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    Understood – it seems weird to me that this wouldn’t be at the forefront of their agendas, seeing that transit affects our quality of life, health, and economic prosperity. I’d be hard pressed to see what should be more of a priority, but then again I’m not trying to keep my seat as a supervisor.



    “But as another commenter asked, do you guys even ride Muni Metro?”

    Lol. “Do you even Muni, bro?”

    I think most people commenting on this thread do. :D



    Absolutely. For instance I think Sunset is a totally underrated north-south bike route in the city…I use the asphalt multiuse path running up and down its westside often as a connecting route between Lake Merced and GG Park. It’d be amazing if upgraded to cycletrack standards (with bike signals!) and there’s totally room for it.


    Richard Mlynarik

    Please stop with the *I*-am-going-to-force-*YOUR*-browser-to-open-links-in-a-new-window <a target=”_blank” …> nonsense. Thanks.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Honorary mention for most edge traps, maybe.

    Since it’s Streetsblog we might as well talk about the streets. I think about this every time I go up Tunnel, which is daily. It’s a road that goes nowhere. The amount of economic activity enabled by that road might not be enough to justify the cost of maintaining it in the face of such severe geotechnical challenges.

    In contrast Chabot runs past a school and St. Albert’s and connects with a major commercial district on College. Golden Gate from Broadway to Chabot is the main way for bicyclists to cross CA-24 without having to hump it all the way up to the tunnel.



    Interesting! You’re right, it’s bad, though I seldom notice because I always ride UP Old Tunnel and thus never get going very fast, and traffic is light enough that it’s easy enough to ride around the worst potholes. However, I almost always come back on Wildcat Canyon in Berkeley, whose horrid pavement condition is a death trap.



    Old Tunnel Road.



    It’s not the more money towards public transit, it’s because that implies less money for something else. This is why the tough votes are going to be “The Progressives”.




    Frankly, when I was in SF I spent very little time on bike stuff because I could write a few checks and Leah and Co. would do the needful, and I’d show up to a meeting or whatever if they wanted people.

    Meanwhile I spent endless hours advocating for better service on Caltrain (not just the bike component, which frankly is pro-transit because the bike carriage on Caltrain was responsible for a huge ridership boost which has provided the revenue that has driven service). I worked on campaigns for ballot measures. etc… etc… etc…

    These things are all synergistic. No MUNI passenger ever ran over a cyclist or a pedestrian. And while most of the short trips that MUNI would target are much simpler on a bike for anyone who rides, there is always the night out on the town or to a place where bike parking is useless.

    If I were the Mayor the #1/2/3 priorities would be the TEP.



    get it straight. We are not anti-transit. We are anti-car! VIVE LE REVOLUCION! WAR ON CARS!



    Yeah, that guy had no proof of registration or insurance, rolled a stop, had no brake lights, and all he got was a fix-it ticket. War on cars, indeed!



    The simplest way to get MUNI moving would be initiate draconian enforcement of double parking, triple parking rates and implement congestion pricing, in order to dramatically reduce the amount of driving in the city, opening the lanes for MUNI.

    Think we can pull that off?

    OK, maybe we’ll put in some bike lanes and maybe we can increase the bike share from 3% to 5% and hopefully that will open the roads up.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Challenge accepted regarding worst pavement in Oakland. Jackson sure isn’t it. Chabot between Golden Gate and College is far worse and a major bike route. At some places the pavement gives out altogether and it’s basically not paved.



    What got me was the PC by the police, almost as though apologetic for having to give them a ticket.



    Just for the record it is not a criticism of bike lanes.

    However, we are going to increase the population of SF to over 1 million people, and there seems to be no real plans in place to improve mobility, other than bike lanes and relatively minor tweaks to muni routes.



    Re. the People Behaving Badly video. Anyone care to guess how long it would take most drivers to lose their licenses if every single violation was ticketed and had the requisite points assigned? Considering that I notice multiple violations on every single block, I’m putting my money on one day.



