Tag Archives: Muni

MUNIbus

Sorry, Not Sorry: Muni Police Bust Expired Student ID Passes, Last Week

Student muni passes expired last Wednesday Jan.  22, the second day of the new semester.

Muni police, known as Muni Transit Fare Inspectors, were also seen in abundance that Wednesday and Thursday at bus stops near or around campus, along Balboa St., Turk St., Judah St., and down Stanyan St.

Though officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) were not able to provide information on how many tickets were issued, students riding the bus to school mid-last week say that Muni officers escorted a number of transit violators, both students and not, off the bus to fine them for not having fair pay.

“Muni police just feast on students the second day of each semester,” said senior international studies Adam Smith, in a Tweet. Though Smith did not get a ticket last week, he later added, “it’s just been common in my experience to hear so many people in person and on social media talking about how they get tickets.

“It’s pretty evident that the Muni police have strategic stations at Chabot [St.], Stanyan [St.], or both each semester, and students who haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity to pick up their passes, think it’s not a big deal and get preyed upon,” he said.

Kristine Osea, a senior nursing student, also ran into Muni police on her way to school. “I was at the stop on 9th [Ave.] and Judah [St.] and the Muni police were waiting there,” she said.

“They weren’t aggressive or rude; they just approached every person getting on the bus and asked for their proof of ticket purchase or scanned clipper cards. No one was caught.”

Last year, however, Osea had a different experience at the bus stop on Geary St. and Masonic Ave. “There were like six or seven [Muni police], and I just remember seeing a kid run off the bus, hop on his skateboard and peace out,” she said.

“There were a fair amount of random citizens getting fined because they didn’t buy bus tickets. It looked like a pain in the neck.”

According to the official SFMTA website, anyone found traveling without valid Proof of Payment (PoP) on any Muni rail or bus route may be removed from the vehicle and issued a fine exceeding $100.

Students are issued a semester-long Muni pass as a sticker on their ID, every semester. Students only receive one pass per semester. The fare for an 18+ rider on Muni is $2.00.

 

The Office of the Department of Public Safety, located on the UC 4th floor, is still issuing out Muni passes. To get yours, visit the office. 

Got a Muni ticket? Tickets must be contested within 21 days of being issued. Download the form at http://www.sfmta.com and mail it to SFMTA customer service center. 

 

Parking Wars at USF

A heated community meeting in McLaren Hall on the evening of Feb. 21 pitted the University Terrace Association of residents who live sandwiched between USF’s main campus and Lone Mountain against representatives of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency  and local officials, including city supervisor Eric Mar, over the highly contentious issue of parking changes — including installing meters and posting time limits to the  coveted “all-day” spaces found around the edge of USF property, and changing some two-hour parking zones to one-hour parking for cars without a residential permit sticker, among other measures.

Dozens of USF neighbors overwhelmingly protested the plans presented and leveled at the SFMTA representatives accusations of conflicts of interest in planning to install the meters, revenue raising, an undemocratic and opaque approvals process, and “waging a war on cars” in a meeting that lasted much longer than its intended two-and-a-half-hour length.

Eric Mar, San Francisco district supervisor for the Richmond, made an early appearance at the meeting, speaking at some length about his political achievements and activities to an audibly impatient crowd. When he did come to the subject of parking — speaking specifically about his apparent support for a proposal to remove more than 150 parking spaces along Masonic Avenue, a UTA member hissed. Mar left at about 7:30 p.m., but not before a show of hands in the room intended for the supervisor confirmed a near-unanimous opposition to the installation of parking meters in the residents’ neighborhood.

“This is not Manhattan. This is not Paris. We don’t have a subway that was built 100 years ago. We just don’t have the density,” said the man who had earlier hissed at Mar. As a wheelchair user, he felt the direction the SFMTA was taking with the City’s “transit first” policy, especially in the agency’s scheme to increase parking regulation city-wide, was extreme and discriminating against the disabled and elderly.

Robert Francis, a resident of the Mission Bay neighborhood in eastern San Francisco, arrived in the middle of the meeting to testify that, despite local opposition to the installment of parking meters in his neighborhood, the plans went ahead with “little or no notice.”

