SF's only Independent Transportation Think Tank

Transportation professionals, neighborhood activists and Muni riders 
working to find common sense solutions to City transportation issues

What is SaveMuniSF?  People often ask us about SaveMuniSF  
and what it does. SaveMuni was established in early 2010 as an all  
volunteer, non-profit organization in order to help find ways of improving Muni.  For the first three and one half years of its existence, the group devoted itself primarily to pointing out the fatal flaws in the Central Subway project and to trying to head off a gargantuan waste of local, State and federal funds. (For more about the Central Subway click here.)

Since mid-2013, SaveMuniSF has turned its attention to San Francisco's existing public transit systems...especially Muni...and how to make them better.   This has produced many ideas geared to bringing Muni up to its full potential in terms of operations, maintenance and financial viability. (See below).  It is our desire to work closely with like-minded civic, business, labor, environmental, neighborhood and governmental organizations to achieve this objective.  In recent weeks SaveMuniSF has joined with others in opposition to Proposition A. (See opposite column). Read more here


        18 Positive Steps to a better Muni                   

Unlike an outlying suburban area, San Francisco is a densely built-up city requiring a highly efficient public transit system. When Muni falters, the lives of its 700,000 daily riders and 60,000 reliant small businesses are immediately impacted.  Because of its fiscal and operational problems, Muni is currently unable to provide an adequate amount of reliable service to the riders of its 75 existing bus and rail lines. Until something changes, beleaguered Muni riders will continue to experience a system continually plagued by excessive delays, gaps in service, breakdowns and frequent over-crowding. 

Given these factors, there is an immediate need to change the SFMTA's current way of doing things. As indicated above, fixing the system will take street changes, operations and maintenance improvements, working rule changes and capital priority adjustments. 

Along with virtually every Muni rider, we look forward to the day when
Muni is consistently providing optimal service to its patrons and would-be patrons. Here are 18 ways of getting to that point. Read more here

Westbay Transportation Conflicts 
Fester for over a Decade
(updated May 31,2014)   

No where is the lack of Bay Area regional transportation leadership more evident than in the chaotic interplay of the transportation agencies struggling to coordinate their activities along the San Francisco/Caltrain Corridor.  
Read more here.

BART's Oncoming 
Transbay Capacity Crunch
(updated May 31, 2014)
BART's ridership is projected to rise from its current level of over 400,000 riders a day to 700,000 riders a day or more by 2040.  This increase will severely overtax BART's transbay section, which is already overcrowded during certain hours of the day.

To delay the inevitable, BART plans to remove a substantial number of seats in order to make room for more standees and bicycles.   Despite these measures BART is projected to run out of transbay carrying capacity by about 2030, at which time the lack of adequate passenger rail service between Oakland and San Francisco will begin to constrain the economies of the Central Bay area.  Read more here.

Extending Caltrain, Critically Important to San Francisco, the Peninsula and the Region
(Updated September  28,  2014)
Four traffic lanes enter SF from the North, five from the East and 18 from the South.  Unsurprising, MTC shows 280,000 cars a day as entering SF from the South, almost 50% more than from the two bridges combined.

In order for Muni to operate effectively, the streets of San Francisco must be cleared of some traffic.  One excellent way of doing this would be to give northbound Peninsula drivers a faster and more comfortable way of getting here.

This need makes extending Caltrain into downtown San Francisco the City's No. 1 transportation priority.  Squeezing out cars, buses and emergency vehicles by building obstructions into city streets is a short-sighted and ultimately ineffective way of cutting traffic.  Giving people better options should be the first choice.  And getting Caltrain downtown should be the first choice of both San Francisco and San Mateo County.  

When Caltrain is extended into the heart of the Financial District, adjacent to 10,000 units of new transit-oriented housing and linked conveniently to the Market Street subways, San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center will become one of the most important transportation hubs in North America.  As such, it will be a boon to San Francisco, the Peninsula and the Region.  Back in 1999, by overwhelming vote, the people of San Francisco signaled their understanding of the importance of the Downtown transit extension (DTX).  There are hopeful recent signs that San Francisco Officialdom has now picked up the thread. 

A Mello Roos District is being set up to require the property owners whose real estate values have soared as a result of the publicly-financed new infrastructure to pay back a portion of their gains to help get Caltrain extended.  Despite a spate of back-room pressure emanating from a gaggle of lobbyists and attorneys working on behalf of two huge property owners, City officials, led by Mayor Lee, have refused to reduce the Mello Roos tax rate below the appropriate level.  As is probably obvious, the municipal objectives should be:

        a.)  to establish the Mello Roos District without further delay, 

        b.)  to require benefiting property owners to pay their fair share of the Mello Roos taxes being collected to help complete the project and     
        c.)  to avoid other actions designed to delay or impede DTX.

