When Muni doesn’t stop at the grocery store

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says removing the L-Taraval line’s stop at 17th Avenue and Taraval Street will make trains run 25 to 30 seconds faster, but the decision could have far-reaching impacts on passengers.

San Franciscans are told constantly that we should get out of our cars and ride Muni instead. But a recent decision by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to remove a light-rail stop across from the Safeway on Taraval Street could force some who have been taking Muni to the store to drive there instead.

SFMTA staff want to remove stops to speed up the L-Taraval’s travel time as it heads downtown from the Sunset. According to SFMTA staff at the agency’s Dec. 5 meeting, removing the inbound stop at 17th Avenue and Taraval Street, across from the Safeway, will make the trains run 25 to 30 seconds faster….

At the December meeting, agency staff noted that they did not observe people boarding the L-Taraval with “heavy grocery loads that would make walking an additional two minutes challenging.” However, even a “light” grocery bag can be “challenging” to a senior or someone with a disability or a serious illness when they have to carry it for several blocks before they can board the train…(more)

This is an example of a ridiculous study done by amateurs. Did these folks check to see how “heavy” the loads were, or just assume they are not heavy? Heavy for a young person might be over 20 pounds and over 5 pound can be too heavy for some people. a gallon of water is heavy because it is dense weight.

My Reply to this comment: “It’s called, get off your butt and walk. Maybe we would not have so many fat people.”

Are you a bot? Or are you a human? If you are a human who is a workout critic, I hope you are really working those abs now so you can feel the burn when your knees go out due to the extra workouts you did in your youth as some of the elderly walking around with new hips and knees are dealing with now. Hip replacements are not due to overweight conditions, they happen in your 50’s and are genetic conditions. Knees are weakened by skiing and cycling and other sports that puts pressure of the knees. Dancers are the most at risk for foot and leg problems. So, go and work yourself into a frenzy on your sports toys while you can and don’t begrudge the elders that live with the results of their youthful exuberance because that is your future dude, or bot.


SF wants access to Uber and Lyft data to tackle traffic congestion

By Joe Fitgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Two San Francisco government groups are taking aim at traffic congestion allegedly caused by ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin on Tuesday introduced resolutions at both the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which he chairs, and also at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling on state legislators to grant cities the ability to peek at trip data from ride-hail companies.

Mayor Ed Lee quickly signaled his support for the resolution Tuesday.

I think asking for data is good, and that data should inform us in how to relieve that (traffic) congestion,” he told the San Francisco Examiner.

That data is sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, but for years they have shielded it from public view.

The CPUC granted confidentiality of trip data to Uber and Lyft after the companies argued the data could be used by one another to gain a competitive advantage.

Requests for data “continue to be denied by the CPUC,” Peskin told the transportation authority board on Tuesday.

Both the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the SFCTA have repeatedly asked the CPUC for Uber and Lyft trip data, and were denied...(more)

The over saturation of Ubers and Lyfts could be solved by stopping the unwinnable war on cars. If the money that has gone into lane removal, bus stop musical chairs, and traffic alterations was spent on purchasing more buses, adding bus lines, and replacing bus seats you would not have the loss of ridership that you have seen since the SFMTA initiated programs to alter bus routes, eliminate stops and remove bus seats. Do you want to walk further to a bus stop and then stand on the bus when you can be sitting in a car? Why do you think people are avoiding Muni and BART on the weekends. No matter how much paint you put on the pig it is still a pig. This pig wreaks of false assumptions that are turning into a big pile of public debt.

Backpacks On Public Transit: Agencies, Commuters Weigh In

by Saul Sugarman : hoodline – excerpt

We’ve all been there: you’re having a pleasant ride on a Bay Area train or bus, only to get rudely smacked by someone’s bag.

SFMTA and BART officials have received complaints about the problem, but “of course” there is no direct policy to address it, said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

However, her agency has put posters in many BART cars asking riders to please remove their bags and put them between their legs, she noted.

“It is an absolute fact: if everyone took their backpacks off and put their bags between their legs, we could fit more people on our train cars,” Trost said.

Some forthcoming BART cars offer remedies to the bag issue, she added. The agency’s “Fleet Of The Future” cars, a $2.6 billion project set to debut later this year, will have added room underneath seats for passengers to store their bags. And a new extension to Antioch will have cars that have luggage racks… (more)

I heard that schools no longer have lockers so student must carry everything in backpacks. When you force people into contraptions without seats and with no real consideration into what people need to carry with them, you should anticipate a lot of extra stuff on the bus.

When you expect everyone to use public transit for all their errands your virtual reality designs should anticipate a lot of stuff will accompany the passengers.

You must expect a lot of backpacks, baby carriage, grocery bags and luggage, along with the every present bikes and skateboards and every other imaginable personal items that people would normally put in a car or other personal vehicle if they had one to carry their stuff in.

