Commuter Bus Stuck on Castro causes accident and 24th stops traffic for hours

Hi Alex:


Notified by an alert neighborhood network member just before 6PM on Thursday, September 15, 2016  of the accident at 24th and Castro.  I do not know the accident time but most likely about 5:30PMish.

SFO 475, placard 06-5092, a double deck bus,  was in the middle of the intersection with the vehicle to the right.  The large Commuter Bus was negotiating a right turn from westbound 24th to uphill northbound Castro.

The following northbound  Muni buses were delayed before 24th Street:
coach 5621 run 133
coach 5614 run 134
coach 5516 run 65

The following Commuter Buses were lined up westbound 24th Street:
Corinthian 247     12-0053
Loop 36               07-5106
WeDriveU 2357   05-5013
WeDriveU  10      05-5017
WeDriveU 262     05-5015
Storer  905            10-5007

WeDriveU 2613, 05-5055 was parked on northbound Castro immediately south of  24th Street in the middle of the street.  I can only assume this bus attempted to circumvent the 24th Street backup and operated on residential streets to get into this position.

When I arrived just after 6PM there was no traffic control at the intersection.  Traffic eastbound 24th was flowing but autos stuck between the Corporate Buses were attempting to drive around them.   Only observed  one Police Sargent about 6:15PM when the flat bed tow truck arrived.  He then departed.

The wide turning buses at this intersection cause “intersection stalemate”.  Bus turning in either direction cause autos to pull to the right, back up, or freeze in place unexpectedly facing an oncoming  bus in their lane.  The new crosswalks installed last year are severely  damaged by the buses turning up the steep Castro Street Hill.

With over 30 buses an hour, the traffic flow is negatively impacted on both streets.

Muni line  24 was delayed by three buses or  at least half an hour.  About 6:45PM I called 311 and the outbound (return southbound)  line 24 bus was five minutes 25 minutes and 29 minutes.  So I opted for a 48 bus for a short grocery shopping trip.

I assume this incident has been documented, as I did not observe the police making a report.   This may be considered a minor incident, but the vehicle was towed and created considerable disruption to Muni, with the neighborhood sharing in the daily pain of the very large Commuter Buses.

Two photos show the subject bus and the other photo shows the 24th Street backup.

Thank you,

Tech buses proliferating throughout Bay Area

By Erin Baldassari : eastbaytimes – excerpt – (includes graph)

If operated by a single agency, the private tech shuttles would be the seventh-largest transportation provider in the Bay Area. Source: Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 

On any given day, more than 800 “tech buses” negotiate narrow city streets and congested freeways to cart employees to offices throughout the Bay Area, according to a first-of-its-kind survey released Wednesday by a regional transportation planning agency.

There are so many of the large, privately owned shuttles operating in the Bay Area that if they all fell under a single agency, they would be the seventh-largest transportation provider in the region in terms of ridership, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which released the study in conjunction with the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored advocacy organization. All told, the 35 shuttle services included in the survey collectively carried some 34,000 passengers a day, or more than 9.6 million people in 2014, the last year for which data was available.

It’s the first study to look comprehensively at the growing practice which ignited protests in San Francisco and in the East Bay over the past few years. Demonstrators have argued the buses are a symbol of gentrification and the employees who ride them to high-paid jobs in the South Bay are responsible for hastening the widening inequities in housing and pay in cities such as San Francisco and Oakland.

But there’s never been any good data on just how many buses are operating in the area because there’s no single government agency tasked with collecting that data, said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the transportation commission…

While organizations like the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project have detailed the increase in evictions in areas adjacent to tech bus stops in San Francisco, Adrian Covert, the Bay Area Council’s policy director, said the rise in private shuttles is a response to the housing shortage, not its cause. At the heart of the issue, Covert said, is the both the region’s booming economic success and its failure to build enough housing in areas where new jobs are being added.

“The private sector is responding by providing shuttles that go further distances to pick up employees,” Covert said. “The bad news is that we have to do this in the first place … because the housing stock is not keeping pace with demand.”… (more)

$1 million in tech and real estate money pours into June SF election

By Tim Redmond : 48 HILLS – excerpt

The tide of tech and real-estate money flowing into the June 7th San Francisco election is now at more than $1 million, a stunning sum that’s paying in part for an all-out effort to keep the supporters of Airbnb and the developers in control of the city.

This is more than a record; it’s an ocean of big money the likes of which I have never seen in this kind of election.

Remember, the DCCC is not just a low-profile group that runs the local party. It has the ability to endorse candidates for local office — and in November, when thousands of voters who don’t pay that much attention to local politics but want to defeat Trump, go to the polls, that endorsement will be a major factor.

That’s why the big money is really here: These moguls want to control the city government, now and in the future…

POLITICAL SHENANIGANS: Case Study of Political Sleight-of-Hand
Here’s how politics can be cynical and deceptive—with legislative gobbledygook and legalistic language that diverts funds from their supposed purpose of fixing Muni transit.

