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City and County of San Francisco
Municipal Transportation Agency
Citizens’ Advisory Council (MTA CAC)

Engineering, Maintenance & Safety Committee (EMSC)

FINAL Minutes
Regular Meeting

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 3:00 p.m.
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3075
San Francisco, California

1. Call to Order / Roll Call
Chairperson Dan Weaver called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.
A quorum was present including the following:

EMSC Members Present at Roll Call: Daniel Weaver (Chair), Steve Ferrario, and Jamison Wieser.

EMSC Members Present, but absent at Roll Call: Bruce Oka, arrived at 3:33 p.m.

EMSC Members Absent: None

MTA CAC Members, not on this committee, but also present: Daniel Murphy

MTA Staff (San Francisco Municipal Railway [MUNI] and Department of Parking and Traffic [DPT]) present: Judson True (CAC Liaison and Local Government Relations Manager), Debra Reed (CAC Secretary), Gail Stein (Principal Administrative Analyst), Sonali Bose (Chief Finance Officer), Elson Hao (Muni Senior Vehicle Engineer), Patty DeVlieg, and Wai Tom (Senior Operations Manager).

Community Representatives Present: None

2. Public Comment – Concerning any issue within the jurisdiction of the Council and not noted on the agenda:

Public comments made by Edward Mason.

3. Adopt Minutes for April 11, May 9, and May 29, June 13, 2007 (Discussion/ Action)

Discussion ensued with Participation from staff speaker Judson True. Secretary Debra Reed will restore committee minutes for April, May, and June from the abbreviated action minutes format to the full minutes format as requested by subcommittees of the MTA CAC. She expected to have the full minutes for EMSC available at the August meeting.

No action by the EMSC.

4. Report of the Chair: Daniel Weaver (EMSC Chair)

Chair wanted to draft resolution on 4 subjects as follows to be forwarded to the full CAC meeting in August 2007:

Wayfinding 1

WHEREAS wayfinding (including signage, messages, layout, design and arrangement of stations and stops) is increasingly important for public transit systems, and

WHEREAS the MTA does not have professional wayfinding expertise on its staff

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the MTA CAC recommends that the MTA add experienced, professional wayfinding expertise to its organization.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the MTA CAC recommends that a portion of the revenues received from the new wayside advertising contract be used to create and fund two full-time wayfinding positions within the Planning Department of the MTA. Upon filling these two positions, all future Muni wayfinding functions will be removed from the Marketing Department.

EMSC passed unanimously (Ayes – Weaver, Ferrario, and Wieser).

Wayfinding 2

The MTA CAC recommends that the subway station name signs, located on the station platforms and the trackside walls, be changed. The new signs shall have all Title case plain block lettering, of a size and font easily read from the train, within the station and by persons who have less than perfect vision.

EMSC passed unanimously (Ayes – Weaver, Ferrario, and Wieser).

Platform/Boarding Island Maintenance

WHEREAS some Muni platforms/boarding islands outside of the tunnel, such as along The Embarcadero, King Street and Third Street, are expertly maintained on a regular schedule, and

WHEREAS all other Muni platforms/boarding islands are never maintained on a scheduled basis;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the MTA CAC recommends that the MTA establish a policy that all platforms/boarding islands be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the MTA establish and make public its maintenance standards and schedule on its website.

EMSC passed unanimously (Ayes – Weaver, Ferrario, and Wieser).

Facility Landscaping Maintenance

Whereas some MTA property, such as the Forest Hill Station grounds and the Flynn Maintenance Facility landscaping, is generally well maintained and attractive. While other MTA property, such as the Phelan Loop, the Green Maintenance Facility and the Geneva Yard, is not maintained to any acceptable standard.

Therefore, the MTA CAC recommends that the MTA properly maintain the buildings, grounds and landscaping of all of its facilities immediately.

Be it further resolved that additional gardeners be hired or outside help be employed to end the long-standing maintenance backlog.

EMSC passed unanimously (Ayes – Weaver, Ferrario, and Wieser).

Station Lighting

WHEREAS Muni Metro underground stations seem to be poorly lighted due to dirty light fixtures, walls and/or ceilings or to inadequate lighting,

WHEREAS Muni will be undertaking cleaning and re-lighting of its underground stations without lighting standards, and

WHEREAS adequate station lighting is essential to a successful wayfinding program;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the MTA CAC recommends that the MTA establish a standard or standards for lighting its stations. The minimum lighting standard should be a standard for the edge of the boarding platform where passengers move between the train and the boarding platform. The BART lighting quantity standard for this is 30 footcandles, based on Illuminating Engineering Society criteria. (BART FACILITIES STANDARDS-ELECTRICAL includes additional quantity lighting standards as well as lighting quality standards for its stations.)

The MTA CAC further recommends that the MTA review the lighting levels at all boarding platform areas and adjust the light level according to BART’s established lighting standards.

EMSC passed unanimously (Ayes – Weaver, Ferrario, Oka, and Wieser).
Bruce Oka arrived after role call at 3:33 p.m.

