Supervisor Wiener Calls for Hearing on Improving J-Church Reliability

Flickr Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/theoverheadwire/##Transit Nerds##
Flickr Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/theoverheadwire/##Transit Nerds##

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who has pledged to make transportation issues a priority, today called for a hearing to address a growing number of complaints about unreliability from riders on the J-Church line.

“It’s a major line that carries a lot of people, and it’s very unpredictable for reasons I do not understand and want to understand,” Wiener said. “I want the current, up-to-date information from the MTA in terms of what’s going on with the J-Church and what they have been doing recently to try to improve service.”

He cited known physical challenges presented by the turn from Church onto 30th Street, “stops and starts” on Church Street, “inconsistent frequency”, and seemingly “random” NextMuni arrival predictions, which he said doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem on other lines.

He expects to have the hearing within 30 to 60 days and may even propose some physical changes to improve the line.

Wiener, who represents District 8, said he will work with D11 Supervisor John Avalos, whose district also encompasses the J line. Avalos has also expressed concerns about Muni reliability, and recently called for a hearing on the problem of switchbacks on the 14-Mission line.

“Over the last few months we’ve seen improved service reliability due, in part, to preventing sander hoses from severing the signal cable, upgrading system software to improve the switch from manual to automatic, and addressing maintenance issues, such as switches and other mechanical issues,” said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose. “We will continue to work with the Board of Supervisors to further improve service in the future.”

  • Alex

    Nice to see that the sups still aren’t working together. Many of the same problems that plague the L and N also, and I’m sure this comes as a shock to everyone, plague the J, K, and M…

  • Michael Smith

    I really, really hope the new Supes go beyond the usual political grand standing do more than just call for a hearing on their local project. The problem isn’t the J. The problem is the LRV lines in general. Looking at just the J isn’t going to help at all.

  • Morton

    I don’t blame Scott for focusing on the J, given that that is his constituency and we have district elections.

    The K/L/M also run through his district but only underground and in tandem so that isn’t as big an issue.

    But yes, we need a city-wide solution, and not a solution to this line or that line. And hell, if you live on ANY of the streetcar lines, you are way better off than the rest of the city that has to deal with the almost unusable bus lines.

  • I don’t have experience taking the K, L, or M lines aboveground. But in my experience, the N doesn’t experience the issues that Wiener is talking about. My ears pricked up in particular about the “inconsistent frequency” and “random” NextMuni predictions. Every so often I find myself looking for a J train aboveground, and it’s not uncommon on weekends for NextMuni to predict the next train in the 70-minute range. I usually look for an alternate route, so I don’t know how accurate those estimates are. But I’ve never seen anything that out of whack on the N line. So I’ve always assumed the J has line-specific issues.
    That said, I agree that MUNI should be making improvements and planning on an LRV-line-wide basis, rather than solely ad hoc.

  • Bob Davis

    If you haven’t had problems riding the “N”, count yourself lucky. Although I don’t live in The City, I often read the “N-Judah Chronicles” and see reports of all sorts of bad things happening. Then there’s “The Bus Bench”, which covers LA Metro, and it doesn’t have much in the way of nice things to say about our local transit. Let’s face it: most people don’t really want better transit–most of us want to be rich enough to be driven around in a chauffeured limo, or at least a Town Car. Why do you think lottery tickets sell so well?

  • If only the Supervisors would hold hearings that would force Muni to be honest (unlike when they basically tried to evade questions from Supes Chu and Avalos a few weeks ago) and also work together more, despite ideology, we could perhaps force a comprehensive response.

    Sadly that doesn’t pay off in City politics – it’s all about memememe with the politicians. And Muni is just so full of shit at this point, the only way you know they’re lying is when they open their mouths.

  • Alex

    Morton: Problems elsewhere in the system will cripple service on the J. That underground service you discount… the J runs underground too. Backups underground mean that the J will get backed up too. If an F-line car gets stuck on the tracks at the start of a shift, the J’s gonna get backed up too. The problems that Weiner is going to look into aren’t specific to the J, and unless he (and the rest of the sups) can look at this from a holistic point of view, they ain’t gonna come up with squat.