Department of Elections Ballot: Endorse No on Prop J & K.
And it’s not too late to reconsider any previous endorsement of Prop J & K.


ASIAN VOTING TRENDS: A Microcosm of Power

With a growing 5% of the U.S. population, Asian-American voters are a political force—due to strategic demographic distribution. In close elections, Asian-American voters are a reliable Democratic swing vote. When the Wisconsin primary debate fell on the week of the Chinese and Lunar New Year, it wasn’t lost on Asian voters that Hillary Clinton wore an Asian-styled yellow jacket.

A few weeks later, she was the only candidate to attend the annual dinner of the Asian-American Institute for Congressional Studies, at which President Obama has also spoken. In urban cores like San Francisco, elected Asian officials reflect a significant Asian constituency, especially with district elections. Yet, over time, these unique Asian-American identities and their historical landmarks may disappear—as have too many already. Hopefully, more political influence will translate into preservation of Asian-American culture—to cultivate the American melting pot. An urgent action is to stop the homogenization and gentrification of Chinatowns.

WASHINGTON POST: Why Asian Americans don’t vote Republican

When Joseph Choe, an Asian American college student, stood up to ask a question about South Korea, Donald Trump cut him off and wondered aloud: “Are you from South Korea?”

Choe responded, “I’m not. I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado.” His answer prompted laughter from the audience, and nothing more than a shrug from the GOP presidential candidate.

Media outlets like NPR and the Huffington Post mocked this interaction as a “Where are you from?” moment.

A fellow conference attendee who walked by Choe subsequently joked, “You’re gonna have to show him your birth certificate, man!”

Although Trump probably did not intend to offend, this interaction likely reminded Choe and other Asian American voters that being Asian often translates to being perceived by fellow Americans as a foreigner.

However innocuous Trump’s question may seem, this is exactly the sort of exchange that could, in part, be pushing Asian Americans – the highest-income, most-educated, and fastest-growing segment of the United States – toward the Democratic Party by landslide margins.

A landslide for Obama

In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote. That exceeded his support among traditional Democratic Party constituencies like Hispanics (71 percent) and women (55 percent).

Asian Americans are regularly made to feel like foreigners in their own country through “innocent” racial microaggressions. Microaggressions are “everyday insults, indignities and demeaning messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages being sent.”

THE ECONOMIC TIMES: Hillary Clinton promises better representation for Asian-Americans

Obama & Clinton speak at APAICS

HUFFINGTON POST: Asian-American Vote:
CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPIs, are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, increasing at four times the rate of the overall U.S. population. While this population is projected to double in size from 17 million people in 2014 to more than 40 million people by 2060, its voting power has already nearly doubled in the past decade.

Muni’s $2.4 Million Mission Transformation Saves 2 Minutes, Costs Shopkeepers More

SFMTA spends 2.4 million for 2 minutes.

Meter Madness

Phil Matier :cbslocal – excerpt – (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s plan for Muni in the Mission District promised to speed up commutes, but the time saved has come at a startling cost: a million dollars a minute…

For the past five months crews have been busy remaking 23 blocks of Mission Street to make it more bus friendly, putting transit only lanes, taking out parking and rerouting traffic.

The price tag on the project? $2.4 million.

Muni says the transformation will save commuters about two minutes.

Local business owners say the money, along with the time saved, is just not worth it.

“We support better service for Muni riders, but this is basically hurting the businesses and the economic vitality of this community,” says Roberto Hernandez of the Mission Merchants Association.

The trouble is faster buses also means fewer cars coming in to shop.


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Meet the SF man responsible for more than a quarter of all tech bus complaints

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :  SFExaminer – excerpt

Edward Mason is on the hunt, and his target is the elusive tech bus.

But Mason does not seek out his prey merely once. Instead, he catches the gleaming metal vehicles in the act of violating city rules on the “Commuter Shuttle Program,” repeatedly…

Tech workers defend the shuttles, and often say Caltrain is too full to use in a Silicon Valley commute. Tech workers frequently say in meetings that the shuttles take many cars off the road…

Yet none of these neighbors are as vigilant as Mason, records show…

In fact, Mason is personally responsible for more than a quarter — 28 percent — of all enforcement against scofflaw commuter shuttles, according to the SFMTA.

A pilot program to monitor and regulate shuttle use began in August 2014, and that’s when Mason began his hunt. He’s been enormously effective…

Overall, Mason has provided information on commuter shuttles 282 times, according to the SFMTA…(more)

Stuck in the zone

By John McDowell : smdailyjournal – excerpt

The Governor want to take land use out of local control and convince residents to pay extra taxes for less services. How dumb are we?

Imagine, if you will, a democracy where your voice doesn’t count, where regional unelected bureaucrats make decisions for you, and where your city is shaped by Sacramento and not your city council. You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not of responsible citizens but of faceless bureaucratic control. A journey into a land restricted on all sides. Your next stop, the Plan Bay Area zone.

That’s right; when it comes to the shape of your city, development, roads, density, land use and other decisions about the quality of your life, your voice no longer counts. Instead, an unelected regional bureaucracy is in charge. It’s an eye-glazing, alphabet soup of government agencies designed with one thing in mind — take control over cities and towns.

