Van Ness BRT moves forward, slowly, despite the need for rapid reforms

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Van Ness BRT will reserve the left lanes for easy-boarding buses.

San Francisco today inched closer to finally creating a modern bus rapid transit system on Van Ness Avenue, nine years after it was officially proposed, although as we reported in last week’s paper, the city is still about five years away from actually completing it.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors today approved the project’s Environmental Impact Report, following up its approval last week by the San Francisco Transportation Authority, which has the same makeup as the Board of Supervisors.

Next, the $126 million project heads to the Federal Transportation Authority for approval of its environmental documents, after which it heads into a design phase and comes back for its project-level approvals, giving its motorist critics plenty of time to make mischief and undermine it.

In last week’s debut Street Fight column, Jason Henderson made equity arguments about how a project that will speed up Muni for tens of thousands of riders, and that it’s moving forward over the objections to losing 105 parking spaces, sparking an explosion of caustic comments.

In prepared comments about today’s vote, SFMTA head Ed Reiskin said, “The Van Ness BRT project will transform Van Ness for Muni drivers and for pedestrians, making travel a much more pleasant, safe, and efficient experience.” In his column, Henderson also added the descriptor “dignified,” which should be another goal on an underfunded system that is now busting at its seams.  

As much as motorists love to complain about government, or the “bike lobby,” or other perceived enemies of their convenience, San Francisco should be doing more to create pleasant, safe, efficient, and dignified service to the growing population that relies on Muni.

That will mean some more sacrifices by motorists, it will mean finally asking businesses to help pay for Muni improvements with a downtown transit assessment district (instead of moving in the opposite direction by expanding corporate welfare giveaways), and it will mean finally getting serious about improving the system, rapidly, rather than the nearly 15 years it is taking for this common sense improvement.

 

Comments

that there was some kind of end to it. But the feeling generally is that things like this are just "one damn thing after another" as part of an endless "war on driving".

More than anything, people are entitled to some sense of consistency and the problem is clear - what the perceived problem, the answer is always "take out the parking" or "take out a traffic lane".

This is a city (the Bay Area) of about 10,000 square miles and 5 million people. Bikes and buses are only ever going to be a fringe means of moving around. So let's keep some proportion here.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

I understand how you feel, but you should probably get used to it because driving will only get more restricted in this growing city. More people equals more congestion, so we'll need to adopt more efficient ways of getting around than continued reliance on private automobiles, which also contributes to the climate change issue that we need to address. Muni is also maxed out on many lines, and improving its efficiency sometimes means taking away lanes or street parking. That's just the reality of living in a dense and landlocked urban area, particularly one that is planning to grow even more dense, so you should probably just accept and adjust to the fact that the old ways of doing things may not be sustainable over the long run.  

Posted by steven on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

The only areas I really do not like to drive to and in are ChinaTown and North Beach, and mostly because there is so little parking there - something the city could address if it was motivated.

I can get to most parts of SF from my Castro home in 10-15 minutes, and i have no interest in risking my life on a bike or getting on a filthy, slow, uncomfortable, dirty bus full of crazy people.

Transit First doesn't mean Transit Only, and cars will be here long after you and I are dead. While the so-called Global Warming thing remains just a theory at this point and, worst case, we'll all be driving electric cars in 100 years time.

Finally, you really need to look at transport as a Bay Area issue and not a SF issue. We may be landlocked on three sides but we are really just part of a much larger city, where driving is really the only way of getting around other than BART.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

Driving isn't so bad in SF? I suppose it isn't when you really live in Los Ángeles,

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 4:00 am

distances are relatively short. You cannot drive 10 miles in any direction in SF without leaving SF.

But taking the Bay Area as a whole, there's not so much difference.

I have never lived in LA and don't even like it there. No idea where you get that from but then assuming which Guest is who is always going to be an error-prone process.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:45 am

None of the wealthy cities of Europe and parts of Asia allow cars in their core districts since these high-priced real estate markets are where the wealthy elites generally live and where the priciest shops are located. San Francisco is essentially the "core" of the Bay Area where the wealthy have been migrating for years (along with downtowns in Portland, Seattle and New York City). Wealthy people don't want or need to have cars racing down their streets, causing traffic, or taking up valuable public space that could be devoted to outdoor cafes, mini parks and broad pedestrian boulevards where the highest priced shops are located.

