If you’ve ever wondered why it is hard to Get Things Done with Muni, the current brouhaha over improvements in the Mission to the 14 Mission, and to traffic in general is an example. Muni rolled out some significant improvements to the 14 Mission line, and already there’s “anger” from a few nuts online. The changes have had less than a few weeks to take hold, but apparently dealing with the changes is too difficult for some people to handle like adults – hence the temper tantrums online in places like the infamous “NextDoor.com” and in the media.
These folks have found politicians eager to score political points, enough so that the SFMTA may back down on plans it has been working on for almost TEN years (and about a zillion “community meetings” in the process).
In response to this stupidity, the SFMTA is already promising ANOTHER “community meeting” to “listen to concerns.” It is likely they’ll end up compromising their own plans to appease a few angry cranks.
This seems to be SOP at the SFMTA: spend years developing plans with endless “community input” at great expense, only to back down the moment there’s a little static as the changes are being implemented. I wish I could say this is only the case with this one project, but it’s a constant and it makes me question why we should even bother supporting the SFMTA with money and political support if all it takes is a handful of online trolls (and lame politicians who suck up to them) to undo years of work. It certainly doesn’t help that the SFMTA Board, appointed by “Mayor” Ed Lee, seems to constantly react defensively, and capitulate to the mob in these circumstances. Odd that they never seem to respond to transit riders when making policy – they certainly did not when they gave cars free parking on Sundays – against their own staff recommendations!
Muniverse, one of our longtime allies in the struggle for better Muni, posted this response which says all that needs to be said. The SF Transit Rider’s Union also sent out an appeal via email affirming support for the changes as well. This isn’t an issue simply about changes in the Mission – this happens over and over again – after years of plans and meetings, a change happens to try and improve Muni. A gaggle of NIMBYs suddenly decides they don’t like it, and throw up a blizzard of angry posts online and elsewhere, and the SFMTA capitulates, at the expense of everyone who wants to move around SF better.
It especially galling to see a politician like “Supervisor” David Campos, who has used Muni to advance his political career with free fares for kids, and so on, now standing with the crazies. I suppose since his term in office is coming to an end and his attempt at higher office failed, he sees some political advantage to attack needed upgrades to Muni service in his district. I really don’t care – he’ll be out of office soon, and he’ll be irrelevant. Until then, he’s just a roadblock to change, as are the band of crazies on NextDoor and elsewhere.
In the meantime, speak up via your Supervisor asking them to support the agency’s attempts to make Muni better. Why not put a little pressure on those two supervisors who want a promotion to Sacramento (Supervisors Scott Wiener and Jane Kim) and see if maybe losing at the polls for their next big job might be incentive enough to do something right at the job they currently have. If the crazies can sabotage a major Muni line like the 14/14R they can sabotage any attempts anywhere to improve Muni. Don’t let them.