“There’s a disconnect between what they [the SFMTA] say and what they do…The circling [of cars trying to find parking] is not going to stop. Do everything you can to fight this, or otherwise you will pay to the end of time,” he said.

Some took issue not only with the city’s parking and transit agency, but also with USF and the student population. Marie Hurabiell, who lives on Turk Street, argued the problem was that students, in addition to monopolizing the parking on the residential streets of the Terrace neighborhood, also take up most of the all-day spaces that could otherwise use be by residents and their visitors.

“USF needs to make every single parent and student sign a pledge that they will not drive a car to campus,” she said.

A separate meeting between USF and students regarding the parking changes is thought to take place in the near future, according to the SFMTA’s presentation, but at publication time, no time or date had yet been set.

Traffic Calming by Tighenting USF Street Parking is a Scam to Raise Revenue

In our near future, the vexatious San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority (SFMTA) plans to implement some very undesirable parking restrictions around the University of San Francisco. Parking meters and limits on all-day spots are proposed to be placed on sections of Turk, Parker, and Fulton streets. A two hour parking limit is proposed to be placed on sections of Parker and Fulton streets, and a one hour parking limit is proposed for University Terrace BB parking permit areas. All of these imbecile changes are proposed in an effort to calm traffic in the USF area because, according to a USF Connect announcement, “the perimeter of the USF campus is unregulated and open parking spaces are very scarce, leading visitors to circle for an open parking space, and sometimes leading to poor behavior.”

I have spent long hours at USF and have commuted to and from the university at least five days a week for the last three and a half years. Yes, I have to agree, several drivers search for parking in a rather ungentlemanly fashion; however, I have never seen the San Francisco Police Department clock for speeding on residential streets around USF in an effort to calm traffic. I have never seen USF’s Public Safety officers give warnings to speeding drivers looking for parking, and I can’t recall USF ever sending a message or making an announcement about safer driving practices in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. What I have noticed is a blind eye being turned to asinine driving habits around USF and an increase in mosquito-resembling meter maid vehicles circling USF’s perimeter and stinging parked cars. If the city of San Francisco was truly concerned with poor driving habits around the university, I think this situation would be addressed differently.

Furthermore, I’d like to point out that the traffic proposals will likely not result in more benign driving habits around USF; rather, I predict even more aggressive parking shopping. Areas with 1 hour parking limits will likely receive the worst driving, as car owner will rush to re-park cars more frequently and will be even less considerate of others.

If someone gave me one dollar for every decent person at the SFMTA, I’d have zero dollars. How stupid does the SFMTA think we are? The bottom line is the city is short of money and they need ways to get it. I do not believe restricting parking around the university is the solution to solving parking troubles in the neighborhood; rather, it is an obscure attempt to hand out tickets and collect meter money.

