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MUNI ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (MAAC)
Minutes of May 17, 2007
Les Clark (Chair), Jean Ellis-Jones (TWU250A), Edward Evans, Paul Fichera, Barbara George (JLMB), Melvin Galloway, Dave Longa, Jean Kempf, Bruce Morgan, Bruce Oka, Arden Wheeler
Janet Copriviza, Jeanne Lynch (Excused), Vernon Smith (Excused)
Accessible Services Staff Present:
Irene Johnson, Jamie Osborne, Virginia Rathke, Kate Toran, Annette Williams, Linda Willis
Miro Keilbus (ASL Festival), Pi Ra (SAN), Roger Rose (ILRCSF), Peter Straus (Muni Service Planning), Britt Tanner (SFMTA)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 1:05PM.
Moment of Silence for Jewel McGinnis
Former MAAC member and fiesty advocate for access for people with disabilities, Jewel McGinnis died May 15, 2007 of heart failure. Public transit riders in San Francisco benefit daily from her work with the MAAC and the Paratransit Coordinating Council.
Introductions were made in lieu of a roll call.
Reading and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Approval of the minutes from March MAAC meeting:
The minutes for the March 15, 2007 MAAC meeting were approved with some corrections.
Comments from the Chair
MAAC Chair, Les Clark, reported that he is concerned with operators not following procedures specific to providing access for people who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled. The ADA requires that operators must announce transfer points; however, he has observed operators not doing this federally required task on ALL lines of the Muni Metro system. He addressed the union representatives present and asked them to talk to their operators and make sure that they are not discriminating against riders with disabilities (and violating federal law) by failing to make these announcements.
Peter Straus, Muni Service Planning, Update on Recent Route Changes
Peter Straus gave MAAC members and guests an updated on the bus and rail service changes that went into effect on April 7th with the implementation of the T-Third light rail line. He reported that it is no secret that there have been many problems with the service. No one has been satisfied with the quality of the service that has been provided. He noted that Muni has closely monitored rider comments and complaints that have been submitted.
Of the over 1200 complaints and 700 individual complaints received, the rail issues outnumber bus issues by 7 to 1. The primary issue on the rail side in the degradation of service on all of the Metro lines. The principle complaint is of irregular rail service and long waits in between trains.
The most significant problem that the agency faces is the shortage of rail operators. There are about 30 runs distributed across every day that are not being filled. The largest number of complaints have come from the T-Third and N-Judah riders.
Mr. Straus noted that on the bus side, most of the lines are performing fairly well. He indicated that they are seeing some overcrowding on the 9x, which may be secondary to the poor operations on the T-Third. In the north part of the city, there have been many requests to restore service from Columbus Avenue to downtown.
Mr. Straus reported that since April 7th, Muni has improved operations in a number of respects, and changes are being made system to address the problems on an almost daily basis. He also noted that at the next operator sign-up in June, Muni will be implementing service changes to further remedy the operational problems.
Mr. Straus took questions and comments from committee members and guests:
Ed Evans – “I would like to see the stop at Mission and Valencia made into a 14-L stop. This stop serves St. Luke’s hospital.”
Bruce Morgan – “I’m worried about the lack of service to the Columbus corridor. Four transfer points have been eliminated serving major tourist destinations.”
Miro Keilbus – “I’ve seen that you’ve changed the schedules for some lines. The trains in the subway are confusing – there is no way for the operator to communicate with riders who are deaf. If the vehicle is changing direction, or switching lines, people who can hear have access to driver announcements. I cannot hear anything that the driver says. It is very frustrating that there are no captions.”
Les Clark, MAAC Problem Solving: Operators Not Pulling To the Curb / Incorrect Position in Bus Zone
Les Clark introduced the first MAAC goal priority that was identified in previous meetings. He described the issue of operators not pulling their vehicles to the curb to board riders and started a dialogue with members and guests to identify solutions to this problem.
Mr. Clark requested that all operators pull to the curb where possible. He also requested assistance in addressing this problem from Muni staff and union representatives.
David Longa – “I was a judge at the National Bus Rodeo championships in Memphis. Without bus bulbs, even the best operators have a difficult time getting the vehicle flush to the curb. The best they can hope for is to get the front door of the vehicle close. We need to have this issue covered thoroughly in new driver training.”
Jean Ellis-Jones – “Some electric trolley buses have problems with the positioning of overhead lines. It is not an operator’s fault when the location of the overhead line prohibits them from pulling to the curb.”
Bruce Oka – “We cover the issue of pulling to the curb and pulling into the bus zone with our new operator classes; however the problem is not with new operators. I see this sort of behavior most often from veteran drivers. This is a problem with all lines and all types of drivers. The bus zones are clear! Why can’t they do it?”
Paul Fichera – “There are two ways that we can approach this problem. The first is that vehicles often have a problem pulling back in to traffic. We should request legislation that requires automobile drivers to yield to buses. The second way to approach this issue is to always make reports of the incidents when you see them. Being called in to a complaint hearing will help the operator understand that they are not following Muni policy and federal access laws.”
Ed Evans – “The placement of the bus shelter is very important. Many times the shelter is located where the vehicle would deploy the wheelchair lift. As a result, the driver doesn’t pull the vehicle up in to the area where the shelter is because the person in a wheelchair can’t get on there. I also think that some of the bus stops are not long enough considering the type of traffic and congestion that we have in the city.”
