Fast and cheap: Getting Caltrain to Transbay Terminal … this year

By Stanford M. Horn :sfexaminer – excerpt

It needn’t take a $2.5 billion tunnel construction project dragging out more than seven years to get Caltrain extended to the new Transbay Terminal. That goal could be achieved in 99 percent less time, at 99 percent less budget. In fact, the project is so simple that it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks or months to build, involving no new structures taller than a cantaloupe or excavations deeper than a watermelon. In short, there need never be an embarrassing white elephant along downtown Mission Street because trains would be running on the terminal’s first day under the interim solution proposed here. When the permanent tunnel is completed, in 2025 or so, service would be switched there… (more)

Steve Kawa, Mayor Ed Lee’s chief of staff and longtime City Hall power broker, to retire

Changes coming soon…


By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

City Hall photos by Zrants

Lot’s of retiring going on at City Hall this week. Many are wondering why and what this will mean to the continuing reign on Ed Lee.

The man who has acted as City Hall’s most influential behind-the-scenes power broker for three consecutive San Francisco mayors is stepping down from his post at the end of June.

The retirement of Steve Kawa, 55, often referred to as the shadow mayor, was officially announced by Mayor Ed Lee in an email to his staffers on Thursday afternoon…

Named as Kawa’s successor is Jason Elliott, who has been serving as the mayor’s deputy chief of staff. Elliott first joined the Mayor’s Office in 2009 as Newsom’s policy advisor, after working for Newsom’s failed campaign for governor, and stayed on to work in Lee’s administration.

For the Lee administration, Kawa marks the…

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SMART riders ponder North Bay-to-San Francisco by train, bus and ferry

By Derek Moore : pressdomocrat – excerpt (includes revised schedule)

The dream of making excursions to San Francisco from the North Bay aboard a train, or venturing north from the city to Wine Country, is closer to reality with the looming start of passenger rail service, but current timetables for the train, ferry and a connecting shuttle indicate riders will have to be adaptable.

While the focus since Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit released its schedule last week has been on commuters — the rail agency’s bread and butter ridership — another key component of service is linking people to San Francisco via the Larkspur ferry.

North Bay residents and others across the Golden Gate, have been looking at SMART’s new timetable to see if it will work for them…

(Revised schedule)(more)



These are the 5 biggest Bay Area transportation infrastructure projects

by Judy Cooper : bizjournals – excerpt (includes a slide show)

  1. Transbay Terminal/Caltrain Downtown Extention Phase 1 : $2.26 billion
  2. BART Railcar procurement program : $2.03 billion
  3. Caltrain Electrification : $1.98 billion
  4. Muni Third Street Light Rail Phase 2 Central Subway : $1.58 billion
  5. Toll Bridge Rehabilitation Program : $892.09 million

With San Francisco traffic congestion recently ranking as the fourth worst in the world and one poll showing 70 percent of locals are willing to pay higher taxes for a solution, it’s safe to say many Bay Area residents are fed up with their commute.

Several large-scale transportation infrastructure projects aim to alleviate some of that frustration. In this Friday’s issue of the San Francisco Business Times we spotlight the 25 biggest transportation projects underway in the region.

Projects on the List are ranked by total cost. All together, the top 25 projects are valued at some $14.1 billion combined. Data for the List was obtained from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission(more)

House Spending Bill Includes $100 Million for Key Caltrain Project

By Dan Brekke : kqed – excerpt

A House appropriations bill proposed this week as part of a package to fund federal government operations through the end of September contains what could be a welcome surprise for Caltrain.

Legislation from the House appropriations subcommittee on transportation includes $100 million for the Peninsula commuter railroad’s planned electrification of its route from San Jose to San Francisco.

It’s far from certain, however, that Caltrain will get to spend the money. Congress has yet to vote on the bill including the electrification funding — a project that has faced unanimous opposition from the 14 Republicans in California’s House delegation. And even if Congress approves the legislation and it’s signed into law, the transit agency will receive the funds only if the Trump administration signs off on a $647 million grant agreement that’s been on hold since February.

“It’s not a done deal, but it’s good progress,” said Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew. She added: “We still have a long way to go.”…

Chao has until June 30 to decide on the grant. That’s also the deadline set in Caltrain’s agreements with contractors for work to begin on the electrification project… (more)


Bill Would Permit Use of Bullet Train Bonds for Caltrain Upgrade

AB1889 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, would change the wording of previous legislation to approve selling the bonds to pay for upgrades to Caltrain, which for years has been included as part of the plan to build a California high-speed rail system… (more)

Did AB 1889 pass and will the legislature choose to use the funds this way?

New Beta site for SFMTA

After months of complaints about the difficult, non-user friendly experience in accessing information on the SFMTA web site and the lack of true public outreach and transparency in operating procedures many of us have experienced in dealing with the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, we discovered a new beta web site under development. Check it out and see what you think.

