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    Dexter Wong

    Looks like we got a winner this time, Siemens is well known in light rail circles. (Funny thing, in 1971, Muni wanted to buy streetcars from Duewag (now part of Siemens) but couldn’t due to federal buy American rules. Now that the rules have changed and Siemens wanted to bid on the Muni contract, we finally get what we want.)


    Dexter Wong

    The only good thing I’ve heard about Breda cars was about the Cleveland light rail cars. They were built in the early 80s and are still running.


    Dexter Wong

    Are you going to keep pointing out a bad decision made 40 years ago when no one had a clear idea of what transit agencies would do about the high/low floor problem? It was over a decade later that most light rail systems settled on low floors.



    Dear Jason,

    First a few corrections. You have 2 third points. You misspelled SFMTA. Not inspiring much confidence here.

    Second, I remember your 2012 campaign (which we all know was all about getting you name recognition) and it makes sense you’re now spearheading this initiative as you know how populist these kinds of things are and how great it will be for your political career.

    Third, I have to ask, do you even own a car? If not, then why are you bothering? Do you honestly feel sorry for all the poor drivers out there having to pay for parking meters from the goodness of your heart? Or is this some kind of move where deep down you know this is disastrous policy but of course, one major beneficiary is you, being able to claim victory and perhaps the privilege of a nomination for an office that you, as a Republican, might actually win?



    I remember MUNI made the same glowing remarks about the Bredas when they replaced the Boeing Vertol cars…



    True dat. Tom Steyer is pretty cool, an environmentalist and willing to put his money where his mouth is.



    Good luck at the polls, you will need it!



    A tech billionaire is the tea party? Hardly. The phrase “tea party” seems to have lost all meaning and become an all purpose pejorative.


    Andy B from Jersey

    Looks great!

    Bike racks on the trains? Most German train products have them as standard equipment. The Stadler GmbH DMU on the RiverLINE in New Jersey has them and they never needed to institute a rush hour bike ban because they are so space efficient and work VERY well.



    As if you would know.



    It’s just as wrong to stereotype “the rich” as if they all think and act as one as it would be to stereotype “the gays” or “the blacks.”


    Fran w.

    I mostly ride my bike, very occasionally drive. As both a biker and a driver I have seen the majority of cyclists completely ignore the rules of the road. Why do you think drivers are harassing cyclists? Because many cyclists are rude and dangerous. So much so that car drivers have been “trained” to allow bikes to run stop signs on a regular basis. And the self righteous and entitlement of many bikers is sickening. I guarantee if bikers began following the laws, we would not need a harassment law. Remember, all rights come with responsibilities to uphold your part. Follow the laws, people! Stop being a menace. I find that drivers are thoroughly confused by me because I follow the laws. They are expecting all bikers to run stop signs and traffic lights and are terrified of hitting someone. The situation in Berkeley is highly annoying and dangerous. From my perspective, I really do think the poor behavior is usually on the end of the bicyclist.



    Do you ever leave your spider hole to go out or do you continuously comment on everything? You really seem to have the answer to everything. Put that brilliance to use. Start executing and stop commenting. The world really could use you.


    Richard Mlynarik

    Historic Streetcars!

    20 years out of date today, 40 years out of date when they’re finally retired.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, on the job.

    Made in California! USA! USA! USA!


    Gordon Werner

    Breda makes shoddy products. In Copenhagen their Breda trams are rusting … in the Netherlands their high-speed trains can’t be used because of snow buildup. in Seattle our dual-mode Breda trolleybuses were grossly overweight and were constant maintenance pigs.

    it goes on and on and on.

    Siemens on the other hand … makes rather outstanding products and being that their long-time factory is in Sacramento … they can actually offer decent support to MUNI


    Jamison Wieser

    The current fleet of trains was custom designed by a sketchy manufacturer (LA and Boston have both had problems with Breda too) which the SFMTA disqualified from competing again because of all the troubles.

    The Siemens trains on the other hand are the latest version of a proven design. This time they aren’t just making up performance numbers and hoping, they had real-world data to judge them by. The SFMTA got to demo them this time.



    Its really too bad that theyre stuck with high floor (unless they wanted to spend a bunch of money to convert the subway stations). Its really lame for the street running segments.



    or if SFMTA bid requirements around hills, sand, stairs, doors, etc. make them ridiculous to maintain. I suspect it is a combination of all of these.



    The real question I’d like answered is this: what other transit systems use Breda trains, and what sort of mean distance between failures do they experience.

    That would tell us if it’s the quality of the Breda trains, or if it’s the way we do maintenance here– in which case, we’re unlikely to see improvements from new trains.



    Level boarding was never part of CTA or MTA’s original development plans. I don’t believe any transit line with BRT features in the US currently features level boarding. The Orange Line in LA, which earned a “bronze” ITDP rating, doesn’t feature level boarding throughout its route. Level boarding is a nice to have, but I’d much rather have a dedicated transit way and transit signal priority first. This is SF, it’s taken over 10 years of planning just to get this close to reality.


