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

Engineering, Maintenance and Safety Committee (EMSC)

Regular Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3075
San Francisco, California

1. Call to Order / Roll Call: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 4:03 p.m.

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

EMSC Members absent: Jamison Wieser.

SFMTA CAC Members, not on this committee, but also present: Greg Riessen (Pro Tem for Jamison Wieser) and Norman Rolfe

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

Brenda Walker, Capital Asset Management program, announced that the Capital Investment Plan (CIP) would be going before the SFMTAB on June 17, 2008. Steve Ferrario said that both SFMTA CAC Finance and Administration Committee and the full SFMTA CAC had previously reviewed the CIP and were satisfied with its content.

3. Adopt Minutes of March 26 and April 23, 2008:

On motion to adopt the minutes of March 26, 2008: Approved. Ayes – Ferrario and Weaver (Wieser-absent).

Adoption of the minutes from the April 23, 2008 meeting will be continued at the next EMSC meeting.

4. Report of the Chairman: Dan Weaver

No report.

5. Track work at Market and Church Streets (Discussion/ Action) Jane Wang and Ming Gu

Jane Wang, Acting Manager - Engineering Development Section, and Ming Gu, Project Engineer of the Church/Duboce Track Replacement Project, gave an overview of track work along the Duboce and Church Streets corridor.

Steve Ferrario said that in 1992 the Church to Market Street turn was replaced with a vent. Restoring the turn would allow service flexibility for the F-Market line and the development of a surface J-Church line to relieve tunnel congestion. Ms. Wang said that while the vent must remain, she would research the feasibility of adding a turn. John Byrd, Deputy Director for Rail Operations, suggested an alternate possibility of installing a half-grand union.

Ms. Gu said that the detailed design was expected to commence in July 2008.

Chairman Weaver selected Gregg Riessen as Pro Tem for Jamison Wieser.

Steve Ferrario made the following recommendation:

The SFMTA CAC recommends that when the track diamonds are replaced at Church and Market Streets, an outbound track be added to allow streetcars to turn left from Market Street to Church Street. This would be a companion to the existing inbound track, which allows a right turn from Church Street to Market Street.

On motion regarding the track diamond replacement at Church and Market Streets: Adopted. Ayes – Ferrario, Riessen (pro tem for Wieser) and Weaver

(Wieser absent)

6. Funding for removal of old signal system in tunnels (Discussion/ Action) Carter Rohan and Jane Wang

Jane Wang, Acting Manager, Engineering Development Section, said that over the next two years the Agency would have $5 million budgeted for the removal of the old signal system. The existing system has been regarded as a redundant system by some. The Agency needs to decide if a redundant system is necessary and if the existing system truly serves as a redundant system. Some operations from West Portal to Embarcadero still use older track switches that utilize circuits from the old system.

Norman Rolfe said that the old system had double berthing (allows two trains to unload passengers simultaneously) and closing in (allows a train to pull up to the rear of another train) features that were not available with the present Automatic Train Control System (ATCS). He was in favor of keeping the old signal and removing the ATCS.

Steve Ferrario said that since its installation ten years ago he has heard numerous reports of problems that were attributed to the poor design of the ATCS. Subway passenger throughput has decreased by 20 percent since the roll out of the ATCS in 1999. Double berthing and the ability to couple cars continue to be problematic. 30 to 40 percent of Metro system failings reported in the Daily Operations Report are ATCS-related. Funds would be better spent on detailed engineering studies to return to a simple manual system. Ms. Wang stated that the $5 million is not the cost of the project. CPWC (Capital Projects Working Committee) makes decisions on spending allocations. Metro’s entire network is outfitted with the ATCS. Removing the ATCS would require a policy decision.

John Byrd, Deputy Director for Rail Operations, said that the cost of replacing a system and vehicle upgrades is expensive.

Steve Ferrario made the recommendations:

The SFMTA CAC recommends that given the present train control and signaling system's instability and the overall reduction of passenger throughput of the Metro Subway since 1998, the Automatic Train Control System should be replaced with a manual system. Additionally a matching manual system should be installed in the new Central Subway, resulting in increased stability at a decreased cost.

On motion to replace the Automatic Train Control System with a manual system: Adopted. Ayes – Ferrario, Riessen (pro tem for Wieser) and Weaver. (Wieser absent)

The SFMTA CAC recommends leaving the original signal system as installed, in the subway. Money currently budgeted for its removal should be used for research, engineering and design of an entirely new manual system to replace the Automatic Train Control System.

On motion to leave the original signal system in place: Adopted. Ayes – Ferrario, Riessen (pro tem for Wieser) and Weaver. (Wieser absent)

7. Daily Operations Report (Discussion/ Action) Srecko Kahvedzic, Samuel Lau and John Byrd

Samuel Lau, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, stated that the Daily Operations Report is an internal management tool.

Steve Ferrario stated that some incidents are not reflected in the reports. He witnessed a 10 to 15 minute delay in which an operator assisted another operator, but the delay was never reflected in the report. Mr. Lau said that if an incident is not called in, then Central Control would have no record of the delay.

Chairman Weaver said that 311 Service and NextBus are often poor sources for system interruption alerts. The success of the upcoming E-Alert notification service would depend on complete information.

Srecko Kahvedzic, Operations Analysts, explained how to read the Daily Operations Report.

Joan Downey said the Daily Operations Report should be published on the website. The public could read and understand what is happening throughout the system, as well as incidents that are beyond Muni’s control.

8. E-Alert Update (Discussion/Action) Murray Bond and Charles Belov

Murray Bond, Deputy Director for Strategic Communications, stated that a contractor has been identified to design the E-Alert system. The contractor expects the service to be ready for testing by July 2008. Mr. Bond said that he would like SFMTA CAC members to participate in an E-Alert trial.

Charles Belov, Webmaster, gave a demonstration of the E-Alert service.

9. Committee Members’ Questions/Information Requests (Discussion)


10. Schedule Upcoming Meetings and Agenda Items (Discussion/Action)

Next regular meeting: June 25, 2008, at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3075, at 4:00 p.m.

  • Safety of Wrap-around signs on the BREDAs
  • Video monitors at Van Ness Avenue (Frank Lau and Murray Bond)
  • NextMuni and E-Alert connection( Fran Lau and Murray Bond)

11. Adjournment: 6:10 p.m.

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

Accessible meeting policy – One South Van Ness Avenue

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