(Exerpted from SF Bay January 21, 2015
Seniors and disabled Muni riders weren’t the only ones benefiting from a better financial picture for San Francisco’s transportation agency over the next two fiscal years.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors are moving ahead with a 7% Muni service increase, additional funding for cleaning Muni vehicles and eliminating telephone and online transaction fees charged for making a citation payment to the SFMTA.
The board last April included all of these programs in its two-year budget last year, which included free Muni for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, but was contingent on how the transit agency’s financial health looked like this month.
In a report (presented to the SFMTA Board at its regular meeting on January 20th), the transit agency said it would be able to financially support the increase in Muni service and the additional funding to hire more staff to clean Muni vehicles of graffiti and tagging.
The transit agency projects higher revenues (from) transit fares, parking fees and fines and also (from) more funds from The City because of current (improving) state of San Francisco's economy.
The 7% increase in Muni service approved Tuesday by the SFMTA Board follows a 3% increase approved last April.
Muni riders will begin seeing some of these service increases starting January 31st, including the launch of Muni’s new 55-16th Street route and increased frequency on the 44-O’Shaughnessy line. A soft launch of the new route is set for January 26th, according to SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin.
The SFMTA said the rest of Muni 'new service will be phased in starting this Spring and continuing during next Fall and Winter.
Transit officials also approved an additional $1.8 million for the SFMTA to hire additional staff to increase the cleaning intervals of Muni vehicles. Of the $1.8 million, the transit agency dedicated $600,000 through the current fiscal year and $1.2 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
The transit agency also got rid of its $2.50 transaction fee charged to people who pay their citations from the SFMTA online or by telephone, which will take effect on May 1.
19 Positive Steps
to a better Muni
(updated January 21, 2015)
SF Mayor Calls for
Second BART Tube
(January 20, 2015)
(updated January 20, 2015)
Heavily influenced by a massive pro-Prop A spending campaign, the San Francisco voters approved Prop A on November 4, 2014. Prop A authorizes San Francisco's government to sell $500 million in transportation General Obligation bonds. Including interest on the bonds, Prop A will cost the tax payers of San Francisco over a billion dollars.
According to the Mayor's Transportation Task Force Report and the colorful flyers and brochures distributed to help sell Prop A, much of the proceeds will go to street enhancement and new bicycle facilities.
Unfortunately virtually none of this $500 million in new funding will be used to address San Francisco's most pressing transportation problems; namely
o positioning Muni to keep up with San Francisco's oncoming population and employment growth (plus 34% and plus 29% respectively by 2040 according to the Mayor's Transportation Task Force),
o getting buses and LRV's jammed with riders out of traffic congestion,
o easing the peak period crush in the Market Street subway,
o extending Caltrain into downtown San Francisco, therefore giving 280,000 daily Peninsula motorists a classier and less troublesome way of getting into the city,
o putting the SFMTA's financial house in order.
Given the vague language of Prop A, SFMTA still has a choice. It can continue to follow the lead of the Mayor's inexperienced Task Force of 2012/13 and consequently waste much of the $500 million raised by Proposition A.
Or it can address San Francisco's most pressing transportation problems. How SF's government responds to these problems is crucial to the future of San Francisco.
A Critique of SFMTA's TEP
(Updated November 8, 2014)
According to the colored flyers and brochures hyping Prop A, most of the money that does go to Muni will be used to implement 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 HERE.
SF's Transportation Task Force Misses Mark
(Updated October 29, 2014)
Given Prop A's vague and noncomital language, about the only clue we have as to how $500 million might get spent is embodied in the Mayor's Transportation Task Force (TTF) report released in late 2013. The TTF was comprised of 46 individuals, 17 of whom were answerable to the Mayor and another 10 or more of whom represented downtown interests. Allegedly this group was going to develop a long range transportation plan for San Francisco, but things didn't turn out that way. Instead the group, only a tiny handful of whom had any discernible experience in either transportation or the problems of Muni, worked hard at spreading nice-sounding things around so as to pick up as many votes as possible. Lost in the shuffle was the attention that should have been paid to San Francisco's most critical oncoming transportation problems and what to do about them. Read more here.
From Silk Purse to Sou's Ear
(Updated January 21, 2015)
Remember when we were being told that the tunneled Central Subway would be "out-of-sight, out-of-mind"?
That was in the Fall of 2013. Fast forward to the Fall of 2014.
Here's what the SF Chronicle had to say on the subject on September 29, 2014:
"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 ongoing tearup 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...."
When asked how much longer Union Square would be torn up by the Central Subway project, the SFMTA representative ruefully acknowledged that it would affect "two winter seasons in addition to this one coming up.”
Central Subway -
SF's Gravina Island Bridge
(updated December 11, 2014)
Beginning in 2008, the SFMTA begain publicly promoting the idea of building a 1.1 mile subway from Byrant Street to the southern part of Chinatown. In its campaign, the SFMTA systematcially used exaggeration, selective use of data and distortion of the facts to make the new subway seem as attractive as possible to an unwitting public.
To learn more about the Central Subway READ HERE.