Tag Archives: SFMTA

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: All-Day Parking Will Probably Become Two-Hour Parking by June

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) is considering holding a public hearing on Friday, May 17 to review recommendations for changing the parking scheme on the streets around campus.

If the tentative hearing indeed takes place on May 17, a follow-up SFMTA board meeting would likely be scheduled for Tuesday, June 18. According to Paul Rose, press officer for the city agency that oversees parking, traffic, and transportation planning in San Francisco, these new measures may be passed. The board’s approval in June could mean that all-day parking would be gone by the end of summer 2013.

The SFMTA is proposing to make many of the often-occupied all-day spaces that line university property into parking that would require motorists to move their cars every two hours most days. The current plan was modified from an earlier proposal that included placing new parking meters on those all-day spaces.

The meter portion of the plan was met with strong resistance in a lengthy February SFMTA meeting involving university neighbors, who were generally opposed to any tightened restrictions to street parking. On March 28, e-mails from an SFMTA employee were obtained by a University Terrace resident and shared with the Foghorn. These correspondences indicated that parking meters were no longer part of the agency’s proposal.

A second option to impose four-hour (instead of two-hour) limits on the all-day spaces was dropped by the SFMTA because a “four-hour time limit would…do little to dissuade the use of private motor vehicles for commuting,” Rose said, highlighting the intent of the agency’s citywide campaign to discourage automobile commuting in favor of greener transit alternatives.

“It would be fairly easy for someone to park in the morning, move their vehicle during lunch time, and thereafter continue a habit of driving to campus,” Rose said of the four-hour parking option. “One of our missions is [to] create an environmentally sustainable transportation system by encouraging a transit-first mindset for commuting.”

The two-hour time slots would probably be in force from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., similar to the limits that currently exist on streets around the main campus. However, unlike these side streets,  Tom Folks,  senior engineer at the SFMTA, stated via e-mail that the new two-hour spaces would not allow cars of any letter parking permit to park for more than two hours at a time.

Another parking hearing, organized by San Francisco supervisor Mark Farrell, will take place today, May 2, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in room 201 of the Board Chambers in City Hall. The meeting will address citizens’ concerns with SFMTA proposals citywide, and will likely include discussion and input on the University Terrace plan. The hearing will also be attended by San Francisco supervisors David Campos, Eric Mar, and Malia Cohen.

Commuter Students Disgruntled with Proposed Changes in Street Parking

 

The sought-after, fought-after unregulated street parking spaces lining university property and the parking-meter free streets around USF may vanish as soon this summer, a reality that is meeting resistance from students who commute by car to class.

A heated Feb. 21 meeting at USF between representatives of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) — the city’s transit and parking authority —  and the neighborhood University Terrace Association concerned about the proposed changes showed plans to regulate parking in most streets around campus where motorists now park for free, without a time limit, or both. In that plan, areas affected by increased restrictions would include the high-volume south side of Golden Gate Avenue between Parker and Masonic, which contains a long string of “all-day” spaces skirting the length of the main campus from Fromm Hall to Benedetti Diamond.

All-day spaces adjacent to the Koret Recreation Center, along the west side of Fromm Hall, along the north side of Fulton Street, and around Lone Mountain are also slated to become metered or time-limited parking, according to the SFMTA proposal. Additionally, two-hour parking in some residential streets, especially in the Terrace neighborhood separating Lone Mountain and the main campus, is scheduled to become one-hour parking.

“I don’t see a good side to this,” said Jane Ou, a senior international studies major who does not own a car, but whose boyfriend drives to USF often from his home at 33rd Avenue and Balboa Street in the Outer Sunset district.

“When people are lazy, they are lazy. When people want to drive, they want to drive,” she said of the SFMTA’s parking plan that is partly aimed to encourage more people to choose public transit over driving. Ou also objected to a proposed one-hour limit on Terrace street parking where cars without a permit are currently allowed to park for two hours at a time during weekdays. “It’s ridiculous,” she said. “Class time is never less than one hour and five minutes.”

The one-hour limit was a common complaint of commuter students, who pointed out that even the shortest class session at USF would effectively expose all student motorists parking in some of the residential streets around campus to ticketing.

“There’s no class that lasts less than an hour,” said Jessyca Mitchell, a senior Japanese major. “You have to come to school way before class to find parking, and those [classes] are at least an hour five.”

