Should private shuttles be able to use Muni-only lanes?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

MTA says yes — but the public can weigh in Tuesday.

San Francisco transit planners have been working for years on a proposal to create bus-only lanes on Geary Boulevard. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is that – since we (unfortunately) don’t have a subway line underneath the Geary corridor, we can do the next best thing by creating lanes just for Muni.

Time the traffic signals right, keep cars out of the way of buses, and people can ride faster from the Richmond and the Western Addition to downtown…

The plan comes up for discussion at the MTA’s meeting Tuesday/21 – and there’s a twist…

Activists have discovered that Muni’s current proposal would allow not only Muni buses but private shuttles, like Chariot and the Google buses – to use the city’s public transit-only lanes.

Environmentalist and transit advocate Sue Vaughan (who has also written for 48hills) asked at an MTC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in July whether private shuttles would be allowed to use the BRT lanes. MTC staff didn’t have an answer at that point – but a series of follow-up emails obtained by Vaughan show that the department believes under current rules, any private company that runs a bus with a capacity of more than ten people (including the driver) would count as “transit” and would be allowed on what were originally described as Muni-only lanes… (more)

The national press has been covering the anger and actions against privatization of public streets for years. SF Board of supervisors passed Ordinanace 180089 to give voters some control over access to curbs. There hearings on the horizon along with the Controller reports we have requested for months.

What does SFMTA do? Blame Muni for the slowdown and hand over more traffic lanes to private enterprise, not covered by the ordinance. while spending hours of staff time developing an elite program for corporate e-bikes, and deserting vast numbers of Muni riders during the largest transit crisis in years.

Must the public demand the removal of Reiskin and a vote on a Charter Amendment to roll back SFMTA autonomy to get relief? Will Mayor Breed appoint a strong new MTA Board Director to the current regime at the SFMTA Board, who will return Muni’s attention to making Muni an attractive reliable functioning option?

You can only pretend the emperor is dressed for so long. It is hard to take a bus that does not arrive to pick you up. It is past time to replace the leadership at SFMTA.

RELATED:

Letters to SFMTA Board:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-not-belong-dedicated-bus-lanes/

https://metermadness.wordpress.com/red-lane-experiments/private-transport-should-not-be-allowed-to-use-transit-only-lanes/

 

 

SF supervisors approve Muni security contract, after no ethics violations found

By sfexaminer – excerpt

No ethics violations found, but ethical concerns remain

A $38 million security contract to guard Muni rail yards was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, amid accusations of ethical lapses in the contract process.

“It doesn’t quite pass the smell test,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said of the contract at the board meeting.

The controversy swirled around the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s lead contract negotiator and director of security, Chris Grabarkiewctz. A prior employee of Cypress Security, he was given awards lauding his ability to generate great amounts of profit from his negotiating contracts with the SFMTA.

Now he serves the reverse role, negotiating contracts for the SFMTA with Cypress Security against its sole competing bidder, Andrews International…

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws, or the SFMTA may make its own rules to protect against alleged conflicts of interest. “To the extent that this [contract] procurement has raised issues, we may consider going above and beyond the law,” Reiskin told the board…  (more)

Reiskin told supervisors they could reform ethics laws? Suggested going above and beyond the law? Since when does Reiskin tell the supervisors what they can do? Someone needs to remind him that he works for the elected city officials, not the other way around. A reduction in his salary might help to remind him where he stands.

Shock and Awe: The Little Hybrid Engine That Couldn’t

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

…By the time the board unanimously greenlit their mere existence on Oct. 29, scores of these buses were already squirreled away at a warehouse in Alameda. A majority of the city’s supervisors tell SF Weekly they had no clue this was the case. “Well, that’s fascinating,” says irked Board President David Chiu. “This is information that should have been disclosed to us. Boy, I’d kind of like to see this in writing.”

But that would require a conjurer’s touch. Muni boss Ed Reiskin and transit director John Haley confirm the acquisition of these 50 buses was predicated on a mere handshake. Bus manufacturer New Flyer, they claim, offered to crank out a platoon of hybrids to Muni’s specs, while assuming all the risks if the board saw fit to spurn the pending contract.