If you haven't already done so, please let your Supervisors and Mayor know the importance of this issue.  This is one all San Franciscans can get behind.    


Understanding Prop. A  is as simple as ABC

A Blank Check!

Vote NO on SF Proposition A
(Updated August 29, 2014)

Weasel Words: Unlike most bond issues, Proposition A does not allocate dollar amounts to identified projects. Nor does it provide mandates or cost breakdowns. Instead, it lists every transportation benefit imaginable, and then says: “projects to be funded under the proposed Bond may include but are not limited to....” This language gives the SFMTA license to spend $500 million dollars pretty much as it pleases.

Can the SFMTA be Trusted to spend 500 million dollars prudently? Not if the recent past is any guide. Throwing billions of dollars at this agency certainly hasn't produced much in the way of Muni benefits.

Failure to Meet Service Requirements:  In 1999, Prop. E created the SFMTA with more funds and a 85% schedule adherence mandate, which it has never met.  In fact, since 2006, Muni service has deteriorated.  Bus speeds have dropped, crosstown runs cut, night time service slashed, 7 bus lines eliminated, 22 lines shortened and vehicle maintenance deferred. 

Failure to Control Costs:  SFMTA's current cost control system is in a shambles.  This is nothing new.  An independent assessment of the SFMTA, conducted for the Supervisors in 2011, found that the SFMTA seldom if ever met its project budgets.  The cost of the Central Subway has soared, from $647 million in November of 2003 to $1.6 billion today, and it's still rising.    

Proposition A Slapped Together by Amateurs: As written Proposition A fails to:

    o  restore the Muni service eliminated during the last 8 years

    o  prepare Muni to accommodate San Francisco's oncoming population
        and employment growth

    o  ease the peak period crush in the Market Street subway

    o  put SFMTA's financial house in order 

Instead of a well thought-out, long range program, the SFMTA promises to spreads $500 million around to assorted unrelated projects in response to the clamor of assorted benefiting groups.

A Better Way:  Let's tackle San Francisco's transportation difficulties in a serious manner.  Send the SFMTA back to the drawing board!   

Vote No on SF Prop A

For another view of what's wrong with Prop A, go to:

Saying No!  

Supposing you had a son who gets failing grades in school, can't manage his allowance and consistently fails to keep his promises. 

Assume further that he tells you he needs $500, but when asked what he is going to do with it, refuses to provide any specifics.  Instead he gives you a list of harmless-sounding items that he says he might spend it on.

If you as a parent would be willing to ignore your son's track record and give him the $500 under such circumstances, you are just who the SFMTA is looking for.  As a SF voter you will be asked to help SFMTA planners spend $500 million pretty much as they please.

Vote No.

Mayor's TTF Misses the Mark 
(Updated August 29, 2014)

Early in 2013 Mayor Edwin Lee announced the formation of a 46-person Transportation Task Force, convened to develop a long range transportation plan for San Francisco.   The intent was to convince voters to pass a General Obligation Bond Issue, extend the 1/2 cent transportation sales tax and increase San Francisco's Vehicle License Fee.  This was expected to raise a total of $2.955 billion, which was to be spent over the next 20 years on assorted projects selected by the Task Force.

Unfortunately the Task Force was comprised mostly of inexperienced individuals brought in to help win support for next November's ballot measures rather than pursue sound transportation planning.  Read more here. 

A Critique of the SFMTA's TEP
(Updated December 26, 2013)
SaveMuni has completed an analysis of the SFMTA's Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP).  While TEP is clearly the result of significant investigation and hard work, it unfortunately fails to address many of San Francisco's most critical transportation problems.  For a summary of our findings read more here.

The Central Subway, 
SF's Gravina Island Bridge 


Remember when they were telling you that the subway would be tunneled and therefore hardly noticeable?


Fast Forward to Sept 29, 2014:  SF Chronicle:...It may have been the most fashionable meeting ever held at City Hall — as representatives of Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Barneys New York, Dior, Bulgari and Arthur Beren Shoes met Wednesday with Mayor Ed Lee to tell him that the Central Subway construction was killing some of Union Square’s best-known high-end stores.

At issue is the tearing up of Stockton Street to make way for the Union Square Station — and the loss of parking, deafening noise and dust from the heavy machinery that go along with it. Combine those with narrow and often unlighted walkways in front of the stores, and customers are staying away in droves.

Lee promised a personal look at the situation, but overall the news was not encouraging.

Attendees tell us that the funniest (and saddest) moment came when Muni’s representative at the meeting told the merchants that “you only have to endure two more seasons” of disruptions.

“Do you mean winter and spring?” asked Steven Kay, an attorney who is working with the merchants.

“No, we mean two winter seasons in addition to this one coming up.”

To learn more about the Central Subway and how it was sold to an unwitting public through grossly distorted claims about cost, ridership, trip times and construction impact, click here.