Patience Wearing Thin

Politico – excerpt

The chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee called Thursday for the resignation of Dan Richard, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s board of directors, and for stronger legislative oversight on development of the bullet train after a scathing audit was released this month, reports POLITICO’s Angela Hart…

Richard responded Thursday evening: “Today, Vice Chair Tom Richards and COO Joe Hedges had a productive dialogue with members of the Legislature. Our primary focus remains continuing to improve this transformative project – the biggest job creator in the Central Valley in decades – we are proud of our accomplishments, always open to constructive advice, but have no need to respond to errant and uninformed attacks.”

Looks like this blame thing is going around. All kinds of mistakes are surfacing as the politicos attempt to shift the problem to a person and not their concept or system that is not performing as they would like. Could anyone have made this turkey fly?

This is being hailed as the “biggest job creator in the Central Valley”. And here we thought it was supposed to replace the need for air traffic between SF and LA. If the intention is to create jobs, the High Speed Rail must be a big success.

Maybe the better use of taxpayer funds would be to move the businesses to the Central Valley where the workers need jobs and housing is not a problem. Moving jobs where they are needed solves three problems: Jobs, housing and transportation and the corporations can pay for construction of the new offices and building, saving the taxpayer billions in expenses.

Airports Take A Hit As Uber And Lyft Rise In Popularity

By Helen Storms : inquisitr – excerpt

Uber, Lyft, and other similar transportation services are transforming the way people are traveling this holiday season. If you’ve had to take a flight recently, your first thought upon touching down was likely how to get out of the airport as quickly as possible. In the past, taking a cab was most people’s best option. That is, if they didn’t want to opt for public transportation. Now, Uber and Lyft is becoming the most popular way to escape the chaos of major airports. This is likely due to the convenience that these types of services offer. No more standing out in unpleasant weather trying to hail a cab. With this new technology, you can have a driver waiting to pick you up the minute you land. However, according to Wired, this new trend is causing a multitude of issues for airports… (more)

Looks like the Uber Lyfts are have taken on more than just the taxis. They are competing the old fashioned way, by cornering the market and the CPUC is helping them complete against the government entities by removing them from government regulation. Removal of government regulations has a familiar ring to it.

Amazon Is Coming. Can New York’s Transit System Handle It?

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons : nytimes – excerpt

When Andy Byford, the New York City subway leader, met with Amazon executives during the summer, Mr. Byford boasted that Long Island City in Queens was a transit wonderland ready to serve their army of workers.

The reality is far less rosy…(more)

 

Opinion: Fixing Bay Area transit requires better building practices

By Marc Joffe : mercurynews – excerpt

Change construction methods after setbacks of Salesforce Center, Bay Bridge, BART to San Jose, high-speed rail

In the Bay Area, we’re witnessing one transportation infrastructure setback after another. Too many projects are late, over budget and provide limited benefits, leaving travelers stuck in traffic.

Local leaders should consider policies to make infrastructure projects less costly and more reliable. Shifting risk onto the private sector and using more standard technologies are two such policies.

The latest setback is the closure of the $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center due to construction defects. Besides a rooftop park and an unused high-speed rail terminal, the elaborate structure includes overpasses spanning Fremont and First streets.

The structural integrity of these two overpasses is now in doubt. Since the terminal will only handle about 20,000 riders per day, it could have occupied a much smaller footprint, obviating the need for overpasses…

Whatever technology officials choose for intercity rail and other transportation projects, they should award projects on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis. Under BOT, a private contractor has responsibility to complete the project and establish service for a predetermined cost, eventually turning it over to the government. The contractor gets the opportunity to make extra profits, but the company takes on the risk of losses when construction costs exceeds budget or revenue service is delayed.

While for many Bay Area progressives, public-private partnerships may be a dirty word, the fact is that all our major infrastructure projects involve private contractors. The operative question is not whether companies have a role, but whether they have incentives to get projects done on time and within budget.

Marc Joffe, a Bay Area resident, is a senior policy analyst at the libertarian Reason Foundation... (more)

Public Meetings to Discuss Proposed Legislation to Remove Parking Requirements

https://sf-planning.org/article/public-meetings-discuss-proposed-legislation-remove-parking-requirements

Supervisor Kim’s Office and the San Francisco Planning Department will be hosting three public meetings to discuss Supervisor Kim’s proposed legislation to remove remaining minimum parking requirements in San Francisco. Details on dates, times, and locations are listed at the bottom of this page.

Read the background information at the above link.

