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    Parking garages aren’t cheap to build. The land alone is expensive and many people would object to the idea of using land around the Embarcadero for parking structures.

    I’m all for protected bike lanes on the Embarcadero and hopefully cyclists will use them instead of the sidewalks and streets. Responsibility goes both ways…drivers and cyclists need to keep in their respective lanes.

    Also, this is hardly a transit-rich area, especially north of the Ferry Building. The F line only does so much. Transit enhancements should be a requirement for any medium/large development between the Ferry Building and Pier 39 along the Embarcadero. Otherwise, expect more gridlock traffic.



    maybe dont hire lyft/uber drivers lol


    Jeffrey Baker

    Do they really assign drivers from the LRV division to drive buses? I thought that “signups” for which division the driver belongs to can only happen every other year according to the labor agreement.



    Yes, both statements are true. However delaying through passengers is worthwhile if the aggregate delay is reduced. For example if hub-pulse delays 1000 through passengers by 2 minutes, but reduces the travel time of 10,000 transferring passengers by 5 minutes then it is a big win in terms of aggregate system performance.



    It’s not an either-or. Both can be true i.e. Muni can’t keep to a schedule AND drivers who deliberately make a vehicle more off-schedule can be penalized.

    I think you miss my other point about schedules. The extent to which schedules matter is inversely correlated to how frequent the buses or trains come along. For instance, on the London underground trains can be as little as 2 minutes apart. It’s ridiculous to look at a schedule to determine which train to take. You just show up and get the next one because you will never have to wait more than 2 minutes.

    At CalTrain, if there is either a N or a K/T every 5 minutes then you just get the next one. Even if they are all behind schedule it doesn’t matter because one still comes along every 5 minutes.

    Even airlines can operate that way on busy routes. The east-coast shuttles rely on hourly departures. You just show up and get the next flight.

    Where a schedule matter is on something like the 37 that runs every 20 or 30 minutes. and even then, NextBus is more reliable than a schedule.


    citrate reiterator

    You said “there is a schedule for the N and the driver gets in trouble if he doesn’t keep to it.” That’s different from the explanation you’re now offering, which is that the drivers can’t keep to the schedule because of other factors. I agree that’s actually a problem, though because the 4th and King stop is the N terminus and Caltrain is extremely low frequency, a timed transfer should still be relatively easy to achieve.

    I totally disagree with your last statement, though. Schedules are important whenever you actually have somewhere to be by a particular time. People don’t use Muni schedules in SF not because they don’t care to or because of nebulous cultural differences from Switzerland, but because they’re fiction here. In NYC for instance you can generally expect subway trains to come at specific times and to have predictable ETAs to your destination. I’m one of the least organised people I know, and yet when I lived there I relied on particular lines being able to get me to Penn Station at the same time every day to make a specific commuter train. This even applied to buses there in my experience, which were rarely more than a minute or two off schedule. This is just not possible in SF: you can’t effectively plan ahead, so you end up having to add 20-30 minutes of a buffer on top of Muni’s already slow travel times.

    It’s a great goal for trains to come so frequently that you don’t need a schedule for most trips (commuting is still a special case), but that also isn’t something Muni currently provides as you know if you’ve ever seen the all-too-common “next KT in 18, 20, 36 minutes” sign.


    sebra leaves

    Maybe we could start the conversation by discussing which budget item the city is planning to cut to pay for this. Hopefully it will not come out of Muni service and operations. SFMTA’s high-paid staff could offer to accept salary reductions to finance their plans.



    Building subsidized garages just encourages more driving.
    And as far as private garages, there’s one that’s going to be torn down:
    So even the market doesn’t believe more parking is worth having in this transit-rich area.



    No, the point is consistent. The fact that Muni can’t keep to schedule is not because they don’t try, but rather that the schedule is flawed and there are too many variable

    In any event, if you arrive at CalTrain you can also take the K/T as well as the N, so it’s really more a matter of just showing up and taking the next one of either – usually just a few minutes. Most people who take the streetcars downtown don’t look up a schedule – they just show up. Schedules are more relevant for little used bus lines



    It seemed to be all SFMTA staffers there…


    citrate reiterator

    That’s a separate problem, and also the opposite of what you said earlier.



    Yes, I think many who oppose the removal of on-street parking would in fact be fine with that if and only if it were replaced with equivalent off-street parking.

    In fact, even in car-centric LA, there is often not on-street parking, but plenty of strip mall and garage parking.

