Transit Mixed reviews for Muni’s plan to get on track

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The summer’s Muni meltdown has cooled off, but bus service still hasn’t met The City’s on-time targets, data released Friday shows.

The City’s transportation agency is still struggling to hire enough drivers to operate Muni bus service, but has managed to resolve its self-described “pipeline problem” bringing existing train operators up to speed on its new light rail vehicles, transportation officials said Friday.

As first revealed by a San Francisco Examiner investigation in July, a confluence of circumstances resulted in a shortage of bus drivers, leading to a city-wide service slowdown. Just as more drivers were needed to operate additional buses to compensate for the Twin Peaks tunnel closure, Muni’s training division was tasked with bringing existing train operators up to speed on newly-purchased and badly-needed light rail vehicles… (more)

 

Advertisements

Patience Wearing Thin

Politico – excerpt

The chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee called Thursday for the resignation of Dan Richard, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s board of directors, and for stronger legislative oversight on development of the bullet train after a scathing audit was released this month, reports POLITICO’s Angela Hart…

Richard responded Thursday evening: “Today, Vice Chair Tom Richards and COO Joe Hedges had a productive dialogue with members of the Legislature. Our primary focus remains continuing to improve this transformative project – the biggest job creator in the Central Valley in decades – we are proud of our accomplishments, always open to constructive advice, but have no need to respond to errant and uninformed attacks.”

Looks like this blame thing is going around. All kinds of mistakes are surfacing as the politicos attempt to shift the problem to a person and not their concept or system that is not performing as they would like. Could anyone have made this turkey fly?

This is being hailed as the “biggest job creator in the Central Valley”. And here we thought it was supposed to replace the need for air traffic between SF and LA. If the intention is to create jobs, the High Speed Rail must be a big success.

Maybe the better use of taxpayer funds would be to move the businesses to the Central Valley where the workers need jobs and housing is not a problem. Moving jobs where they are needed solves three problems: Jobs, housing and transportation and the corporations can pay for construction of the new offices and building, saving the taxpayer billions in expenses.

Airports Take A Hit As Uber And Lyft Rise In Popularity

By Helen Storms : inquisitr – excerpt

Uber, Lyft, and other similar transportation services are transforming the way people are traveling this holiday season. If you’ve had to take a flight recently, your first thought upon touching down was likely how to get out of the airport as quickly as possible. In the past, taking a cab was most people’s best option. That is, if they didn’t want to opt for public transportation. Now, Uber and Lyft is becoming the most popular way to escape the chaos of major airports. This is likely due to the convenience that these types of services offer. No more standing out in unpleasant weather trying to hail a cab. With this new technology, you can have a driver waiting to pick you up the minute you land. However, according to Wired, this new trend is causing a multitude of issues for airports… (more)

Looks like the Uber Lyfts are have taken on more than just the taxis. They are competing the old fashioned way, by cornering the market and the CPUC is helping them complete against the government entities by removing them from government regulation. Removal of government regulations has a familiar ring to it.

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)

Red Lane Amendments and Efforts to Stop the Corporatization of our Streets

After months of letters, comments and neighborhood pushback against many elements of corporate takeover of our streets and public spaces, many people who shocked by the announcement that some of the Red Lanes in the city are open to use by private enterprise vehicles, such as tech buses, private shuttles, and any vehicle that carries more than 10 riders, based on the definition of a bus.

Supervisor Fewer, among others, scheduled hearings on the use of the Red Lanes that were re-scheduled a couple of times, and reset for early December. As many people were preparing for those meetings, we got the news that recent developments at the Land Use and Transportation Committee may have made those hearings unnecessary.  November 5, 2018, Aaron Peskin aide, Lee Hepner, introduced Amendment 18-862, that was passed unanimously to the Full Board by the Land Use and Transportation Committee:

Ordinance 180862 – Ordinance amending Division I of the Transportation Code to establish a procedure for Board of Supervisors review of Municipal Transportation Agency decisions related to Bus Rapid Transit projects that do not include transit-only areas or lanes for Municipal Railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit vehicles; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The tape of the meeting is below, go to Item 6: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/player/clip/31749?view_id=10&meta_id=642988

As a matter of introduction Mr. Hepler described the areas of concern that are under the purview of the Board of Supervisors, though they are not being added to this amendment at this time.

