Muni Proposing Major Changes To L Taraval Line

cbslocal – excerpt – (video)

Don Ford reports on planned changes to L Taraval Muni line in SF’s Sunset District… (more)


SFMTA approves contentious Taraval Street changes | SFBay :: San Francisco Bay Area News and Sports

With Unanimous Vote, SFMTA Approves Changes To L-Taraval Corridor | Hoodline

Unpopular Taraval Street plan approved in the name of safety – SFGate

SFMTA approves controversial L-Taraval changes in name of safety – The San Francisco Examiner

SFMTA Board Unanimously Approves L-Taraval Boarding Islands | Streetsblog San Francisco


Sunset Tunnel’s crumbling interior may end $19 million renovation

The cost of building San Francisco’s Sunset Tunnel has just grown by $3 million more, after the discovery of a crumbling interior inside the tunnel has the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency doling out even more money to see if the project is salvageable.

The Sunset Tunnel tracks for the N-Line were built in 1928 and are now used for the city’s N-Judah light-rail vehicles.

A report from the SFMTA has found that the during the tunnel’s renovation last winter, the conduit began to crumble and exposed “live feeder cables,” adding that there is a “high probability of hidden damages” that might cause the Muni to stop operating in the location for good… (more)

Looks like SFMTA has more important things to do than they can keep track of. Why are they spending money on Red Lanes and BRTs when they need to shore up tunnels and bridges? It boggles the mind sometimes where the priorities lie. If they can’t take care of this problem a lot more people will start driving again.

Major L-Taraval changes up for vote Tuesday

By : sfexaminer – excerpt


Taraval Street is about to transform in the name of transit.

The proposed changes are contentious. As transit officials have proposed to make the L-Taraval line safer, neighbors in the sleepy Sunset district have booed and hissed at transit officials in community meetings…

Now, a hard-won compromise was reached between those who want the L-Taraval line to be safer, and those fearful businesses will be harmed.

Most sides still have gripes with the project…

“We’re not saying we want no islands, we’re saying we got to this point and let’s test it out,” Chow said. “Because every implementation [the SFMTA has] done so far has upset every community they’ve been in.”…

As a compromise, the SFMTA plan up for vote on Tuesday would paint stripes that would ban cars from being in part of a lane, instead of creating boarding islands at four of the proposed locations closest to businesses.

Lighting the way..

On a recent tour of Muni Metro East, a light-rail vehicle repair yard, the San Francisco Examiner was shown L-Taraval train No. 1428.

Train 1428 is a guinea pig for new ultra-bright LED lights running along the door and on the front and back of the train. It will likely be a “modest” cost, Haley said, to help car drivers better see trains and pedestrians in the foggy stretch of Taraval…(more)

This really is a case of neighborhoods uniting to fight the giant street eater. Citizens are tired of this constant disruption and changes in their lives. There is no point to most of it. Why is SFMTA spending money they don’t have to harass the voters? Yes on L and No on J and K and if you can show up to protest tomorrow, September 20th at the SFMTA Board meeting, please do. See above for details.



Keep Our L Taraval Stops

Hello Supporters of Keeping Our L Taraval Stops,

Below are links to the staff’s presentation to the SFMTA Board of Directors for their meeting on Tuesday September 20 at 1 pm. at City Hall Room 400. All of the arguments that we made at the July 22 Public Hearing were rejected, and the staff rebutted each of our arguments, and specifically discussed on pp. 22-23 why the stops at 17th, 24th inbound, and 28 should be removed.  If you are interested, you can skim through the presentation to see what they said about the items that interest you, and you can rebut it in your emailed public comment if you want.
Staff Report PDF
Slide Presentation PDF


1.  Please make every effort to attend the meeting on September 20 at 1:00 pm in City Hall, Room 400.  We are the only item on the regular agenda and should come up by 1:30 or 2.  The staff will present the Project, and then we will make our public comments.  We will be allowed to speak only 1-2 minutes.  We need the largest turnout possible to have an affect on the Board’s vote.  Let us know if you can attend.

2.  Email a public comment, even if you are attending the meeting.  We found out that If emailed by Monday noon, the Board members will receive it in time, but the sooner they receive the emails, the more time they will have to read them. Sample letter

3.  Forward this email and the l-taraval-save-our-stops-postcard-for-9-20-board-meeting-jpeg to your friends and family members, post the relevant information on Facebook and your other social media sites, and encourage your friends/family to email the Board (with cc to us) and to attend the meeting on Tuesday September 20 if they can.

