Posts Tagged ‘Neal Patel’

Ed Reiskin Refuses to Comply with the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council, So Let’s Run a Trial on Masonic Ourselves

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Here’s the Citizens Advisory Council’s recommendation that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, has refused:

“Motion 140122.01 – The SFMTA CAC recommends that the peak hour restrictions be repealed on Masonic Avenue between Geary and Fell Streets, with the objective to measure traffic impacts on the 43 Masonic prior to the implementation of the Masonic Avenue street design project.”

Why did he do that? Well, because a “success” for him is the SFMTA spending the money it’s been given to spend. So why should he do anything to interfere with that when he’s in the red zone already?

Anywho, you can read what he has to say about a test-run after the jump.

In view of this dysfunction, let’s run a Masonic “streetscape” trial of our own, shall we?

Let’s start here, northbound, on the 3000 foot stretch of Masonic that will soon be changed: 

7J7C0082 copy

See the bus? It’s stopped at a bus stop, let’s imagine. That means that Masonic will be down to one lane inbound, you know, temporarily, during the morning drive. How will this affect traffic, do you suppose? How many minutes will it add to your commute each way, each day? Mmmm…

Since we’re imagining, imagine a large median filled with trees on either side of the double yellow line. Now is that for safety or for aesthetics? The answer is that it’s for aesthetics. Compare that with the SFMTA’s disastrous, expensive, deadly 105-foot-wide Octavia “Boulevard” / I-80 on ramp. Yes, it’s has a vegetated median as well. So, is “safety” the SFMTA’s “number one goal?” No, not at all. Its real goal is expanding its payroll and spending ever more money. So of course if you pressure it to do things you want done, like planting trees in the middle of the street, which, of course, has nothing to do with safety, it will happily comply.

Will any commuters benefit from these soon-to-come “improvements?” No, not at all. These changes are going to slow the commute way down and that will impede people in cars and MUNI buses. Did the SFMTA do any “outreach” to / with commuters? Nope. It didn’t feel like it. The SFMTA prefers to host meetings packed with “urbanists” and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition employees and members. Do these people represent “the public?” No, not at all. Yet the SFMTA claims do have done public outreach.

How will these changes to Masonic, the Great Connector, affect the surrounding area? We’ll just have to wait and see. If, later on, you raise any issues with the SFMTA about the negative effects of all their changes, they’ll be all, well, expand our budget even more and we’ll redo the project again to fix this and that.

Of course, the way to run the trial run would be simply take away all the parking spaces for a day or so, right? So what you’d do is just simply shut down the slow lanes as a test. This alternative would satisfry (mmmm, Satisfries…. R.I.P) at least some of the objections that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, mentioned.

Would Ed Reiskin want to try this alternative trial? No, not at all. (See above.) Mr. R will be happy to ignore all the complaints only after the tens of millions of dollars have been spent.

Do I think that a bunch of people riding MUNI and driving cars every day, tens of thousands of people, are going say, wow, my commute has really slowed down after all these changes so I’m going to join the handful of souls on bicycles huffing and puffing up this big hill? Nope. Some might, of course, but it won’t be any kind of meaningful number.

And do I think it’s honest for SFMTA employees to tell higher authorities that’s there’s no public opposition to these changes? Nope. Oh well.

All right, that’s the thought experiment. It looks like this one’s going to go like a bunch of other SFMTA-created initiatives, you know, like the ideologically-driven traffic circles,  the absurdly-wide Octavia “Boulevard,” the crazy re-striping of the east end of JFK Drive – they’ll just look at them all and then pat themselves on the back and hand each other awards for these “accomplishments,” these “successes.”

[UPDATE: Oh yeah, a couple people asked me if I approve of this project. And like, I live a block away, but it won’t really affect me, myself, I don’t think. Seems selfish to think now-hey-what-about-me, anyway. What ended up happening  with Octavia is that they really biased the lights in favor of Octavia, so people have to wait to a long time to get across the whole 105 foot width. So maybe it’ll be a 90-second wait to get across Masonic when all is said and done? IDK, it’s hard to predict how much the SFMTA is going to mess things up with this arbor project, this tree planting diversion. So, what will the effects be? Will commuters abandon Masonic? How will they get around instead? IDK]

On It Goes…

Now, as promised, a note from Ed Reiskin, after the jump

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Hey SFMTA! Why Not “Complete” Polk Street All the Way to Grove and Eliminate These Parking Spaces in Front of City Hall?

