MTA CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is closely linked with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and gets its money from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) which is the highest body in the chain of command when it comes to funding and making good stuff happen with transportation.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission will defer to the SFCTA and the MTA when it comes to Land Use issues; preferring that the local bodies understand, study, and implement good Transportation Elements after first studying the SF City of San Francisco's Transportation Document, the Housing Element, the SF City's Master Plan, the various other jurisdictional Planning plans such as South of Market Area, Eastern Neighborhoods, Bayview Hunters Point and so on all linked with SF Planning Department.
The paradox is that we brag that San Francisco is a "Transit First City" but we do not have the key documents or the conducive planning models to implement a Transit First City model. Right now the only transit planning document that addresses some of the concerns is a document by the SFCTA. We do not have a Transportation Document from the SF Planning Department. It is this document that is pivotal to any meaningful transit planning benefiting all the constituents of San Francisco.
SFCTA and the MTA Citizens Advisory Committee waste their time by not really representing the concerns and ideas of the constituents of San Francisco. These two bodies push a hidden agenda and waste their time with very little Public input. Again and again these so called Advisory committees contribute very little to concrete and realistic transportation issues. I commend the SFCTA for at least attempting to put in place a SFCTA Transportation Document. I have been saying for the longest time ever that the SF Planning should have a Transportation Document. No one seems to care about this vital transportation document not the SF Board of Supervisors, Department of Public Works, nor other bodies or organizations worth its salt and linked with transportation issues.
The SF Planning Department has posted recently on its web site some Transportation Guidelines created way back in 2002. All of you that know about Transportation Concerns affecting the constituents of San Francisco know that since 2002 and before we have had many drastic changes that affect Transportation and more Quality of Life Issues and all tied to constituents impacted by movement to carry out daily chores, recreational and work.
It is wrong for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) to try to influence any body such as the MTA, CAC by coaxing them to sign to a letter that sends a wrong signal to the SF Controller's Office. The SF Controller's Office is conducting an audit and does not need the blessing of SPUR or the MTA Citizens Advisory Committee to audit the MTA.
The MTA, CAC is just an advisory body that has failed in its mission. The meetings are too much talk and very little action. In all the years it has been in operation not once has it pushed for a Transportation Document from the SF Planning Department? It has not fully understood the mandates it has to follow relevant to the policies of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Land Use issues.
Further more the MTA, CAC failed when it went with the flow and consolidated DPT with all the MUNI operations and MTA creating a bigger department with very little Accountability and Transparency. Michael Burns was happy because he made a lot of money, had a larger employee count to be over and when he really saw the MUNI ship was sinking he jumped ship; showing he lacked true leadership. Good leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way. It is critical that drastic changes be made at the SF MUNI Planning Department. Those that have been there for years should make room for change; time for the old to go away and have new leadership with fresh thinking more with a vision for the future with sound leadership, accountability, and transparency. I have been following the leadership of SF MUNI Planning since 1986 and I do not see good leadership. Time for drastic change at the SF MUNI Planning; out with the old, inept Planners.
It was wrong for MTA, Citizens Advisory Committee to agree to some prodding to permit SF MUNI Planning Department to hire one or two employees to work in the MUNI Planning Department when the MUNI Planning Department has failed us for the longest time ever.
It is wrong for SPUR to suggest that MUNI buses should speed up on routes without any sound Empirical Data. There was a time when MUNI drivers could not speed up and drivers were reprimanded. This policy went on for many years. Now, suddenly SPUR wants MUNI drivers to speed up and may be avoid a few bus stops without any meaningful deliberation.
Right now San Francisco has a population of about 760,000. We have a large population that is aged and many that are disabled. This population takes Public Transportation, SPUR and even MTA, CAC and SFPUC, SFPUC, Citizens Advisory Committee has not had meaningful outreach to this population and less taken this growing population as an important element of the equation and any change.
As long as one single dollar is received and spent from grants and other appropriations from Federal and State money the Federal and State laws have to be followed. Often times Spur and other such organization with hidden agendas and policies that are detrimental to good planning fail to address the acute and needed concerns and amenities of the community that depends on Public Transportation. That includes those many that do not have cars and prefer to use Public Transportation. Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is still in force and alive! It is time that the citizens and constituents of San Francisco pay careful attention to those organizations that want to bring transportation changes without having a meaningful dialog with the affected constituents, the MUNI drivers and frequent MUNI riders, the MUNI inspectors, the various UNIONS that support public transportation. It is wrong to affect changes in a vacuum especially when such organizations like SPUR have not addressed the relevant issues.
It is time the San Francisco Board of Supervisors play an important role on all matters linked to Public Transportation. Our City of San Francisco does not have a good Transportation Document initiated by SF Planning Department. Our Citizens Advisory Committees can recommend and make good stuff happen; unfortunately most of them have a hidden agenda and go with the flow of the SFCTA, the MTA, and other bodies that do not really want to serve the genuine interests of those that use Public Transportation.