Thank you so much for your support.  We are all in this together, and we need your help now!

Paula Katz
Save Our L Taraval Stops!

Muni’s $2.4 Million Mission Transformation Saves 2 Minutes, Costs Shopkeepers More

Phil Matier : cbslocal – excerpt – (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s plan for Muni in the Mission District promised to speed up commutes, but the time saved has come at a startling cost: a million dollars a minute…

For the past five months crews have been busy remaking 23 blocks of Mission Street to make it more bus friendly, putting transit only lanes, taking out parking and rerouting traffic.

The price tag on the project? $2.4 million.

Muni says the transformation will save commuters about two minutes.

Local business owners say the money, along with the time saved, is just not worth it.

“We support better service for Muni riders, but this is basically hurting the businesses and the economic vitality of this community,” says Roberto Hernandez of the Mission Merchants Association.

The trouble is faster buses also means fewer cars coming in to shop.

Take, for example, the busy intersection at Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

“They created what we are calling the “Trump wall” – people cannot drive onto Mission street. They are forced to make a right-hand turn,” says Hernandez.

Drivers are forced to go around the block to get back on Mission Street. No sooner than you get back on Mission, you’re ordered off again, and the again , and still again…

“What it has done is stopped people from coming onto Mission Street,” says Hernandez. “Consequently, for over 300 businesses revenue has dropped drastically over the last five months.

City Hall feels the time-saving project is worth it…(more)

If you don’t agree with City Hall that “it’s ok to spend 2.4 million dollars to save 2 minutes”, cut off the normal flow of traffic on a busy commercial cross-town street, put hundreds  businesses and employees at risk, force elderly and young people to walk longer distances to catch more crowded buses with less seats, support Proposition L, the SFMTA Charter Amendment, that calls for changes on the SFMTA Board. Get the details and join the campaign:



Meet the SF man responsible for more than a quarter of all tech bus complaints

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :  SFExaminer – excerpt

Edward Mason is on the hunt, and his target is the elusive tech bus.

But Mason does not seek out his prey merely once. Instead, he catches the gleaming metal vehicles in the act of violating city rules on the “Commuter Shuttle Program,” repeatedly…

Employees of many tech companies hire commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which weave in and out of city neighborhoods to pick up employees.

Tech workers defend the shuttles, and often say Caltrain is too full to use in a Silicon Valley commute. Tech workers frequently say in meetings that the shuttles take many cars off the road…

A pilot program to monitor and regulate shuttle use began in August 2014, and that’s when Mason began his hunt. He’s been enormously effective…

Overall, Mason has provided information on commuter shuttles 282 times, according to the SFMTA.

Mason’s emails detail scores of infractions, including a shuttle idling in a narrow street it’s not allowed in, shuttles staging in Muni stops, shuttles blocking access to Muni buses, incorrect permit decals, incorrect license plates and more.

“The plan says buses are supposed to avoid deep and narrow streets,” he said, “but what else is there in San Francisco?”…(more)

Bay Area Public Transit Agency To Subsidize Uber, Lyft Rides

By Ian Wenik : thestreet – excerpt

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), a public transit agency that operates in the California Bay Area suburbs, is testing out a new initiative: subsidized ridesharing trips.

LAVTA, which operates buses in cities such as Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, is set to roll out the service on a one-year trial in mid-September. The plan will offer riders in certain areas of Dublin subsidized Uber and Lyft fares to local destinations at prices ranging from $3 to $5, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

LAVTA Executive Director Michael Tree explained the reasoning behind the program in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.”… (more)

If you didn’t need more proof that the plan is to privatize transportation systems after the government takes away your right to own your own transportation, this is it. It is the classic”Bait and Switch” scheme.

  • First they convince you that “parking isn’t free so they can charge you to park on the public streets.
  • Then they claim they can provide the transportation system you need while “calming traffic”.
  • Next they claim they need more money to “improve service” and raise the taxes fines and fees.
  • Next they “improve service by removing bus stops and seats, forcing more people to stand so they can fit in more people.
  • Then, when they have millions of people depending on them for service, they tell you to take the new “smart” corporate car service that they will subsidize so you can afford it.