“Making the time limit an hour doesn’t help,” said junior sociology major Tahlia Joseph, who used to drive to school before this semester. “If anything, it’s basically a way for the city to get more money through parking tickets.”

Senior Joe Estalilla called the one-hour proposal “unfair,” especially in light of the level of ticketing he witnessed for people who overstay the current two-hour limit. As a way to ease the restrictions the city is looking to impose on street parking, Estalilla proposed that, “with the [money] that USF has…we [should] invest in a parking garage.”

Parking meters around campus were also unpopular, but the time-limiting of the all-day spaces to four-hours had some student support.

Though Joseph, for instance, saw metered parking as ineffective, because “it would be easy to stay there [in that spot] since you could just keep putting money in,” she felt “four hour [parking] is a good idea.”

“Nobody wants to have to pay for parking around our own school when we’re going to class.” Joseph said.

“I would consider making the whole line [of cars along Golden Gate Avenue] four-hour parking,” Ou said. “I don’t know who parks there all the time, but they are taking up space.”

At least one student, Elyse Cohen, a senior nursing major, welcomed the proposed changes. An occasional car commuter, Cohen saw the SFMTA’s disincentives to bring a car to school as an “inconvenience” that the campus would “get used to.” For Cohen, the effect the changes would make in making students walk more and drive less to campus was a positive one.

“I drive on Wednesdays,” she said, “but I could change that.”

Jason Weiler disagreed. The junior media studies major, who will only drive to campus on Sundays next semester, considers SFMTA’s plan “very stupid,” especially when “parking is so limited already.” Even a trip to USF on a Sunday will not spare drivers from paying for parking if meters go up. San Francisco just recently enacted Sunday metering city-wide, a move Weiler calls “ridiculous.”

“I don’t know how I’d fix it,” Weiler said of USF’s perpetual parking shortage, “but I certainly wouldn’t do this.”

Officially, USF has no position on the proposed street parking changes around campus, as the streets are public property and under the jurisdiction of the SFMTA. If the SFMTA approves the changes, the restrictions would likely take effect over a summer break, possibly summer 2013, to ease the transition in street parking rules for new and returning students.

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.

Muni Restoration is Crucial for USF Students

Navigation of San Francisco via bus can get pretty tricky. There are a lot of numbers and letters to remember and the thought of, “Wait, am I going inbound or outbound? Is the last bus coming at midnight or at 1:00 a.m.?” tends to crop up at the worst possible time. In May, San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) complicated Muni (the shortened name for the bus system) a little bit more by cutting lines and reducing the frequency of many routes.

Members of the Foghorn staff, a miniscule percentage of the USF student body, live in several different neighborhoods in the city and many of us use Muni to get to and from campus. It is our understanding that the majority of USF students, not just our staff, use Muni daily. The cuts to Muni services in May certainly left us a little worried. If more OWL (late-night) lines are cut, what will students with late classes or meetings do to get home? Public safety will not drive students past the Panhandle, leaving anyone who lives more than 3 blocks south of campus without a way to get home. USF students desperately need Muni to cover the areas of the city that public safety does not.

Luckily, last weekend SFMTA restored several OWL lines and increased frequency on several buses near campus. Specifically, the N will now run all night, with service every 30 minutes. This increase in frequency will be helpful for students who live in the Sunset. The 22, which runs down Fillmore St. from the Mission District to the Marina, has also had its late night routes restored. During the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the 5 (arguably the most used bus line by USF students) has increased frequency from every twenty minutes to ever fifteen minutes. Additionally, the 5 runs every eight minutes from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Other lines near campus that have increased frequency include: the 33 (day time frequency is now every fifteen minutes), the 43 (the last bus now leaves the end of the line at 12:30 a.m.), and the 24 (OWL service has been restored and day time frequency is now every ten minutes).

These changes are certainly positive news for USF students, but none of the restorations are set in stone. Federal and state funding for public transportation is not slated to greatly increase in the near future and the cost of these improvements to Muni may take a toll on the San Francisco economy. USF students consistently acquire Muni passes for a heavily discounted rate and use public transportation daily. It is our job, as consumers in the economic food chain, to build support for public transportation. Doing this may require us to vote more meticulously in the elections this fall, making sure to check which federal, state, and local candidates have committed to sustaining funding for public transportation. The worst case scenario for USF students may be that public transportation ceases to exist, leaving students without safe or efficient ways to get around town. It is essential, both for our own comfort and for our school’s commitment to social justice, that we make a commitment to preserving Muni.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron