Posts Tagged ‘subway’

Subway Sandwich Trilogy: Toasting Costs Extra – You Pay Sales Tax on Toasted Subs, But Not on Nontoasted Subs

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

See?

Click to expand

So the only way to stick it to the Man is to say, “No toasting for me, please.”* (And, of course, get it to-go, as young Akit helpfully points out.) Then, you save like 75 cents every time you get lunch.

This situation really isn’t the fault of the California State Board of Equalization, but it just happens to be the agency what has the job of interpreting and enforcing some of the cray-cray laws** passed in Sacramento, so what can you do?

*And no cucumbers. Cucumbers are horrible, IMO.

**You’re too young to remember the famous snack tax, but I’m not. It didn’t last too long.

Subway Sandwich Trilogy: Five Dollar Footlongs Banned in San Francisco – Why, Mayor Ed Lee, Why?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Do you know why San Francisco is the only county in America to have SUBWAY sandwich stores without refreshing five dollar footlongs?

Take a look:

Click to expand

I’m thinking it has something to do with the high cost of doing bidness in town.

So, unless you’ve already been partying with the current Mayor’s political faction or unless you’re already running a high-status internationally-famous operation (like Twitter or Facebook or whathaveyou), you’ll find doing business in San Francisco is a PITA.

Try it, you’ll see.

Anyway, no $5FLs for you, San Francisco.

Do You Know These Three Girls Who Hang Out on Polk Street? One of them Stole a Cell Phone and Wallet at a Subway Sandwich

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Here’s the sad story from the dude what lost his stuff at the Subway Sandwiches on Polk and Sutter:

“(3/25/2012) I was in the Subway sandwiches place at 1199 Sutter at Polk and then walked outside to get a taxi for some people I was with. I had accidentally left my phone and wallet on the table. When I returned about 30 seconds later my stuff was gone. Here is the surveillance video of who took it. Please message me or email me at racejohnson@gmail.com if you recognize her.”

Now, I say girls, I mean, I can’t tell how old they are, something betwixt 14 and 24. They act like high school students AFAIAC.

More deets here on the Reddit SF.

Is There a Bay Area Transit Rail Project Being Built Right Now That Could Actually Be Useful? Yes, the Sonoma-Marin SMART Train

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I guess they’re building this?

Anyway, they’re advertising it these days, for some reason.

Check it.

Click to expand

Basically, it’s going to be like a mini-BART* but for the North Bay – news to me.

And unlike massively-expensive California High Speed Rail project, we can actually afford the SMART train.

And unlike the useless Central Subway federal pork subway-to-nowhere project in Chinatown, SMART has the potential to benefit its riders.

Hurray!

*Speaking of which, BART to Livermore and/or San Jose, those projects also sound like they could be useful in the future, I don’t know.  

The Only Bay Area Transit App Worth Having is the Brand-New “511 Transit App” – Find It In Your Android Market for Free

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

(You know, someday I’ll have to explain why my aging Samsung smartphone is better than your brand-new iPhone 4S, you know the one that has that big “Apple” chip inside that’s made by, um, Samsung? My phone cost $40-something, the sales tax was $40-something, the monthly bill is $40-something (plus San Francisco’s rather high tax scheme, which means I’m paying $50-something per month), I talk as much as I want, I download as much as I want (but no texting, texting is not in my plan, oh well, someday I’ll tell you why that’s sometimes a good thing), I have a bigger, better screen, I have a lighter phone, and before the year is up, I’ll get another brand-new phone. And BTW, what’s the Apple “experience” about? Is it the experience of choosing between the unreliable network (AT&T) and the slow network (Verizon)? Why is it that my phone never drops calls and gets double-digit scores on the same test that you see in the previous link? It’s like 11 Mbps indoors in the Financh. That’s like an order of magnitude faster, right? Not that I care, really, but what am I missing but not paying extra for an iPhone? The phone I have is faster, better, harder, stronger than any iPhone. And, as a bonus, it’s way cheaper. Just saying.)

