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.

Few Alternatives For Commuters Ahead Of Possible BART Strike

By Tim Ryan : – excpert

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Bay Area Rapid Transit’s unionized employees will meet on Tuesday to vote for a strike authorization that could lead to a walkout within a week. The result, transit officials said, would become a regional transportation emergency that will have commuters looking for alternatives of which there are few…
“It’s unused seats in people’s cars that can provide the capacity that make up for 400,000 lost BART trips,” he said… (more)

But where will those cars park?

This is the perfect storm that many of us have been dreading that will prove the point that the public transit system IS NOT READY to replace cars. People cannot walk and bike to work from all over the bay. BART, AC transit, and Caltrans are all at capacity.

SFMTA spends millions of dollars on PR to try to convince the world that SF has the answer to traffic management and everyone should buy their program.

This week may prove our point that removal of parking spaces is premature, at a time when the County Transportation Authority is weighing which transit projects to finance. We hope they will NOT finance Masonic and Second Street “improvements” at this time.

Question: Will Muni add back the lines they took out during the “slow months” while the students are on vacation?

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.

SF’s Lee puts Muni at top of to-do list

John Coté and Heather Knight : – excerpt

Buoyed by recent success in overhauling San Francisco’s business tax and lining up funding for housing programs, Mayor Ed Lee used his first State of the City address Monday to put another intractable problem in his sights: Muni.
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…
…tackling Muni may prove daunting….
The Muni group, which includes transit advocates, tech figures and the City Controller’s Office, will start meeting next month.

Modernize Muni
“We need to modernize our system … to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work and shop,” said Lee, who also wants to explore BART expansion in the city.
Gabriel Metcalf, director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association and a member of the new Muni task force, said the system suffered from a lack of funding and a lack of priority on the streets – with buses, trains and streetcars often stuck in traffic or at a stoplight.
“We’ll always be working on this, but I think we can do something meaningful about those two problems,” Metcalf said after Lee’s speech at the office of College Track, a nonprofit in the Bayview district dedicated to preparing low-income students for college… (more)

The muni group – transit advocates, tech figures and the City Controller’s Office. How about including some drivers and riders? Why are they excluded in the plan?

SFMTA Brings Back Parking Meter Planning to Tough Crowd in the NE Mission

by Aaron Bialick : – excerpt

Following fierce opposition that led the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to roll back its first attempt to expand meters in the northeast Mission, the agency re-started a community planning process last night to expand parking meters and residential permit restrictions to reduce cruising for parking in the area. The meeting was seen as a litmus test for the public’s openness — and the agency’s tact — which will be key to implementing a plan for managing parking demand in a dense, complex neighborhood where parking problems are only expected to get worse… (more)

By “noticeable contingent of advocates backing parking reform”, are you referring to the four people who raised their hands when Jeff asked, “Who complained about parking?”
What I remember quite well, (and I recorded the event), is Jeff admitting that the department is dealing with conflicts of interests within its jurisdiction.
Could these obvious conflict of interests explain why a growing contingent San Francisco residents want to repeal Prop E and rewrite Transit First? Are they had enough of the SFMTA monster that was supposed to balance the Muni budget and fix the public transit system, but has failed miserably at both?


I suggested an idea that many have voiced and I agree with. We need park and ride Muni hubs for drivers who need to drive into town, park and jump on the Muni to get to their final destination. According to SFMTA, 41% of the cars parked in our neighborhood don’t live or work here. They are commuters driving into the city, parking and taking the Muni downtown. The same people who park in the Western neighborhoods and jump on the Geary buses. They are Muni customers. Why is SFMTA fighting them?
This request for more public parking near transit hubs is repeated all over the Bay area. Most BART stations need more parking for clients. Instead of fighting the cars driving to public transit, the city officials should create the parking options their clients need to easily use the public transit systems they want them to take.
I did say is that it is not my job to create those options. That job belongs to the public employees who are paid royally to manage parking and traffic.

What Are Some Things The Outside World Would Be Shocked To Learn About Silicon Valley?

Aaron Ginn : sites – excerpt

“..Continual love/ hate relationship with cars. With random street light timing, no parking spots, and an impossible 101, SF does not like cars, but SF refuses to build a good public transit system to link the entire Bay Area. To go anywhere outside SF still requires a car…
No one takes the trolley. Walking is faster. Don’t be that guy hanging on the trolley…
Private bus system. Apple, Google, Facebook, and other major tech companies have their own bus system from SF to San Jose…”



SF Muni begins America’s Cup service

By Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate – excerpt

With its sweeping views and wide-open feel, Marina Green is a great place to watch the America’s Cup World Series. But with no rail service and few direct buses, it’s not the easiest location to reach on public transit.
The transportation plan for this week’s races, a series of October races coinciding with Fleet Week, and the main event, the 2013 America’s Cup, is designed to dissuade people from driving to the always congested northern waterfront, and relies mainly on enhanced Muni service and encouraging fans to walk or ride bikes.
“We’re trying to help people have a good time in San Francisco instead of being stuck in traffic or chasing down a parking space,” said Peter Albert, the agency’s America’s Cup skipper…
Eye on ridership
America’s Cup sponsors have set a goal of raising $5 million to cover the cost of augmented transit service this year and next. But the agency is not necessarily planning to provide $5 million in service. Officials plan to keep a close eye on ridership, Albert said…

It is pretty obvious that the SFMTA public transit system is not designed to put the public first. The first priority is tourists and big business. All residents want out of the deal is to be left alone to fend for ourselves. Bring back sufficient taxi and jitney service for the rest of us.