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.

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)

 

‘Eroding the Confidence’: SF Mayor Breed Blasts Muni Officials For Flawed Service

By Sam Brock : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

Mayor Breed Balsts Muni Officials

One day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the Muni director in a letter, accusing him of “eroding the confidence” of riders in the system, the mayor took a ride on Muni and continued her criticism.

Breed said Tuesday you can’t push people to use public transportation and then have the transit not work. From widespread delays in service to the recent death of a construction worker, Breed said she’s fed up, and her concerns are echoing through City Hall… (more)

She not only complained about the Director, she blames the entire department and seems to be threatening the SFMTA Board as well for the lack of confidence in Muni. Hopefully she will appoint a strong new Board member to “shake things up”. Send her your suggestions.

 

The Crazy Idea of Running Caltrain onto Muni’s Tracks

: streetsblog – excerpt

Maybe it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds

A little over a week ago, the San Francisco Examiner ran the Op-Ed: “Fast and cheap: Getting Caltrain to Transbay Terminal … this year.” Author Stanford Horn proposed extending Caltrain via Muni’s T/N tracks on King Street and building some more tracks on Howard Street to a platform at the new Transbay Terminal, as a stop-gap measure until the DTX tunnel is built

Horn’s assertion, that it would be such a simple project that it could be connected up in a few weeks or months, is as silly as it sounds. As Noel Braymer, editor of the Rail Passenger Association of California newsletter wrote: “Oh dear God, where do I begin! There is no way that the Federal Railroad Administration will allow Caltrain equipment to share tracks with much lighter rail transit trains. The reason is, in the case of a collision Muni cars would be crushed if hit by Caltrain!”

To point out another obvious problem: although the track gauge is the same, Caltrain’s rolling stock is wider than Muni’s. Since Muni uses high-level platforms, that means if you plopped a Caltrain onto Muni’s tracks, it would crash into the platform. Furthermore, Caltrain’s equipment would likely derail on Muni’s track switches. Horn’s piece was savaged in the comments section as totally unworkable… (more)

Muni Fare To Increase Again July 1, Caltrain Considering Fare Hike Too

If you’re a Caltrain rider who would like to voice your frustration with (or support of!) the proposed fare increase, the commuter rail line service will have staffed tables at 11 different stations tomorrow, Tuesday, May 23, to gather your feedback. Additionally, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board will have a public meeting on Thursday, July 6 at 10 a.m. at the Caltrain Administrative Office in San Carlos. You don’t even have to be present at the meeting to speak up, because Caltrain is taking comments online and via email at changes@caltrain.com.

But as for Muni riders, that 25-cent fare increase is a done deal and going into effect July 1, 2017 regardless of your feelings on whether the fare’s fair…

 

Transit crisis in San Francisco

Op-ed by By Gerald Cauthen : sfexaminer – excerpt

Joshua Sabatini provides a nice summary of what The City’s transportation planners want to do to reduce traffic congestion in San Francisco. The problem with their plans is that they won’t work. What is being proposed is akin to trying to fly an airliner using just the ailerons. What’s currently in vogue in San Francisco illustrates what’s wrong with City Hall’s response to its growing transportation crisis.

Most transportation planning are left to people who are well-intentioned but inexperienced. As a result, the proposed solutions tend to be half-baked and over-simplified:

“San Franciscans drive too much; we must walk more.”

“The restraints on parking will ease traffic.”

“More people should ride Muni.”

“We need more bicycle lanes.”

All of these warrant discussion and consideration, but none come even close to fully addressing the real problem. If people are to leave their cars at home, there will have to be non-automotive travel alternatives that work. Here are some considerations that tend to get shoved under the rug:

• Good decisions are not made by the seat-of-the-pants. One has to ask: What works; what doesn’t? What has been shown to work elsewhere? What is cost-effective? What are the alternatives? These essential elements of good planning tend to get lost in a seemingly endless series of politically inspired “bright ideas.”… (more)

On housing policy, is everything really “going to be OK?”

