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    It’s really too bad that Geary was not undergrounded at Divis like it was at Fillmore and Masonic, and people are still paying for that omission.



    You were refuted on Muni’s farebox recovery rate two months ago. Please revise and resubmit.



    The reason you might leave it parked and not put-for-hire, one at least, it that a vehicle is typically good for X number of miles, and that can translate into many years or just a few, depending on annual mileage. Use it for personal travel exclusively and it will not require replacement so soon.



    I haven’t had a problem with rudeness either but will say that bus drivers are noticeably more skilled and cautious compared to private vehicle owners or taxi drivers. Could be that part of this has to do with the fact that bus drivers have no incentive to drive fast or aggressively.

    Wait! I remember one exception of an evening ride on VTA where the operator drove aggressively so he could get to his timepoint stops with enough spare time to step out and smoke a whole cig. Maybe VTA should allow drivers to smoke while driving again?



    Well, I really believe it’s moot – I firmly believe it will be all fleets. Yes, I understand the nicety of leaving all the soccer balls and baseball gear in the car.

    We live in the sticks now. We’ve gone 4 years with a single car. I mostly bike, but there are situations where it gets sticky – a rainy day my wife has the car in SF but I have to get the kid. We managed a bit by carpool trade offs or renting cars for a day or two if needed.

    We car sat for a 2nd car for 6 months. We put 700 miles on it. It’s existence drives some discretionary usage, but let’s say 500 was vary valuable. We discussed – 2nd car? Is it worth $20k or more to get one, 1000 a year to insure, maintenance, registration, just for 1k mikes?

    But now uber is prominent here. It costs maybe $2 a mile. For $2000 a year we can have all the flexibility and zero hassle. Make it self driving and it’s less. And we are old fuddy duddies who have the capital to buy a car. Young people will be better with this math.



    @Ziggy: You neglect that the typical roadway has four lanes, two dedicated to vehicle flow and two dedicated to vehicle storage (parking). There is tremendous opportunity to increase the utilization of public road space by converting the parking lanes into traffic lanes.



    You could be overestimating private car owner’s openness to sharing their car with strangers. Many people aren’t comfortable with someone touching the exterior of their car let alone the interior.

    Many will be afraid of vandals. Or even just slobs making a mess of the Rich Corinthian Leather. And germophobes won’t share at all.

    I’d expect that at least the first generations of autonomous cars to include a mandatory manual override to cover situations where the autonomous software isn’t competent to handle a specific situation. Then you’re exposed to a possible incompetent, drunk, or reckless driver at the wheel of your fine automobile.

    Yeah, insurance. But still a hassle and some stuff like excessive wear and tear (the customer who boards with muddy boots for example) won’t be covered.


    SF Guest

    Based on your provided stats for FY 2012-2013 I agree that double parking violations should bear a higher percentile than 10th place of parking citations issued; however, I do not attribute its low percentile as a blatant bias in favor of drivers.

    I point out that SFMTA doesn’t hide the fact they place a higher priority on generating revenue over facilitating traffic (which wasn’t the case when they were formerly the DPT), hence the non-safety parking violations are the easiest to pursue.

    I agree PCO’s need better training or be retrained to place a higher priority for issuing citations for double parking. Except for double parking, safety is generally not a factor in parking violations.

    With respect to RPP pricing the City must adhere to the State mandate which limits the price of residential parking permits to the cost of administering the program whereas meter rates are based on demand.



    In my experience, the drivers are very courteous to me, but I’ve seen them be rude to others. Generally I find that the drivers act as a mirror – they are rude to rude passengers and nice to courteous ones.



    I guess I’m more optimistic about what the outcome will be. You aren’t much of a driver, neither am I, so we’re both projecting theories on how other people’s behavior will adapt to the new paradigm. I really believe that car ownership will plummet – the economic advantages to pay as you use are just too high. So my belief is that 25% of those cars that drive into SF will simply cease to exist.

    May you live in interesting times.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    Imagine if even just 5% of 270,000 cars that drive into SF each day become autonomous and drivers choose to let them drive around downtown by themselves to avoid paying for parking. Now we’ll have an extra 13,000 cars congesting downtown streets all day long. In this environment, car sharing becomes impossible because no cars will be able to move anywhere.

    Our streets are already congested way beyond capacity. Autonomous driving is going to be great for drivers who will no longer ever need to worry about parking; but it will completely screw over everyone else because there isn’t enough space in this city for every person to ride in a private car everywhere they want to go.



