Posts Tagged ‘Muni’

Uh Oh: The “Parking Angels” App is Coming – Something Like This Could Cost the Corrupt SFMTA MUNI DPT a Lot of Money

Monday, August 4th, 2014

What’s this, a way for people to band together against our corrupt SFMTA?

You tell me, Gentle Reader

Hey, what would you do if you knew you were spilling tens of thousands of gallons of petroleum into our San Francisco Bay?

Our SFMTA had a question like this. It failed. Oh well. See below.

Guess what, our SFMTA now wants you to vote yourself a rent increase in order to give it more money. You’ll have your chance to vote on it November 4th, 2014.

Ah memories:

SAN FRANCISCO (November 2, 2009) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking action against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency following federal violations of the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

On the page:

Overview and Location of Facilities

The City and County of San Francisco is a municipality organized under the laws of California that operates the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“SFMTA”) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (“SFPUC”). The SFMTA operates a diverse fleet of trolley cars, street cars, light rail, alternative fuel vehicles and 495 diesel buses that are serviced and re-fueled at facilities owned and operated by the SFMTA. The SFPUC provides water, wastewater and municipal power services.

Between November and December 2005, approximately 940 barrels (39,488 gallons) of red dye diesel fuel were discharged from one of the Municipality’s underground storage tanks (USTs) at the John M. Woods Motor Coach Facility (Woods Motor Coach Facility). The diesel spread through a piping system into a storm drain, through wastewater collection piping to a pump station, into Islais Creek and eventually San Francisco Bay.

The discharge was caused by a ruptured hose. The leak continued for several days, as sensors, flashers and alarm reports and other leak indicators were ignored. This failure by SFMTA to comply with federal requirements for the management of USTs resulted in the release of diesel fuel and Clean Water Act discharge and pretreatment violations.

After this spill, EPA conducted inspections at several of SFMTA’s facilities and identified violations of EPA’s spill prevention regulations at three of them: Flynn, Kirkland, and Marin.

The five facilities covered by this settlement are in the City and County of San Francisco:

  • Woods Motor Coach Facility – 1095 Indiana Street
  • Flynn Motor Coach Facility – 15th and Harrison Street
  • Kirkland Motor Coach Facility – 151 Beach Street
  • Marin Fuel Stand – 1399 Main Street
  • Southeast Water Collection System Pump Station”

A Case Study of SFMTA’s Controversial “MUNI-COMMUTER” Shuttle Program: The New Stops at Hayes and Clayton

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Here’s what things looked like on August 1, 2014 at a MUNI bus stop that just debuted as a new “commuter shuttle” stop:

I think MUNI meant to say MUNI/COMMUTER SHUTTLES instead of MUNI-COMMUTER SHUTTLES, but who knows.

Note that the small print advises those with Concerns or Complaints to go to Hell call 311.

Here’s the place, on Hayes at Clayton:

Things were pretty sedate around here before the shuttle program began. (Yes, Hayes is a thoroughfare, as it has the 21 Hayes bus line but that bus doesn’t run as much as the nearby #5 Fulton just to the north or the lines on Haight just to the south.)

Anyway, some of the area NIMBYs are upset, so they started a direct mail campaign and they posted fliers about.

Like here on this rather dirty building, which lost some paint when the fliers came down cause the tape they used was extra strong oh well:

So that’s it – life here is pretty much the same as far as I can tell. I’ve jogged past these two stops, the inbound and the outbound right across the street from each other, four times now, during times when I know that there are hundreds of people milling about the 415 / 628 waiting for dozens of shuttles, and I haven’t seen nothing.

Perhaps the NIMBYs were wrong? Perhaps all good and bad points about life in the 94117 will remain unaffected?

We’ll see.

Word on the Street: “Don’t Leave Behind Valuables In Car!” – I Think This Message Should Come From Anybody BUT the SFPD

Friday, August 1st, 2014

JMO*

Click to expand    

Good advice tho.

*Of course, the SFPD has to deal with the SFDA and the SFDA has to deal with the famously-lenient SF jury pool… 

Will This Fall’s Half-Billion Transit Bond Allow Your Landlord to Raise Your Rent, Costing You Thousands? – “Pass-Throughs”

Friday, August 1st, 2014

I don’t know.

But check this out:

“Ordinance calling and providing for a special election to be held in the City and County of San Francisco on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, for the purpose of submitting to San Francisco voters a proposition to incur the following bonded debt of the City and County: $500,000,000 to finance the construction, acquisition, and improvement of certain transportation and transit related improvements, and related costs necessary or convenient for the foregoing purposes; authorizing landlords to pass-through 50% of  the resulting property tax increase to residential tenants under Administrative Code Chapter 37…”

All right kids – you do the math. Start with $850,000,000 and divide that up among the denizens of the 415 / 628.

