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Muni’s Transit Effectiveness Project Gets the Go Signal from Board of Directors

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Numbered: with the approval of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s Transit Effectiveness Project, Muni will eliminate the 12-Folsom/Pacific to give way to the new 11-Downtown Circulator.

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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan

On 28 March, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority Board of Directors met with the public to determine the fate of the agency’s Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), in which it will become one of the most comprehensive changes to San Francisco’s mass transit network in three decades. I have personally attended the board meeting (which can be way too early, but necessary) to listen to the discussions made by the Directors, the Policy and Governance (PAG) Committee and the general public to understand how transportation planning actually works in a formal setting.
The meeting started at 8:10am, with the City Clerk reading a summary of the proposal, including the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a document that meets the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Director Riskin mentioned in his opening statement that the TEP is a “once in a generation opportunity” to improve transit in San Francisco, and that the 12% hike in transit services constitutes a huge boost to the city’s bus and light rail services. Ms. Chris Baum, who spoke on behalf of the Planning Committee, described the TEP’s long-term benefits which is expected to last until 2035. She then went through the nitty-gritty of the proposed project, which included:

Fast Track Capital Projects

  • Choices include dedicated transit lanes, removing parking spaces, removing an auto lane
  • Mentions 17 Transit Travel Time Reduction Proposals, including elimination of a Transit-Only Lane along Potrero Avenue between 22nd and 24th Street.
  • N-Judah (street repaving and traffic signal improvements on Irving Street between Arguello and 9th Avenue; stop consolidation on Irving between 4th and 7th Avenues)
  • 5-Fulton (add bus bulbs)
  • 9-San Bruno (especially at Potrero & 23rd Avenues, redesign sidewalk to open northern crosswalk, requiring reduction of 60 parking spaces)
  • 14-Mission (at Silver Avenue, pedestrian bulbs)
  • 30/45-Stockton (widen sidewalks on Columbus between Powell and Union in collaboration with the Central Subway as demonstration)
  • 71-Haight/Noriega (street repaving on Haight Street between Fillmore and Lyon Streets, bus and pedestrian bulbs)

SERVICE REALITIES AND PROPOSALS

  • Bus ridership at 5-year high, thus the 12% service hike is needed to meet demand
  • Proposed to add more all-day, daily, limited services on the 28L, 38L, and 71L, as well as service increases and improvements on many bus lines
  • Some of the proposals not to be pursued include the 27-Bryant extension to Vallejo Street and eliminating portions of the 36-Teresita and 56-Rutland bus lines, as well as line addition on Roosevelt Street
  • Modifications made on the 6, 22*, 33*, 35, 48/58^, 71/71L
    * – involves adding a temporary 55-16th Street bus line between 16th St/Mission BART and 3rd & 20th Streets
    ^ – involves rerouting the 35 and letting the 58 go through the Grandview neighborhood
  • Continuous improvements to be made through public outreach, technical data
Baum also mentioned that the TEP was envisioned in Summer 2013 with initial studies, and in the final EIR, she mentioned that there were no significant air or noise impacts. However, during the planning stage, Muni had to identify mitigation measures to address archaeological materials, as well as looking at impacts on transit capacity, passenger loading and unloading, and parking. She also discussed the impacts governing Title VI (transit accessibility for low-income and handicapped residents), in which it found little to no impacts, and Equity Analysis governing capital projects, in which the report found that more than 50% of the travel time improvements to be implemented in Summer 2014 will be felt by limited-income riders.

Public comments regarding the TEP were plentiful, including:

Keeping the 3-Jackson Running

Paul W.: thanks for preserving 3-Jackson; service reliability remains an issue

Alex L.: concerns on reduced nighttime service; recommends surveying passengers between 7 and 11pm

John P.: service reduction on the line “not a service improvement”; thinks that the 2-Clement is overcrowded

35-Eureka on Wilder Street

Diamond Heights Community Association: thanks for extending 35-Eureka to serve Glen Park BART

Rick L. (Glen Park Merchants Association): 35-Eureka serving Wilder Street “not acceptable” due to pedestrian safety concerns; bus stop not conducive to current street layout

Dave M.: little notification was made of the upcoming changes, especially on bus line serving Wilder and Arlington Streets

Changes in Potrero Hill (Lines 9/9L, 33)

John D.C. (Potrero Boosters): Potrero Hill sees 8,000 additional residential units that need to be monitored; service changes in area overstated; 16th Street like a freeway; thanks additional capacity on 10-Sansome

Marissa H: concerned about the streetscape design to be implemented on Potrero Avenue & 24th Street, especially Potrero Avenue is a main thoroughfare; Muni did not listen to the neighborhood, especially on axing 33-Stanyan along Potrero Avenue

Mary M.: “cruel” to remove 33-Stanyan to San Francisco General Hospital; reminds Board the 9-San Bruno is not a gem of Muni

Maryanne C.: Potrero Avenue changes not a good idea due to lack of citizen discussion, traffic issues, cycling concerns

