The following is a summary of the June 2008 meeting of the SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). The meeting included a project update and presentations on both the summary of public feedback on draft proposals and the Draft Capital Plan for TEP as well as a brief comment period from the public. The presentations were followed by a discussion with CAC members.
Public & Other
Joan Downey, SFMTA CAC
Steve Ferrario, SFMTA CAC
Jim Lazarus, SF Chamber of Commerce
Daniel Murphy, SFMTA CAC
David Pilpel, Sierra Club
Bob Planthold, Senior Action Network
Howard Strassner, PSAC
Heather World, Parents for Public Schools
Ajay Martin, AC Transit
Aleka Seville, CirclePoint
I. PROJECT UPDATE
Julie Kirschbaum presented the highlights of the tremendous amount of public outreach that SFMTA has conducted since the last CAC meeting in April. This work has generated valuable feedback and SFMTA will be implementing an aggressive deployment plan to obtain more rider-ship data for further evaluation. Julie noted that the project team is still not fully satisfied with the modeling results because they want to ensure that this data is accurately accounting for todayÕs conditions in addition to future forecasting predictions.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
Comments (C.) and Responses (R.)
C: What alternate route can I take when you make the proposed changes to the 26 line?
R: The J line will still run in this section and the section of the 26 that you use most will remain and will go from Glen Park to 29th and Mission. Currently the map shows this line going up at Mateo Street but we may consider moving it back to Chenery Street. The only change with the new route is that you would need to transfer to a Mission bus in order to go downtown.
C: Have you considered deploying more small buses to save money?
R: Smaller buses donÕt save much money because 70 percent of cost is the labor.
C: Concerned about proposed cuts to the 28 and 29 lines as lots of tourists and visitors use these lines and the PresidiGo Shuttle does not run as often as these now do.
R: We have been getting this comment a lot so we are considering it. We also did a study with Golden Gate Transit to gather numbers on how many people are transferring or using Golden Gate Plaza as a final destination. The study found that many are using this as their final destination.
C: Concerned about proposed changes to the 33 line because it is currently a convenient way to get from the Mission to the Richmond and no alternate line serves this need.
C: Combining lines 12 and 27 into a single route on Harrison will impact mobility in this area.
C: Have you considered that the proposed changes require both the limited and local services buses on McAllister to share only one lane?
R: Yes, we found this is the best way to run those lines in that area and will have the limited service buses pass the local service buses as they pull over to make stops.
III. PRESENTATION ON TEP DRAFT CAPITAL PLAN
Joe Forgiarini of TMD presented the draft Capital Plan. Many projects that are underway and/or identified in the plan are supported by other agencies and organizations. The planÕs three focus areas include 1) Improved operating speed, 2) Enhanced passenger experience and 3) Greener Service Operation.
Improvements to operating speed also will enhance reliability and include expansions of bus bulbs, stop consolidations and new signalized intersections. Passenger experience may be enhanced by increased access to more trip-planning information at stops as well as increased stop visibility, and by bringing elements of the Better Streets Plan to the forefront of these efforts. Re-branding Muni on various levels also is under consideration as a means to improve both passenger and operator experience. Some of the projects already underway to create a greener service operation include expanding the current trolley and historic streetcar networks and implementing a Central Subway expansion. Also under consideration is the implementation of a bicycle sharing program similar to the one currently in place in Paris, France, which allows riders to use communal bicycles for short trips.
The overall focus of the Capital Plan is to maximize benefits to the greatest number of MuniÕs customer base. The formal comment period ends on June 15, 2008 and revised proposals will be shared with the public. According to current Capital Plan phasing, the first proposed service changes could begin as early as July 2009 after completion of an environmental assessment.
IV. COMMENTS FROM CAC MEMBERS
CAC members shared feedback and suggestions which are grouped by theme below. In general, the members were enthusiastic about the public outreach efforts and were supportive of continuing to gather and record ridership data. In addition, members provided a wide array of comments and suggestions regarding the draft Capital Plan for TEP which also are grouped by category below.
C: Advise against looking at implementing improvements only based on level of rider-ship and costs.
C: Regarding controversial changes, is there a way to communicate specific ridership numbers and cost in order to make the conversation more productive?
C: Can we create a comparison chart which displays two columns detailing actual tradeoffs?
C: Has union leadership been engaged in creating the draft Capital Plan?
C: Are you still in coordination with Golden Gate Transit?
C: When will line-by-line work begin regarding stop spacing and what specific lines will this impact?
C: Agree that improvements are needed at some stops but would not support making the same improvement investment at all 9,000 stops. The level of investment should be roughly proportionate to level of use of each stop.
C: Would like to see scheduling on all of the stops.
Rebranding of Muni
C: Hope to see a lot of money spent on bus bulbs as this is great for rebranding efforts.
C: Agree that some additional level of branding is necessary but do not want to redesign the Muni logo or employee uniforms.
C: It would be more effective to reintroduce the same logo associated with a better Muni system.
C: Agree that we should not spend a lot of money on rebranding; however, these efforts should be considered once system improvements have been implemented.
C: Rebranding should be part of a comprehensive way-finding plan for the system rather than just upgrading specific stops and lines.
C: On one hand there is a need to rebrand and redefine Muni; on the other hand, Muni has a lot of brand equity so perhaps we could find a middle-of-the-road solution?
Outreach to Elected Officials
C: Have you identified those members that you need to brief so that they vote in favor?
C: Agree that elected officials should be briefed as soon as possible.
Specific Service Areas
C: The current plan does not include service improvements for people in Buena Vista.
C: Where are Glen Park upgrades going to be implemented?
C: How are you going to increase capacity of the Market Street tunnel?
C: Is the Geary BRT dedicated bus lane already approved or does the City have to vote to approve?
C: Currently, many people use the 28 line to get to the Marina but if this service is discontinued this will create an incentive for people to drive to this area.
V. TIMELINE/ NEXT STEPS
Julie Kirschbaum noted that the final CAC meeting will take place tentatively on either Thursday, July 10th or Monday, July 28th. The project team will announce the final meeting date shortly and will ensure that CAC members are informed. This meeting will focus on the revisions to the TEP proposals and a preview of next steps before going to the SFMTA Board later this summer.