Outreach Launches This Spring to Finalize Details for Geary Rapid Upgrades

by Kate Elliott : sfmta  (includes graphics)\

We’re gearing up to start the first set of Geary transit upgrades later this year.

In the coming months, we will launch further outreach for the Geary Rapid Project, which focuses on early improvements on the stretch of the 38 Geary route between Market Street and Stanyan streets. In the meantime, we will finalize the design and construction of longer-term improvements for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project.

With the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) approved unanimously by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board in January, lead management of the project is transitioning from the SFCTA to the SFMTA, which will design and implement Geary improvements as two separate projects… (more)

Outreach is a joke, or  I should say an insult. Angry people gave up on talking to the SFMTA wall and filed a lawsuit to stop the excesses in this project. the case is making its way through the courts now and many are praying the ruling will stop this and other controversial projects.
Taxpayers revolted in the fall when asked for more money to show their displeasure in how the SFMTA is spending the money but they have hungry contractors to feed and more high-paid planning staff to hire so they could care less what we want.
SFMTA is removing stops and bus seats and constantly forcing the public to deal with their baggage and can’t figure out why ridership is slipping. They are especially short on the weekends and evenings. Why would anyone want to spend their time off on the Muni after putting up with it all week?

Merchants, community organizations sue to block Geary BRT project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project has been in the works for more than a decade, but a newly filed lawsuit wants local courts to “slow down” the project.

An environmental lawsuit against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco County Transportation Authority project was filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, taking aim at the controversial project that is intended to improve public transit from the northwest side of The City to downtown.

The SFCTA declined to comment, and the SFMTA could not be reached for comment…

The suit was brought by San Franciscans for Sensible Transit, a nonprofit touted by Geary Boulevard merchant David Heller, a staunch opponent of Geary BRT.

“This action is brought to stop a grave error in judgment from taking form as a bus thruway [sic],” the claim states, “which destroys the quality of life and economic health of the Richmond District of San Francisco.”… (more)

There are a lot of people who oppose the Hybrid Alternative Geary BRT, the mess on Van Ness, and the Red Lanes on Mission. We need a break from constant changes on the streets and musical chairs with bus stops. We need a return to civility, but it is hard to be civil when you are stressed by having to deal with constant change. We need a moratorium on disruptions. This suit is a strike against maximum change and disruption, in favor of a cheaper, less damaging alternative. Who wants to spend an extra $300 million dollars and endure years of turmoil when you don’t have to?

SF for Sensible Transit prepares Lawsuit to block MUNI BRT throughout San Francisco

missionstreetdiscussion

At the heated meeting on the Mission Red Lanes, Ed Reiskin holds the red folder we handed him, containing comments from over 4500 signatories of the StopSFMTA petition. How many do you think he bothered to read? Regardless, these comments are in the public record. Keep them coming. (Ignore the spam on moveon.)

What does it take to stop SFMTA’s destruction of our streets and businesses?
The voters resoundingly opposed the sales tax increase and federal funds could dry up soon, but that hasn’t stopped the SFMTA and their counterparts from digging up more streets. They gridlocked Van Ness and Polk and are aiming for Lombard and the Golden Gate Bridge next. Does it take a lawsuit to stop them?

The redcarpetmess.org website and the petition page have been updated and include a new video introducing San Franciscans for sensible transit. Please share this link with anyone who supports a more sensible approach to transportation in San Francisco:  https://youtu.be/1aezGHnmsD8.

Fight is gearing up over Geary BRT plan tomorrow at City Hall

SFMTA Picks the Wrong time to Demand Fast Tracking $360 million dollar Bus Lanes when residents want to time to deliberate on cheaper plan.

