California bullet train, Delta tunnels: Jerry Brown’s pet projects face threat from ballot measure

FYI: State ballot measure could allow voters greater say over large over-budget projects

By Paul Rogers, progers : mercurynews – excerpt
Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s favorite projects — building a high-speed rail system and a pair of massive tunnels under the Delta — face a serious threat if California voters pass a measure heading for the November ballot.

The “No Blank Checks Initiative,” bankrolled with $4.5 million from Stockton farmer and businessman Dean Cortopassi, would require a public vote on any state project in which $2 billion or more in revenue bonds would be issued. And since both the bullet train and twin-tunnels projects would most likely require that kind of financing, voters could ultimately get a chance to decide their fate… (more)

SAVEMUNI NEWS: Town hall, Apply and Surveys

SaveMuni News

Some opportunities for your participation in shaping our transportation system. As always, your keen-eyed skepticism and creativity is valuable—because conventional wisdom has led to the current state of affairs.

TELEPHONE TOWN HALL: Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 6pm-7pm


Join a telephone town hall to learn about a proposed Transportation Revenue Measure and Expenditure Plan for placement on San Francisco’s November 2016 ballot.

Funding would go toward: Transit Service and Affordability, Muni Fleet, Facilities, and Infrastructure Repair and Maintenance, Transit Optimization and Expansion, Regional Transit and Smart System Management, Vision Zero Safer and Complete Streets, Street Resurfacing…

Directors from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will discuss the Transportation Revenue Measure and Expenditure Plan and answer questions

SURVEY: Google Shuttle Bus Hub Locations

[HW1] Deadline: July 4, 2016

SFMTA announcement:


Notes from Sue Vaughan: As part of a negotiated settlement between the SFMTA and appellants of the “permanent” Commuter Shuttle Program (it is only one year long), the SFMTA agreed to explore hub alternatives to the current program in which the SFMTA is not enforcing the California Vehicle Code 22500, which prohibits private carriers from operating in public bus stops.

As such, the SFMTA is now soliciting suggestions for hubs through these links. My own suggestion was the Cow Palace (a small corner is in San Francisco proper), although I elaborated and expressed my opinion that the best solution is that the people who work in the Silicon Valley live in the Silicon Valley. Such a solution would require the Silicon Valley communities to permit more housing construction, but it would help to eliminate incentives for property owners to evict long-term, lower income tenants in favor of better paid technology workers, and it would help to reduce vehicle miles traveled and therefore greenhouse gas emissions.

We also need to preserve our public bus stop curb space for the expansion of our own system — as a means to fight climate change and income inequality.

APPLY: RAB Citizens Working Group

Deadline: July 5, 2016

San Francisco Planning is currently accepting applications for the Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study (RAB) Citizen Working Group.

The Citizen Working Group (CWG) will be comprised of citizen stakeholders who represent the broad interests of the communities surrounding the Caltrain right-of-way, the Caltrain railyard, and the I-280 right-of-way. Members will participate in meetings designed to better understand the intricacies of the Study, distribute information to the public, help identify community priorities and concerns, and provide context for recommendations and updates to the second phase of the Study.

Note; Several citywide members are allowed.

SURVEY: Transportation Demand Management

The Planning Department has a Transportation Demand Management Neighborhood Survey. Prior to submitting a development application, a developer may request assistance from Planning Department staff to identify the TDM measures that make sense for their specific project and neighborhood. Planning’s website will also include a document titled “TDM Program Standards” and an online tool to help add points for their selected measures.

Once they’ve selected their measures, the developer will submit their choices along with their TDM Plan Review application. Planning will then work with other City staff to ensure the selected measures appropriately meet their targets and are implemented correctly.

TDM Menu of Options:


SHIFT: Encourage Sustainable Travel

Timely Op-Ed Article: After decades of planning and voter mandates, the Downtown Caltrain Extension is delayed. DTX is the highest regional transportation priority—especially with massive development in the South of Market predicated on the excuse that Caltrain would be extended to the Transbay Center. Instead, development will add tens of thousands of daily car trips and drain citywide Muni resources. Google buses will clog neighborhoods and Muni bus stops. Funding priorities have gone awry, like the Central Subway taking money from the rest of Muni—obstructing DTX and the citywide Bus Rapid System envisioned by 2003’s Prop K.