Now that the federal and state governments have built extensive freeway systems out to the low cost hinterlands, the only people who really need cars are the lower and middle income groups (the bottom 80% losers) who live out there and who need the mobility to get to job locations scattered throughtout the region. But rich people (and a few poor people) who live in wealthy core regions such as San Francisco don't need cars for most of their trips to jobs or shopping when transit, taxis, personal buses and walking are much more convenient and don't cause unpleasant externalities like congestion, pollution and noise.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

cars to get to their jobs which are often impossible to reach without a car.

While most cyclists I see in Sf are affluent Yuppies cycling to their hedge fund and high tech jobs.

But the wealthy have influence and the poor do not, hence the war on cars.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

Get your facts straight: Cars are disproportionately used by the wealthy, not the poor, which disproportionately relies on public transit. That's both common sense and something well-documented in census data and transportation studies. And cycling is a mode utilized across the socioeconomic spectrum, as logic (it's a very affordable way to get around) or observation (apparently, you either don't really live here or you're seeing what you choose to see, because the cycling population of SF is quite diverse) would let you know.  

Posted by steven on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

If you take the Bay Area as a whole, i'll bet you find that the poor are more dependent on cars than the rich.

If I am a hedge fund manager in Russian Hill, I do not need a car.

If I am a day laborer living in Albany and my jobs are in Daly City, you bet I need a car.

But really, Steven, all this stereotyping and class warfare just reinforces the criticism that is always made of SFBG - you are more concerned about what other have then about anything else.

Why the hatred?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

I hate to spoil a good speculation party with cold hard facts, but there's an amazing tool called the US Census that can be rather helpful in settling factual disputes about demographic and commute data. Note that households with annual incomes above $75,000 drive alone (and carpool) in far high numbers than any other group. For the most part, the drive-alone rate gradually increases with income, though there's an interesting dip in the 65-75k range.

Note that, for all income groups other than 75k+, the vast majority of workers neither drive alone nor carpool. Only the wealthiest bracket drives in large numbers, and even then, a minority actually drives alone. Hardly the group to cater to if one wants to do the most good for the most people in this city.

Means of transportation to work by household income in San Francisco:

Income Drive alone Carpool
$1 to $9,999 or loss 6% 9%
$10,000 to $14,999 5% 4%
$15,000 to $24,999 10% 11%
$25,000 to $34,999 11% 11%
$35,000 to $49,999 14% 15%
$50,000 to $64,999 13% 14%
$65,000 to $74,999 6% 6%
$75,000 or more 36% 30%
Source: US Census Bureau 2007-11 American Community Survey

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 9:52 am

and facts? The only valid source here is the Daily Mail.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 9:59 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:14 am

Some of the newer workers and residents in the city may not be aware of this, but the region's most dense concentration of SRO's, small studio apartments, and very low income housing are concentrated in downtown SF, especially within a 1/2 mile of mid-Market. These legagy buildings and residents ahve been in place going back over 100 years when lower income single males (mostly) lived in the area and worked in manufacturing and indiustrial jobs mostly located near there and points south all the way to the cattle slaughter houses in the Bayview. These current residents aren't going anywhere and there is very little turnover in the smaller rent-controlled studio and jr 1-bedroom apartments since most of the occupants wouldn't be able to afford anything else in the city. Census data shows us where a city or town has been, but not necessarily where it's going.

For a better representation of what's happening in the city currently and especially in mid-Market, with the new influx of residents and commerical tenants, is this article from today's Chronicle.
http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Office-rents-rise-in-once-bligh...

In past decades $40 a square foot for commercial space was reserved for Class A offices along the Montgomery, California and 1st/2nd St corridors. That commerical rents in mid-Market are near $40 a sq ft is unprecedented and a tribute to the rapid gentrification of SF caused by BOS and mayor land use and tax giveaway policies. They should be very proud.