Sorry iPhone owners, the Only Bay Area Transit App Worth Having isn’t out yet for Appleland, but you Android users should step right up and type “511 transit” into your “Market” icon thingy.

MUNI sucks, of course, but 511 Transit works awesome with MUNI. Try it and you’ll see.

See?

All the deets:

“GPS-Based Trip Planning Available for more than 30 Bay Area Transit Agencies

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 22, 2012  – The Bay Area’s 511 traveler information system is now offering its first smartphone app for transit users. The free 511 Transit App is a multiple-agency public transit trip planner using GPS-based location tools for smartphones. Ideal for a daily commute, weekend errand or occasional trip, the app serves both residents and visitors who are planning transit trips within the nine-county region.

“We are pleased to offer this unique and powerful tool for transit riders in the Bay Area,” said Adrienne J. Tissier, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). “Now you can use one app to plan trips on more than 30 public transit agencies, accessing the most complete coverage for the San Francisco Bay Area.”

The free 511 Transit App can be downloaded through the Android Market (search for: 511 Transit). A version for iPhone 4 will be released soon. The new app provides door-to-door transit trip planning and scheduled departure times for transit routes near your location or from a location you specify. It includes information for 720 routes and more than 23,700 transit stops throughout the region. An interactive, dynamic map shows routes and stops along the way, as well as your current position while on the move. Walking directions to and from stops and fares (including transfers) are also displayed.

“Smartphones and on-the-go trip planning are becoming increasingly common, and 511 is now extending its Bay Area transit planning tools to these faster, more compact platforms,” said Tom Spiekerman, 511 Transit project manager. “Currently, 511 customers plan more than one milliontransit trips per month using the popular website version of the 511 Trip Planner. The new app brings core features of this tool to customers on the go.”

Additional app features include:

–  Recently viewed locations and trips are saved automatically, as well as
favorites.

 –  GPS positioning enables users to set their current location as a
starting point for a trip, or to find nearby stops and transit routes
with scheduled departure times.

–  The app incorporates transit agency announcements that may affect a
trip’s itinerary.

511 Transit App customers are able to provide feedback on the new app by clicking on the “Help/Info” button to send an email to the 511 Team.

The new app complements numerous options people already have to access 511 traveler information. Smartphone and other mobile phone users may access many of 511′s most popular features through the mobile 511 site (m.511.org), by calling 511 from any Bay Area phone, or by receiving real-time transit Departure Times texts (SMS).  Desktop users can access the information from 511.org.

The 511 Transit App includes data from SF Muni,  BART, AC Transit, VTA, SamTrans, Caltrain,  Golden Gate Transit, County Connection, Vallejo Transit, LAVTA, Sonoma County Transit, VINE (Napa County) and more than a dozen additional agencies. For a complete list of all transitagencies included in the 511 Transit app, please visit the trip planning page at 511.org.

For more information, please see the 511 Transit App for Android Fact Sheet.

About 511
511 is a one-stop phone and web source for up-to-the-minute Bay Area traffic, transit, rideshare and bicycling information. It’s free of charge and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the nine-county Bay Area. Call 511 or visit 511.org. 511 is managed by a partnership of public agencies led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the California Highway Patrol, Public Transit Agencies, and the California Department of Transportation.

SOURCE  511″

What Market Street Looks Like Beneath the Subway Grates

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

It’s like this.

Looking directly down from Market Street:

Click to expand

Wow, we’re messy, huh?

Central Subway Boondoggle UPDATE: “Rescue MUNI” Sells Out But “Save MUNI” Remains on the Case

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Here’s the latest from Save MUNI:

“Central Subway Boondoggle  =  Waste and Inefficiency

A Vibrant Citywide Muni System  =  Revival and Value”

But those sellouts at Rescue MUNI (who with regularity have the gall to complain about Save MUNI), or most of them, anyway, think that the politically-motivated Central Subway is A-OK as it is.

But You Make The Call.