Just as Cogress prepares to remove public health care programs and slash social security allowances that sustain millions of people, SFMTA demands fast tracking  approval for their $350 million dollar controversial Geary BRT Hybrid design. The plan’s opponents want to save money and protect our local economy. Tell the Board of Supervisors what you want to do with $300 million dollars. Read about the alternative plan here: www.sfsensibletransit.org

Attend the Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting at City Hall on the Geary BRT  Thursday, January 5,  2 PM

Letter from San Franciscans for Sensible Transit:

Thursday January 5 at 2pm the County Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners (the Supervisors)will meet in Room 250 of City Hall to consider approving the Final EIR and selection of the recommended $300 million construction project from Palm-Arguello through 27th Avenue of Geary Boulevard.

Many people have written to oppose the hearing. The documents are over 1000 pages and were only available during the holidays. And the January 5 date prevents the newly elected Supervisor of District One, Sandra Fewer, from participating because she will not be sworn in until next Monday Jan 9. She opposed the construction project and wanted questions asked. Voters of District One agreed.

Whether one is firmly opposed or not to the project, the January 5 meeting should be protested. To ignore the vote of 80% of District One for the top two contenders who questioned the project is contrary to our democratic principles.

Please write the Supervisors (who sit as the Board of the TA) asking for them to defer the decision to give time for the four new Supervisors to hear the issues. Many of you have written excellent letters and for those still could, Supervisors’  email addresses are below. If you can, please attend the January 5 meeting to have your voice heard.

Bob Starzel
San Franciscans for Sensible Transit   www.sfsensibletransit.org

Write your own message or see a sample letter here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Email the following:

Subject Line:  Vote to Postpone Vote on Geary BRT Final EIR Scheduled for January 5

Dear Supervisors/Board Members of the SF County Transportation Authority,

I strongly urge you as members of the Transportation Authority to vote to postpone your consideration of the Geary BRT Final EIR for at least 30 days after the currently scheduled SFCTA meeting on January 5, 2017.

To: Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org, clerk@sfcta.orgLondon.Breed@sfgov.org, Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org, Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org, Katy.Tang@sfgov.org, David.Campos@sfgov.org, Norman.Yee@sfgov.org, kanishka.karunaratne@sfgov.orghillary.ronen@sfgov.orgsandra@sandrafewer.comahshaforsupervisor@gmail.com, jess.montejano@sfgov.org, conor.johnston@sfgov.orgmargaux.kelly@sfgov.org, John.Avalos@sfgov.org, sunny.angulo@sfgov.org, Dyan.Ruiz@sfgov.org, chelsea@sandrafewer.com,

Please blind cc:  bstarzel@gmail.com, saveourltaravalstops@gmail.com

Attend the meeting: Thursday, January 5,  2 PMDetails
Room 250 City Hall,
Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting

Write your own message or see a longer sample letter here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

See the OpEd in Sunday’s Examiner at http://www.sfexaminer.com/geary-brt-expensive-pledge-past/

Geary BRT is an expensive pledge to the past

By David Hirtz : sfexaminer – excerpt

Transit planners have been at work for many years to come up with a plan to improve bus service for all of Geary Boulevard, but let’s just talk about the 2.2-mile western portion from Masonic Avenue to 27th Avenue. Planners envision the median there with more than 100 trees replaced by two, red-painted central bus-only lanes for 24 hours a day. Riders would board from narrow platforms in the middle of the roadway, between the bus lanes and other traffic.

Riders are now are accustomed to two levels of service: the infrequently stopping Rapid, and the Local that makes stops every two blocks or so. With only one lane for buses, there will be just one quality of service: Local, as all buses will back up behind the slowest moving one. But Local service will have fewer stops, as statistically that will reduce rider times — even if you have to walk farther to find one.

