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City and County of San Francisco
Municipal Transportation Agency
Citizens’ Advisory Council

Engineering, Maintenance and Safety Committee

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at 4:00 p.m.
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3075
San Francisco, California


  • Call to Order
    Chairman Daniel Weaver called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m. 
  • Roll Call

EMSC Members present at Roll Call:  Steve Ferrario and Daniel Weaver

EMSC Members absent at Roll Call:  Greg Riessen

EMSC Members absent:  Jamison Wieser

CAC members, not on this committee, but also present:  Susan Vaughan

  • Announcement of prohibition of sound producing devices during the meeting.

The CAC Secretary made the announcement.

  • Approval of Minutes

On motion to approve the minutes of March 23, 2011: Adopted
Ayes – Ferrario, Vaughan, and Weaver

      Absent – Riessen and Wieser

  • Report of the Chairman (For discussion only): 


  • Public Comment: 

Roland Wong commented that the PA system is inaudible on LRVs, especially when they are on the surface.  Mr. Wong believes it is important for passengers to hear street designations.  He states passengers who are visually-impaired sometimes do not know where the bus stops are and drivers don’t announce stops and they may miss their stop.

Mr. Wong also commented that LRV do not have buzzers for wheelchair passengers to let the driver know they need to get off.  He states some wheelchair passengers get passed up and cannot off board the vehicle.  Mr. Wong states a designated bell should be installed to inform the driver that a wheelchair passenger is requesting a stop.

John Haley, Director, Transit Services, stated that IT personnel are testing and upgrading the quality of information being relayed in the subway.  Mr. Haley stated that it is tougher on the surface because the train control system is not in place.  Operators are reminded to make announcements of stops.

  • Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding plans for the radio system upgrade. (John Haley, Director, Transit Services)

John Haley stated that staff is in negotiations with the vendor and will continue for the next couple of months.  Mr. Haley stated that Muni’s current radio system has only one channel and that there are dead spots and continuous difficulty for dispatchers and operators to communicate.   This project is scheduled to be in service in about two years, beginning 2014.  Benefits of the new radio system will allow multiple talk groups and division dispatchers will be able to talk directly to operators.

Public comment:


  • Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding a surface loop for the J Church and N Judah lines. (John Haley, Director, Transit Services)

John Haley stated there has been a lot of discussion with the Board of Supervisors on this and that focus has been primarily on the J line.  Mr. Haley stated a series of actions have been proposed to reduce travel time on the J line and he is open to suggestions.  The N express bus idea had been discussed during ten service restoration task force meetings.  Mr. Haley stated that he is concern about the impact on the number of open runs on subway service and that the heaviest traveled line is the N Judah.

Steve Ferrario mentioned the idea of having the J Church service on Market Street, but there’s a turn missing at westbound Market to southbound Church Street.  Mr. Ferrario stated the turn was in the original design, but was dropped off.  He states if this turn was available, the J Church would be able to be a surface line.  Mr. Haley stated he needs to be shown the benefits of this and states there isn’t a capacity issue in the subway. 

Steve Ferrario also mentioned supplementing the J Church and N Judah, suggesting that the inbound J Church go to Ocean Beach at Church and Duboce.  Mr. Ferrario stated that during heavy traffic time running this back and forth would be increasing capacity, but Muni would increase the amount of passenger throughput on the trains.  Mr. Haley stated there aren’t enough rail cars to do this.

Fariba Mahmoudi, Director, Capital Programs and Construction, stated that as far as service planning goes when it comes to capital projects, suggestions have to be studied, alternatives viewed, statistics, and look into other alternatives to be looked into the CIP.  Mr. Haley added that he will look into the issue of adding the turn on Market Street.

Public comment:

David Pilpel wanted to be clear on low-floor and other issues, and would like to articulate a better idea if there are a limited number of Breda cars and staff cannot increase the fleet, to take some key service to Ocean or Judah Avenue that is compatible and re-program Breda cars to run from Castro to Caltrain, in lieu of the left-turn issue at Market and Church Street.  Issues are operator availability, facilities able to repair vehicles, and funding to the extent of this, which is why service restoration has not moved forward.

  • Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding seismic safety.  (Fariba Mahmoudi and Kenny Ngan, Capital Programs and Construction)

Fariba Mahmoudi stated there is a task force looking into the seismic study of Muni’s outer subway stations and tunnel.  Staff is in negations with consultant on pricing and methodology.  The Van Ness, Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, Embarcadero and West Portal stations are not part of this study since they are owned by BART.   

Kenny Ngan, Project Manager, stated that there are four types of defects and that the project will be divided in four phases.  The first phase addresses most severe, phase two is to repair cracks and the last phase addresses the shoe fly area (wall that holds the street) at Eureka Portal.

The approved budget for phase one is $2,278,600.  Phase two is about $3.5 million with 20% contingency because there is deterioration or corrosion and there may be risks for unknown conditions.  The shoe fly is about $3.4 million. 

Public comment:


  • Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding Central Subway platforms. (Albert Ho, Deputy Program Manager and Quon Chin, Central Subwaty)

Albert Hoe discussed the current SFMTA requirement (high level) platform that Muni follows and that Central Subway is being designed for high-level platform.  Mr. Hoe stated that to allow the Central Subway to be easily converted to low-level platform, configurations, major reconstruction and cost would be issues.  The extension of escalators and elevators to boarding platforms would have to be reconstructed.  The size of space at the Central Subway underground stations is also limited and they have different construction methodology.  

Public comment:

Roland Wong stated that if pay areas were not going to be located in the grand hall area, wheelchair passengers would require assistance using the ticket vending machines.

  • Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding the Better Streets Plan. (Timothy Papandreou, Sustainable Streets)

Timothy Papandreou discussed the Better Street Plan (BSP) policies and guidelines and their impact and affect to the SFMTA.  The BSP was adopted by the Board of Supervisors last December.  Within the plan, specific policy recommendation on how streets are being designed and coordinating work with Department of Public Works and implementing agencies.  The BSP include streetscape, pedestrian and bicycle planning.  The pedestrian safety work has just started with successful funding obtained.  The BSP will seek issues and concerns regarding pedestrian safety and developing implementation from each district supervisor

Public comment:


  • Committee Members’ requests for information (For discussion only) 


  • Schedule upcoming calendar items (For discussion only)

Next regular meeting:  May 25, 2011, at 3:30 p.m.
St. Francis Circle

  • Adjournment:  The meeting was adjourned at 6:13 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Yvette Torres
SFMTA CAC - Secretary



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