Ballot Debates Sponsored by Save Muni

SaveMUNI will meet on Monday, August 15 at 5:30 (via Zoom, link below).  Join us for the first, and perhaps the o0nly, debate about the re-authorization of the 1/2 cent sales tax for transportation that will be on San Francisco;’s November ballot.  Zack Deutsch-Gross from SF Transit Riders will be supporting the measure and Larry Marso, attorney and economist, will be opposing.  Bring your questions.

We will also be considering taking action on Supervisor Connie Chan’s resolution to urge the MTA Board of Directors to remove third party dispatch from its taxi upfront fare pilot program.

Please feel free to share this invitation with your friends and neighbors.

Bob Feinbaum, President, SaveMUNI

Meeting Links:

Via Computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6377599629?pwd=WTlWS1RjcWpoc3VERVhWNkozZkNtUT09

One tap mobile +12133388477,,6377599629#,,,,,,0#,,1234#

By Phone: +1 213 338 8477 

Meeting ID: 637 7599629   

Passcode: 1234 

Transit First Policy – Driving is a Bad Thing.

You have to go back to the foundation – namely, the foundation for San Francisco’s “transit first” policy, that driving is a bad thing… always

Transit is “good,” therefore, the City should be doing everything it can to get people to shift from driving to transit.

The problem is, of course, is that it impossible to make transit work much better for the vast majority of trips, so, for transit to be more competitive (actually, somewhat less non-competitive) with driving, the only option (other than throwing ever-more incredible amounts of money at transit with both hands) is to make driving worse.

This has two major factors, cost and time – and, time IS a cost.  For cost, increase the price of gasoline, mainly through higher taxes, but also by requiring every-“cleaner” fuels; high prices for parking, tolls, VMT charges replacing (or on top of) cents/gallon, etc.  As to time, make sure that you never, never, never add any road capacity – in fact, take it away – reduce speed limits, advocate “complete streets” (which, by design, are much slower), and reducing parking, which will force longer walks.

There is pretty solid consensus that there are two things that could work – and HAVE worked – to reduce travel time and traffic congestion, and, interestingly enough, they can actually be used in a complementary manner, rather than either/or.  One is various types of congestion charges and the other is really pushing remote work/education/shopping/social/etc.  MTC is pushing hard on Express Lanes, which is a logical step towards total vehicle-miles traveled/congestion charging for all roads/all lanes, which I generally support, but, from long experience, I am VERY scared at how MTC and the other players could screw this up.  I will give MTC staff credit, they worked very hard to put in a major requirement for remote work and were about to get the Commission to approve it – until two major power players got together to get the big city mayors to veto it.  One anti- group was the big developers, because, it half the people who are now in offices don’t do that any more, the need for new huge buildings is going to take a hit.  The other was the Bay Area transit agencies, who argued that the loss of riders would do them great harm.

Think about that last one – NOT do harm to people who need to make connections, who would sign on from home rather than drive or take a bus, train, or ferry, just stay at home.  No hour or two a day in travel, no payment to do that travel, obviously reduce GHG and other emissions quite a bit, but harm to the transit agency.  They’d have to lay off people, get rid of vehicles – my heavens, that could even lead to lower taxes!!!

(No, that would never happen, of course.)

Tom Rubin

Letter from Supervisor Mar to SFMTA

Mar objects to the plans SFMTA has to stop the L-Taraval Line at West Portal forcing riders to get off and switch to a bus line to access downtown. Mar writes:

“We’ve been negotiating with SFMTA in good faith for months to preserve full-route service for the L-Taraval. They have made no effort to meet what I feel is a reasonable request, and intend to move forward with their plan to end L-Taraval bus service at West Portal, beginning tomorrow, requiring all riders to disembark and transfer to make an ordinary downtown trip. I believe this plan is inequitable, and the process leading to it potentially unlawful, and yesterday I sent the attached letter to SFMTA leadership again requesting they change course.”

Read the letter : 22-07-07 Mar Letter to Tumlin

Life without Muni presents hardships for seniors and disabled residents

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

…San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency cut the 31-Balboa in April, along with Muni rail and all but 17 bus routes, in order to manage its budget crisis and balance limited operator availability with declining ridership demand.

The resulting Core Service Plan concentrated limited resources on transit-dependent residents while prioritizing access to life-giving and life-saving destinations like food and hospitals for The City’s neediest, including older adults and the disabled, according to spokesperson Erica Kato…(more)

Here is an idea, instead of pushing a sales tax to keep the Caltrain afloat, the city could cut their spending on non-Muni projects and concentrate on designing a Muni system that works for he people who need it. Let the train, bike lanes and traffic control go for a while and take care of the Muni.