David J. (SF Bike Coalition member): concerns with parking space cuts, increased pedestrian assaults along Potrero Avenue, sidewalk concerns especially near the Methadone clinic

SF Bike Coalition: support Potrero Avenue streetscape improvements; biking to be made safer on the main corridor; enthusiasm limited by lacking bike buffer on Potrero between 20th and 25th Avenues, needing pedestrian improvements with sidewalk expansion

Elliott S.: Potrero Ave streetscaping helpful with pedestrian bulbs; changes don’t go far enough, shortsighted in nature

Fran T.: Si Se Puede (Cesar Chavez); support for Potrero Ave streetscape change; online petition for high-speed transit link “misleading”

Shifting Gears Near UCSF (Lines N, 6, 71/71l)

Gary P.: no outreach, meetings to neighbors on 9th & Irving (many immigrant businesses), making business owners upset; “no minority representation” (ouch)

Nancy C.: dismayed by elimination of 6-Parnassus through Ashbury Heights neighborhood, relieved with adjustments

Dennis M.: Muni, businesses made a consensus on redoing the Irving Street corridor; concerned with bulbout length that could ax parking spaces for businesses

General Impressions on the TEP

Bruce W. (Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council): every change in TEP does not account for costs, actual time savings; most of TEP is “bandaid”, requiring a paradigm shift

Ahmandi J. (League of Conservation Voters): happy for TEP as a systematic change (can be risky, a chance to redesign Muni from ground up, but implementation needs to be done first)

Elias S.: TEP has smart ideas, goes with Transit First policy


Other comments include a general consensus on the “sorry” state of Muni, from overworked drivers to wasting money on smaller pet projects, as well as addressing individual concerns on Lines 8x, 17, 36, and 43, and addressing accessibility for the handicapped and seniors. Full comment list below.

Multiple responses were made by the Board of Directors from the forty-plus public comments, including:

  • 9-San Bruno will see significant improvements, reducing the need for the 33-Stanyan
  • 6-Parnassus and 71-Haight/Noriega will see service improvements, with the latter to be converted into the 71L-Haight/Noriega Limited. In turn, the 6 will serve local stops along Haight Street, while the 71L will become an all-day, daily service (compared to being only peak periods, peak direction-only service today)
  • Monitor ridership, reliability on the 3-Jackson
  • More discussions to be made on Wilder Street service for the 35-Eureka, with a choice of putting the terminal on Chenery or Arlington Street (buses to run every 20 minutes)
  • The Irving Street landscaping concerns ended up with a “good” compromise; however, Dustin Boden of the Transit Engineering department, said that the sidewalk expansion on Irving Street between 5th and 6th Avenues will be abandoned, and that short pedestrian bulbs will be constructed on Irving Street & 9th Avenue.
  • “Support removing parking spaces as compromise for now” for the Potrero Avenue streetscaping project
  • Assess Westlake Shopping Center (in Daly City) connections for the 17-Parkmerced, work more closely with SamTrans to enhance transit connectivity between Parkmerced and Westlake through a regional transfer agreement
  • TEP improvements a long-time coming; 
  • Continue evaluations, especially for 10-Sansome and new 11-Downtown Corridor
  • N-Judah might see 10% travel time savings, negligible time reduction can see huge benefits for riders (parking can be out of control)
  • Connor Johnson: TEP demonstrates collaborative approach to transit planning, especially for Cole Valley, Ashbury Heights
  • Follow-up meetings needed with Glen Park, Potrero, Cole Valley, Inner Sunset residents
  • Future concerns on budget, more transit alignments to be addressed in two more years

Perhaps a best description for the project came from Director Ramos, in which he said that the TEP is a package of improvements, in which:

(The TEP) is a whole package, and if we […] solve every little problem, we lose the large-scale benefit of this. Large-scale efficiency requires small-scale trade-offs.

This is a monumental change. This is a real significant increase in efficiency, in all of those 5 seconds, 2 minutes and add up, and it’s not just Director Ramos’ 30 minutes, it’s everyone’s 30 minutes. […] It increases happiness, productivity.

In the end, the TEP proposal has been passed unanimously by all Directors present with no additional modifications. The meeting was then adjourned at 11am.

