Dire BART projections: Nine station closures, cutting two lines

by Eli Walsh, Bay City News Foundation : sfgate – excerpt

Barring a sudden return to pre-pandemic ridership levels, BART’s long-term future will likely hinge on a future ballot measure that would partially subsidize the transit agency, officials said Thursday.

The San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas have the lowest office occupancy rates among the top-10 biggest metros in the country, with San Francisco sitting at just 20.8 percent according to badge swipe data from Kastle Security…

That lack of in-person workers, particularly in San Francisco, has punched a massive hole in BART’s annual revenue and the agency could soon cut service and close stations in the coming years as a result…

“We built our budget around peak worker riders, and when they went away, it sort of broke our back, it broke the budget,” BART Board member Mark Foley said Thursday during a presentation by the agency’s budget and operations officials…

With that sword of Damocles hanging over BART as well as the region’s other major public transit operations, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the region’s transit coordination agency, has considered placing a long-term funding measure on the 2026 or 2028 ballot.

The MTC is also considering placing a $10 billion bond on the November 2024 ballot, which the agency argues will support the development of more than 45,000 affordable housing units across the Bay Area’s nine counties.…(more)

Here is a suggestion. If BART wants to be a transportation system, they should stay out of the housing business. Transportation is risky enough, without trying to compete with the big real estate players. If they want to get into real estate, they could try to figure out what to do with the empty offices in San Francisco that BART was built to serve.

A S.F. transit tragedy: the Central Subway saves no time

Opinion by Owen Thomas : sfexaminer – excerpt

If you’re not on Google, do you really exist?

This is the question facing the Central Subway, San Francisco’s newest transit line. In my experience, it’s almost impossible to get Google Maps to show the line as a means to travel from point A to point B. Which begs another question: Could the unsparing judgment of algorithms be the undoing of decades of politicking and planning that led to the subway’s creation?

When I moved to San Francisco in 1995, I was already a transit nerd. With a pocket full of dime-size tokens and the free system map, I explored The City. My first regular ride was the 8-Market bus, soon to be replaced by the F-Market streetcar. I lived through the ’90s subway meltdowns, covered daily in The Examiner’s “Muni Watch.” While I loved learning the system’s history, I wasn’t nostalgic about it: I thrilled to the possibility of future expansions.

An unbuilt subway line, kind of like a tech startup, is a pulsing vessel of dreams. But the constructed reality is often disappointing. That’s the Central Subway, after reams of planning documents, years of delays and billions of dollars sunk into the ground. I say this as someone who desperately wanted to like it — and use it.

My first two attempts to ride the system were thwarted, one by the recent rains and another by a tight schedule…(more)

Bay Area Train Carrying 220 Riders Struck by Landslide

By Christina Campodonico : sfstandard – excerpt

Debris from a landslide in Niles Canyon hit an Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter train Tuesday morning, halting the train, according to reporting by NBC News Bay Area. No injuries have been reported, and the train did not derail.

The westbound train with 220 passengers aboard remained on the tracks, but was forced to stop, after it was struck by mud and trees, according to fire officials and an ACE spokesperson.

Fire officials were seen inspecting the tracks with train employees following the delay. ACE’s spokesperson said the train was still in working order and would start moving once given clearance.

Landslides due to recent storms have shut down parts of Highway 84 and the Niles Canyon corridor over the past few weeks, the NBC Bay Area report noted…(more)

Swimming through Seaweed

via email : BATWIG Newsletter – excerpt

Automobile use has risen to pre-COVID levels. But transit ridership has remained at roughly half of what it was pre-COVID. Moreover, it is far from certain that the lavish State and federal largess of the last two years will continue.

For these reasons, now would be a good time for the Bay Area’s Transportation Establishment to think about tightening its belt and putting every available dollar to maximum public benefit. To maintain its economic viability the Bay Area continues to need to put a high priority on mobility. People need ways of getting around and it can’t all be by automobile.

But things are not going that way, in part because of the inefficient and counter-productive policies and practices of the Region’s large and entrenched bureaucracies, for whom spending the tax payer’s money often seems to have become an end unto itself. Here are some of the unacceptable results of the current system:…(more)

When it comes to moving and removing bus stops, it’s rarely a smooth ride for Muni

By staff : sfexaminer – excerpt

There’s an old saying among Muni circles, told this time by John Haley, director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, that goes something like this:

“Every bus stop has a constituency.”