Mayor names trans woman to SFMTA board

by Cynthia Laird :ebar – excerpt

ayor London Breed on Thursday appointed Jane Natoli to a seat on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors, making her the first out trans person to serve in that capacity.

Natoli, 39, had run for a seat on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee in March but came up short in that effort.

SFMTA is a city department that’s responsible for all ground transportation. It has oversight of Muni, as well as bicycling, paratransit, parking, traffic, walking, and taxis. It is led by Jeffrey Tumlin, a gay man hired by Breed in November.

In a statement to the Bay Area Reporter, the mayor said Natoli would be an effective director… (more)

“Natoli is a financial crimes analyst at tech company Stripe, and previously was a financial crimes consultant at Wells Fargo bank. She also ran an unsuccessful campaign this March to join the San Francisco Democratic Party board, garnering 14,894 votes in the state’s 19th Assembly District, which encompasses roughly half of San Francisco.” – Joe Fittzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer



COVID-19 Developments & Response

By SFMTA online: https://www.sfmta.com/projects/covid-19-developments-response

COVID-19 Developments & Response
We are closely monitoring what is happening with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please continue to check this page for the latest updates…

Muni Service: Please do not ride Muni if you are feeling ill, except as necessary to seek medical care after consulting with your medical provider. We’re also asking customers to only take Muni for essential trips that can’t be made by walking, biking or other modes of transportation.

Backdoor boarding is now required on all vehicles, except for passengers in wheelchairs or with other accessibility needs. If you need assistance, please request to board from the front door and an operator will help you access the ramp or the kneeler.

Muni bus service is currently running a reduced schedule:
Get details on which Muni routes are currently affected

Due to changing ridership, and in order to prioritize resources during the shelter-in-place order, the following additional service changes will be implemented:

Current Muni Service Modifications

Monday, April 6

  • Customers should prepare for delays across the Muni system both Monday and Tuesday. We expect to be below necessary staffing levels to provide adequate service. This gap will cause missed runs and delays that may not be accurately reflected in digital predictions. Please do not make trips unless they are essential. If you need to make an essential trip, plan to use other options or allow extra time when riding Muni.

Beginning Tuesday, April 7

  • Service will be temporarily discontinued on seven routes that are experiencing low ridership or have nearby lines that provide similar service and connections.
  • Routes to be discontinued include: 2 Clement, 3 Jackson, 5 Fulton, 7 Haight, 10 Townsend, 21 Hayes and 31 Balboa.

Beginning Wednesday, April 8

  • Service will be further reduced; remaining service will focus on our 17 most-used lines. This core network will provide service within one mile of all San Franciscans. This approach allows Muni to continue to serve San Francisco’s medical facilities and focuses on equity to ensure service for our customers most reliant on transit. The frequency of buses will vary by line so that lines experiencing some crowding will have more frequent service than others.
  • The 17 core routes that will remain in service, with some modifications include: N Judah Bus, L Taraval Bus, T Third Bus, 1 California, 8 Bayshore, 9 San Bruno, 14 Mission, 14R Mission Rapid, 19 Polk, 22 Fillmore, 24 Divisadero, 25 Treasure Island, 29 Sunset, 38 Geary, 38R Geary Rapid, 44 O’Shaughnessy, 49 Van Ness/Mission
  • More information on these service changes is on our blog

Map of service starting Wednesday, April 8

Paratransit

Paratransit service continues to operate as normal so that customers can travel for essential needs as defined by the Public Health Order. We ask riders to cancel any non-essential trips. If you are a paratransit customer and you need to cancel a previously scheduled SF Access trip, please call 415.285.6945 as soon as possible.

Effective Wednesday, March 18, the SF Paratransit Office will operate with limited capacity during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.). Teller window hours are subject to change.

During this time, reduced staffing will be available to accept cash payments for monthly taxi debit card allotments only.

Parking Enforcement

Effective on Tuesday, March 17 for the duration of the shelter-in-place order, the SFMTA will not ticket for mechanical street cleaning. Street cleaning tickets issued on March 17 will be waived. However, it is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding. Please still move your car for street cleaning if you can.

Enforcement will also be temporarily suspended for the following:

  • 72-hour parking limit and towing
  • All time limit parking (e.g., 1-hour, 2-hour, etc.)
  • Residential Permit Parking (RPP) permits
  • Commuter shuttles
  • Peak-hour towaway zones
  • Street cleaning

The SFMTA will prioritize enforcing parking rules that impact health and safety:

  • Fire hydrant zones
  • Red and yellow zones; and “No Stopping” or “No Parking” zones
  • White passenger loading zones, except in front of schools while they are out of session
  • Blocked driveways, double parking and parking on sidewalks
  • Parking in bike or transit lanes

Parking Meters: Given the significant shifts in parking demand, the city is implementing a temporary rate change for all parking meters citywide beginning on March 18 through the period of the Public Health Order. Time limits are also being waived on meters citywide, and is expected to be fully implemented by March 29.