The joke, if it was a joke, is that we had the private car service when we started on this journey, but now instead of owning our own homes and cars, we rent them from the corporation that can control our every move, and the worst traffic nightmare imaginable.

If this picture bothers you support the Prop L, the SFMTA Charter Amendment:


New elevator, upgrades coming to Milk plaza

With transit officials set to add a second elevator at the Muni station in the Castro, they are also floating ideas to remodel the public plaza that surrounds it.

Named for Harvey Milk, the city’s first gay elected official who was killed in office in 1978, the plaza has long vexed neighborhood leaders since it first opened nearly four decades ago. Its design has been derided as uninviting with poorly laid out spaces little used other than by smokers or homeless people…

Now two city agencies, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco Public Works, are proposing to make several changes to the plaza’s design as part of a project to improve pedestrian access throughout the space.

“We have been working with folks in the neighborhood and the SFMTA and DPW for a while now brainstorming ideas, with the overall goal being to open up the plaza and to turn this space into a useable plaza,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who represents the Castro at City Hall. “The way it is designed right now, it is so broken up with narrow spaces it is not useable. It ends up leading to problem activities.”… (more)

NO MORE TAXES. What does making a useable plaza have to do with SFMTA’s mission of transporting people and goods around the city? This is why we are opposing any new taxes. Re-designing public space by digging up concrete and re-pouring it in different configurations is a waste of taxpayer funds that should be dedicated to improving public transportation. DPW should not spend time or energy on this either. They are far behind on street and pothole repairs. NO MORE TAXES.

SFMTA Readies Limited Roll Back on Mission Transit Project

By sf.streetsblog – excerpt

SFMTA staff has released its recommendations for compromises to its recently completed Mission Street transit upgrades. In addition to plans to relocate the outbound Cortland stop to the nearside of the intersection, the staff wants to move forward with (from the agency’s FAQ):

  • Removing two of the required right turns on Mission at 26th and 22nd. This will allow vehicles to travel four blocks on Mission before encountering a required right turn, making it easier to access businesses and find parking along the street. We expect this change to improve traffic circulation without increasing through traffic or delaying bus riders.
  • Exempting taxis from the left turn restriction at 21st Street. This exemption, in the middle of the Mission corridor, will provide more options for taxis to reach their destinations…

Business owners around the intersections in question, meanwhile, still want Mission restored to how it was before March, when SFMTA put down the “red-carpet” lanes for transit. Patel Varsho, who’s owned “King of Fashions,” a clothing shop on Mission, since 1991, said they’ve felt the cuts to parking and that  “Business is slow.” Mihee Lee owns the “Smile Bar-B-Q,” a nearby lunch counter on Mission at 22nd. “Customers have no parking,” she said. “Business is down 20 percent.” Neither commented specifically on the significance of eliminating the turn restrictions, and instead were concerned primarily about parking…

Despite claims of improved reliability, the transit lanes don’t seem to have improved bus spacing. Three 14s in a row pulled into the stop on 22nd… (more)

What do you suppose convinced SFMTA to “improve” their controversial improvements? Did the threat of a Charter Amendment coming out of a western district convinced them they have gone too far? Claims that the buses are not any more reliable now than they were before the red carpet got laid?

Sit through one SFMTA Board Meeting and you will know the answer. We sat through a relatively productive SFMTA staff meeting yesterday and came up with some very cheap, fast fixes for staff to take back to their bosses that we told them would help the Mission merchants recover from their losses but we don’t expect them to listen to us.

San Francisco needs traffic flow, not traffic control. Until that mindset changes residents will not be happy with the SFMTA.

The voters, particularly the ones on Lombard, Masonic, Geary, Van Ness, Taraval, 16th Street and Potrero Avenue, to name a few, will not trust the SFMTA to listen to them either and will probably support the SFMTA Charter Amendment: Details here:

Rider wants Muni Service Restored

Herbert Weiner response to Conor Johnson oped in San Francisco Examiner:

Dear Mr. Johnston:

As someone who rides MUNI on a near daily basis, I feel compelled to respond to your recent opinion piece in the San Francisco Examiner. Please excuse this belated response.

MUNI, potentially the best transportation service in the country, falls dramatically short of its potential.

For too many times, there have been late, missing, switchbacks and breakdowns of buses. MUNI celebrates Halloween each day, because each day has a horror story.

