Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fleet Week Awesome. Muni FAIL

Today was an awesome day on the North end of the city that started with Texas(5) beating Oklahoma(1). I watched from a bar on Union Street with about 200 Texas exes and friends. Then I went with some friends to watch the Blue Angels fly over San Francisco at varying angles. All of this was great and made me pretty tired but glad I got out today. It was an amazingly beautiful day.

On the other hand. It was an epic epic Muni FAIL. In my first year here. I made the mistake of driving the 3 miles North to watch the football game during fleet week. Bad idea. No parking (when is there ever?) and traffic you wouldn't believe. The last few years, I've decided to take Muni which I try to do as much as possible. This morning I would take my usual J to 22 connection. But it started out badly. When I left my house, the NextMUNI webpage said 3 and 15 minutes for the J at 24th and Church. I got to the stop and the 3 min J was just leaving. I felt that was ok. 10 minutes wasn't bad and I would be a little late to the game but no problem right?

Not right. I waited 25 minutes for the J and the driver was chatting away with what seemed like a supervisor with a yellow MUNI vest. I was already annoyed that they were 15 minutes late and the talking really wasn't doing much harm, but because they were late more people had gathered meaning more people had to pay as they entered which always slows the whole process down. And why they have so many stop signs on Church I'll never know.

So i get to Duboce and Church where I would hop on the 22 and the next one comes in 12 minutes. It's already 9am and the game starts at 9am. I wait 12 minutes and off we go. The 22 gets there and I'm responding to texts from my friends telling them I'll be a little late but not too bad. Then some crazy stuff happens. The driver decides that at stop lights he'll read the SF Chronicle. And at one point he hops out of the bus at a stop and walks into a store to pick up a sandwich. What?!

Obviously I was annoyed. I was already late because of Muni. But this was ridiculous. So what would have taken me about 15 minutes in a subway or a car took me an hour on Muni. I know this is the reason people drive. It annoys the heck out of me that we can't get it right. Between the late train and the crazy bus was enough to make me almost declare war on Muni.

The way home pretty much sucked as well. So much traffic on Van Ness (I walked that way to see the ships from Fort Mason) I decided to go back to the 22. Well I got passed by three full buses and ended up just walking the 2 miles to the J. It was ok though. I got to take some pictures on Union Street. But for the once in a while rider, that day would probably kill your riding for about a year. Cabs it is!

In any event. This needs to be improved. And the TEP would really do almost nothing to change that trip. BRT on Van Ness could possibly help that trip but honestly there needs to be an east west and north south subway. I should be able to get anywhere in a 7 mile by 7 mile city in 30 minutes. That should be the goal. That would be quite impressive mobility for here and guess what, more people would take transit!!!

Here are some pictures and movies. The first one shows the final seconds of the game at the Blue Light bar. Pretty exciting.

The following pictures are of the Fleet Week traffic...

Van Ness

Van Ness Traffic


Lombard Fleet Week Traffic

North Point Street

Muni Bus Bunch

People Traffic and Ships!

Fleet Week Ships

Marina Street - They would be dumb not to put the future F Line extension to the presidio in its own lane when you see this:

Marina Street During Fleet Week Traffic

Union Street Life

Union Street Street Dining


Eric said...

I'm happy to stay I steered clear of the whole fleet week celebration. However, I also had a really long wait for the J (late in the afternoon). Just walked it, in the end.

Jarrett Mullen said...

This is terrible. And San Francisco supposedly has "good" transit.

Answer: comprehensive subway system. San Francisco certainly has the land use and the demand to support it. I don't understand why more people haven't pushed for it. A local metro that supports San Francisco and Oakland would be far more effective than the crappy capacity offered by Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail lines.

Anonymous said...

Well then why not run trams on the Golden Gate bridge?

Anonymous said...

Church St. about a DECADE ago Rescue Muni went to the trouble of surveying all of the streetcar routes looking for cheap improvements. We reccomended eliminating Stop signs @ corners w/o revenue stops--or long term transit favoring traffic lights. The results? los of we can't because// BS from Muni.

No, TEP does less than nothing to fix the incessant service failures because counting riders and drawing color coded maps does not deal w/ absenteeism, indiscipline, incompetence or laziness. Too bad noone closed the doors on the 22 and started driving!

Alon Levy said...

Jarrett, subways cost a lot of money. The Bay Area sends $40 billion per year in taxes to Washington more than it gets back in spending; the money it could use to build subways is being used to prop up the Washington Metro and highways in Kansas.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

That's true Alon, I often wonder how much gas tax we don't get back because we really haven't built any new freeways. I think Jarrett has a point though. If we had a good subway network, I think we could rival DC for a million rides a day just on the train.

Anonymous said...

25 minutes for the J? Heh, good thing you dont live in Chicago...I regularly wait 25+ minutes for a damn bus (god I hate buses).