I don’t know how to do that but when I tried, I came up with a $30 a month rent increase for you, Gentle Reader, for the next 7-10 years.

Would the average landlord take the trouble to do a pass-through? IDK. I’m thinking the typical rent-controlled renter in SF doesn’t have to deal with pass-throughs currently. But maybe this big old honking bond would be the trigger for a wave of passthroughs?

Here’s what former SFGov employee Howard Wong has to say:

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The SFMTA wants more money, certainly. But the question is what will the SFMTA do for us in order to get the money, right? Otherwise, we’re just shoveling more coal into a broken-down machine. Why not use the bond as a carrot to get the SFMTA to reform?

Perhaps our SFMTA doesn’t deserve this bond?

Anyway, if I were promoting this bond, I’d figure out what the odds are that landlords would pass through 50% of the burden and also how much rents would be increased, on average, and for how long. And then I’d say, well this is what the SFMTA is going to do with your money and this is how much it will cost you, the renter, or you, the owner.

Is this massive transit bond a good idea?

I don’t know.

A Few Issues with the New Traffic Signals on Masonic Paid for (and Influenced by?) Target Stores

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Get up to speed here and here.

I passed by O’Farrell and Masonic a couple times the other day, so I’m noting what I noticed.

This pedestrian appeared to become irate both at the unorthodox delay she had for the green and at the driver of the orange Scion car for turning left on a yellow:

If SFGov wanted to engage in pedestrian calming, it would adjust the left turn time for traffic on southbound Masonic.

Next up is this driver, who hung a U-turn on a red light since it looked like there was no traffic coming east on O’Farrell. There’s no way that’s legal:

Here’s the prize – the quite small lower level lot of City Target West:

Hey, I know that Target paid for a couple traffic signals on Masonic, but perhaps there could be some adjustments? Perhaps we could just eliminate U-turns on southbound Masonic at O’Farrell? I mean, northbound traffic on Masonic has no chance to getting to nearby Trader Joe’s, right? So why should we bend over backwards for people driving to Target?

Moving on, down the street to quiet Ewing Terrace, where the brand new lights have just been turned on. It seems that all traffic on Masonic has to stop at random times even though nobody wants to cross Masonic? Why is that?

In most places outside of SF, there’d be a pad to detect the presence of a car coming out of the cul-de-sac and buttons for peds. Shouldn’t we be doing it that way instead? Mmmmm… These red lights for no reason delay MUNI buses, right? I seen it. Perhaps in the near future this signal will be able to detect the approach of a bus and then not turn red for no reason? We’ll see…

Amazingly, the Corrupt SFMTA Gives the SFBC Money to Say that the Corrupt SFMTA Needs More Money

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Republican Sean Walker is financing a ballot proposition this fall and the SFBC is not amused:

Despite an official “Transit-First” policy in San Francisco, biking, walking and taking transit in our city have been historically underfunded…

Uh, riding a bike isn’t actually “transit,” which IRL is “a system of buses, trains, etc. that people use to travel around in a particular city or area.”

This lack of funding and priority, means Muni is too often overcrowded and unreliable…

Or perhaps MUNI is poorly managed? Oh you don’t care because you get hundreds and thousands from the SFMTA each year? Why don’t you disclose that fact before crowing the SFMTA’s party line? Oh, you used to post your tax returns but now you don’t because you’re worried people might actually look at them? OK fine.

…dozens of people are killed just trying to walk across the streets each year.

Not dozens. Too many to be sure but not “dozens.”

…livable streets…

Our streets currently aren’t “liveable?” What does that mean? How Orwellian is your fund-raising “framing” going to get?

…there is a group of San Franciscans who think that there’s actually too much space given to sustainable ways to get around…

Well now, if you give the voters of the 415 / 628 the chance to freeze for five years the amount of money the SFMTA MUNI makes from parking tickets, they just might say “Aye,” right?

Your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will be working with partners to make sure our transportation system is moving forward

MUNI is a disaster, right? MUNI is not “moving forward.” How much does the SFMTA give the SFBC every year to say stuff like this?

Our Board of Directors voted last week to oppose this “Transit-Last” measure, while supporting two important transportation funding measures on this November’s ballot, which will advance and truly better balance our city’s transportation needs. The first is the Transportation & Road Safety Bond, a $500 million general obligation bond dedicated to transportation capital improvements, including modernizing our transit system and investing in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Will this allow landlords to up rents in SF? Howard Wong, who is not on the SFMTA payroll, says it will “raise property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

(It’s important to note that this measure will not raise local property taxes, as it only infills expiring debt.)

