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PCC Executive Committee Meeting
February 15, 2012
711 Eddy Street, San Francisco
PCC Executive Committee Members Present: Stu Smith, PCC Chair; Jane Bolig, PCC Vice Chair; Marty Smith, PCC Secretary; Adrienne Humphrey; Byron Yan; Cheryl Damico; Claudia Grubler; Erma Brim; Fred Lein; Genevieve Bayan; Gilda Chico; Jacy Cohen; Jane Redmond; Jeanne Lynch; John Murphy; Kathryn Simpson; Laurie Graham; Olivia Santiago; Pam Martinez; Partick McCollum; Roland Wong; Ruach Graffis; Sandra Fancher; Anna Krevets
PCC Members and Guests: Genya Ehrlich; Ameur Kallel; Semyon Portnoy; Troy Barnes; Neal Patel; Annie M. Young; Kevin Lee; Athan Rebelos; Bruce Oka; Terrence Strong; Gratchia Makarian; Peter Jacobs
PCC Executive Committee Member Excused: Kaye Griffith; Ursula McGuire
SF Paratransit Staff: Marc Soto; Paul Okunewitch; John Sanderson
SFMTA: Annette Williams; Kate Toran; Jonathan Cheng
Stu Smith, PCC Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m.
Read and Approve Agenda
Marty Smith, PCC Secretary, read the agenda. Stu Smith amended agenda item #6 to include the February 8, 2012 PC&O Planning and Review subcommittee report. The agenda were motioned/seconded/passed as amended.
Approve Minutes of January 11 meeting
The minutes were motioned/seconded/approved as presented.
Comments from the Chair
Stu Smith opened with a moment of reflection for PCC member Ruth Lawner, who passed away in December 2011, and invited his fellow members to say a few words about her. Sam Alicia Duke remarked that Ruth was one of her closest friends and that she misses her greatly. Kate recognized the great impact Ruth had on the PCC and had enjoyed working with her. Kate then read a message that Jane Bolig had sent her following news of Ruth’s passing. In the message, Jane expressed admiration at Ruth’s strength, especially after seeing and talking with her at the 2011 PCC Annual Meeting which .Ruth attended the Annual Meeting despite having fallen the previous day. She remarked that Ruth had refused to go to the hospital in order to attend the PCC Annual Meeting. Jane Redmond said that she only knew Ruth for a short while but recognized how much she enjoyed her time on the council. Jeanne Lynch liked Ruth because she was not shy and willing to speak her mind. Jane Redmond added that during one of the subcommittee meetings, a former PCC member made a rude remark and Ruth verbally reprimanded that individual. Marty Smith too remembered Ruth’s outspoken nature, stating that whenever she could not get a taxi, she would personally call Marty and politely request that he dispatch a taxi to her. Annette Williams recalled how much Ruth enjoyed the annual luncheon and meetings. Annette remarked how Ruth would always dress up and that it showed her great level of respect and admiration for the PCC.
Afterwards, Stu made a mention of the most recent ramp medallion interviews and thanked all the PCC members who attended. He also laud the great turnout for today’s PCC executive committee meeting.
Overview of the Current Citywide Bike Lane Projects
Luis Montoya and Antonio Piccagli, project managers at SFMTA, presented on the current status of the Oak/Fell St. and John F. Kennedy Separated Bikeways projects respectively. Luis greeted the PCC and stated that both he and Antonio are working to expand the existing bicycling network in San Francisco. He recapped previous efforts by SFMTA staff in working with the PCC to formulate and adjust policies involving bike lanes to accommodate the needs of the paratransit community. One such example is the development of a bumper sticker and decal to inform Parking Control Officers (PCO) to not ticket taxis and paratransit vehicles that occupy a bike lane in order to pick up/drop off passengers who have limited mobility. These stickers also inform bicyclists that this vehicle is authorized to use the bike lane in order to provide curb access for their passenger. Moving forward, SFMTA Sustainable Streets is excited to work in collaboration with the PCC on the next set of bikeway projects.
Luis Montoya provided background information about the proposed Oak and Fell Street bikeway project. With the success of the separated bikeways on Market Street for the cycling community, SFMTA is seeking to widen bike lanes on Fell Street as well as add a physical barrier between motorist and bicyclists. These plans are a result of feedback from bicyclists who often feel unsafe biking along these streets due to the high volume of vehicular traffic. About 30,000 vehicles and over 1,000 bicyclists use Oak and Fell Streets daily. Currently in the planning stage, the proposed designs take into account the needs of a variety of groups, including residents, bicyclists, motorists, and the paratransit community. Planners intend for the bikeway to be on the left side of Fell Street, which would benefit paratransit customers greatly as vehicles usually pick up/drop off passengers on the right side of the street. Also these bike lanes will be wide enough to accommodate vehicles that require curb access. Luis then introduced his colleague, Antonio Piccagli and invited PCC members to ask questions following his presentation.