COMMENTS LIST

  • Diamond Heights Community Association: thanks for revising 35-Eureka bus line to serve Glen Park BART; not serve Wilder Street
  • Paul Warner: thanks for preserving 3-Jackson; issues on transit reliability (late trips, no-shows)
  • Alex Long: thanks for preserving 3-Jackson, concern on reduced service on the 2-Clement and 3-Jackson lines… to be addressed by having community surveys on both lines between 7 and 11pm
  • John Paxton: concerned on reduction of 3-Jackson because service reduction is “not a service improvement”, 2-Clement being overcrowded
  • Barbara Bochy: thanks on saving 3-Jackson, keep it running as reliably and frequently as possible to reduce stranded passengers
  • Rick Lopez: Glen Park Merchants Association; 35-Eureka serving Wilder Street “not acceptable” due to pedestrian safety concerns, bus stop proposal not conducive to current street alignment
  • John de Castro: Potrero Boosters, Potrero Hill sees 8k additional residential units that needs to be monitored; service changes in area overstated; 16th Street like a freeway; thanks additional capacity on 10-Sansome
  • Chris R.: Wilder Street resident, opposed to 35-Eureka rerouting to his street… 35 gets 900 riders per day, criticizes Muni
  • Gary P.: no outreach, meetings to neighbors on 9th & Irving (many immigrant businesses), making business owners upset; “no minority representation” (ouch)
  • Nancy C.: dismayed by elimination of 6-Parnassus through Ashbury Heights neighborhood, relieved with adjustments
  • Marvin S.: concerned wifh proposal to cut frequency on 6-Parnassus
  • Salvador C.: grateful to keep Lombard & Lyon stop with 43-Masonic
  • Patricia B.: thanks for rerouting 43-Masonic to serve more seniors; upset on part of reroute, calling it a “done-deal”, concerned on reducing parking slots along the Stockton corridor
  • Catherine C.: concerned on rerouting 33-Stanyan from SF General to Potrero Hill (competing with 9 and 9L); Potrero Hill landscape plan not fully discussed with citizens
  • Dave M.: resident of Glen Park, little notification made on 35-Eureka change along Wilder & Arlington, pedestrian concerns as a result of proposed 35 realignment to Glen Park BART
  • Kathleen M.: concern with proposed 8x reductions
  • John L.: commending changes for Potrero Avenue
  • Bob B.: Transit Riders Union, commending the TEP, public outreach
  • Heidi S.: thanks for addressing handicapped passengers, addressed concerns for scrapping Westlake extension plan on the 17-Parkmerced
  • William L.: Accessibility Committee, grateful for wheelchair accessibility along Judah, Taraval Streets
  • Randall B.: thanks for wayside platforms
  • Steph F.: concerns for the 47-Van Ness service cuts, overworked drivers due to roadside problems
  • Maryanne C.: Potrero Avenue changes not a good idea due to lack of citizen discussion, traffic issues, cycling concerns
  • Claudia F.: parking changes on Potrero Avenue not a good idea for accessibility, seniors, youngsters
  • Linda C.: Disability issues, especially on 1-California, 38-Geary
  • Ahmandi J.: League of Conservation Voters, happy for TEP as a systematic change (can be risky, a chance to redesign Muni from ground up, but implementation needs to be done first)
  • Marissa H.: concern for streetscape improvements on Potrero & 24th Street, especially that it is a thoroughfare; not listening to the neoghborhood, especially on axing 33-Stanyan along Potrero Avenue
  • David J.: Potrero Avenue resident, bike coalition member, concerns with parking space cuts, increased assault on pedestrians along Potrero, esp. near SF General Hospital, sidewalk concerns (esp. in front of Methadone Clinic)
  • Joseph F.: Inner Sunset resident, concerned at Irving Street repaving and adjustments (N-Judah)
  • Andrea J.: Inner Sunset resident, supports the TEP plan, concerns for Irving Street
  • Mary M.: Mission resident; “cruel” to ax 33-Stanyan to SF General; 9-San Bruno not a gem of Muni
  • Marie S.: concerns with 35-Eureka running to Wilder Street due to pedestrian (esp. youngsters) safety, congestion (esp. delivery trucks), double parking
  • Elliott S.: Potrero Ave streetscaping helpful with pedestrian bulbs; changes don’t go far enough, shortsighted in nature
  • Bruce W.: Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council; every change in TEP does not account for costs, actual time savings; most of TEP is “bandaid”, requiring a paradigm shift
  • Elliott F.: concerns with addition of Muni Transfer Dispensary Machines, service speeds on Muni Metro, parking
  • Elias S.: TEP has smart ideas, goes with Transit First policy; concerned with bus overcrowding
  • Joseph B.: Sunset merchant, concerned with moving Irving & 9th N-Judah stop
  • Dennis M.: consensus on Irving Street corridor… concerned with bulbout length that could ax parking spaces for businesses
  • Laurie L.: concerns with parking space loss as cause for reduced customers in Inner Sunset
  • Joyce C.: concerns with sidewalks, Muni bus service
  • Fran T.: Si Se Puede (Cesar Chavez); support for Potrero Ave streetscape change; online petition for high-speed transit link “misleading”
  • Scott S.: MTA done a great job listening to citizens, but not yet finished; concern with 35-Eureka along Wilder Street (doesn’t want it to be implemented)
  • SF Bike Coalition: support Potrero Avenue streetscape improvements; biking to be made safer on the main corridor; enthusiasm limited by lacking bike buffer on Potrero between 20th and 25th Avenues, needing pedestrian improvements with sidewalk expansion
  • Walter C.: Forest Knolls Neighborhood Association, appreciates understanding neighborhood concerns on the 36-Teresita
  • Henry P.: supports TEP, Potrero Avenue improvements (environmental justice issue), need 2- or 3-car trains along Judah corridor (parking concerns to be addressed with CarShare)
  • Laura L.: support for Potrero bike project

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