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Anti-crime Campaign Launched Page 4

SFpark Making Space on City Streets Page 3


Putting the Wheels in Motion

Pedal Power Goes into High Gear Page 3


S U M M E R 2 0 1 0

SUMMER 2010, Volume 6, Issue 3

Executive Director’s Message

charts refined strategic direction as we go forward into still uncertain times.

I want to open this column by welcoming our newest SFMTA Board Member, Cheryl Brinkman, who brings a vast background and broad experience in sustainable streets to our policy-making Board (See article Page 6).

We will, of course, be seeking input from stakeholders, our customers, the public and you. Accordingly, I encourage you, your family and friends to provide feedback by reviewing the Board presentation and companion booklet with more details and then completing the survey. These are posted on the employee intranet and our website at

As we near the end of the first SFMTA Executive Director/CEO, quarter of the new fiscal year Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. that began July 1, I want to highlight the many accomplishments scored by SFMTA employees during the past fiscal year despite a lingering recession that created a looming deficit in our operating budget.

Continuing a tradition unique to San Francisco, we held the 48th Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest on Tuesday, September 28 at noon on Union Square. With fall upon us, we again have the opportunity to demonstrate our generosity and concern for those less fortunate by contributing to the annual Combined Charities Campaign.

As you know, we closed out the last fiscal year in the black. And we entered the current year with the financial resources required to restore fully 61 percent of the Muni service that was reduced last May. Not content with that, we are working diligently with Mayor Newsom and the Board of Supervisors on a plan to restore the remaining service which will be reviewed with our Board of Directors in December.

In closing, I remind all of us that school is again in session and the need to practice extra caution whether operating a bus or a rail vehicle, driving our private autos or peddling a bicycle. Let’s make this our safest year ever for pedestrians, Muni customers, bicyclists and all who move daily about our wonderful city.

While these accomplishments are certainly noteworthy, they are among a long list of accomplishments that so many of you made happen over the past year. I included the full list in a letter to you in August, and what an impressive list it is—especially given the difficult economic conditions that challenged us throughout the year.

SFMTA Employees, Families and Friends Raise More Than $5,000 in Annual Heart Walk The SFMTA has a sound and impressive tradition for being a good neighbor. Thank you to all who stepped up and out to participate in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, which took place at Justin Herman Plaza on Friday, Sept. 17.

At the same time, I asked the members of the Executive Team and their direct reports to recognize those employees throughout the Agency who contributed to the many accomplishments achieved by presenting Certificates of Appreciation. Truly these employees are worthy of our recognition and appreciation for their roles in attaining our strategic goals and ascribing to our vision of enhancing the quality of life in San Francisco.

A team of 76 walkers signed up to represent the SFMTA at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. SFMTA employees, friends and family members raised more than $5,000 for the American Heart Association. Thank you to our Heart Walk Captains: Cameron Beck, CheongTseng Eng, Sam Fielding, Oliver Gajda, Lome Aseron, Pauline Gonzales, Yvette Torres, Jeannette Sanchez, Laura Stonehill, Dolores Velazquez and Janis Yuen for leading the charge for Team SFMTA.

As you will note in this issue of En Route, we are continuing to rack up accomplishments. We also are embarking upon an undertaking of major importance to all of us at the SFMTA as well as to all who travel in our City. Specifically, our Board of Directors has begun the process to update the Agency’s 2008 – 2012 Strategic Plan which was developed before the onslaught of the Great Recession and the many challenges that we have encountered because of it.

Heart Walk participants (LR): Will Tabajonda, Maurice Growney, Kevin Johnson, Evan Kervinio, Oliver Gajda, Alan Siegel, Jessica Manzi and Kim Holman. Photo by Kristen Holland.

This vital endeavor will bring into focus continuing and new issues, challenges and opportunities as the Board 2