    And, no, living near a streetcar line doesn’t mean you’re better off. Just ask the people west of 19th or 22nd Ave how they like the N/L service. Or the people past SFSU how they like the M. Streetcar service is so expensive, and ridership is so abysmal that the MTA skips out on providing nearby service to pay for it. There is no redundancy for the L (compare to the 1/5/31/38 in the Richmond) or N. When something breaks, you’re SOL. You cant route trains around each other, bus shuttles almost never come (unless the problem lasts more than an hour).

  • david vartanoff

    step one on ALL of the LRV lines. Abolish 4 way stops at intersections w/o revenue stops.

    step two. Dynamic resequencing of outbound trains from Embarcadero to ensure service on each line.

  • Good point on the stop signs. Can anyone explain why the MTA is so afraid of traffic lights, or any kind of traffic control in general? We have stop signs on transit routes that should have transit preempted signals, and they won’t even install a stop sign next to Dolores park. What are we getting for our $750 million a year when an agency shies away from a hearing over a stop sign?

    There are so many cases of this waste in the city it’s sickening. A less publicized example in my neighborhood is the intersection of Geneva Ave and Cayuga. This intersection has a four way stop that is no problem during off-peak but generates a massive backup during rush hour. And the best part is that FIVE Muni lines run through it. We are probably losing literally tens of millions of dollars a year in productivity for drivers and passengers to sit in the backup at this stop sign. But no one must dare suggest we install new signals or transit preemption in San Francisco.

  • @Alex also a good point. Once we get past the common-sense fixes someone is going to have to ask the more fundamental question: what is the point of running rail service on surface streets with shared ROW?

  • I honestly believe that Wiener is smart enough and sensible enough to see the sorts of things that for example David lists and attempt to make it happen. I hope I’m right, and I hope he doesn’t run into a brick wall.

  • Sean H

    The madness at Church and Duboce is partly to blame. Cars regularly cut off the train, just this morning I saw the train stop and start for 4 cars that were cutting off the train in front of Safeway while it was fully loaded, AFTER it waited for previous large batch of cars. We need ROW that’s more delineated, and we NEED TO REMOVE a traffic lane on high priority transit corridors. Less lefts would help too.

  • BBnet3000

    It seems to me that running buses and (at best) 2 car trains on the cities major lines instead of 6 car light rail trains or better is part of the reason Muni’s farebox recovery is so poor. Its an inefficient system.

  • Alex

    Steve: They lack the political fortitude to implement proper change. When your mayor was hand picked by the pro-car lobby, and your BoS rarely rides transit (looking at Carmen Chu, David Chiu, Sean Elsbernd, MAP, etc here), what do you expect?

    As far as I’m concerned a shared RoW is more of a safety problem than an efficiency problem. There are a few places (ex: West Portal, 4th & King) where signal priority is desperately needed, but when you have large swaths of a route mostly devoid of traffic (ex: Taraval west of Sunset), it’s really a matter of being clobbered by a car or bicycle/skateboard rider rather than being held up by automobile traffic.

    Murph: I can only hope…

    Sean: That certainly goes against my experience at the Duboce Portal. In general tho, there should be signals (and traffic enforcement) at these major junctions. Stopping and starting in a curve can’t be good for the rails.

  • Sean H

    Alex: The Duboce portal is getting upgraded this year, but with SFMTA timelines that probably means it will be done in 2012. I’m no suburbanite, but the noise/vibrations are must register low on the Richter scale when the train goes over a switch. The rails were probably built for the lighter PCC streetcars. A full two car N-Judah train is about 50,000 lbs- Im blown away that they are supposed to patiently wait for 1 guy trying to make a left in a Honda. We need to get real about managing our streets’ real estate.

  • The efficiency problem with putting fixed guideway vehicles in a shared ROW comes from the fact that without a dedicated ROW you negate virtually all the benefits of that mode, while also creating new disadvantages.

