SFMTA needs new leaders, says LGBT Dem club

by Matthew S. Bajko : ebar – excerpt

Leaders of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club are calling on San Francisco Mayor London Breed to replace longtime board members overseeing the city’s transit agency.

In a January 6 letter the club sent to Breed, Alice co-chairs Gina Simi and Eric Lukoff wrote that “now is the time for new leadership on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors.”

They called on those members serving for four years or longer to “step down to make room for new leadership and members who frequent Muni — and are therefore familiar with the system and would have more of a stake in the agency’s success.”

They applauded Breed for sending SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin a letter in July, shortly after taking over Room 200 at City Hall, expressing grave concerns with how the agency was being run. But they noted there has been “little follow up” since… (more)

Send your comments to the source and write the mayor and your supervisors to suggest the changes you would like to see on the SFMTA Board and let them know how you feel about Ed Reisikin. Contacts are changing with the new Board. Watch this page for updates: https://sfbos.org

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BART Warns Commuters About 3-Year Cuts To Early Morning Service

By Holly Quan : kcbsradio – excerpt (in cludes audio)

OAKLAND — Early morning commuters are getting an early warning from BART that starting in February the first trains won’t start rolling until 5 a.m., an hour later than now.

The schedule change will affect commuters for the next three and a half years as the transit agency conducts seismic retrofitting of the Transbay Tube.

Roughly 3,000 riders regularly use BART during the hour of service that’s poised to be eliminated… (more)

One of the best reasons to not vote for any more transit bonds is to avoid these cutbacks. The more money they get the worse the service is.

Career Briefs: Sonali Bose, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’

By

 

• Sonali Bose, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s director of finance and information technology, has retired. During her tenure, she raised the SFMTA’s credit rating to be the highest of any transit agency in the country. She oversaw a new parking program that adjusts rates at meters and garages to match demand. She helped fund the biggest increase in Muni bus and rail service that San Francisco has ever seen and increased the revenue from the agency’s advertising contracts from $400,000 to $30 million. Bose helped beef up Muni service by 10 percent, replaced the buses and light-rail vehicles, boosted the workforce from 4,000 to 6,000 employees and doubled the budget… (more)

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)

Eva Chao for BART Director 2018

Dear SaveMuni members and friends,

For a variety of reasons San Francisco needs strong representation on the BART Board.  Given the constant pressure from the eastern and southern parts of the Region to put extensions of BART service to their areas ahead of properly operating and maintaining the core system, strong San Francisco representation on the BART Board is now more important than ever

BART Board District 8 covers the  northern, western and southern parts of San Francisco.  At the 10/15 Save Muni meeting we heard from the five District 8 candidates…all earnestly trying to win the seat.  One candidate stood out.  Eva Chao is smart, serious, independent and has clearly been doing her homework about BART.  Most of the input from the other candidates centered around ideas familiar to every newspaper reader or, in one case, pie-in-the-sky subway-building fantasies.  What was particularly impressive about Ms. Chao’s approach was her independent and thoughtful responses to important BART operational and financial issues.

Her campaign needs are not huge, but she needs financial help and other indications of support.  Please help her to get elected.  Send checks and endorsements  to:

“Eva Chao for BART Director 2018”
Mailing address:   9460 TEGNER ROAD, HILMAR, CA 95324
Or, you can donate on-line, https://evaforbart2018.org/home

This is an important race.

Regards to all,

Jerry Cauthen

We support Eva Chao for District 8 and all the other BART Board candidates who are interested in running the BART transportation system instead of getting involved in other enterprises such as construction projects. BART has enough on its plate without taking on anything else. It is so close to being a good transportation choice it just needs a few tweaks to make it better.

 

Where the SFMTA’s Prop. A money has gone

By Will Reisman : sfexaminer – excerpt from April 14, 2013

Prop. A, five years later: The second part in a two-part series explores where funding from Proposition A has gone since voters passed the initiative in 2007. It was intended to give the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency more control over revenue from parking meters and off-street lots to put toward the Transit Effectiveness Project. It appears that money has been put toward other uses...

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages Muni, is projected to collect $31 million in revenue this fiscal year from Proposition A, a ballot measure passed in 2007. Prop. A gives the agency more control over revenue collected from parking lots and meters, and the money is supposed to go directly toward the Transit Effectiveness Project, a long-awaited plan to improve Muni service.

However, funds have been directed to areas that seemingly have ambiguous links to transit service, according to records obtained by The San Francisco Examiner…

Overall, the funds will pay for 217 transit agency employees at a cost of $23 million. Along with funding these positions, Prop. A revenue will go toward a new dump truck and 50 Go-4 Interceptors, the small vehicles used by parking control officers…

Paul Rose, a spokesman for the transit agency, defended the expenditure plan.

However, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who advocated for Prop. A in 2007, said the funds are being misspent.

“We gave the SFMTA and its commission unparalleled authority and took away oversight from the Board of Supervisors,” Peskin said. “But it has been a failure because the SFMTA has simply not used the money properly. I think it’s time to put oversight of the funds back into the elected officials who represent Muni riders.”

Quentin Kopp, a retired Superior Court judge and also a former board president, called the expenditures an expropriation of taxpayer funds…(more)

Wonder how Peskin feels about dealing with the SFMTA now. Of course he has his hands full with the Leaning Tilting Sinking Millennium Mess and the Transbay Terminal Terminal.

Hopefully someone on the Board of Supervisors will find the time to hasten the restructuring of the SFMTA Board that just killed the taxi industry, and is doing everything in their power to hand over control of the streets to their corporate buddies, Lyft, Uber and the rest of the disruptors.

Protesters Block Google Bus Near San Jose State University

cbslocalexcerpt (includes video)

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A group of protesters blocked a bus carrying tech workers near the San Jose State University campus Thursday.

The demonstration happened on the 100 block of E. San Salvador St. near Fourth St. outside a parking garage.

KCBS Radio reported the protest was the first tech bus protest in San Jose and directed at Google, with protesters dressed in hazmats suits saying the company is “toxic.” The demonstrators say they are opposed to Google’s plans for a new campus near in San Jose…(more)

It has finally happened. SF residents have been protesting against the disruptive tech buses for months and now the protests are starting at the other end. We’ve been wondering how the residents near the campuses are dealing with them. Now we know. These exclusive carriers are only appreciated by the the riders who enjoy the perks. This in-your-face opulence is fanning the anti-gentrification flames around the Bay. The corporate takeover of the streets is not going to be smooth.

RELATED:

Monday, October 29, 1:30 PM
Room 250 City Hall – Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Meeting
Who will get to drive in the Red Lanes? SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin, is handing the decision on whether or not private tech buses will use the Red Lanes to the Supervisors. Don’t miss your chance to comment on who can use the Red Lanes.

CPUC fines BART $1.3 million for worker deaths during 2013 strike

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfeaxminer – excerpt

California regulators preliminarily fined BART $1.3 million Thursday for “safety failures” that led to a train striking and killing two BART workers in 2013.

Those deaths came amid a heated BART strike that brought the transit agency to a grinding halt, as workers picketed for better wages and increased safety procedures… (more)

Muni operators tell assault stories, plead for safety

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

They’ve been vomited on, spat on, beaten, sucker punched, shot with fire extinguishers, and threatened with murder.

Now Muni operators have had enough.

The men and women who help ferry more than 700,000 people in San Francisco every day, and night, aboard buses and light rail vehicles have come forward to tell their tales of assault, in the hopes of compelling The City to do more to keep them and the riding public safe. Those operators were gathered by their union, Transport Workers Local 250-A and its president, Roger Marenco… (more)