SF’s newest subway may emerge on the West Side

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

San Francisco’s sleepy West Side — from the Richmond District to Parkmerced — is often characterized as The City’s suburb, replete with one-story homes, slow-rolling fog, and many, many, many cars.

But that may change. Someday, it could be home to The City’s newest underground rail extension.

San Francisco is exploring plans to dig a new subway tunnel between West Portal and Parkmerced and also south out to the Ingleside neighborhood, after roughly $960,000 to finish a study of the project was accelerated by Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee on Tuesday morning.

That study was initially slated to take place some years from now, Yee said, but may now start within months…(more)

Advocates Flummoxed and Fuming Over Latest Central Subway Delays

By Roger Rudnick : streetsblog – excerpt

Seriously, is this thing every going to open?

We should check to see the odds in Vegas.

ay Area transit advocates look in envy at the expansion of the Line 14 in Paris, Crossrail in London, and, basically, any subway system in China–the fact is the rest of the world continues building transit much faster, and for less money than we do. Now the S.F. Examiner has broken the story that our only subway project, the relatively puny 1.7 mile Central Subway, is seriously delayed, again…

If anyone’s still keeping track, the subway was originally supposed to open in 2018.

“This latest delay reminds us just how ill-equipped we are in the Bay Area to spend large sums of money effectively and efficiently on transit. Any new major capital money for transit expansion projects like this must come with significant reforms to how we approach, project planning, capital project delivery and construction,” wrote Seamless Bay Area’s Ian Griffiths, in an email to Streetsblog. “This project has been studied for over 20 years; it took nearly a decade of planning and design to agree on alignment.”

“If Central Subway opens in 2021, that’s 11 years of construction for three subway stops and 1.7 miles of tunnel,” added Cat Carter, spokesperson for the Transit Rider’s Union. “We can’t wait that long for reliable, functional, efficient service.”…

Advocates worry this latest delay doesn’t bode well for attempting to convince Bay Area voters to go in on a large regional mega-measure to expand transit. “Since Central Subway represents another example of how slothfully agencies like the MTA administer the funds entrusted to them, it won’t help extracting another $100 billion of taxpayer money one bit,” wrote Gerald Cauthen, President of the Bay Area Transportation Working Group and occasional Streetsblog contributor.…(more)

As one of our agency spokespersons once famously said, “There is no way the people who created this mess should be trusted to fix it”, or something to that effect. My sentiments exactly. Whoever is spending the Muni money is not doing a good job and needs to be replaced. Hiring standards are also suspect. Voters have no reason to trust the system that has failed miserably to improve. Voters should demand a competance.

California Supreme Court Reinforces CEQA’s Definition of a Project

By Jeffrey Chine, Spencer Kallick, E. Bo Peterson, Heather Riley
Allen Matkins :
jdsupra – excerpt

In Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego, the California Supreme Court considered the definition of a “project” under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Court held that a lead agency needs to consider reasonably foreseeable direct and indirect potential physical impacts on the environment at the outset of the CEQA process and rejected the efforts of the City of San Diego (City) to delay the environmental analysis of a zoning ordinance to a later date. As a consequence of the ruling, lead agencies may be forced to analyze the potential indirect impacts of activities, like zoning code changes, previously thought to be outside the reach of CEQA.

This case is important because the determination of what activities constitute a “project” is the first step in the CEQA evaluation process. If a proposed activity is found not to be a “project,” a lead agency may proceed without further CEQA review. The result of this case may well be that public agencies take a more conservative view and determine many more activities constitute a project, thus subjecting such activities to further CEQA review…(more)

A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

By Sarah Holder : citylab – excerpt

Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

A woman with a cane stood facing the corner of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station. She was blind, and trying to make her way out through an exit. But the gate wasn’t where she thought it would be.

Warren Logan, an Oakland-based transit policymaker, approached her and asked if she needed help. She told him that she was headed to the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impairedcenter. After years of traveling into and out of San Francisco, she’d gotten the commute there down to a science. Hop onto the fifth car. Get out at Civic Center station. Turn left. Take an escalator up. Walk three feet to the left, and through the gate. But this time, she’d followed the path, and gotten stuck in a corner… (more)

Imagine that? A public servant listening to the public instead of preaching to them. Instead of hiring 55 PR personnel to SELL the latest SFMTA program, the staff should attend Dale Carnegie classes or some other customer service training program. Someone needs to learn that “the customer is always right” and a happy satisfied customer is a repeat customer.

This story illustrates how individual a problem can be and how many people do not fit the mold our transit service personnel are trying to fit us into. There are many physical limitations that are abundant in our population, poor or less than perfect eyesight is one of them. Color blindness is rather common and does not fit the criteria of the people who are designing our streets.

There is a comfort in routine that is not honored by a constantly changing transit system. If there is anything the SFMTA could do to alleviate the need for constant change, such as keeping bus stop where they are, for the blind and others who are less capable, and for the non-impaired who appreciate consistency, they might get a faster growing ridership. The constant backslapping and press releases are annoying and useless tools that have lost all credibility with the public.

When Cities Turn to Uber, Instead of Buses and Trains

By Alexander Sammon : prospect – excerpt

Some money-losing transit districts shift to ridesharing—but the cost for that may prove even greater.