    2. Transit workers are generally well trained.

    Bwahahaha!!!! Well trained to close the bus doors in their passengers faces and be generally rude to their clientele. They don’t care because they don’t have to. They are well protected by their union.



    It seems like a congestion & mileage tax would pretty much take care of this problem. It should be easy to collect on an automated system, too. This will raise revenue and nudge people into carpooling and mass transit.

    I can think of all kinds of ideas that would be better than what we have now, whether it’s private or public. Automated cars pick people up at their homes and bring them to the train line or major road. From there, frequent automated transit, anywhere from vans to full sized buses and trains, move people en mass. As it becomes more and more convenient, more people ride, and service improves. I’m sure someone has fully thought this out.



    Cyclists gravely injured at Divisidero and Geary last night.



    Per NTD the cost per unlinked passenger trip is $3.12. The fare collected per ride is approximately 93 cents.

    Muni has to ramp up service for peak periods, which can be very expensive to operate. To the extent that Muni can contract out express buses, or turn those operations over to something like Chariot, that would help reduce expenses greatly. The problem is when private operators skim services on a corridor where it is no longer able to sustain frequent transit. So a 12 passenger van skimming people off Geary is likely a net positive benefit if full, since those vans are slightly more space efficient than 40 foot buses. But if that bus is traveling down Divisadero, it’s not necessarily better.


    Marven Norman

    The irony of SFMTA’s stance against single-line “soft hit posts” because they might end up bending into the traffic lanes while the second to last picture shows that that’s just about exactly what has happened to the posts that they’ve installed as seen in the second-to-last photo.



    The fare discount for students, seniors, and low income is a huge component. I dont have Bay Area numbers, but in LA the standard fare is $1.75 but Metro only brings in $0.90 per rider. Seniors pay just $0.35 most of the time. Most students are on monthly passes at 60-80% discount.



    True, and moreover it would involve cops going after cyclists blowing through stop signs (dangerous) over double-parking which, ultimately, is not dangerous in and of itself, but is merely a matter of inconvenience and delays.

    Nobody was ever killed by a vehicle that wasn’t moving.



    Yes, the real issue here is that we have a minority who are absolutely convinced that they are right. AND they are a very vocal, mostly white, educated and professional minority who are used to getting their own way and know how to work the system.

    Because they have achieved a lot of success beyond what a majority of voters would normally support, they now believe that they are entitled to everything they want, when they want it.

    And as with any more extreme element, they feel justified in taking direct action if democracy doesn’t give them everything on demand. That direct action clearly starts with a few posts illegally installed here and there. We know they’re happy to hold up traffic via Critical Mass. But where does it end? Violence a la Hespelt?

    That is why it is important that SFMTrA is slapped down. Obsessive elements can be very obstructive to the workings of a democracy that rightly values freedom and peace above all else.


    SF Guest

    This is a very true point not everyone will be happy since you can’t please everyone. That’s why we have a democratic vote whereby the majority wins most of the time.


    SF Guest

    That would be analogous to the CHP going after a speeding car thief vs. a single driver illegally using a bus or carpool ramp.



    Makes no sense. There are thousands of people who own cars today who drive them around for Uber to make extra money. Now let’s say you replace your car with an autonomous vehicle. Why would you ever leave it parked – you can make Uber money without having to drive. That will drive the cost of a ride down to the point where it’s simpler to just hire cars on demand.



    Now imagine if we can remove the 5th/Mission Parking garage and replace it with 700 units of housing, from which most residents can walk to work or Caltrain. Multiply that by how many parking garages on that side of town?

    And taking thousands of residential garages and turning them into housing….

    That’s where the big win is.



    I didn’t say community meetings, I said public hearing which is part of the legal process for installing facilities. Even STOP signs and red zones have to go through the public hearing process.



    If only more “dangerous” activities were prosecuted then there would be immunity for all others. So even if we could all agree on what is the most “dangerous” (and to whom?) that still would not mean that the more innocuous transactions should go free.

    It’s like saying the cops should only investigate murder, rape and child abuse, because other crimes are less harmful. LE doesn’t work that way – if any law is on the statute, it has to be enforced.

    There are already about 400 people out there writing tickets. Many would say that is enough.



    But safety isn’t the only issue. Capacity and convenience are also factors. Nobody gets everything they want in a democracy.