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

NOVEMBER 24, 2015 — In a recent Chronicle Open Forum (November 20, “We Can Resolve Housing Crisis With Teamwork”) Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director of SPUR, penned an oddly argued, personal, upbeat exhortation about how our affordable housing crisis is going to be solved if we just understand that “its going to be OK.” He says we can take his word for it: “I want to say to everyone already here, as compassionately as I can, is that its going to be OK.” He says that if we “take taller buildings,” “take more transit,” and “make room for more people” “it’s going to be OK.” That’s pretty much the sum total of his argument.

It seems clear that Metcalf’s reason for directing his remarks to “everyone already here” is that so many of us simply do not agree that under current development policy, strongly urged by Metcalf’s organization, SPUR, that “everything is going to be OK” for the obvious reason that everything, now and in the recent past, has not been “OK” and it’s clear for all to see which is why Metcalf’s musings are so odd. In the same edition of the Chronicle that his article ran — November 23 — three stories made this point.

A new market-rate development at Van Ness and Market will have only 20% of its units affordable to current San Francisco residents; the city is scrambling to find a short term $200 million “bridge loan” to continue the construction of the Transbay Terminal while having no idea how to finance the additional $2.5 billion to move CalTrain and other commuter transit service to the facility; and a front page report measures how the “Awful Commute is Getting Worse” in the Bay Area as the working class is priced out of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose ( “all three are dynamic and growing” says the rather breathless Metcalf) and must commute, by car, from Tracy, Stockton and Ripon…

San Franciscans correctly understand that the housing crisis we face is one of affordability, that housing affordability is dependent on household income and that household income, for San Franciscans, is often dependent on the ability of local businesses to continue to be located in San Francisco. The three go hand in hand and are, all three, dependent on a system of informed local land use policy that integrates the three (see Section 101 of the San Francisco Planning Code, drafted by the people and made law by the passage of Prop M in 1986 ).

That’s what the six ballot measures on this November’s ballot were mainly about: housing affordability and jobs for San Franciscans. What Metcalf calls for is the disaggregation of local land use policy (“we need to make some different planning decisions”), centered not on the needs of San Franciscans but for “waves of new arrivals” even as the “new arrivals” of yesterday are being displaced and evicted today!…

We need a comprehensive development policy that places housing in its true social context, that protects and enhances our neighborhoods, communities and businesses, that preserves space for the arts, the very young and the very old. To do that will produce real social change that will preserve and enhance a city not only for us but all in the world who, like us, yearn for such a place to live.

Calvin Welch teaches classes in the development history of San Francisco at USF and SFSU. He was a founder of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and the Council of Community Housing Organizations... (more)

 

SFMTA to increase Muni fares and fines starting next month

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU and wires) — The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced a fare and fine increase on Monday, which will start next month.

On July 1, select cash and Clipper fares, as well as some major fees and fines will increase, SFMTA officials said.
ktvu – excerpt

The discount cash fare for persons with disabilities, youth and seniors will increase from 75 cents to $1.

Adult “A” monthly fast passes for Muni and BART within San Francisco will increase from $80 to $83. Adult “M” monthly fast passes for Muni only will increase from $68 to $70.

Monthly Muni passes for persons with disabilities, youth and seniors will increase from $24 to $25.

The Lifeline monthly pass for low-income residents will increase from $34 to $35.

A single cable car ride ticket will increase from $6 to $7.

Lastly, a school coupon booklet worth 15 Muni tickets will increase from $11.25 to $15, according to agency officials.

