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    NYC is a much larger metropolis than SF. Also Citigroup spent $41 million over six years to sponsor Citi Bike. I don’t think SF has a comparable sponsor. So you are comparing apples to oranges.



    You’re right, Aaron, I never would have guessed who hosted Winterfest.



    Does anyone know why the Arts Commission rejected the original shelters? The Arts Commission serves a purpose though it is odd that they can hold up a large transit project on aesthetic grounds.


    Jamison Wieser

    Or what about simply a different color treatment like Market Street’s yellow ones?



    Why didn’t they go with something like the Stonestown/SF State or T-Third station roofs? I thought the idea of BRT was to provide a light rail-quality experience, minus the rail.


    Jamison Wieser

    A little more regarding those Van Ness BRT shelters. The included rending shows what the proposed Van Ness BRT “High-quality stations”, which – sigh – are literally the wavy-roofed shelters minus the roofs. Also minus the roof support where the NextMuni signs are normally mounted and they don’t show where the ticket vending machines would go.

    For the full presentation here is a link to August agenda and materials for the August SFMTA Advisory Council meeting. Much of the presentation regards accessibility, which – sigh – does not include level boarding. By making stations less accessible and slowing boarding for what could well be decades to come, the TA is minimizing capitol and maintenance costs. The new vehicles to be acquired for Van Ness BRT will all be low-floor though.



    In fairness to Nevius (and the man he mentions in his article), it is silly that a single parking space should be taxed as a separate parcel, at the same rate as a much larger condominium. Certainly parking spaces should be taxed, but the law (which causes the parking space to be classified as this man’s “second home”) should be fixed so as not to be punitive to people in situations such as this.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Yeah, and I don’t even understand why it should. If they’re promising to double the number of bikes in New York, that’s already way more than 7000 bikes, isn’t it?

    7000 in 16 years is less than one new station per week.



    Are you this nonchalant about all illegal behavior on the streets? No need for enforcement of any other code violation misbehavior, too?

    This has been going on since at least the 80′s, so doesn’t that break the statute of whingetations?


    Mario Tanev

    Regarding Van Ness shelters.

    Are you kidding me? First, the wave shelters don’t protect very well from the elements. But how can it be acceptable to have no shelters whatsoever? How could SFMTA even agree to something like this? With the cowardice on Sunday meters, and such shenanigans, I do have to say that those who doubt SFMTA’s competence, focus on the ridership and good will have a point.



    It’s funny how “unavoidable” behaviors suddenly decrease once consequences (like enforcement) become more severe. In this case, the most common “enforcement” is a sharp tap on the car by a passing pedestrian. That gets attention.



    So it’ll take Bay Area Bike Share 17 years to accomplish what NYC did in 2-3 years? Fail.


    Jym Dyer

    This sounds like the very same unsupported assertion used by a failed Proposition’s campaign literature.


    Dave Moore

    All vehicles are equal, but some vehicles are more equal than others.



    Two wheels good, four wheels baaaaad.


    Dave Moore

    I thought we were talking about crosswalks. Presumably you’re not using the crosswalks like so many of your bicycle brethren :)



    No reason why the VC can’t be changed. Tell David Chiu to get right on it.


    Dark Soul

    There no need for any enforcement regarding blocking ped crosswalk. Less space on road more crowding causing overall unsafe streets.



    SFMTA makes the Street more crowded mean more people going keep blocking and this time is not the driver to be blamed.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I think what he’s saying is that cars turning right from one street to another can starve out the people who just want to go straight, depending on the signal timing. This frustrates the straight-going drivers and so they just jump out into the box to get their turn.



    I have seen SFPD starting to ticket red light runners along Division, whereas they would never have even given a stern look to those drivers before.



    PCOs are able to enforce double parking laws. However, most drivers will return to their car and/or pull away once they see an officer nearby. There’s no incentive for this behavior to change when a ticket cannot even be written up. Which is why a camera would potentially be much more effective. However, since state law requires a PCO ticket have the VIN, a camera would be rather useless at the moment.

    Most SFPD officers will just flash their lights and make a quick honk to get drivers moving, rather than writing a ticket.



    That requires a change in the CA vehicle code, which needs to be done at the state level. This law also prevents moving violation citations from being issued by cameras on Muni buses.



    Drivers are still not supposed to make the turn if they cannot clear the intersection in a safe manner and without blocking the crosswalk. Why should one driver do something illegal and potentially get fined just because some impatient drivers behind him or her unlawfully honking their horns?



    One problem with the no block zone is you leave it open and those wanting to turn/merge from say the left, just pulls into the block and blocks it anyway.



