New Format for SFMTA Engineering Agendas

Changes are coming to the SFMTA. Thanks to the Board of Supervisors for hearing our complaints and insisting on changes in the department by passing Ordinance 180089. As we stated earlier the Supervisors anticipate working with the public at earlier stages of SFMTA projects to deal with problems before they get to the final stages of implementation. This week we have the rollout of a new public notice systems including the agenda formats. We anticipate new public notice systems to be going up on the streets as well.

After years of complaints about notices and the difficulties of reading them, the SFMTA has finally taken our complaints to heart and figured out an easier to read format for their Engineering Agendas that document and describe the street alterations and parking changes they are planning for the public to read and respond to.

In order to respond to items on this agenda, you pretty much have to attend the 10 AM Friday Engineering hearing or take your concerns to your Supervisor. This is one step in the chain of events that may result in changes you disagree with. Here is the latest copy of the “improved” version of the Engineering Hearing agenda. Here is a link to this week’s Engineering agenda. One improvement is the Districts are now noted, making it easier to see your areas of concern, and each project is now numbered and taken as a separate item.

There are supposed to be new street signs with better more easy to understand information as well. Let us now if you see the new signs how they work by commenting here. Are they properly placed and is it easy to read and follow the instructions on how to respond?

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.

Read the memo detailing Mayor Ed Lee’s punishment of supervisors who supported Muni

By : sfbg – excerpt

The story is snowballing.

Mayor Ed Lee is furious at supervisors who voted for Sup. Scott Wiener’s Muni funding measure, and told reporters Monday he would hold them “accountable.”

News of the mayor’s retribution has circled round, and the timing of a memo issued by Kate Howard, the mayor’s budget director, has raised eyebrows. The memo directs city departments to prepare for budget cuts she said are called for due to Wiener’s measure.

The Guardian has obtained the memo and is embedding it… (more)

Why doesn’t SFMTA finish, and pay for, one big project before starting another one. If Muni needs more trains, drivers, and mechanics, don’t spend any more time and money on bulbouts and bike lanes. Muni money should be Muni only money. If Muni is broke, why are they spending millions to study the effects of taking down the 280 Freeway? We saw the effects when they closed it down for a few days. It sucks!

Residents are fed up with SFMTA priorities. There are three ballot issues involving Muni money and management. The bond measure is being sold as a 500 million dollar bond, but it will cost 350 in interest. That means it is a 850 million dollar bond, none of which will be used to improve Muni service or maintenance.

Mayor Vows to Punish Supes Who Backed Wiener’s Transit Funding Measure

By Aaron Bialick : sfstreets – excerpt

Mayor Ed Lee, who has cut into transportation funding by nixing Sunday parking meters and abandoning a proposed vehicle license fee increase, now says that he will punish the six supervisors who voted to approve a ballot measure to increase transportation’s share of the general fund. Supervisor Scott Wiener proposed the charter amendment as a stop-gap measure to fund the city’s transportation needs, while SF waits two years for the mayor to support a vehicle license fee measure…

The SF Chronicle reported on Sunday that ”the mayor’s office seems to be hinting that it will target programs important to the six supervisors who voted to place Wiener’s proposal on the ballot — Wiener, David Chiu, Jane Kim, London Breed, Malia Cohen and David Campos.”…. (more)

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)

Making parking harder in San Francisco

jamisonwieser – excerpt – (an opinion piece)

Two years ago San Francisco transportation agency (SFMTA) launched a state-of-the-art parking management system. In september The Guardian named it one of “five innovative city programmes from north America” and here’s how they sum it up… (more)

Last I heard adding to something increased the total and deleting decreased it, but some people do a different kind of math I guess. Fortunately for us the Supervisors agree with our math and supported us in our request for a halt to parking meters in our neighborhoods. Be sure to thank them for their support and get ready for the next big battle to preserve the San Francisco that we all love. Don’t forget to pat yourselves on the back because you made it happen!

Supes Hamstring SFMTA’s Ability to Expand Progressive Parking Policy

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

In a setback for progressive parking policy in San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors voted last week to eliminate the SFMTA’s ability to install any significant amount of new parking meters under a new five-year contract to upgrade existing meters…
No supervisors opposed reducing the number of meters to be purchased in the contract. Supervisor John Avalos, who introduced the contract amendment, said the SFMTA is expected to allocate the 5,000 additional meters like so: 1,200 to replace meters on Port property, 2,800 to replace damaged meters, and 1,000 “to be used as a maintenance flow.”“There will be no expansion of meters,” said Avalos. “If that’s gonna happen, it’ll be another go-around from the MTA to describe how they will implement and with a lot of outreach to the public.”…
As Radulovich noted in his letter, “limiting parking meters will mean more congestion, and more pollution.”… (more)

We won this battle, but we will have to watch for SFMTA’s  next move. Send appreciative notes and letters to the Supervisors to let them know that we know they supported us this time. Be sure to report any new meters any reduction in parking due to tow away signs and other tricks they use to limit parking. We won the battle but there is much more to do.