    Are we reading the same article? To me this seems to be a very straight-forward reporting of quotes and facts, with very little editorializing. In what way does this article depict Wiener unfairly?

    (disclaimer: just an employee at a local bike coalition who walks and takes transit for about half of his trips, and spends more time in his own neighborhood on ped/transit issues than bike stuff)



    100% agree, and would also had the gently hilly areas of the Sunset and the Richmond as areas ripe for increased bike mode share. Their advantage is proximity to GGP.


    Upright Biker

    @vcs regular commenters on this blog routinely point out the need for fixing Muni, including criticism of management and the union. No idea where you get your highly selective impression otherwise.

    More to the point, this group is one of the few that calls out the major reason Muni has such poor performance: Private automobiles double-parking; private automobiles clogging transit lanes; private automobiles blocking intersections. You seem to think a management overhaul would somehow make all those private automobiles vaporize?

    Your “because “bike lanes” remark is pathetic. The City spends a tiny fraction of the overall transit budget on bike lanes and bike infrastructure in general.

    Start posting with some logic-based reasoning, and maybe you’ll be taken more seriously and not called out for your shrill and ignorant comments.


    Bob Gunderson

    You have a lot of criticism to dish out so I’m sure you’re a wealth of knowledge when it comes to actually fixing problems. We’re all ears, do tell us how you would fix it!



    DC metro has some Breda trains and my understanding is that they also have a higher incidence of breakdowns there than their other trains (which are made by Alstom IIRC).



    In this case Parker is completely out of touch with most of the tech community, who have vey clearly demonstrated their preference for living in a bike and pedestrian friendlier San Francisco.



    Or to stereotype “the motorists”.


    Richard Mlynarik

    Long low-floor streetcars came out the 1990s with the Portland streetcar.

    There is no limit to the ignorance of American railfans, is there?



    Aaron, the main reason I check your blog is to call out anti-transit, anti-pedestrian positions. Thanks to you and your commenters for keeping me entertained :)


    Dexter Wong

    San Jose’s light rail system did not open until 1987! Early Berlin trams were open platform (no windshield and no cab). Passengers walked past the motorman while getting on off!


    Aaron Bialick

    Wow, some interesting theories there. Well, as long as you keep the distinction between your perceptions and what people are actually saying.



    Hi Mario, ride Muni Metro for a while and then you will understand why you are so confused.


    Andy B from Jersey

    Yeah, you’re likely correct. I know in the US they don’t consider the Stadler trains “heavy-rail” so they can’t run at night with the freight trains.

    But still? How hard is it to install a few bike racks like this on a “light-rail” street car?



    Unfortunately a number people have posted that more-or-less explicitly here. “We can’t fix really Muni so let’s build bike lanes to improve mobility”.

    It might just be a means-to-an-end, but one of these things is not like the other, one of these things is not the same.

    In any case, what’s the plan to fix Muni? ….


    Mario Tanev




    Hi Aaron,

    Streetsblog has posted recent articles about their origins etc., If there any confusions about your current positions it might be because you have not articulated them well. When the TWU walked out, you seemed to have no concern about the horribly negative effect on actual transit riders but instead aimed invective at the mayor. (Whom I am not a fan of, for the record.) Instead you leaned heavily on the “transit riders union” which is allegedly a TWU puppet organization. In any case, you are clearly aligned with the “progressive party” in SF and to some extent I believe you and the commenters here may have compromised “transit first” principles to that end.

    Judging from the editorials and commentary here, the “Streetsblog” position is the following:
    (1) Muni is (understated) not great, BUT
    (2) We don’t really want to criticize MTA
    (3) We don’t really want to criticize the union
    (4) So let’s build bike lanes and then everyone healthy enough can avoid our obvious political clusterfuck.
    (5) Something about the spring break I spent in Amsterdam.

    The net effect is a really depressing outcome where transit stays pleb-tier forever.

