Prop. L would divide City Hall influence over Muni and streets

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Some city supervisors want more say over Muni and San Francisco’s streets.

To that end, Proposition L on the November ballot would split the appointments on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, between the Mayor’s Office and the Board of Supervisors.

Currently the mayor makes all seven appointments. If voters approve Prop. L, three of those appointments would go to the supervisors.

Also under Prop. L, the Board of Supervisors would need only a simple majority of six members to approve or veto SFMTA’s budget; now it needs seven.

The measure was authored by Supervisor Norman Yee, and is seen as one of a suite of other measures that would chip away at the power of the Mayor’s Office…(more)

We are hearing rumbles of discontent all over town, from Muni riders being ticketed for not knowing they needed a transfer to prove they paid, to standing Muni riders being tossed around on the hills on crowded buses. Many are irate over the seat and stop removal plans. Drivers have been annoyed for years and now SFMTA has gone too far in ignoring their riders as well. Why are we paying more for less service?

Cutting service, removing traffic lanes and parking, was already cutting into business, and now the SFMTA wants to raise sales tax, further pissing off the merchants and people who still try to buy from local shops. The voters are SMART ENUF to figure out that the SFMTA is the one that needs to go away.

SFMTA spends their time lobbying for money for “innovative transportation solutions” when Muni riders just want more buses, not innovations, pilot projects and “experiments” like the Red Lane treatments. By the way, how many people were told that the Red Lanes are an experiment? If that experiment fails, they have to be removed.

Thanks to the SF Examiner for supporting Proposition L and No on K.

Sunset Tunnel’s crumbling interior may end $19 million renovation

The cost of building San Francisco’s Sunset Tunnel has just grown by $3 million more, after the discovery of a crumbling interior inside the tunnel has the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency doling out even more money to see if the project is salvageable.

The Sunset Tunnel tracks for the N-Line were built in 1928 and are now used for the city’s N-Judah light-rail vehicles.

A report from the SFMTA has found that the during the tunnel’s renovation last winter, the conduit began to crumble and exposed “live feeder cables,” adding that there is a “high probability of hidden damages” that might cause the Muni to stop operating in the location for good… (more)

Looks like SFMTA has more important things to do than they can keep track of. Why are they spending money on Red Lanes and BRTs when they need to shore up tunnels and bridges? It boggles the mind sometimes where the priorities lie. If they can’t take care of this problem a lot more people will start driving again.

Major L-Taraval changes up for vote Tuesday

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

taravalcard

Taraval Street is about to transform in the name of transit.

The proposed changes are contentious. As transit officials have proposed to make the L-Taraval line safer, neighbors in the sleepy Sunset district have booed and hissed at transit officials in community meetings…

Now, a hard-won compromise was reached between those who want the L-Taraval line to be safer, and those fearful businesses will be harmed.

Most sides still have gripes with the project…

“We’re not saying we want no islands, we’re saying we got to this point and let’s test it out,” Chow said. “Because every implementation [the SFMTA has] done so far has upset every community they’ve been in.”…

As a compromise, the SFMTA plan up for vote on Tuesday would paint stripes that would ban cars from being in part of a lane, instead of creating boarding islands at four of the proposed locations closest to businesses.

Lighting the way..

On a recent tour of Muni Metro East, a light-rail vehicle repair yard, the San Francisco Examiner was shown L-Taraval train No. 1428.

Train 1428 is a guinea pig for new ultra-bright LED lights running along the door and on the front and back of the train. It will likely be a “modest” cost, Haley said, to help car drivers better see trains and pedestrians in the foggy stretch of Taraval…(more)

This really is a case of neighborhoods uniting to fight the giant street eater. Citizens are tired of this constant disruption and changes in their lives. There is no point to most of it. Why is SFMTA spending money they don’t have to harass the voters? Yes on L and No on J and K and if you can show up to protest tomorrow, September 20th at the SFMTA Board meeting, please do. See above for details.

 

 

SFMTA Plans to Tweak Mission Street Transit Changes

By : missionlocal – excerpt

San Francisco’s transit agency is proposing to roll back some of the traffic changes made along Mission Street when the city installed red bus-only lanes from 14th Street to Cortland Avenue.

The Municipal Transit Agency announced on Monday that its board would consider removal of two forced right turns at 22nd and 26th streets in order to give drivers four blocks of through traffic to make businesses along the corridor more accessible.

