Gaggle of Emotional Service Geese Refused Entry on Muni

: sfweekly – excerpt

The geese’s owner had her feathers ruffled by the SFMTA’s treatment of her service animals.

Gertie Ganderson, 62, took her 16 Canadian geese on a tour of Coit Tower Friday afternoon. Together, they perused the colorful murals that line the interior walls and climbed the winding staircase for the views (and excellent flying bug collection) at the top. But upon leaving the popular tourist attraction and attempting to make her way home, Ganderson encountered a problem: The driver of the 39-Coit bus refused her and her geese entry, despite the fact that each goose is individually registered as an emotional service animal…(more)

Happy April Fool’s Day! Because we all need a laugh sometimes. 


Could cars emerge with a better image when SF emerges from coronavirus emergency?

By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt

Ten weeks after Jeff Tumlin mounted a bicycle to celebrate the debut of car-free Market Street, San Francisco’s director of transportation used a televised mayoral briefing on COVID-19 to deliver a much different message.

“Please do not ride Muni for the duration of the public health emergency,” Tumlin said last week from behind the podium, where Mayor London Breed and other department heads had just appeared. “If you have the ability to drive or walk or ride a bicycle, please choose those modes.”

The message aims to prevent overcrowding on the city’s remaining bus lines, a condition that could spread the coronavirus. But it also served as a tacit reminder that private automobiles have a role to play in large cities — even ones like San Francisco, where public policy in recent years has focused on trying to carve out space for as many transportation options as possible while also making streets safer and more enticing for pedestrians…(more)

Coronavirus concern: Total shutdown of Muni service might be best way to curb COVID-19 spread, Union President says

abc7news – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The Union President representing Muni bus drivers in San Francisco says a total shutdown of the system might be the safest way to go.

Roger Marenco is the president of San Francisco’s Transit Workers Union of America. He represents 2,300 drivers and is concerned about the safety of passengers and those drivers.

“I always tell everybody that the Muni buses, we are the bloodline that gives life to this city, but at this moment we have turned into the syringe that could potentially be infecting the city and county of San Francisco by transporting this virus,” Marenco said. “We need to stop the spread of this virus and maybe shutting the system down for a couple of weeks would be the way to go.”… (more)

Transit Has Been Battered by Coronavirus. What’s Ahead May Be Worse.

By Emily Badger : nytimes – excerpt

“The number of scenarios that we have to plan for is staggering.”

Fare revenue has vanished across the country as transit riders have. Even those essential workers still taking the bus or train aren’t generating much money for agencies strained by the coronavirus pandemic. Many systems have moved to free service, or stopped policing fares. It’s just too risky for bus drivers if anyone comes near the farebox a foot away.

As dire as this moment seems, however, something more worrisome lies ahead…

Uber and Lyft taxes, gas taxes, highway tolls, advertising dollars — all of these ways communities fund transit are shrinking. In Philadelphia, free rides for older passengers are paid for in part by revenue from the state lottery. During the last recession, even lottery proceeds plummeted

“The number of scenarios that we have to plan for is staggering,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, the director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

What if agencies have to maintain this strange status quo, running nearly empty buses for second-shift nurses, into the summer? What if unemployment reaches 30 percent? What if they idle vehicles for so long they fall out of working condition? What if they must lay off the only mechanics who know their way around streetcars?… (more)

Hate to say “I told you so”, but for some time there have been obvious signs that the system is not sustainable.


Coronavirus Update: San Francisco Muni Facing Questions About Crowded Buses Amid Social Distancing Requirements

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Muni officials were facing questions over an image of bus passengers crowded shoulder-to-shoulder during the coronavirus public health emergency requiring physical distancing.

The image, taken at around 12:15 p.m. on the outbound 38 Geary, shows passengers crowded in standing-room only conditions. It appears many of the passenger are elderly, and most are wearing masks…(more)

Better to stay off the bus if you can and give friends a ride if you can. It is obvious the SFMTA is not prepared for a pandemic, but then, who is? How will a system function during disaster is a true test o the system. Small, less crowded options are the safest and the healthiest and that can be accomplished by a public system that is designed with customer service and safety in mind.

Muni message of the Day

sent via email:

Muni Shut down by a Virus!

“If you absolutely must get around the city, the best options might be to travel while sealed in an automobile, walking or biking . . . with a cloth face mask and proper social distancing, of course.” KQEDdontmuni_040620_final-1020x736.png

They finally said it!

