Supes send message to transit agency board by ousting director

By Jerrold Chinn : sfbayca – excerpt

Supervisors say they are sending a message to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors by ousting Director Cristina Rubke.

The board voted 6-5 Tuesday against Rubke’s reappointment — Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Sandra Fewer, Matt Haney, Dean Preston, Shamann Walton and Aaron Peskin voted in dissent…

Peskin, who plans to introduce a charter amendment next week that would restrict the SFMTA board authority, said:

“The only check and balance that we have really comes through the nomination and confirmation process and I think that sending a message not only to the MTA commission… but to other commissions, that when the duly elected Board of Supervisors comes up with a policy urgence, that policy urgence really must be heeded.”…(more)

GM Quietly Working On Launching its Robo Taxi Service in San Francisco

By Eric Waltz : futurecar – excerpt

Since General Motors acquired San Francisco-based autonomous driving startup Cruise Automation in 2016 for $1 billion, the two companies have been laying the groundwork and testing autonomous technology for a commercial launch of a robo taxi service using an autonomous fleet of Chevy Bolt EVs. Now, more details of the project have been revealed.

Automotive News has reported that Cruise installed 18 fast EV chargers in a parking facility near San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a bustling waterfront district popular with tourists that includes Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building Marketplace. GM’s self-driving car unit has been testing its own ‘Cruise Anywhere’ ride-hailing app and fleet-management system, said people familiar with the matter.

GM is planning to start its own ride-hailing business using self-driving cars outfitted by Cruise in 2019, but the company has remained silent on when the robo taxi service would start or whether it will work with a partner. Now it appears that San Francisco will be the first launch city.

(more)

Interesting that they picked the Embarcardero area to develop their “driverless taxi service”. I was just down at the Embarcadero Center and almost all of the the retail spaces are empty. Most restaurants, shops and bars seem to have closed. All the street parking was taken up by construction trucks. Is this the future of our humanless city? Empty robocars driving around in search of a human rider? A better question is, has the SFMTA signed a contract with GM to launch a progam in SF without bothering to inform us yet? And how does the voting public take away their pen? I this another PUC product? How does the voting public take away the state’s right to control local affairs?

TEP (Transportation Effectiveness Project) Who Benefits

Hi Mari and Everyone:

RE:  TEP ORGANIZING
SFMTA is rushing TEP community meetings to push MTA Board, Board of Supervisors and Mayor approvals—for the $500 million Bond Measure on the November 2014 Ballot.  The Bonds will include funding to implement the TEP.

SFMTA MEETING CALENDAR:
http://www.sfmta.com/projects-planning/projects/tep-transit-effectiveness-project

MTA Board Meetings on TEP are March 14, 9am and March 28, 8am.
Though public comments at community meetings and written comments are good, personal stories at the MTA Board Meetings are critical—especially if the District Supervisor stands with his community’s concerns.

The best protest model has been protectors of the 3-Jackson Bus, who have spoken at community meetings with support of their Supervisor, Mark Farrell.

Generally, SaveMuni does not find the TEP to be a citywide integrated transit plan – eliminating neighborhood connectivity and damaging future transit drawing-power.  SaveMuni’s response letter to the Mayor’s Transportation Task Force’s funding recommendations has touched on these concerns.  We’ll likely start a wider campaign after our initial meetings with Supervisors.

SaveMuni.com’s March 17 regular meeting should focus on the TEP – inviting everyone who has concerns – although mobilization is needed now.

Regards, Howard

Central Subway: Muni’s Drilling Plan Strains Credulity

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

When news broke that the city is holding the bag for the tens of millions of dollars the America’s Cup Organizing Committee hasn’t raised, Supervisor John Avalos gave an impassioned lamentation. “I was fucking played. All the members of the Board of Supervisors were fucking played,” he wailed. “I am totally fucking ashamed.”
This showed remarkable candor — but not remarkable foresight. Every city official tasked with adding numbers and looking at contracts had warned of this exact scenario. SF Weekly and other newspapers had done the same, repeatedly, in 2010, 2011, 2012, and this year too. Decision-makers may or may not have been played, but they were certainly informed.
One can only predict the impassioned lamentations due to be inspired by the Central Subway. Over the past decade, a bevy of reports and articles have revealed the bizarre logistics for the proposed Muni line to Chinatown — and, potentially, beyond — could actually reduce passengers’ ability to get to their desired destinations in a timely fashion. In that time, the project’s price tag has jumped from around $647 million to some $1.6 billion, while anticipated daily ridership dropped from 100,000 to an optimistic 2012 estimate of 35,100. In 2007, Muni reported that the subway would be a net gain, reducing Muni’s operating and maintenance expenses by $23.9 million. In 2010, that number was glumly revised: The subway is now expected to eat $15.2 million in yearly O&M costs — siphoning resources away from a perpetually underfunded system.
Last year the Wall Street Journal labeled the subway “a case study in government incompetence and wasted taxpayer money.” So, decision-makers have been informed. And we’re building this thing anyway…. (more)

Joe is not afraid to tell it like it is. Leave your comments on the sfweekly.com article.