Muni Hackers Vow To Release 30GB Of Sensitive Data If Ransom Isn’t Paid

by Kevin Montgomery : hoodline – excerpt

The hackers behind the ransomware attack against Muni’s computer network this past weekend are continuing to escalate their threats against San Francisco’s transportation agency. Beyond controlling 2,112 of SFMTA computers, the hackers now claim to have stolen 30 gigabytes of sensitive departmental data and promise to release it if their demands are not met.

Yesterday, Hoodline learned the hackers, going by the pseudonym “Andy Saolis,” were demanding a 100 Bitcoin ($73,000) ransom to return control of nearly 25 percent Muni’s computer network.

The deadline for sending ransom payment passed early Monday morning—a point at which the hackers had previously claimed they would close their email account, leaving the department without a method to purchase the password to regain access to their network.

Instead, as the deadline passed, Saolis sent a canned statement to several media outlets, including Motherboard, the Examiner and Forbes, with new claims that they extracted information from department computers before encrypting them and locking Muni out.

“I hope Company Try to Fix it Correctly and We Can Advise Them But if they Don’t , We Will Publish 30G Databases and Documents include contracts , employees data , LLD Plans, customers and … to Have More Impact to Company To Force Them to do Right Job!,” Saolis wrote in an email sent to the media.

The hackers, who acknowledged they do not reside in the United States, did not specify what they meant by “LLD Plans.”

According to a list, obtained by Hoodline, of Muni’s machines currently encrypted by the hackers, Saolis likely has control of the department’s payroll service, email servers, Quickbooks, several MySQL database servers, and personal computers for hundreds of employees…(more)

MUNI D1 Candidates Pledge Challenge 11/7 Lunch Invite

See the explanation video: https://youtu.be/vDljxv8WzuI
Richmond district Seniors offer an invitation to lunch to all ten 2016 San Francisco Candidates for Richmond district Seniors offer an invitation to lunch to all ten 2016 San Francisco Candidates for Supervisor in the Richmond District (D1). The community hopes to gain agreement to not remove any bus stops on Geary Blvd due to Bus Rapid Transit (GearyBRT) should they win election.

Many of these seniors will be risking injury should they have to triple the distance they must walk in order to obtain special discounted meals served by Russian-Americans Community Services (R.A.C.S.) on Collins Street. Sign our petition to block GearyBRT funding at redcarpetmess.com

The seniors are requesting that the candidates join them for lunch to sign the pledge: “I pledge not to remove Geary Blvd Bus Stops @sfmta_muni #seniors4muni”

https://twitter.com/antoniowhite/status/794950312972779520

Red Lane Experiments

Where does the SFMTA get the right to put Red transit-only Lanes on Mission Street and how do we get rid of them if we don’t like them?

Caltrans CTCDC, (California Traffic Control Devices Committee) authorizes “experiments” on public streets. One of the Geary merchants attended one of their meetings on March 3, 2016 and expressed his concern over the red lane experiments. Since that meeting, many San Francisco citizens have written letters to the CTCDC opposing them.

Authority Questions : It seems that SFMTA does not have the right to just paint the streets red at will. The right to conduct experiments on our public streets is granted by CTCDC and comes with conditions, including requirements for timely execution and analysis of the effects of the tests.

Questions regarding the tests areas: When CTCDC Chair Greenwood inquired as to whether the installation of the red transit lanes had expanded beyond the areas approved by the committee Mr. White replied that the installation had been used specifically in the 24/7 lanes rather than the part-time lanes. I’m Not sure what that means, but, he went on to say the only place where the lanes had been expanded beyond those shown on the map was Market Street from Fifth to Third, for consistency.

Why did Mr. White fail to mention the red transit-only lanes on Mission Street south of 16th Street?  According to the map and list of allowable streets I have seen, this portion of Mission Street is not included in the experimental areas. We are looking forward to a December 6 meeting with the CTCDC in Sacramento. More on that later…(more)

Dangerous plan afoot to narrow and slow 16th Street traffic access to Mission Bay

The other day as I walked down 16th Street to the BART station I witnessed a traffic jam on 16th Street and shot some photos as the drama unfolded.  There was a repair truck stopped in back of the bus and three people directing traffic around it. There is a single East facing lane on 16th Street now and two West facing lanes so traffic may pass the broken bus without too much trouble now.