5. J Church Test (Discussion/Action)

Speaker Jim Kelly was not present for this item

6. Fleet Procurement (Discussion/ Action) Elson Hao

A discussion ensued. Mr. Hoa reviewed the latest procurement of 56 40-foot Hybrid and 30 30-foot Hybrid buses from Orion owned by Mercedes.

Comments and Questions from the EMSC

Jamison Wieser asked what the fuel usage of diesel versus hybrid buses was. Response: diesel/3.2 mpg and hybrid/3.8 mpg

Steve Ferrario asked would the diesel buses be replaced by hybrids. During catastrophes, such as earthquakes, diesel buses would be useful service vehicles. Dan Murphy said that per Muni’s Clean Air Plan, the existing diesels would continue in service until the end of their service life estimated for years 2009-2013. Old diesel buses would then be moved to the reserve fleet.

Dan Weaver asked about midlife overhaul. Response: MTA had a midlife overhaul for Nabi buses, and was working on a midlife overhaul plan for Neo Plan. Ken McDonald (COO) had signed off on the program for midlife and was seeking funding.

7. Transit Shelter RFP (Discussion/Action) Gail Stein

Ms. Stein distributed the SFMTA Transit Shelter RFP Schedule, the Transit Shelter Survey Talley, and a picture of a proposed canopy shelter design for Metro stations with descending escalators. A discussion ensued. Ms. Stein announced that on June 19, 2007, of the 3 consultants, Clear Channel Outdoor was the winning bidder for the City’s transit contract. She reviewed a slide show of the various transit shelter submitted designs. The contract would be presented to the MTA Board for approval on August 21, 2007, and would start in December 2007. After approval from the Arts Commission, Port Commission and the Board of Supervisors, the Agency would have 3 months to decide on shelter designs (March 2008). Older shelters were expected to be replaced in 5 years.

Public comments on the various shelters, received by June 13, 2007 would be posted on the website at by July 16, 2007.

Questions and Comments from the EMSC

Steve Ferrario asked was Clear Channel Outdoor a different contracting firm. Response: The previous firm was CBS Outdoor. Participants in the bidding were Clear Channel, Samousa, and CBS together with JC Decaux in a joint venture.

Mr. Ferrario suggested a video screen inside the proposed canopy shelter design for Metro stations, as a revenue source.

8. MUNI Metro ATCS-Advanced Train Control System (Alcatel) (Discussion/Action) Wai Tom and Patty DeVlieg

A discussion ensued. Mr. Tom described the working principles of the Axle Counter Evaluator Unit (ACE) a redundant system which counts trains in and out of the Metro System since 1996, and the particular Metro failure on June 27, 2007. Ms. DeVlieg pointed out the need for resources to move a contract forward in order to buy standby units such as the ACE unit (8 units needed). Any system requires support, training from the vendor, spare parts, upgrades, etc. At this time there was no maintenance contract with the supplier Thales in Toronto, previously known as Alcatel. A real benefit would be a regular annual audit of the equipment from the vendor to point out obsolete equipment and keeping up with upgrades and new technology on software and hardware. Mr. Tom added that round-the-clock maintenance consisted of 21 persons overseeing the entire Muni system, needed to be increased to 30 persons.

Ms. DeVlieg announced that in response to the Citizens Advisory Council and other groups who favored the Embarcadero monitor, a project had been initiated in the Capital Improvement Plan to put flat screen monitors, along with ticker tape information, at all Metro subway platforms. The website was available, which showed dynamic train locations information from the ATCS controller console.

Comments and Questions from the EMSC

Dan Weaver

Mr. Weaver asked about the Metro problem on the morning of June 27, 2007. Response: One of the circuit boards was not functioning properly, stopping Metro traffic because it was unsafe to move trains in automatic through an area which could not detect non-communicating trains. While repeatedly troubleshooting, swapping out the electronic boards and rebooting the system, the trains were operating in manual mode with speeds not to exceed 27 mph, but also resulting in a domino effect and backup. It was approximately 2:00 in the afternoon when service was restored. It would be ideal to have an entire ACE unit to swap in, rather than going through the process of troubleshooting a problem unit.

Steve Ferrario

Mr. Ferrario asked about the reliability of ATCS. Response: A study from an outside consultant revealed that Metro was running 3% and better of problems with trains not communicating. Of the events observed, 75% were caused during entry at Duboce, others at West Portal, and a few in the tunnel. A high percentage of those failures were actually caused by operators not knowing entry procedures, clearly a training issue. Recent software modifications were available offering opportunities to re-entering trains in the subway that lost communication with the ACS. Some of the failures were caused by the old residual elements of the outdated signal system, also known as the block system. June 2007 funding was identified for one of the upcoming projects would be the finally cutover to full ATCS between Embarcadero and West Portal, which would reduce complexity and increase reliability of ATCS.

Mr. Ferrario commented about operator responsibilities. Response: While the ATCS controlled trains, the Operators’ duty was to look out for obstructions in the railway, such as people, objects, etc.

9. Schedule Upcoming Meetings and Agenda Items:

Next regular meeting: Wednesday, August 8, 2007, at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3075, at 3:00 p.m.

¨ Maintenance Training – Adrian Moy

10. Adjournment: 6:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Debra J. Reed
MTA CAC - Secretary

Accessible meeting policy – One South Van Ness Avenue

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