Barbara George – “The green garbage cans and other street furniture that is out of place creates an operational and safety hazard. Passengers trying to exit or enter the vehicle may be hurt if they do not see the hazards. Also, if the wheelchair lift or mirrors of the bus hits these items, a chargeable accident will be noted in the operators’ record. Because the penalty for accidents is so severe, operators are less likely to pull close to the curb.”
Rae Chamberlain – “I’ve seen this happen multiple times.”
David Longa – “What should happen is that if you see areas where the bus shelter or street furniture create a hazard, let Muni know and we will have the problem fixed.”
Paul Fichera – “In the past, SFPD motorcycle officers have given tickets for operators that do not pull into the curb.”
Pi Ra –“It is definitely a combination of things. We need to look at both operator training and better bus stop designs.”
Arden Wheeler – “I think that we need to consider putting in bulb outs in these troublesome spots.”
Linda Willis and Irene Johnson, MAAC Access Recognition Award Presentation
Linda Willis and Irene Johnson of the RTC Discount ID office, received access recognition awards from the committee. They were nominated by Ed Evans, who thanked them for their work. Other MAAC members, SFMTA staff and union staff also commented on the exceptional job performance and attitudes of Ms. Willis and Ms. Johnson. Ms. Willis and Johnson thanked the committee for the award.
Britt Tanner, SFMTA Planning, Transit Effectiveness Project Survey
Britt Tanner spoke to the committee about the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and discussed a new survey developed with help from the Mayor’s Office on Disability and SFMTA Accessible Services that focuses on the needs of transit riders with disabilities. She requested that members review and complete the survey and give her feedback and about the form. Along with the paper version of the form, an online version is available at: www.sfmta.com/tepaccess/
She indicated that Les Clark, Bruce Oka and Bob Planthold are on the citizen advisory committee for the TEP.
Jamie Osborne, Balboa Park Access Update
Jamie Osborne spoke to the committee about changes that have gone into effect regarding accessing the Balboa Park Station from the outbound M-Ocean Side Metro line. Specifically, after 8:00PM outbound riders who are unable to exit the vehicle using the stairs will be taken to the wayside platform ramp at San Jose and Seneca (just North of Geneva).
Prior to 8:00PM, outbound riders must stay on the M-Line vehicle as it circles through the Geneva Metro yard to access the wayside platform lift at San Jose south of Geneva. Inbound riders will utilize the wayside platform lift at all times if they are unable to board the vehicle via the stairs.
He indicated that Accessible Services staff and MAAC officers are working with Metro rail operations to clarify procedures and better inform rail operators of their responsibilities. He asked MAAC members if they had additional thoughts or concerns about access to rail vehicles at Balboa Park.
Paul Fichera – “A bulletin should be created with the help of Green division operations and training. It should be given to all operators to sign off on.”
Barbara George – “Individual cards should be given to each and every operator in the division. Also a poster should be made describing the process for the wall of the division.”
Pat Henry, ADA Complaints for April 2005-2007
Pat Henry was unable to attend the May MAAC meeting. In her place, Jamie Osborne shared the complaint numbers for April 2005-2007 and answered ADA compliant questions with the committee.
Nominations for Muni Accessibility Advisory Recognition Award
Ed Evans recommended that Kate Toran receive an access recognition award for her dedication and work to help him get a ride on a day when 4 buses passed him. Rae Chamberlain nominated driver 1253 for exemplary service for riders who are wheelchair users. Roger Rose recommended that an operator on the 33 Stanyan received a MAAC Recognition Award. All nominations were approved by the committee.
Member’s Questions and Comments
Paul Fichera – “Please inform MAAC members when the details for a celebration of the life of Jewel McGinnis are determined.”
Les Clark – “MAAC members should contact Jamie Osborne if they would like to make a donation in Jewel’s name to the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.”
Annette Williams – “Accessible Services has been working on a brochure aimed at Muni staff that communicates appropriate use of language regarding people with disabilities (i.e., not saying ‘wheelchair people’ or ‘ADA patrons’). If anyone is interested in looking at a draft of the brochure, please let us know.”
1. Pi Ra – “I wanted to let MAAC members know about the Senior Action Network ‘Sidewalks are Pedestrians’ Committee. We have been doing press conferences and demonstrations on the issue of bicyclists staying off of the sidewalks. I’d like to invite you all to a public demonstration on the SW corner Arguello and Geary on May 30th at 12:30PM.
Items for Next Agenda:
1. Ed Evans – “It is very important that we need to discuss bus shelters. I’m not happy with the bus shelters that we have and the new bus shelters that are proposed.”
2. Miro Keilbus – “It is important that the Muni disabled FastPass allow riders to take BART within the city of San Francisco.”
3. Miro Keilbus – “I would like to hear about what the plan is for implementing Translink on Muni.”
1. Miro Keilbus – “I would like to invite everyone to the ASL Festival that we are having at the Justin Herman Plaza on June 9th. Please visit our website: www.aslfestival.com”
2. Ed Evans – “We are creating the Tenderloin Disability Council. Anyone with a disability who lives in this area, or anyone who is interested can contact me at 415-724-2950 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 3:10PM, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007, at 1:00PM.
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