Friday, April 26th, 2013

OMG, would you look at this?

I mean check out all these deadly, beastly automobiles parked on Polk, the very same street that the SFMTA is trying to “complete” don’t you know:

Click to expand

I know, why don’t you take out all these spaces and replace them with a separated bike lane or something, SFMTA?

After all, Transit First, right?

Oh, what’s that? These are the spaces that the Board of Supervisors and their aides park in for free every day so that’s where you just happened to end your campaign of completion?

But don’t you care about safety, SFMTA?

Mmmmm….

“This project seeks to implement aesthetic and safety improvements for all users of Polk Street between McAllister and Union Streets. In accordance with the City’s Transit First policy, improvements will primarily be focused on people who walk, use transit and ride a bicycle along Polk Street. The project is funded by Proposition B General Obligation Bonds and is part of an overall citywide effort to curb pedestrian and bicycle collisions and to provide a safe north-south connection for people on bicycles. Pedestrian and bicyclist collision and injury data on Polk Street point to a corridor in need of safety improvements for all those who share the road. In fact, the southern portion from Sacramento to McAllister Streets is part of the 5% of San Francisco streets that have more than half of the City’s most severe pedestrian collisions.”

Is the SFMTA Organizing People to Attend the Upcoming Meetings to Eliminate Parking on Much of Polk Street? Pretty Much

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Organizing people to support whatever the SFMTA wants to do? Yes.

Now, does the SFMTA give lots of money to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition?

Yes, certainly.

So what does all that money buy?

It buys this kind of thing:

The SFMTA has just announced it will be holding the third official Polk Street Improvement project meeting series on Saturday, April 27 from 10 am to 1 pm and Tuesday, April 30 from 5 to 8:30 pm at 1300 Polk St (at Bush) at the First Congregational Church Fellowship Hall. Please take a moment to read what’s at stake at these meetings. For a year, the SFMTA has conducted widespread community outreach and has developed proposals that will address the urgent safety needs on Polk Street (where once a month someone on a bicycle AND walking is involved in a collision).

If you support safety improvements to Polk Street, it is critical that you attend one or both of these SFMTA Community meetings on April 27 or 30 and speak up for the improvements proven to make biking and walking safer and bring more people to a commercial corridor.

RSVP below so we know that we can count on you to come to the April 27 or 30 SFMTA Community meetings to speak up for safety on Polk Street:

Polk Street Meetings RSVP

The SF Bicycle Coalition wants to know that you will attend the SFMTA meetings on Saturday, April 27th from 10 am to 1 pm and/or Tuesday, April 30th from 5pm-8:30 pm in support for safe biking and walking on Polk Street. Both meetings — hosted by the City, not the SF Bike Coalition — will be at 1300 Polk St (at Bush) at the First Congregational Church Fellowship Hall.

* Required
First Name *

Last Name *

E-mail *

Which meeting are you planning to attend? *

Now, could the SFMTA drum up support directly?

I don’t think so. BART, for instance, got in trouble for doing this type of stuff.

But what’s the difference if the SFBC functions as an arm of the SFMTA?

Hey SFMTA, what’s sample bias? Is it this?

“The SFMTA is looking to get input on how the proposed options for Polk Street meet your needs when you’re traveling on Polk Street. Click here to take SFMTA’s survey. and speak up for safety improvements that matter most.”

I think so. Let me Google that for you.

And actually, all the polling you do has sampling bias. Did you know that, SFMTA?

Maybe you don’t:

Officials seemed taken aback by the anger at the Middle Polk Neighborhood Assn. gathering. Every seat in the Old First Presbyterian Church’s community room was filled. The crowd stood several deep along the walls and spilled out into the corridor.Audience members jeered when Edward D. Reiskin, the city’s transportation director, couldn’t say how many of the 320 curbside parking spots along Polk could be taken out under the plan. I don’t have that data,” he said to loud boos, before going with “something like 170″ maximum. The response from the crowd was more of the same.”

All right, SFMTASFBC. Enjoy your staged meetings on April 27th and 30th!