That certainly won’t save you any rider time if you like the Rapid…

A public-spirited citizens group offered comment to Muni and officials with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority on this project and were summarily dismissed. They then founded San Franciscans for Sensible Transit to advocate for transit issues all over San Francisco. After much study, they support a number of improvements — more buses, better schedules, holding green lights for buses, street paving and others — at a cost of $50 million as a more sensible idea. See what you can get for these proven steps, they say. Their cost-benefit comparisons are on the website of both the Muni-favored version, called the Hybrid, and the Sensible Transit concept…

Our Transit First Policy first requires that all transportation projects ensure the quality of life and economic health of the community. No studies of economic health were done for the planners, who dismiss concerns about quality of life as well. The potential loss of many small businesses and their jobs is also ignored.
A representative of Mayor Ed Lee told Sensible Transit that we already have too much retail at street level…

The SFCTA meets to vote on the project on Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. at room 250 at City Hall. This is the time to find your feet and your voice or prepare to live with a very unfortunate outcome.

David Hirtz is president of San Franciscans for Sensible Transit and a resident of the Richmond neighborhood for 35 years… (more)

Do read the entire article and comment if you can. Letters and your presence at the SFCTA Meeting are appreciated. Sample letter is here: sfsensibletransit.org

Ask the supervisors what they would prefer to spend the $300 million dollars on. Each of them probably has better ideas than destroying more trees and businesses on Geary. Only the SFMTA and their contractors stand to benefit from this nightmare, that already has the makings of a number of lawsuits, starting with the insistence on fast-tricking it, ignoring the 30 days minimum for public review and response to the EIR. Sample letter here:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

 

Public Meeting for EIR on January 5, 2017

richmondsfblog – excerpt

The final Geary BRT EIR will be under review at an upcoming public meeting of the San Francisco Country Transit Authority (SFCTA) on Thursday, January 5, 2017 (2pm, City Hall, Room 250). At that meeting, the SFCTA will be asked to certify the EIR, which includes approving the design and configuration described in the EIR. The meeting, which will not be the last public discourse on the Geary BRT, is an opportunity for members of the public to speak their views on the Geary BRT project.

If the EIR is approved at the January 7 meeting, the project will then go into final design planning, which culminates with the SFMTA Board taking action to legislate every one of the recommended changes for the project.

But given the historic pace of the Geary BRT project so far, that is a ways off. The earliest any construction would begin is in 2018 on the downtown portions of Geary. It would not be until late 2019 / early 2020 that any construction would occur west of Stanyan.

To find out more about the Geary BRT and the release of the final EIR, please visit gearybrt.org.

Sarah B…(more)

Comments on the source as well as here are welcome…

There are so many issues involved with this project, we will have to get back on what they are, but, if you are concerned and want to oppose this, there are two meetings scheduled for next week with two different groups and each may be contacted with public comments. Sample letters and contacts are here:

Open Letter to the City Authorities:

Our plea to San Francisco city authorities is to delay the decision for 30 days and consider what you can better spend $300 million dollars on than cutting trees and digging holes on Geary and killing more local businesses like you did on Mission Street. We need economic impact and socioeconomic impact reports on all projects that involve shifting traffic on major commercial streets.

Wasting time and taxpayer money on a $300 million dollar boondoggle when there are thousands of homeless people on the streets who need immediate attention is a criminal act as far as many are concerned. For once the SFMTA should allow the much cheaper and less disruptive public plan to more forward. See if the public is smarter than the SFMTA. Just give us this one street to prove we can do it cheaper and get better results.

Notice there is no mention of safety here, only speeding Muni on Geary. Who ever came up with the idea of moving the BRT lanes from the curb to the center and back again? That cannot be a safe move. Already we have seen the results of merging traffic with the BRT on 3rd Street and merging bike lanes and traffic lanes without warning. What happened to merging lane warning signs? Bike lanes crossing over traffic lanes has got to be the worst way to protect cyclists.

This plan is all about moving more than $350 million dollars of taxpayer money from our pockets into the contractors’ bank accounts. Read the alternative plan and see if you don’t agree that it makes sense to try a different approach.

– Concerned San Francisco Citizen

Upcoming meetings on this issues listed on the SFCTA website:
http://www.sfcta.org/meetings-agendas-and-events#jan2017

Wednesday, January 4, 6 PM –  Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee – 1455 Market St., 22nd Floor – Details  CAC is scheduled to hear and vote on the Geary BRT.