    Also you must have altered your article, because that quote was a direct copy-paste. In any case I support Campos’ or any other politician sentiment there, but I doubt he will run for election on Muni.

    Like I said, I’m a nobody who isn’t working for anyone except my own greater good. But I understand we need someone who transcends the the current political stalemate here and actually makes San Francisco transit good. Whoever that is. Hopefully your editorial positions will recognize this. Thanks.



    She’s what? Uncomfortable with the measure because it might put more general fund money towards public transit that benefits… the public?


    Aaron Bialick

    Hi vcs,

    You’ve left a few comments recently saying that Streetsblog has certain specific positions which we have never stated. It’s not clear whether your referring specifically to us as an organization or the commenters you see as representing our positions (which need to be distinguished). But I’d like to ask that you speak for yourself, or if you’re addressing certain statements or positions, be specific in who said what. From our end, in articles like these we’re mostly just trying to report on what’s going on at City Hall, and certainly not “supporting the status-quo shitty transit.”

    Also, Campos said that quote you cited, not Wiener. I’ll add a repeat of his name in there to make it clearer.

    - Aaron



    That is very true but Streetsblog and “urbanists” seem to spend a lot of
    effort supporting the status-quo shitty transit because “bike lanes”.




    Say what you want about Wiener in general. But in the twenty+ years I’ve lived in this city, he is the only politician who actually seems to understand and wants to address the real problems of the Muni system. Everyone else has talked-the-talk but in the end they only see Muni as a $$$$ conduit to their special-interest kickback group.

    Just to reinforce the Wiener quote in the article:

    “Money is an important part of the solution, but you can throw all the money in the world at Muni. Unless you change how this agency is managed and how it’s governed, and the lack of accountability that it has, things are not going to change dramatically.”

    That is very true but Streetsblog and “urbanists” seem to spend a lot of effort supporting the status-quo shitty transit because “bike lanes”. Wiener is rightfully calling out MTA management and unions because they have become the enemy of good transit. Their defenders are equally enemies of the people.

    When Wiener is elected mayor, some of you “streetsblog” people will be surprised, but you really shouldn’t be. The politician who actually manages to fix Muni deserves a statute in front of City Hall.

    (disclaimer: just some nobody with no involvement in politics who takes the metro.)



    OK, let’s talk only about the trains.

    There have been numerous articles about Muni’s shitty maintenance practices in SFWeekly and elsewhere. Bredas might be lousy trains, but it seems fairly certain that Muni wasn’t maintaining them properly as well. The Siemens trains won’t be perfect and if Muni can’t keep them running we will see the same problems..

    Also, years ago, when a Breda door wouldn’t close, the driver went out and stuck a thumbwrench into the bolt to disable the door. Apparently this violated Union Rules and now the train has to sit there with everyone held hostage while the Slowest People Alive lumber out to use their skilled thumbwrench labor.

    Streesblog and transit advocates generally don’t care about any this operational stuff because it might piss-off their allies. Clearly the solution to endemic Muni Metro Shittyness is low floors.


    Dexter Wong

    You remind me of the guy who points out that you don’t have the latest mobile phone and likens you to your grandfather in the process! Long low-floor streetcars came out the 1990s with the Portland streetcar. It was then that the “modern streetcar” was differentiated with light rail. The streetcar was then touted as the perfect downtown circulator by the Wall Street Journal. It traveled slow, had many stops, but allowed people to move about easily through the neighborhood. What Muni has is going between the outer neighborhoods and downtown. I think you’re annoyed because you control nothing in San Francisco.



    Supervisor Katy Tang and Norman Yee said they were “uncomfortable” with
    the measure, because it would siphon off general funds that could be
    used for other city services.

    That’s never stopped city agencies from siphoning money back from Muni before.



    The signalling system is a mess, and was from day one, but they arent fixing that right now, theyre ordering new trains. Given that, we’re talking about the trains.

