Meet the man who says he can fix Muni. For real.

By Joe Eskenazi : mssionlocal – excerpt

‘Retired civil servant’ Mike Cheney’s plan is so not-crazy, it just might work

“Dude, do you know how much those things cost me? Apiece?” This is a de facto rhetorical question from Mike Cheney. Most are. He immediately answers it. “Eleven bucks! Eleven!”

That’s a fair amount of money to spend for a retired Muni diesel mechanic with multiple grandchildren — but if it leads to one of this city’s most intractable problems being solved, it’ll be worth it.

So, that’s why Cheney prepared a comprehensive “2018 Proposal To Re-align Muni Goals & Operations,” printed up a handful of $11-a-pop copies, and hand-delivered a few of the svelte, 21-page booklets to the office of Mayor London Breed. That’s her quote right on the cover: “Muni has to work well for the people of San Francisco, so that it is their first option.”….

What if it turned out Muni could speed up buses and trains — and wouldn’t even need to buy new equipment, tear up the streets, or even eliminate stops?

Well, it can. It could install skip-stop route schedules.

This is a system in which Bus A picks up passengers at Stops 1, 3, 5, 7 and so on and Bus B picks up passengers at Stops 2, 4, 6, and 8. This has worked all around the world; it increases capacity and speeds up service… (more)

Please read the article and comment on the source. The Fix Muni First folks will appreciate the low cost method suggested here to solve the crowded bus and speed problems and the money watchers will appreciate the savings, that could lower riders fees and/or finance more routes.

This plan seems to cover everyone’s needs except the corporate entities planning to take over and control our streets. Residents and merchants appreciate the lack of Red Lane constraints, and Muni drivers should be less stressed as well.

Mike’s ideas sound too good and lack the sexy street diets favored at the SFMTA Board. Who are our elected officials going to serve, the public, or the corporations? Will our Mayor appoint a true visionary with a lifetime of Muni experience like Mike Cheney to the MTA Board our will she select a corporate shill intent on retaining the failed policies that are driving people off the public buses into their vehicles?

Some other suggestions that are drawing a lot of public support for safer conditions on our streets:

  • Return consistency to the streets of San Francisco. Nobody can watch for pedestrians, scooters, bikes, cars, trucks and buses weaving in and out of lanes while reading street signs and directions.
  • Lanes need to be straight and flow smoothly from one block to the next. Following lane changes is creates additional distractions.
  • Bring back the safer one-way streets with predictable curbside bus stops.
  • Extend the timing of yellow lights and hold the red light for a couple of seconds before turning it to green to give stragglers a little more time to clear the intersection.


The SFMTA’s Secret Plan to Kick Lyft and Uber (But Not Taxis!) Off of Market – It’s Called “Safer Market Street” and It’s Coming Next Year

sfcitizen – excerpt

So apparently, the SFMTA is working on a plan to ban cars from parts of Market Street while still allowing them to cross over Market Street?

It’s called “Safer Market Street.”

Will kicking cars off of Market Street betwixt Montgomery and Eighth make Market “safer?” I don’t know. (But if the SFMTA wants to propose kicking buses and taxis off of Market, well then that certainly would make Market safer, IMO. )

I don’t know why we allow the SFMTA to do whatever it wants without getting something in return. Like, OK SFMTA, we’ll let you spend all this money on the porked-up Central Subway project, but in exchange, you’d have to bring MUNI up to the level of a mediocre big-city transit system.

Anyway, it’s easy to get tripped up with all the Orwellian names the SFMTA comes up with, like Great Streets! and “Livable” Streets and Safer Market and Better Market, but see if you can figure the words you can see below.

First up, a rep from the local government-subsidized urban renewal outfit uses the word pilot as a verb, because that’s the lingo:

Lawrence Li (SPUR): Can you pilot some of these auto restrictions? 
Some auto restrictions were piloted in 2009 and have since then become permanent. We do not plan to pilot auto restrictions at this time due to environmental review constraints. However,  there is a separate project, independent of Better Market Street, called Safer Market Street that is looking at implementing some auto restrictions between 8th and Montgomery potentially as soon as next year. The public kick-off for that project is planned for later this summer.”