Thursday, January 5, 2:00 PM –  Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting Room 250, City HallDetails This is where the Board of Supervisors, acting as the County is expected to approve the $350-360 million dollar Geary BRT large project authorization, before the public or the Board of Supervisors has sufficient time to review and analyze the large document that was just released on the 15th of December. CEQA still allows a 30 day period for public review and comment, so this will cut that allowance down, leading, once again to a violation of CEQA by the SFMTA.

SFMTA will have an excuse for fast-tracking their Geary BRT, so we need as many letters and people to protest against this outrage at this meeting as possible. Sample letter:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

There is a second excellent letter requesting a delay that is here requesting that the Chairman of the SFCTA Board of Commissioners, Aaron Peskin, postpone the Geary BRT EIR vote for one month. Quite a few letters have gone out with that request.

Continue reading

Report dings SFMTA over chronic absenteeism

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Persistent problems with employees not showing up for work at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is laid out in a report by the City Controller’s Office that the transit agency requested the office to conduct.

According to the report, the SFMTA had the second highest employee absenteeism rate out of the 10 departments in The City with the largest budgets and spent approximately $42 million in leave pay during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Tonia Lediju, director of city audits, wrote in a letter to the SFMTA’s Board of Directors and Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, on what the transit agency’s management was lacking in curbing chronic employee absenteeism:…

The report states that absence management program is key to minimize the negative effects of absences such as an increased in costs of unscheduled absences, increased pressure of other employees covering for absent employees and services not being delivered.

In this case, un-delivered services means canceled Muni runs, which cause longer wait times for passengers, the report said…

The public can read the full report on the controller’s office website(more)

Will the SFMTA follow the City’s Controller’s suggestions and deal  with the personnel problems that are at the root of the slow and missing service riders have been complaining about for years before sinking  more taxpayers dollars into more expensive, disruptive street projects  like the $350 million Geary BRT plan? Will the Supervisors consider delaying the decision to approve the most expensive solution until trying the cheaper sensible one first? Details on the citizens cheaper approach:
http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

Solving personnel problems should be the first step they take.  Can they follow the Controller’s advice and do the right thing for once? Can the SFMTA serve the needs of the public and save the city from
further debt and traffic disruptions? Stay tuned…

Widespread public opposition to the most expensive disruptive Geary BRT plan will come to a head in January.

The public is demanding their 30 days to comment prior to any approvals by the SFMTA Board. The Board sat on the report for months before releasing it to the public during the holidays to assure not any people would notice. Both the public and the new supervisors need time to review the EIR and examine the budget before committing the taxpayers to any more big street projects.

More details  and a sample letter requesting the SFMTA Board postpone a vote to approve the Geary BRT EIR until the public comment time of 30 days has passed are here :  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Businesses oppose the Geary BRT plan, demand an economic impact report.

The Small Business Owners oppose the Geary BRT
The SF Small Business Commission passed a resolution at its Jan. 29 meeting calling for an economic impact study to be conducted as part of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning process. Geary area merchants and many residents fear the construction and elimination of vehicle lanes on Geary will choke the neighborhood. The coalition resolution complained that the current San Francisco Transportation Authority plan for the Geary project states it will not include an economic assessment “at this stage.” That will be considered at a later time in the Environmental Impact Report, the plan says… (more)

Retired San Francisco Public Works Chief’s Opposition to Geary BRT (Red Carpet)

Why I Oppose the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System (The “Red Carpet”)

The Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA or “Muni”) proposes to spend $300M to tear up the median along Geary Boulevard and construct two “buses only” lanes painted red (the “red carpet”) down the middle of the street. The 120 trees planted in the median would be removed. Angle parking would be replaced by parallel parking. Why?