Similar of the transfer of real esate wealth to private owners created by public money spent on transit, the Twitter tax giveaways have also enriched the local property owners. This is the main development game in big Democratic towns like SF, Chicago, Manhattan, west LA, etc.: have the taxpayers fund the public investment of public transit and tax giveaways and watch the commerical and residential landlords reap all of the wealth. Even better for the wealthy landlord and developer families, the wealth increases aren't taxed because of Prop 13 limitations and because of the almost negligible gross receipts tax on the commerical rent income thanks again to the mayor and BOS.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

and use more things? Really? And let me guess - they are better things too? OMG, and I have been puzzling and pondering this great question all these years - why do Americans love money? And at a stroke you have solved this great riddle. They want to buy stuff. Bravo.

That over with, let's get back to the statement that was actually made and not the one you conveniently misread and misunderstood. And that is that a 200K a year hedge fund manager who works downtown and lives in Telegraph Hill is less dependent on a car than some poor shlub who lives in Daly City and travels for an hour to some job in an inaccessible location.

And that is why car taxes are very regressive. Our hedge fund manager may have a ferrari but he doesn't need one. He can walk to the Bay Club and Aqua, The poor shlub in Daly City loses his job if he cannot drive.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:11 am

Sorry Steven, but the poor need cars more than the wealthy do. If someone is working two minimum wage jobs and has kids, which makes more sense? Riding a bicycle from home to job to job to school to grocery shopping or driving a car?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

Steven, you're wasting your time talking with these useless elitist know-nothing trolls paid for by the one-percent. You urged them to get their facts straight. That's rational thinking. They're not rational. They're not about to let facts get in the way of their hate and smug elitism.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:46 am

as here, he is 100% wrong.

The idea that anyone here is paid to post is hilarious. Who could possible see SFBG as a threat?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:46 am

Wow! I didn't know superheroes left comments at SFBG. Impressive! This particular superhero has the ability to know from a glance that "most cyclists I see in Sf" are on their way to "hedge fund and high tech jobs." Holy smokes, Batman, that guy's got x-ray eyes! Or something.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

I see a lot of 20-40 year old white males riding bikes early every morning. They have all the expensive biking gear and often alight at well known hedge fund buildings like 101 Cal and the Pyramid.

And of course Tom Weisel of Montgomery Securities and Weisel Partners is a mad keen cycling guy and if you want to prosper in his IB's then you'd better love cycling.

Cycling in SF is a white privilege form of transit.

Posted by anon on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

Wow! I didn't know superheroes left comments at SFBG. Impressive! This particular superhero has the ability to know from a glance that "most cyclists I see in Sf" are on their way to "hedge fund and high tech jobs." Holy smokes, Batman, that guy's got x-ray eyes! Or something.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:18 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

I think you are right to call them "land grabs", but I would re-phrase that to "land take backs." That's because cities and other places prioritized auto mobility over all other forms of transportation from at least the 1950s onward. Back then policy makers probably felt they were modernizing infrastructure and responding to American wants and needs. There is a major re-thinking going on as to what makes for a desirable human environment. Interestingly, more walking, biking, and transit infrastructure seems to increase commerce, livability, and even happiness. But you are right that changing the infrastructure will lead to taking back parts of the roads for use by people not using private automobiles. Each time this is done, there will be at least some grumbling, and sometimes pitched battle, over whether this is the right thing to do.

Posted by voltairesmistress on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

right now, there is some prejudice against cars, at least in the 1% of the US land area that is cities like SF.

But that could just as easily change with new technology.

Nothing is forever. But the way the bike and transit folks are trying to get everything for free is deeply disturbing.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

As a historian by training,I am interested to see how changes (or lack thereof) in mobility evolve over the next 10 to 30 years. I get your point that certain technological innovations (driverless cars, emissions free cars, working from home) will reduce opposition to driving. Other strong trends would seem to strengthen the mobility modal shift, such as the ongoing migration from rural to urban/suburban areas, the greater preponderance of younger people choosing city rather tha suburban living, the increasing congestion of cities and highways in much of the world, and reduced miles driven by the younger folks and the elderly, and finally the increasing and increasingly resource using world population.
As for mobility mode choice being a cyclical historical phenomenon, I cannot think of a single example of this being so. Seems more like a linear historical phenomenon thus far -- ever more mobility desired and achieved. Within cities where most of the population clusters, car mobility has reached or nearly reached its limits. Therefore, it seems to me that people's desire for easy mobility and their frustration with congestion will lead to support for building out other modes -- rail, subway, rapid bus, electric and manual bicycling and its infrastructure.