And here’s a way for the SFMTA to stick it to the man, to fight back against those TNC’s by supporting cabbies:

“Kevin Carroll: There are private autos operating as taxis such as Lyft, Uber, etc. Will they be  allowed to drive on Market Street with these auto restrictions in place? 
No. These services are subject to the private vehicle restrictions and would not be allowed on Market Street with these auto restrictions in place.”… (more)


Did Cooper Stock really have to die?

: – excerpt

Different traffic laws could have saved his life and the lives of thousands of others. What the U.S. can learn from Sweden.

… It is possible, even probable, experts say, because of the way Americans have designed their streets for hundreds of years — essentially viewing pedestrian fatalities as the cost of doing business, as the collateral damage of speed and progress.

“Traditionally we build assuming that drivers and pedestrians will do the right thing even though we know that humans are flawed,” says Claes Tingvall, the director of Traffic Safety for the Swedish Transport Administration, in an interview with Yahoo News. “You don’t design an elevator or an airplane or a nuclear power station on the assumption that everyone will do the right thing. You design it assuming they will make mistakes, and build in ways that withstand and minimize error.”…

Voting for problem solving over finger pointing, they view collisions as warnings that some fix — a differently timed light, a better lit intersection — is needed…

In these ways, Sweden has lowered its pedestrian death rate dramatically. It is now the lowest in the world, with 2.7 deaths per 100,000 people annually, compared with an average of 6 across the European Union and 10 in the U.S…

“Speed,” says Nicole Schneider, executive director of the pedestrian advocacy organization Walk San Francisco, in an interview with Yahoo News…

“Street design,” says Schneider.  If fatality is a function of speed, she says, then speed is a result not only of the speed limit and its enforcement, but also of the way a street is laid out in the first place. That is why 6 percent of San Francisco streets account for 60 percent of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, she says. And why wide arterial roads account for 15 percent of New York City’s road network but also 60 percent of fatal and serious injuries

Politics are slowing things down in San Francisco, too. The heads of many large public agencies have signed on to a plan to bring the death count effectively to zero by 2024, but the mayor himself has given only lukewarm support. While the police department has responded by increasing traffic citations 70 percent since the beginning of the year, Mayor Lee barely mentioned Vision Zero in his State of the City address, saying “I also support the goals of Vision Zero to eliminate traffic-related deaths in our City, but to get there, we need a little more common sense.”…

Why are numbers heading upward after years of inching down? One possible reason can be found in Sophia’s death. There have always been distractions for drivers (the man who hit Henry Bliss 115 years ago had been trying to navigate around a stopped streetcar), but never has their been the technological gadgetry — GPS maps, texting, cell phone calls, electronic cab hailing — that we see today.  “All these are inherent driver distraction tools,” Dolan says. “To solve the broad problem of pedestrian safety you have to account for that in a way that wasn’t as relevant even a few years ago.”

But do Americans have the same love of screens as they do of speed? Can street redesign create an environment that has the same chilling effect on distraction as on urgency?

“Vision Zero is a blueprint for cultural change,” says Megan Wier, an epidemiologist with the San Francisco Department of Health and the co-chair of the city’s multiagency Vision Zero Task Force. “Like drunk driving, like other health epidemics, we need to get across the message that no, it’s not an accident, it’s something that’s preventable, and we have the tools to prevent them.”…

“What we used to think of as fun we now understand as danger,” he says. “It feels wrong in a way it didn’t decades ago.” Vision Zero will only succeed, he warns, if it also changes the way we view driving just a little over the speed limit, or glancing at your phone while driving, or inching into a crosswalk that’s crowded with pedestrians.

This new moral order, more than any new traffic light sequence or redesigned intersection, or even a null death count, is the real goal of Vision Zero, he and others suggest. What is yet to be seen is how — and whether — American cities can get there… (more)

Most enlightening article. We need a serious discussion about the root causes and the best solutions to designing safer streets.