    The primary advantage of these vehicles should be that you can run very long trains with just one operator, or even driverless operation, with very limited clearances and at high maximum speeds. The current configuration of the Metro basically nullifies all of these: it’s not possible to go driverless when vehicles have to exit the subway onto shared ROW, and Muni claims they can’t run anything over 2 cars on the streets, so you’re stuck with one operator for a vehicle with no more capacity than a double articulated bus; you can’t run at high speeds with all the stop signs and train stops every two blocks; and whenever someone parks on the tracks you are stuck. And even though you’ve given up all these potential benefits, you’re still saddled with all the massive maintainence and operational costs that come with the LRVs and the rails themselves.

    I’m not trying to start a BRT vs. subway debate, just want to point out that rail on surface streets is a perverse combination of all the disadvantages of both systems that everyone should be able to agree to hate!

  • Alex

    David: I disagree 100% that they need to rip up stop signs. Many of these stop signs were put up at the behest of the residents to slow down the traffic. Take a look at Taraval west of Sunset until about 40th or 42nd. There are no stop signs, and the LRVs regularly hit 35+. Sure, it helps improve the average speed of the L, but at what cost? How on earth is that safe? How is that at all good for the foundations of the buildings out there?

    Sean: Well the noise has been a problem in Noe Valley and the outer reaches of D4 since the introduction of the Bredas. The MTA’s spent millions of dollars trying to quiet the damn things to no avail. As for waiting for cars, yeah, well. Enough with the bullshit excuses, the MTA needs to enable signal priority where available. That the St. Francis Circle is STILL biased towards automobile traffic (even after its recent renovations) shows just how far out of whack the MTA’s priorities are.

    A single breda weighs about 50 tons (roughly 96,000lbs), IIRC. An all-aluminum BART car weighs about 50,000lbs. From dangly bits that tear up the train control hardware in the metro (the Bredas were supposedly designed with ATCS in mind) to really, really poorly designed HVAC units (they’re finally getting around to taking bids for re-engineering those… lol), to atrocious wiring[1] (supposedly they pulled this shit with Seattle’s hybrid busses too), the Bredas are simply a giant clusterfuck of engineering. I’ve no doubt that the Bredas are wreaking havoc on the infrastructure, but maintenance is maintenance. If things are breaking more quickly, they need to be fixed more quickly.

    Lest I get too far off topic, please keep in mind who got us these stupid trains: Slick Willie Brown and his bosom buddies at Booz-Allen-Hamilton (who, btw, are slated for an IPO in the relatively near future). Then keep in mind the very close friends of Slick Willie who are still around (Ed Lee, David Chiu, Rose Pak, Gavin Newsom). If ten years of abysmal service hasn’t motivated the MTA to fix things, I’m a bit doubtful that a hearing or two will.

    1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9880707@N02/5079936017/ omglolwtfbqq

  • We can replace stop signs on transit routes without compromising traffic calming or pedestrian safety; they don’t have to be replaced with regular traffic signals.

    Instead specially programmed signals can be used which are just four-way flashing red most of the time, no different than the stop signs, but turn green in one direction and direct drivers and peds in the other to stop when a transit vehicle is approaching.

  • Alex

    Steve: There are plenty of JKLMN stops where even one car trains are too long to fit safely. Sunset comes to mind, but also the inbound Church and 18th wheelchair stop. Without blocking off a bunch of streets to cross traffic, you’re not going to get > 2 car trains above ground. If you want more subways, fine. Be careful what you wish for. The current subway to nowhere has many of the same design flaws baked into it that you’re pointing out.

    Even then, two car trains would be an improvement on the JKLM which don’t see two car trains that often (due to vehicle availability and artificially low projected demand). More LRVs were ordered for the T-Fail (and they propped up the MTA’s ability to offer two car service) but they kept getting wrecked or breaking on their own in sufficient demand that two car trains became impossible once the T-Fail Street opened (except, of course, for when the K/M were shut down and all the ‘extras’ ended up on the L). Hell, in 2006-7 the F carried almost 11% more people than the J, and nobody’s once been willing to run two-car F’s down Market where it’s safe to do so.