Here’s Rescue MUNI’s “CS Fact Sheet,” which basically tears apart a straw dog, and here’s Save MUNI:

“SaveMuni.com Comments:

CENTRAL SUBWAY AUDIT

On November 15, 2011,  the Transportation Authority held a hearing on the new MTA Audit and ignored the Audit’s 46-page “Appendix VI: Central Subway Project”.  Several press articles reported that the Audit examined 29 construction projects, excluding the Central Subway Project.  But in fact, the “Limited Scope Performance Audit” evaluated the Subway’s financial risks—although it did not study transit effectiveness because of the contract’s limited scope.

MTA & CENTRAL SUBWAY AUDIT:  Central Subway, Pages 171-217.

http://www.sfcta.org/images/stories/Executive/Meetings/board/2011/11nov15/CGR%20Audit%20Report%20(Scanned).PDF

Auditors may be constrained in their criticism—especially when the scope of work is narrow and their client is a likely future customer.  But reading between the lines, the Audit forewarns of potential future fiscal troubles. SOME HIGHLIGHTS:

  • ·    “The potential for variation in the final cost of the project is large” (Page 172):  The Audit expands on the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) concerns about construction and financial risks.  In the context of the Audit’s study of 29 MTA construction projects and their delays/ cost escalations, past performance is an indicator of future risks.
  • ·    “The Central Subway Project is the highest risk project that the SFMTA has undertaken” (Page 184):  The Audit expands on the FTA’s concerns.
  • ·    “There is a 30% likelihood of the total project cost in year of expenditure dollars being equal to or less than $1,578 million” (Page 185).  The audit couches potential cost overruns in terms of financial probability theory.  Although construction contingency dollars and schedules have been increased, the history of large infrastructure projects, in the Bay Area and throughout the United States, shows astronomical cost overruns and unpredictability—within the same financial/ management models.  Moreover, in latest project budgets, contingency dollars appear to have decreased.
  • ·    “A study of the funds required for maintaining the state-of-good-repair expenditures revealed that SFMTA’s total assets on the FTA’s Condition Code were above the 2.5 out of 5 minimum required by the FTA” (Page 197).  With the current $1.9 billion in deferred maintenance and $1.6 billion in budget deficits over the next 20 years, MTA should have already devoted higher expenditures to maintain assets in a state of repair.  Instead, the Central Subway will only lead to more service cuts, life-safety threats and draconian revenue hikes—unless the project is halted.
  • ·    “However, full funding is not guaranteed and the availability of funds when needed may still be an issue” (Page 198).  Officials and the citizenry are increasingly scrutinizing the Central Subway’s data falsifications and misrepresentations—while the FTA reviews the final application and the State of California faces increasing budget deficits and bond indebtedness. 
  • ·    “The Audit Team is not aware of consequences for the [MTA] Board or the Board Members if performance is unsatisfactory, nor are there any criteria that define what constitutes unsatisfactory performance” (Page 210).  By the Central Subway’s estimated completion date in 2019, most elected officials will not be in office and many MTA staff will be retired.  History indicates that it’s too easy to spend other people’s money.  The political benefits and quid pro quo of large infrastructure projects outweigh actual transportation benefits.  Unless the MTA Board, staff, consultants, Supervisors and Mayor bear some personal liability, taxpayers will be singularly liable for future cost overruns and crippling deficits. 
  • ·    “Now, at the half-way point in the project, the cost estimates at completion are approximately double that at initiation” (Page 213).  Again, past performance is an indicator of future performance.
  • ·    “[SFMTA] will comply with Prop K policies to delay the expenditure of Prop K funds to the extent possible without putting the project at risk” (Page 271).  However, the Subway’s budgets show $72 million of Prop K funds will be expended in the next two years.  The recent MTA contract for tunnel boring machines usurped $57 million of Prop K sales tax funds—in lieu of restoring service cuts or improving citywide Muni.

Central Subway Boondoggle  =  Waste and Inefficiency

A Vibrant Citywide Muni System  =  Revival and Value

 Regards,

www.SaveMuni.com”  

Choose or lose!

Justin Ryan Beck is Back! OccupySF = Hippie, Cop, Nervous Pup, Hipster, Black Power Salute, MUNI 1057 (Cincinnati, 1948)

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Famous San Francisco street photographer Justin Beck has bounced back from losing his camera on the mean Streets of San Francisco, looks like.  He’s got another Nikon to work with so that’s nice.