Antonio Piccagli gave a presentation on the bike lane project along JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. While this project will be similar to the separated bikeways along Market Street, one noticeable difference will be that instead of having a safe-hit post provide a barrier between bicyclists and vehicular traffic, parked cars will serve as a buffer. The bikeway designs also provide stops for a shuttle that runs in Golden Gate Park weekly. These stops can also accommodate taxis that need to pick up/drop off passengers in Golden Gate Park. These new bike lanes will not interfere with access to many of the attractions in Golden Gate Park, since the DeYoung Museum is currently best accessed through the Concourse while the Conservatory of Flowers can be reached either through Conservatory Drive or at a right turn pocket with curb access. Due to the design, SFMTA will not be encouraging paratransit vehicles to access the bike lane, as it is narrower and more difficult to enter and exit. Antonio then opened the floor for PCC members to ask questions about both projects.
Ruach Graffis asked whether the new bikeways along JFK Drive would affect access for vehicles going into Golden Gate Park via Kezar Drive. Antonio answered that vehicles will still be able to access Golden Gate Park through Kezar Drive. The only physical changes to the roads would be that instead of cars parking next to the curb, a bike lane will be in between parked cars and the sidewalk. Byron Yan asked whether SFMTA will have members of the disabled community test out how accessible Golden Gate Park will be following the installation of bike lanes. Antonio replied that currently crews are removing existing striping and adding six curb ramps throughout the park. He hopes that the project will be completed by the end of March. Following this time, members of the disabled community will have an opportunity to evaluate the accessibility of the park following these improvements and help SFMTA staff make any necessary adjustments if needed. Jane Redmond asked whether these bikeways will be able to accommodate three-wheeled bicycles, Antonio replied that he has not seen any in Golden Gate Park and does not believe that there should be any safety concerns. Luis mentioned that these new bikeways will be eight feet wide, which is wider than traditional bike lanes, and will handle these types of bicycles.
Stu Smith questioned why streets adjacent to Oak and Fell Streets were not considered for the new bikeways, as there is already a high volume of vehicular traffic. Luis answered that the streets adjacent to Oak and Fell St. do not have the ideal physical environment for bicycling, as there are many hills and would require bicyclists to make more turns, increasing the likelihood of a collision. Oak and Fell St. are the most direct and flattest bike routes. Roland Wong thought that adding planters and trees as a barrier between bicyclists and motorists will affect the accessibility for paratransit vehicles to access the curb. Luis replied that they would strategically place planters to avoid negatively impacting access for paratransit vehicles and that they may have to remove some planters. Jane Bolig said she would have liked to haven seen illustrations as to the proposed bikeways. Luis replied that they had a powerpoint prepared; however, the logistics of the room did not allow them to use them. There were illustrations at community meetings and staff at SFMTA can distribute illustrations following the meeting.
Byron Yan questioned why input from the PCC is only now being sought after the design has been nearly completed and construction has commenced. Antonio replied that they did do general community outreach as well as sought input from the Mayor’s Office on Disability. Luis reiterated that two separate projects are being presented. Although the Golden Gate project has been finalized, the Oak/Fell projectis still in the planning stage and the design can still change. Jane Bolig agreed with Bryon’s statement. Ruach Graffis asked whether members of the taxi industry were consulted during the planning process in order to avoid future issues. Antonio replied that in the future, staff at SFMTA will conduct further efforts to reach out to those in the taxi industry. Annette Williams commented that staff at SFMTA did send notices to PCC members about the community members. However, she added that PCC members are busy and may not have been able to attend those meetings.
Marty Smith mentioned that PCOs are still issuing parking tickets to taxi drivers who pick up/drop off passengers in the bike lanes.. Annette Williams replied that staff at SFMTA has not received any recent complaints about this problem, and that drivers who are ticketed should contact Kate Toran. Patrick McCollum asked whether taxis could drive over the safe-hit posts in order to get curb access. Antonio answered that taxis can but it is not recommended. He reminded Patrick that some bike lanes are not wide enough for any vehicles to enter them. Athan Rebelos stated that twice a week taxi drivers are being assaulted by bicyclists. Antonio stated that educating bicyclists is an ongoing effort and that the bumper stickers on taxis will hopefully make people more aware. Marc Soto asked whether any group van providers have any comments or issues concerning bike lanes. Terrence Strong of MV Transportation mentioned one instance when a bicyclist swerved in front of a vehicle. Fortunately, the driver was able to maneuver to avoiding hitting the bicyclist; however, they did hit a parked car. He added that generally, they are getting along with bicyclists. No other group van provider representatives present commented.