In addition, fees, fines and rates that will also see an increase include parking, transit and taxi fines and late penalties, neighborhood parking permits, contractor parking permits. Fines for parking in color curb zones and during temporary street closures, special traffic permits, boot removal, auto towing and storage, special collections, service vehicle rental, parklet installation, parking meter use, sign posting and various taxi permits will also increase, SFMTA officials said… (more)

Muni Forward Open Houses

by Rachel Hyden

This year we resolve to make your commute easier. From pedestrian safety improvements that make it safer to walk to transit priority projects that improve Muni reliability, Muni Forward is all about making it easier and safer to get around town.
To kick off 2015, we’re hosting two open houses to share our proposed improvements for the 22 Fillmore and 30 Stockton. Join us to learn more, engage with SFMTA staff, ask questions and share your thoughts!
Your feedback is important as we work together to improve Muni.
Muni Forward January Open Houses
6 – 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14
Marshall Elementary School
1575 15th Street, San Francisco
Can’t make it? Take our project survey!
6 – 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28
North Beach Library
850 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Can’t make it? Take our project survey!
These open houses may be the first of 2015, but we’ve got plenty more in store this year. Stay in-the-know about all things Muni Forward by signing up to receive email updates, or follow us on Twitter @MuniForward.
Comment often.

The Case Against Prop A

Prepared by Save Muni – savemuni.com

Proposition A, a $500 million General Obligation transportation bond issue, will be on
the November 4th San Francisco ballot. The cost of Prop A including interest
payments would exceed $1 billion. This huge bond measure should be rejected.
Here’s why:

It Imposes a Large Tax Burden on San Francisco
taxpayers: Prop. A could result in significant hikes of property taxes and rents.

It Provides No Effective Oversight: There is no indication
in the Prop A Ordinance of who would be running the program or who would be
assuring effective oversight. Neither management nor oversight is defined.

Weasel Words: Unlike most bond issues, Proposition A does not allocate
dollar amounts to identified projects. Instead, the measure lists every transportation
category imaginable and then tells us that the projects “may include but are not
limited to the following….”. This language gives the SFMTA a virtual blank check.

Has the SFMTA Earned such Trust?

crowdedMuni
Throwing billions of dollars at this agency hasn’t worked in the past. Why should
things be any better this time?
In 1999 Prop E called for the SFMTA to keep its buses and trains on schedule at least
85% of the time. Today’s compliance rate is 60.6%. Despite the SFMTA’s sky high
annual budget ($978 million in 2013), Muni service has deteriorated. Since 2006, the
SFMTA has eliminated or reduced cross-town runs, slashed neighborhood and night
time service, eliminated 7 bus lines, shortened 22 lines and deferred vehicle
maintenance. If Prop A passes, its “Transit Effectiveness Program” (TEP) would make
additional cuts to pay for new service in selected “high-use” corridors.

SFMTA’s Cost-Control System is in shambles:
This is nothing new. In 2011 the SF Supervisors’ CRG Report concluded that the
SFMTA has been historically unable to meet its capital budgets. The cost of the
Central Subway has already soared from $647 million in November, 2003, to $1.6
billion today. According to a courageous whistle-blower and the Fed’s Oversight
Consultant, the SFMTA’s cost control system remains in disarray and its Central
Subway is headed for a major, as yet undisclosed additional overrun.

Slapped Together by Amateurs: Prop A’s “plan” is not a plan
at all. Instead of putting the most important things first, Prop A’s promoters promise to
spread funds around in response to the clamor of assorted special interest and
benefiting groups. Virtually no attention has been paid to:

  • bringing Muni service and vehicle maintenance up to standard
  • dealing with SF’s anticipated growth and the resulting strains on Muni
  • easing the peak period crush in the Market Street subway
  • putting SFMTA’s financial house in order
  • proceeding based upon an integrated citywide transportation program

A Better Way: San Francisco should tackle its serious transportation
problems seriously. $500 million in new transportation capital, if allocated prudently
and spent effectively, could result in many significant improvements. Before
launching a huge new spending program, let’s get it right. Vote No on Prop A. Tell
City Government to get its priorities straight and come back with a plan that works.
For more information, see: http://noontransportationbond2014.com

Prepared  SaveMuni

Download flyer: http://sfenuf.net/Media/NoOnA.pdf