SF Hospital Bus Cut Spurs Petition, New Surveys

By missionlocal – excerpt – (maps)

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will be conducting a survey and focus group to study the controversial rerouting of the 33-Stanyon bus line away from San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), a SFMTA official says.

The additional layer of input comes after more than 300 advocates signed a petition speaking out against the change. The new 33 line would track east, into the Dogpatch, instead of south, along Potrero Avenue, where it currently drops off riders going to the hospital.

The 9R-San Bruno Rapid will serve Potrero at increased intervals, but riders coming from western neighborhoods will have to transfer from the 33 onto the 9 at 16th Street… (more)

SF supervisors approve Muni security contract, after no ethics violations found

By sfexaminer – excerpt

No ethics violations found, but ethical concerns remain

A $38 million security contract to guard Muni rail yards was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, amid accusations of ethical lapses in the contract process.

“It doesn’t quite pass the smell test,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said of the contract at the board meeting.

The controversy swirled around the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s lead contract negotiator and director of security, Chris Grabarkiewctz. A prior employee of Cypress Security, he was given awards lauding his ability to generate great amounts of profit from his negotiating contracts with the SFMTA.

Now he serves the reverse role, negotiating contracts for the SFMTA with Cypress Security against its sole competing bidder, Andrews International…

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws, or the SFMTA may make its own rules to protect against alleged conflicts of interest. “To the extent that this [contract] procurement has raised issues, we may consider going above and beyond the law,” Reiskin told the board…  (more)

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws? Suggested going above and beyond the law? Since when does Reiskin tell the supervisors what they can do? Someone needs to remind him that he works for the elected city officials, not the other way around. A reduction in his salary might help to remind him where he stands.

San Fran: Should Google Be Allowed to provide FREE Bus Rides for Its Employees–or do UNIONS Control All Transportation

By Stephen Frank   – excerpt

City Attorney’s office tries to stall Google Bus trial hearing 

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodrigue, SF Examiner, 3/15/15

Petitioners of a lawsuit against San Francisco’s commuter shuttle pilot program last week challenged a motion by the City Attorney’s Office to have more time to respond to the suit.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency created the pilot program last year to study the impact of the so-called Google Buses, private shuttles that transport tech workers to campuses around the region. The buses have attracted ire in San Francisco as symbols of tech-industry gentrification.

The Coalition for Fair Legal and Environmental Transit filed suit last year against Google, Apple, shuttle providers and The City to stall the program, alleging they failed to study impacts of exhaust in the air and stress on the asphalt. They also argue rents skyrocket near the shuttle stops, displacing people with the luck of living near them.

Last Wednesday’s filing came as Superior Court Judge Garrett L. Wong was on vacation. The trial is set for June, but the City Attorney’s Office pressed for a key pre-trial hearing on March 27 to be pushed back.

Wong will hear arguments Monday for rescheduling the hearing.

The effort to delay the hearing coincides with a State Assembly committee hearing on AB61, a bill which would legalize aspects of the commuter shuttle pilot program statewide. Approval by the committee may add legitimacy to the city attorney’s arguments that the pilot program is allowable, some insiders said…

… the bill’s language may in fact aid the petitioners’ case since it acknowledges that aspects of the shuttle pilot program are illegal… (more)

When you displace and inconvenience a majority of the population in order to privilege a minority group, you will not be welcome.  How many shuttles can San Francisco residents take?

More Muni Money, More Muni Problems: Even a $500 million boost won’t help Muni

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

…In the opening of John Oliver’s segment on crumbling infrastructure in the United States, which aired March 1, Ed Reiskin, transportation director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, got his 15 seconds of roasting.

“As much as I like to think otherwise, infrastructure is not very sexy,” Reiskin says on the show. His comments are played alongside a few other middle-aged Caucasian bureaucrats saying similar things…

To which Oliver replies, “Yes, infrastructure, like those men we just heard from, is important, but not sexy.”

Ouch. For the record, SF Weekly is no authority on bureaucrat sexiness — we’ll leave that one to the voters. It is worth noting that Muni’s infrastructure is a frequent topic in these pages. And at a Feb. 9 Capital Planning Committee meeting, Reiskin was making a similar argument as Oliver: San Francisco needs even more money for transit infrastructure.

The SFMTA’s infrastructure (of which Muni makes up the bulk) isn’t getting the attention or the money it requires, and over the next 10 years it will face a $4.9 billion in infrastructure obligations. That number will balloon to $11.5 billion in 20 years. In other words, that recent voter-approved $500 million bond for transit infrastructure won’t even put a dent in our needs.