Posted by voltairesmistress on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 9:03 am

the history of transportation can be viewed as cyclical.

Example - originally, transportation was individual i.e. walking, horse, ox, bikes, small boats.

As society advanced mass collectivist transport took over - trains, buses, ships, planes.

Then the car became ascendant which was a step back to individual transport.

So the question becomes this. Will we "cycle back" to more collectivist transportation again, as I think you are suggesting, i.e. less cars and more transit? Or in 100 years time will we all have personal transport i.e. driverless electric cars? Perhaps flying cars which would obviate road congestion and make roads moot?

Generally speaking our predictions about the future are wrong. 50 years ago it was predicted that robots and machines would do all the work, and we'd be working far less hours. We're actually working more hours. Nobody predicted the internet or smart phones, while much of the stuff they did predict, like supersonic air travel and space travel as routine, has not happened.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 9:24 am

Good points you make as well. I tried out the bike share systems in Stockholm and Paris this month during a business trip. They allow a person that kind of individualized trip you speak of, without getting bogged down in traffic. I found them preferable and hugely more enjoyable than the underground, as long as I used a bike for trips of 2-4 miles on flat terrain in decent weather. I know this sfbg article is about the Van Ness BRT specifically, but more generally I think people will grow more accepting of road sharing with buses, bikes, etc. Why? Because reducing car use by even small percentages relieves congestion for remaining drivers, making driving more enjoyable. (And I must admit to loving driving myself when it's easy, scenic, etc.). I think I saw a case of that in Boston where a 1% reduction in traffic led to a whopping 18% reduction in car travel time for the remaining 99% of commuters.The BRT may prove beneficial for Van Ness drivers who won't have busses pulling into right traffic lanes or partially blocking same when making stops. It will be interesting to see how it works out, and if resistance to repurposing road space changes or not.

Posted by voltairesmistress on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

Virtually every business in the city relies on transit, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements to get its employees to work and its customers to the business location. Publicly funded transportation improvements aren't limited to only businesses located in "downtown" or in other dense commercial corridors, but benefit every business throughout the city.

Since transportation improvements directly benefit the owners of every commercial property, a tax assessment based on the land value is most equitable since it recaptures part of the transit improvement directly from the property owner. But land value increases are difficult to assess (and state law prohits taxing them currently and Prop 13 has further taxing restrictions), so a tax on rent incomes received by the property owner is a fair and reasonable measure of the benefit of the transit, biking and ped improvements received by the commercial land owner.

Obviously the commercial rents in downtown and other dense commercial corridors make up a large percentage of all commercial rents in the city (that also receive the bulk of the benfit from transit improvements), so they would pay the largest share of any transit assessment commercial rent tax. But a city-wide assessed tax allows all commerical land owners to fairly share in the transit assessment tax. Small commercial landlords can be exempted similar to the current business tax. And a transit assessment tax is fully deductible from state and federal taxes so the business owner only ends up paying about 50% of any tax assessment.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

various local taxes, and also through commuter checks that they subsidize.

Muni is geared towards downtown because downtown is where the vast majority of economic activity takes place. There is no evidence that business is underpaying. Indeed, I suspect the truth is the exact opposite.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

No, we all subsidize the plethora of transit options that exist downtown, essentially socializing the impacts of those businesses, many of whom aren't even paying the same tax rates that their competitors pay, thanks to the Mid-Market tax exclusion and other corporate welfare programs. These businesses didn't pay directly to create BART, Muni, the Central Subway, Transbay Terminal, CalTrain, or other easily accessible (yet often severely underfunded and overburdened) transit options that their employees use on a daily basis. 

Posted by steven on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

Downtown businesses extend their use of private shuttles and limo's, and then can opt out of their taxes that go to Muni.

