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MUNI ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (MAAC)
Minutes of January 18, 2007
Les Clark (Vice-Chair), Janet Copriviza, Ed Evans (Chair), Melvin Galloway, Ed Harley (Secretary), Bruce Morgan, Bruce Oka, Arden Wheeler
Jean Ellis-Jones, Paul Fichera, Barbara George, Jewel McGinnis (Excused), Vernon Smith (Excused)
Accessible Services Staff Present:
Jamie Osborne, Annette Williams, Virginia Rathke
Marisa Espinosa (SFMTA Planning), Pat Henry (Muni Passenger Services), Jean Kempf (SAN), David Longa (Muni-ret.), Jessie Lorenz (Lighthouse for the Blind), Ian McLean, Peter Straus (Muni Planning)
Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 1:05PM.
Introductions were made in lieu of a roll call.
Reading and approval of agenda:
Agenda items addressing updates in the BART / Muni FastPass process and upcoming construction projects to the agenda. The agenda was approved as modified.
Approval of the minutes from December 21 MAAC meeting:
Members approved the adoption of the December minutes.
Comments from the Chair:
MAAC Chair Ed Evans reported that he was happy to attend Muni’s T-Third opening reception on Saturday, January 13th.
He would like for MAAC to have better communication with the Senior Action Network’s transportation group to help identify and address accessibility issues.
MAAC Access Recognition Award Presentation
As the Muni operator set to receive the recognition award was unable to make the January meeting, the official presentation will wait until the February 2007 MAAC meeting.
Peter Albert, Acting Deputy Director SFMTA Planning, Accessible Pedestrian Controls / Signals
Prior to the meeting, a representative from SFMTA planning requested that this agenda item be delayed until the February 2007 MAAC meeting.
Jessie Lorenz, Lighthouse for the Blind, MTC 511 Service
Jessie Lorenz, the Public Advocacy and Information Coordinator for the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired discussed the general history of MTC’s 511 phone system and the specific manner in which Muni vehicle arrival time information (via NextBus) is accessed by the public.
She outlined the benefits of accessing this information over the phone for people who are blind or who have low vision. She next discussed the changes to the 511 system that are scheduled to be rolled out in March, 2007. She explained that the new service will not allow users to set their preferences over the phone. It will require users to access the internet to enter specific trip information.
Ms. Lorenz feels that the scheduled changes will decrease the accessibility of 511 for people with disabilities. She is concerned because the project planning process has not included seniors or people with disabilities.
Ian McClain indicated that he ran across this issue several months ago and raised it with Ms. Lorenz. He has several concerns about the changes planned as he finds the current system very helpful. He would like to see the information expanded system wide.
Peter Straus testified that the 511 phone system has “changed his life.” He noted that the decision to change the system is MTC’s and as a Muni rider he was not in favor of it.
A motion was made and seconded by MAAC members to write a letter to Steve Heminger, the Executive Director of MTC to document MAAC’s opposition to the possible change in service. MAAC members requested that MTC not limit user’s choices to six trips and that they allow users to access the NextBus information completely via the phone.
Marisa Espinosa, SFMTA Update on BART / Muni FastPass
Marisa Espinosa reported that SFMTA has made significant progress on implementing a Senior and Disabled FastPass that allows users to ride BART for free within the city of San Francisco the project and wants to get feedback from MAAC members.
SFMTA has proposed the following trial project to gather data on the appeal of such a pass:
• A paper pass will be distributed with the Disabled FastPass sticker and the Senior FastPass that may be utilized in BART fare gates. This pass will provide the same degree of free BART access as does the Adult Muni FastPass.
• The additional pass is not ideal, but it is an interim solution that would be utilized until SFMTA fully implements the Translink system.
• Using this system will allow SFMTA to collect data on the number of people that would migrate from bus and light rail services to BART services if this pass were available.
Because SFMTA is concerned with the issue of fraud, the passes will be available for purchase only through Muni vendors, who will require that the user show their RTC discount ID or proof of their age. The additional paper BART pass will be available to purchasers of the monthly senior or disabled FastPass at no extra charge.
Ms. Espinosa indicated that SFMTA does recognize the inconvenience factor of having to carry multiple passes and having to purchase the pass from only select Muni vendors. They are confident that when Translink is online, they will be able to transition to the one card system. The pilot program will provide further justification for the capital investment necessary to implement Translink.
Ms. Espinosa reported that SFMTA wishes to institute this pilot program on a fast track. She requested that comments and feedback from the committee. MAAC members thanked her for her work on the project.
Jamie Osborne, Update on Muni Construction Projects
Jamie Osborne described upcoming construction projects that may affect services for riders with disabilities. He shared specific information on the Metro Improvement Project Phase 2 and the West Portal station rerail project and took questions from MAAC members and guests.
Pat Henry, ADA Complaints for December 2005-2006
Pat Henry was unable to attend the MAAC meeting. She will present information on the ADA complaints comparisons for December and January at the February 2007 MAAC meeting.
Nominations for MAAC Recognition Award:
No nominations for MAAC Recognition Awards were received.
Member’s Questions and Comments:
Ed Evans reported that he is concerned about the intersection of Church and Duboce. The uneven, deteriorated conditions of the road surface and the train rails create safety hazards for wheelchair users and people with disabilities who are trying to cross the street.
Bruce Oka reported that he would like to agendize the nomination of Dave Longa to MAAC.
Ed Evans reported that he was upset about the double-parking of commercial vehicles. He wishes that there was more enforcement of parking violations and of Diamond lane violations. He is still concerned about Muni buses not pulling to the curb.
Les Clark indicated that he would like to see “Better leadership” from the MAAC chair.
Dave Longa commented that in his experience as a Muni operator, it is often difficult to get the vehicle close to the curb. It is his understanding that if an operator is unable to pull all the way to the curb, they should pull far away enough from the curb to allow the wheelchair lift to be deployed in the street.
Jessie Lorenz reported that she has several incidents where Muni operators requested that she sit at the very front of the vehicle. She felt that this was unnecessary and indicated that she actually prefers to sit closer to the wheelchair securement areas where her guide dog has more room to sit beneath the seats and be out of the way.
Items for Next Agenda:
1.) Jamie Osborne – Julie Kirschbaum would like to present information about the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). She would like MAAC to select a representative to contribute to the TEP’s Citizen Advisory Committee.
2.) Arden Wheeler – I would like to find out why the no smoking signs have yet to be installed at bus shelters.
3.) Arden Wheeler – Who can talk to us about what can be done to decrease people sleeping in bus shelters?
Bruce Oka thanked everyone who came to see his swearing in ceremony for the Taxi Commission.
Ed Evans reported that the Mayor’s Disability Council meeting was on January 19th at 1:00PM at City Hall room 400.
At 2:32PM, the meeting was adjourned. The next regularly scheduled meeting is Thursday, February 15, 2007, at 1:00PM.
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