    Thomas Rogers

    Meanwhile, Van Ness BRT is apparently giving up on level boarding?



    So… They’re not low floor?



    this actually sounds like a good deal.. but. I feel like I’ve heard the “new fleet less breakdown prone” before. These sort of pre-approved decisions always sound very optimistic, nary a doubter anywhere. I suspect we heard the same things before we bought those breda trains.



    “note that one-third of the 17,500 signatures we collected came from over
    over 100 volunteers – people who live in S.F. and aren’t happy with the
    way decisions are being made about how we move around in this City”

    If you think this is going to help people get around the city, you’ve got another thing coming.



    Speaking of “corrections,” can you point to even a single instance of ballot box planning creating good policy in the long term?



    Still no low floor/level boarding huh?


    Khal Spencer

    Since so few people understand science, bombarding them with more facts and statistics has limited value (same is true in urban planning) because unless you are either trusting or trained in science, the charlatans can sound as superficially convincing as the working scientists in climate science. Its really frustrating.

    Speaking as a working geoscientist….


    Khal Spencer

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone pays for that parking: Joe Taxpayer. This is a great way to turn people into fools voting against their own interest–bamboozle them into thinking they are getting something for nothing.



    Yes, that is what Murph is saying. I don’t want to get to off-topic, but belief in anthropogenic global warming has not changed much in the same time that the scientific community has overwhelmingly come to agree on it:

    So if we can’t get people to believe in something that 97% of scientists agree on, how are we going to get people to agree they should drive less?

    You are unintentionally correct though in that the root of both problems is the same: people no longer trust science, evidence, and statistics. It’s a weird phenomenon, but it is reality. There is now a whole science about understanding why people don’t believe in science:

    Personally, I think the solution is not more statistics and facts. Sure, you need that, but it clearly has been sufficient to change people’s minds. I think we need to get better at understanding what people really want (a safe place to live, to be able to get around, a reliable job, etc) and connect on that level. It’s not really about getting rid of driving, but realizing that you can get all the things you want by not driving. I don’t have the answers, but I know that both climate change and livable cities suffer from the same problems.


    Upright Biker

    “note that one-third of the 17,500 signatures we collected came from over over 100 volunteers”

    In other words, your policy declaration would have failed to garner the required signatures had your megalomaniac sugar daddy not filled the void with paid collectors working in parking lots.

    I would imagine having _real_ San Franciscans asking people at Muni stops or walking along Market Street would have returned a much more realistic assessment of your policy proposals.



    Murph, I’m not sure I understand your comment. Do you mean that the majority of people do not accept that human activity is causing climate change? I thought it a decent analogy, because in the early 90s I was struck by the fact that I read a respected weather book that contended the science was not yet in on global warming. Less than a decade later, scientists had come to more or less a consensus on the matter. Now the public is coming around (I think?). Seems like when it comes to the streets, particularly the issue of parking, most people are unaware of facts and studies, and so support all kinds of nonsense based only on what they experienced in the past.



    The extremely rich don’t tend to park or drive their own cars unless it’s a pleasure ride, and I don’t think even Sean Parker is dumb enough to pleasure ride through the city.



    This makes no sense. If I was rich, I would want the cost of street parking to be higher so I know I’ll always find a spot. If he gets his way, it’ll be harder for him to find a spot…



    Remember the South Park episode about Smug?



    I agree that he needs to read this blog, but unfortunately the rich don’t give a damn about these things. They are the epitome of self-centered and isolationist and a car-centric lifestyle suits these tendencies perfectly.


    Lucy Fur

    Sorry for the loss of Amelie and many other bicyclists who were killed by reckless drivers. Not paying attention while driving a truck can have tragic results. What is disturbing is the way that SFPD handles these accidents by letting drivers escape justice while blaming the victims; “Well I’ve seen bicyclists go through red lights so now I don’t trust any of them.” This is blatant discrimination against a group of people and violates the U.S. Constitution. ALL people have rights and bicyclists cannot be treated as second class citizens because they choose not to consume petroleum products on their commutes! Even if these callous and careless truck drivers and cops get away with criminal acts (vehicular homicide and failure to prosecute criminal drivers) there is a place in Hades for them. The hooved one does not forgive and does not forget. Since the driver remains free there is nothing stopping me from claiming his soul early. One less careless driver on Earth should match the loss of Amelie.



    I wish Sean Parker read streetsblog. He, unfortunately, does not understand how increasing the free parking supply induces demand, how parking minimums lead to sprawl and higher housing costs, how free parking leads to dysfunctional curbside regulations, how free parking hurts businesses that need turnover of curbside spaces for customers and loading/unloading, how free parking is incompatible with healthy dense urban spaces, how free parking stymies urban growth and density which are both critically necessary since the population continues to grow.
    Imagine the tremendous benefit that that same money could do if spent on pedestrian/cyclist infrastructure!!!!!
    My plea to Sean Parker: before you spend your money on an initiative like this, please do research: read all the articles on parking on streetsblog written over the last couple years!! You will be informed and better able to act wisely on this issue.



