SFMTA’s Continuing Muni Metro problems…..A Historical Perspective

By Jerry Cauthen and Angelo Figone : beyondchron – excerpt

Back in the 1960’s Muni was part of the SF Public Utilities Commission. In the late 1960’s the oncoming BART subway give Muni an opportunity to modernize its streetcar system. So the PUC sent one of its engineers to Europe to get a better look at some of Europe’s successful subway operations. He returned with a recommendation that there be a single 10-car train extending from State College to the Embarcadero, fed at the West Portal by short K-L trains and at the Duboce Portal by short J-N trains. That recommendation was rejected by the PUC brass on grounds that San Francisco’s streetcar users, used to getting one-seat rides to downtown San Francisco, “didn’t want to transfer and in fact wouldn’t transfer”.

So the Louis T. Klauder Company…. a pre-eminent rail system design firm….was brought in to design a light rail vehicle (LRV) subway surface system suitable for San Francisco’s unique arrangement; namely five surface streetcar lines feeding into a single subway.

A compromise was eventually reached. It was decided to operate one and two car trains on the Avenues and couple the shorter trains into longer trains at the portals so as not to overload the subway. With this innovative solution it became possible to avoid sending excessively long trains through outlying neighborhoods while holding the number of subway trains per hour to a reasonable number. And that’s the way the Muni Metro system operated between 1980 and the mid-1990’s…(more)

Answering Nature’s Call, BART Finally Reopens Powell Street Bathrooms

By Nick Veronin : sfstandard – excerpt

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Starting next week, when nature calls, BART passengers at San Francisco’s Powell Street Station will finally get a hall pass for the bathroom…(more)

After how many years of requesting relief from this problem? Maybe they can open the rest of them as well soon? You might get more people taking BART by treating them with respect. Now if only we can get the Muni riders some relief.

Transit worker shortage ripples through California economy

by Sameea Kamal : calmatters – excerpt

In summary: So many employees are sick with COVID or scared to come into work that it’s disrupting public transit service. That is having an impact on the workforce and the economy…

Transit agencies around the state are experiencing a worker shortage – and it’s disrupting service in Sacramento, the Bay Area and in Southern California because too many workers are out sick, quarantining or scared to come into work.

Every day, Donaldson says, at least one or two of her coworkers tests positive. And that means fewer drivers on the road – and more frustration among passengers…(more)

Golden Gate Transit Bus Drivers Vote to Authorize Strike

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN/CBS SF) — Members of the Marin and Sonoma County bus operators union whose members work for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District voted to authorize a strike this weekend over unresolved contract negotiations related to wages and pensions.

The union has not yet determined when or if a strike will take place, but hopes that voting to authorize one if necessary will spur negotiations…(more)

Bicycle Slalom: Why One Local is Mapping City Streets Like Ski Runs

Written by Sarah Wright : sfstandard – excerpt

When Jason Ford moved back to San Francisco in May, he found a city transformed by COVID-19. Parklets were everywhere, the Financial District was a ghost town and the Tenderloin had become a flashpoint in the culture wars. He also discovered that the city had closed off many streets to cars, and that he could ride his bike from his neighborhood to the next without worrying about being hit by an automobile…

So Ford set out to build his own map of the city, one that puts safety first and shows, with a very simple color-coded system, how anyone can navigate the city along the safest, least car-centric roads. He started with an iPad and a stylus, then grabbed a pencil and some graph paper. Finally, he moved to something more sophisticated—an overlay on Google Maps. To Ford, the goal of the map was to highlight where anyone, including his 3-year-old, could ride safely. He posted an in-progress map on Twitter this month to share with locals and get feedback…

Ford’s mapping project comes at a time of heated debate about how bikes and cars should get along in the city. While cyclists have been ecstatic about the closures of JFK Drive and the Great Highway, many car-owners in the neighborhoods are opposed. The same goes for other pandemic-born “slow streets” around the city…

Many of the blue routes on Ford’s map are part of the SFMTA’s Slow Streets program, launched in April 2020. It closed some residential streets to through traffic to prioritize biking and walking, offering residents safe ways to move around the city during the shelter-in-place order. Two years later, some neighborhood streets like Lake and Sanchez streets remain open to local traffic only…

A bigger battle over the future of JFK Drive will be decided early next year. Nesrine Majzoub, marketing and communications director at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said her group has been calling on the Board of Supervisors to support existing car-free avenues and look at opening new car-free corridors in the eastern areas of the city.

​​”We’re focused on not just creating great individual corridors that are safe and protected, but also that those are connected to each other,” Majzoub said…(more)

Closed streets have polarized San Francisco

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Neighborhoods divided, residents frustrated and city supervisors trepidatious

Some issues in The City are just too hot to touch.

Such is the case with the future of San Francisco streets that have been partially or entirely closed during the pandemic. Their fate remains as uncertain as ever, despite months of calls from residents to chart a path forward.

Whether to keep iconic corridors such as Golden Gate Park’s JFK Drive and the Upper Great Highway permanently reserved for people over cars has become one of the most contentious and divisive issues of San Francisco’s COVID-19 experience.

As neighborhoods have become severely polarized, residents progressively more frustrated and supervisors increasingly trepidatious about wading into the debate-turned-political-minefield, Mayor London Breed has remained largely silent on the matter.

She finally weighed in Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting. But if anyone was hoping for Breed’s appearance to shed light on how this ongoing saga will end, they were left disappointed…

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Recreation and Parks Department collaborated to close a 1.5-mile stretch of JFK Drive plus the Upper Great Highway to vehicles. The transit agency also rolled out Slow Streets, a program that limited portions of 30 residential streets to thru-traffic only.(more)

This is one of the more impressive articles on the author covers more of the details and facts uncovered and admission by city staff than most. Read the article and write your letters to the editor or comment at the source if you can. Given the difficulty with data, it seems like the best approach is a ballot initiative. We understand that Connie Chan is working on something, not exactly sure what, but the voters are getting antsy and blaming the Mayor and supervisors. We can all see the mess and want relief. Who will be brave enough to do the work to give the voters their chance to vote on what the future of their streets should be?

SaveMuni : Transit Appreciation 2022

From Howard Wong

everyone’s support—to assure a world-class system for all and mobility equity for the
disabled, disadvantaged, seniors and youth. To create a post-pandemic/ sustainable/
integrated system, everyone needs to ride transit—frequently, at every opportunity, to every
destination. Transit operators and workers have taken risks for us during the epidemic. Let’s
reciprocate by taking transit today, building back better and transforming transit tomorrow.