    As for the metro, you could (and MUNI /did/) run long trains underground, and the broke them up at the portals. Of course, faulty/absent employees and equipment conspired against allowing this to happen with the fancy new trains. But how many times has this been rehashed with various MTA staff members?

    As for the sensor lights… how is this an improvement /for transit/ or for /ped safety/? From the sound of it, it would allow cars to speed (bicycles, of course, ignore traffic laws anyhow) while still requiring transit vehicles to stop, thus not improving transit, and making pedestrian access more difficult. Let’s try signal priority where possible, a reworking of the 19th/Winston signals, and increased enforcement at the 19th Ave crossover to start. Where there are seemingly superfluous stop signs (24th/Taraval, 15th/Taraval), let’s see about realigning the transit stops before simply ripping out stop signs wholesale.

  • EL

    I don’t blame Scott for focusing on the J, given his constituency. But here are the hard facts:

    J – 17K passengers per day
    K/T – 33K
    L – 30K
    M – 19K
    N – 46K

    The J is the line to worry the least about, especially if we’re talking about the number of riders being inconvenienced by poor schedule adherence or missed runs.

    Add to that the fact that much of the J-line overlaps with BART (except between Glen Park and Civic Center Station) and it should be of no surprise why it’s the least used line. Anyone notice that it costs $1.75 to ride BART from Balboa Park to Embarcadero (less than MUNI)?

    With these facts in hand, it makes you wonder why the J-line even exists as an at-grade rail service, especially since the cost of it is way, way more than buying enough land between 22nd and 20th to make the right-of-way wide enough for buses.

  • Whenever a transit vehicle is not present, it’s a 4-way stop (blinking red), just like it was before, no change. When a transit vehicle approaches, it gets a green light and cross traffic has to stop. Transit vehicles never have to make non-revenue stops, private vehicles still have to stop, pedestrians still get the benefits of a 4-way stop.

    Now I completely agree with you on the LRVs; these are just more points supporting why they don’t work on surface streets. If I were put in charge of the Metro I’d make it my goal to have all the LRVs running as Embarcadero-West Portal shuttles, and replace the surface street service with double articulated buses wherever practical. Thinking of the benefits: drastically lower maintenance and operation costs mean you can run more frequent service with the same budget, ability to go around obstructions means fewer delays, no need for rails means you can implement physically separated transit lanes in areas that are currently shared ROW at drastically lower cost, low-floor boarding speeds operation and makes them accessible to people with disabilities at every stop, and they can carry bikes. Meanwhile the subway should be able to become at least somewhat reliable with the vehicles operating in 100% dedicated ROW (equipment problems will remain, unfortunately).

    The only counter-argument I’ve ever heard to this is that people in the Sunset/Noe Valley will rebel at the thought of having to transfer vehicles at the portals, but really unless you live very close to the portal doesn’t the improved speed and service on both legs of the trip more than make up for having to make one transfer at a major station which should be able to have excellent transfer amenities installed?

  • EL

    I just had a thought. Keep the existing tracks for the J, but use them only to deploy the F and N in the mornings. Run the J as bus service only, between Balboa Park and Market and have passengers transfer at Church Station. Pave the area between 20th and 22nd Street (keeping the tracks of course) and have the buses run one in/one out because of the narrow width.

    Doesn’t that provide operating flexibility, Bredas to use elsewhere in the system, reduce noise created by the heavy trains, and more consistent service (one bus outtage doesn’t affect the others)?

  • Peter M

    Buses don’t even need the ROW between 20th and 22nd, when they were replacing the tracks last year the substitute buses made it over the hill just fine

  • EL

    Alex wrote: “Hell, in 2006-7 the F carried almost 11% more people than the J, and nobody’s once been willing to run two-car F’s down Market where it’s safe to do so.”

    Just exactly how are you supposed to connect the propulsion and braking of 2 HISTORIC streetcars from different eras together, each with their own mechanical differences?

  • EL

    Thanks Peter M. Now it’s a super-cheap solution since no right of way is needed. Hell, you can even run the J-buses directly to Glen Park as a part-way substitute for the long-departed #26 Valencia.

