Save Muni Meeting Minutes – June 18, 2018

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Present: Bob Feinbaum (Chair), Jerry Cauthen, Angelo Figoni, Howard Strassner, David Pilpel, Jeff Wittington, Marlayne Morgan, Herb Weiner, Michael O’Rourke, Allen Kesssler, Ed Mason, Howard Wong, Sean Kennedy (MTA). Phone: Eric Chase

Secretary for this meeting: David Pilpel

Topics Covered: Forum, Muni Operations, and RAB Study

Start: 5:40

Announcement: Paris is moving toward free transit. Are there lessons for San Francisco ?

Working with the new Mayor: London Breed is the mayor-elect and we discussed ideas for reaching out to her with respect to an upcoming MTA appointment and a new transportation adviser.

September Forum: Develop a format, questions and overall plan for the event. Will work with co-sponsor CSFN. Invite Mayor Breed to participate.

MUNI Operations – Sean Kennedy (MTA)took questions from our panel (Jerry Cauthen, Angelo Figoni and Howard Strassner)
Discussion of: Market Street subway capacity, LRV vehicle reliability, better service management; second pocket track at Harrison.
Jerry commented that federal share of Market Street subway construction was 80 % – could not build today because cost would be too high. Muni capacity is much lower than BARTs; stations were designed for 5 cars but Muni is only running 1 and 2 car trains.
Angelo commented that turnaround helped at the Embarcadero stub-end terminal; subway capacity constraints due to old train control system. Solution – longer trains (30 3 car trains vs 1 or 2 car trains now)
Howard S commented that 1 car trains do not work. Need enroute coupling
Sean Kennedy said there were operational trade-offs with enroute coupling. Angelo commented that there were difficulties with the Brada cars but new Siemens cars may make it possible. He added that if the new mayor wants more capacity on the Market street subway the MTA will be forced to try it. Jerry added that Siemens could test coupling at its Sacramento plant.
Angelo commented that Boeing cars were coupled at Church/Duboce and West Portal with built-in dwell times, 10 times/hour.`

Bob asked why the Van Ness BRT is such a mess. Sean Kennedy said it was at least 11 months behind schedule; they are finding unsuspected utility conflicts underground. But using new sensor technologies should help avoid those problems in the future (such as with the Market Street project)
Bob commented that apparently the inter-agency coordination does not work well for big capital projects

Herb asked why stops are being eliminated. For Van Ness BRT to work, stops needed to be returned. Marlayne noted that the planning for the new CPMC hospital assumes that BRT will be operating but it won’t be when the hospital opens Plus Geary BRT may go into construction when the new hospital opens. Utility conflicts were known about for many years. Sean responded that Geary BRT is not as complicated as Van Ness BRT Many corridors may be in construction over the next 5-10 years and MTA is trying to mitigate that for operations purposes.

Ed noted that gaps and bunches exist on the J line. According to Sean, Green yard re-railing caused problems. Also historic streetcars are moving to the Green division

David asked – Is there a written rail services management strategy ? Sean said there was and it is in draft but he is willing to share. David will follow up.

Angelo asked when the Central subway is set to open. Sean said the date is still late 2019, which was greeted with skepticism by the group.

Sean left at 6:36

Howard S mentioned that ATCS software can be updated and that not all trains need to be coupled. But he added that coupling on the L line could be done at 22nd. But Angelo said that there should be no excuses and coupling needs to happen. 5 car trains can be accommodated except at Forest Hill and West Portal Angelo pointed out that under RM3 there is money for new streetcars which could be helpful.

Marlayne asked is Muni ridership really down ? Bob wondered if a distinction should be made between paid and total ridership. Discussion followed about Muni service and its effect on ridership. Michael said that LRV reliability was low for the Brada cars and hopefully it will be better for the new Siemens cars. Angelo mentioned the challenges of maintaining two fleets (the Bradas will still be operating even as the new cars arrive). Howard W said that transit ridership is down nationwide except in a few cities. Herb added that reliability is important to passengers and that allocation of resources is key. Marlayne said we need to make Muni a more viable travel alternative. Michael added that we need a new MTA Board and management. Ed talked about a culture of convenience which is driving decisions. Need to communicate environmental impact of travel choices to the public. Angelo mentioned demographic shifts and that political leadership has been lacking.

Bob asked what are the pros and cons of transit only lanes. Jerry said that red lanes can’t be enforced 24 hours/day and hurt merchants. Better to restrict to commute hours. Howard S said the Mission is gentrifying and businesses aren’t hurting. Angelo said that making transit faster is good; with transit preferential streets, commercial delivery times can be restricted but it needs some enforcement.

Bob said that there is no meaningful evaluation of trials. Angelo said there should be more reliability and fewer projects. Ed thought that red lanes are not effective and that bike lanes on Muni rapid streets lead to conflicts. Segregate bikes from buses. Howard W said that good design prioritizes use.

RAB Study – Proposes tunnel under Pennsylvania Ave and would make Caltrain DTX more costly by $2.2 billion.

The Board of Supervisors will be changing. District 2 already has a new Supervisor and in November there will be changes in Districts 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10.
Meeting Adjourned – 7:40

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