    Your idea of “super wide” bike lanes, if feasible, would actually reduce the impact of a vehicle stopping in one, since there would be room to go around



    this will end well….it always does when the SFMTA hires some consulting firm to do “outreach” that they’ll build Big Plans with only to dismantle the plans at the behest of the auto lobby in town. But do go on coverage of it, it makes for an amusing sideshow to the coming shit.


    Michael Rattner

    Parking is a horrible use of space along the Embarcadero and it should be the first thing to go. However there are many businesses that rely on tourists and visitors – so let’s actually build a couple of mid sized parking garages. We get super wide bike lanes, businesses are happy, and more people get to enjoy the waterfront.

    Reducing lane width isn’t going to buy a ton of space and there is enough traffic that we need 2 lanes in either direction.

    Stopping a car or truck in a bike lane is a citywide problem and should be ticketed – violently.



    Sure, and I totally understand why they make those decisions, and why Marin County didn’t want to be in BART either.

    But Contra Costa has been paying into BART for years and getting far less service in return. BART owes them expansion to Livermore and Brentwood if those local communities want that.


    SF Guest

    The question of whether transit should be expanded into areas where it currently lacks is decided by those communities. Both the North Bay and the San Ramon area rejected BART.



    Surely transit should be expanded into areas where there is currently no transit, rather than in areas already saturated with it?

    And it’s much cheaper to build BART overground and out along I-580 than through the densely populated urban core.


    SF Guest

    “Interesting that all BART expansion has taken place in this car-centric area.”

    This is not entirely true. While I don’t keep track of BART extension proposals I’m aware the Richmond corridor proposal is one of the most contentious debates mired with controversy which should have come to fruition a long, long time ago but most likely will never happen.



    Interesting that all BART expansion has taken place in this car-centric area. Meanwhile, we keep suffering in SF with hour long commutes from the Sunset and Richmond to downtown. Oh, but when Geary BRT opens up (hear the crickets?) the ride will only be 55 minutes. Whew!

    And for the record, SF is not innovative. Just look at Muni.

    If BART has been historically unclear about its priorities, don’t you think TR should have done something about this during his 20 years on the board? Reminds me of when Feinstein was running again with the slogan of fixing California’s problems, yet she was in office during the time when all these problems evolved. What are you people actually doing?

    High floor vs. low floor. BART was supposed to run trains on the upper level of the Market St. subway all the way to St. Francis Circle, but bowed out and Muni took over so apparently the choice for platforms remained. Also, low floor designs didn’t really take off until the 80s after the Market St. subway opened. Now, if Muni ran a real light rail system, instead of a glorified streetcar system, it would have fewer stations, but all would be platform stations (and ADA compliant), like the T line. But, that will never happen. Just look at the opposition to the proposed L-Taraval improvements.



    I suspect the difference is more that CalTrain can usually keep to its schedule and Muni cannot.



    True but there isn’t much chance of that, given that the rest of the Bay Area is less liberal (Berkeley aside) and more car-centric. SF liberals would rather retreat into their bubble, as you can also see with the chorus of denial here that Trump won.


    citrate reiterator

    Caltrain also runs on a schedule, so it would still be time-driven, not event-driven, if the N schedule were altered to provide a timed transfer.


    Dexter Wong

    What I recall about Muni Metro’s high-low steps was that it was a way of being compatible with BART’s style of high platforms and Muni’s use of street-level stops. It was done in the 1970’s before many transit districts had thought about whether to have high-floor cars or low-floor cars. So I believe that Muni was stuck with high floor cars when many light rail systems decided to use low floor cars during the growth of light rail in the 1980’s.


    Richard Mlynarik


    Over 20 years, Tom has gone from being outvoted 8-1 on the BART board to being outvoted 5-4. Progress! (That DOES count as progress!)

    Meanwhile, PBQD/Bechtel/Tutor-Saliba (who do now and always have totally controlled the BART executive staff and the “public” BART board majority) have pocketed billions and billions and billions and billions and billions. As is only the natural order of things.

    Things might have been getting just the teeniest bit worrying for a few minutes, there …

    … but … no need to fear! Willie Brown’s butt boy Bevan Dufty is installed in District 9. So, business as usual, as it’s been done for the last 40 years. With a safe 6-3 or better rubber-stamp. Hooray!



    Radulovich: “San Francisco doesn’t really think about outside San Francisco very much.” Truth, and a cutting understatement. The needs of the overall Bay Area dwarf what happens in the city.