  • david vartanoff

    ad others have detailed well programmed traffic signal replacing un needed stop signs benefits riders, peds, bicyclists, even drivers. As to “speeding LRVs” yippee!

    “wasting” the J ROW on diesel buses midday, NO, a thousand times no. the majpr slowdowns on the J are between 30th and 22nd, and @ Duboce. If these can be fixed, the route should improve.

  • EL

    David Vartanoff wrote: ““wasting” the J ROW on diesel buses midday, NO, a thousand times no. the majpr slowdowns on the J are between 30th and 22nd, and @ Duboce. If these can be fixed, the route should improve.”

    Here’s a fun little experiment. When traveling toward downtown on the J, get off at Market, and go into the station. Keep an eye of the train displays, and see if you get to Van Ness faster than the J that you got off.

    And what about my point about the J ridership being the lowest compared to all the other lines? Do you think MUNI should prioritize the N, between 9th and Cole before worrying about the J, between 22nd and 30th?

  • Alex

    David: So widen the RoW and run trolley coaches. Paying the premium for LRV service for so few riders makes little to no sense. And, no, speeding 100,000lb vehicles are NOT FUN when you’re trying to cross the street. That shit benefits NOBODY.

    EL: Probably like this[1,2]. The most common type in the F-line fleet, the PCCs, can, in theory, run in multiple-unit operation. Then again, look at Boston. They run different types of /modern/ streetcars in trains together.

    1: http://www.trainweb.org/motormanclyde/pagesets/pccfolder/pccsub2.html
    2: http://www.trainweb.org/motormanclyde/pcc.html

  • Mario Tanev

    While J is slow between 30th and 22nd, it is consistently slow. Most slow-downs that I have witnessed on the J are late-to-depart (especially in Embarcadero due to the computerized system) and upon entering the tunnel.

    I am a regular J rider and would love if J ran between Church and Duboce and Balboa Park. That way if there is a screw-up in the subway I could board another train and have a chance to transfer at Church. I even have the option of boarding F to Church.

    The subway should run automated regularly and frequently scheduled long trains to relieve subway congestion. For some very heavy lines like the N it may make sense to run dedicated lines in the subway, but not for all.

    Here is how it could all work:

    Leave the N intact.
    Restore the S to run between Embarcadero and West Portal.
    Change the K and M to terminate at West Portal from Balboa Park.
    Change the L to terminate at West Portal from Taraval.
    Change the T to terminate at Embarcadero from Sunnydale (decouple K and T).

    Now if there is a source of unreliability in one part of the system, it will not translate to the other.

  • Alex
  • The “Take the J to Market and switch” theory – so why doesn’t everyone do that already?

    While going through that mumbo jumbo, I can’t read my paper, my phone, sleep, or anything else. For a lot of transit riders, the major benefit of transit is that it is “Fire and Forget”. To attract the major portion of the public, no transfer is key.

  • Alex

    Murph: So you’d trade a guaranteed transfer, but otherwise hassle-free commute for an occasionally hassle and transfer-free commute that’s plagued with problems? Okay. Given how much of the MUNI system is designed to require transferring, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that viewpoint is in the minority.

    Yes. People bitch and moan constantly about how horrible a 1/4 mile transfer from the subway to nowhere to the Market street subway will be… and all the while manage to forget that walking from one end of Van Ness station to the other is that same quarter mile right there.

    Perfection ain’t happening, you might as well settle for reliable.

  • What I would do isn’t important. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Bay Area Transit and can entertain myself trying to optimize routes.

    What is important here, is we have a sizeable population on or near the J line that works downtown, and would take it every day if it were reliable – because it’s a no transfer route to downtown. We also have a sizable population that DOES take it every day and we lose productivity from those workers.

    Anecdotally the 48 enters Noe Valley near empty, and is full by Noe Street. Nobody gets off it to take the J – everyone goes to BART. Yet the J serves 17,000 per day – people who live on the line who would rather not transfer than take the 48 or 33 down to BART.