    Your claim that “What’s happening with unprotected bike lanes like Valencia St is unacceptable to anybody rational” is a circular argument, because you are defining the word “rational” as finding the situation unacceptable. Anyone who disagrees with that is dismissed by you as irrational.

    Do you have any evidence that a majority of SF voters find it unacceptable? Clearly cyclists do but that’s a 3% modal share. Pedestrians might but the complaint I hear the most about Valencia is that the side-walk is too crowded at night. That might be an argument for wider side-walks but not for more generous bike lanes.

    And what about everyone who drives or takes Uber or cabs? Do you seriously think they want it to be much more difficult there?

    Argue for what you personally prefer by all means, but don’t claim the majority on your side without clear evidence, SFMTrA’s actions have minority support, based on the cross-section of people I have discussed it with.



    Easy. Muni’s farebox recovery rate is cited at about 23% and the fare is $2.25. Ergo, the cost is abut $10 and each Muni ride requires a $7.75 subsidy, on average



    I understand what you’re trying to say, but at the end of the day the issue is political not of an engineering nature since the politicians make decisions on what gets funded. And I’m not sure how a traffic engineer can find it ethically acceptable to build a bike lane that forces bicycles (who are as unprotected as pedestrians) to “run the gauntlet” between parking cars with opening doors on one side, fast-moving cars on the other, and often parked cars smack in the middle of the lane. *Way* more bicyclists are injured and killed by decades of this morally questionable engineering than anybody is by soft-hit posts which, by the way, emergency vehicles can *easily* run over (since pretty much everybody already does run them over with impunity as evidenced by the fact that *every* single soft-hit post is bent over, brutally scuffed, and contorted from being hit so many times). And again, if the SFMTA is so concerned about emergency vehicles, I would expect to see them making way more effort to get people out of cars (i.e. by building protected bike lanes, protected intersections, etc at a non-glacial rate) since these are not only the cause of many of the incidents they respond to but they do *way* more to impede their flow than any silly soft-hit posts.

    And community meetings?! About the location of soft-hit posts? Come on. Why even elect people to do government work if every single detail has to be done through consensus of the entire community. What kind of engineer needs the laymen to tell them how to do the details of their job. That is nonsense. The experts, which should be the SFMTA, is elected and then expected to follow best-practices and not rely on the populace to double-check their every move. That is exactly why bicyclists and pedestrians continue to die at ridiculous rates in this city: the damn SFMTA kowtows to every raging motorist who has no logic behind their argument to keep the motorist-centric status quo other than that they just don’t want to change anything. We need the SFMTA to exert their expertise here and say, “No, you are not being rational here. This is our area of expertise and, when you approach the issue with an open mind and the hard data, it’s obvious that we need to urgently crate truly safe bicycle infrastructure at the expense of parking.”


    Chris J.

    Why should anyone use public services if the private sector can provide the same service more efficiently? On an individual level, after all, the private bus was much more pleasant and not much more expensive.

    They might be more pleasant or efficient for the rider, but in my experience they’re much more unpleasant for everybody else. Compared to buses, individual services like Uber, Lyft, etc. clog city streets, constantly block bicycle lanes, and do dangerous maneuvers like illegal U-turns to pick up passengers.



    Im not going to disagree with you about redesigning Valencia and chancing bicycle laws. I am about as pro-bike as you can get. However, Im looking at this from a practical standpoint. I have worked for the SFMTA as an engineer and determining what to do with illegally installed traffic control devices was part of my job description. A group of engineers/an engineer in the Sustainable Streets Division 100% has been deciding case by case whether to remove or keep the posts. For the posts on JFK at the park, they can stay because they meet the federal and state standards for location/don’t really cause much of an issue. Most of the posts I have seen however are placed in such a way that they effect how fire engines/trucks can drive down the street. (Scott@fell as an example I’ve seen) The posts are being placed improperly. One cannot morally and legally, as a licensed traffic engineer, allow improperly engineered facilities to be installed on your under your watch. That would go against the National Society of Professional Engineers Code of Ethics. Your view of the situation is: “the posts are in excellent places and providing much needed safety” while the reality is “The post placement go against traffic engineering practice because they affect turning radiuses, emergency vehicle access, and were not legislated or brought through a public hearing process”



    The problem is that SFMTA’s enforcement of parking violations, just like SFPD’s enforcement of moving violations, doesn’t prioritize those behaviors that are most dangerous, especially to vulnerable road users. Below are the top 8 violations that are given citations and which can’t for ~80% of all citations issued. You’ll see they are all non-safety issues. Double-parking, not shown below, comes in at 10th at 1.57%. And you can bet not all those are in bike lanes. (Data from SFMTA 2013 Transportation Fact Sheet:
    ). So this is the blatant bias I’m talking about.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about ticketing these other behaviors, but the priority has to first to those which represent the greatest safety threat. And if the SFMTA needs to hire more PCOs because motorist are such scofflaws (which this data shows they are), then they need to hire more people and should raise meter rates and RPP prices to cover those extra costs.



