Press Release: Access Improvements Launched in Golden Gate Park

Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

From San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

Access Improvements Launched in Golden Gate Park

Shuttle overhaul, new accessible parking among commitment toseniors,peoplewith disabilities

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Starting Saturday,riders of Golden Gate Park’s free shuttlewillenjoymajorimprovements, includingnew weekday service,an expanded routewith connection topublic transit,more stops,andless waiting, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced today.

In addition, construction will begin Monday on the Golden Gate Bandshell parking lot, adding 20 newaccessibleparking spaces, re-paving walking areas,andcreating a new accessible path to the Japanese Tea Garden. Other access improvements include new curb ramps throughout the area.

Theimprovements werebased on feedbackfrom older adults and the disability community during extensive public outreachthrough theGolden Gate Park Safety and Access Program.Both the major overhaul of the free shuttleand the parking lot aredesigned to increase access to Golden Gate Park and its cultural institutions.

Shuttle improvements include:

  • New weekday service…

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How the Great Highway, JFK Drive closures changed the way people experience San Francisco

By Ricardo Cano : sfchronicle – excerpt

These days, Heidi Moseson drives infrequently, opting instead to bike with her two young children across San Francisco.

The Outer Sunset parent almost exclusively traveled by car before the pandemic, long viewing it as the only viable way to get around the city. But in spring 2020, when the city closed the Great Highway and Golden Gate Park’s JFK Drive to car traffic, a sense of liberation kicked in.

“It was just so transformative to realize we actually don’t have to use a car,” Moseson said.

On Lincoln Way, near the northern edge of the Great Highway’s street closure, Steven Hill experiences a different reality.

Not only has car traffic outside his home west of 40th Avenue returned to pre-pandemic levels, he said it’s worsened because of the street closures. Congestion spills to neighboring streets on days the roadway stays closed. And, he said, motorists taking detours throughout the west side when the Great Highway is closed have, generally, exhibited more aggressive behavior as they attempt to make up lost commute time.

“They’re kind of frantic, and they literally race up Lincoln Way,” Hill said. “Many of them don’t stop at stop signs.”

Nearly two years after they were first implemented, San Francisco’s pandemic street closures have become a boon for many and remained a bane for others. They’ve attracted passionate fan bases from residents who say they’ve altered the fabric of what it means to recreate and transport across the city. But they’ve garnered criticism from residents who say they’ve made commuting by car in the city more miserable and have limited access to Golden Gate Park for people with disabilities

(more)

SFMTA’s Continuing Muni Metro Problems… A Historical Perspective

By Gerald Cauthen & Angelo Figone : westsideobserver – 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.

The Compromise

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)

Crime, Grime, and Greed—Bay Area Rapid Transit “Wins” California Golden Fleece® Award

Press Release by independent – excerpt

Oakland, CA—The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system has received the California Golden Fleece® Award for its excessive employee compensation, reckless financial mismanagement, poor on-time performance, unsanitary conditions, and failure to prevent the system from becoming a magnet for criminals.

The Independent Institute bestows its California Golden Fleece® Award on a state or local government spending program, tax, or regulation that fleeces California taxpayers, consumers, or businesses. Based on BART’s own metrics and performance standards, the system fails on every count, detailed in the new report Crime, Grime, and Greed at BART (more)

The report offers several key recommendations to improve BART service as part of a broader strategy to improve Bay Area mobility:

  • End all government subsidies to BART, forcing BART to improve customer service and focus on the top concerns of riders: safety, cleanliness, and reliability
  • Sell BART to a private, for-profit entity to force BART to innovate and become more efficient and customer-focused, as for-profit transit systems around the world have proven
  • Allow vigorous competition among transportation alternatives, both old and new, throughout the Bay Area
  • Fix BART first and scrap massive multibillion dollar expansion plans since ridership is severely diminished and it may not return for decades, if it ever recovers. Unfortunately, the new federal infrastructure package will dole out more government subsidies to expand BART’s system—more miles of dangerous, dirty, and underutilized service

(more)

No Fooling! The Van Ness Rapid Transit Project Will Be Completed April 1

ByJoe Kukura : sfist – excerpt

SFMTA is confident enough that they’ll finally finish the Van Ness Transit Project by April 1 that they’re already scheduling the ribbon-cutting and party ceremony, and after nearly 18 years of red tape, the red lanes will finally have buses cruising through them.

The Van Ness Rapid Transit Project has been such a running joke that you’d be skeptical of any announced completion date at this point, let alone an announced completion date of April Fool’s Day. (After all, SFMTA’s “Van Ness Improvement Project Nears Completion” announcement is now nearly a year old.) But after years of snarling traffic and making life absolute hell for businesses on the corridor, KPIX reports that the Van Ness Transit Project does have an announced completion date of April 1, 2022.