I’ve got an idea for you, instead of having special compartments and special sections for putting the stuff, why don’t you just return the seats to the buses and make sure that everyone can sit comfortably with their stuff in their laps like they used to.

Leave it up to the SFMTA to take a system that works and screw it up!


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.


L-Taraval changes head to SFMTA board

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Contentious changes along Muni’s L-Taraval route could get decided Tuesday.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday are expected to vote on a final proposal on the L-Taraval Rapid Project.

Residents and merchants have been at odds with transit officials on proposed improvements including adding boarding islands at some stops, and removal of other stops altogether…

The original proposal had called for boarding islands at all L-Taraval transit stops that did not have them, but transit officials comprised with businesses to instead pilot a program for six months that does not remove any parking on Taraval at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues.

Instead of transit boarding islands, a large sign will get placed to warn drivers that they must stop to allow for passengers to board and disembark trains, along with a painted white solid line in the traffic lane where vehicles must stop behind the train. Both treatments would be placed along Taraval to match the configuration of a two-car train.

Additionally, painted markings will also be present in the traffic lane to warn drivers ahead of time of transit stops ahead…

Documents from the transit agency said transit officials will work with merchants to develop an education campaign alongside working with the San Francisco Police Department on enforcement at these five transit stop locations during the evaluation of the pilot.

New flashing lights on trains when the doors open will also be part of the pilot, to bring more attention to drivers that they must stop.

The pilot changes will be installed in Fall 2016. If there is not at least a 90 percent compliance rate of drivers stopping where they are supposed to, or if there is a collision with a pedestrian and vehicle during the six-month evaluation, officials will pursue boarding islands at those five locations, SFMTA documents said…

Paula Katz, a resident in the Parkside neighborhood, started a petition to save all of the L-Taraval stops, which she has submitted to the transit agency. She said the removal of the transit stops would put a burden to riders especially for the elderly who shop at places like at Safeway on Taraval and 17th Avenue.

Early implementation

SFMTA documents show the transit agency wants to carry out specific positions of the project earlier than what was originally proposed.

Officials plant to start the transit-only lane early, with signage and painted symbols, but no red paint. Officials said they will monitor the effects of traffic flow and congestion for one year to due to concerns from the community that a loss of a travel lane would cause traffic congestion.

Painted clear zones will also be implemented early at locations where the transit agency are proposing boarding islands. Vehicles would shift to the right as if there were a boarding island present at 10 locations. Parking spots at those locations would no longer be available.

The public can still give public comment on the final proposal of the L-Taraval project at the SFMTA’s Board of Directors meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m. in room 400 of City Hall… (more)


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.




Chariot, an alternative to Muni for your downtown/SOMA commute

from Potrero Hill : nextdoor – excerpt

Hi neighbors. If you commute to downtown or SOMA, you might be interested in signing up for Chariot (those blue vans all around town). The route runs along much of the same line as the 10 Townsend but with minimal stops. What’s great about Chariot is that you can reserve a seat in the van, and the price is only $3-5 each way. Plus you can use your commuter benefits, so it’s a win-win.

They still need 49 more people to sign up for the Potrero Pronto line in order to put it into circulation, which is why I’m posting about it here. You can learn more and sign up at https://www.chariot.com/crowdfund/potrer…

Comment from next door… “This is what’s on Next Door Potrero Hill and I’m seeing more and more of the Chariots around town like the two filling up at the 76 where I see the UCSF transport fill up… When I asked if property values were increasing in Wyoming (because I know they are increasing just like here near Jackson Hole), I was told me that there may be transportation created to connect her area to the Jackson Hole airport. I think there is a boom in private transportation.  People are willing to pay for it.  $30.00 to $50.00 / week. Up to $200/mo or $2400 per year as opposed to Muni/Bart card ($120/mo?). SFMTA/Muni are losing customers and revenue… And it was a 7/11 24hour store who delivered the first coffee and diapers? by drone about a month ago…Is the SFMTA obsolete? Is their interpretation of all these changes wrong? Shouldn’t public transportation MUNI be a separate department from roads and parking? Is the SFMTA too big?

IS SFMTA OBSOLETE? Not until voters CUT OFF THE FUNDS and change the balance of power by supporting the SFMTA Charter Amendment on the November ballot. Details here:  stopsfmta.com

There is no way the SFMTA can compete with the comfort and efficiency of the private shuttles and maybe they should not bother. Muni is the cheap alternative cattle ride for the public that has no other option but standing room only crowded buses. This is the third world system – three public transportation options at three different price points for getting around. All we need to make the system complete is a return of the jitney.



L-Taraval public hearing set for Friday

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Back in February, merchants and residents were not pleased with the latest proposal presented by officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for the Taraval Street corridor.

The proposal presented six months ago included adding boarding islands, a red transit-only lane, traffic signals and removing some train stops to speed up the L-Taraval.

Merchants worried about where the boarding islands would be constructed because it would require taking away seven to 10 parking spaces, according to the transit agency’s proposal.