Supervisor David Campos Speaks on Immigration and Muni Policies

The University of San Francisco welcomed district nine supervisorDavid Campos for the McCarthy Center’s first Brown Bag event on February 9.
Campos’s district includes the Mission, Bernal Heights, St. Mary’s Park and Portola. Campos gave insight to modifying current city policies such as the reform of immigrant laws and the implementation of youth MUNI programs.
According to David Latterman, associate director of the McCarthy Center, Campos is “at the forefront of many immigration policies,” and as the leading supporter of the sanctuary city policy in San Francisco, Campos stressed the need for amendments to the Sanctuary Ordinance. The law, passed in 1989, prohibits city employees from arresting undocumented immigrants without warrant or law under the state or federal government.
“I think that San Francisco really represents the best this country has to offer. It’s a place that welcomes people from all over the world, from all over the country and it’s a place that not only tolerates but embraces diversity,” he said.
Under Campos’ 2009 law proposal, undocumented youth must be reported to federal immigration officials for potential deportation after being convicted of a felony, instead of when they are first arrested.
Former mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed the change, and disregarded the Board of Supervisors’ overriding ing of the veto because he said the sanctuary ordinance “protects those residents of our city who are law-abiding,” not accused criminals.
Campos, who was once an undocumented immigrant, disagrees. According to him, a balance between protecting and reporting immigrants will create a better sense of security. He said it will create a situation where undocumented individuals are not afraid to report crimes to the police.
“If people do not feel comfortable in reporting crimes to the police, that makes the entire community less safe,” said Campos.
He referred to a 2009 case in which William J. Bratton, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, was able to solve a murder investigation because an undocumented immigrant was not afraid to come forward to describe the account.
“People felt that San Francisco was no longer a welcoming place,” Campos said about the legislation veto. He called the fear of undocumented immigrants a “scapegoat” for the nation’s failing economy.
Campos currently continues to rally for an adjustment to the sanctuary city policy. Other state jurisdictions are influenced by immigration policies in San Francisco, one of the cities at the forefront of Boycott Arizona, he said. Boycott Arizona was organized in response to the Arizona SB 1070 Act in which local Arizona governments enforced immigration laws, making it legal for officers to question individuals’ immigration status and documented proof of residency.
“San Francisco can impact what happens at a larger level…This shows how San Francisco can take lead of an issue based on virtue of who we are,” Campos said.
The supervisor’s concern extends not only to immigration policies, but to public transportation benefits for minors.
Campos discussed the Free MUNI for youth program. It would allow children between ages five and 17 to ride public transit for free.
According to the supervisor, the program would cut costs for families, especially those spread thin between food and transportation expenses. Funding provided by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the San Francisco Unified School District would allow San Francisco to join cities like Portland and New York City who have adopted similar concepts.
Free MUNI for youth would cost approximately $8 million of SFMTA’s budget. The adopted budget which was based on the estimate of expenses for 2011-2012 is about $60 million. The Board of Supervisors is currently working on the program with MTA.

SF Native Skeptical of Transbay Terminal Project

Construction for the new Transbay Terminal has begun; well, actually, just demolition of the old one. The new Transbay Terminal will serve as terminal/stop for AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Greyhound, Muni, SamTrans, Paratransit and the future high-speed rail to Los Angeles. A temporary terminal serves commuters up until 2017 when the four-billion dollar project is scheduled to be completed.

After reading these estimates, I heard the little voice in my head say: “2017? Uh, no.” “Four billion dollars? No.” If I’ve learned anything about public projects from being a San Francisco native, it’s that they always cost more than expected and are never completed on time. The problem seems to get worse as the years go by. Take our “future” Bay Bridge for example. It’s four billion dollars over budget and will possibly be open by late 2014, seven years behind schedule. A project as complex as the new terminal is probably going to go way over budget and probably won’t be completed until the 2020’s; I hope I’m wrong. Furthermore, should we really be focusing on a multibillion dollar publicly funded project during a recession? Shouldn’t we instead be spending the money allotted for this project to repay California’s debt and attract investors to the state?

Looking at the positive side of things, the construction project is providing many jobs (such as those lost because steel pieces for the new Bay Bridge were manufactured abroad) and will be a state of the art design that will bring California’s transportation system up to par with some of the most technologically advanced and efficient transit systems on earth. The new terminal will feature a 5.4 acre park on the roof and 100,000 people are expected to use the terminal on each weekday. A new neighborhood with housing, shops, and offices will also be created around the new terminal.. USF students who travel between home in the Los Angeles area and school in San Francisco will benefit from this terminal. Students travelling from parts of the Bay Area such as the East Bay and South Bay should also find the new to be beneficial and convenient.

The new Transbay Terminal is a great idea and will probably prove itself to be very functional and appealing. The start of this project seems to be timed right; with expectations for the human population to grow in size, rush hour traffic is just going to get worse and worse, and the modes of transportation to be offered by the new Transbay Terminal should definitely help diffuse some of that traffic flow.

The time and money allotted to complete the project look good on paper, but in reality, the project will probably cost more and take longer to complete than expected. The terminal is an extraordinary project, but I’m definitely looking at the numbers given for time and money with lots of skepticism.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Opinion Editor: Vicente Patino