    A policy declaration is not law. The only requirement in this proposition is that the Board of Supervisors must review the policy declaration, but they maintain broad discretion as to how to proceed after the review. Let’s bear in mind that this particular declaration directly contravenes the Transit First charter amendments that actually do have standing, and therefore are unlikely to have any effect on current SFMTA operations without actual laws getting passed.

    Also, you are failing to mention all of the other more odious portions of your policy declaration including the requirement that SFMTA take a portion of meter revenue (now with less purchasing power since they can’t raise rates for the next five years) and put it towards the construction of parking garages in various neighborhoods around the city. Until you declare that you’re willing to take the home of your neighbor by eminent domain and build a parking garage there, I will take this as nothing more than a disgusting attempt to make other people’s neighborhoods worse off to serve the needs of a rich cadre of San Franciscans that can own and operate private vehicles at the expense of those who walk and ride bikes.

    Let’s not forget that each parking space in a garage would cost upwards of $30,000 to create, no to mention the cost of the underlying land taken off the tax roles. When SFMTA can only find less than 1% of it’s budget to finance bicycle ‘improvements’, despite the 3.5% of people who regularly commute to their jobs in the city, the thought that we’d be spending scare resources on building parking garages become even more disgusting.



    Actually, Sebra should voluntarily vacate altogether–so the building can be torn down, and replaced with car parking.



    “it took a while to get people’s attention and convince them as to the warming effect of greenhouse gases” – you have a rosy view of the status quo.



    I vote for one next to your house. And since you are all for transparency, as I am sure the candidates are – please specify which candidates signed your petition.



    Point: We need to educate the broader public, not preach to the choir, as to the benefits to them of paid parking, road diets, congestion pricing, and bike lanes. Otherwise they will continue support poor policy like “Restore Balance, ” to resent paying towards the presently externalized costs of their automobiles, to hate the SFMTA, and even in the worst case to express hostility toward all those not getting around by car. How to do that? Ideas anyone?

    I would suggest trying to get local columnists and reporters hooked up with policy analysts, academics (like Shoup), and neo-liberal organizations like SPUR that carry a lot of credibility with doubters. As it is I have persistently and politely tried to inform friends and family as to facts, but their seeming commitment to nonsense appears unmovable. Mine is just another opinion, and an unwelcome, contrary one. This is kind of like climate change — it took a while to get people’s attention and convince them as to the warming effect of greenhouse gases. It is going to take some real work to convince people we need to rebuild our environment around people, not only moving and parking automobiles.


    sebra leaves

    You should check your facts. Potrero Hill and Dogpatch stopped the extension of parking meters in the Eastern Neighborhoods. Three of the candidates for Supervisor in D-10 signed the petition to put Restore Transportation Balance on the ballot and all three support parking garages on Potrero Hill if that is what the residents want. (Although I am sure Tony will be thankful to you for signalling him out.)



    I’m not sure that the 85% rule would be the major obstacle to photo-radar deployment in CA. Most cities would unlikely to give citations where recorded speeds are < 10mph over the limit and the 85% line is invariably below that threshold. The CA vehicle code is actually completely silent on photo-radar for speeding and using photo-radar evidence to establish a MVC speeding violation which is what makes cities squeamish about deployment — they feel that citations under the MVC would be challenged on this ground. San Jose used to have a program but voluntarily stopped it for this reason. An innovative approach that some cities have taken outside CA is to bypass the state MVC's entirely, and establish high speeds as a public health hazard and nuisance under local laws. Enforcement could be then managed using local administrative citations similar to other environmental and public health hazards.



    In collaboration with the CDC, Department of Public Health studied the impact of several speed reduction scenarios on pedestrian deaths back in 2010. The findings are posted here:


    Angie Schmitt

    Booooo, Sean Parker! Do you think the guy who owns the house in Silicon Valley is based after him? He kinda looks like him.



    I wish you could dismiss the importance of this kind of thing, but you shouldn’t. If it passes, Parker et al will say that the voice of the people has spoken, and that voice wants free parking. That tactic is particularly effective if you have elected officials who support that view anyway. This really needs to be defeated.



    A pathology perhaps?



    That article on the Giants’ CEO and a friend doing all the Muni lines in one day reminded me of the time I visited SF to ride all the streetcar lines in one afternoon. I’ve always lived in the Pasadena CA area, and in the 1960s Southern Calif. was all diesel bus except for the Orange Empire museum out beyond Riverside. Diehard trolley fans had to make the pilgrimage to MuniLand to ride revenue service cars. Getting back to Mr. Baer, I would guess that he and his buddy didn’t ride each line end to end. Still, it would put them in the same “league” with New Yorkers who try to ride all the subway lines in the least amount of time.



    And if nothing else, it gives Supes like Farrell, Tang and potentially Tony Kelly cover when they come up with all sorts of fun ordinances.