Thursday, December 6, 2007

Double Decked Out


I just saw online today that Muni is going to be testing a double decker bus starting next week (12/12) through January 8th:

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/malerts/SFMTAandTEPtestingdouble-deckerbuses.htm

The first line they're gonna try it on is the 38L-Geary Limited, and then later on on the 38-Local, so if I'm there at the right time, I might get to try it out! The articulated buses are getting a little funky, what a great idea to replace them with double deckers and add a little London flare to our fine city.

They're just trying them out for now and seeing how they work on SF streets. They have no plans to buy any just yet, and may be trying other options as well, including a possible new articulated bus.

There will be no charge to ride the double decker during the trial.

They're diesel (although all SF diesel vehicles are now running on biodiesel) and they have a diesel/electric hybrid version in development.

Anyway, it's very exciting to see the possibility of some new busses coming our way in the near future (in addition to the hybrid buses they've already been buying)... I was really starting to get jealous of AC Transits' busses.

Friday, August 31, 2007

More Recall Stuff

It's been nice seeing all the new "No Richmond Recall" signs around after seeing so many "Recall Jake McGoldrick" signs for so long. If I owned the building I live in, I'd definitely put some "No Recall" signs up as well.

I found a great website, which sums up why this recall is so ridiculous:

http://stoprecall.org/

According to the site, the proponents of the effort were about 1000 signatures short of getting the recall on the November ballot, so now they're going to try for the February 2008 ballot.

Looks like one of the main (and only organizational) supporters of the recall is the San Francisco Republican Party, along with a few vocal business owners who don't like Jake's pro-labor/pro-transit policies.

If you live in (or are just visiting) the Richmond, please join me in avoiding businesses with "Recall Jake McGoldrick" signs in their windows. One if these businesses is Tia Margarita on 19th Ave at Clement, which I used to enjoy going to, until I saw the HUGE "Recall Jake McGoldrick" sign on the outside wall of their building. Sufficed to say, I won't be patronizing them any longer.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

High Speed Rail

Hopefully this will actually happen!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Recall

So I saw in the paper that there's some group that's gotten together (the Geary Blvd Merchants Association, in disguise, I bet) that's trying to recall Jake McGoldrick, the District 1 (my district) supervisor. Their complaints are that he supports Geary BRT, as well as the City's minimum wage, sick leave and healthcare policies. All the reasons they hate him are the reasons I think he's doing a great job!

I sure hope they don't get it on the ballot. And if I find out who "they" are, I'll be sure to avoid patronizing there stores. It's taken so long to improve the transit situation in the Richmond, the last thing we need is a bunch of narrow minded, misdirected, out of touch business owners to stand in the way. Anyone want to start a DON'T Recall Jake McGoldrick campaign?

Metro Situation Improving?

Sorry for the infrequent posts, been busy with life (mostly in good ways).

So it seems like the Muni Metro situation has gotten a bit better. The trains don't seem to be getting all backed up in the subway as much and people just seem less frustrated in general. I saw in the paper that they're considering lots of options, including reinstating the 15 Bus Line and/or having the N-Judah go all the way to CalTrain again. They just got done changing all the maps and signs, and now they may have to change them again! I don't think reinstating the 15 Bus Line is the best idea, since it would be duplicating much of the T-Third service, but there does need to be better bus coverage for the areas that were served by the 15, and aren't served by the T. I think running the N-Judah to CalTrain again is a great idea. Right now only the T-Third and the J-Church (during peak hours) are running there, and they're usually one car trains. They really need two car trains going there, especially during peak hours. I think having the N (which is almost always a two car train) run there again would solve a lot of problems. It would help with all the peak hour capacity needed and wouldn't have to turn around at Embarcadero (which seems to be one of the things that was slowing the whole subway down in the first place).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Merchants Against BRT?


I kept seeing signs in the windows at a few stores along Geary Blvd saying "Don't let MUNI ruin our street". I was curious what the heck they were talking about, so I did some research, and found the website www.savegearyblvd.com. Turns out the website was put together by the Geary Blvd Merchants Association and apparently they have a committee that is trying to prevent Bus Rapit Transit and/or light rail from being installed along Geary Blvd. Their main argument seems to be that all the construction and traffic would be bad for business and would force them all to close.


I just can't understand why they would want to keep Geary the way it is, with poor pedestrain safety, and buses pulling in and out of traffic all the time. And, frankly, it's just not a very attractive Boulevard, there's so much that could be done to improve it. After reading the website, I found the arguments so ridiculous, that I felt inclined to write a letter to the President of the Geary Blvd Merchants Association, David Heller. I also forwarded a copy of the letter to Supervisor Jake McGoldrick. I sent the e-mail on February 4, 2007, and got a lovely reply from a staffer at Jake McGoldrick's office almost right away. I have yet to hear anything from Mr. Heller (maybe I convinced him!).

Here is what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Heller,

As a resident of the Richmond District and as someone employed downtown, I ride the 38 bus line every day. Using either the 38, 38L, 38BX, or 31, it takes me at least 40 minutes to get from my house on 17th Ave to my final destination at 2nd and Market.