Community Meeting 1

Wednesday November 14, 2018
12pm – 1:00pm
San Francisco City Hall,  Room 278
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

  1. 12:15pm: Presentation
  2. 12:30pm: Q&A

Community Meeting 2

Thursday November 15, 2018
9:00am – 10:00am
San Francisco City Hall, Room 278
​1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

  1. 9:15am: Presentation
  2. 9:30am: Q&A

Community Meeting 3

Monday November 19, 2018
6:00pm – 7:00pm
San Francisco City Hall, Room 278
​1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

  1. 6:15pm: Presentation
  2. 6:30pm: Q&A

For more information and RSVP

  • Please RSVP by emailing Kimstaff@sfgov.org  with the date you will be attending.
  • For questions or more information about the proposed legislation, contact Paul.Chasan@sfgov.org. (note that the wrong email link is online. We have corrected it.)

 

Red Lane Amendments and Efforts to Stop the Corporatization of our Streets

After months of letters, comments and neighborhood pushback against many elements of corporate takeover of our streets and public spaces, many people who shocked by the announcement that some of the Red Lanes in the city are open to use by private enterprise vehicles, such as tech buses, private shuttles, and any vehicle that carries more than 10 riders, based on the definition of a bus.

Supervisor Fewer, among others, scheduled hearings on the use of the Red Lanes that were re-scheduled a couple of times, and reset for early December. As many people were preparing for those meetings, we got the news that recent developments at the Land Use and Transportation Committee may have made those hearings unnecessary.  November 5, 2018, Aaron Peskin aide, Lee Hepner, introduced Amendment 18-862, that was passed unanimously to the Full Board by the Land Use and Transportation Committee:

Ordinance 180862 – Ordinance amending Division I of the Transportation Code to establish a procedure for Board of Supervisors review of Municipal Transportation Agency decisions related to Bus Rapid Transit projects that do not include transit-only areas or lanes for Municipal Railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit vehicles; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The tape of the meeting is below, go to Item 6: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/player/clip/31749?view_id=10&meta_id=642988

As a matter of introduction Mr. Hepler described the areas of concern that are under the purview of the Board of Supervisors, though they are not being added to this amendment at this time.

This is a paraphrased transcript of the meeting:

Within the text of Prop A, there is a provision that allows the Board of Supervisors to enact an ordinance that gives the Board the option to review SFMTA decisions regarding various curb space decisions, bicycle lanes, traffic mitigations and measures etc…

Background information:  Supervisors Peskin and Safai co-sponsored Ordinance 180089, to enact that review provision regarding curb use. That ordinance expressly exempted certain projects from review that were determined to be public interest projects, such as bike lanes, curb modifications for street sweeping, and bus rapid transit projects.

This new ordinance is taking on elements of the Bus Rapid Transit Projects that are not clearly defined in the code and providing guidance as to the scope of the board’s review authority of these projects. This proposal expresses this board’s desire to promote Bus Rapid Transport projects that are generally designed and implemented to further public transportation reliability.

The amendment clarifies the Board of Supervisor’s policy preference. The board would not review BRT projects that are designed for public transportation use, but would take review of BRT projects designed for use by private commercial shuttles, tour busses or other modes of private transportation that might actually impede the flow of public transportation.

The proposed amendment… replaces the words, “bus rapid transit project” with “bus rapid transit project that includes transit only areas or lanes for municipal railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit Vehicles.”

SFMTA appears to have collaborated on this. The amendment passed to the full Board of Supervisors as is on the agenda for the November 13 Board of Supervisors meeting. We had no notice, but, this appears to be going through rather rapidly. In this case, that may be a good thing.

First-ever woman named SF Muni chief

By Joe Fritgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The first-ever woman to lead Muni at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was appointed last week, following the retirement of a man dogged by sexual harassment allegations.

Julie Kirschbaum is the new acting SFMTA director of transit, which she announced to the agency’s transit division on October 29…

As acting deputy director, Kirschbaum managed day-to-day Muni operations, led a system-wide redesign and managed the transit planning and scheduling group, according to SFMTA…

Before Reiskin was hired, Debra Johnson was acting director of transportation, overseeing multiple departments. Carmen Clark also was interim executive director of SFMTA for a time, which oversaw Muni responsibilities. However, Kirschbaum is the first woman to take the reigns as Director of Transit at SFMTA, directly and principally responsible for Muni.

