Today’s Headlines

  • Uber Driver Arrested for Running Down Man on Bicycle After Altercation (CBS, Hoodline, SFBay)
  • SFTRU Challenges Mayor Lee and Supervisors to Ride Muni for 22 Days (SF Chronicle)
  • SFMTA Looks to Reduce Bike Parking in City-Owned Garages Due to Low Usage (SocketSite)
  • Sup. Kim Wants to Nix Armed Security That Guards Muni Workers Carrying Fare Cash (SFGate)
  • Inner Richmond’s Third Parklet Opens at Balboa and Sixth Avenue (Richmond SF)
  • 48 Hills Blasts Lack of Planning for Ped Signal in Building Project at Bryant Street Freeway Ramps
  • Human Transit‘s Jarrett Walker: New Muni Map is “World Class” in Clarity
  • Leap to Re-Install Wheelchair Ramp in One of Its Four Buses After Complaint (Business Times)
  • Federal Judge in SF Allows Discrimination Lawsuit From Blind Passengers With Guide Dogs (SFGate)
  • GJEL: Oakland Re-Paved Grand Avenue and Didn’t Bother to Improve Its Car-Centric Design
  • Unlicensed Richmond Mother Driving Unsafely With Child Crashes Into Playground (CBS)
  • Caltrain May Sacrifice Seats for High-Speed Rail Compatibility (Green Caltrain)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Now if only the insincere concerns about accessibility of Leap busses were directed at Muni…

    Glen Park is just one of many Muni Metro stops with no provision at all for wheelchair access and even the renovated N-Judah stops in the Inner Sunset are being designed without wheelchair ramps.

  • Elias Zamaria

    Is there any (preferably legal) way to read the SF Chronicle article without giving them any money or personal information?

  • mx
  • Elias Zamaria

    That worked. Thanks.

  • BBnet3000

    Am I the only one who thinks that with Muni about to order a new fleet of trains AND just having figured out multiple berthing, its the perfect time to lower the platforms on Market Street to the tram height they always should have been at?

    The multiple berthing means they can stop forward/backward on the platform so that lowering it could be done in phases. The elevators could be accessed via a ramp without even changing the height it stops at.

    This would improve the experience in the streetcar sections significantly for all riders and do away with the dumb stairs.

  • Muni won’t be moving to low-floor service any time soon and that order for new trains has already been placed.

    The new trains will again be high-platform with stairs that go down for the low-platform/no-platform surface stops. The stipulation on the federal matching funds is Muni must return those matching funds for vehicles taken out of service before the end of their useful lifespan. Good or bad, these will be the high-platform trains Muni will be stuck with through 2045-2055.

    In the “short term” accessibility for the next three decades is going to require ramps (easier to remove in the future) or high-platform stations.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Yes, it was the perfect time (well more accurately the least bad time, and not a bad one at all) to have transitioned away from obsolete 19th century high floor trams. AND to transition away from Muni’s uniformly-sized stupidly-short single-articulation tram fleet with too many cabs and not enough passenger seating.

    Unfortunately, we are dealing with America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals here — ie individuals who could never even get a job interview anywhere in the world where success in delivering service or even cost effectiveness were any sort of a criterion — and so enjoy your insane, obsolete, slow, inaccessible, lumbering “light” rail experience for the next two decades, and beyond.

  • jonobate

    You are absolutely correct. Low floor streetcars make boarding easier for everyone (because there’s only one low step) and also enable accessible boarding at every stop with use of a deployable ramp. The article below has a video that shows how this would work (skip to 3 mins in).

    Assuming that the T retains the current high floor train design, you would only need to lower platforms at the nine subway stations, plus Stonestown and SFSU. As you say, the nine subway stations could be done half at a time to ease the transition. The four MMX stations already have both low and high platforms.

    The only other way to make the entire Muni Metro ADA compliant would be to install wheelchair ramps at every surface stop, which would be more expensive and would likely be opposed by residents on aesthetic grounds. Unfortunately, the new trains have already been ordered, so we’re stuck with an inaccessible metro system for another 20+ years.