    The numbers comparison isn’t fair anyway – the N serves more people in large part because it’s a longer train line.

    If I were the dictator, we take out the stop signs where there isn’t a stop, and we widen the sidewalks to narrow the lanes and calm traffic.

  • Morton

    JohnM

    “The “Take the J to Market and switch” theory – so why doesn’t everyone do that already?”

    Actually, people do. If I miss an outbound J at Montgomery, I can generally take the nextoutbound K, L or M, get off at Church, run out of the station and catch the J I just missed!

    And although I haven’t tried it in the opposite direction, it would presumably be quicker as well.

    While if we stopped the J going through the tunnels at all, it would ease congestion, helping all other lines, most notably the N which runs up against capacity limitations all the time, and serves far more people.

  • EL

    John Murphy wrote: “What is important here, is we have a sizeable population on or near the J line that works downtown, and would take it every day if it were reliable – because it’s a no transfer route to downtown. We also have a sizable population that DOES take it every day and we lose productivity from those workers.”

    You left out the part where the crossing of Market, Duboce, and entering/exit the tunnel (to avoid an apparently sacred “no transfer for Noe Valley” policy) is a major contributor to what makes it unreliable to begin with.

    John Murphy wrote: “The numbers comparison isn’t fair anyway – the N serves more people in large part because it’s a longer train line.”

    Which part isn’t fair? That a hearing is going to held for the J-line (the least used) instead of far busier/longer lines?

  • The more relevant number for ridership is ridership per mile – not overall ridership. If the N Judah is 3x as long as the J (above ground), it should carry 3x the number of passengers, because it relies on us maintaining 3x the amount of track, etc…

    A transit line with a smaller catchment will have fewer riders. Glen/Noe/Castro isn’t any less dense than the Outer Sunset.

  • Morton

    “The more relevant number for ridership is ridership per mile – not overall ridership. If the N Judah is 3x as long as the J (above ground), it should carry 3x the number of passengers, because it relies on us maintaining 3x the amount of track, etc…”

    I disagree that’s the way to measure it. (Although I suspect the N carries considerably more than 3X the J ridership anyway).

    First, a line three times as long doesn’t require three times the cost. The track maintenance MIGHT be three times as much but the staff and rolling stock costs are not triple.

    Also, all N trains are 2-car trains but many if not most J trains are a single car.

    Second, the absolute number of riders does count, because it represents the number of people affected and/or delayed, which is a higher economic cost. That’s why when Muni axes services it axes the least-used, lowest ridership routes. Or should, anyway. Ridership volumes matter.

    Look, I use the J myself, so obviously I have a vested interest in it, as do you clearly. But it’s not a more important city-wide route just because you and I use it.

    The idea of stopping the inbound J at Duboce and Church should be investigated. It’s easy to reverse trains there, and there is a muni staff office there too. That would also help the K/L/M routes by decongesting the tunnel.

  • (Although I suspect the N carries considerably more than 3X the J ridership anyway).

    Morton directly contradicts stats posted on the thread – therefore satisfying JohnB’s/Mick/Muck’s law.

  • Morton

    JohnM

    Are you disputing El’s post above?

    I’m confused.

    And are you accepting all the other points I made by omission?

    Dude, I ride the J myself. I want it to be improved. I just don’t think it’s the only game in town. Problem?

  • Alex

    Look at the TEP data yourself. The N carries about 45-46k daily, the J about 16-17k, the difference is not quite 3x. Dunno about the length tho. Wiki sez something like 45 vs 25 stops, however (this seems like a more sane metric to me).

    OTOH the other bit not being discussed is that nearly all of the J’s route is very close to a number of other big lines (incl. BART). With the N past 19th, that’s not quite the case. The L too, especially now since the 48’s been pared back so significantly.

  • EL

    John Murphy wrote: “The more relevant number for ridership is ridership per mile – not overall ridership. If the N Judah is 3x as long as the J (above ground), it should carry 3x the number of passengers.”