Asked to produce the paperwork verifying this, Reiskin and Haley claim none exists.

But that’s just the beginning of a particularly strange and harrowing journey. Further deconstructing the inner workings of these buses and the deal that landed them, peculiarities emerge one after the other, like rabbits out of a rabbit hutch…

SF Weekly contacted every supervisor; only Scott Wiener and London Breed recalled being notified of this arrangement beforehand. Neither thought to ask for any paperwork regarding the matter — Muni officials claim there’s none to be had — and both stand by their votes. Breed, however, admits “this definitely doesn’t look good.”

Her colleagues, having been left in the dark, are decidedly less sanguine. “Muni is kind of a rogue agency,” says Supervisor Malia Cohen. “They just do what they want to do.” Supervisor John Avalos calls the not-a-deal “very funky. For them to have a situation where the actual vehicles are parked across the bay waiting for us to vote on them makes me feel the wool was pulled over my eyes. What’s the point of even having a legislative branch of government?”

None of the supervisors — not one — knew about the internal BAE vs. Allison competition that Muni short-circuited, even though they’d unanimously greenlit that “split” bus purchase, too. That detail was within the legislative packet. But the supervisors are deluged with legislative packets.

Certainly, no one appears to have read this one…

Muni, it turns out, has no magic to speak of.

Just tricks… (more)

Comments on the source are appreciated, add some here, or better still, ask the supervisors what they plan to do about this:  http://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/san-francisco-officials/

RELATED:
Board of Supervisors Approves Purchase of 50 Hybrid Muni Buses (October 9, 2013)
San Francisco to add 50 New Flyer hybrid buses
The San Francisco board of supervisors approved the purchase of 50 new hybrid 40-foot buses from New Flyer Industries to be used as part of Muni’s bus fleet… (more)

The 2013 Streetsie Awards, Part 1

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Now that the votes are in, it’s time to present the 2013 San Francisco Streetsie Awards, Streetsblog’s recognition of the year’s best and worst in livable streets…

Worst Political Trend: Bad Parking Policy Disguised as Populism
Parking garages in, parking meters out. That’s the position espoused lately by Supervisors Mark Farrell, Malia Cohen, and David Campos, who’ve been fighting parking meters and trying to force developers to trade apartments for car storage, under the pretense that this will make the city more affordable and livable. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
More parking in buildings, which Campos and Cohen have pushed for in recent projects, means higher rents, more car ownership, and traffic. Blocking meters, a fight taken up by Farrell and Cohen, prevents the SFMTA from setting prices in response to demand — the very purpose of the nationally-lauded and successful SFpark program, aimed at reducing needless traffic circling for parking. Unfortunately, this contingent recently persuaded the entire Board of Supervisors to hamstring the SFMTA’s ability to install new parking meters in a five-year contract. Pandering to poorly-informed parking warriors isn’t a populist cause, it’s a short-sighted political gambit that is hurting SF… (more)

There are so many misconceptions and wrong information in this article, we leave it to you to find them and point them out to the author if you are so inclined.

SFMTA Plans Major Expansion of On-Street Car-Share Parking Spaces

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

Curbside parking spaces reserved for car-share vehicles could become much more widespread in San Francisco under a proposed expansion of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s on-street car-share pilot program early next year…
The SFMTA estimates that every car-sharing vehicle replaces up to 15 privately-owned cars. During the first pilot, residents in some neighborhoods opposed converting street parking to car-sharing spots, since they saw it as a reduction in available car parking. Reiskin said the agency plans to use data to make the case for converting future spots and win over skeptics…
SFMTA planners also aim to increase awareness and visibility of the service to “seed demand” in neighborhoods which, according to City CarShare, currently have very little car-share demand(more)

Is this legal? Is this what the voters anticipated the SFMTA  to do when they voted to merge the various organizations to “Fix the Muni” and “balance the Muni Budget”?

Is this an example of a government entity picking winners  and promoting a private corporation at the expense of the general public?
Is this how the Federal Government plans to sell new EV and clean tech vehicles made-in-America? By punishing car owners who live in cities?

What is wrong with this picture?

RELATED:
SFMTA makes room for Shared Cars