity from controlling our “shared” rental corporate entities tight control over our streets. http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/

We are happy to report that our Board of Supervisors has taken some steps in the right direction to engage the public by creating a process that the public can use to review and appeal the planed sites. See details here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/process/

RELATED:

Uh oh! They’re using the ‘share’ word again: Ford GoBike Expansion

Op-Ed By Patrick Maley : sfexainer – excerpt

San Francisco has a resource curse. We are walking, biking, and riding (and also sitting or lying) on the most valuable public right-of-way in the world. Just as oil rich countries suffer waves of invasion and corrupt leadership as others seek control of their wealth, San Francisco has seen waves of extractivist companies bundling cash to elected officials for control of the road, leaving the traffic, the pollution, and the noise for the unlucky residents to deal with. If the companies can take the public commons and reserve it for the use of the wealthy (while paying nothing to the city but “cost recovery” for rubber-stamping this plunder) they’re as good as gold. This is the story of most of what the SFMTA calls “emerging mobility services and technologies.” A good rule of thumb is that if a company is using the word “share,” it probably means they’re robbing you… (more)

 

Corporate Bike Rentals in the Mission

Open letter to the Mayor Breed and District Supervisors Cohen and Ronen:

Re: Corporate Bike Rentals in the Mission

We just got word that Motivate/Lyft is planning to install GoBikes on the southwest corner of Utah and 25th St. where there is a school and a Healthy San Francisco building. The East Mission Improvement Association, residents and nearby neighbors oppose this installation and request that the Board of Supervisors stop further installations of GoBikes in the neighborhood around General Hospital, where both neighbors and hospital employees are struggling with difficult problems on the street and violent behavior has escalated.

We understand that the SFMTA CAC passed two motions last week that will be presented to the SFMTA Board that detail important changes in the “shared bike program” that they would like to see considered. Please review these prior to approving more station installations.

There has been a huge backlash against corporate takeover of public streets in the Mission, there have been at least three public meetings to discuss the loss of public access to curb space, and more are anticipated.

Sincerely,

Mari Eliza

Download document SFMTA CAC motions
or read them online

Send letters and comments to the Mayor and Supervisors. Contacts are here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

 

Muni Meltdown play by play

By Audio program with Julian Mark and Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency had a horrible summer, and it all revolved around a two-month, $41 million overhaul of the Twin Peaks Tunnel, which reopened in late August. Mission Local’s managing editor, Joe Eskenazi, reported extensively on MTA’s mismanagement of the closure that left hundreds of thousands of riders stranded on busy lines. The agency also awarded a contract to a construction company with a record of safety violations, Shimmick Construction, to work on the tunnel. One of the company’s workers died while working in the tunnel. Listen in… (more)

Privatization Issues are on the agenda at the SFMTA CAC September 6 meeting

Thursday, Sept 6, 5:30 PMagenda
Room 7080, 1 South Van Ness SFMTA CAC Meeting

Item 7. The Commuter Shuttle Program status report
Several new Citizens’ Advisory Council members have been appointed and travel season is over. The MTA staff presentation will start soon after 5:30pm. at the conclusion of the opening formalities. Your Attendance is critical if you care about the Commuter Shuttle Program, your two minutes of public comments are appreciated. The supporters at past MTA Board meetings always show up in droves with mostly cookie cutter positive comments how convenient and the personal time savings of their commuter bus services. Disruption to the community is never mentioned. The PDF report

Item 8. The Motivate Bike Share program, discussion, and possible action. Your Attendance is critical if you care about the Commuter Shuttle Program, your two minutes of public comments are appreciated on this as well.
Two pdf handouts –
SF Expansion and Bikeshare In Your Community

If you can’t make it to the meeting and want your voices and opinions taken into account, send your letters and comments to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor and the candidates for office who are running for the new Board positions. Use the authority in  Ordinanace 180089 to demand a hearing and an audit of the programs before any further erosion of our public access on our public streets is allowed.

IMG_3530.jpeg

Let the officials know how many empty GoBike stations you see in your neighborhood. Photo of late night GoBike truck at a station on Bryant and 17th Street shot by zrants.

The first order of business for SFMTA is to support the needs of Muni riders. How are these programs solving Muni problems and why are staff spending so much of the taxpayers’ time and energy supporting the corporations in their efforts to take over our public streets?

Here are some questions that you may want to ponder as you review the material.
What is the ratio of bikes to GoLive Stations and how much money has SFMTA collected from the GoBike program to date as part of the pubic/private enterprise arrangement? Will the contract that was signed with Motivate be extended to Lyft when the ride-share purchases GoBikes from Motivate? How have other cities dealt with these issues?

 

Meet the man who says he can fix Muni. For real.

By Joe Eskenazi : mssionlocal – excerpt

‘Retired civil servant’ Mike Cheney’s plan is so not-crazy, it just might work

“Dude, do you know how much those things cost me? Apiece?” This is a de facto rhetorical question from Mike Cheney. Most are. He immediately answers it. “Eleven bucks! Eleven!”

That’s a fair amount of money to spend for a retired Muni diesel mechanic with multiple grandchildren — but if it leads to one of this city’s most intractable problems being solved, it’ll be worth it.

So, that’s why Cheney prepared a comprehensive “2018 Proposal To Re-align Muni Goals & Operations,” printed up a handful of $11-a-pop copies, and hand-delivered a few of the svelte, 21-page booklets to the office of Mayor London Breed. That’s her quote right on the cover: “Muni has to work well for the people of San Francisco, so that it is their first option.”….

What if it turned out Muni could speed up buses and trains — and wouldn’t even need to buy new equipment, tear up the streets, or even eliminate stops?

Well, it can. It could install skip-stop route schedules.

This is a system in which Bus A picks up passengers at Stops 1, 3, 5, 7 and so on and Bus B picks up passengers at Stops 2, 4, 6, and 8. This has worked all around the world; it increases capacity and speeds up service… (more)

Please read the article and comment on the source. The Fix Muni First folks will appreciate the low cost method suggested here to solve the crowded bus and speed problems and the money watchers will appreciate the savings, that could lower riders fees and/or finance more routes.

This plan seems to cover everyone’s needs except the corporate entities planning to take over and control our streets. Residents and merchants appreciate the lack of Red Lane constraints, and Muni drivers should be less stressed as well.

Mike’s ideas sound too good and lack the sexy street diets favored at the SFMTA Board. Who are our elected officials going to serve, the public, or the corporations? Will our Mayor appoint a true visionary with a lifetime of Muni experience like Mike Cheney to the MTA Board our will she select a corporate shill intent on retaining the failed policies that are driving people off the public buses into their vehicles?

Some other suggestions that are drawing a lot of public support for safer conditions on our streets:

  • Return consistency to the streets of San Francisco. Nobody can watch for pedestrians, scooters, bikes, cars, trucks and buses weaving in and out of lanes while reading street signs and directions.
  • Lanes need to be straight and flow smoothly from one block to the next. Following lane changes is creates additional distractions.
  • Bring back the safer one-way streets with predictable curbside bus stops.
  • Extend the timing of yellow lights and hold the red light for a couple of seconds before turning it to green to give stragglers a little more time to clear the intersection.

 

‘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)