    A ridiculous analysis, but fine. We’ll do it your way John. Using the TEP data, the J has more than 3,500 inbound passengers a day between 24th St. and Powell. The N has more than 7,000 inbound passengers (double 3,500 since it’s usually a 2-car train) a day bewteen 15th Avenue to Powell. So does it sound very fair now?

  • Katherine Roberts

    Sean H — What about motorists making illegal left-turns onto Duboce from Church — northbound on Church to westbound on Duboce? That shit is SERIOUSLY illegal (viz. 5, count ’em 5, “No Left Turn” signs at that intersection to prove it), but why let that stop you. I’m just waiting for an errant vehicle to plough into a horde of N-Judah boarders, because they whip around the back of the train when they can’t even see what’s in front of them. These guys not only slow down transit, they scare the shit out of me. But in all my years of watching I’ve only ever seen ONE guy get ticketed, by a cop who was clever enough to be watching. I guess when you know there are absolutely zero consequences for your actions, why not take the short-cut that goes straight through the crowded streetcar stop? THAT’S something I’d like the BOS to address.

  • Morton

    Katherine,

    The problem with that no left turn rule there is that it just causes drivers to do a U-turn on Church and then a right onto Duboce. So either way there is a hazard.

    And there are private garages and businesses on that block so you can’t ban cars altogether, even though there is an alternative way to get to Fillmore and Duboce.

    Having said that, most drivers are forced to go fairly slow there, by the combination of streetcars, bikes and pedestrians. I worry more about getting mown down at the J stops on Church than the N stops on Duboce.

    El,

    I don’t think the ridership per mile matters at all. It’s the absolute number of riders affected that should drive muni priorities.

    Anyway, between Embarcadero and Church/Market/Duboce, people take the first train that comes – counting numbers by route for that stretch is pointless.

  • Sean H

    Katherine: I guess the cars think they can take the wiggle ;P Id like to see intersection signaled, there should be a time when even cyclists and pedestrians (cars of course too) have to stop for the armpit SRO N cars.

    I hate to say it, but I kind of like the J uncrowded. I stand on the N duboce platform because its more frequent, but there is a lot of time to go over to the J church platform when you see it coming.

    In an age of US transit where we are obsessed with Passengers/rev hr, we forget that actually getting a seat is a noble goal. In Europe I hear that the performance standards are partly based upon psgrs getting a seat most of the time.

  • Morton

    Sean,

    You write:

    “I guess the cars think they can take the wiggle”.

    Unless I am missing something here, there is no section of the “Wiggle” where cars are banned.

    Even the block of Duboce from Church to Fillmore that we are talking about here is open to cars – just not cars turning left off Church.

    You can still turn into that block by turning right off southbound Church, entering from the west on Duboce, or turning east off Fillmore.

    I think the residents of that block who have garages might object if you sought to ban cars from there!

  • Sean H

    Morton: Yes the wiggle sort of breaks there in case you want to take Duboce or Church/Hermann before Steiner. But the sign at Church/Duboce clearly says ‘No turns except MUNI/bikes’. Cars are following cyclists making a left there.

    Id like to see a study done about when those garages were put in there. Why should we allow a few cars to block 17k++ commuters a day? As for the garages on Church St/X Safeway, they are the size of a small business- if the city allowed the landowners to convert the bottom floor to commercial it would be doubly beneficial to the corridor. Parking via permit is relatively cake in the area anyhow.

  • Morton

    Sean

    You raise an interesting and precedental idea about banning cars from blocks where residents have garages. While the city is theoretically entitled to take away street parking, I think that any banning of vehicles from a block in such a way as to deprive property owners of access to their garages would represent a “taking”, and require significant financial compensation.

    Legally, it wouldn’t matter when permits were granted to construct those garages. Point is – they are there and were built in good faith, with the city’s express consent.

    A garage can cost 100K or more to install, and on top there is the imputed value of parking and access.

    Even in cases where through traffic is banned, an exception is usually provided for local access.

    The “no left turn” off Church into Duboce there makes sense, even if it is near impossible to enforce. Westbound vehicles only have to go one block out of their way to get back to Duboce and Fillmore.

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