    When the BART station opened, Caltrain modified their scheuled to match BART. Within 2 months BART changed their schedule, Caltrain said screw it.

    The Clipper oversight just shows how little the people running these systems understand their systems and how little they care about the user experience. These are extremely simple details that could have been done right with a minimum of work, that have such a huge cost to the customer.

    Right now, SMART is just getting ready to start operations. There are many things they haven’t yet implemented incorrectly, and when it is pointed out “you are about to use 2x the effort to provide 1/10th the user experience”, they thank us kindly for our comments and then go do it the wrong way.



    Sure, but the idea that Americans can be herded the way the Swiss are willing to be is beyond credibility. They are a highly homogenuous society with little poverty and none of the race, crime and class issues that are common here, and certainly no political correctness.

    I cannot think of two Caucasian nations that are more culturally different.


    Mike Jones

    The hub-pulse service only really applies when the frequency is half-hourly or less. It also imposes a time penalty to through passengers.



    I took a ride across most of Switzerland from a major city to a town of 1000, with two transfers so well coordinated there was no time to even buy a soda.



    Coordinating and optimizing schedules is easy these days with
    computers. Just feed in the actuals and preferred weights to optimize
    (aggregate passenger delay would be an obvious metric to minimize) and
    let the software crunch the numbers. But as Clem states, the individual
    agencies are not incentivized to participate. That needs to change.



    The Millbrae timing is a glaring example of how the two transit agencies could care less about the overall customer convenience. When a BART from SFO arrives a minute before a southbound Caltrain departs, there’s not enough time to run up and over the tracks to catch Caltrain. In the evenings you’re stuck with a 1-2 hour wait for the next Caltrain, making an unpleasant end to a long travel day. This could be easily resolved simply by delaying the Southbound Caltrain schedule by five minutes. But then Caltrains don’t leave SF at an even “top of the hour” time. Departures at x:00, big whoop!

    The opposite transfer isn’t so bad as the max delay is just 20 minutes for the next BART. But why not simplify the fare process? Right now you have to rush down the platform to tag off at a “caltrain” clipper kiosk before entering Bart. This mad dash requirement could be eliminated with a few lines of code, making a turnstile tag-on to BART also tag off of Caltrain.

    I’m a loyal transit user but these days I often don’t bother taking transit to SFO due to the billion dollar disfunctional transfer at Millbrae. The former clunky shuttle bus between Millbrae and SFO was much better and enormously less expensive.



    It’s certainly old technology; about 20 years old. It’s just that the Bay Area (the global tech center, laughably) only adopted it recently.

    Interestingly, early adopter London Underground is now moving away from it, and accepting fares directly with contactless credit and debit cards (with Chip/Pin technology which you also don’t get in the so-called global center of technology)



    This is typical, but not isolated to Muni. Caltrain/BART at Millbrae is not a timed transfer either which you would expect since both systems operate on a schedule. Muni is a crap shoot and will never change. Most of the problem can be blamed on the system design…you can’t run an efficient rail system on the surface in mixed traffic. Never. Ever. At least not in San Francisco.



    Translink/Clipper is only 10 years old? Isn’t it more like 25-ish?



    Presumably there is a schedule for the N and the driver gets into trouble if he doesn’t keep to it. For the same reason buses sometimes inexplicably stop because they have gotten ahead of schedule.

    Either a schedule is time-driven or event-driven. You’re arguing for the latter and that makes sense for something like a sports or entertainment event at night, but otherwise can cause as many problems as it solves.


    Jeffrey Baker

    For a really wonderful demonstration of this, just take note of the way that the N line is specifically not coordinated with Caltrain arrivals. Usually the train operator waits until just after Caltrain gets there and then leaves with an empty train. Absolutely infuriating.



    Buses cost about 500-800k these days depending on how fancy, hybrid, etc. They also cost about 150/hour to operate. If you ran a bus for 16 hours a day (6am-10pm) 250 days/year (50 weeks, figure not operating on holidays/weekends since we mostly care about commuter traffic congestion). 4000 hours * 150/hour = 600k. Say we want to operate these buses for 10 years that’s 6m. Let’s just round that up to 7M for a bus for 10 years.

    That’s 50 new busses operated 16 hours a day for 10 years. If you figure a 30min route cycle carrying 25 people (half full on average) that’s 40k people per day you would be able to move.

    Oh, and that would be a free bus. If you had a $2 fare, the operating cost would be cut in half, and double that number of buses to 100.


