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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The transportation equity conundrum: 6 ways cities can improve mobility without displacement

By James Aloisi and Jarred Johnson : greenbiz – excerpt

What do we think about when we think about transportation equity?

There is regional equity — the question whether every region in a state, or every neighborhood in a city, is equitably treated from a funding perspective. There is modal funding equity, which goes to whether public sector decision makers treat each mode fairly when it comes to the allocation of limited public funding resources. Then there is ridership equity — are users of the transportation system being provided reasonably equal, meaningful modal choices, enabling access to jobs, healthcare, education and opportunity? Social equity, which builds the bonds that knit together the durable fabric of a healthy moral society, has a broader meaning. Fundamentally, social equity relates not simply to treating all people fairly, but also recognizing, acknowledging and acting on righting historical wrongs. Often that means stepping up investment in neighborhoods and communities that historically have been shortchanged when it comes to transportation funding…

While many planners and policymakers genuinely want to be responsive to rider needs, the reality is that inequities remain ingrained in large part because of habitual neglect… If a person or family cannot afford to remain in a gentrifying neighborhood the egalitarian and social cohesion benefits of a sustainable mobility system are being lost…

The author proposes a six-point approach to guide planners and advocates as they face the challenges of introducing transit improvements in underserved neighborhoods that are skeptical of change or fearful of displacement (or both):

  1. Ensure that the transit rider is heard
  2. Remember the unbanked
  3. Clean the power sources
  4. Educate, train and fund transit riders
  5. Attract and keep transit ‘riders of choice’
  6. Deal with the displacement issue head-on

 

Forum on the Future of Transportation in San Francisco

If the slow transportation grind is getting you down, you may want to check out this forum that will attempt to find some solutions to the failing systems that are plaguing our fair city as we tilt, sink, and fall into the future.

SAVE MUNI – Forum on the Future of Transportation in San Francisco
Saturday, September 29, 10 AM – Noon Doors open at 9:30 AM
Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library. – Grove Street entrance – downstairs

The Forum will address increasing congestion on San Francisco’s streets and the deterioration of public transit service. The Muni carries roughly the same number of passengers in 2018 as it did a decade ago despite increasing city population and the continuing economic boom. What can be done to make it easier to move around the city?

The Forum features four presentations by transportation experts who will share their ideas for reducing congestion and improving public transit service.

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director of Commute Seattle will describe how his city has been the only one in the nation to increase transit ridership since the recession.
Jerry Cauthen, Former Senior Engineering Manager and Transportation Vice President, ParsoVisit Sitens Brinckerhoff, will talk about ways to improve public transit service and ridership in San Francisco.
Mollie Cohen D’Agostino from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis will share results of her group’s study of the transportation networking companies (Lyft and Uber) in San Francisco and other American cities.

Bob Feinbaum, Chair of Save Muni will describe the role for congestion pricing in San Francisco, aided by a video featuring Jonas Eliasson, head of transportation for Stockholm which adopted congestion pricing more than a decade ago.

These presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion of questions from the audience. Come and share your ideas to make San Francisco truly a city where public transit comes first.

Doors open at 9:30 AM. Please come to the Grove Street library entrance and tell Security that you are here for the transportation forum. Coffee and snacks will be available at the small cafe opposite the auditorium.

Sponsored by Save Muni and the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods. Contact: Bob Feinbaum bobf@att.net

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)

 

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.

 

Should private shuttles be able to use Muni-only lanes?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

MTA says yes — but the public can weigh in Tuesday.

San Francisco transit planners have been working for years on a proposal to create bus-only lanes on Geary Boulevard. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is that – since we (unfortunately) don’t have a subway line underneath the Geary corridor, we can do the next best thing by creating lanes just for Muni.

Time the traffic signals right, keep cars out of the way of buses, and people can ride faster from the Richmond and the Western Addition to downtown…

The plan comes up for discussion at the MTA’s meeting Tuesday/21 – and there’s a twist…

Activists have discovered that Muni’s current proposal would allow not only Muni buses but private shuttles, like Chariot and the Google buses – to use the city’s public transit-only lanes.

Environmentalist and transit advocate Sue Vaughan (who has also written for 48hills) asked at an MTC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in July whether private shuttles would be allowed to use the BRT lanes. MTC staff didn’t have an answer at that point – but a series of follow-up emails obtained by Vaughan show that the department believes under current rules, any private company that runs a bus with a capacity of more than ten people (including the driver) would count as “transit” and would be allowed on what were originally described as Muni-only lanes… (more)

The national press has been covering the anger and actions against privatization of public streets for years. SF Board of supervisors passed Ordinanace 180089 to give voters some control over access to curbs. There hearings on the horizon along with the Controller reports we have requested for months.

