Muni Citizens’ Advisory Council Passes Four Recommendations to Improve Vision Zero

Muni’s short term transit plan and a Vision Zero quarterly presentations as well as the election of a vice chair occurred at the Sept. 1 meeting of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Citizens’ Advisory Council.

Short Range Transit Plan

Darton Ito, a transportation planning manager, and Keith Tanner, a planner with the Sustainable Streets division, presented a draft Short Range Transit Plan, a report that SFMTA is required to submit to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a Bay Area transportation authority, to receive grants.

The report included summaries of projects beyond the planning process scheduled to be completed between 2017 and 2030.

“By short term, we mean a geologist’s notion of short term. This report runs through 2030,” council member Dan Murphy said.

The report is anticipated to be approved by the agency’s Board of Directors later in the year.

Tanner acted as “curator and editor” of the report, using input from over 50 staff members who submitted summaries of transportation projects.

Although some council members noted the lack of definitions the SFMTA’s Transit First and Vision Zero policies, the council did not pass any motions about the plan.

Muni must submit the final plan to MTC by February 2017.

Vision Zero

Mari Hunter, senior transportation planner, gave a quarterly presentation about Vision Zero, the city’s pedestrian and bicyclist safety program.

In late June, the Vision Zero task force identified 57 pedestrian safety projects and programs to pursue over the next two years. The program focused on completing 24 engineering projects in its first two years, the new batch of projects includes “education, enforcement, policy [changes and] all the stuff we need to do to advance the goals of Vision Zero,” according to Hunter.

Hunter also mentioned the Executive Directive for Vision Zero, an order issued by Mayor Ed Lee on Aug. 4, that “reaffirms” the mayor’s commitment to Vision Zero and identifies “a few things that we’d want to accelerate,” according to Hunter.

One policy change that the Vision Zero task force is pursuing is legalizing the use of traffic cameras for speed enforcement. Although there are 26 traffic cameras around the city, the cameras can only be used for red light running, not speeding, based on California law.

Vision Zero employees are sitting down with stakeholders like AAA and the teamsters union, and “myth busting” concerns about the use of cameras for speed enforcement lile driver privacy, job loss, equitable enforcement and camera accuracy.

During the comments section, council members voiced their opinions over Vision Zero’s shortcomings.

“My biggest disappointment with Vision Zero is that sidewalk parking [enforcement] isn’t a more central part of this,” Murphy said. “I think we have to get serious about sidewalk parking if we’re going to be serious about seniors and people with disabilities.”

The council passed four motions based on Hunter’s presentation:

  • Urging Muni to work with the Recreation and Parks Department to install a crosswalk on Martin Luther King Drive in front of the arboretum.
  • Calling on Muni to “expand enforcement” of sidewalk parking, require that Parking Control Officers cite violations on site, instead of by request, and make enforcement of sidewalk parking a “central element” of Vision Zero.
  • Because the California Office of Traffic Safety credits 80 percent of collisions to distracted driving, the council urged that distracted driving, especially by cell phone use, be added to Vision Zero’s Focus on the Five driving offences.
  • The council urged the MTA and RPD to evaluate conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists at all intersections in all city parks.

Meeting Recap:

  • The CAC unanimously elected Frank Zepeda as its vice chair. “[I want to be vice chair] to further the work we have been doing, to help my pet projects along – historic vehicles, of course – I’d like to make MTA look good and work with MTA staff on certain projects going,” Zepeda said.
  • Staff presented a draft Short Term Transit Plan, a report that the agency writes every two years for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • Staff presented a quarterly update on Vision Zero, the city’s program aimed at reaching zero pedestrian fatalities by 2024.
  • The council passed a motion from the Operations and Customer Service Committee to suggest that Muni strive to graduate enough drivers from its training programs to meet planned transit services.
  • Frank Zepeda, chair of the Engineering, Maintenance and Safety Committee, updated the council on the committee’s last meeting.

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