The plan had called for one-to-one parking replacement at nearby streets.

Albert Chow, owner of the Great Hardware store on Taraval between 28th and 29th Avenue, said a there would not be enough parking spaces at nearby streets and that it would have an economic to businesses at community meeting held in February.

Instead, the SFMTA is proposing to test a boarding zone pilot at Taraval Street and 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues, which includes painted warnings and new signage to drivers that they have stop to let passengers board and alight trains…

Officials said they still plan to add boarding islands where Muni riders have been hit by a train either getting on or off. Those locations include 19th, 42nd and 44th avenues in both inbound and outbound directions. Boarding islands would also be added at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 40th and 46th avenues in just the outbound direction…

Another concern was the removal of 14 train stops. Officials said they will now only remove nine stops, but that still does not satisfy Paula Katz, a resident in the outer Parkside neighborhood.

Katz told SFMTA board members on Tuesday that the transit agency needs to keep all the L-Taraval stops, and submitted a petition with over 1,600 signatures:

“Many of the signatures in our petition are from L riders whose lives would be negatively impacted if they lose their stops and have to walk an extra block or two when they are catching the L or coming home and when they shop at our local merchants, the library, post office and our local Safeway, which for some incredible reason all are losing their L-Taraval stops.”

Merchants and residents can still be heard at this Friday’s public hearing at City Hall at 10 a.m., Room 416…(more)

Taraval joins a long line of dissatisfied customers that will be voting for a change in management at the SFMTA in November by decentralizing the power structure that the voters put into place a number of years ago. Stay tuned for the details as they unfold on the SFMTA Charter Amendment. For now, updates are here: stopsfmta.com




Charter amendment targets mayoral seats on SFMTA board

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Acharter amendment introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee could threaten the mayor’s appointment power over the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors.

The charter amendment proposed by Yee would allow the mayor to appoint four SFMTA board members and the Board of Supervisors would to get appoint three. It would also lower the number of supervisors it takes to reject the transit agency’s budget from seven to six.

Currently, the City Charter allows the mayor to nominate all seven of transit agency’s directors, but nominees still need approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors Eric Mar and Malia Cohen voted in favor of the charter amendment at the board’s Rules Committee on Wednesday. Supervisor Katy Tang voted against it. If approved by the full Board of Supervisors, it would appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Last I checked only six supervisors are needed to put a charter amendment on the ballot.

Yee said at the board’s Rules Committee on June 30 that his constituents from District 7 are calling his office over concerns about some of the decisions that the transit agency makes on The City’s streets: (more comments below.)

“…this is why I am introducing this legislation to see if there is a way to actually change the dynamics so that maybe we could reduce the types of complaints that we get.”…

“There’s an expectation from the public that the Board of Supervisors share the burden of SFMTA’s decisions when we have very little do with who sits on the Board of Directors.”…

“I think a split appoint process allows for a broader, more diverse level of engagement from the public as we have seen at this very committee.”…

“I’m always searching for answers. For me, this is one way to change it. It’s certainly not the only way and I’m willing to sit down with the director, Mr. Reiskin or any of the other Board of Directors to continue that discussion.”… (more)

This is a welcome development in a situation that is rapidly turning into a disaster for many residents and merchants who are lashing out at the Mayor and Supervisors. Complaints are coming from everyone, including drivers, Muni riders, people with families, the elderly and physically challenged. Removal of bus stops and seats from buses is only the last straw.
Plausible deniability is not protecting them from the public anger. This is the year of discord and San Francisco officials are reacting by giving the voters a lot of options to shift the balance of power. The voters should take this opportunity to do just that.


Frustrated Residents Pack Meeting on Mission Street Changes

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt  (videos included)

Sylvia Alvarez-Lynch talks as SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin listens.

With more than 100 people packed into a sweltering room, tempers ran hot at a three-hour meeting held by the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency to get feedback on the agency’s new transit lanes and turn restrictions along Mission Street.

The changes, which were rolled out in March, include the creation of transit-only lanes, the prohibition of left turns for the entire corridor of 13th to Cesar Chavez streets, forced right turns at certain intersections, and the removal of a few bus stops within two blocks of one another.

Despite outreach efforts from the transit agency, which director Ed Reiskin said were among the agency’s most extensive, many people at Monday’s meeting said they felt unwarned about the changes, disrespected once they offered opinions, or generally unheard at all.

While many commentators – pedestrians, transit users, and a few drivers – voiced approval, many business owners and drivers were livid…(more)

Waiting for months to correct a mistake that is killing businesses is not an option. The Mission is working on a plan. No more top down designs. Look for a strong showing against the SFMTA in November if they don’t fix the problems now and drop the red lane plans for other neighborhoods. Looks like the SFMTA needs to be trained to serve the public. They want to SHIFT our attitude. They are the ones who need to SHIFT their priorities and policies.


SFMTA may amend Mission ‘red carpet’ bus lane project