The agency will also allow taxis to turn left on 21st Street to give cab drivers a more direct route to their destinations, according to the announcement.

Finally, the agency will move a bus stop on Cortland Avenue to the northern end of its intersection with Mission Street to make it easier for passengers to board the bus.

One of the most controversial changes that came with the transit improvement projects, requiring a right turn at Cesar Chavez Street, is not being considered for removal. Concerns from the public that the forced turn needlessly separated the Mission from Bernal Heights, the agency said in its announcement, should be addressed by allowing right turns on 22nd and 26th streets.

But opponents of the project are not satisfied with the suggested changes and say they will continue to put pressure on the agency to make broader changes at an upcoming agency board meeting. One called the right turn at Cesar Chavez “disruptive,” and another told the Examiner that the turn was like a “wall” separating the two areas…

“SFMTA’s objective was to reduce cars on Mission Street, but does not actually reduce cars or traffic overall. The largest population of Mission transit riders (36%) use Mission buses like a jitney within the Mission,” Medina wrote. “But the red lanes have been tailored to rocket ‘choice riders’ over the Mission straight into downtown and reduce bus stops 50 percent.”

The SFMTA board hearing takes place on August 16…(more)

Mission Warriors will be out in force with concerned citizens intent on stopping the redlining into other neighborhoods. This project was the one that broke the camel’s back. The Supervisors, overwhelmed with complaints, placed a Charter Amendment on the ballot to allow voters an opportunity to vote to cut repeal the overreach of the SFMTA. Come to the meeting on Tuesday the 16th and let the Board hear your complaints.

 

 

Muni’s impact on small business

from hoodline – excerpt

May 9 Small Business Commission meeting: From transit-only lanes to the loss of parking spaces, neighborhood activists have been using the Commission as a venue to criticize San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for projects that they say put small business in jeopardy. This meeting was no different.

Staffers from various departments within the SFMTA gave presentations on a variety of topics, including the agency’s public outreach, the residential parking permit program, capital projects and improvement projects on Lombard and Mission streets.

Neighborhood activists attended the meeting to speak during the public comment period on all items. They represented commercial corridors on which SFMTA has ongoing or recently-completed projects, including Mission Street, Geary Boulevard, Lombard Street and Taraval Street.

Safety was consistently cited by SFMTA staff as the reason behind all their improvement projects to heavily-used corridors.

The criticisms of those who commented on each item centered largely on the agency’s re-engineering of streets to accommodate transit, bicycles and pedestrians over private automobiles, leading to reduced auto traffic along commercial corridors and an attendant loss of parking spaces.

Bob Starzel, a representative with the Greater Geary Merchants and Property Owners Association, laid out the small business perspective of transit changes as a counterpoint to the City’s Transit First policy approach.

“If we took [SFMTA’s] numbers, and they were right, and only 30 percent of people drive, think to yourself what it means to your business if now some good proportion of that 30 percent is not gonna come to do business with you,” Starzel said. “What that means is your profit margin is hurt.”

SFMTA staff will continue appearing before the Commission to address how their projects and programs affect small businesses for the next few months… (more) Scroll the the page for this part of the article.

SFMTA is using our taxes to against us

Business owners all over town are doing a lot more than just going to meetings and City Hall. They are organizing to fight for their businesses. Fighting the taxes that feed the SFMTA are a big part of the fight.

Plans to remove traffic from our major commercial corridors are not the only thing SFMTA is doing to close businesses in the city. We know of at least three new taxes they have planned for us that are guaranteed to raise the cost of living and doing business in the Bay Area.

Prop AA – the SF Bay Authority (SFBA) is a new regional taxing entity that wants a $12 parcel tax from all property owners within a 9 county region. The claim they need it is to clean the Bay. There are plenty of other entities working on that already. If Prop AA passes the SFBA will request an additional 10 cents per gallon gas tax next. Do yourself a favor and vote against Prop AA. Look what happened when the voters voted down Prop L. They decided they could get away with tearing up our streets and removing street parking that is what they are doing. (more 0n Prop AA)

Another Sales Tax – The SFMTA assumes the voters will approve another half cent sales tax in November. In fact, they informed the Board of Supervisors that they have budgeted in that tax increase for the next two years. What will that and the parcel tax and the 10 cents per gallon do to the businesses in San Francisco? Let your supervisors know how you feel about these regressive taxes.

