Today’s Headlines

  • SFMTA Chief Nat Ford Defends Muni Over CPUC Allegations (SF Gate)
  • SFMTA Considering Transit Impact Fees for Residential Development (SF Examiner)
  • Settlement Costs in Muni West Portal Crash Near $6 Million (City Insider)
  • Students Urge Free Bus Passes for Poor SF Students in Chron Op-Ed
  • Fourth Piece of New Bay Bridge Span Being Installed This Week (SF Examiner)
  • Google Relies on Tricycles for Expansion of Street View Images (Silicon
  • Bay Citizen: “The Intersection from Biking Hell”
  • Transbay Blog: “Tussle Over SB 375 Target for Southern California Resolved”
  • Traffic Violation Fees Going up Statewide (SacBee via Streetsblog LA)
  • L.A.’s Bicycle Master Plan Headed to City Council for Approval (LA Times)
  • Grist: “How Bicycling Will Save the Economy (If We Let It)”

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • “We don’t need the CPUC to tell us what we already know about the safety of our system,” said Ford. “Their PR stunt last week did nothing more than grab a few headlines and put unnecessary fear into those who depend on our service.”

    What do you already know? That you have been deferring maintenance for years? That you are now deferring maintenance to funnel money into the CS? And that the CS will greatly increase your operating costs on system you can’t even afford to run now?

    And their “PR stunt” was based on “more than 20 inspections between July 2009 and January of this year include defective track, a poorly functioning automatic train control system, junction box and cable problems, and slow response to providing corrective action.”

    Sound like a bit more then a “PR stunt”. What does the CPUC have to gain by saying Muni is run like crap? Sucks when someone calls you on your bullshit.

    I think Ford needs to realize that no PR spin will cover up his poor leadership.

  • Alex

    Well said. Who’s showing up at 9am to tell Ford off?

  • The Weekly Standard gives us such a great analysis of why the car dominates. The answer? One word: “FREEDOM!” Man, I love America. Some great quotes:

    “The simple fact is most people prefer to travel by car because it’s convenient, which mass transit rarely is.”

    “Subways made sense decades ago—in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago—when jobs were concentrated downtown. Now 90 percent of jobs are outside the downtown in the top 50 urban areas, where mass transit can’t compete with cars.”

    So, because we built a world for cars, the car was clearly destined to be our mode of transportation, don’t bother changing that now.

    “More broadly, there’s no evidence anywhere in the United States—or the world, for that matter—that investment in mass transit in recent decades has reduced congestion.”

    I’d argue that investment in mass transit has been dwarfed by investment in highways and roadways that this comparison isn’t realistic in any sense. Also add in the fact that sprawl has been promoted, and in most cases prioritized, and you have a system in place that places PT at a huge disadvantage before you even look at investment.

    “So who’s to blame for the overwhelming preference for automobiles over mass transit? Do Americans have an irrational love affair with cars? No. A car not only saves time, it’s safe, increasingly fuel efficient, and less polluting than ever.”

    Well, AMEN! No one to blame and the car is clean and friendly and will tuck your children in at night for you.

    This whole column is so simplistic it is almost insulting. But the best is saved for the final paragraph, a true humdinger, but it starts off on the right foot:

    “Cars and drivers, sad to say, don’t function in a free market world. Both are highly regulated, sometimes for good, sometimes not. If the law of supply and demand were operative, we’d see a smarter approach to improving transportation in America.”

    Wow, a pleasant surprise, maybe he’ll talk about suburban housing policies or huge oil/gas subsidies and the need to stop shipping our national wealth to countries that increasingly hate us. But it is followed with this:

    “The supply of cars would create a demand for more roads and bridges to accommodate them, just as food lines outside a grocery store create demand for more grocery stores. Instead we get more mass transit, demand for which is imperceptible, and fresh rounds of confusion among officials whose plans are destined to come to naught.”

    And crescendo. “More roads and bridges to accommodate them” is exactly what we don’t need. Once again, induced demand. Then again, it is Fred Barns and logic isn’t usually in the same building, let alone the same room, and definitely not found in something he writes or says.