Then Muni would be funded only by the rest of the city, who would also be the only people who use Muni.

If you really believe that downtown are under-paying, then you would welcome something like that.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

No, your idea makes no sense and it's inconsistent with any sense of being a part of this community, which should entail some obligations and not benefits. Corporations want the rights of individuals, but none of the responsibilities, such as contributing to the creation of a functional, modern, equitable city. Those who benefit most from being a part of this city have the obligation to give the most back, that's the basic social contract, but it's one that this new generation of greedy capitalists and their apologists don't seem to understand or appreciate. But greed has its limits, and history shows that when those limits get reached, the people push back. The rich will continue to contribute to this society and the problems that we're all wrestling with, one way or another. Power to the people. 

Posted by steven on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

line from a John Lennon song? How sweet.

But your original claim was that downtown was underpaying. If that was true then the city would gain if downtown opted out of using transit and paying taxes.

Yet when I suggest exactly that, you are thrown into a blind panic and start backpeddling. Hmmm . .

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

to let you define what is modern and equitable. Since your side keeps losing elections, your argument by definition leaves something to be desired?

Lee seems pretty popular to me these days, maybe the revolution will have to wait.

The vast majority of the cities taxes are raised by taxing business and property,

While if you follow the link the 50% of those tax dollars go to the new class city employee.

http://sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2390

You bemoan that transit is strapped while the city hires more and more people to do shit that isn't transit, or really noticeable the majority.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

You own any property in the city? Otherwise your city tax burden is likely just sales tax.

You certainly didn't pay anything to create any of the transit system mentioned.

The city is so busy wasting money that the progressives think there should be extra taxes to pay for what the city neglects.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

No landlord would buy any building without being able to cover costs. Thus, the property tax on the building is passed through to the tenants in the building. The property owner "pays" the tax (with a nice tax deduction too from their fed and state taxes) but it's the tenants who actually incur the cost of the property tax with every rent payment (but don't get any income tax benefit for paying the tax. Funny how that works.)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

Steven, if it is going to take 15 years to get a half assed BRT in place on Van Ness, then that demonstrates to me that this City is incapable of scaling sufficient transit to provide a viable alternative to driving for enough people.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

According to an article in the SF Chron, SF is on target to start running BRT on Van Ness some 17 years after it was first proposed. Except for a couple of predictable cranks, NOBODY opposes it. It's a common sense improvement in transit.

By contrast, Mexico City was able to start running theirs after 3 years from inception.

There are some powerful lessons in that, but I'm afraid they don't reflect well on how SF does things.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

What is it going to save? 6-7 minutes tops is what I read.

Ask the hundreds of people who will suffer more congestion and loss of parking whether they think that is worth it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:48 am

Smart people traveling along that corridor take Gough or Franklin anyway.

Posted by Hortencia on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 8:36 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 9:36 am

Half bureaucratic inertial drag-assery, half cheapskatism, trying to leverage local transit dollars for federal grants. When the project is just $100m, what are the opportunity costs of springing the cash up front and saving each of the riding public hours per week over a period of ten years?

The MTA fails to keep up with reality on scope, scale and speed.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 8:25 am

and Guatemala City in the last 16 months and use and observe their relatively new BRT systems which have greatly improved transit and livability there.

I expect that BRT will have similar positive impacts here in San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

efficient mode of transport in a small crowded city than lumbering big municipal buses.

Heck, even NYC has jitney buses running into Manhattan, although only Hispanics seem to use them and they are off the grid.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:49 am

Anything that gets people out of their cars is fine by me.

And Steve is correct. Infill will create ever more auto congestion. And the only way to relieve it, is to expand public transport options.

Posted by Guest Lecturer on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

invest more in that sclerotic behemoth.