In the Bay Area, however, women-led transportation agencies are the norm. Grace Crunican is general manager of BART, and Tilly Chang oversees the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which primarily serves as a congestion management and transportation planning body… (more)

We can only hope that a new era of respect for the workers and Muni riders will open the door to some much needed changes in the top-down management style of the department. We hope the new director will concentrate on running a cleaner, safer, more reliable transit system today and get out of the planning department. We hope the new director will direct the staff to do the public’s bidding instead of forcing the pubic to follow the staff’s schemes. Just give it a try for 6 months and see if the ridership levels to not go up and the public does not approve.

TRANSIT CENTER CRACKED BEAMS: COMPLEXITY VS. SIMPLICITY

Hello Everyone: More information gained from engineering magazines and photographs (structural drawings not public). Over Fremont and First Streets, the lower bus deck is essentially a suspended bridge—hung from two 8-foor deep girders at the upper park level. Somewhat unusual for a suspension structure is the single chord (vertical column) that hangs the lower bus deck from each girder.

SKYRISE: Transbay Transit Center Engineer Describes Design Innovations and Challenges

https://skyrisecities.com/news/2015/12/transbay-transit-center-engineer-describes-design-innovations-and-challenges

De Oliveira expanded on the specific elements of the building: “On the roof level, the beam that runs the perimeter of the structure, the spandrel beam, there’s a little gap of unsupported girder, and in the event of an earthquake, what will happen is each one of the architecturally exposed steel trees rocks back and forth, and that short segment of steel girder is intended to yield in shear and flexure. The trees are comprised of those steel pipes and steel castings and they remain predominantly elastic, so that the girder yields up and down and absorbs the energy input into the building by the earthquake.”

The Y-shaped tree columns, at the building exterior, are primarily bracing elements that have flexibility. At the bridges, the two upper girders carry most of the load of the park deck and the suspended bus deck. The single chord (vertical column), at the midpoint of each girder, is heavily loaded. Suspended structures do move. And the Y-shaped tree columns allow movement. Ultimately, the lesson here may be that simplicity is best. The bridge design seems overly complex. The simple approach would have been a truss bridge, where the bridge’s entire height (from park level down to bus level) acts as a single “beam” or “tube”.

ONE POINT OF VULNERABILITY
The vertical column does a lot of work—all by itself. No redundancy. If the bus level moves differentially from the park level, there’s much stress at one point. Differential movement could be caused by differences in stiffness, deflection, vibration, oscillation, lateral forces, wind, uplift, suction, pressures, dynamic loading, thermal expansion, soil settlement…. Because both bridges in the project are designed similarly, one would expect the same stresses. Just food for thought. Regards, Howard Wong, AIA


ABC7 NEWS:
Video shows beam cracks, description of general structural system
Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco could be closed for another week
https://abc7news.com/salesforce-transit-center-in-san-francisco-could-be-closed-for-another-week/4342897/

CHRONICLE:
It looks simple, but it’s not. Complexity of Transbay Transit Center raises risks
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/It-looks-simple-but-it-s-not-Complexity-of-13267862.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result

At that midway point, where each girder meets a single column that in turn supports the bus deck below, is where each of the cracks occurred. “Those two girders are working hard, spanning a good length and bearing a heavy load,” Panian said. “And the place where it’s expected to carry the most load is where it is cracked.” What may have helped prevent disaster is that the two girders don’t hold the span in place all by themselves. They’re paralleled by smaller, more conventional beams on either side that connect to the transit center structure on the east and west.

Who is focusing on transportation issues when the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is focused on Housing?

Might that explain the multiple mistakes being made on large Bay Area regional transportation systems?

video and comments by Save Marinwood

MTC’s director Steve Heminger tells Damon Connolly of Marin County that funding will be based on the total number of housing units produced and not scaled to the jurisdiction size. “Some cities may never receive housing funding” This is a huge worry for most of the 101 cities in Plan Bay Area. They will be taxing all of us but only the “chosen” will receive the housing grant money. See the complete meeting https://youtu.be/oM0G31kNccA It is time for Plan Bay Area and the MTC to be dissolved… (more)

NOTE THE TITLE OF THE ORGANIZATION AND THE SUBJECT MATTER. Why is the Metropolitan Transportation Commission concerning itself with housing? Who is working on transportation while the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is working on housing? Why don’t they just call themselves the Metropolitan Housing Commission and let another organization deal with transportation only? If this bothers you, take it up with your local government and your state legislators.

Starting at 1:21 on the tape Heminger says, ”We’re trying to encourage the construction of housing, whoever can do it, large or small. I do think that probably gives an advantage to large cities, but, to the extent that we are trying to get people housed, I think we need to worry about getting them housed, not about where the house is.” 

If the goals of MTC are changing to address the state housing crisis, there should be a public conversation about this.