The City’s “Fact Sheet” says the Bus Rapid Transit Project will:

  • “Improve bus travel times and on-time performance”
  • “Improve safety and access for all users”
  • “Enhance neighborhood livability and community vitality”

Really?

Travel time. Muni wants to speed buses through downtown. That works. Then they want to slow them down between Van Ness and Masonic. Why? And then City staff admitted that west of 25th Avenue, the project will cost $18M and MAY save ONE MINUTE. Does MTA have too much money?

On-time performance. In the Richmond District, the buses will run in a slot down Geary Boulevard, one behind another. If one bus is delayed, there is no room for other buses to pass. Express buses will be eliminated – all buses will make all stops. If your idea of on-time performance is no buses for twenty minutes, followed by six buses in a row, then welcome to today’s Muni.

Safety. Muni’s “Vision Zero” presentation shows 6 accidents per year in the 48 block Richmond District. When I worked for the city I managed a study of high accident intersections. Geary Boulevard in the Richmond NEVER made the “Top 100” most dangerous intersections. This argument is bogus.

Access for all users. Eliminating some bus stops would make the elderly and handicapped travel farther to reach a bus stop. Bicycles are banned from the buses only lanes, even when the lanes are at the edge of the street. How does this improve access for all users?

Neighborhood livability. Start by tearing out 120 trees. Put narrow concrete medians in the middle where an occasional stick tree can be planted (“one-for-one replacement”). Remove most angle parking forcing shoppers to double park or circle the block and park in front of residences, “temporarily” blocking driveways, but it’s ok, City dwellers shouldn’t own cars anyway.

Community vitality. Provide a red painted concrete slot through a vibrant community commercial district. Then change the zoning so that Geary can look like Van Ness. Then remove parking spaces causing small businesses to fail. (Merchants along Mission Street report a drop in sales of as much as 1/3 since their “red carpet’ went in.) But that’s ok, because a City staff person said “everyone knows there’s too much retail in San Francisco anyway”. After all, you can always shop on Amazon.

Still feel like spending $300M of your tax dollars? I don’t.

Vitaly B. Troyan, PE
Chief, Public Works Bureau of Engineering (ret)

from redcarpetmess.org

Sign the petition and support our efforts to Stop the Spread of Red.

Geary BRT Plan Watered Down to Appease Parking-Obsessed Merchants

by Aaron Bialick : sfstreetsblog – excerpt

Planners are touting a new proposed configuration for Geary Bus Rapid Transit that would forgo bus passing lanes in order to preserve car parking to appease merchants. Separated, center-median bus lanes would be retained, and project backers hope the changes will clear the way for implementation…
The new proposal [PDF], called “Alternative 3 Consolidated,” would run buses in two center lanes between dual medians. But unlike the original Alternative 3, it wouldn’t include passing lanes at stops that allow express BRT buses to pass local buses. Instead, the proposal would include only one “medium” bus service in which stops would be closer together than typical BRT, “but more spaced out compared to the local,” said David Parisi, a consultant working on the project for the SFCTA…
Mar, along with Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Chiu, and David Campos, grilled SFCTA staffers on the snail’s pace of the city’s BRT projects on Geary and Van Ness at a board meeting last week…
Peter Lauterborn, an aide to Mar, said the new “consolidated” proposal would simplify transit service and the street geometry on Geary, as well as help the SFCTA meet its launch target of 2018. “This helps us get over the hurdle of negotiating parking loss in the district, which has been a major sticking point in the past.”…
Although the SFCTA had considered filling in the Geary underpass at Masonic Avenue, planners said that option is no longer being seriously considered as part of the BRT project, citing high costs, though it could happen in the future if funding is devoted to it separately….
The Fillmore Street underpass, however, is still being considered for a fill-in. As the SF Examiner reported last week, Supervisors Mar and London Breed called for a hearing on the feasibility of that project, which would help re-connect the Japantown and Fillmore neighborhoods at an estimated cost of $40 million…

(more)