    Clem Tillier

    This is not a “soft” problem. It is a hard problem to get transit agencies to relinquish direct control over their fare revenue and cede power to a central organization. No agency board would ever do that, a sort of organizational tragedy of the commons. Furthermore, the very idea of a Verkehrsverbund is perceived as socialist and antithetical to American market ideology. You might assume that all these transit agencies exist to serve riders and taxpayers, but you would be sadly mistaken! They exist first and foremost to serve their staff, their consultants, their unions, and a coterie of private contractors that specialize in the carefully choreographed capture of public wealth.



    About the Forest Hill residents’ opposition to affordable housing next to the Forest Hill muni metro station: I urge anyone who cares about creating more housing and affordable housing to write or call the planning department and board of supes to support this project. Its proposed 150 small units are mostly for seniors , with a couple dozen units for formerly houseless individuals, and has a lot of benefits for residents who could use various muni metro lines to get to appointments, shopping, or friends. It is located roughly on Laguna Honda Avenue, a major thoroughfare connecting the Inner Sunset with areas to the west and south. The opposition relies on largely baseless arguments of fear and loathing for the formerly homeless, the “lack” of parking that 60 spots entail, the inhumanity of offering small units to individual elderly residents, or here’s the kicker: how out of character it would be to have apartments in a neighborhood zoned for single family homes. We cannot be a city for all, if we let these kind of projects die or be utterly scaled down by narrowly self-interested neighbors.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Yes it would make a huge difference, since the collapse of road capacity happens at the margins. Adding tens of thousands of cars to the freeway is all but impossible.

    I just find it funny how much of a hassle people are giving these shuttles. Collectively the shuttle system is much larger than Golden Gate Transit, and is rapidly growing while GGT shrinks, and yet nobody is howling about how GGT interferes with Muni at the dozens of stops those agencies share.



    Yes, totally, they can technically cite you. But they typically tend not to and that absolutely makes sense. Cops are actually pretty reasonable most of the time.



    The whole point of a shuttle is that it stops somewhere close to where you live, so you don’t have a major hassle catching it.

    So for example if you call for an airport shuttle and they tell you to relocate yourself and your bags to Balboa Park or Daly City, you’ll probably just take Uber instead, or drive.

    Muni bis stops are unused for about 95% of the time. There is no problem here looking for a “solution”.



    Extremists and ideologues aren’t renowned for empathy for the lives of ordinary people, which I suspect Hilary Clinton is reflecting upon as we speak, not to mention Bernie Sanders.

    Ordinary people decide elections.



    I thought the report had at least two scenarios of hubs and two different fall-away/retention rates. One had about a 50% loss of riders, and the other had about a 25% loss of riders. Both seemed statistically significant to me, since those surveyed said they would turn exclusively to driving from San Francisco to the Peninsula-based jobs. If 32,000 riders use the shuttles each day, and between 50 and 25 percent switched to driving, wouldn’t the extra 16,000 to 8,000 private autos on City streets and Higways 101+ 280 make a big difference during commute times?



    The SFMTA report suggests that 22% of shuttle riders would resort to driving and 76% would stick with the consolidated hub model. Can you explain how does 76% retention rate translates to ‘killing the effectiveness’ of the shuttles?


    SF Guest

    It’s my understanding that while cops can allow you to move on they are within the law to write you up for illegal parking even if you are occupying your vehicle.


    SF Guest

    I will go out on a limb and say many bloggers here would like the idea if lanes were reduced to 1-2 lanes on 101 to force commuters out of their cars.



    The temporary relief commuters get is probably overshadowed by the inconveniences of construction. A huge project in the northern part of the Novato Narrows is nearing completion and I can’t see how the benefit outweighs the cost – in large part because there is no benefit yet as the project doesn’t complete the widening.

    We did get a kickass bike path near Olompali though!



    This sort of freeway interchange project simply kicks the can down the road. And not even very far down the road either. As soon as this bottleneck is addressed, the traffic moving through it will clump up at the next two or three bottlenecks, spawning more “improvement” projects. Rinse and repeat. Not sustainable.

    The main beneficiaries are the construction biz. Commuters get only temporary relief.



    I hope our politicians will finally look at the big picture and the data and stop listening as much to these howlers. The residents’ pushback has probably resulted in improvements — getting big busses off too narrow streets, curbing pollution, reducing Muni delays from scofflaws, etc. Now, however, they want hubs that kill the busses’ effectiveness. That should not be catered to.