As you can see by looking at the photos, the traffic builds up rather fast when a lane is stopped. An ambulance came up 16th Street while I was there and it was directed around the stopped traffic, but stopping the other lane, but, I realized how difficult it would be to maneuver traffic around a broken bus if there was a BRT or separated lanes as the SFMTA plans for 16th Street.

Separated roadways, swerving traffic in narrow lanes do not slow traffic down it makes drivers mad and creates obstacles for the buses and larger vehicles. This is not a safe way to manage traffic.

Please stop this insane constant construction and destruction of our streets! Vote Yes on L and tell the SFMTA to back off. Leave the bus stops and return the service they cut. Stopsfmta.comStopsfmta.com

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SFMTA oversight

from SF Chronicle letters, 10/27/16 – excerpt

While walking down to Polk Street yesterday, I stopped to read a flyer taped to a pole and was once again reminded of the absolute power that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency holds over the city. This flyer urged people to vote for a number of measures that The Chronicle has given a thumbs down to. One is Muni oversight.

After participating in a process of meetings and hearings on the Polk Streetscape Project, I was completely disheartened. The people of the neighborhood were barely heard. I was left with the impression that the SFMTA was going to do whatever it wanted, regardless. Now, they have big plans for Van Ness Avenue.

This elaborate plan is happening without question. Hundreds of trees will be cut down to enable this work. This act is a devastating tragedy in itself. I am afraid to think of how many more parking spaces will be eliminated. But this is part of the SFMTA’s Transit-First policy.

Forcing people out of their cars is a big agenda. The feeling I get is of a powerful city department that can ride roughshod over the people, devastate neighborhoods and the environment, answerable to no one. Scary. SFMTA needs oversight.

– Carol Drobek, San Francisco

Vote Yes on L!

When you compare the SFMTA Board meetings to the SF Planning Commission Meetings, you can see the difference having a more balanced board makes. The SFMAT Board meetings always end the same way. Whatever staff suggests is what the Board votes unanimously to do, regardless of what the public says. All members of the SFMTA Board are appointed by the Mayor. Proposition L would change that and at least 3 members of the Board would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

According to the Public Press, if proposition L passes, a new board would take form in June 2017. This is really important because there appears to be a plan to merge Planning and Transportation, meaning all the tricks the SFMTA has been playing with (or I should say on) the public, will be visited on us by the Planning Department soon if we don’t act now to stop it.

This is why huge amounts of money are being spent to stop DHL+M. But, we know better, don’t we? We are smarter than that. We are going to help spread this video:

We are are going to let people know they can vote for change at City Hall and take back our city and our streets! We are going to support Muni riders not contractors. We are going to bring back the service Muni riders want and ditch the techie gizmos SFMTA is buying instead. We are going to overhaul the entire program by putting people into office who will service us not tax and spent on programs we object to.

Game-changer bus for San Francisco’s notoriously slow Muni system nears its debut, but not everyone’s on board

By Lauren Hepler : bizjournals – excerpt

After 13 years, the rubber is (almost) ready to hit the road for Bus Rapid Transit. Advocates say it’s like getting a new train service at a fraction of the cost, but detractors worry that everybody else will get taken for a ride.

A new kind of bus, heralded as a game-changer for San Francisco’s notoriously slow Muni system, is closer than ever to making its debut.

On Oct. 24, construction crews are set to begin laying the groundwork for the city’s first Bus Rapid Transit project on a two-mile stretch of Van Ness from Mission to Lombard streets. Essentially public bus service on steroids, the $159 million project promises to cut travel times by a third.

With exclusive lanes for buses, coordinated traffic signals and new elevated stations in central medians of major thoroughfares, BRT is designed to speed things up in a city where buses travel at an average of just 8.5 miles per hour. The aim is to add more frequent buses on BRT routes, and put them on a timetable that reflects reality…

Not far behind Van Ness, which is projected to start serving passengers in 2019 for the same regular $2.25-a-trip fair as existing bus lines, are projects on Geary and Geneva streets…

A 9-mile project from Oakland to San Leandro is also on the cusp of breaking ground. The $178 million project slated to be up and running in late 2017 is projected to serve riders at an operating cost of $8 per passenger, compared to $31 per passenger for light rail, said Robert Del Rosario, director of development and service planning for AC Transit.
BRT’s economics have transit agencies around the region moving full steam ahead to map out more routes, cobbling together funding and predicting major development implications near new bus stations.

