It took a panel of experts …
“One year ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom convened a panel of transportation and financial experts to hammer out a plan to find more money for the city’s struggling Municipal Railway transit system.
Today, with the group’s work nearly complete, the most politically plausible recommendations that emerged fall short of what’s needed to make significant service improvements anytime soon.”
It’s very popular (and, admittedly, very easy) to bag on Muni’s faults — there are so many of them. However, I am often a huge fan of the trolley/streetcar lines, especially the underground tunnels and the restored fleet of streetcars that run along the F-Market line.
Even though they are technically only used on that line, I’ve seen them toodling down the J-Church line. Since they’re always empty, I assumed they always dumped the passengers off at some point and then just went down to Balboa Park to turn around.
Yesterday, after paying a visit to the San Francisco Railway Museum, where they encourage you to go out and see the streetcars and view them as “museums in motion,” we hopped on an F train and intended to ride it to Church St. and transfer to the J. We sat in the comfy leather seats and I read the information placard on the train that explained it was the 1055, a restored car from Philadelphia, originally painted green/cream/red.
This is something that’s been on my chest for four years. Four years! I used to ride the 44 line religiously each day at the start and end of my very, very long commute to Mountain View. I even dedicated a personal journal to the 44 just to vent my frustration in a positive way. So I figured I’d share my woes with you guys on Muni Diaries.
For those of you who still ride the 44, I hope the line has improved its on-time performance. It really couldn’t have gotten much worse. The 20-minute interval between buses as displayed on the Muni schedule is a bunch of packed-in crap. Just writing all this now takes me back to the days when I’d wait and wait and wait for the bus, sharing my angst with fellow Muni goers. I guess you could say that the 44’s habitual inconsistencies brought the community together. But I’d rather engage with fellow San Franciscans at an antique show at the Cow Palace than stand around talking about how long we’d all been waiting for the bus. And I hate antiques.
This may come as a shock to some, but I don’t ride Muni every day. I bike to work, and I walk most other places. I claim no authority at crafting the site you’re visiting, other than being witness to its birth in idea form. I mean, I ride buses and rails just like the rest of you, just maybe not as frequently.
But, like I said, I ride my bike to work, so I deal with Muni in a way I’m pretty sure many of you do: Avoiding the bus as it’s coming to KILL ME.
What I’m speaking of, specifically, is Muni buses’ proclivity toward not seeing bicycles. The phenomenon breaks down into two main categories: Pulling in front of us, or pulling out from the curb toward us.
The first I speak of happens like this: I’m riding at a moderate clip, as aware as I can be of my surroundings. I approach a traffic-lighted intersection, and as I do, WHOOSH! a bus zooms by my left side and cuts me off as it beelines toward the stop on the other side. Thanks, I think, and continue riding at a slightly slower speed, only to then encounter scenario two:
I ride past a bus that is at a stop, angled as it were with its ass pointing out. Because I’ve almost been hit by drivers who pull away from the curb before looking to see if anything is coming, I steer way too clear, looking behind me first to see … you guessed it, if anything is coming.
- Why do the buses feel the need to gun it and drive in front of bikers, whose lane they will then have to cross to get to the bus stop? Why not go ahead and start slowing down, let the bike-riders pass, then pull over?
- Why do almost all drivers start driving before looking? Isn’t this Rule 1 of driving anything, including a tricycle?
We’re waiting, Muni. And we’re watching.
And what the hell is an APTA Rail Rodeo? Well, funny you should ask:
Saturday, May 31 marks the 16th year for the International Rail Rodeo Competition, which highlights the best rail operators and maintenance teams from across North America. Competitors, selected from local and state competitions, will compete to be crowned champion.
Just discovered this Muni “fan” site, Muni Gone Wild.
Check out their amazing Muni tribute from this year’s Bay to Breakers.