Check it, a canary yellow streetcar.

Is this an album cover? 

Via JRB – click to expand

Poor pooch. Daijoobu, daijobu. Gambate!

Central Subway Boondoggle Update: Government Audits & Oversight Committee Hearing This Thursday

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Well, here it is, coming up at 10:00 AM on October 27th, 2011:

“Hearing on the recently published 2010-2011 Civil Grand Jury report entitled “Central Subway Too Much Money For Too Little Benefit.”

Leave us review why the Central Subway sucks so much:

 It has a pattern of increasing cost estimates.

 San Francisco will be responsible for any cost overruns which could be substantial.

 The addition of a new subway line will add to an existing operating deficit and could stretch the existing maintenance environment to the breaking point.

 There are no plans to address existing problems on the Stockton corridor before project completion.

 There is no effective transfer to the Muni Metro and BART systems.

 It ignores service to the Financial District.

 It ignores current transportation trends

So, the reply from the Central Subway people is that these criticisms are the same old thing. But they’re still valid criticisms, right?

A premature celebration? 

Save Muni will be on the scene at City Hall, looks like:

SaveMuni strongly condemns Mayor Ed Lee’s careless and highly inaccurate response to the Grand Jury’s carefully researched report on the Central Subway

On October 27, the Board of Supervisors Government Audits and Oversight Committee will consider the results of the Grand Jury’s seven month investigation of the Central Subway debacle.  SaveMuni will support the well reasoned conclusions of the Grand Jury’s report and provide new information about the Central Subway and its failings.

SaveMuni will also expose and rebut the MTA’s weak response to the Grand Jury report, which consists mainly of vague generalizations intended to defend the status quo at all costs.   Because of MTA’s and Mayor’s inadequate responses we will call upon the Board of Supervisors to table the matter until such time as the MTA and Mayor Lee have provided detailed and well thought out responses to each of the Grand Jury’s findings and recommendations.

Government Audits & Oversight Committee

Civil Grand Jury Report:  “Central Subway – Too Much Money For Too Little Benefit”

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011, 10:00 AM

City Hall Room 263, San Francisco

Agenda:  http://www.sfbos.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=39945

 www.SaveMuni.com

All right, see you there!
Ever more deets:
 
September 17, 2011 - Central Subway Charts:  Compares ridership, costs and trip Times.  Highlights SFMTA’s deceptive marketing practices.
September 9, 2011 – San Francisco City Attorney and Mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera comes out strongly against the Central Subway. 
http://herreraformayor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Central-Subway-Issue-Paper-FINAL.pdf
September 9, 2011 - San Francisco Examiner:  “Central Subway federal funds in jeopardy”.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/09/central-subway-faces-funding-threat
September 4, 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle editorial blasts  Central Subway.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/04/INLN1KU8H8.DTL
August 31,  2011 – Former Board of Supervisors Presdent Aaron Peskins strongly opposes Central Subway.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/aaron-peskin-blasts-central-subway-1
August 29, 2011 – SaveMuni.com summary of how the Central Subway was deceptively marketed to San Francisco.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/summary-of-sfmta-deception
August 23, 2011 – San Francisco Bay Guardian comes out against the Central Subway.
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/08/23/central-subway-gravy-train-shows-how-city-hall-works
August 23, 2011 – Wall Street Journal editorial blasts Central Subway.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/wall-street-journal—august-23-2011 
August 18, 2011 – Jake McGoldrick, former Chair, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, announces his strong opposition to the project.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/18/EDV61KOL4I.DTL
August 14,  2011 – Other Muni improvements.  For a plan for Stockton Street click on Download.  For other Muni improvements click on https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/save-muni-summit
July 22,2011 – Cal Watchdog digs into the Central Subway mess.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/cal-watchdog-article
July 16, 2011 – Judge Quentin L. Kopp blasts the project.
Download  
 
