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)

Arts Commission won’t block BRT over shelters

By Jerold Chinn : SFbay – excerpt

he San Francisco Arts Commission will not impede The City’s transportation agency from moving forward with the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project and the Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. transit shelters originally opposed by commissioners.

Commissioner Cass Calder Smith, who is the chair of the commission’s Civic Design Review Committee, which opposed the shelters being used for the project, said in a statement to SFBay Monday:…

The SFMTA board will take up the parking the changes related to the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project at its meeting on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Room 400, City Hall….  (more)

Not that we thought they could, but… they won’t try.

By the way, the live feed of the meeting appears to be down today. What is up with that?

Say Goodbye to Van Ness Avenue, Broadway and Haight Street

What do drivers, Muni riders, Muni operators, taxi drivers, elderly and disabled people, parents, emergency personnel and many families long time residents of San Francisco have in common? A growing distrust for the SFMTA.

Thanks to everyone who voted No on A and B and Yes on L. The voters who were duped into trusting the SFMTA can now enjoy their next bold move. Tomorrow they plan to approve removal of traffic lanes and parking on Van Ness, Broadway, and Haight Street. For details of the plans you can try to read this week’s SFMTA agenda. The meeting is tomorrow, so you have one day to prepare your protest.

RELATED:
Van Ness Avenue next on list for traffic tie-ups in S.F.

 

Brief Reveals Flaws with San Francisco’s Transportation Task Force Report

by Wendell Cox : pacificresearch – excerpt

Today PRI released a brief reviewing San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Transportation Task Force Report: 2030. The brief is a supplement to PRI’s earlier study “Plan Bay Area Evaluation” (June 2013), which critiqued the plan developed by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).  Both the brief and the study were authored by Wendell Cox, a PRI fellow and consultant on public policy, planning, and transportation issues.

Mr. Cox writes, “Even if all of the required funding recommended by the Task Force Report is obtained, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is unlikely to be able to deliver on the promises of the 2030 transportation plan.”

Mr. Cox believes that the plan gives little or no attention to the potential for increasing truck and automobile congestion on the city’s streets: “Street improvement programs will give greater priority to transit, cycling, and walking, and will have a necessary effect of slowing general vehicle travel. Similarly, the implementation of additional exclusive bus lanes and taking of capacity from streets for cycle lanes would likely have the same effect. Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

In addition, Mr. Cox believes that escalating costs will also present difficulties:

1)    Most of the costs of the 2030 transportation plan are for capital improvements.  In the public sector, capital improvements are inherently susceptible to substantial cost overruns.

2)    The Task Force Report indicates little or no commitment to cost effectiveness.  Muni’s costs over the last 15 years have risen far more than inflation.  This occurs because there is no competitive influence to keep transit costs under control.

Mr. Cox writes that it seems unlikely that the city would be able to deliver on the expensive capital projects in the 2030 plan without significant strategies to ensure that projects stay on budget.  He suggest that the plan might be accomplished through “design-build” contracts with winning bidders that obligate them to deliver the finished projects within budget, making up for the additional expenses from their own resources.  He adds that there are public policy solutions that can bring transit costs under control, which make it possible to maximize service levels for the public and keep fares low — for example, competitive contracts that involve the use of private and public companies to operate individual routes of the transit system for the lowest cost.

Download full report

To learn more about “Evaluation Plan Bay Area: Transportation Task Force Report: 2030” or to arrange an interview with author Wendell Cox,, please contact Rowena Itchon (ritchon@pacificresearch.org) or Laura Dannerbeck (dannerbeckconsulting@gmail.com) at the Pacific Research Institute… (more)

So we aren’t all crazy when we claim that ”

Traffic congestion retards the productivity of the city by increasing travel times, increasing business costs, higher air pollution, and greater greenhouse gas emissions as vehicles are less fuel efficient at slower speeds and in ‘stop’ and ‘go’ conditions.”

The experts agree with us.

 

S.F.’s Prop. A is first step on road to put driving last

By Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

There’s a lot more to San Francisco’s $500 million Proposition A than fixing roads — it’s really the first step in a master plan to put buses, bikes and pedestrians on the fast track and move cars into the slow lane.

A close look at the projects that would be funded by Prop. A shows the overall plan calls for reducing miles of traffic lanes for cars, removing an unknown number of parking spaces and reducing stops on several Muni lines to enable the buses to cross town faster.

The biggest chunk — $142 million — would go into new traffic signals, crosswalks and other projects to speed Muni and make it safer to cross the street.

Market Street would get $90 million for rehabbing and upgrading Muni boarding islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic signals and bus and streetcar service between Castro Street and the Embarcadero.

Prop. A would also provide $30 million to help repair or replace 40 escalators and elevators that are forever breaking down, many of them at stations shared by BART and Muni Metro… (more)

Don’t know if this is the first step, it is definitely the next step. SFMTA and their supporters are really on the block. Most critics of Prop A point to language that states the SFMTA “may” spend the money this way, which is not the same as saying the money “shall be spent this way.”

According to the city controller, passage of this bond will result in higher property taxes and those taxes may be passed through to renters.

The bottom line is do you trust SFMTA to do what it promises based on past performance? If the answer is “no” and you want the right to own a car, you will want to vote No on A and B and Yes on L. For more on why go here: http://savesfmuni.wordpress.com/

RELATED:
San Francisco, California To Vote On Anti-Motorist Bond Measure