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.


Mayor to Mayor Advice

By Willie Brown : sfgate – excerpt

I made the mistake when I was mayor of promising to “fix Muni” in 100 days. Now, Mayor Ed Lee has a task force that says it’s going to take another $10.1 billion to get the job done.
Another mistake.
Yes, we clearly need a lot more money for our public transit system, particularly since our clogged streets are making San Francisco almost unlivable.
But I’d like to add a couple of practical yet politically incorrect thoughts that you won’t find in any City Hall report.
For instance, the years-long campaign to make it nearly impossible to build garages is causing probably 30 percent of the traffic problem – those being all the drivers looking for a parking spot.
And for all of you transit-first folks who pushed to ban parking in buildings so people would be “encouraged” to take a bus, I say: Good luck finding a seat… (more)

Thank you Mayor Brown. We appreciate people who admit mistakes. Let’s hope the trend at City Hall to listen to the voting public continues. Here is one for you to chew on.

Since removing parking spots and traffic lanes has not convinced people to get out of their cars like SFMTA claimed it would, let’s try a different approach.
Offer the voters a choice between continuing to finance the anti-car campaign or reverse course.

Most of the traffic jams would be eliminated immediately by re-instating the traffic lanes and parking that have been eliminated, and by timing the lights appropriately.
Building Parking Transit Hubs near freeway exits would take care of a lot the commuters as well. When you invite hundreds of thousands of people to come into the city to work every day, and all the public transit systems are maxed out and unreliable, some people have to drive.

We need to reverse the rules limiting parking garages in new buildings. This is just another windfall for developers that creates a nightmare for everyone else.

Why are we spending more money on BRTs when the ones we have are not working. No one is happy with the T-Line. We don’t need more BRTs. We need more drivers and buses on the road. When Muni has money to hire and train the drivers and can’t get that done, do they think we will trust them with more money?

SFMTA should get us where we need to go not tell us how to get there.

Traffic congestion, thanks to the SFMTA – excerpt

As is evident below, the dreaded SFMTA has now decided that they don’t have to study the effect of projects on automobile and street congestion. BUT, they can collect fees.
if you people don’t stop the SFMTA, you will be left with a Manila or Beijing or Rome. I don’t care, i won’t be here.
The new ATG (ed: Auto Trips Generated) system will almost never require an EIR, because the TSF money collected by the Transportation Authority is considered to be a traffic mitigation chargeHow clever:  The Transportation Authority is abandoning environmental impacts on car congestion and delays, so they can charge developers for transportation money.
The Transportation Authority now believes that any reasonable measurement of transit sustainability will satisfy CEQA requirements. If ATG replaces LOS, the Transportation Authority has the right to do whatever it wants with San Francisco’s streets.  There is no person or agency in City government fighting for the rights of automobile drivers and their passengers.  Slower car speeds, delays, and congestion will not be as important as wider bus lanes, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and limited parking… (more)

The more you know the more important the CEQA protections look. Tell you Supervisor to protect your rights to know and your rights to appeal big decisions that effect your life, such as eliminating parking spots and tying up traffic with complete street projects.

Send the SFMTA a message that their priority is to FIX MUNI not tell people how to get around.

Strollers on Muni? Old rules still apply

Heather Knight : – excerpt

Lilia Scott was dismayed when she tried taking her 2-year-old daughter, Cybelle – who was sitting in a stroller – onto a J-Church train on a recent evening. Despite the train being almost completely empty, a Muni employee “assisting” passengers at the front door told Scott the stroller was a no-go.
“I told him, ‘No, actually that’s no longer the rule, and you should check with the Board of Supervisors on this,’ ” said Scott, a Sunnyside resident and, ironically, a transit planner in the South Bay. “He backed off at that point, but he still acted like he was doing me a favor.”
The employee insisted Scott remove Cybelle from her stroller, fold the stroller, leave it near the driver and take seats several feet away.
We hate to use these words, but technically, the Muni employee was right… (more)

Will Mayor Ed Lee Fix San Francisco’s “Cute” (Terrible) Muni System?