If you haven’t yet signed the StopSFMTA petition, please do and share it with your friends. Join the many who are fighting to keep San Francisco for the residents who live here. Leave a comment below if you want to be put in touch with your local business organization.

More Muni Money, More Muni Problems: Even a $500 million boost won’t help Muni

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

…In the opening of John Oliver’s segment on crumbling infrastructure in the United States, which aired March 1, Ed Reiskin, transportation director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, got his 15 seconds of roasting.

“As much as I like to think otherwise, infrastructure is not very sexy,” Reiskin says on the show. His comments are played alongside a few other middle-aged Caucasian bureaucrats saying similar things…

To which Oliver replies, “Yes, infrastructure, like those men we just heard from, is important, but not sexy.”

Ouch. For the record, SF Weekly is no authority on bureaucrat sexiness — we’ll leave that one to the voters. It is worth noting that Muni’s infrastructure is a frequent topic in these pages. And at a Feb. 9 Capital Planning Committee meeting, Reiskin was making a similar argument as Oliver: San Francisco needs even more money for transit infrastructure.

The SFMTA’s infrastructure (of which Muni makes up the bulk) isn’t getting the attention or the money it requires, and over the next 10 years it will face a $4.9 billion in infrastructure obligations. That number will balloon to $11.5 billion in 20 years. In other words, that recent voter-approved $500 million bond for transit infrastructure won’t even put a dent in our needs.

“Spoiler: I’m not going to end by asking for a billion dollars,” Reiskin told the committee. Everyone laughed… (more)

A billion for Muni and another billion for BART. And they still can’t fix the potholes which the voters were promised several ballots ago. Even the bikers are complaining about the potholes. They hit on and go down. At least the four-wheeled vehicle don’t lose their balance over a pothole.

No Free Rides: Finally, Inevitably: Muni Is Suing Muni

By sfweekly – excerpt

Wednesday, May 28 2014: You can add Muni management to the burgeoning list of people blindsided by Muni drivers.

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court judge certified some 2,500 drivers — every man and woman who has slipped behind the wheel of a bus, train, trolley, or cable car since July 2009 — as a class in a federal suit against Muni. And, like Muni, that suit is moving forward with extreme slowness — and may cost the city an arm and a leg…

There’s a lot of money riding on this determination. Multiply the $50 daily penalty for violating the Minimum Wage Ordinance by five years worth of days and 2,500 workers. The total: $228 million. That’s a lot of cash. And a lot of leverage, if a settlement is in the offing… (more)

Ever wonder why your Muni bus is late? Who do you blame? The drivers blame management and are suing them. We are re-visiting this story to remind voters where Muni money goes. A large chunk goes to pay for management’s legal losses. In this case they are charged with failure to adhere to labor laws, but in many others they are charged with collecting on false tickets. More than 30% of all settlements San Francisco pays are attributed to SFMTA complaints.

RELATED:
Muni drivers in class action lawsuit against agency

The SFMTA Has a New, Friendly Blog, and Readers Seem Suspicious.

By : sfweekly – excerpt

Did you know that the SFMTA has a new blog, Moving SF? Seemingly timed with the recent 25-cent fare increase, the parent agency of Muni has decided its image problem has grown dire, and wants to give the everyday commuter (that’d be you!) insight into the workings of one of the most disliked government bodies.

“We want to start telling your our story,” says the Aug. 28 inaugural post.

As SF Citizen already so poignantly put it: That’s just bull shit. But as just as every powerful actor needs a good foil or two, Moving SF’s comments section has already become very lively. Looking beyond the acrimonious debates over the merits of the GBUS TO MTV and its fellow corporate shuttles, it appears that any official attempt at propagandizing the beleaguered strap-hanging populace with the SFMTA party line will at least be matched by well-informed opposition down below.

A subsequent post brought it all out. An introduction to a new Q&A feature about city streets, it solicited inquiries from readers and got a mouthful in reply:…

Could it be that SFMTA and Muni are attempting to curry favor with ordinary San Franciscans in order to get half a billion dollars at precisely the moment when tenants are feeling the squeeze more than ever? Time will tell. If Moving SF doesn’t want to volunteer its motives, its vivacious commenters just might wring it out of them… (more)

The least trusted city agency, that has the gall to blame the public for it’s failures, now wants to “play nice” to convince us to allow them to float another $850 million plus of public debt. (after you add in the interest on the bonds) And the Fed just downgraded Muni bonds this week.