SFMTA is accepting feedback and questions. If you have any feel free to contact them.

SF OpenData is here. It appears to include a lot more city data.

So far we see:

At least some SFMTA Board resolutions are now searchable by referencing particular details, such as project classification, or a specific location. We look forward to additional details such as date of proposed implementation, progress reports and completion date.

There were two maps last I looked: One of disable parking spots and one of temporary tow-away zones. The latter seem to out0-numer the former by a large margin. Limiting those temporary two zones could go a long way toward solving the double parking problem.

Resolutions appears to be the history of all the detailed little street alterations they take up at engineering hearings. This one starts in 2010. Seems to end at 3/7/17. Hopefully they will get enter the FUTURE actions soon, as those are the ones most people need to know about.
This includes video of meetings where supposedly these changes were discussed.

Now we meed to how this will work on future projects.

‘Shell knew’: oil giant’s 1991 film warned of climate change danger

What Shell knew and when


by Damian Carrington and Jelmer Mommers : theguardian – excerpt (includes video)

Public information film unseen for years shows Shell had clear grasp of global warming 26 years ago but has not acted accordingly since, say critics

Film warned of climate change ‘at rate faster than at any time since end of the ice age’   What Shell knew about climate change in 1991(more)

The oil giant Shell issued a stark warning of the catastrophic risks of climate change more than a quarter of century ago in a prescient 1991 film that has been rediscovered.

However, since then the company has invested heavily in highly polluting oil reserves and helped lobby against climate action, leading to accusations that Shell knew the grave risks of global warming but did not act accordingly.

Shell’s 28-minute film, called Climate of Concern, was made for public viewing, particularly in schools and universities. It…

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SF installs diagonal pedestrian crossing at dangerous Chinatown intersection

Meter Madness

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez: sfexaminer – excerpt

After more than a year of repeated protests, San Francisco has installed full “pedestrian scramble” safety engineering improvements to a busy intersection in Chinatown.

Kearny and Clay streets, where 77-year-old Ai You Zhou was struck and killed while crossing the intersection in 2015, is the latest spot in The City to receive the pedestrian engineering treatment, which replicates pedestrian crossing patterns in China… (more)

It can take a while, but both pedestrians and drivers like scrambles. They are the least confusing and the most safe of any crossing process in the traffic “tollbox” and we would like one at 16th and Mission as well. How log will it take to get one there?

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BART ridership slumps; board mulls service cuts, fare increases

By Erin Baldassari : eastbaytimes – excerpt

OAKLAND — Despite crush-loads of passengers during peak commute times, the number of people riding BART is actually falling, forcing the transit agency to begin tough conversations about how to make up for lost revenue.

After six years of growth, staff anticipated a similar increase in the number of riders during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which began July 1. Instead, the agency is reporting that ridership through December was 5.2 percent below what it projected. Weekend trips took the hardest hit, coming in at 9 percent lower than projected, compared with 4.2 percent for weekday trips.

In January this year, for example, weekday trips were down a little more than 4 percent, and weekend trips were down slightly more than 2 percent, compared with the same month last year. Ridership figures vary month by month, but BART staff said they are seeing a decline in the total number of riders opting to take the trains… (more)

Put the seats back on the BART cars if you want to compete with trains, taxis and Ubers! No one wants to stand on a moving vehicle. Why is BART considering service cuts, seat removal and fare increases if they are losing riders? Why would people want to stand on BART?.

It is one thing to convince yourself that you are perfect, but another to convince the public that they can trust you. BART needs to ask the public what they want instead of forcing changes they don’t want. The trains still have seats last I heard and they are comfortable seats or were the last I remember. Given the choice I would take the train.

Legislature should reverse BART’s deceit of voters 
BART says it needs more money because weekend ridership is down


About Mobility Hubs

metrolinx : excerpt (includes graphics)

What is a Mobility Hub?

In The Big Move, the Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), one priority calls for “a system of connected mobility hubs” that provides travellers with seamless access to the regional transit system, supports higher density development, and demonstrates excellence in customer service.

A mobility hub is more than just a transit station. Mobility hubs consist of major transit stations and the surrounding area. They serve a critical function in the regional transportation system as the origin, destination, or transfer point for a significant portion of trips. They are places of connectivity where different modes of transportation – from walking to biking to riding transit – come together seamlessly and where there is an intensive concentration of working, living, shopping and/or playing.

Mobility hubs have great potential to help transform the region and reinforce provincial policies as laid out by the landmark Greenbelt Plan and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The hubs will be centres of activity, attracting opportunities for live, work, and play, that are connected to the rest of the GTHA through reliable, rapid transit. This potential can be achieved with the successful integration of land use and transportation planning, committed private sector partners, strong stakeholder engagement and a common vision for the future…(more)