“Spoiler: I’m not going to end by asking for a billion dollars,” Reiskin told the committee. Everyone laughed… (more)

A billion for Muni and another billion for BART. And they still can’t fix the potholes which the voters were promised several ballots ago. Even the bikers are complaining about the potholes. They hit on and go down. At least the four-wheeled vehicle don’t lose their balance over a pothole.

Oh My, It’s ARBOR-GEDDON 2015 – The SFMTA Wants to Kill Hundreds of Healthy Street Trees to Slow Down Traffic on Masonic

sfcitizen – excerpt

SPEED UP MUNI BUSES? Nope. In fact, the Plan will slow down MUNI buses, like part of the Plan is already doing that already, at Ewing Terrace, for example. (The nearby City Target had some mad money so it gave a quarter million to the SFMTA to put in a new light at Ewing in order to gain support for The Plan from a woman who lives on The Terrace.) This plan will slow down MUNI. Simply. Yet somehow, it will “increase access” to transit, by giving people the right to sit longer at bus stops?

SPEED UP THE REST OF TRAFFIC ON MASONIC, THE GREAT CONNECTOR WHAT LINKS THE PARKSIDE, THE SUNSET, AND THE RICHMOND WITH THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTING BUSH PINE WITH LINCOLN, FULTON, OAK, FELL, TURK, BALBOA, AND GEARY? Oh, Hell no. Masonic will turn into a congested parking lot during the morning and evening drives, ala Oak Street, ala Octavia Boulevard. Buses will no longer pull over into stops – they’ll simply stop and block the slow lane, leaving the solitary remaining lane, the “fast” lane, to temporarily serve as the only way for motorized traffic to travel on Masonic.

INCREASE “ACCESS” TO MUNI? We’ll see. The SFMTA is claiming that rebuilt bus stops will be the big benefit to MUNI riders.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA? Oh no. In fact, the Plan will remove 100-something 22-hour-a-day parking spaces from Masonic. (For some this is a feature and not a detriment.)

BENEFIT CYCLISTS? Perhaps. This, see below, is what people do these days, for the most part – they ride their bikes on the wide wide sidewalks, going uphill, for the most part, as I’ve been doing for a couple decades. SFGov is free to make this practice legal on Masonic, but it chooses not to. In fact, SFGov is sometimes reluctant to make piecemeal changes, for safety or whatever, because SFGov shuns so-called “chop-shop” projects – SFGov prefers giant pork-barrel projects paid for by, among others, people living in North Dakota. And then, if residents started to think that Masonic was then “fixed,” through small changes, that would lessen the pressure for a big pork barrel project using money from the Feds and Sacramento.  Anywho, most of the coming changes to Masonic appear to favor bike riders, so yes, we’ll be getting separated lanes up and down Masonic… (more)

We are speechless. Comments to the Chronicle and letters to the Mayor might be most appropriate. Removing mature trees that need no watering and planting new ones that require a lot of water to establish themselves, is bad any time, but quite offensive during a drought.

Free Muni Approved For Seniors, People With Disabilities

By Jerold Chinn : sfist – excerpt

In a unanimous vote yesterday, the SFMTA approved a proposal to offer free Muni rides to seniors and people with disabilities. $4 million will be spent to fund the program for one year. ABC 7 has it that Muni estimates upwards of 24,000 San Franciscans will benefit.

Ed Lee, who had called for the widely-expected service, issued the following statement: “I thank the Board of Directors for answering this call today. Also today, I call upon the private sector to partner with us, once again, and help fund this vital service that supports our city’s most vulnerable.”

He might be thinking of last year’s move by, Google to pick up the tab on Muni for low-income youth for two years.

Right now monthly adult fare on Muni is $68. Low and moderate-income seniors and riders with disabilities currently pay $23 per month.

According to the SFMTA site, seniors must be low to moderate income for eligibility. Here’s their chart for that:  All coverage of Muni on SFist:
… (more)

SFMTA approves Muni service increase

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Seniors and disabled Muni riders weren’t the only ones benefiting from a better financial picture for San Francisco’s transportation agency over the next two fiscal years.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors are moving ahead with a seven percent Muni service increase, additional funding for cleaning Muni vehicles and eliminating telephone and online transaction fees charged for making a citation payment to the SFMTA.

The board last April included all of these programs in its two-year budget last year, which included free Muni for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, but was contingent on how the transit agency’s financial health looked like this month.

In a report, the transit agency said it would be able to financially support the increase in Muni service and the additional funding to hire more staff to clean Muni vehicles of graffiti and tagging.

The transit agency projects higher revenues in transit fares, parking fees and fines and also more funds from The City because of current state of the economy in San Francisco.