    The SFMTA sending people out to remove SFMTrA’s posts is not engineering.

    But let’s talk about engineering: it’s an absurdity that Valencia St has not been engineered to have a protected bike lane. When a bike lane is so blatantly abused by so many so often, this is a sign of a terrible design and shouldn’t have to rely on so much enforcement.

    And keep in mind that Valencia is not unique, just one of the most egregious examples giving that it’s one of the most popular bicycling routes in the city.

    Finally, things change. We realize things aren’t working well and we make new laws to fix that. What’s happening with unprotected bike lanes like Valencia St is unacceptable to anybody rational. To fall back on anachronistic standards that ignore the huge growth of bicycling in the last decade combined with how crucial increasing bicycling has become to every major city, is like telling women in the early 20th century during the women’s rights movement that they can’t vote because the law says they can’t. Duh! The issue is that they were challenging that law.

    Similarly, what so many bicyclists and pedestrians are so upset about (as epitomized by SFMTrA taking “guerrilla” action) is that the current situation is inadequate and standards/policies need to be updated to reflect the changing times. To sit here and say that anything new doesn’t follow past standards is tautological. All new ideas, by definition, put into question existing practice. So just saying things “do not adhere to the MUTCD” is not addressing the actual content of the argument and instead is a just class fall back to status quo bias.


    Christopher Childs

    People like their individual transport that they do not have to share with anyone else. They might change their minds if they see a sky-high price when they request an individual vehicle, but I’d bet on the picture looking not much different from what you see.


    Andy Chow

    Public transit provides certain things that cannot be replicated by the private sector on a profitable basis:

    1. Every public transit vehicle nowadays is ADA compliant. People who cannot walk up and down the steps can reliably wait til the scheduled time and be able to board the vehicle without prior reservation. Most private sector vehicles (limos, taxis, TNCs, vans, shuttles) are not wheelchair accessible, and the few that provide accessible vehicles will require reservation.

    We could try to make every private sector vehicle to be ADA compliant, but instead of luxury sedans or SUVs, everyone would have to buy essentially paratransit vans. ADA vehicles are more costly to own and operate, and not preferred by customers except those who need it.

    2. Transit workers are generally well trained. Some private sector drivers too, except the TNC drivers, which cannot be well trained due to their contractor status.

    3. Public transit runs on a schedule regardless of passenger loads. Because drivers are paid by the hour regardless of loads, they can focus on operating the vehicle safely and on time. TNCs and taxi drivers drive distracted all the time because of the need to look for a fare. Transit riders can reliably follow the timetable and expect transportation, rather than replying on apps that may have some good days (plenty of drivers) or bad days (no driver or surge pricing).

    4. Transit schedules, routes, and fares can be changed, but federal laws require public agencies to conduct outreach and studies (which are costly and require professional planning staff) to protect the public from having their service suddenly yanked. Private service never has that kind of requirement. They can change route or cancel service at anytime.

    Private sector service works well to supplement transit, but unless they are willing to replicate transit features like (no reservation, scheduled service, high frequency, 100% accessible fleets, low fares, employee drivers), they should never be considered as replacement. I think that unless the private service meets a better labor standard closer to transit, they should not be considered to receive public subsidy (do you think it is right to have 20% of public subsidy to go to the pockets of venture capitalists, while contract drivers earn less than minimum wage?)

    These are the things that make the cost of transit higher than comparable transportation offered by the private sector. But fixed route transit is still more cost effective and more convenient than abled people relying on TNCs and disabled people relying on paratransit. And there are many folks who are not disabled but not in a position (physically or financially) to rely on TNCs.



    $10 per ride source?



    The most common sense distinction between permanent and temporary is that the latter can be easily moved out of the way (like a cone) and the former cannot.