That’s just 43 days from today!…(more)

April fools? We will believe it when we see it. Question of the month is, will the long-awaited Van Ness mess ever clean up and play nice? Do yourself a favor and read the remarks on the site.

Uber’s plans include attacking public transit

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Documents filed for IPO reveal plans to privatize transportation, getting riders off public buses and trains and onto “Uber buses.”

Uber has acknowledged in a federal filing that its long-term goal is to privatize public transportation around the world.

In a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the ride-hail company reports that it seeks, as part of its growth strategy, not just to get people out of private cars but to get them off public buses and trains…(more)

Not exactly shocking news. The best information about a companies intent is found in their marketing materials. Those schemes rarely the PR news they put out for public consumption.

Protesting Rec & Park’s “Bikes Only” Events on JFK Drive

By Tomasita Medál: westsideobserver – excerpt

Whenever I read promotions like “Light Up the Night” in the newsletter sent out by the Recreation and Parks Department, I am overcome by sadness and outrage at the cruelty and injustice and utter classism and racism and ableism expressed by promoting something that thousands of San Franciscans are denied access to.

Families with elders and children who live in the Mission, the Excelsior, the Bayview, Chinatown and others not near the park cannot wait for MUNI to transport them to Golden Gate Park in the dark, then walk a few blocks to the Enchanted Lights Forest, then back to the bus stop to wait some more in the now cold and dark, to ride the bus for at least an hour to get back to their neighborhood.

Elders and those with disabilities cannot walk in to the park at night to see this exhibit as well as the light show at the Conservatory of Flowers, which used to be easily accessible when one could just drive up, then watch safely from one’s car parked on JFK Drive every Winter night.

When Mayor Breed ordered JFK Drive closed to cars 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she effectively excluded all San Franciscans except the able-bodied people who live within walking distance of Golden Gate Park. She sent the message that the rest of us are not welcome; that we do not matter. Those who yearn to enjoy all of the amenities that have been added during winter do not matter. The excuse given was that families would teach their kids to ride bicycles. Really? In the dark?

She promised that the road would be reopened when the City reopened. The city has reopened. Reopen JFK Drive now. Let all of the people in to the park that belongs to all of us…(more)

Mayor’s Disability Council meets to discus JFK Drive Closure

via email

The Mayor’s Disability Council (MDC) will be meeting on February 18th, 1 – 4 PM. The only topic for their meeting is the closure of JFK Drive. This is an opportunity for everyone impacted by the JFK Drive closure to speak out.

Please see the meeting notice here.

Comments can be made at the meeting or in advance at MOD

Please help spread the word and encourage everyone in the disabled and senior community to participate. It’s important that the Mayor’s office hears from as many people as possible about the impact of the JFK Drive closure on your communities.

Speak out, even if your voice trembles.

Fighting Pay-to-Play in Golden Gate Park

By Connie Chan : sfrichmondreview – excerpt

Golden Gate Park has a long history, celebrating its 152nd anniversary this year. It’s the third-most visited city park in the country and was built when Superintendent John McLaren had the vision at a time when San Franciscans were in desperate need of a green oasis.

McLaren preferred trees over statues and fought to protect plants and wildlife habitats against artificial structures, like state fairs and Ferris wheels. He loved Golden Gate Park so much that he literally lived in the Park. His residence was located at the east entrance of the Park, today known as the McLaren Lodge.

For years, I had the privilege of sitting and working in a corner in the attic of McLaren’s former residence as a Recreation and Park Department staff member. I treasured daily moments of walking through the Oakwood Trail when commuting to and from work. Over the years, I have learned that I have almost nothing in common with John McLaren, except that I share his vision for Golden Gate Park: it must remain a green oasis for all San Franciscans…(more)

Board of Supervisors Unanimously Approves Stephanie Cajina to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors

PRESS RELEASE SF CITY

Cajina, nominated by Mayor Breed, was born and raised in the Excelsior District and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Northern Bay Area Chapter of the Chicano Latino Caucus, California Democratic Party

San Francisco, CA — The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to approve Stephanie Cajina to serve on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors. Cajina, who was nominated by Mayor London Breed in December 2021, brings city planning experience and years advocating for underrepresented communities to the Board.

“I am proud to have nominated Stephanie Cajina to the SFMTA Board of Directors, and am excited to see her serve our City,” said Mayor Breed. “It is so important to have someone who grew up in this City and relied on its public transportation system guiding policies that will help push us forward and ensure that Muni works for all San Franciscans. Her professional and lived experience and passion for advocating for working-class families will be valuable additions to this Board.”

Cajina currently serves as a Senior Economic Development Specialist for the City of Napa, where she shapes and implements workforce development policies, small business financial and technical assistance, business retention and attraction, and placemaking programming. Additionally, Cajina serves as Vice-Chair of the Northern Bay Area Chapter of the Chicano Latino Caucus, California Democratic Party, the largest Latino Democratic party organization in the country… (more)