Jane Redmond would like the see bicyclists be licensed as they are currently not held accountable for their actions. Bruce Oka stated that the city reserves the right to license bicyclists; however, there are not enough resources for enforcement. Ruach Graffis agreed with Jane’s suggestion. Roland Wong mentioned that there was a recent news segment that showed PCOs citing bicyclists.
PC&O SF Access Subcommittee Report
Fred Lein read the following report:
· The PC&O Ramp Subcommittee meeting was held on Thursday broker’s office at 68 12th St. @ 12:30.
· During comments from the chair Mart Smith announced that Luxor would be implementing a policy to keep Luxor drivers from leaving Luxor Cab after they have completed the required number of ramp pick ups to apply for a ramp medallion.
· Fred Lein was voted in as the new PC&O Ramp Subcommittee Vice Chair.
· Kate Toran announced that the new Ramp Taxi Regulations would take effect January 6, 2012 with a minimum eight wheelchair pick ups, six of which must be being verified paratransit patrons.
· 4th Quarter 2011 Ramp Incentive Program incentives were announced by the broker’s office.
o Luxor $4,475
o Yellow $1,450
o Desoto $525
o Arrow Checker $450
o Color scheme winner: Luxor Cab $1500
· Gratchia Makarian introduced recommended changes to the SFMTA’s Minimum Requirements for Taxicab Participation in Paratransit and will meet with industry leaders to bring recommendations to the sub-committee at a later date.
· SFMTA will look into possibly increasing the maximum allowable paratransit taxi fare amount.
· The next PC&O Taxi/Ramp Taxi meeting will be on May 2, 2012, 10:30 AM at the Broker’s office.
PC&O Planning and Review Subcommittee Report
Kate Toran read the following report:
· The Planning and Review subcommittee met on Wednesday, February 8 at the Paratransit broker’s office at 68 12th Street
· SFMTA-owned vehicles will be named after PCC members and Paratransit advocates who have passed away. These vehicles will have their names painted on the outside of the vehicle and the inside will have a laminated poster with the individual’s picture (if we have a picture on file) and a brief description of their contribution to the SF Paratransit program. Each vehicle will include a location for a poster holder to display the photo and write up. The vehicle naming project will start with the 26 vehicles that will be added to the fleet in spring 2012.
· Members who attended discussed the criteria for naming the 26 new paratransit vehicles that will enter the fleet
· Members also discussed and finalized a list of potential honorees to name these vehicles after. Among them include:
1 Elisa Scaparone
2 Grace Regan
3 Arlene Chew Wong
4 Enola Maxwell
5 Griff Humphrey
6 Vincent Behan
7 Father Pat Lewis
8 Frank Cooper
9 Genevieve Lew
10 Jewel McGinnis
11 Celeste White
12 Muzzy Marcelino
13 Doris Kahn
14 Russell Green
15 Ruth Lawner
16 Dee Ann Hendrix
17 Bill Lazar
18 Hobart Banks
Kate requested that the PCC executive committee approve this list of honorees. Annette Williams and PCC members said a few kind words and their memories of each of the honorees. The list of honorees was unanimously approved by the PCC executive committee. To the extent possible, family members will be notified by staff at SFMTA about this honor, and their permission requested.
Paratransit Broker Report
Marc Soto read the following report:
· SF Paratransit Goals Report: Kate Toran stated that she will provide a report on the SF Paratransit goals at the next meeting, since the data was not available for review prior to the meeting.
· Group Van Contract update: The awarding of the group van contracts has been delayed during the first few months of 2012. There have been a number of non-Veolia issues that have largely resolved and Veolia is currently working with certain service providers. With more service providers offering their proposals, these negotiations will take a bit longer. Marc will be meeting with SFMTA later this week to update them and discuss possible final recommendations for group van service. SF Paratransit is also working with Stepping Stone to transferring the ownership of several 5310 vehicles from St. Mary’s ADHC (formerly operated by Delancey Street). This will allow Stepping Stone to use these vehicles for their group van service and keep these resources in San Francisco.
· Shop-A-Round update: In an effort to increase ridership for Shop-A-Round van service, a six-month promotion to waive fares has been implemented, from February 15 – August 15. The shopping schedule has been adjusted with new store locations and afternoon runs to Safeway and Fresh-n-Easy added. The number of registrants has been steadily increasing and new brochures are being printed.
· Mobile Data Computer (MDC) project update: Mentor Engineering was awarded the contract to install these MDCs in paratransit vehicles. SF Paratransit hopes to have these devices running by the beginning of summer 2012. While much work remains, there has already been much progress. Among these accomplishments include completing the preliminary design for functionality of the device as well as determining the plan for locating the device in all the paratransit vans. The new paratransit vehicles will be designed to be ready for immediate installation of the MDCs.