EXAMINER: Don’t pull brake cord on downtown Caltrain service

It’s estimated that shifting plans midstream like this would add at least $6 billion to the cost of the already approved Caltrain extension and add years to the opening of train service in the new Transit Center. Meanwhile, $650 million in vitally needed federal funding to complete the Caltrain extension hangs in the balance.

City leaders, anxious to appease developers and pro-growth groups in Mission Bay, have clearly lost their way. Tossing aside years of environmental, logistical and financial planning and willing to play unnecessary games with critical federal funding, Mayor Ed Lee’s administration has become a pawn for billionaire real estate developers.


Help advocate for great Muni in every neighborhood.

Membership Dues: $20 for all of 2016.

Mail Checks and Donations to:

Denise D’Anne, SaveMuni Treasurer, 351 Guererro Street, SF CA 94103

Online Payment:

Provide your email address:For news, notices and updates.

Sharks sue San Jose, fearing Diridon megaproject would eat up arena parking

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein : bizjournals – excerpt

Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the San Jose Sharks, is going to court with the city of San Jose over a glitzy, $600 million, mixed-use project that the team says will gobble up parking for downtown arena patrons.

Just two weeks after losing in the Stanley Cup finals, team owners filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the city’s environmental clearance of developer Trammell Crow’s “Diridon” office and apartment campus. The litigation, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), seeks to overturn the project’s approval and an injunction to prevent the developers from breaking ground…

“This massive new project is being imposed on the Diridon Station area and downtown communities based on environmental studies completed many years earlier and based on substantially different conditions,” the Sharks’ attorneys, with Silicon Valley Law Group, write in a petition. The city’s approval process “systematically avoided proper public disclosure” and was “rapidly rammed through the City Council, relying on surprise and wholly one-sided information.”

The lawsuit underscores the conflict between two crucial economic development drivers: The Sharks, which pack a $250 million annual economic impact in San Jose; and urban-scale, dense development, which the city has sought to boost the fortunes of downtown and its relatively meager jobs base…(more)

Sports arena sues over parking rights in San Jose while the Warriors are trying to eat it up in San Francisco. What a challenge for the courts to sort this out.

Opponents of Warriors Proposed S.F. Arena Win Another Court Victory – expert

Judge Rules Transit Advocacy Group Can Join Litigation Opposing Mission Bay Arena

Major Hearing on Mission Bay Alliance Lawsuits this Friday in S.F. Superior Court Against Warriors, City of San Francisco

Business Wire Mission Bay Alliance June 15, 2016 2:11 PM


One of the leading San Francisco transit advocacy groups can join opponents of proposed Golden State Warriors Arena as a Plaintiff in the litigation to keep the arena out of Mission Bay, according to a ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong.

Judge Wong ruled Thursday that SaveMuni, a dedicated association of transit activists, environmentalists and neighborhood leaders, will be allowed to legally join the fight against the Golden State Warriors.

The lawsuit against the Warriors proposed arena, which goes to trial this Friday, June 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 503, argues that San Francisco city officials violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other laws by not properly considering alternative locations for the arena and by failing to adequately address the project’s environmental impacts, such as traffic, air quality, and noise. It also argues that the City of San Francisco broke its own development rules and limits under Proposition “M.”

“We are pleased that Judge Wong has allowed SaveMuni to join in this critically important lawsuit,” said SaveMuni spokesperson Jerry Cauthen. “An arena in Mission Bay would cause severe traffic and parking impacts as well as decades of delay in getting the Caltrain trains into downtown San Francisco and we will do everything in our power to stop this from happening.”

SaveMuni – an all-volunteer association of transit activists, environmentalists, neighborhood leaders, and citizens working to improve Muni and other transit services throughout San Francisco – filed a motion last month to formally join the Mission Bay Alliance and other opponents as a plaintiff in its case to protect the Mission Bay neighborhood from the traffic and other adverse environmental impacts of the proposed 18,500-seat basketball arena.

Cauthen said the group was moved to join the case in San Francisco Superior Court after the City unveiled its ill-conceived plan to shift the existing Caltrain alignment to a much less accessible, and much costlier alignment under Third Street, in order to accommodate Mission Bay developers.