    If they make mistakes on that now, in 10 years they may fix the signalling system but we’ll still have crappy trains the way we always have. Before Breda there was Boeing-Vertol, theyve literally never gotten this right.



    That’s definitely true, though on the other hand SF has far far fewer days of rain than Amsterdam does.

    And SF does actually have large swaths of flat and relatively flat land which don’t require that much effort. There are even established routes (such as the most famous, The Wiggle: that connect up flat areas to each other for hill-avoidance.

    The other powerful thing which helps in SF is bike+transit. This is already doable on BART and Muni buses in addition to some other agencies’ transit systems but not currently on Muni Metro (unless you have a folding bike).

    While I wouldn’t ever expect Amsterdam-like 50% modeshare in neighborhoods like Twin Peaks (unless ebikes become ubiquitous) SF’s current overall 3-4% bike modeshare level is probably more about subpar and lacking bike infrastructure rather than hills. A lot of flat densely populated (and growing) areas such as much of SoMa/Mission/Hayes Valley/Western Addition/Dogpatch/Mission Bay/etc. are ripe for far higher bike modeshare with better infra.


    Not this again.

    This may come as a shock, but this is not a two-dimensional world we live in. Even in Amsterdam, there are inclines you have to pedal up, and bridges/tunnels to get up and over/under highways, not to mention multistory bike parking garages you bike into and out of. Google it. You can also use google to find SF’s most forgiving lumps.



    I’ve never been to Amsterdam, but I understand that it has a mostly-flat topography (like Davis CA or New Orleans), making it even more attractiive for cycling than lumpy places like SF.



    And I learned a new word–”Bougie” which in some circles is short for “Bourgeois”. I asked my wife (whose ancestors came from Quebec) and she said that in French is means “candle”.



    Reno has level-boarding BRT platforms.


    Andy Chow

    I am a bit partial when it comes to feeder shuttles rather than the long distance shuttles (Google buses). The primary purpose of those feeder shuttles is to connect with main line transit (BART, Caltrain, Market St, etc). They add passengers to main line transit and reduce the need for Muni to provide feeder service, which might not work as well due to its operational issues and possibly more stops along the route.

    The long distance shuttles are more about point to point, and serves a route that cannot currently be served by a single transit provider.



    Haha, I will gladly wear that label.

    But as another commenter asked, do you guys even ride Muni Metro? The subway is routinely congested and often goes into full “meltdown” mode. You can watch 3 of the same letter go by while you wait 20 minutes for your train. The trains crawl in certain sections because of bad tracks. The announcements claim trains turn around at Embarcadero in 3 minutes, but it reality it’s more like 10.

    The problems are significant and pretty damn obvious to anyone who depends on Metro. But OK, let’s carry on about the important stuff: low floors and bike racks.



    I agree with you that I do find the red colors more attractive and more modern looking, hopefully the interiors will be light and modern just like in the renderings



    Absolutely! Yeah, that’s what I found so intriguing about the situation in the Netherlands–even with practically free transit many/most people still choose to bike as the premium option, simply because it’s easiest and fastest (and also can be done at any hour). This is ultimately a big cost-saver for the Dutch government and municipalities because investing in even top-notch bike infra is ridiculously cheap compared to transit.

    Some other funny parallels to SF—Amsterdam’s Metro system also has some very egregious gaps and also a way-over-budget over-schedule subway project with at-best middling potential benefits under construction.

    Many people there have long preferred to just bike, but of course this is aided by the bike infrastructure to back it up. It’d be great if SF could realize how many people-moving gains it could get out of relatively low-cost investments in bike infrastructure. This way that money could be saved for transit projects that really needed it.


    Lee Ross

    I hate to be so acerbic. But reading about this ballot measure propounded by these folks and their cars who think they have some unalienable right to push everyone else aside is…I won’t say what I really believe and leave it to a comment I AM BEYOND FRUSTRATION WITH THESE PEOPLE.