“All of the cities are really focused on in-fill development,” Del Rosario said. “They’re hoping it’s smart development that doesn’t bring more cars.”…

However, the budding BRT boom has reinforced a familiar Bay Area adage in a big way: Planning something isn’t the same as building it. BRT has taken 13 years just to get to the brink of construction in San Francisco; many residents, businesses and commuters are less optimistic about the benefits than transit planners, and have sometimes used the political process to throw sand in the gears.

Familiar concerns about parking and ease of travel by car, plus logistical challenges like a widening scope of work, have plagued the Van Ness BRT project and others. So have more obscure obstacles, such as a successful last-ditch effort in September to halt work so that historic beige and gray trolley poles in the area could be preserved…

One predictable reason it’s been slow going is consistent backlash from car owners since San Francisco voters in 2003 approved the Proposition K sales tax hike to fund transit improvements like BRT.

Giving up two lanes of traffic and losing turning privileges on central arteries like Van Ness aren’t appealing — but they’re necessary, McCarthy argues. Areas targeted for BRT are also already high ridership for transit, with the 47 Van Ness and 49 Mission/Van Ness bus routes serving an estimated 16,000 customers per day, making them prime opportunities…

The report also estimates that 19-34 percent of auto traffic will likely be displaced by BRT to parallel streets, other times of day or alternate modes of transportation. Intersections around Gough and Hayes streets, as well as Franklin and O’Farrell streets, were projected to see the most noticeable delays starting at 30 seconds per car…

Look no further than San Jose for a real time example of how projects can be derailed in progress. Last September, the South Bay’s Valley Transportation Agency had to fire its contractor on a $114 million BRT project after a busted gas line, cost overruns and permitting issues.

In the Mission, meanwhile, a step toward BRT with so-called “red carpet” lanes for both buses and taxis have drawn the ire of local businesses and residents cut off from the lanes this spring.

“The changes look better on paper than in practice,” Supervisor David Campos said in an April statement, citing complaints from car owners in his district…

The area around the Van Ness corridor, zoned for a mix of high-density combined residential and commercial usage, is projected by the county to gain 12,208 households by 2035, or a 28 percent increase from pre-2000 levels. Planners are hoping to capitalize on that momentum by making it easier to move through the area, particularly given its dual appeal as a tourism connector…

Features of the new BRT corridor on Van Ness Avenue include:

  • Dedicated transit-only lane, for use by Muni and Golden Gate Transit buses only, that is physically separated from mixed traffic lanes
  • Enhanced traffic signals optimized for north-south traffic with Transit Signal Priority that keeps buses moving by holding the green light
  • Low-floor vehicles and all-door boarding for quicker and easier loading
  • Safety enhancements for people walking including shortening crossing distances with sidewalk extensions and median refuges, zebra-striped crosswalks that make people more visible, audible countdown signals and eliminated most left turns from Van Ness Avenue (except northbound at Lombard and southbound at Broadway)
  • High-quality boarding islands at consolidated transit stops located at key transfer points.

 

 

 

Dissenting view: Yes on Prop L

By Pratima Gupta and Phil Chin : sfchronicle – excerpt

Proposition L holds the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency accountable by encouraging a balanced oversight body. Its board of directors oversees a $1.1 billion budget and directs the policies and projects that determine whether the city sees increased traffic gridlock or streamlined bus transit — or whether another pedestrian is killed.

While the majority of city commissions have seats reserved for neighborhood representation, the SFMTA board members are accountable only to the mayor. Prop. L creates a split-appointment process that finally gives neighborhoods a chance to be represented. It would also allow the Board of Supervisors to amend the SFMTA’s budget with a majority vote.

When a Lowell student was killed on Sloat Boulevard in 2013, the community had been demanding pedestrian safety improvements for years. When the SFMTA moved to shut down lower Stockton Street for designer retail chains, the increased congestion was a death knell for the Chinatown community. When San Franciscans asked the SFMTA to regulate giant luxury shuttle buses, the SFMTA responded by charging them a mere $1 per day per stop (since raised to $3.55), even in narrow residential streets. The SFMTA’s idea of community outreach is holding a meeting to talk at stakeholders about their plans — not asking for input or listening to concerns.

Investing in our transportation system only works with meaningful input, oversight and accountability.

Pratima Gupta is vice chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party. Phil Chin is a transit advocate…

The Chronicle’s View

Insulating transit planning from political meddling buys a degree of independence. That’s especially needed in a city plagued by traffic wars, jammed transit and costly employees…

SFMTA has gone too far with the narrow streets. Not only are they slowing down fire trucks, engines and emergency responders , but the buses can barely turn the corner. I watched a relatively small Muni bus attempt a turn at Harrison and 11th Street today. Given that half the street was closed off, the bus was forced to wait for the traffic to clear in the opposite lane before it could proceed. even though the bus had the green light.

