Julie Kirschbaum, SFMTA’s Director of Transit, outlined her plans for Muni, and answered members questions at the October 16, 2023 meeting of SaveMUNI. You can watch her presentation here:
Photo by: Howard Wong
Photo by: Howard Wong
SAVE MUNI MEETINGSSaveMUNI meets on the third Monday of every month from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Until further notice we will meet on Zoom. To receive meeting announcements and Zoom instructions email: email@example.com SaveMUNI’s next meeting is on Monday, January 15, 2024 The agenda features a panel discussions dealing with the Muni Metro Modernization study and the SFMTA's Quick Build projects. Both will be Action Items for member consideration. Please join us for our first meeting of the New Year.
SaveMUNI’s table at Sunday Streets in the Western Addition was a great success. Over the course of nearly five hours, volunteers Bob Feinbaum, Robin Krop and Howard Wong talked to nearly one hundred people about a variety of Muni issues. Ironically our table was across the street from the SFMTA’s display. They may well have noticed the outline of a bus with a slogan proclaiming service for everyone artfully chalked on the street by Chloe from the booth next to ours. All in all, everyone involved enjoyed a lovely day and good conversation with Muni riders from throughout the City.
SaveMUNI recently sent the following letter to the SFMTA Board of Directors urging them to allow unlimited remote public comment at Board meetings.
June 18, 2023
Dear President Aiken and Members of the SFMTA Board of Directors,
I am writing on behalf of SaveMUNI regarding your current policy restricting remote public comment at Board meetings to only ten minutes. For the reasons below, SaveMUNI urges you to change this policy to permit unlimited remote public comment.
This policy unfairly discriminates against people with disabilities and many others, including working people, caretakers and seniors for whom traveling to City Hall is difficult, if not impossible. It also requires people to disclose their disabled status, which could be a violation of patient privacy regulations.
The goal of public comment is to give everyone in the City a voice in our government, and unlimited public comment accomplishes just that. It allows everyone to participate in the democratic process and does not create a two-tiered system of public participation.
SaveMUNI joins with over one hundred organizations in San Francisco, representing the disabled, seniors and good government advocates, and with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which recently voted to allow unlimited public comment, in supporting unlimited remote public comment at your meetings.
While we understand that unlimited public comment may make meetings longer, we believe this occasional inconvenience is outweighed by the importance of full participation in government by all San Franciscans. SaveMUNI urges you to reconsider your policy on this matter.
SaveMUNI supports SFMTA’s announcement of additional Muni service on several routes to address crowding and wait times, and to support increased summer tourism. https://www.sfmta.com/blog/more-muni-service-changes-coming-june-10 But we remain concerned about the possibility of cuts to a number of other less popular lines this summer.
SaveMUNI recently sent the following letter to the California Public Utilities Commission urging them to defer any decision about unrestricted deployment of driverless cars in San Francisco, and to work with San Francisco and other cities to develop an appropriate regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles.
Date: June 22, 2023
SaveMUNI is San Francisco’s only independent public transit advocacy organization, and has been fighting for better transit since 2012.
Our members have witnessed dangerous incidents affecting public safety and Muni service caused by Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) operated by Cruise and Waymo.
We agree with the analysis submitted by the City of San Francisco in its letters to the Commission dated May 31, 2023. We fully support the City’s conclusion that the Commission should “defer consideration of the Draft Resolution and the Cruise and Waymo Advice Letters”
Furthermore we believe that it is bad public policy to make decisions with sweeping long term effects based only on narrow short term considerations.
In addition to public safety concerns, the effect of AVs on public transit needs to be fully evaluated before this potentially disruptive technology can be allowed for unrestricted use in San Francisco. Some experts have even gone so far as to say that AVs will eliminate public transit altogether. However, the City of San Francisco has invested billions of dollars in transit infrastructure, and issued millions of dollars of bonds dependent on parking revenue and transit fares. Failure to allow the City to have a significant role in deployment of these vehicles could cause irreparable harm to the City’s finances.
SaveMUNI recommends that the California Public Utilities Commission defer any decision about unrestricted deployment of AVs in San Francisco. Instead, we urge the Commission to work with San Francisco and other interested cities, to develop a shared regulatory framework that builds on the strengths of the CPUC to develop statewide standards for technology and reporting requirements and the local jurisdictions’ ability to understand the public safety needs and the impact on transit for their residents.