    Even if one chose to wait because there was not enough space, and one obeys traffic laws, everybody behind starts honking and yelling expletives and the “learn how to drive”. That psychological stress and social pressure on the one obeying the law driver is very difficult to overcome.



    Good. Maybe we can channel their frustration to call for undergrounding automotbile thoroughfares for grade-separated pedestrian and bicycle facilities.


    Andy Chow

    There are consultants at other agencies as well as they are hired to some one time tasks and can move on once the project is done.

    The reality is that the cost will rise overtime. The cost was updated 5 years ago before the most recent one. What about other projects like the Bay Bridge replacement which costs continue to rise during construction.

    As for the transfer, you should know that both BART and Caltrain both run on a schedule that has been largely on effect for years. So what is the specific gap that is longer than 20 minutes? People can always take an earlier train to avoid transfer thats too tight. Millbrae is complex since people have to walk up and down and unless they have Clipper they will have to spend time to get tickets.

    I dont think Caltrain doesn’t want to work with anyone else but there should be realistic expectation of what can be done.


    Andy Chow

    The proposed service cut at the time was a response to shortfall from local taxes and a significant funding cut from the state (which it was trying to fill budget gap of its own). We averted that by bring in one time funds from different sources.

    We no longer have that problem since revenues have been restored at many levels. But if the politics are not transit supportive, it wont be enough (see the huge transit cut in Seattle, which just occured last month).

    101 may still be jamed, but since 2000, the freeway is wider.


    Dave Moore

    Many of the drivers affected by this action were already careful and lawful. Now they’re careful, lawful and late.



    “everyone slows down… defeating the purpose.” That is a great deal of the purpose. To have drivers be more careful and lawful in their driving.



    The timing of lights on eastbound Division is the same. It would be better if they were timed randomly. Instead, it is that you can usually make the lights if you drive 40mph, but not if your drive 25.



    Also southbound Van Ness at Grove, Hayes and Fell.



    double parking… why don’t they enforce that? This surely doesn’t require a change of law for PCOs to enforce.



    The speed of trains is mostly a function of the curvature of the tracks. Take your watch and see how fast BART goes from West Oakland to downtown where the tracks have a series of turns – slows to a crawl.

    BART might drop you off in downtown SF but most of the origin stations are in freeway medians near nothing. Every Caltrain station is in a fairly dense residential/retail/office section. Saying Caltrain is not near Google is like saying BART is not near USF.

    BART has the money because it started that way – it was originated as a highly funded government agency. Caltrain just took over the SP passenger service without a solid funding plan



    Why not change the law to give PCOs authority to write tickets for certain moving violations?


    Dark Soul

    Even with TSP for Traffic Lights,it does not speed the muni route up..Instead it slows it down most of the time. Stop signs are more reliable and safer than traffic lights,which can sometimes get power outage that traffic light get turned off.



    Maximum speed is far less important than average speed, which is much more closely related to how long your journey will take. Let’s stay focused on what matters to passengers. (For what it’s worth, Caltrain’s top speed is 79 mph, similar to BART’s.)

    Average speed is largely determined by acceleration times. BART trains are much better than Caltrain in that regard, but once Caltrain is electrified, the new trains will be just as quick to accelerate as BART trains, if not faster. The new BART trains will have similar acceleration rates to the old ones. You need to be comparing how Caltrain will look in 10 years to how BART will look in 10 years once both agencies have completed their current projects, as any theoretical project to replace Caltrain with BART would take place more than 10 years in the future.

    I agree that Caltrain sucks as it is right now, but replacing it with BART is the wrong solution.





    I believe the theoretical top speed of a BART train is 80mph. I’ve watched the speedometer on BART going under the Bay and they regularly hit 70mph.

    Now, admittedly that’s a perfect situation with several miles and no stops. But the suburban stops can be a few miles apart, although obviously not in SF or Oakland.

    I just looked at the CalTrain schedule and there are 21 stops between SF and SJ. That’s a distance of about 40 miles so there is a stop every 2 miles. What is the maximum speed that a CalTrain train can reach with that many stops and starts?

    Yeah, I know that not every train makes every stop. But I have to believe that the average speed of the average BART train is faster than an equivalent CalTrain. And of course CalTrain drops me off a mile from where most people want to be, at lest pending HSR which will probably never happen.

    And yes, BART is non-standard but Cal-Train is over-engineered, and cannot easily be under-grounded the way BART is.

    Both systems are flawed but BART seems a better Bay-Area wide solution, which is presumably why BARt always gets the money for extensions.