By Tuesday, March 24, all meters will be reduced to their base rates through April 7:

  • $0.50/hour for vehicle parking
  • $0.10/hour for motorcycle parking

We are maintaining a minimal fee to ensure there continues to be turnover around essential services, such as grocery stores, medical facilities and banks.

Parking Garages

To minimize risk to the public and our garage staff, the SFMTA has closed some city-owned parking garages and limited others to monthly pass-holders only. We are prioritizing maintaining access to garages that are near essential services like medical facilities or markets.

The following garages will be closed to the public until further notice:

  • Golden Gateway Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Ellis-O’Farrell Garage (call 415-765-9069 for assistance)
  • Moscone Center Garage (call 415-765-9069 for assistance)

These garages will be open only to monthly pass holders:

  • Japan Center Annex Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Performing Arts Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Kezar Lot (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • 16th and Hoff Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Lombard Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • 7th and Harrison Lot (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Polk-Bush Garage – monthy pass holders with 24/7 access only (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)

The following garages are currently open to the public:

  • Zuckerberg General Hospital Garage
  • St. Mary’s Square Garage
  • 5th and Mission Garage
  • Sutter and Stockton Garage
  • Union Square Garage
  • Civic Center Garage
  • North Beach Garage
  • Vallejo Street Garage
  • Pierce Garage
  • Portsmouth Square Garage
  • Japan Center Garage
  • Mission-Bartlett Garage

Taxis and Ramp Taxis

Taxi services continue to operate as an essential service. ​Individual taxi companies are following best practices to minimize the risks of transmission. To request a taxi you can continue to hail them in the street or at the nearest taxi stand. You can also search the taxi directory or the wheelchair accessible ramp taxi directory for links to apps and contact information. During this time, the Emergency Ride Home program provided by official taxis will continue for individuals who work in San Francisco and are fulfilling essential job functions.

Taxi Drivers: Please note the Taxi Services Window is closed until further notice. Please see our website for more information or call 415.701.4400

Bikeshare and Scooter Share

We are deferring to operator discretion as to whether they continue to operate, and ​sharing best practices with them to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus. Please visit the websites and apps of the individual companies for more information on availability during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place.

Fines and Fees

Until further notice the SFMTA will take the following the actions:

  • Suspend new late penalties on citations
  • Extend deadlines for submitting citation protests
  • Extend citation/boot/tow hearings deadlines – you may request 48-hour tow hearing at hearingsgeneral@sfmta.com or call 415.503.8453
  • Extend deadlines for active community service programs
  • Extend deadlines for completing active payment plans
  • No longer forward additional delinquent citations to the Department of Motor Vehicles or Special Collections

Fares

No Lifeline passes will be sold for the months of April and May. Lifeline IDs, regardless of the monthly sticker displayed, are valid as proof of payment.

Customer Service Center

Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Customer Service Center at 11 South Van Ness Avenue will be temporarily closed.

Get info on how to access SFMTA services(more)

1 killed by Muni train at bus stop in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley

abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Police and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) are investigating a deadly accident involving a Muni train in San Francisco.

The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning on Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale Avenue and a man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials say while the train was stopped and waiting for the light at the last stop, a man on the platform approached the train and tried to open the doors.

“Preliminary information indicates that the deceased sat on the couplers between two LRV cars while the train was stopped,” police said in a news release. “He fell underneath the second car of the train once it started moving again.”

When the operator started to turn the train around, the man fell off the platform and the second car of the train hit him… (more)

Safety Expert Says Muni Dragging Incident is About More than Faulty Doors

: streetblog – excerpt

The operator’s main job in the Market Street tunnel is to make sure it is safe to proceed. Either the new trains have serious blind spots or the operator didn’t do that.

Earlier this month, a woman whose finger was caught in the door of a new Muni train was dragged and badly injured at the Embarcadero Station. Recriminations are focusing on the doors, which apparently don’t always properly reset when a small object obstructs them from fully closing.

The city has responded by delaying funds for additional car purchases. According to a statement from SFMTA, they will be locking the rear doors on the new Muni trains so that “…operators can focus on seeing passengers entering and exiting the single doors nearest to them which adds a level of safety vigilance.” The agency also wrote that they “…want to remind customers to avoid holding the doors open in any way.”

But focusing solely on the doors, according to a safety expert and others familiar with transit operations, misses a larger issue…

 “Muni has a broken safety and operational culture if it allows a train operator to drag a woman who has her hand stuck in the door.”…

“Riders deserve to understand what went wrong and what’s being done to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Hyden. “We need Muni to take responsibility and be clear about any changes needed in management, oversight, training, maintenance, procedures, or testing.” (more)