Stay off the bus and take a car if you can.

Unfortunately, all the warnings we have been putting out for years have been proven to be true. The Urban plan is not healthy for humans. We need a new paradigm, or a return to the old one. We need private space, yards and private vehicles to be safe at all times.

How coronavirus will affect SF’s rental market

By Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt

“It will take a huge lack of interest from renters to push down rent prices in SF”

In January, the median market price for a one-bedroom in the city on some platforms was $3,500. It would be awful irony for market rent prices in SF to significantly plunge at a time when most renters weren’t primed to take advantage of it—but that inability to pay is precisely what would drive any price depression.

“If unemployment soars, especially if it’s hitting younger people in their 20s and early 30s hard, […] rents will probably be hit quite hard,” says Patrick Carlisle, an analyst with Compass Real Estate.

Carlisle tells Curbed SF that younger workers who arrived recently in SF in search of high-paying jobs may “pull up stakes” and relocate in the face of joblessness and still-soaring rents. He compares this scenario to the bursting of the dot-com bubble 20 years ago, after which rents dropped quickly and dramatically as landlords had to chase after new renters with far less cash on hand… (more)

SF sees ‘stark and immediate’ revenue losses over coronavirus pandemic

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Report projects $1.7B city budget deficit over next two fiscal years

San Francisco projects losses of up to $288 million in the current fiscal year alone due to the toll the coronavirus have taken on the local economy, according to a new report

Breed wrote a letter to department heads Tuesday morning directing them to begin to reduce spending.

“In order to offset these significant financial losses, I am instructing departments to help identify cost reductions and curb spending immediately,” Breed wrote.

That means that some planned projects may not move forward.

Breed told department heads in the letter to look at “pausing new programs funded in prior budgets that have not started.”(more)

The party is over.

Density, neoliberalism, and COVID

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

SF has allowed developers to build housing and offices for more and more people — without paying for the infrastructure that we need to take care of them.

“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive. It has to stop and it has to stop now. NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density.” @NYGovCuomo8:36 AM · Mar 22, 2020·

The COVID pandemic seems to offer one surprise after another, as state and local governments scramble to fill the void created by President Trump’s daily narcissistic meanderings in cobbling together rational and effective programs to address the new reality confronting them. This is especially true in major urban areas all of which, across the world, have embraced neo-liberal policies that resulted in dramatic increases in density that clearly out-stripped the fragile urban infrastructure (including health care) needed to deal with massive viral infections now literally plaguing them…

The primary task of all government, neo-liberals argue, is to facilitate the development of the un-hindered market by reducing “red-tape” and cutting government regulations in every sphere of life…

Neo-liberalism is closely embraced, of course, by the masters of the tech sector. But far more importantly it is the dominate governing philosophy of both national political parties

The market simply cannot address this crisis, rendering the neo-liberal play book irrelevant. And the dense populations and thin urban infrastructure created by both national and local neo-liberal urban policies have brought cities to a profound crisis…

Cutting regulations, shrinking the public sector and handing more critical urban functions over to market based “disruptive innovators” got us into more trouble than such policies can get us out of. … (more)

It appears that the density bills should be pulled this year, but, you might wan to pay attention to make sure they are. The next step is to figure out what next? How do we live a healthy life without density? Can we more office jobs off-site and cut the commuting down? Can we switch to renewable energy sources and cut emissions?

San Francisco’s Muni Metro, light rail service to shut down amid pandemic

by Alexa Mae Asperin : kron4 – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Starting Monday, March 30, there will be no more subway or light rail service in San Francisco.

SFMTA announced Thursday that the new changes are happening in response to a decline in ridership amid the virus pandemic and to “help us focus resources on routes outside of the downtown area.”

Starting Monday, all Muni Metro and light rail routes will be replaced by buses.

Riders can take bus substitutions for the J, KT, L, M, and N lines using the same bus stops as the early morning Metro bus service.

Muni Metro subway stations will be closed, except for downtown stations which will remain open to customers taking BART during operating hours.

“Closing the Muni Metro underground system will allow us to redirect custodial resources to other, higher-use facilities and minimizes risk to our station agents(more)

Ever wonder why the SFMTA spends so much time and money on tunnels and light rail systems when the buses are more nimble and lead to less breakdowns in transit? Now might be a good time to consider what kind of public transit system best serves the public with the least amount of down time and the least amount of disruption. Plan A is to have rail service, but, when that breaks down they go to plan B, the buses. Why not skip plan A?