This is a paraphrased transcript of the meeting:

Within the text of Prop A, there is a provision that allows the Board of Supervisors to enact an ordinance that gives the Board the option to review SFMTA decisions regarding various curb space decisions, bicycle lanes, traffic mitigations and measures etc…

Background information:  Supervisors Peskin and Safai co-sponsored Ordinance 180089, to enact that review provision regarding curb use. That ordinance expressly exempted certain projects from review that were determined to be public interest projects, such as bike lanes, curb modifications for street sweeping, and bus rapid transit projects.

This new ordinance is taking on elements of the Bus Rapid Transit Projects that are not clearly defined in the code and providing guidance as to the scope of the board’s review authority of these projects. This proposal expresses this board’s desire to promote Bus Rapid Transport projects that are generally designed and implemented to further public transportation reliability.

The amendment clarifies the Board of Supervisor’s policy preference. The board would not review BRT projects that are designed for public transportation use, but would take review of BRT projects designed for use by private commercial shuttles, tour busses or other modes of private transportation that might actually impede the flow of public transportation.

The proposed amendment… replaces the words, “bus rapid transit project” with “bus rapid transit project that includes transit only areas or lanes for municipal railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit Vehicles.”

SFMTA appears to have collaborated on this. The amendment passed to the full Board of Supervisors as is on the agenda for the November 13 Board of Supervisors meeting. We had no notice, but, this appears to be going through rather rapidly. In this case, that may be a good thing.

Who is focusing on transportation issues when the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is focused on Housing?

Might that explain the multiple mistakes being made on large Bay Area regional transportation systems?

video and comments by Save Marinwood

MTC’s director Steve Heminger tells Damon Connolly of Marin County that funding will be based on the total number of housing units produced and not scaled to the jurisdiction size. “Some cities may never receive housing funding” This is a huge worry for most of the 101 cities in Plan Bay Area. They will be taxing all of us but only the “chosen” will receive the housing grant money. See the complete meeting https://youtu.be/oM0G31kNccA It is time for Plan Bay Area and the MTC to be dissolved… (more)

NOTE THE TITLE OF THE ORGANIZATION AND THE SUBJECT MATTER. Why is the Metropolitan Transportation Commission concerning itself with housing? Who is working on transportation while the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is working on housing? Why don’t they just call themselves the Metropolitan Housing Commission and let another organization deal with transportation only? If this bothers you, take it up with your local government and your state legislators.

Starting at 1:21 on the tape Heminger says, ”We’re trying to encourage the construction of housing, whoever can do it, large or small. I do think that probably gives an advantage to large cities, but, to the extent that we are trying to get people housed, I think we need to worry about getting them housed, not about where the house is.” 

If the goals of MTC are changing to address the state housing crisis, there should be a public conversation about this.

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.

CA: Safety the Top Priority in BART Board Race

By Erin : masstransit – excerpt

Oct. 17–Rider safety topped the list of priorities for all 12 candidates vying for a seat on BART’s governing board this November.

The concerns over safety come on the heels of a spate of high-profile crimes, including the July stabbing death of 18-year-old Nia Wilson, as well as a 70 percent increase in the number of aggravated assaults over the past four years, which the candidates cited as a major factor for the decline in the number of people riding BART.

The candidates fall largely into three camps when it comes to their approaches to stemming crime: those who want more police officers patrolling stations and trains, those who want more civilian ambassadors serving as the “eyes and ears of the system,” and candidates who are looking for some combination of the two…(more)

Read the details on each candidate. It appears the choice over parking is a big one in the East Bay, where incumbents support more housing and challengers want more parking. How much time should BART officials spend on non-BART issues is another big one. Comments welcome.