· SFMTA Vehicle Replacement: SF Paratransit has been working closely with SFMTA and A-Z Bus Sales on the replacement of the 20 600-series cutaway buses with 20 new and 6 new expansion vehicles. These vehicles will be primarily used for SF Access service while some will be used for group van service. SF Paratransit expects to continue to use the 20 600-series vans a bit longer as they are in good operating condition.
· SF Access Start Up Report: Marc introduced Paul Okunewitch, who will address some previous concerns raised by customers about the SF Access service being provided by MV Transportation. Paul stated that MV Transportation has been operating as the SF Access service provider for five and a half weeks. During this time, there have been some challenges but more accomplishments. During the first week of service, on time performance was at around 62 percent. These figures peaked in the third week of service, with 80 percent on time performance. Since then, on time performance has plateaued at 74 to 78 percent. Paul stressed that both SF Paratransit and MV Transportation want their on time performance to be much higher and have been working internally and externally with drivers to tweak and improve service. The issues with on time performance is reflected in the complaints received at SF Paratransit and SFMTA. Paul introduced Terrence Strong as the general manager for MV Transportation’s San Francisco operations. Terrence echoed the commitment by MV Transportation to improve on time performance. Marc added that he has seen the dedication by staff and management at MV Transportation to improve on time performance. While the number of late pickups has decreased, much work remains to make these figures drop further.
Jeanne Lynch asked where Stepping Stones is located. Kate Toran mentioned that they used to operate as North & South of Market Adult Day Health. Annette Williams stated that they have four locations: Mabini, Presentation, Golden Gate and Mission Creek. Annie Young asked how long SF Access and group van contracts are. Marc replied that they are both five year contracts. Annie suggested that the contracts should be three years long, allowing SF Paratransit to switch service providers should there be many complaints from clients. Marc stated that it makes more sense to allow 5 years so that capital has a longer depreciation time thereby allowing for a lower cost for service and that there are always penalties for the service providers should they fail to meet the conditions of their contract, including early termination. Gilda Chico stated that the cuts in the Delancey Street group van service have greatly affected the blind community. Marc answered that SF Paratransit is hopefully that they can work together with management at Delancey Street in order to restore service. However, the only drawback with Delancey Street group van service is that they are limited to certain neighborhoods. Gilda reiterated that many in the blind community greatly appreciate the transportation services provided by Delancey Street due to the familiarity and trust they had with the drivers. Cheryl Damico asked which neighborhoods Delancey Street serves. Marc responded that they only operate in San Francisco and will not serve certain streets.
Gilda Chico stated that she informally asked fellow paratransit riders about their experience with SF Access service. One lady stated that she was satisfied with the service while another person mentioned issues during the beginning of service with late pickups, which has since been worked out. Jane Redmond expressed frustrations at her chronic late pickups. Marc requested that she talk to Terrence and himself after the meeting to discuss the specific details regarding her late pickups. Kathryn Simpson mentioned that drivers are still not placing the chest strap for wheelchair passengers.
Jane Bolig stated that Golden Gate Senior Services had troubles when MV first started operations in January. However, after talking to Annette and having John Sanderson work out the issues that have been occurring, service has improved. Jane wanted to acknowledge John for his responsiveness. Jacy Cohen echoed the compliments for John. She requested that MV dispatchers always be honest about the status of their anticipated pick up time with customers. Kevin Lee asked whether drivers call their clients when they arrive. Marc replied that drivers should call the clients and that the dispatcher too should attempt to get in contact with the client before allowing the driver to left and marking the trip as a “no-show.” Calling when the bus arrives is not typically expected of the dispatchers but drivers are expected to announce their arrivals at the pick up locations.
Sam Alicia Duke commented that drivers are picking up fellow passengers that are geographically distant from one another, prolonging her travel time. She did compliment one particular driver who was able to successfully able to help maneuver her wheelchair into the vehicle and directly bring her to her destination. Marc replied that he can not provide her with a specific response due to a lack of details about the particular trip. Roland Wong mentioned that although his experience has been relatively good, he too was late for an appointment trip due to driver’s picking up and dropping off passengers at destinations far from one another. Olivia Santiago commented that students at City College of San Francisco have generally had a positive experience with MV Transportation but there are instances in which pickups are extremely late. She also recommended that there be a focus on ensuring that schedules are geographically concentrated.
Genevieve Bayan stated that this morning, one taxi driver refused to allow her to sit in the front passenger seat. However, two other drivers informed that particular taxi driver that he should accommodate her request and helped her file a complaint. Ruach Graffis is still having issues with making reservations on the weekend.
Marc stated that by the next PCC meeting in six weeks, he hopes that Terrence and MV Transportation will have better numbers, particularly in terms of on time performance.
Kate announced a meeting on February 17 at the Lighthouse for the Blind about backseat taxi devices.
The next PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 28, 2012
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 711 Eddy Street
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