Pedal Power Goes into High Gear With Lifting of Bike Plan Injunction launched an aggressive slate of 45 nearterm projects outlined in the groundbreaking Bicycle Plan. The first, a completed set of bike lanes covering a one-mile stretch on North Point Street between The EmbarOn Aug. 6, Superior Court Judge Peter J. cadero and Van Ness Avenue, was unveiled Busch issued an order lifting a four-year at an Aug. 31 press conference, and work injunction that derailed the implementation is underway on other new lanes along of major portions of the SFMTA Bicycle Townsend Street. Another 10 new bike Program’s ambitious Bicycle Plan, a bluelanes are scheduled to be completed by print for expanding and improving the City’s the SFMTA’s Sustainable Streets team by bicycle network. The 2006 injunction was summer 2011. In addition to the upcoming Gavin Newsom and SFMTA imposed after a lawsuit was filed questioning Mayor Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford bike lane projects, schedules have been Sr. stripe new bike lanes on Townsend whether or not the City had adequately established for installation of all remaining Street at an Aug. 9 press conference. met the environmental review requireshared roadway markings, or “sharrows,” ments mandated by California’s Environspecified in the plan, as well as all previously requested mental Quality Act. bike racks by the end of this year. Dissolution of the injunction was foreshadowed in Expansion of the City’s bike network is one of eight November 2009 when Judge Busch lifted significant goals outlined in the comprehensive Bicycle Plan. Others portions of the 2006 order allowing a limited number of include expanding bike parking, furthering bicycle educabike lane projects and other bike-related improvements tion, adopting bicycle-friendly practices and policies to to move forward. Within days of its lifting, the SFMTA, increase safety and bicycle funding. in conjunction with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, After a journey as meandering as a trip down San Francisco’s famed Lombard Street, the SFMTA’s landmark Bicycle Plan is finally ready to roll on.

SFpark on a Quest for Space San Franciscans will be circling less and living easier this summer with the introduction of SFpark’s aggressive pilot project that will install 5,100 state-of-the-art parking meters throughout the City. The new coin and card parking meters will make parking more convenient and result in fewer parking tickets, less traffic and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Federal funding through the Department of Transportation’s Urban Partnership Program pays for 80 percent of the SFpark project.

meters replaced approximately 270 existing meters in the Civic Center area and around 415 existing meters in the Financial District between Clay, Jackson, Montgomery and The Embarcadero. The wireless parking sensors, to be installed in individual parking spaces and in entrances and exits of City-owned parking garages, collect data and report whether or not parking spaces are available. Information on parking availability will then be posted on, dispersed via the 511 system, mobile devices, text messaging and through new electronic display signs at high-traffic locations throughout the City. Demandresponsive pricing allows SFpark to charge the lowest possible hourly rate to achieve the right level of availability in both garages and at street-metered spaces. More information on SFpark’s innovative new pilot program can be found on its dedicated website,

Along with the new meters, which accept coins, credit/debit cards and SFMTA parking cards, other parking innovations introduced through the SFpark Pilot Program include the installation of 8,300 parking sensors that monitor space availability, real-time parking information to reach drivers directly and demandresponsive pricing. In the first installation phase that took place on July 27, 190 new single-space meters replaced outdated meters in portions of Hayes Valley. In August, multi-space 3

SUMMER 2010, Volume 6, Issue 3


SFMTA Anti-crime Campaign: Muni Enforcement Officers and SFPD Team Up to Take a Bite Out of Crime on Transit SFMTA Information Campaign Reinforces POP and Anti-crime Effort

A new approach to “crime busting” has net Muni enforcement officers’ big results. According to Muni’s top cop, Deputy Chief John Murphy, crime throughout the Muni system plummeted by nearly 50 percent from March through June of this year due to an enhanced, shared ownership approach to transit crime forged between Muni Enforcement and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Spearheaded by SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley, new enhancements to the SFMTA/SFPD arrangement include the establishment of a dedicated, undercover Muni Task Force (MTF) to supplement the existing Muni Response Team (MRT), and more active SFPD involvement in developing and implementing Muni enforcement plans. Using real-time transit crime statistics fed to them by the City Controller’s Office, SFPD District Captains are tasked with developing and implementing enforcement plans to thwart transit crime in their respective districts. The Captains submit monthly enforcement calendars to Chief Murphy who uses them to coordinate enforcement operations with the MRT and MTF teams. “We’re putting cops on dots where the crimes are committed,” says Chief Murphy.

Along with the increased presence of the MRT and MTF, a new Muni information campaign, created to emphasize fare compliance, encourage safe traveling and alert customers to increased penalties for criminal activities perpetrated on Muni property, has been launched.

temporarily suspended after Transit Fare Inspectors were misperceived as either law enforcement officials or Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents by some customers. After new deployment strategies, sensitivity training and other changes were agreed upon between the Agency and the Immigrant Rights Commission and the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs, the patrol efforts were reconvened.

Custom bus cards were produced and placed in Muni buses and light rail vehicles illustrating the role and function of Muni Fare Inspectors while reiterating the long standing policy that all Muni customers must have proof of payment (POP) on their person at all times while traveling throughout the Muni system. SFPD Officer Chris Hayes, a member of the Muni Response Team K-9 unit, patrols the Van Ness Station subway platform with his dog, Casar. Photo by Mark DeAnda

Other elements of the anti-crime bus card marketing campaign provide customer safety tips and highlight increased penalties for crimes committed against Muni customers or on Muni property.