This is unacceptable. We need a faster, more reliable transportation system (especially since we live in one of the most heavily traveled transportation corridors in the the western US), and we're not going to get that with small fixes. It will take some major construction. As with any major construction project, there are headaches caused by the traffic while streets are being torn up, or structures being built, but the claim you make that it's going to force businesses to close is ridiculous.

I do most my shopping in the Richmond district, and walk where I need to go in the neighborhood, so having Geary torn up is not going to stop me from going to the local stores. Maybe it'll even encourage more local residents to walk and shop more locally, rather than deal with the traffic going downtown during construction.

I grew up in Santa Cruz, and about 10 years ago, they completely tore up the main street through town, Mission St, to widen it, and make several needed improvements. Traffic during the construction, as you would imagine, was a nightmare. But it did not cause any businesses to close, the businesses along that street are actually thriving now.

You also mention all the parking that would be taken away. Well, have you considered that with a more functional transportation system in place, perhaps more people will feel comfortable taking public transit to shop in the Richmond, which will reduce the amount of cars in the area and the amount of parking spaces needed?

I don't know if you take the Geary bus every day. If you do, I would hope you realize how vitally major changes are needed. If you don't, I'd recommend you try riding the 38 bus line from the Richmond to downtown and back each day, for at least a week, during rush hour, and see if that changes your mind. Having a viable transit option to the Richmond will help this neighborhood thrive, and help the businesses thrive here as well.

Personally, if they decided not to build a major transit alternative here, such as BRT, I would move to a neighborhood with better public transit, one that's on a light rail line, preferably. So, then by not building BRT or whatever, the businesses here would actually be losing business, as I'd be shopping at the businesses in the neighborhood I move to. I'd much rather stay in the Richmond, but I can't do that indefinitely with such a lousy bus system.

I know change isn't easy, and it doesn't happen overnight, but sometimes it's necessary to help improve our lives.

I know if I owned a business in this neighborhood, I would be thrilled at the opportunity of having a fast, comfortable mode of transportation nearby for my employees and my customers.

In the end, the amount of time and frustration a new bus service/light rail would save the residents of the Richmond would be incredible. MUNI is not going to "ruin" Geary Blvd, as you claim. Of course it would suck during construction, it sucks when they re-pave roads, too, but if they didn't re-pave roads, then they'd be pretty difficult to drive on at all. And in the end, after the dust settles, we'd have a beautiful, accessible, safer district for everyone, including the businesses.

I'm sure you're stuck in your opinions, just like I'm stuck on mine, but I just wanted to let you know how I felt about the issue. I'm not affiliated with MUNI or any other advocacy group at this time, I'm just a regular guy who lives in the Richmond and wants a better, faster way to get to work and downtown.

Sincerely,
Brendon....

Backfire

So it just so happens that after I started regularly going across the park every day to catch the N Judah, they launched the full service T-Third Line. It was all going fine as I was heading to work on the N last Monday morning, until the train got into the subway, at which point it was stop and go all the way to the Embarcadero. The driver came on the intercom about half way through the subway to let us know that there was a back-up of trains, so it would probably take a while. This made me about a 1/2 hour late to work (and a bunch of other people, too). Isn't the point of the subway to AVOID traffic? They've had all this time to plan for the T-Third, and nobody thought about the effect it might have on the existing trains and infastructure? They totally blew it! I don't want to hear any more excuses or apologies from MUNI, I just want them to find a permanent solution to fix the problem. Let's hope they plan better for the future Central Subway, or any future rail lines, for that matter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Through the Park, to the Train


So I have a new routine. Rather than take the 38 Geary or 31 Balboa (which are the two bus lines by my house) to and from work every day, I've started walking through Golden Gate Park over to the Sunset district and catching the N-Judah at 9th & Irving to/from downtown. Not only is it great exercise and a great way to see our beautiful park, it's also just so much more fun than taking the bus! It's quicker and has more frequent service. And even though it tends to gets much more crowded than the buses, I still prefer it.


Oh, if only they had a MUNI Metro line out to the Richmond, I would use it constantly! Back in the day, there used to be a couple trolly lines along Geary to the Richmond and Ocean Beach, one of which was called the B-Geary. If/when they put a train line out here again, it would probably be given the same name.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Free Transit!


So Mayor Gavin Newsom has proposed looking at the possibility of making Muni totally free! This is a fantastic idea in my opinion. It would improve reliability and ridership. The big questions, of course, is where will all that lost revenue be made up, and how will they pay for the equipment and staff that will be needed to handle the increased ridership? It may not happen, but I think it's fantastic that Newsom is talking about it. More on this later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Welcome!

Welcome to by blog. As you may have gathered from the title, I'm a big fan of public and alternative forms of transportation, especially trains, subways and lightrail. This blog is intended to promote public transportation and let you know what's going on (that I know of) in San Francisco (where I live) regarding Public Transit. I'll start with a video from City CarShare, which is a non-profit car sharing organization here that I'm a member of. It's allowed me to be able to get rid of my car!