SFMTA street changes improve safety in the Tenderloin

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) : mastransitnews – excerpt

SFMTA’s recently constructed quick builds on Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street are helping to address the unsafe vehicle speeds and failures to yield that have made up most traffic incidents in the Tenderloin.

Due to high rates of people being struck by vehicles in the Tenderloin stretch of Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) launched two quick build projects, with preliminary design phases in February 2020.

The Tenderloin is a densely populated and diverse community located in the heart of San Francisco. It is home to high concentrations of seniors, children, people of color, people experiencing homelessness and people with limited-English proficiency–many of whom live below the poverty line. SFMTA says these groups are most at risk of dying or being severely injured in traffic collisions…(more)

What say you who live, work, or pass through the Tenderloin? Has slowing traffic mitigated the negative social and economic problems in the area?

A Little More Remote Work Could Change Rush Hour a Lot

Emily Badger : nytimes – excerpt

There is something uniquely awful about that time of day when there is no good way to get around. The car horns sound nastier as downtown traffic snarls. The elbows feel sharper on a jammed subway. The sight of red brake lights is soul-crushing when they lead on a highway all the way to the horizon.

Mere mention of it makes the body tense up: rush hour.

But for much of the pandemic, it vanished. Not only did people travel less over the past year, with schools closed, restaurants off-limits, and millions of workers unemployed or at home; they also traveled less in a very particular way. Rush hour peaks flattened, smoothing travel demand around cities across the country into a low-grade continuous flow, a Tuesday morning not so different from a Saturday afternoon…

About a third of workers in the U.S. hold jobs that economists say could be done remotely. Suppose many of them worked from home one day a week, or opted occasionally to read email in their bathrobes before heading in. Overall, we’d be talking on a given day about a decline of a few percentage points in peak commuting trips — a small number, but a big deal during the most painful parts of the day…

Transportation researchers have observed the benefits of marginal changes in commute behavior on Jewish holidays, when most employers remain open but a small share of commuters stays home. In Washington, D.C., compressed schedules and telework policies for federal workers had created noticeably saner traffic on Friday mornings. On the region’s Metrorail, peak ridership before the pandemic was consistently 10% to 15% lower on Fridays than midweek.

New routines emerging from the pandemic could re-create this dynamic on a broader scale…(more)

Hopefully SFMTA will re-design their programs to fit our needs so we can be happier traveling in comfort while maintaining our persona space in our vehicle of choice. They might even offer more physical amenities to public transit riders by returning the bus stops and seats they removed to cram more people in and move them faster. We are not sardine cans that need to move swiftly down a conveyer belt. We are human beings that appreciate reliability, comfort and quality service.

Opinion: With the latest Caltrain fiasco, it’s time to talk about merging railroad with BART

By Dave Price : padailypost – excerpt

The news that Caltrain is delaying its switch to electric trains by two years, and that the project is $330 million over budget, raises a few issues:

• For one thing, it relieves the pressure on the Palo Alto City Council to decide what it will do with the rail crossings across the city. Consultants and a highly-informed citizens committee have been studying the alternatives, but council has been reluctant to make final decisions.

At the same time, council has been itching to put a business tax on the ballot to pay part of the bill for the bridges at the crossings.

But with this delay, there’s no urgency for that tax to hit the November 2022 ballot…(more)

Caltrain electrification delayed to 2024, and the price tag is rising too

By Nico Savidge : eastbaytimes – excerpt

Two-year delay is a blow to a key project for Caltrain’s future

Caltrain’s transition from diesel locomotives to sleek electric trains will take two years longer than expected to finish, railroad officials announced Thursday, while its price tag is growing by more than $300 million.

The first electric trains between San Jose and San Francisco are now projected to begin service in late 2024, rather than sometime next year. And the 51 miles of electrification work will cost $2.3 billion, up from the previous estimate of $1.98 billion…(more)

I am getting confused and my head is spinning. I thought the electrification was assured. Who to believe when?

Extra buses added after San Jose VTA shooting suspended

By Lloyd Alaban : sanjosespotlight – excerpt

VTA sent out additional buses to help bridge gaps in light rail service following Wednesday’s mass shooting. But now that’s going away too.

The transportation agency stopped light rail service after an employee opened fire at the agency’s rail yard near downtown San Jose, killing nine people and then himself. It’s unclear when service will resume.

“Management is in discussions with how to resume service on a short term basis, as well as what the long term service recovery plan will look like,” VTA spokesperson Stacey Hendler Ross told San José Spotlight. She asked for the public’s patience and understanding while the agency works to get the light rail system back up and running. “We are doing our best to balance the needs of passengers with the needs of our employees to have the time they require to cope with last week’s tragedy.”…(more)

I feel sorry for the folks in San Jose who did not see this coming. Hope they work something out soon.