What does this mean? Is Howard Wong incorrect?

And the second is a charter amendment linking population growth to transportation spending, specifically long-ignored transit & safe streets needs. 

So the corrupt SFMTA gives you money to say that the corrupt SFMTA needs more money?

Here’s the rest of what Howard Wong has to say, FYI:

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The Ordinance’s legal language makes no definitive commitment to any specific work:  “Projects to be funded under the proposed Bondmay include but are not limited to the following: 

Then, for eight project types, all eight begin with:  “A portion of the Bond may be allocated to…” 

In financial decisions, never sign a contract when the terms and deliverables are ambiguous.

Throwing billions of dollars at bad Muni projects hasn’t worked. 

Since 2006, Muni has cut service in every neighborhood, decreased annual vehicle revenue miles/ hours, eliminated 6 bus lines, shortened 22 routes, deferred maintenance, increased missed runs/ switchbacks/ late buses, increased fares/ fees/ fines/ meters (1,549,518 parking citations annually)…. Large project cost overruns have cut funds for infrastructure and maintenance.  The Central Subway alone has taken $595 million in state and local funds.  Huge subway cost overruns loom ahead, unveiled by the Central Subway’s cost engineer, whose whistle-blower’s complaint alleges a cooking of the books.

Bond Does Not Restore Muni Service Cuts

Muni has cut neighborhood transit, cross-town routes, night service and route frequency, hurting the low-income, families, disabled, youth and seniors.  …  Eliminated bus lines will not be restored—Lines 4, 7, 15, 20, 26, 34, 89…  Shortened bus routes will not be restored:  Lines 1, 2, 10, 12, 16X, 18, 21, 29, 36, 38, 42, 48, 53, 67, 88, 91, 108…  Muni has been an integrated citywide transit system, interconnecting outlying neighborhoods.  By cutting neighborhood transit, driving is encouraged—then penalized by more fees/ fines/ parking elimination.

Learning From the Past:  SFMTA’s Poor Spending Habits 

·        In 1999, Prop E created the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) with more powers, more General Fund dollars and a 85% on-time performance mandate.  Instead, Muni falsified on-time performance data and paid bonuses to its Director.

·        In 2003, Prop K extended the transportation sales tax and provided a list of projects.  The Central Subway’s listed cost of $647 million escalated to $1.578 billion.  The citywide Transit-Preferential Streets Program and Bus Rapid Network were never implemented.

·        In 2007, Prop A gave SFMTA more funding authority, revenue-bond-authority and even more General Fund dollars.  Instead, work orders sent the new funds to other city departments.

·        In 2011, voters approved a Road Repaving Bond of $248 million, with $181 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $429 million.  Debt isn’t efficient for maintenance.

·        SFMTA’s budget grew by hundreds of millions of dollars to $978 million.  Number of employees grew by thousands to 4,921.  Salaries have soared.  And riders get service cuts.

Mayor’s Transportation Task Force (TTF) and Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP)

This proposed Bond, a second Bond, future fees and taxes will not meet objectives.  Only 49% of the TTF”s recommended funding goes to Muni.  TTF’s proposed $2.955 billion does not remotely solve Muni’s $25 billion in 20-Year Capital Plan Need.  The proposed TEP continues transit cuts to neighborhoods, shifting service to rapid corridors.  Better planning is needed for a citywide integrated Muni system.  Oppose this Bond Measure.

Sincerely,

Howard Wong, AIA, a founding member of SaveMuni

www.SaveMuni.com

www.SaveNorthBeachVillage.org

Changes are Coming to Sunset Boulevard Monday: “NEW SIGNALS TO BE ACTIVATED 7/28/2014″ – Near Wawona and Yorba

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Here are what these signs look like on Sunset Boulevard way out there in the Parkside / Sunset part of outer San Francisco County:

After the recent deaths in this area, SFGov appears to be highly motivated to make changes.

The signage around here is still a fucking mess, but one assumes that some of the older signals that are there might now be coming down this weekend when the new signals get turned on.

Here’s the tunnel view heading north as it stands now – how many signs and lights and banners has SFGov put up for drivers to look at here? I’m counting about three dozen and, actually, drivers can see even more further to the left and right of this scene, including an SFPD vehicle seemingly permanently parked on Yorba specifically for you bad drivers to see and react to.

IMO, the modified pedestrian-activated HAWK light experiment, signals that would flash yellow but never actually go red to stop traffic, is a massive failure.

