To paraphrase Bart Simpson, I always knew someone would finally come out and say this, I just wasn’t expecting it here….while Green Gavin is far away in France, oohing and aahing over high speed rail, and demanding billions for a mile’s worth of track in a feud with Judge Quentin Kopp, the Overhead Wire points out Green Gavin’s impending MUNI FAIL.
High speed rail can be a great thing, and if the bonds approved by voters ever actually get sold, will one day be a boon to the economy, et al. The problem is that Green Gavin, like so many local politicians (and those sent to Sacramento) are perfectly happy to ooh and ahh over sparkly technology far away, but do nothing to make the day to day ride on MUNI one bit better. It’s especially troublesome to see the Mayor globetrotting and campaigning out of town at a time when a huge fiscal crisis is hitting the City.
Don’t forget, when we voted on a charter amendment in 2007 to amend MUNI, Green Gavin flip flopped in favor of parking spots for cars, before ultimately doing nothing. And now, when the Transit Effectiveness Project is likely to go the way of the dinosaur, where’s Gavin? Lobbying the Obama Administration for some real help for MUNI? Asking our City’s legislators to not sell transit down the line?
Nope. He’s off in France. Or somewhere. Lucky him – at least he doesn’t have to wait 45 minutes for the bus like the rest of us!
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San Francisco News & Politics
The TEP is plenty flawed, Gavin ought to let it rot. It proposes to starve the feeder routes in favor of a few trunk routes. If you really want people to give up their cars, you’ve got to make taking transit convenient for those of us in the sticks… not just to and from work, but to and from the errands we run on a daily basis.
The TEP also proposes service improvements for the rail lines by way of reduced headways, but neither provides ideas for funding the reduced headways nor ideas for actually implementing this at all. One third (50 — fifty) of all of the LRVs were out of service yesterday! Even with enough LRVs, current headways aren’t met, and safety standards are blatantly disregarded.
Yes, our mayor is something of an attention whore. Let’s count our blessings he’s too enamored with shiny technology to actually force TEP down our throats.
I know that the TEP has some problems, I’ve never been comfortable with some of the recommendations they made, esp by cutting service “by the numbers.”
But if the TEP is that flawed, then the Mayor, who appointed the MTA board, needs to step up and do something.
As it stands we’ll “let TEP rot” with nothing in its place that’s any better. And then we’ll be left with even worse service and no planning.
Neither one appeals to me, but I don’t see anyone else stepping up to offer a better solution (and surely in an area with this many nobel prize winners and such, we could).
oh and thanks for the tip the other day on the 50 dead LRVs…I would have done something with it but I was in meetings all day yesterday for work…
NOTHING in TEP addresses absenteeism or LRVs/buses not fit for service. As is obvious the Bredas (fix it again Tony) are a disaster. There is no money to replace them with something that works. BTW the Siemens cars bought for San Diego TWENTYEIGHT years ago are still running off the miles–that means they are likely to outlast the Boeings AND Bredas here combined!
I suspect the San Diego Siemens U-2’s (and similar cars elsewhere) represent “old school” engineering, not quite in the same league at Type-K controllers, but still not “high tech”. LA Metro seemed to take forever to get their Breda LRV’s “ready for prime time”, and SCRRA/Metrolink has finally put their new “state of the art” diesels into service after months of “fiddling”. Compare that with NOPSI 913, which OERM sold to Muni a few years ago. The car had been sitting in the barn gathering dust; when it came time to load it for the trip north, the crew blew the dust out of the motors and the controllers, checked the oil in the compressor and the journal bearings, and ran it onto the low bed trailer. Sometimes simple is good. Granted, you need shop forces with skills beyond shoving in a new control module, but transit engineering isn’t rocket science and shouldn’t try to be.
Eh, is that really a fair comparison to San Diego? MUNI beats the hell out of their equipment, and I wouldn’t expect it to last all that long in the first place. Besides, the problem is likely more MUNI than the equipment. BART had lots of trouble with their original one of a kind Rohr cars, yet now they mostly work and are 20+ years old. MUNI just can’t seem to get their stuff working.
As for letting the TEP rot, if the mayor concentrating on shiny things is enough distraction to prevent the TEP from happening, I’m okay with it. Take the half-cocked plans for the 28: Extend the 28L into the Marina (where the traffic is heavier), and cut the 28 to the Golden Gate Bridge. So now we have the worst of both worlds — a raipd bus service that’s not rapid, and a local bus service that’s well… extremely local.
Or take a look at the LRV plan: Eliminate the S because the Castro turnback is so unreliable… make up for it with extra L and K service (despite the above ground portion of the K/T being much much too long to be reliable).
There are bits and pieces of the TEP that make sense and should be expanded upon, but most of those strike me as common sense that MUNI’s just throwing out the window.
Breda makes lemons, there’s no doubt about that. Los Angeles had quite a lot of trouble with their cars, and Boston took about 4 years getting their Breda cars in service, due to many, many derailments and brake failures. Breda is full of fail, and honestly SF probably got off relatively easy.
Don’t forget the Breda cars that Chicago uses without serious fault, or the ones that the DC Metro use as well (closely related to BART’s Rohr cars).
The take away is this: the MTA ought to be trying to idiot proof their plans (both in terms of service and vehicle specification). The TEP glosses over lots of lessons already learned, and is simply destined to fail.