The following is a summary of the April 2008 meeting of the SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). The meeting included a project update, public comments, and continued discussion with members about the TEP’s proposed changes, including clarification of the service impacts along key corridors and routes.
PUBLIC & OTHER
Beck Evans, Sierra Club
Steve Ferrario, SFMTA CAC
Bert Hill, Bicycle Advisory Committee
Brain Larkin, SFCTA CAC
Daniel Murphy, SFMTA CAC
David Pilpel, Sierra Club
Tom Radulovich, Livable Cities
Marc Salomon, Coalition for Transit Justice
Dave Snyder, SPUR
Howard Strassner, SF Tomorrow
Katherine Powell Cohen
Eric P. Scott
I. PROJECT UPDATE
Julie Kirschbaum noted that the TEP project team has continued to focus on extensive public outreach to share the proposed service changes with the community. The final round of TEP workshops has been expanded to include 11 locations geographically distributed throughout the City. These meetings are being noticed through a variety of means, including multilingual flyers and take one’s on Muni vehicles, bus shelter ads, PA announcements in the subway stations, email blasts and multiple websites. Julie encouraged CAC members to help promote these upcoming meetings broadly to their respective affiliations and networks.
In addition, the team also continues to accommodate requests for briefings from specific community organizations. Concurrently, SFMTA staff has conducted an employee “in-reach” campaign, holding interactive workshops at each of the seven divisions and setting up an internal blog to allow employees to comment on the draft proposals.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
Because a number of residents from Haight Ashbury and Ashbury Heights had shown up for public comment, Julie moved this item up on the agenda and invited members of the public to speak.
C: The 6-Parnassus needs reliable service, including to the neighborhood market.
C: It is not clear why the TEP is proposing to run another bus down Parnassus, given existing double parking issues and the long walk up to Piedmont.
C: With the TEP proposals, a very big hill will lose service; the 33 is not a viable alternative to the 6 from downtown
C: I am concerned about the number of seniors who struggle to walk up Masonic Hill; was grade considered in your proposals? R: Yes, we considered elevation and hills in addition to ridership patterns and other trade offs.
C: There is a French school ½ a block from the stop in question, so it would be a significant disruption for students and families who value the convenience of the 6.
C: The 6 provides me a direct route to work and is a reason I moved there.
C: The employees at Ashbury Market have started a petition in the neighborhood and would like to submit it to SFMTA. R: Please send it to the TEP staff; we will be summarizing all public input for the SFMTA Board, who will be the ultimate decision makers about the proposals.
Julie thanked the residents for coming out to the meeting, noting that it demonstrates that there is a constituency for nearly every route in the Muni system. As a result, the SFMTA will need to make some tough decisions this summer. She added that she hoped that concerns about transfers will be mitigated over the next year as Muni makes improvements to reliability.
III. COMMENTS FROM CAC MEMBERS
Julie invited CAC members to have an open forum to share any concerns, questions or comments (C.) about the TEP proposals.
C: I would like to better understand the rationale behind each of the route proposals; it will be important to quantify the “winners” and “losers” for each route to help the public understand what is at stake.
C: I would like to discuss the areas where there are heavy bike routes.
C: Will the SFMTA be revisiting any of the rail ridership numbers? R: Yes, we are in the process of collecting a more extensive ridership data baseline on each of the rail lines, although this should not impact the existing constrained resource scenario in the current proposals.
C: I would like to know more about the SFMTA’s plans to implement the TEP changes once they are approved. R: We will not be developing a complete implementation plan until the proposals are finalized, but at a future meeting we can discuss the preparation/groundwork that will need to be in place.
C: The capital plan will be important, especially if SFMTA does not want to miss any windows of opportunity to apply for regional funding.
C: It is important to underscore to the public that Muni’s first focus is on improving reliability before changing any of the routes.
C: What is the basis for categorizing a route as part of the “Rapid” network? R: Primarily it involves the density of ridership per mile of service.
C: I would like to know more about the bike and pedestrian investments and how they will be integrated with the route proposals.
Golden Gate Bridge
Julie noted that to improve travel time and reliability, the 28L would not serve the Golden Gate Bridge; service to the Toll Plaza would continue to be provided by PresidiGo Shuttle and Golden Gate Transit (GGT), with connection to GGT buses provided at Richardson/Francisco. The team has heard some concerns about this, and as a result, is conducting a joint study with Golden Gate Transit to determine whether riders are using the Toll Plaza to transfer to GGT service or just to visit the bridge. In addition, SFMTA is exploring the option of having GGT serve the Toll Plaza for the same price as Muni ($1.50).
C: There may be increased ridership given the Presidio development.
C: You should look at more tourist lines to provide this service; also, what about PresidiGo? R: We have met with the Presidio Trust and they are only planning to grow that shuttle service as the Presidio itself grows, due to funding constraints.
C: Allowing riders to use their Fast Pass on GGT would help.
C: Muni could continue this service on a limited basis.
Julie noted that the TEP is proposing to consolidate service from both the 12-Folsom and 27-Bryant onto Harrison in the Inner Mission, and the combined route would have more frequent service. This would require reimagining how to provide for both bike and transit use on Harrison in a way that is respectful of the bike community. This proposal would mean a longer walk to the bus for some, but a dramatically shorter wait time.
C: What do Muni staff think about bikes and buses together? R: We think a shared lane is the best compromise, and are also looking at the Portland model of allowing a bike lane to go through the bus bulbs. Far side sops would help with turns, but we want something that works for all modes.
C: We should consider the existing volume of bikes on Harrison and Valencia.
C: There may be some possible design solutions if we could reclaim the block that disappeared after PG&E.
CAC members expressed an interest in having Julie walk them through an overview of the service impacts of route proposals. Given the volume of proposals, Julie briefly summarized highlights by service category:
Rapid Network – Enhanced Service Highlights
Local Network – Enhanced Service Highlights
Julie asked CAC members to give more thought to how the TEP can best present this information to the public at large, and suggested this as a topic for a future meeting.
IV. TIMELINE/ NEXT STEPS
Julie noted that the project team is continuing to work on calculating the ridership impacts of the TEP proposals, and estimating the capital costs associated with the proposed changes. We hope to bring the results of this work to the next meeting, anticipated for May 8th. It is possible that the team may need more time to finalize this work, especially given the amount of time that will be devoted to the 11 community meetings over the next month. We will notify CAC members of any meeting date changes as soon as possible.