July 1, 2011 – San Francisco Grand Jury Releases Report is released.
 May 9, 2011 – Sierra Club Resolution calling for Central Subway funds to be put to better use on behalf of Muni. 
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/sierra-club-central-subway-resolution
November 9, 2010 – SaveMuni.com Central Subway White Paper relased

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Central Subway “Poses Graves Risks to MUNI” – Plus, a MUNI Rider Rant

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

1. Here’s what’s first up:

“SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 27, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued the following statement through his campaign for Mayor of San Francisco on a Board of Supervisors resolution expressing support for the controversial Central Subway project. Herrera published his 11-page issue paper on Sept. 8 outlining his opposition to the project as currently conceived on the basis of extensive evidence. The campaign issue paper detailed Herrera’s rationale for why the Central Subway project has ceased to be a prudent investment; why it will not improve MUNI service; and why it does not fulfill the objectives of a modern citywide transit system.

Herrera’s conclusion mirrored findings of the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, whose July report after a seven-month investigation concluded that the Central Subway project was “too much money for too little benefit,” and should be redesigned.

The following is Dennis Herrera’s statement on the Board resolution today:

“Reasonable minds can disagree, but I strongly believe that the roughly $1-billion-per-mile cost of the Central Subway cannot justified by its purported benefits. As currently designed, it poses grave risks to MUNI’s financial stability and will adversely impact transit riders citywide. I respect the views of Board members who support the project, and I think we can all agree that the enormous costs and risks of this project to San Francisco taxpayers deserve a serious, substantive discussion about its relative merits. I welcome that debate, and hope it is one all the mayoral candidates will have in this election season.”

Herrera’s issue paper on the topic, entitled, “It’s Time to Rethink the Central Subway.”
http://herreraformayor.com/issues/central-subway/ 

OK, fine.

2. Now, let’s hear from a MUNI rider, who also has some thoughts on the horrible, politically-motivated Central Subway.

Read the whole thing from John Murphy right here. An excerpt:

“Supervisors -

I am dismayed to hear your commentary regarding the Central Subway in the Board of Supervisors today. Certainly it has become a political football as we all know.

Full disclosure – in my opinon, there are better options for rider service than digging a tunnel. However, I think a well designed tunnel has a lot of benefit that might scale to larger solutions, so I cannot oppose the idea of such a tunnel.

However, if this subway does get built I feel it is imperative to move the Union Square station to connect directly at Powell. If we spend “over a Billion” dollars on this project, we must do it properly, otherwise it will not draw the support that will get us the money to extend the system further.

The transit dependent citizens of Chinatown – and transit dependent citizens of other neighborhoods – will be done a huge disservice if the subway goes in as it is designed. Every Saturday AM I ride the BART from the outer neighborhoods towards the East Bay. It is absolutely packed with senior citizens from Daly City who are headed to Chinatown, and whom transfer to the 30 at Powell Street Station. The reverse trip is also very common. Those people deserve a legitimate connection from BART and MUNI Metro to the Central Subway – not a series of escalators and a long walk to Union Square. The Central Subway supporters claim that the Union Square/Powell connection does exist, but as a reference the “combined” station will resemble the “Chatelet” station in Paris, which is used as a connection primarly by confused tourists who have yet to realize that the connection is worse than going above ground and walking to your destination.

This echos Supervisor Chu’s call for outer neighborhood connectivity – the current design reduces that connectivity! The average age of the riders I see on those trains is well over 60. In theory the 30 Stockton will still exist, but the operations funding needed to run the Central Subway will reduce the ability to run that line at frequency….”

I learned a thing or two there, didn’t you?

I mean, I just don’t understand how on Earth the Central Subway, as it’s proposed, makes sense.

3. Do you know that after they cancelled the Bridge to Nowhere, Sarah Palin went ahead and built the $26,000,000 connecting road anyway? It’s called the Road to Nowhere.

See it? They were going to build a Golden Gate Bridge so people in town could get to the airport on a road instead of on a ferry. The bridge was going to go in right at the lower right of the photo:

 

Click to expand

Why should the federal government fund projects that can’t get financed on a more local level?

Oh well.