What does SFMTA do? Blame Muni for the slowdown and hand over more traffic lanes to private enterprise, not covered by the ordinance. while spending hours of staff time developing an elite program for corporate e-bikes, and deserting vast numbers of Muni riders during the largest transit crisis in years.

Must the public demand the removal of Reiskin and a vote on a Charter Amendment to roll back SFMTA autonomy to get relief? Will Mayor Breed appoint a strong new MTA Board Director to the current regime at the SFMTA Board, who will return Muni’s attention to making Muni an attractive reliable functioning option?

You can only pretend the emperor is dressed for so long. It is hard to take a bus that does not arrive to pick you up. It is past time to replace the leadership at SFMTA.

RELATED:

Letters to SFMTA Board:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-not-belong-dedicated-bus-lanes/

https://metermadness.wordpress.com/red-lane-experiments/private-transport-should-not-be-allowed-to-use-transit-only-lanes/

 

 

SF mayor Breed blasts Muni chief over delays, background checks and scooter permitting

By Rachel Swan : sfgate – excerpt

In a sharply worded letter, San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the director of the SFMTA over service delays related to its Twin Peaks Tunnel closure.

“In the weeks since I took the mayoral oath of office, a number of challenges have come to light related to the SFMTA and Muni service,” Breed wrote. She called for improvement in all 12 categories that the City Controller scores to evaluate San Francisco’s transportation systems.

As mayor, Breed wields substantial power over the SFMTA. She fills the empty seats on its board of directors — the body that sets the city’s transportation budget, determines its policy agenda and oversees department management. The board has the ability to fire Reiskin.

If that’s what Breed is angling for, it would be difficult for the board to resist, said political strategist Nathan Ballard, who worked closely with the three previous mayoral administrations…

Reiskin is scheduled for a performance review from the SFMTA board Tuesday… (more)

Let’s cut to the chase. Plausible deniability is no longer working. The unintended consequences of absolute power have reared their ugly heads far too many times to ignore. City Hall authorities need to give the voters a chance to remove that power from the SFMTA Board and the fastest easiest way to do that is to put a Charter Amendment on the ballot. The best the voters can do in November is to elect representatives who support this change. As you meet the contenders, be sure to ask how they will solve this problem.

RELATED:

City-sanctioned report finds SF has some of the worst public transit of major metros

SFMTA head’s job at risk after Breed calls for changes in leadership

SFMTA Pulls 180 on Costly McAllister Traffic Circle

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Step aside, needles and poop! Traffic circles are here, and San Franciscans are not happy.

Officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are backpedaling on an ill-fated traffic circle installed in a residential neighborhood earlier year. The $80,000 circle was installed at McAllister and Steiner streets this spring and is already scheduled for removal — which is another $40,000…

For the past few months, the circle has caused immense confusion for drivers; it doesn’t operate like a normal roundabout, which runs on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, two stop signs on Steiner block traffic and give a bus flying down McAllister or a cyclist huffing and puffing up it the right of way through the intersection.

According to neighbors who live along the route, drivers of 5-Fulton buses have been preemptively leaning on their horns as they approach Steiner just in case a car misunderstands the circle and blindly cuts out in front of them… (more)

Here is a perfect example of why we need to overhaul the SFMTA. Too many mistakes and too much wasted taxpayer dollars are going down the drain. Why should the voters support any more money for a failed system? We don’t need faster moving buses. We need a reliable transit system. The Board of Supervisors needs to listen to the operators and maintenance crew and skip the long lunches and meetings with management if they want to find out what the problems are.

Here is a novel approach to solving the escalator mystery

Why don’t we stop building escalators until we find the answer to why they don’t work in San Francisco but do work in other cities.

Is it a design flaw? Is it a management issue? Is there a built in obsolescence feature such as some people suggest? A giant sucking magnetic force that renders all escalator’s unable to function properly? How can we continue to build systems that never work? Let’s just stop building them until we figure out why.

How we people going to deal with broken escalators at the Central Subway stations when they malfunction? Will they put up with a steep long climb?

Find a city where escalators work, find what who designed them and why they work there, and try to use a proven design and contractor in San Francisco and on the BART systems. Solve the mystery before continuing to build more broken elevators.