Their mandates aren’t secret; in fact, they are laid out in glossy publications available from the Plan Bay Area website. However, what is described with beautiful pictures of smiling people and sweeping vistas is a one-size-fits-all mandate that demands that Menlo Park, Millbrae, Milpitas and Mill Valley look the same, local residents be damned.

Plan Bay Area is the spawn of Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375, which mandate super regional planning agencies draw up plans to reduce so-called greenhouse gasses. The result is that Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission now decide how you and your family will live, travel and in some cases, work…

A dedicated group of citizens is pushing back against this regional, bureaucratic overreach. They call themselves the Nine County Coalition; their website explains they are an “informal diverse assemblage of ordinary citizens who share a mission to oppose the relentless trend towards the governance by bureaucrats that obliterates the government [by citizens]” so that, “regional challenges can be met without abdication of our constitutional right to vote in or out the officials who make decisions for us.”

We are living in a world that is far away from that of citizen control and responsibility for local decisions. Fortunately, there is a way out. This November, ask your city council candidates where they stand on retaking control over our lives. Listen carefully to their answers, then decide if they are willing to stand up to the regional bureaucrats, or if they’re stuck in another dimension, that of the Plan Bay Area zone.

John McDowell is a longtime county resident having first moved to San Carlos in 1963. In the intervening years, he has worked as a political volunteer and staff member in local, state, and federal government, including time spent as a press secretary on Capitol Hill and in the George W. Bush administration(more)

This former California governor has signed on to fight Warriors’ S.F. arena

By Ron Leuty : bizjournals – excerpt

Former California Gov. Pete Wilson is joining the team fighting theGolden State Warriors’ planned $1 billion arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay.

Wilson was in San Francisco on Wednesday for a lengthy strategy and tactical session with his new employer — the law firm Browne George Ross LLP — aimed at stopping the Warriors’ project, said a source, who asked not to be identified. Wilson’s exact role, however, is unclear…

The emergence of Wilson, largely out of the spotlight since he finished his second term as governor in 1999, could add a degree of political heft to the Mission Bay Alliance. But if nothing else, it may signal that the deep-pocketed group of benefactors, former and current administrators, faculty and staff of the University of California, San Francisco, isn’t backing down from its fight against the Warriors’ plans…
The alliance has pledged to continue its fight against the Warriors until the franchise moves its plans for an 18,000-seat arena from the 12-acre site across Third Street from the UCSF campus and hospitals. Although it has so far lost every battle at the city level and its first legal case, its challenges have forced the Warriors to push the arena’s projected completion to summer 2019… (more)

VTA: Test trains at Milpitas BART Station up and running in six months

By Aliyah Mohammed : mercurynews – excerpt

The 10-mile Bay Area Rapid Transit Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension project is on track to be completed by fall 2017. Here in town, test trains are expected to run on tracks leading into and out of the Milpitas BART Station in about six months, according to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The station, the newest gateway into the city continues to take shape near the corner of Montague Expressway and East Capitol Avenue adjacent to the Great Mall, as critical elements come online including completion of a six-story parking garage, according to Nicole Franklin, a VTA spokesperson.

“Right now for the Milpitas station they are putting in some of the track work in the boarding area, some improvements for the pedestrian overcross which will connect the BART station to the VTA station,” Franklin said. “The parking garages have been topped off, the whole structure is complete and both the Milpitas and Berryessa stations will have 1,200 parking spots.”

She added all related trench work — where trains go underground in places between the Milpitas station and the Berryessa BART Station in San Jose — for the $2.3 billion extension has also been completed…

Alaniz said a 30-year eighth-cent Santa Clara VTA sales tax for BART passed by Santa Clara County voters in 2008 and a 30-year half-cent sales tax for public transit capital improvement projects and operations approved in 2000 are being used to fund the construction and will also be used to fund maintenance and operations.

Alaniz said bringing BART into the South Bay is intended to relieve the “horrible traffic” on Interstates 680 and 880…

VTA is contributing to 60 trains, with 40 intended to be used in this extension. When we add the extension it increases ridership overall…BART is getting all new trains we are contributing, they will just add them in as they come, we are contributing to the cost of the vehicles and we are sharing them,” Alaniz said.

According to VTA, the line and track systems for the entire 10-mile extension costs $772 million. Also, a six-story parking garage in Milpitas and a seven-story garage in Berryessa together cost an additional $86.9 million… (more)

280 Underpass and Railroad Crossing

This has to be one of the worst intersections in town. It has a railroad crossing, bike lanes, car lanes, one of which comes from behind a pillar with no traffic signal and very poor vision. To make matters really strange there are multiple traffic lights that so confuse people that many cars just drive through the red light across the tracks to make a right turn on red, since there is a right turn arrow in the mix. For some reason, sometimes the train signal goes off, all the lights light up and the bells and whistles indicate a train is on the way. After a while, no train passes but the signals go off. This has been going on for months.

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