“We were shocked and outraged to discover SF City Hall’s plan to derail decades of transit improvements, all for a sports arena,” Cauthen said. “We share the views of many environmentalists and transit activists throughout the city who are deeply concerned over City Hall’s willingness to delay the long awaited Caltrain extension for decades while it sorts out what it wants to do in Mission Bay.” … (more)

Caltrain CEO denies report that electrification project faces delay

By Jody Meacham : bizjournals – excerpt

Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett has denied a Friday newspaper report that the commuter rail system’s electrification project could be delayed by a snag in selling high-speed rail bonds.

In a letter to state and federal legislators, Hartnett wrote, “Despite today’s media reports that inaccurately link a delay in the sale of high-speed rail revenue bonds with a delay in [the electrification project’s implementation], the State remains committed to ensuring that agreements will be in place to make funding available and allow the project to proceed on schedule.”

The letter said completion of a funding agreement among all partners “is on pace to be complete prior to contract award,” which is planned for later this year.

Jayme Ackemann, spokeswoman for Caltrain, said Friday, “We are optimistic that high-speed rail, with the support of the state government, is going to commit to the electrification project.”

Lisa Marie Alley, spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, acknowledged that its bond sale is being delayed by litigation intended to block construction of that rail system. Caltrain is to receive $600 million from those bonds for its $1.7 billion Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP). But Alley said, “There was never a by-this-date-we-will-sell-bonds” commitment in the electrification project planning.

“There is no delay in the electrification project,” Alley said… (more)

BOS pull budget items 3 and 4

Calendar items for June 14, 2016 relating to SFMTA and Plan Bay Area 2040

Tuesday, June 14, 2 PM –

City Hall Room 250 Board of Supervisors MeetingItem 3. 160464 Ordinance appropriating $207,000,000 of Revenue Bond proceeds to the Municipal Transportation Agency for transportation projects and equipment in FY2016-2017. including Van Ness BRT. Item 4. 160466 Ordinance appropriating $5,980,000 to the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), of MTA’s operating fund in FY2017-2018 to support transportation capital projects including the proposed Golden State Warriors Event Center and Mixed Use Development in Mission Bay. We are requesting items 3 and 4 be pulled from the agenda. See sample letter


Tuesday. June 14, 6:30-8:30 PM
1231 Market St., Hotel Whitcomb Plan Bay Area 2040 PlanBayArea is going to be adopted in Summer 2017. This is to determine future housing, transportation & development in SF. for more info & it says you can participate online.


Sample letter to send to the BOS requesting they pull agenda items 3 and 4 re: the SFMTA Budget from the agenda:

BOS agenda request

We request agenda items 3 and 4 be pulled off the June 14 BOS agenda

Email recipients:
Edwin Lee, Mayor – MayorEdwinLee
Ed Reiskin, MTA Director of Transportation: ed.reiskin
Secretary of the Board of Supervisors: board.of.supervisors
David Campos , District Supervisor – David.Campos
Aaron Peskin, District Supervisor – Aaron.Peskin
Malia Cohen, District Supervisor – Malia.Cohen
John Avalos, District Supervisor – John.Avalos
Jane Kim, District Supervisor – Jane.Kim
Katy Tang, District Supervisor – Katy.Tang
London Breed, District Supervisor – London.Breed
Norman Yee, District Supervisor – Norman.Yee.Bos
Eric Mar, District Supervisor – Eric.L.Mar
Mark Farrell, District Supervisor – Mark.Farrell
Scott Wiener, District Supervisor – Scott.Wiener

Subject line: We Urge BOS to Pull Agenda Items #3 & #4 from the agenda.

June 11, 2016

Board of Supervisors:

I am strongly urging the full Board to pull items 3 and 4 from the agenda and re-refer these items to the Government Audit and Oversight Committee.

The facts about the $207 million SFMTA revenue bond issuance that were in the Budget and Finance Committee packet differ from those presented at the SFMTA Bond Oversight Committee meeting on June 1.

Instead of re-referring these items back to the Budget and Finance Committee, I am urging the Board to re-refer these items to the Government Audit and Oversight Committee.

Based on my conversation with the office of the Clerk of the Board, procedurally these items may be re-referred if a motion is made and seconded.