: – excerpt

“The Municipal Transportation Agency—and residents’ love-hate relationship with the notoriously late and overcrowded public transit system—has been the bane of many mayors, with current Chronicle columnist and former Mayor Willie Brown once famously saying he would fix Muni in 100 days. That was in 1995.”
Even though San Francisco has the only real public-transit system of the Western United States, it’s still kind of a mess. It’s also what New Yorkers talk about during the three months they spend shivering in the frozen dark of winter: “Oh but that Muni system, that’s why I could never live in a beautiful coastal city where it never gets cold but ladies can still always wear boots and gentlemen can always wear a suit without being sweaty.” Anyway, surprisingly successful Mayor Ed Lee (he got Twitter and a bunch of other fancy tech firms to move to the former abandoned hobo land of Mid-Market) just announced he’s going to “fix” Muni.

The Race is on to decide the future of transit in San Francisco.

Press Release – September 10, 2012

Who will determine the future of transit in San Francisco? Those who take actions.
ENUF, and neighborhood groups opposing SFMTA’s policies launched a petition to Stop SFMTA.

This comes at a critical time in San Francisco’s politics, as neighborhood districts will be voting on their Supervisors in less than two months. Parking is a major concern for residents, so the position a candidate takes on parking and SFMTA policies could be the deciding factor in some races.
Continue reading

They Don’t Want an App for That – excerpt

The venerable San Francisco Civil Grand Jury is out today with their report detailing possible solutions to the San Francisco Municipal Railway’sswitchback” problems.
“Switchback” is what Muni calls it when they stop a streetcar or bus before the end of the run, kick out the passengers to wait for the next vehicle, and then head back in the opposite direction…

You can read the Grand Jury’s report and recommendations here. You can also read the Muni’s rapid response below.
But what is worth a detailed read is the report’s finding that the Muni turned down a free iPad app using GPS to help track vehicles and avoid switchbacks. The Muni said it didn’t have the budget for the iPads needed to make the app work…


Who does Muni work for? They can’t afford a few iPads to help their customers, but they can afford a few billion dollars worth of public debt to put in the Central Subway for the wealthy landowners and bankers who will profit most handsomely from the up-zone of the transit corridor about the subway.

Thanks to Phil Ting’s resetsanfrancsico for this story that the media seems to have missed.

The parking fee’s too low

Editorial : – excerpt

EDITORIAL The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is reviewing its policy on neighborhood parking, which is a positive step: The current system has been in place for more than 30 years and has become an unwieldy mess. But the agency needs to do more than just aggregate districts and set uniform rules; it needs to adjust the concept of preferential parking, meters, and prices to reflect the reality that San Francisco can’t afford (and shouldn’t promote) free parking…

If you feel there is a problem with Residential Parking Permits sign a petition to address the problem in Sacramento. That is where the matter should be resolved.

Stranded Muni riders can now battle each other at bus stops

By: Will Reisman : SF Examiner Staff Writer – excerpt

Waiting at a transit stop for a long-overdue Muni bus ranks right up there with a dreadful San Francisco experience such as watching the 49ers getting shut out at home.
While there may be little hope for The City’s football team, the wait for Muni will get a little more bearable, thanks to a promotional campaign launched this week that will give transit riders the chance to play video games at bus shelters.
Billing its new advertising initiative as a “Bus Stop Derby,” tech giant Yahoo has installed digital video screens at 20 bus shelters in San Francisco, mostly in the downtown area. As part of the promotion, transit passengers from 20 specified neighborhoods will get the chance to compete against each other in different video games — and the community that wins the two-month contest will host a block party featuring the rock band OK Go…


Why don’t the creative geniuses that designed a program to amuse people while wasting their time  figure out how to fix Muni so people will start to trust it as a serious means of transport? Maybe make it into a game called, “How to make Muni work for riders.”

Central Subway in the News

from – excerpt

North Beach Neighbors Presents Central Subway Series

North Beach Neighbors Presents
“Central Subway’s Impacts on North Beach and City”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012, 6:30 PM at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard Street.  SPEAKERS:, SPUR and other invitees.

The Central Subway is disconnected from the Market Street corridor, Muni Metro, BART, Ferries, Transbay Terminal, High-speed Rail, regional and statewide transit networks. Muni riders must walk 1,000 feet between the Union Square Station and the existing Powell Metro/ BART Station. Hundreds of thousands of regional riders lose transit connectivity.  Per the FEIR and FTA applications, the Subway will decrease surface buses to the northeastern and southeastern sections of the city, including most of Chinatown. Today’s Muni riders will have longer travel times.
CHRONICLE:  “Central Subway work starts amid problems”
STREETSBLOG:  “Will the SFMTA Gut Muni Improvements to Prop Up the Central Subway?”
CHRONICLE/ BAY CITIZEN:  “Muni fudges on time performance, records show”