Continue reading

Transportation board picks new exec

Michael Cabanatuan, Jill Tucker : sfgate – excerpt

A deeply split San Francisco County Transportation Authority board, also known as the Board of Supervisors, chose a new executive director after a closed session that concluded months of meetings and leaves lots of questions.
Supervisor John Avalos, chairman of the board, announced Tuesday only the selection of an unnamed primary candidate, but it’s Tilly Chang, deputy director of the authority formerly headed by Jose Luis Moscovich, who retired in November.
Not selected was Sonali Bose, finance director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The board voted 11-0 to back her as the secondary candidate. Bose reportedly had four or five backers for the position. A third finalist was Stephanie Wiggins of the Orange County Transportation Authority.
But will the new chief continue the status quo of butting heads over transportation planning with the Municipal Transportation Agency? Or will the two agencies hold hands, sing you-know-what and work together to improve the city’s transportation system?
And does the vote signal a major split among supervisors on transportation? The authority, which oversees spending of transportation sales tax revenues and does some planning and project delivery, is the supervisors’ only chance to directly influence transportation policy. The MTA board is appointed solely by the mayor and doesn’t have to answer to the supervisors…
Board members, er, Supervisors Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Norman Yee voted for Chang, with London Breed, Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, Katy Tang and Scott Wiener voting against her appointment… (more)

City – SFMTA, Board appointed by the Mayor

County – SFCTA, Board controlled by Supervisors

Let your Supervisors know what you want them to do with your tax dollars and when they should deny funds to the SFMTA.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Hosts Hearing on MTA Parking Plans

By Keith Burbank : potreroview – excerpt

Last month the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee asked San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) director of transportation, Ed Reiskin, to discuss the agency’s parking meter plans. Committee members presiding over the hearing included District 9 Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission, District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar; and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, who sat in for District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, who couldn’t be present, with District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen also in attendance. Reiskin answered questions from the supervisors, provided data on parking revenues, and explained the rationale driving parking meter expansion.
The “MTA is on the wrong track,” said Cohen, who explained that her main frustration with the agency relates to its lack of a comprehensive planning, with SFMTA’s transit, parking and enforcement divisions going in different directions. The supervisor added that transportation and associated infrastructure wasn’t keeping up with development and growth in her district. Worse, complained Cohen, in some instances SFMTA has been considering cuts in service, has been inconsistent in its enforcement of the residential parking permit program, and the agency’s plans don’t adequately acknowledge the parking needs of production, distribution, and repair (PDR) businesses…
Campos said he appreciated the agency’s effort to listen to the community. But he pointed out that the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan calls for protecting PDR businesses, and asked that SFMTA follow this policy…
Reiskin acknowledged that parking management affects the economic viability of commercial districts…
Farrell asked the transportation director how parking management efforts can meet the needs of families — especially ones with multiple children, and both parents working — who depend on cars…
Farrell said residents have told him that SFMTA seems to be making car ownership more challenging, rather than making public transit more attractive. “I hear that time and time again,” Farrell said. The supervisor insisted that making transit more attractive should come first…
Campos told Reiskin that there should be no artificial deadline for the parking meter expansion. Instead, SFMTA should be sure to hear the concerns of residents and business owners.
“We’ll continue to take the time that it needs,” Reiskin responded… (more)

Central Subway: Muni’s Drilling Plan Strains Credulity

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

When news broke that the city is holding the bag for the tens of millions of dollars the America’s Cup Organizing Committee hasn’t raised, Supervisor John Avalos gave an impassioned lamentation. “I was fucking played. All the members of the Board of Supervisors were fucking played,” he wailed. “I am totally fucking ashamed.”
This showed remarkable candor — but not remarkable foresight. Every city official tasked with adding numbers and looking at contracts had warned of this exact scenario. SF Weekly and other newspapers had done the same, repeatedly, in 2010, 2011, 2012, and this year too. Decision-makers may or may not have been played, but they were certainly informed… (more)

One fine example of the way Muni spends money on everything but Muni. Leave your comments on the SF Weekly article