The Problem With Free Transit

By Henry Graber : slate – excerpt

A growing movement wants to scrap bus and subway fares. That’s not what riders need most.

The board of L.A. Metro, which runs the buses and subways in Los Angeles County, met on Thursday to consider a radical idea: making transit free. The agency has approved a pilot program that will waive fares for K–12 and community college students this summer and for low-income riders next winter. In 2023, Metro will decide if the remaining riders get to ride free too. That would give Los Angeles the largest free transit system in the world.

More than two hours of public comment preceded the meeting, and most of the speakers were not fans of Metro’s incremental approach. They were against the agency asking for “a public attestation of poverty.” “Any effort to impose a means test is in fact a form of racial discrimination,” one said. Another said, “It’s an apartheid system on its face.” In short: free transit, now!…

The competition between free fares and better service is more acute in cities like San Francisco, where transit is not considered the mode of last resort and fare revenues make up a greater share of the bottom line. There, even with MUNI service reeling from pandemic-era cuts, city supervisors moved to abolish fares over the summer using federal relief funds. They sparred with SFMTA chief Jeffrey Tumlin, who cautiously argued for a focus on restoring service. (He was more direct on Twitter a couple years ago: “If we have $X to improve transit, are our goals better served by eliminating fares or improving service? If you want to spend public $ to buy down fares, target those for whom fares are an obstacle.”) Mayor London Breed vetoed the supervisors’ resolution.(more)

Sounds like what Shamann Walton said about the situation at JFK in Golden Gate Park. What I thought when I heard the park department say they are building a new park for the Bay View, as if they could have their own park and stay away from Golden Gate Park. I hear segregationists thinking that disturbs me.

A lot of assumptions are being made by the planners about how the citixens of San Francisco will live that the public is unaware of. When informed many oppose the plans.

There are comments about parks being within a 10 minute walk of everybody’s homes as part of the plan to provide open space now that the new density housing program is eliminating private yards and rooftops cannot accommodate the vast number of tenants in the high rise housing developments. This is another form of discrimination since not everyone can walk 10 minutes.

Great Highway – RPD Hearing

Another Town Hall on re-opening the streets

Here’s a notice of an important joint hearing with SFRPD and SFMTA about reopening the Great HIghway.
Save the Date, and, please, pass this on.

https://sfrecpark.org/civicalerts.aspx?aid=531

News Flash • San Francisco Recreation and Parks, CA • CivicEngage
Tune in on Thursday June 10 at 1 p.m. at www.sfgovtv.org for a special joint hearing with the SF Recreation and Park Commission and the SFMTA Board to discuss a proposed pilot on the Great Highway.. Members of the public are encouraged to call in during the hearing or provide feedback via email: Day of Public Comment Call-In Number: (415) 655-0001/Access Code: 187 147 3320
sfrecpark.org

Geary BRT Changes Lanes

By Benjamin Schneider : sfweekly. – excerpt

Excluding Market and Mission streets, which are served by subway lines, Geary Street is far and away the busiest transit corridor in San Francisco. With about 54,000 daily riders pre-pandemic, the 38 and 38R bus lines see more daily passengers than any individual Muni Metro train line or the entire light rail system in San Jose, and nearly as many daily riders as Caltrain. Improving the journey for all of those bus passengers has long been a goal of San Francisco transit officials.

But now, after years of planning, it’s looking like the latest effort to speed buses down Geary is getting scaled back. And depending on whom you ask, that might not be the worst thing — at least in the near term

During a May 12 meeting of the Geary Rapid Community Advisory Committee, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) staff announced they are now pursuing a different configuration for Phase Two of the Geary Rapid project. …(more)

In the wake of the disruption on Van Ness, there’s a sense among both SFMTA staff and transit advocates that the center-running bus lanes on Geary aren’t worth the time, money, and frustration for local businesses and residents.

Does this mean they don’t have to kill the trees?

$85 BIllion for Empty Buses and Railcars

by Randal OToole : newgeography – excerpt

empty-transit.jpg

The future of public transit is nearly empty buses and railcars. Yet President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls for spending $85 billion on transit. Although transit carries less than 1 percent of passenger travel in the United States, and no freight, this represents 28 percent of the funds Biden proposes to spend on transportation.

Considering that the pandemic has cut transit ridership by more than half , while driving has recovered to 97 percent of pre-pandemic levels, this a poor, and poorly timed, use of public funds. Biden’s plan claims that spend- ing more on transit “will ultimately reduce traffic congestion for everyone.” Other transit advocates claim that it will help low-income people as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But none of these claims are true.

Third-Class Transportation

Transit is fundamentally inferior to the alternatives…(more)