They must think we are dumber than we do.

We say No on A and B (no more money without accountability) and Yes on L: Restore Transportation Balance (demand accountability)

REALATED:
The SFMTA’s New MUNI Blog Urges You to Raise Your Rent by Voting YES on the Half Billion Dollar Prop A, More or Less

 

Civility and Its Discontents: City Politics Finally Drops the Cordial Bullshit

: sfweekly – excerpt

“…As San Franciscans prepare for Burning Man, the majority of our supervisors prepare to be burned. Because City Hall’s facade of civility has gone up in smoke: Mayor Lee has pledged retribution against the six legislators who greenlit a Scott Wiener transit funding measure he despises.

Meanwhile, sources inform your humble narrator that the mayor’s office told affordable housing developers that success for a Jane Kim housing measure not to his liking would result in the evaporation of their city funding. Like hostages, these organizations were cajoled into pleading with Kim to back down.

And that happened.

Attempts to fund Muni in this city hark to a troop of clowns hauling stacks of custard pies down rickety stairways. It’s always a mess. And the goods never get delivered.

In 2007, erstwhile board President Aaron Peskin’s Proposition A purported to inject $32 million a year into Muni’s bereft coffers. But that didn’t happen: Instead, prevented by the electorate from simply taking the money now earmarked for Muni, city departments began pillaging the transit agency by charging Muni for tasks those departments were already legally obligated to provide. A voter-approved measure to bestow Muni with scores of millions of dollars actually eviscerated its finances to the tune of scores of millions of dollars. Muni continues to be treated as the city’s slush fund.

Your commute continues to suck… (more)

So, who do you trust to fix the Muni mess? Do you think throwing more money at the tiger will tame its appetite?

If you are ready for a change, fight back and tell  SF City Hall know that you have had ENUF !

Vote Yes on Proposition L.

Time to tie pay to Muni’s on-time performance

By Jon Golinger : sfexaminer – excerpt

Jerry Brown had a great idea: The people who run Muni should actually ride Muni.

In 1993, a grass-roots citizens group founded by Brown collected thousands of petition signatures and put a measure on the San Francisco ballot requiring the mayor, supervisors, and top city officials to ride Muni or other public transit to work at least twice every week.

In the voter information pamphlet, Brown wrote: “Government is getting out of touch because too many officeholders and city workers act like potentates, not public servants. Send them a message! VOTE YES on AA to get them back to reality by riding the Muni twice a week.”…

In fact, according to a report presented to the Board of Supervisors this spring, Muni’s on-time performance rate last year fell to an all-time low of 57.2 percent, rising this spring to a whopping 60.2 percent — 25 percentage points short of the required goal. Hearing this, Supervisor Scott Wiener reportedly said that he was “pleased with the progress” Muni is making. If that’s progress, what’s failure?

Two measures on November’s ballot propose that San Francisco taxpayers contribute more money for Muni. I think most Muni riders and residents will support these measures and gladly contribute our fair share to fix Muni – as long as we believe we will actually get better service as a result. But clearly, as the last 15 years have shown, more money from riders and taxpayers alone isn’t the only answer to fixing what ails Muni — we also need something else to ensure we get real results: accountability.

A fundamental flaw with prior Muni reforms is that they failed to link measurable performance standards with enforcement mechanisms that would ensure the penalty for failure was felt by the people in charge who failed to do their jobs, not just by Muni riders.

Instead, the salaries for top Muni executives have gone up at the very same time that Muni service has gone down and riders have been repeatedly asked to pay more. According to a report by the city controller, the transportation director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, is one of the highest-paid department heads in San Francisco, making more money than even the mayor, with a salary of $294,000 per year (Ed Lee makes $285,319). Ed Reiskin has nine top deputies who each get paid more than $169,000 per year — a bigger salary than the director of transportation for the entire state of California.

Let’s ensure some real accountability from the people who run Muni by requiring that, any year that Muni fails to meet the 85 percent on-time performance requirement mandated by voters, the head of Muni and his top executives will have their generous salaries reduced by the same percentage that Muni failed to meet its performance goal, with those funds put right back into improving Muni service… (more)