Better to license private jitneys to tun the major cross-town routes.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

While all of you fail to address the real issue of Bay Area transportation, it is important to start by looking at the problem head on. As more and more people will populate the Bay Area as a whole, there will only be more congestion to look forward to.
Obviously the region most dramatically affected by this is SF (for now). As the city grows, demand WILL call for a more efficient way getting from A to B. Currently, the MUNI bus/rail system we have going is not working for anybody. It's usually dirty, filled with crazies, or is just too damn slow (average muni bus/rail speed is 8.1 mph and continues to decrease. Highest paid operators in nation by contract for being the nation's slowest transit system), causing congestion in our streets that motorists/cyclists/pedestrians could use These are just a few reasons why people CHOOSE to commute via car, bicycle, or other means.
Remember that we are all a result of our own decision making, poor or wise, whether you have responsibilities to tend (kids/pets/car/house/etc) or whatever your situation is. Also remember that nobody cares about your issue or how you acquired it. I.E. " my job requires that I have a car". You accepted that as your reality and that's no one's problem but yours. The sooner WE start thinking about US, the sooner we will fix pressing matters that affect everyone.
We need to adapt to our needs and create a higher form of transportation to the world. These are features we need for our future system:
-high speed underground (no traffic and much prettier than above ground)
-accessible to all, reaching more people in the city and bay area as a whole
-more security
-appropriately priced for the public
-to be run off renewable energy

This will of course cost a fortune but is very doable if every was on board with one idea. Unfortunately most of us are unable to think that far ahead, resulting in numerous temporary solutions for the general public, further resulting to no real solution.
Accusation: "SF is for the rich" I live in SF and make under $2k a month does that make me rich? I am a recent college graduate (BA in Marketing from SF State) who CHOOSES to make less money for a simpler quality of life. If/when I want to make more $ I'll find a higher paying job. I don't own a car does that make me rich? Hell no! I commute with my bike in the city does that make me a yuppie? If you define "yuppie" as a cyclist that blazes past cars then yes. All of these generalized accusations are not relevant. People wake up and own up to your actions! Where are the big picture "doers" out there? Obviously not the ones in charge.

Posted by James Sand on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

While all of you fail to address the real issue of Bay Area transportation, it is important to start by looking at the problem head on. As more and more people will populate the Bay Area as a whole, there will only be more congestion to look forward to.
Obviously the region most dramatically affected by this is SF (for now). As the city grows, demand WILL call for a more efficient way getting from A to B. Currently, the MUNI bus/rail system we have going is not working for anybody. It's usually dirty, filled with crazies, or is just too damn slow (average muni bus/rail speed is 8.1 mph and continues to decrease. Highest paid operators in nation by contract for being the nation's slowest transit system), causing congestion in our streets that motorists/cyclists/pedestrians could use These are just a few reasons why people CHOOSE to commute via car, bicycle, or other means.
Remember that we are all a result of our own decision making, poor or wise, whether you have responsibilities to tend (kids/pets/car/house/etc) or whatever your situation is. Also remember that nobody cares about your issue or how you acquired it. I.E. " my job requires that I have a car". You accepted that as your reality and that's no one's problem but yours. The sooner WE start thinking about US, the sooner we will fix pressing matters that affect everyone.
We need to adapt to our needs and create a higher form of transportation to the world. These are features we need for our future system:
-high speed underground (no traffic and much prettier than above ground)
-accessible to all, reaching more people in the city and bay area as a whole
-more security
-appropriately priced for the public
-to be run off renewable energy

This will of course cost a fortune but is very doable if every was on board with one idea. Unfortunately most of us are unable to think that far ahead, resulting in numerous temporary solutions for the general public, further resulting to no real solution.
Accusation: "SF is for the rich" I live in SF and make under $2k a month does that make me rich? I am a recent college graduate (BA in Marketing from SF State) who CHOOSES to make less money for a simpler quality of life. If/when I want to make more $ I'll find a higher paying job. I don't own a car does that make me rich? Hell no! I commute with my bike in the city does that make me a yuppie? If you define "yuppie" as a cyclist that blazes past cars then yes. All of these generalized accusations are not relevant. People wake up and own up to your actions! Where are the big picture "doers" out there? Obviously not the ones in charge.

Posted by James Sand on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

BART should be our main transit system along with streetcars and the Central Subway. The rest can be handled by jitneys and private cars.

But we also need to break these insane contracts for Muni and BART staff. They are worth only half what we are paying them.

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