    Whether the intent of a glued post is temporary or permanent is one thing, but to a vehicle encountering one, there is no meaningful distinction.

    SFMTrA is barking up the wrong tree here and should allow the democratic process to do its job. We can’t always have everything we want, when we want it.



    That reduction in demand for parking would enable more loading zones, reducing the need for double parking, and might enable parking lanes to be converted to driving lanes, doubling capacity on some city roads.



    As Dr. Phil would say, “how’s that working for you?”


    Mission Mom

    Only if autonomous vehicles move forward through the shared model. If we simply replace each of our cars with an autonomous vehicle – the consumer model – the future could be even more dystopian than it is today.



    Without Muni, San Francisco would be a very different city. The dense neighborhoods, the dense downtown would just not exist.

    Muni may cost $10 on average to operate, but that includes rides which cost much more and rides which cost much less. Chariot is obviously focusing on the rides which cost less, because that’s where you can make a profit.

    Part of the Muni subsidy undoubtedly goes to providing below-cost transportation to the poor and the elderly. You could improve the bottom line by eliminating that (and of course Chariot doesn’t offer such discounts), but what would be the result?

    Now I don’t doubt that Muni could be better run, and I’m all for efforts to make it better. But it’s doubtful that mindless privatization will do that. The UK did “successfully” privatize its services, but the results have certainly not been uniformly good.

    Finally, do we even know that Chariot is turning a profit? Startups’ standard practice is to raise money and spend it on “building market share”, even when they’re losing money overall– sometimes large amounts of money. Uber is famous for this. It may not be subsidized by the public, but it’s subsidized by starry-eyed investors. How long will that last?



    Sure, but there’s still a 1:1 ratio of passengers-currently-in-transit to vehicles-currently-in-transit. Cars taking multiple people over the day doesn’t change that. In a sense, Uber makes it worse because you’ll have vehicles-in-transit that are carrying no passengers (between jobs), so the ratio could theoretically be even worse than 1:1.

    Now, it’ll certainly help with parking shortages, which might also help with congestion by eliminating all the cars that driving around pointlessly hunting for parking. But we could fix that today by ending underpriced and oversubscribed parking.



    I find that meme depicting the car/uber/autonomous car to be inaccurate. Autonomous cars will be out and driving all the time they’re in demand. Therefore there won’t be a 1:1 ration of passenger to car because the car will be in play all the time and one car will take multiple people during its shift. Same with Uber, the driver does not take one passenger then park for the rest of the day.



    Not true. They can be both temporary and permanent control devices. They are frequently used in construction zones as temporary devices. They are, in fact, being used in that mode at 4th and Townsend during the construction at that intersection. In the case of the installations made by the SFMTrA they were installed in an even more temporary mode with butyl pads rather than bolted into the pavement.

    The hope of the SFMTrA was that the SFMTA would recognize that the places where they made their installations are hazardous, and that they would be motivated to install a more permanent solution like they did at the entrance to GGP. Ripping them up, not acknowledging the hazardous condition at the locations where they were installed and providing patronizing reason why they did that, like they “might injure cyclists” was the real insult.



    Agreed, and the difference is that a driver can easily move a cone that has been placed on the road. Not so much with a glued post.



    I know youre being sarcastic but the MUTCD classifies safe hit posts as permanent



    The average Muni ride costs $10 to operate. Chariot charges $5 at peak times, $3.80 the rest of the time, and makes a profit. Chariot isn’t doing anything that Muni couldn’t do, and yet Muni doesn’t do it, mostly for political and ideological reasons.

    Privatization works because it brings competition, and drives efficiencies. Muni’s bloated cost structure, rigid work practicies and intransigent unions prevent it functioning at an economic level, thereby condemning it to an endless downward spiral of losses and subsidies.

    Ditto, BART, of course.

    Lefties like Jason Henderson will whine about privatization of course. But 50 years ago in the UK, the government ran the airlines, the airports, the trains, the buses and the ports. All were successfully privatized. Whilst the London tube service is now almost entirely self-financing.

    Throw in the promises of Uber etc., as the article notes, and it’s amazing that anyone wants to preserve the current model. BART’s $350 billion begging letter and Muni’s endless handouts indicate that there is a better way.



    A painted red line doesn’t represent an obstruction to traffic, nor interferes with it.



    The city is getting after this a hell of a lot faster than any of the fake red zones that people paint near their driveways.



    “safe-hit posts are permanent”

    In practice they get run over more than the cones do.