The seven percent Muni approved Tuesday follows a three percent increase in Muni service approved last April by the board for a total of a 10 percent service increase…

Muni riders will be able to start seeing some of the service increases starting Jan. 31, which includes the launch of Muni’s new 55-16th Street route and the increased frequency of the 44-O’Shaughnessy. A soft launch of the new route is set for Jan. 26, according to SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin… (more)

Community Efforts to Extend Mission Bay Loop Rejected

By Keith Burbank : potreroview – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has rejected community calls to extend the Mission Bay Loop (MBL) further south. The issue didn’t even appear on SFMTA’s December meeting agenda, though one Dogpatch resident encouraged the agency’s board to seriously consider the southern option during the public comment period. 

According to SFMTA, the loop will increase service levels to a growing Southside population and “is key to efficient integration of the T-Third Street line with service on the Central Subway.” While community advocates want the loop built, they prefer a different route than the one planned for 18th, 19th and Illinois streets.

The transit agency has contracted Mitchell Engineering to build the loop. Construction could begin as soon as this month. Under its agreement, the company has 240 days to complete the project.

Dogpatch resident Bill Schwartz wants SFMTA to build the loop at the Muni Metro East Facility (MME), located at Illinois and 25th streets. He and other advocates insist that current plans ignore residents of east and south Potrero Hill and Dogpatch, as well as merchants along the 22nd and Third Street business corridors. According to SFMTA, the costs of siting the loop at the MME would be three to four times the current project budget of $6.26 million, principally because such an extension would necessitate the purchase of three two-car trains, at a cost of roughly $20 million…

Potrero Boosters president J.R. Eppler believes that the transit agency is catering to Mission Bay business interests, rather than taking a comprehensive approach that serves Mission Bay as well as more southern neighborhoods. 

The Committee for Re-evaluation of the T-Line Loop, which is composed principally of Dogpatch residents, has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court alleging that SFMTA failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act when it signed the construction contract with Mitchell Engineering. The Committee argues that the project’s environmental review failed to account for the planned and expected changes to the area from a multitude of proposed developments, including the Warrior’s Arena. 

According to SFMTA’s Julie Kirschbaum, “the lawsuit does not immediately affect the construction.”…

According to advocates, light rail vehicles on a 25th Street loop would cause less traffic congestion after San Francisco Giant’s and Golden State Warriors’ games than the current loop design. Automobile drivers use Third and Illinois streets after Giant’s games to travel south to freeway entrances, they claim. They expect Warrior’s fans to do the same. “So traffic is a big deal for the whole neighborhood,” said Joel Bean, a Committee for Re-evaluation of the T-Line Loop member.

The SFMTA doesn’t plan to hold another community meeting on the project... (more)

The MTA Brain: Is there some kind of trigger that goes off in the MTA Brain that automatically responds “No” to any request from a member of the public for a change in Muni plans? Or is it only a good idea if it was their idea?

People in the Mission want less MTA attention and people in the Bay View want more. Why don’t they just do what the public wants instead of always doing the opposite?

People asked for more lights on the intersections to make pedestrians easier to see at night and we are told they don’t have the money for that. We will need another bond measure to get lights. What they have money for is taking out traffic lanes and parking to increase congestion. No money for the Bay View or street lights.

Injury concern prompts Muni to remove over 1,400 seats

: sfexaminer – excerpt

Having trouble finding a seat on Muni?

Sitting down on a San Francisco bus has long been a struggle, but over the past year, more than 1,400 seats have been eliminated from The City’s coaches.

Following a warning from its bus manufacturer, New Flyer, Muni disabled seats on 717 buses in its fleet, said spokesman Paul Rose of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni. And since there are now two conjoined seats per bus locked upright, 1,434 seats are gone…

New Flyer prompted the move with a red-flag warning about the seats.

“There have been three hard-braking incidents where passengers were ejected from these forward facing seats and sustained quadriplegic injuries,” New Flyer wrote in a December 2013 bulletin to its clients, which include many transit systems nationwide… (more)

 Just bring your own seat if you want to site on Muni.

SFMTA approves parking, traffic for Van Ness BRT

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

he Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project moved a step forward after transit officials Tuesday approved the necessary parking and traffic changes along Van Ness Avenue to accommodate the $125 million bus rapid transit system.

The changes unanimously approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s directors Tuesday include restricting most left turns on Van Ness Avenue and removing parking spaces where the agency plans to put center bus boarding platforms…

Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Stations

  • Market Street
  • McAllister Street
  • Eddy Street
  • Geary Boulevard
  • Sutter Street
  • Sacramento Street
  • Jackson Street
  • Vallejo Street
  • Union Street … (more)