    Oh, I agree, and in fact the light sequence along much of Masonic is bizarre. For instance if you catch the Fell light just before it turns red, you can also make it across the green Oak light, but only just. Such a phasing encourages speed and recklessness.

    And in my experience you can quite often catch every green from Geary to Haight, but only by breaking the speed limit in a couple of places and then slowing down in other places.

    Whoever designed a phasing that rewards breaking the speed limit needs to go back to traffic signal school. Did they ever change the phasing when they changed the speed limit?

    One last thing, going south between Fell and Oak, there is a “phantom” right lane that (I presume) is for the 43 bus to get to the stop just south of Oak. But in reality cars use that lane and then try and merge back into the middle lane where the bus stop is. While the left lane traffic sometimes turns left and sometimes does not. It’s a mess. If there’s a bus at the stop you can have three lanes of traffic merging into one.



    Given that a speeding car can do a lot more harm than a walking pedestrian then, yes, most drivers would choose the cross-walk over a 3-lane quasi-highway like Oak.

    If you were on a bike and had that same two choices, you’d do the same thing.

    And generally when a driver is forced onto a cross-walk, there is still room for a pedestrian to get around it. That’s not true for a car. When the only choices are bad, you try and choose the least bad one. And prioritize safety over speed and convenience.


    Dave Moore

    Can we not find common ground in the number of our wheels?



    I drive through some of the mess in SOMA, but on a scooter, giving me a lot of ability to get around the worst of it

    Presumably not by using the bike lanes like so many of your scooter brethren :)



    So all I can do is move forward to get out of the Oak Street traffic
    when the lights change, and that means blocking the crosswalk.

    Blocking pedestrians good. Blocking cars bad. Got it.



    What? This is completely backwards.

    BART tracks and trains are inferior to Caltrain because they are non-standard. This means that BART runs into procurement problems and long lead times. Caltrain has decided to run longer trains – so they just bought some extra rolling stock from LA.

    BART is not faster. Caltrain is faster.

    At peak hours, Caltrain runs at higher frequency (5 trains per hour) than BART goes on the spur lines (4 per hour). The secure source of funding is a political issue.

    Caltrain can rarely get to such speeds because of the frequency of stops? There are 4 stops in SF within a total distance of 2 miles. And every BART train stops at every BART stop – Caltrain runs express trains – enabled because Caltrain has passing tracks that BART does not.



    Caltrain doubled ridership in 10 years despite themselves, not because of themselves. As ridership was increasing, they CUT service. They threatened to cut service drastically to commute hours only no weekends. Don’t confuse the demand caused by the debacle that is US-101 with supply created by excellent service.

    And now, the trains are breaking down *DAILY*. I only ride it once a week and have yet to be on time – even after Caltrain padded the schedules and defined “on time” as within 5 minutes. Note that Caltrain supposedly takes 5 minutes to go from 4th to 22nd Street but 7 minutes the other way, the same effect happens at Diridon. They then measure on time performance only at the (padded) end of the line, not how late they are at intermediate stations.

    If they were doing an excellent job Caltrain would not be going from crisis to crisis.



    SamTrans rely on outside consultants and contractors for everything related to Caltrain, as they don’t have enough in-house experience. This results in huge cost overruns and schedule delays – electrification and CBOSS are each costing twice what they other agencies spend on similar projects, and should have been done decades ago. Another delay and cost increase to the electrification project was announced just last week!

    Timed transfers are massively important. If I’m in the Mission on an evening or a Sunday and need to get to Berkeley, it’s easy, even though there are no direct trains. But if I need to get to San Mateo, I have to factor in a 0-60 minute wait at Millbrae, because of the infrequent untimed transfer. Most people will just drive instead.

    Seems to me that your focus is on defending Caltrain from having to work with anyone else (BART, HSR) rather than figuring out how transit agencies could be working together better to get people where they need to go.



    Thanks for the e-mail. I will send them an e-mail.



    To be clear it is the southbound traffic here I’m talking about. The problem is that the light at Fell turns green first, so the traffic on Masonic fills up between Oak and Fell. Then the light turns green on Oak. Cars continue to go through the intersection but are stuck on Fell street. They should wait to enter the intersection until it is clear for them to do so (as required by law). Most often it’s cars on a yellow light who enter and get stuck. That is a clear violation and they should be ticketed. They continue to do it because there is no enforcement.

    The worst is then they pull as close as they can to the car in front of them completely blocking the crosswalk. If I ran with my cell phone I’d take pictures. It’s gotten worse as traffic has increased in the area.