The following is a summary of the fourteenth meeting of the SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). The meeting included a project update, the final piece of the service evaluation presentation (the first two-thirds of which were presented at the September meeting), and an overview of the City’s Better Streets Plan, which has several connections with transit improvements.  The meeting concluded with comments from the public.  The agenda item to discuss the survey for seniors and people with disabilities was postponed to the November CAC meeting.

 

PARTICIPANTS

CAC Members/Alternates

PUBLIC & OTHER

PROJECT TEAM

Joan Downey, SFMTA CAC

Steve Ferrario, SFMTA CAC

Brain Larkin, SFCTA CAC

Jim Lazarus, SF Chamber of Commerce

Daniel Murphy, SFMTA CAC

Gary Noguera, CSFN

Bob Planthold, SAN

David Pilpel, Sierra Club

Tom Radulovich, Livable City

Norman Rolfe, SF Tomorrow

Dave Snyder, SPUR

Heather World, Parents for Public Schools

 

Geeta Bhaduria

Eric P. Scott

 

Better Streets Team

Adam Varat, SF Planning Department

Cristina Olea, SFMTA

SFMTA

Julie Kirschbaum

Peter Straus

 

Controllers Office

Liz Garcia

 

Consultant Team

Russ Chisholm,TMD

Joe Forgiarini, TMD Julie Ortiz, CirclePoint

 

 

I.  PROJECT UPDATE

 

Status of Key Activities

The project team is planning a series of community meetings in October to share key findings and solicit structured feedback from the public to help shape draft recommendations (see http://www.sftep.com/ for details).  The format of the workshops includes a half hour open house followed by a half-hour presentation of key findings and broad recommendations, then a brief group  Q&A, followed by small group break out exercise and report back.  We are hoping to get input at service level, not just feedback on specific routes. CAC members are encouraged to invite community members through email and personal phone calls. 

 

Outreach efforts to notice workshops include:

·        Coordination with Mayor’s Office Neighborhood Services, Board of Supervisors and SFPD

·        Ads in multiple newspapers, including in Spanish and Chinese; flyers on vehicles, direct mail notice, announcements on SFGTV and City’s home page

·        Flyering at the busiest stops

·        CAC member outreach to their organizations

 

The following comments were made by CAC members regarding activities in progress:

 

C: We should announce workshops through 311 if possible.

C: Post on blogs (e.g., www.suspects.com).

C: Pursue Public Service Announcements on radio stations like KCBS.

C: Get notices to schools. (Parents for Public Schools has put notice on its list serve.)

 

The project team will be ready to share the draft Service Development Framework at the November meeting. The Service Analysis findings to date show that our transit system is productive and there is tremendous potential to increase demand with faster service, especially along key corridors (e.g., Mission Street). CAC members are encouraged to bring ideas to the November drop-in session.  Upcoming CAC meetings will include stop spacing and access recommendations with input from disability stakeholders such as the Mayor’s Office on Disability and the Muni Accessibility Advisory Committee.

 

C: Changing stops creates issues when residents lose parking, or curb ramps added.  Let’s try to address all these issues with CAC members in some forum. 

C: We need to step back and look at big picture implications of accessibility that will involve capital improvements. Besides stop spacing, consider low floor, high floor, stops where passengers step into traffic. If the TEP isn’t going to address issues such as low floors on light rail vehicles, we can at least make the recommendation.

C: Even though the TEP won’t be the 20-year vision for MUNI, hopefully it will be robust enough to help move us in the direction of addressing the bigger issues.

 

 

II. SERVICE EVALUATION PRESENTATION

 

Russ Chisholm (TMD) presented the last portion of the service evaluation, continued from the September CAC meeting.   He explained the key metrics used by the team to measure service productivity including passengers per revenue hour, ridership intensity, financial effectiveness, and net revenue. The team found that the rail lines combined with the top 10 big bus corridors represent 75% of all ridership.  The presentation will be available on the web.

 

 

Comments from meeting participants:

 

C: Don’t use these metrics as a substitute for reliability. Use these once reliability is fixed.  More frequent service on an unreliable line could lead to more bunching. 

C:  Please consider how an adult fast pass factors into all this.

C: Consider the whole service level as well as individual lines; look for specific poor performing routes.  

 

III. BETTER STREETS PLAN BRIEFING 

 

Adam Varat with the City’s Planning Department and Cristina Olea of the SFMTA presented an overview of the Better Streets Plan.

 

The Better Streets Plan (BSP) will create a unified set of standards, guidelines, and implementation strategies to govern how the City designs, builds, and maintains its pedestrian environment.  The BSP process brings together staff of multiple City agencies to comprehensively plan for streets which seeks to balance the needs of all street users, with a particular focus on the pedestrian environment and how streets can be used as public space. Two of three rounds of outreach have been completed with more than 40 community meetings, street level events, surveys.  A plan will be developed in spring of 2008. Top three concerns expressed by community members include the need for more greening, more pedestrian safety and traffic calming. 

 

Comments from meeting participants and responses where provided (R):

 

C: I’m concerned that adding street furnishings will attract homeless and undesirable behavior.  R: The goal is to increase pedestrian activity and create an urban policy, not necessarily to address homelessness.

C: Don’t take away benches. Address dog feces on the streets.

C: Will you be rerouting buses so they don’t go down crowded corridors where pedestrian activity on the sidewalk spills over to streets?

C: Are you looking at volume of projected pedestrian use and volume of transit use on each street to make sure they work in sync?   R: We would never take a bus off a street with lots of pedestrian activity because this is exactly the kind of connection we want to make.  The idea is to improve the pedestrian experience in our city and to prevent pedestrian activity from impeding transit movement on the street.

C: Will the BSP be so complex that it will go through a full EIR similar to the bike plan? R: This is a policy document. It doesn’t focus on specific streets or changes.     

C: If we operate out of fear of doing a big CEQA analysis, and make the BSP so general it doesn’t apply to any specific location, I worry it means it won’t result in any change.  

C: As a plan will this require approval of various agencies? R: The overall plan won’t require approval but approvals to change various codes must go through different agencies, maybe eventually the Board of Supervisors.

C: Include standards for small, medium, and large bus stops with appropriate amenities. 

C: With high volume transfer areas, please look at the kinds of street amenities that should exist.

C: Must deal with traffic speed before making inroads with pedestrian safety.  Also address peak period tow away zones.

C: Make these real, specific standards. If they are only guidelines, they will be ignored. 

C:  You should coordinate with SFMTA’s plan through Clear Channel to add bike sharing/rentals throughout city.  There may not be enough room on the sidewalks to accommodate both.  Perhaps some of this should be put in parking spaces.

C: Address truck loading, which causes delays to transit.

 

IV. PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Geeta Bhaduria expressed the following concerns about Muni service and asked how they would be addressed:

 

§         Cancellation of service along key routes without notice;

§         Inefficient NextMuni system that does not provide reliable information and doesn’t report canceled service; and

§         Cancellation of key transit service during major street fairs and events and the need for a better plan to accommodate such events and maintain service.

 

Julie encouraged Geeta to continue to participate and to comment.  The CAC as a group agreed that reliability is a key issue and the SFMTA and the TEP team agree that reliability needs to be improved.  Currently, the NextMuni signage is not altered when a bus has to be rerouted; perhaps displaying a customized message or turning it off completely would be more helpful than the current practice.  Currently the SFMTA is working to improve NextMuni.   It is a very new system and we are learning more about it as we continue to use it.