It looks as if Prop L has already had some good results. After years of requests for more shuttles to extend the service during rush hours and for various reason, now that the SFMTA is feeling threatened by Prop L, they are suddenly adding shuttle buses to the busiest routes. Maybe if we keep pushing them, they will bring back those routes they killed on Valencia and other streets that Muni riders miss.

D, H, L, and M Props Supporters United

We are in it to win it!

4 for Reform – Vote Yes on DHL+M

D is for Democratic elections for open seats on the Board of Supervisors
H is for honest government to create a public advocate
L is for less gridlock to improve Muni and traffic
M is for more affordable housing

Muni officials: Despite ‘rare’ glitch, buses are safe

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay -excerpt

Despite a computer glitch that led a Muni 3-Jackson trolley bus to crash into a parked vehicle late Monday morning, transit officials say the trolley buses are safe.

Initial reports said Monday’s crash, which occurred near Jackson and Scott streets, was caused by failing brakes. However, a memo obtained by The San Francisco Examiner states the incident was actually caused by a malfunctioning computer system on the bus that was unable to communicate with the brakes.

John Haley, director of transit for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, wrote in the memo to Mayor Ed Lee and the directors of the SFMTA board that when the operator applied the foot break, it should have sent a signal to the traction motor to decelerate, but it did not.

Haley continued to cite in the memo that when the operator activated the parking brake valve, it should have also activated the same traction motor to reduce power, but that did not happen either…

One Muni operator who spoke to the Examiner under anonymity said it’s not uncommon to lose steering and the ability to break while in restrictive mode. According to the operator, this has happened at least 10 times and is a “danger for you and your passengers.”

Other operators reiterated the same story, reported the Examiner. Brake failures are another problem operators said they experience on the trolley buses.

However, Rose said if a trolley bus has battery power, steering should continue to work. He countered that the bus does not lose the brakes in restrictive mode, which transit officials confirmed with SFMTA mechanics Friday morning.

The transit agency looked at recent incidents involving restrictive mode and found that none of them involved a collision or put passengers at risk, said Rose….(more)

 

As Bus Rapid Transit Construction Begins, Prepare For Van Ness To Become A Daily Nightmare


Construction kicks off this month on the long-awaited, much-debated Van Ness BRT (bus rapid transit) project, in which the heavily trafficked boulevard is going to lose the two center lanes of traffic to bus lines. The move is a reversal of what happened in the middle of the last century, when the two center lanes had been used by streetcars, whose tracks were removed to make way for more automobile traffic. And as the SFMTA explains, both Van Ness and nearby Polk Street will be undergoing multi-year construction projects within weeks, which will mean the shutting down of two center lanes on Van Ness and a lot of sluggish trips up both streets if you make the mistake of letting your Uber/Lyft driver take them.

The traffic lane closures along Van Ness, which will allow for construction equipment and the removal of the median as well as 193 trees, will primarily occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, the SFMTA tells us, however there will be night and weekend work at various times too, because: traffic. Also, most left turns off of Van Ness will be disallowed.

The Polk Streetscape Project doesn’t involve the closing of any traffic lanes, but will involve a large amount of daytime upheaval and construction all along the street — in addition to the removal of 106 parking spaces along the corridor and 28 on side streets, essentially meaning you will never park near here again. It’s good news for pedestrians and cyclists, however, as the improvements include “sidewalk corner bulb-outs, to shorten the crossing distance, ADA-compliant curb ramp upgrades; Muni bus stop optimization, such as bus stop consolidation or relocation, bus bulb-outs for easier boarding, and left and right turn lanes to improve traffic flow; raised cycle tracks, green bike lanes… high visibility crosswalks, [and] better visibility at crosswalks.” They also promise a “well-lit plaza atmosphere, widening of the existing sidewalk, decorative asphalt, raised crosswalks, traffic calming measures, and [the] planting of palm trees.”

Meanwhile, it seems like the fight is likely over for preservationists making a last-ditch effort to save the crumbling, history trolley poles/lampposts along the corridor, which were installed in 1915 and were once known as the “Ribbon of Light” (see historic photo here). All but a couple of the poles are set to be removed and replaced with modern steel-tube urban lamps…(more)

If this upheaval doesn’t convince people to vote Yes on L and No on J + K nothing ever will.