It’s long been understood that ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft may pose a threat to public transit. Despite those companies’ claim that they’re complementary to buses and trains, research has shown repeatedly that ridesharing does indeed siphon riders from municipal transportation. One such study from the University of Kentucky illustrates this dynamic starkly: For every year after ride-hailing companies enter an urban market, rail ridership falls by 1.3 percent, and bus ridership by 1.7 percent. Thirty-one of 35 major metropolitan areas in the United States lost public-transit passengers in 2017.

Now, with many regional transit systems reeling and with Uber under the gun to increase revenues, the relationship between the transit systems and the apps is taking on new forms. Ridesharing apps are no longer just competing with public transit for customers, but assuming some operations of public-transit systems outright. With public-transit authorities losing revenue and looking to save money, a number are offloading some of their work to the apps. Uber has struck some 20 deals with public-transit providers in cities in the United States, Australia, and Canada; Lyft has secured 50 transit deals of its own… (more)

Businesses Irked Over Transit-Only Lanes in SF’s Richmond District

By Ali Wolf : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

Some businesses in San Francisco’s Richmond district are voicing serious concerns over the so-called “red carpet” transit bus lanes slated to go in front of their businesses.

Co-owners of a Shell gas station on Geary Boulevard recently got the federal government to step in.

The red transit-only lanes already are painted on Mission Street, and while the SFMTA says the lanes have reduced Muni accidents, some business owners are not happy.

“I’ve seen what it’s done in the Mission, and it’s a job killer, simple as that,” said David Heller, owner of the Beauty Network…

“There are protocols to go through with this experiment, and the protocols are you have to take data and compare that data to the exact same circumstances,” Urban said. “The SFMTA was trying to skirt the protocols, and my brother and I basically contacted the federal highway administration.”

The SFMTA acknowledged there was a misunderstanding(more)

A misunderstanding that has led to a lot of businesses going under on Mission Street and a huge headache for people who are being forced out of their homes due to increased rents that follow the transit corridor projects. The real time savings is in bus stop removal and they know it. How can they test for red lane efficiencies when they combine them with bus stop removal. They test for each element separately to determine the effects of each process.

Bridge Tolls Will Finance Two Parking Projects

By Bay City News Service : sfgate – excerpt

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday committed $9.3 million from bridge tolls for new commuter parking projects in Alameda County, according to the agency.

Bridge tolls were raised $1 under Regional Measure 2 approved by Bay Area voters in 2004 to finance highway and transit improvements, MTC officials said.

MTC designated $7 million of the $9.3 million to help fund the construction of a new parking garage near the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. Their $7 million commitment supplements $20 million in state funds and another $7 million in vehicle registration fee money for the 537-space garage, according to the MTC.

Construction on the garage is expected to begin next spring, with the opening scheduled for mid-2021…(more)

SFMTA: New Central Subway Director to Reassess Schedule

Hello Everyone, Anyone reading Federal PMOC Reports, over the last year(s), would have seen ominous construction conditions—masked by rosy SFMTA forecasts. Remember that the recent testing/ commissioning of new LRV & BART trains had long delays. And the Central Subway requires testing/ commissioning/ training for complex systems, stations, trains, operations, maintenance and more. Regards, Howard

SFMTA: New Central Subway Director to Reassess Schedule

https://www.sfmta.com/blog/new-central-subway-director-reassess-schedule

Once construction is completed, we will begin testing to ensure that the tracks and other systems are fully integrated with the Muni system and ready for service. This includes integrating the automatic train control systems, radio and data communication systems, overhead lines, and customer information systems, ensuring that all of these aspects work for our two different types of light rail vehicles (Breda and LRV4). Like most major infrastructure projects, the Central Subway is incredibly complex. Accurately predicting a completion date is always a challenge, and there are always risks that can delay a project or add unanticipated costs…

New Central Subway Director to Reassess Schedule

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Today, the SFMTA announced plans to undertake a comprehensive review of the Central Subway budget and schedule. The review will be conducted by the Central Subway Program’s new director, Nadeem Tahir, who joined the agency on July 15. It is expected to take approximately six weeks to complete and will identify a revised start date for service as well as evaluate the expected budget impacts of the delay.

Central Subway

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San Francisco’s plan to deal with Chase Center traffic? Give every ticket holder a free Muni day pass

By Liz Kreutz : abc7news – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The new home of the Golden State Warriors, Chase Center, is just months away from opening in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, but traffic in the area is still a concern.

As part of an effort to curb the inevitable added traffic around the new arena, the city of San Francisco and the Warriors have teamed up to create a new plan — give every Chase Center ticket holder a day pass to Muni.

“We want people to take public transit to Chase Center, so we’re making it affordable and easy to do so,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “This breakthrough agreement demonstrates the commitment by both the City and the Warriors to get people out of their cars so everyone can easily get to games and concerts.”… (more)

Embattled SFMTA director to join city of Oakland’s staff

By Hannah Norman : bizjournals – excerpt

After nearly eight years leading the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin has found a new job across the bay as Oakland’s assistant city administrator.

“I look forward to joining the city administrator’s team and helping to advance the work of equitably, professionally, and compassionately serving the needs of the people of Oakland,” said Reiskin, who will start his new role Aug. 26, in a statement.

Reiskin’s last day heading up the SFMTA will be Aug. 14, and Tom Maguire — who currently serves as the SFMTA’s director of the sustainable streets division — will be the agency’s interim director as its board of directors conducts a national search for a full-time replacement.

The move comes following a particularly delay-riddled April day, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed pressured Reiskin to step down after underground rail service was suspended for hours due to a mechanical failure… (more)