Tag Archives: sfmta

Muni Uprising

Photo Credit: Nathan Yergler

Hearing the news of the the Muni Drivers’ Union (TWU) strike authorization vote (which will probably be illegal if they go through with it) made me think of an amazing article Greg Dewar & Joe Eskenazi did for SF Weekly a little over a year ago (“The Muni Death Spiral“, SF Weekly, April 14th, 2010).

It’s a great reminder of the deep-rooted dysfunction and incompetence at Muni, from the Union, to Management, to the political leadership.

What really showed me how out of touch Muni Management is, and put any doubts I had about their lack of leadership ability to rest, was when they said they were “blindsided” by the CA Public Utilities Commission report that laid out several dangerous and ongoing problems at Muni (ATC failures, derailments, speeding, etc.). All you have to do is ride Muni and/or read the news every few days to know there is something seriously wrong. When the Muni-riding public is more aware of the shortcomings of Muni than the people running it, there’s obviously a problem.

Then there was the report of the Sunset and Twin Peaks Tunnels, which are literally disintegrating before our eyes, and have NEVER been tested for earthquake safety, even after the ’89 quake!

Year after year, Muni management continues to fail the public. We keep voting for additional Muni funding and for reform after reform, yet it continues to be a gamble whether we’ll get to work on time. We keep paying over $300k a year to Nat Ford, yet he continues making excuses for his failures while he’s out searching for another transit agency to sink. We keep telling our Supervisors and the Mayor that Muni is a top priority, yet they continue passing laws like the Happy Meal Ban or symbolic resolutions that have little to no real-world impact on our daily lives.

Yes, there are major issues regarding lack of State & Federal funding, but that’s no excuse. There are dozens of transit agencies all over the country (including our very own BART) that have found ways to operate efficiently & semi-sustainably with limited resources. It’s long past time for a change in Muni leadership, so that real solutions (not just band-aids) are found for the myriad of systemic problems.

Then there’s the Union, which fails to serve the drivers they’re supposed to represent. Unions are incredibly important for the protection of workers’ interests in large corporations and/or governments, but this union keeps standing up for bad drivers and not properly rewarding the good ones. They also forget (and forget to remind their drivers), that Muni is owned by us, the riders. We are their bosses, and they are here to serve us, not their own self interests. The drivers should get at least $60k a year (not including overtime), but they keep asking for more, or refusing to give things up, not realizing that there isn’t any money to pay for all they’re demanding, and that concessions must be made for the system to actually work (yes, large pay cuts for Muni Management must be part of that, too). It’s long past time for the drivers of Muni to vote for new Union leadership, or just end their contract with the TWU and find (or start) another Union that actually represents their interests without turning the whole City against them.

We need bold action, and we need it now: Implement ALL the Transit Effectiveness Project recommendations ASAP, appoint more transit advocates like Cheryl Brinkman & Joel Ramos to the SFMTA Board, hold bad drivers accountable and support the good ones (there ARE many good ones), and make sure the current system is in proper working order and on time before even talking about expansion.

We’re all mad as hell, and we… keep taking it. When “aren’t we going to take it anymore”? When do we get all Network on their asses and start shouting from our windows and rooftops. Lets get angry, but then lets actually DO something. We need to stop letting them treat us, the owners/riders, like cattle and let it be known that all the incompetence and ineptitude will no longer be tolerated.


Filed under Muni

Cole Valley Transit Bulb Proposal On Its Way To SFMTA Board

Outbound N-Judah Stop at Carl & Cole as it appears today. Image: Google

UPDATE 1/18/11: Good news! Per Bryan Goebel of Streetsblog: “The SFMTA Board unanimously approved this proposal at its meeting this afternoon. Only one person testified against it. One member of the board, Bruce Oka, called it a “no brainer.”” Yay! Thanks to everyone who spoke up.

As reported today by Streetsblog and The N Judah Chronicles, there will be a hearing on Tuesday, January 18th, at 1 PM in Room 400 at City Hall for the proposed transit bulbs on Carl St (at Stanyan & Cole).

The much needed sidewalk extensions at these heavily used stops will finally provide a dignified way for riders to board/de-board N-Judah trains without having to squeeze between parked cars, and should also reduce conflict between trains and autos.

Although very popular overall, the proposal is opposed by a few merchants & residents who are upset at the loss of a handful of parking spaces.

What those in opposition fail to realize (or decide to ignore) is the fact that there are a substantial amount of people living in this neighborhood that regularly use those stops, and that removing some parking spaces, although slightly inconvenient for a few drivers, will greatly benefit thousands of riders & pedestrians.

The argument that removing the parking spaces will hurt local business is especially ridiculous. The majority of people that patronize Cole Valley stores, including myself, live in the neighborhood and get to said stores via foot or bike, not to mention all the people from other neighborhoods that get to Cole Valley via transit.

If those opposed to the proposal really want to improve the parking situation in Cole Valley, they ought to support the expansion of the SF Park demand-based parking meter program to Cole St, between Frederick & Parnassus. They should also support extending meters to evenings and Sundays, as doing so increases parking space turnover, which increases automobile access to local businesses.

The proposal is more than fair to drivers (two of the three bulbs don’t even run the full length of the trains) and a small, but necessary improvement on the long road to making SF a truly Transit First city.

If you’re not able to make it to the meeting next Tuesday, you can e-mail your comments to the SFMTA board at mtaboard@sfmta.com.

Inbound N-Judah Stop at Carl & Cole as it appears today. Image: Google

Rendering of Carl & Cole sidewalk extension. Image: SF Planning Department, City Design Group


Filed under Muni, Streetscape