Arbitrator: Contract stands

June 14th, 2011

An independent arbitrator has ruled that the contract agreed to by the SFMTA and the TWU Local 250A leadership, but rejected by the membership, must stand. There have been some veiled threats of a strike or shutdown as a result, but so far no explicit action.

SF Weekly also covered this.

TWU 250A members reject proposed contract

June 9th, 2011

An arbitrator will now decide what the contract terms will be between the SFMTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 250A (transit operators), now that the TWU membership has rejected the proposed memorandum of understanding arrived at last week with the SFMTA. The SF Appeal and SF Weekly also have coverage.

We look forward to hearing the arbitrator’s decision. Under Prop G, the arbitrator must consider the impact of any decisions on the quality of service – a provision the union has bitterly fought. In addition to cost savings, the proposed contract contained provisions that should help service, specifically the option to add part-time operators to cover rush hour service; we shall see if the arbitrator agrees that these provisions are needed for more reliable transportation in SF.

Update: Rumors of labor action are already starting.

“Fix Masonic” proposal at MTA 5/13/11

May 3rd, 2011

After years of community involvement, the SFMTA is about to review proposed changes to the street design for Masonic Avenue. This would create a boulevard-style street with zero parking, raised cycle tracks, and bus bulb-outs at major intersections, and also would reduce the current six and seven lanes of traffic to four from Geary all the way to Fell. (See pdf, beginning at page 41.)

This design looks beautiful in the slides, but as with the equally “beautiful” Octavia Boulevard, there are some major concerns. In particular, the reduction in street capacity is almost certain to cause congestion during peak hours, as is the case now with Octavia and Divisadero. Will this mean big delays for the 43-Masonic, which uses this corridor? The proposal does not include any discussion of the likely impact to traffic or transit speed, particularly at peak hours when ridership is highest and during the hours that left turns are allowed.

If you have thoughts about the proposal, please attend the hearing at City Hall, Room 416, on Friday, May 13, at 10 am. Unfortunately the SFMTA has again chosen to hold the meeting during regular business hours, when many commuters cannot attend – so you can also submit your comments to the project manager or the Board secretary.

Geneva Yard to be named after Cameron Beach?

April 18th, 2011

Tomorrow, the MTA Board will consider renaming the Geneva Yard in honor of Cameron Beach, who died suddenly last month after serving for four years on the MTA Board. Beach was a strong advocate for historic streetcar service and a very effective director and is much missed – this would be a great honor, and we encourage a YES vote!

Joel Ramos nominated for MTA board

April 13th, 2011

Mayor Ed Lee has nominated Joel Ramos to fill the MTA Board seat vacated by the death of Cameron Beach. Ramos works for TransForm, a regional organization advocating for better public transit and walkable communities. In San Francisco, he currently serves on the Geary BRT CAC.