IMO, SFGov continues to expect waaaaaay too much from its drivers (particularly elderly drivers, particularly those who shouldn’t be driving anymore) and its pedestrians (particularly elderly pedestrians).

IMO.

Abbey Road, 94115 – Typical San Francisco Pedestrians

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Bros on Geary:

Vision Zero is SFGov’s commitment to having MUNI bus drivers and other SFGov employees* stop killing pedestrians by the year 2024.

Why can’t the SFMTA just simply stop killing pedestrians right now in 2014?

The World Wonders…

*And, of course, everybody else in the world as well, but your odds of getting killed by one of those billions of non-SFGov employees is infinitesimally smaller than getting killed by an SFGov employee. The SFMTA could take steps right now for safety, steps that wouldn’t cost all that much money, but it simply doesn’t want to. 

1000-Yard Stare: Incompetent SFMTA MUNI Abandons #38 Geary Riders During Japantown Ramen Festival

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Look at these poor lost souls on Geary staring towards the west in a futile attempt to spot the next inbound #38 Geary.

You can tell when things get bad at a MUNI stop when people just plop themselves down out on the street on the stop itself.

Is Geary a “livable street?” I have no idea. And actually, it doesn’t matter if this is how the SFMTA does its primary function. Should SFMTA directors be boasting about their junkets to “other cities across the globe?” I don’t think so. Hey, it’s headshot day! Hold it, hold it, hold it, say “cheese!” Snap.

Would SF be better off without the relatively inconsequential “Sunday Streets” program if it could get a functional MUNI in exchange?

I think so.

Would SF be better off without Cheryl Brinkman on the SFMTA board?

As Gil Penalosa*  said, some of the men out there on bikes ride as if they have no family that loves them and no one that they love.

I think so.

Here’s another example, from 2012:

SFMTA director Cheryl Brinkman said that she supported the proposal because she has been considering the reverse situation. “How would we defend making parking free on Sundays if we’ve been paying all these years?” she asked rhetorically.

OK fine, but then in 2014 she voted to make parking free on Sundays. Oh well.

And is this true? I don’t know:

Mayor Ed Lee apparently has no concern over conflicts of interests where Ms. Brinkman is concerned. Her husband’s company benefits directly from the North Beach tunnel project, and she has economic ties to the SFTMA and the SF Bicycle Coalition and the other “non-profits”  that profit from the city’s many contracts from  managing housing to  street calming and car sharing.

In any event, the Directors of the SFMTA don’t seem to be concerned at all about making MUNI work better using the money we already give them. The SFMTA doesn’t need more money, the SFMTA needs to manage the money we give it more better. IMO.

*Who?

Uh, Did Target Stores Pay the DPW $250,000 to Install Traffic Lights That Favor Cars Over Peds at O’Farrell and Masonic?

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Mmmm…

Here’s my beef from yesterday about the newish traffic light scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell.

But where did this scheme come from?

Oh, here we go - DPW Contract No. 2108J:

It’s all:

“The contract work will be funded through private developer funds for work at two signals along Masonic Avenue.”

See?

The two locations:

“Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street” and “Ewing Terrace and Masonic Avenue”

Now Ewing Terrace I know about. One woman living on that street showed up both at the Target-sponsored and SFMTA-sponsored meetings complaining about how hard it was for her to head north on Masonic when pulling out of Ewing. She said it sometimes took her “20 minutes” of sitting at the stop sign waiting for a break in traffic in order to accomplish this task.  So SFGov accommodated her with a big traffic signal that they’re putting in now.

But at Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street? I don’t know. It’s almost as if the lighting scheme was designed by somebody who works at Target.

The upshot is that northbound traffic and all the peds on the east side of Masonic have to wait for southbound drivers to make an awkward U-turn followed by a quick right to get into the small, lower-level Target / Starbucks parking lot.

I can think  of a couple similar situations about town. At Market and Octavia, everybody on outbound Market has to wait for car drivers on inbound Market to turn left onto Octavia. Why? Because selfish Hayes Valley denizens had waaaaay too much input into the process. Nevermind that legal lefts are a rare thing on Market for a reason, never mind that lefts were already legal one block before and one block after Octavia…

And at Fell and Masonic, the traffic signals were rejiggered for ideological reasons so now three lanes of Masonic get green lights but not the fourth lane. Drivers will never get used to this arrangement, IMO.

And, similarly, peds will never get used to the current setup at Masonic and O’Farrell.

IMO.

Anyway, I don’t have a problem with the new Target being there. I’m just wondering who paid for the crazy lights that just got put in next to the new Target.