Today’s Headlines

  • Muni Operators Union Sues SFMTA Over Prop. G Provisions (City Insider, SF Examiner)
  • Supervisor Wiener: Get Tough on Muni Workers or System Will Continue to Deteriorate (SF Exam)
  • Mechanical Problems Cause More Muni Metro Delays (CBS)
  • BART Officials Cite Better Economy for Recent Jump in Ridership (Coco Times)
  • SF Driver Accused of Attacking, Injury Parking Control Officer With Car (SF Examiner)
  • It’s Been 20 Years Since the Embarcadero Freeway was Demolished (Carl Nolte)
  • Lodi Police Go After Kids for “Bad Bicycle Behavior” (News 10, KCRA)
  • Guardian UK: “How One NY Bike Lane Could Affect the Future of Cycling Worldwide”
  • Santa Cruz City Council Approves Subdivision Changes; Advocates Want Bike Lane (SC Sentinel)
  • David Paterson, Back on Streets, Fears Silent Bikes More Than Noisy Cars (Observer via Sblog NY)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Justin

    Been following the NY story…Schumer and Wiener’s (Anthony (D-NY) not Scott) anti-bike infrastructure stances are one more reason to be ashamed of the national Democratic party in this country.

  • Schumer is against it because it is near (or in front of) his house and the houses owned by his friends. Anthony Wiener is against it because Schumer is and Schumer holds the purse strings. Money talks, stats on how PPW is now safer and faster do not.

  • Funny, but yet really sad, how you have (Scott) Wiener saying “Get tough on Muni workers or system will continue to deteriorate” followed by MECHANICAL problems cause more Muni metro delays. You just can’t make this stuff up.

    CEO Nat Ford time and again has side stepped critical infrastructure maintenance. This has accelerated as more money has been funneled to the Central Subway. The board needs to step up and address this issue because clearly Ford is only interested in covering his own ass. When the state says you have a problem, you don’t run behind “it’s all a PR stunt”. You step up and address the issues one by one like a $350K CEO should do.

  • As we struggle for a few bike lanes, the world just keeps humming along.

  • Alex

    mike: Well if you can’t pay for maintenance because you’re paying pensions, what do you expect to happen to the system?

  • If you can’t pay for maintenance because you are funneling money to cover the local portion of the CS construction, what do you expect to happen to the system?

    I think that pension reform and work rules will definitely help Muni, but the lack of strong leadership on key issues is what needs to change. According to Nat there isn’t even a problem with the system, it’s all a PR stunt by the state. How can you even begin to fix things that you don’t even think are broken?

  • SteveS

    Hopefully the CPUC’s investigation will result in some light being shed on this. What do you think the odds are yesterday’s meltdown is the result of the wiring issues they documented?

    If it takes millions of dollars in fines to get the current leadership team at Muni thrown out, I think that’s a net positive even if it does make Muni’s budget crisis even worse in the short term.

  • Alex

    mike: The construction of the subway to nowhere doesn’t worry me. That money wouldn’t have gone to something as unsexy as maintenance. It’s the eventual maintenance that the new rail line will need.

    Steve: The CPUC hearing is a joke, trying to cover up the fact that they COMPLETELY dropped the ball with PG&E. They’ve had a wink-wink-nudge-nudge relationship with MUNI for decades. Call me when the NTSB actually investigates.

    That wiring problem that the CPUC ‘uncovered’? The MTA had already disclosed it to local media (chron or examiner, forget which), and indicated they were convinced this latest attempt at a fix would be the one. The MTA has gone many rounds with Breda to fix the problem (dangling bits to dump sand on the track are tearing up the wires). My guess? After pissing away hundreds of thousands (if not millions) on multiple retrofits with Breda, someone might wisen up and get Alcatel/Thales to work on retrofitting wireless train control — no more wires to tear up. The inductive loops that the MTA uses were superseded years ago.

    While the CPUC ‘focuses’ on symptoms (like this crap with the train control), they’ve completely missed the fact that it’s the dysfunctional culture at the MTA that’s allowing bad choice upon bad choice to keep happening. In this case, the train control in the subway was the direct result of Willie Brown’s influence. Guess whose pies Willie’s got his fingers in? Chiu and Lee. You REALLY think anything the CPUC says will matter at this point? Really??

  • @Alex Sure it’s a stunt to make them look like a good watchdog again, but if it results in daylight on Muni, it’s good for the city. My hope is that if they follow through on their threat to start fining the city every day it is noncompliant, city hall might actually decide they have to start doing more than occasionally holding a hearing on Muni to placate their constituents.

    The CPUC report documents what must be close to 100 different wiring defects observed in the subway; damage from the sanding system that the MTA disclosed is just one small part of a massively failed maintenance system. The fact that all those reports and pictures are in the hands of journalists now is a good thing, even if the big news outlets are doing depressingly little with them.

  • Nick

    Re: PCO Attacked

    Cars must make people insane. Someone didn’t want to pay 50 cents for a meter. They were in the wrong and got a $53 ticket. So their very next life decision was to commit attempted murder?

    Are we all living on the same planet?

  • “It’s the eventual maintenance that the new rail line will need.”

    Very true.

    And “That money wouldn’t have gone to something as unsexy as maintenance” is probably true because we have such piss-poor leadership within the MTA.

  • Day 3 of Muni failings.

    Nat, excuses don’t make the Metro run. In fact, they make it break down regularly.

  • Alex

    So what federal grants went to maintenance? Wasn’t there a big stink about a lot of the money from the past couple of years couldn’t be used for day to day operations?

  • Alex

    Or, rather, what would have gone to maintenance if the MTA had been more on top of things?

  • SteveS

    The fact that the money from the grants themselves is generally restricted to use only on capital projects and not on maintenance and operations is only the beginning of the effect of grants on preventing transit systems from making good budgeting decisions.

    Next up the grants generally require significant matching funds from the local agency, and those matching funds could otherwise have been used for maintenance or other projects which were better investments but which would not have qualified for as much grant money.

    And the grantmaking organizations have a bias toward flashy new infrastructure, so transit systems create less practical but sexier and more elaborate designs to win grants. But in the long term, these designs require more maintenance, cost more to operate, and attract fewer passengers, which results in deferred maintenance, ridership levels and funding problems getting ever worse.

    And grant money is drastically less stable than locally sourced revenue. City politicians cannot get away with massive cuts to transit funding as easily as state and federal ones because a large share of their constituents use transit. But since transit use at the state and federal level is quite low, the transit lobby at those levels is weak, and so we saw state transit funding was among the first things to go when the recession hit.

    And when the recession meant it might have made more sense to delay capital projects to maintain service and maintenance levels, this had to be taken off the table when doing so would cause the loss of grant money.