As the SFMTA, which operates Muni, rolls out its Muni Forward plan to speed up bus and train service across San Francisco, 136 out of about 3,600 total bus stops will be removed or shifted. The agency sees the consolidation as vital to speeding up the consistently underperforming Muni, yet the decisions are rarely straightforward…

This has got to be one of the worst bus stop decisions that I know of among the many dumb moves Muni management has made over the last decade. Remember when they claimed they had to move the bus stops to the far side of the intersection to speed up Muni? Not sure what inspired this stop that is clearly not safe or reasonable and does not follow that rule. As shown here, the 27 Bryant stops on the far right side of the intersection facing north on Bryant at16th Street. Then it crosses four lanes of traffic, 2 bike lanes and a and a pedestrian walkway to take a left onto 16th Street facing west. When I saw it I could not believe it. Then I came home and downloaded these graphics that show the route on paper.

Letter I handed to Tumlin with detailed photos and maps: 27 Bryant

Closeup of the intersection showing the bus stop and right turn below.

Online map of the 27 Bryant route.


Lyft Wants To Install Nine New Bikeshare Stations in the Sunset

By Sarah Wright : sfstandard – excerpt

Sunset residents could get nine new bikeshare locations as soon as a proposal for new docks come under public scrutiny this week.

A public hearing set for Friday morning will ask San Franciscans to weigh in on the nine new stations, which are scattered across the Outer Sunset area.

“Over the past two years Lyft has worked closely with the Sunset community, SFMTA, and Supervisor Gordon Mar to bring bikeshare to the Sunset in a way that reflects community input and fills in critical gaps in the Bay Wheels network,” wrote Colin Hughes, a senior policy manager at Lyft, the company that runs Bay Wheels.

The stations would extend the Bay Wheels network farther into the city’s westside—where there are few bike stations today—and run adjacent to Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway, two popular biking arteries…(more)

Must to the chagrin of business owners along the commercial corridors who have attached the demise of their counterparts on Marke and Mission Streets the Castro and Valencia. As parking and traffic are reduced, the merchants either dwindle or leave the area. A quick review of where the jobs have exited will show you the formula for displacement that starts with SFMTA Board actions. Ask the merchants on any of these streets why they are leaving the city.

MTA’s Central Subway Boondoggle

By Quentin Kopp : richmondreview – excerpt

As San Francisco – after spirited Nov. 8 local, state and national elections – begins to celebrate Chanukah on Dec. 18 (for eight nights) and Christmas on Dec. 25, nothing destroys the holiday spirit faster than not finding a place to park. You know how holiday gift packages say: “Open Here”? What should you do if the package says “Open Somewhere Else”? I hereby cease and desist my strident ripostes.

After digesting the pap from “The City Family” (MTA version) about the opening of the Central Subway in all its 1.6 miles, two-car glory on Nov. 19, I feel like San Francisco and federal taxpayers have been fleeced again! Joe Eskenazi, in the Sept. 12 Mission Local, observed the Central Subway “will cripple Muni for years to come.”

We all know the project is over budget and was misrepresented to San Franciscans as a “money maker.” We were told it would open in 2018 and cost $1.578 billion. In January, 2023, it will open for serious business. You can ride it for nothing while door hardware and some information signs must be installed. Thereafter, you’ll pay a fare…(more)

SF Supervisors Push Regulators To Rein in Cruise, Waymo Self-Driving Cars

By Kevin Truong : sfstandard – excerpt

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution that calls on regulators to address safety and traffic concerns around the growing presence of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on San Francisco streets, and establishes an official city policy of San Francisco on those vehicles.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who introduced the resolution, called attention to San Francisco’s status as “ground zero” for innovative technologies ranging from short-term rentals to e-scooters to autonomous vehicles.

“I’ve found in my tenure, in many of these instances, we end up playing catch up and asking for things after the fact,” Peskin said. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to go on the record and support some relatively straightforward, simple and common-sense policies.”… (more)


Viral Video Raises Questions About SF Police Interactions with Driverless Cars

Major Plans Being Developed for Redesigning Lake Merced Blvd.

By Thomas K. Pendergast : sfrichmondreview – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is in the final stages of putting together a plan to make Lake Merced Boulevard safer, but at the expense of 190 parking spaces.

The Lake Merced Quick-Build Project proposes “roadway reallocation” on segments of Lake Merced Boulevard, from Skyline Boulevard to John Muir Drive, and to promote “traffic calming.” Reallocation means travel lanes in areas where there is “excess vehicle capacity” around some portions of Lake Merced will be removed, while in other places parking will be removed with the space reallocated to create new protected bicycle lanes…

The Quick-Build Project calls for narrowing travel lanes widths to increase driver awareness and lower motor vehicle speeds.…(more)

The west side of the city will now get all the attention people on the east side have been dealing with for years. They will get to experience the joys of biking and walking whether they want to or not.