Concerned citizen

Bay Area bus service lagging despite highway congestion, BART overcrowding

By Erin Baldassari : eastbaytimes – excerpt

OAKLAND — There are more people than ever on the Bay Area’s roads and rails. But despite the region’s booming economy and population growth, there are actually fewer people taking public transit today than there were two decades ago – a fact that might come as a surprise to BART passengers sardined into train cars each morning…

It isn’t riders who abandoned buses, it’s buses that abandoned riders, said Christian Peeples, president of AC Transit’s Board of Directors…

Erin Baldassari covers transportation. Contact her at 510-208-6428, or follow her at… (more)

People don’t want to be sardined. Removing bus stops and seats is not the answer. The solution is to make the buses more comfortable and more convenient. Join with the millions of riders who demand better Muni service. Support the Charter Amendment and demand a new MTA Board and new policies and procedures. Write your supervisors and demand that they put a hold on the SFMTA budget until the SFMTA board agrees to these demands. Sample letter is here:

Oakland streets already worst and getting worse

By Gerald Cauthen : EastBayTimes – excerpt

My Word:

Part of what makes a city appealing to visitors, businesses and residents are well maintained and well-functioning streets and boulevards.

The city of Oakland, struggling to find its place in an affluent and dynamic Bay Area, is sadly lacking in this regard. Here are four examples of unsatisfactory street conditions of long standing that warrant attention and priority:

Inadequate pavement maintenance: All over Oakland one finds streets that have been neglected for decades and left to deteriorate. Examples can be seen and experienced almost anywhere in the city, but the problem especially acute in Oakland’s less affluent neighborhoods. Nowhere else in Alameda County or in the Bay Area are the streets as deteriorated and torn up as they are in Oakland.

Fanciful street planning: Instead of making Oakland’s streets drivable, Oakland’s traffic planners increasingly opt for politically-correct street “enhancements” that often don’t work.

Almost $2 million was spent near the intersection of Lakeshore and Lake Park with little to show for the money spent and a 10-year implementation period. Recent traffic-lane closures along Grand Avenue are causing 2-mile long afternoon traffic backups. El Embarcadero at the north end of Lake Merritt used to consist of two well-functioning streets between Grand Avenue and Lakeshore. That ended when the city replaced the two streets with a single two-lane street, which now adds greatly to the traffic congestion at the north end of Lake Merritt. A recent city street improvement project at MacArthur and Telegraph backed up traffic for a period of eight months. When the traffic barriers were finally removed, it was apparent that nothing much of consequence had resulted.

AC Transit reports that planned reductions in traffic lanes elsewhere along Telegraph Avenue will slow down and otherwise impede AC Transit’s important No. 1 and 1R lines.

Heavy Alameda-bound traffic heading south on Webster Street adds significantly to the traffic congestion now interfering with Oakland’s once vibrant but now struggling Chinatown. Ill-conceived street enhancement can be worse than doing nothing, especially if it takes resources away from street maintenance.

Nonexistent traffic signal synchronization: Synchronized traffic signals encourages motorists to travel at even speeds regulated by signal timing, thereby reducing fuel-consuming stops and starts and saving wear and tear on both vehicle and pavement. It also encourages predetermined safe speeds and reduces the stress and frustration of motorists.Virtually every other town and city in the Bay Area has synchronized signals. Yet there are few, if any, in Oakland. Why? What do Oakland’s traffic signal engineers have against synchronization? One-way streets: One-way streets are sometimes needed and sometimes not. In Oakland, many of the streets that are now one-way could be converted to two-way. Two-way streets calm the traffic thus making it more compatible with and safer for pedestrians, render bus routes more visible and easier to find, reduce the need for buses to make tight turns at congested intersections and provide adjacent businesses with greater visibility. Oakland should be looking seriously for one-way streets that could beneficially be returned to two-way traffic.Oakland’s street problems are severe and of long standing. The subject deserves attention and priority. A lack of resources is often cited as the reason for the poor state of Oakland’s streets. Such excuses suggest a needed independent look at how Oakland’s infrastructure departments spend the millions in tax dollars they receive. Oaklanders have become accustomed to and even acquiescent to bad streets. This has gone far enough. It’s time to demand corrective action from Oakland’s government.Gerald Cauthen is co-founder of Bay Area Transportation Working Group. He is a resident of Oakland….(more)