  • als

    With all the talk in other articles about street design for people rather than cars….can, would, should Muni raise the street level stops as in the SOMA & 3rd street area?

    If we own the streets why can’t we use the space for raised platforms and ramps down to street level rather than space for cars?

    I know low floor transit is more desirable but are missing the SF MUNI only solution?

  • Shannon Pleskac

    Low floor vehicles aren’t perfect. People with disabilities have to travel further to get to a seat because of the wheel wells. Because of the wheel wells, there are fewer seats in the priority area. Ramps have improved but can still be steep when deployed to the street. Though they can be operated manually, some operators won’t touch them for fear of injury.

  • Shannon Pleskac

    Unnecessary snark aside, the light rail system is at least somewhat accessible and is improving.

  • jonobate

    Not sure what you’re getting at here… all the light rail stops in Soma and on Third St already have raised, high level platforms.

  • Guest

    Clearly you haven’t met Richard before. Unnecessary snark is his raison d’etre.

  • 94110

    Thinking about this (because I’d rather not see another 30 years of stairs going up and down).

    The J and the N are similar with stairs transitioning once into and out of the tunnel at Van Ness. That leaves five subway stations they serve to be transitioned/split, and/or turning tracks to be installed at Market and Church.

    Capacity for either line could be increased by ordering low floor cars to augment the new high floor cars, and running them on the surface, turning at Market and Church.

    Assuming the need to increase capacity continues all future orders could be low floor.

    Js could first be fully transitioned to above ground freeing train slots in the tunnel for K/L/M/N. Additional Ns (probably with a different route designator) could be added above ground.

    Phase two, work from West Portal to Castro transitioning to low/split platforms and open up the tunnel entrances at the east end of the Twin Peaks Tunnel (they are still there today). Add K/L surface trains.

    Every piece is contingent on the system unable to add capacity due to bottlenecking. At about this time you get a huge federal grant (like the Central Subway did) to quad track the Market Street Subway from Van Ness west.

    We need the new movable step cars, but then we make sure everything after that is low floor.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    the light rail system is at least somewhat accessible and is improving.

    Hooray for somewhat!
    Gold Stars for Effort for Muni’s Very Special Needs Consultants and Employees.
    Extra Gold Stars for everybody!
    (And an extra hundred million or two or fifteen of finest gold cash tax money as well! Because a job done badly once is worth doing badly again and again and again.)
    Extra Super Credit Gold Stars for Limited-to-Rapid transformative out-of-the-box visioning!

  • Mesozoic Polk

    Yet again, New York can teach San Francisco a valuable lesson in best practices for bicycle lane design and utilization. These are lanes as they were meant to be used!

  • Als

    Like the third st area. The same as the third st area. Do it the same all over town like the third st light rail stops

  • Andy Chow

    Wheel well is not a problem for low floor rail vehicles.

  • …can, would, should Muni raise the street level stops as in the SOMA & 3rd street area?

    Ramps, high-platforms, and low-floor vehicles are all a means to an end – level boarding – with associated drawbacks.

    Ramps only work for a single door. Depending on the type of LRV, wheel wells and other necessities may limit interior movement like @shannonpleskac:disqus noted, but I’ve been on several which just have high-sections and they ends of the cars and leave plenty of low space to move around in.

    High-platform stations are going to draw the ire of a lot of folks for a lot of reasons. Just extending low-platforms to the length of two-car trains was dropped last year because it would require the removal of 3-4 parking spaces per stop.

    Here’s the situation as I see it:

    SFMTA has 215 high-platform trains on order and 50-something high-platform Muni stations (counting inbound and outbound platforms as one station even when they’re separate) existing/planned/under construction.

    Pragmatically it the long term plan could be to go either all low-floor or all high-floor, given what’s on hand and committed to already, ramps are certain to be the least costly way to provide wheelchair access to all stops in the shortest amount of time. Less parking has to be removed to provide level boarding through just one door, than it does for an entire two-car train.