This problem has not been sufficiently addressed, because the internal operations and communication, control and command structure of MUNI are ignored. Even with the grandiose visions of MUNI Forward, the system will not function well if internal problems of MUNI are not addressed. There has been little, if any transparency, about these elements of MUNI.

Instead, the problem has been externalized with consolidation of bus stops and the elimination and modification of bus runs that have served the neighborhoods. It will take as much as one quarter of a mile to walk to a bus stop, adversely impacting seniors and the disabled; the Municipal Transit Agency gives lower priority to bicyclists who are hail and hearty and, on the average, under 50 years of age. Can you imagine individuals with arthritis, emphysema or other disease, who are barely able to climb the steps of a transportation vehicle, walking such a long distance? Some MTA managers, with tongue in cheek, will say that walking is good for you. But the Turks must have said that to the Armenians before their death march. There has never been a medical opinion about such a hardship that has been sought by MTA administrators which might very well be a violation of the American Disability Act. MTA can counter that Paratransit is the answer. But that service is already overloaded with its own unreliability. Why substitute Paratransit for bus services that presently meet the needs of senior and disabled passengers?

Will elimination of bus stops result in faster MUNI speed? This is debatable because, with the internal problems of MUNI and the unreliability of buses as a primary problem, there is no guarantee. In addition, the proclaimed advantages of bus stop elimination and consolidation are offset by longer walking time which can result in the missing of a bus and the increased boarding times.

Bus services are being decreased and removed from the neighborhoods. The 2 Clement line, a perfectly good line, has been morphed into the 2 Sutter line which will cover only two blocks on Clement Street. This will affect merchants and shopping along that corridor with decreased access to businesses and services on that street. The 26 Valencia bus which ran directly to St. Luke’s Hospital, served the Merced Extended Neighborhood Triangle District bordering Daly City and traveled to San Francisco State University has also been axed. The 18 bus line which previously ran directly to the Cliff House, a San Francisco landmark, has been altered. The 33 line, a bus in District 5, will no longer run to San Francisco General Hospital which could be life threatening to severely ill patients. And the 47 line will no longer run to the Hall of Justice which will be detrimental to jurors and the legal process itself.

Citizens have been pointing out these problems to the deaf ears of MTA for some time with no redress. Instead, MTA formulates its plans and dumps them on the public which are forced to cope with these poor decisions and policies. The outreach of MTA is basically a ritual and joke, because that agency hears but does not listen. This is supposed to be a public service.

You have noted the density of the city in your article. According to MTA, San Francisco’s density is second to New York. In previous decades, the coverage of MUNI services embraced the whole city, reflecting its density and the needs of the neighborhoods. The problem then, as now, was making this comprehensive system work in order that buses arrive on time with good frequency. This core problem has never been addressed sufficiently by MUNI. The internal problem of MUNI is now being externalized with MUNI Forward which evades the above issue.

Transportation services are being stripped from the neighborhoods on the grounds of supply and demand. Market system economics are being applied to a public service which is supposed to address need. It is equivalent to the police saying that, because only one crime occurs in a part of town in contrast to other neighborhoods, services should be reduced to certain areas of the city. Every neighborhood needs services which are constantly being taken away to the detriment of the public.

One of the reasons for slow travel time is the city’s density. This underlines the need for more buses and drivers. I noted that when I was in London in 1991, the underground trains were backed up behind each other which meant that, if you missed one coach, another train would be available.

The argument that MTA trots out is that there are limited funds. But this falls flat in light of the proliferation of six digit salaries of MTA management, ever expanding bike lanes and the boondoggled Central Subway. 1.5 million dollars has been paid to Barbary Coast, an advertising agency to promote MUNI Forward. This agency is not poor and constantly asks for more money which it will do perpetually after you and I are gone.

$2.25 per ride is a bargain on the face of it. But now trouble is no longer free. The service is actually worsening. I have waited too many times in the dead of night for the 1 California line, one of the showpiece lines of MUNI.

While the slogan of MTA is “Transit First” it should be “Bicycles First”. The Bicycle Coalition gets royal treatment to the neglect of passengers. You might say that they remove cars from the streets. But so do I when I take MUNI. What do we get? Less service and accessibility!

These are my impressions which you may or may not agree with.

And I hope that you have not worked for MTA or plan to. This would certainly affect your thinking and article that you have written.

Just remember one of the mottos of MTA: “We break it. You own and ride it!”

                                                                                                            Very truly yours,

Herbert J. Weiner