Couple Light Rail Vehicles: Longer Trains and Better Service
Restore all Pre-Pandemic Bus Lines: Keep Muni a Comprehensive System that Serves the Entire City
Serve Seniors and Disabled Riders
Promote Seamless Transit: Complete the Downtown Extension of Caltrain
SaveMUNI recently wrote the following letter to the San Francisco County Transportation Association Commission and the SFMTA Board of Directors opposing a “Quick Build” project on Geary Boulevard that will eliminate parking and significantly impact the small businesses on Geary.
SaveMUNI, San Francisco’s only independent transit advocacy organization, is writing to oppose SFMTA’s Quick Build project on Geary Boulevard from 15th Avenue to 29th Avenue.
While dedicated lanes, where appropriate, can improve bus service, this project will do more harm than good. It should not go forward.
This project will remove up to 20 % of the parking on each block, which will have a devastating effect on small businesses along Geary which are still recovering from the impact of the Covid crisis. The harmful effect of this Quick Build on the Richmond district merchants far outweighs the minimal time savings for a small number of bus riders in the outer Richmond.
Instead of a misguided Quick Build project, SaveMUNI supports implementation of traffic signal prioritization for Muni buses which will improve transit times with minimal disruption to businesses along Geary Boulevard.
We look forward to a more collaborative public process to design for street safety, parking and bus lanes along Geary Boulevard in tandem with the extensive sewer and water line repairs that the San Francisco` Public Utilities Commission will be undertaking in the near future.
A recent story in Wired magazine discusses the risks that driverless cars pose to San Francisco’s transit. Videos obtained by Wired from public transit vehicles reveal self-driving cars causing delays and potential danger to buses, trains, and passengers.
SaveMUNI asks: “Why shouldn’t first responders have the codes to operating the cars so traffic snarls can be cleared faster?”
Read more here: https://www.wired.com/
Mass Transit magazine recently published an article entitled “SFMTA releases the Muni Metro Modernization program,”
Below is a letter from Kathy Setian, Coordinator, Restore the J Workgroup, challenging statements in the article regarding the success of the J-Church Surface-only Pilot. SaveMUNI supports the Restore the J group and calls for continuation of J-Church service through the tunnel to the Embarcadero.
May 24, 2022
Dear Ms. Wanek-Libman,
I am writing to you in regards to an article posted May 4, 2022 on the Mass Transit website, titled “SFMTA releases the Muni Metro Modernization program”. The article discusses SFMTA’s vision and framework for the future, partially based on the outcome of a pilot of the J Church surface-only route. The article describes this pilot as “successful”. This description is gravely inaccurate for the following reasons:
1. The community reacted to the pilot program with active, sustained, overwhelming opposition because the pilot forced riders to disembark from the J Church, cross two multi-lane city streets and make an arduous transfer at an intersection identified by the City of San Francisco as “High Injury”. Community opposition was demonstrated by:
Hundreds of letters to MTA, the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors opposing the forced transfer.
More than 700 petition signatures opposing the forced transfer.
Citizens’ attendance and public comment at dozens of meetings (SFMTA Board, SFMTA Citizens’ Advisory Council, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and committee hearings, etc.).
A resolution passed unanimously by the SFMTA Citizens’ Advisory Council calling on MTA to end their failed pilot study and forced transfer for J Church riders.
2.On Dec. 7, 2021, the SFMTA Board of Directors unanimously rejected MTA’s proposal to make the pilot’s forced transfer permanent because reduced downtown ridership had eliminated the subway congestion problem, perhaps permanently, and MTA’s own data demonstrated ample capacity for the J Church to return to the subway. This Board resolution also resulted in ending the ignominious pilot program.
If, as your article reports, SFMTA continues to experiment with approaches “such as the J Church Surface-only pilot”, SFMTA management would lose credibility with the SFMTA Board of Directors and the public ridership, and their competency would likely be called into question.
Given the seriousness of this matter, I would appreciate it if you would post this response online. Thank you for your consideration.
Kathy Setian, Coordinator
Restore the J Workgroup