Muni’s Proof of Payment saturation patrols, highly successful in increasing fare compliance, were

“21 Jump Street” Another boon to enforcement has been the development of the SFPD’s MTF, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration and a grant from the Transportation Security Administration. Dubbed “21 Jump Street” after the popular ‘80s television show about a group of youngish, undercover cops targeting youth crime, the team of one sergeant and seven plain-clothes officers has proved a daunting presence to would-be lawbreakers. The statistics are impressive: Criminal incidents dropped from 114 in March of this year—the month the unit was first deployed—to 62 in June. “They’re young, energetic officers, and they have been doing a wonderful job on our most problematic lines,” Chief Murphy said. The MRT also benefits greatly from the association with the SFPD. SFPD bombsniffing K-9 teams are deployed by the MRT to patrol Muni Metro stations. The SFPD also provides additional officers to assist the MRT with saturation patrols, follow-up investigations and locating perpetrators of crimes on or near Muni.



SUMMER 2010, Volume 6, Issue 3

First Taxi Medallion in a Generation Sold in 2010

Cheryl Brinkman Named to SFMTA Board of Directors

On Aug. 4 the SFMTA oversaw the purchase and sale of a San Francisco Taxi Medallion—required to operate a Taxi in the City--for the first time in nearly 33 years. The event occurred as a result of over a year of dialogue between SFMTA staff and members of the San Francisco Taxi industry via informal Town Hall meetings. As a result of these meetings, the Taxi Medallion Sales Pilot Program was born and approved by the SFMTA Board on Aug. 3.

After an official swearing-in ceremony at City Hall on Sept. 1 and a celebratory hug from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Cheryl Brinkman became the latest director to join the SFMTA Board of Directors. Brinkman will fill the seat previously held by Shirley Breyer Black. During his remarks, Mayor Newsom praised Brinkman effusively for her dedication to community service. Brinkman, employed as a Senior Product Manager for the McKesson Corporation in San Franciso, was one of the original organizers of the Sunday Streets Program in 2008 and has held down positions that include Board President of Livable City, Chair of the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee and other policy maker roles with various community and neighborhood groups that champion green transportation modes.

The pilot program allows Medallion holders who are 70 years or older, or are permanently disabled and unable to fulfill the driving requirement, an opportunity to sell their Medallions through the currently established SFMTA system to qualified applicants for $250,000 minus a 15 percent transfer fee payable to the SFMTA and a five percent fee payable to a dedicated Driver Fund to assist drivers. This pool of approximately 200 available Medallions will enable Taxi drivers on the Proposition K waiting list, established in 1983, an opportunity to acquire a Medallion after years of languishing in line. Additionally, for SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel Ford and Deputy Director of Taxis Chris Hayashi celebrate the first Taxi Medallion sold each Medalwith seller Mildred Megarity (second from left) and buyer Ahmed Sidaoui (second from right). lion sold by current Medallion holders in the pilot program, the SFMTA will award a free Medallion from its cache to applicants on the current waiting list who chose not to participate in the Pilot Program.

SFMTA Fund Programming Team Hopes to Have Wishes Granted A number of recent grant applications to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) by the SFMTA’s Fund Programming and Grants Section, if awarded, will further the Agency’s quest to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Bay Area while promoting sustainable, healthy transportation options. The SFMTA has applied for a $31 million Climate Initiatives Program grant seeking out new and innovative strategies that can be replicated regionwide that will significantly reduce Bay Area GHG and air pollutants. The Agency has requested $5 million from the MTC for an intriguing project, the First-Mile and Last-Mile Mobility Solution Pilot Program, another regional program designed to test zero-emission bike-sharing in five Bay Area downtown urban areas close to transit centers along the Caltrain corridor. The Agency has also requested $8 million through the MTC Innovative Grants Program to establish an electric vehicle taxi fleet featuring “instant charging” battery switch stations across two major cities in the Bay Area. The Fund Programming and Grants Section is also responsible for developing strategic funding plans and securing grants to finance SFMTA’s capital needs. Last year the SFMTA received $297 million in new grant funds.

The pilot program has received the blessing of the Taxi Advisory Council, a group comprised of various members of the Taxi industry who will evaluate the program and make recommendations to the SFMTA Board on permanent Taxi Medallion reform at the end of the calendar year. The pilot program is expected to generate revenues of nearly $7 million by the end of the current fiscal year in June 2011. 6


St. Francis Circle Rail Replacement Project Construction Successfully Completed K and M Line Rail Service Restored Sept. 4 Major construction on the St. Francis Circle Rail Replacement Project was completed in early September. The project, an important part of the SFMTA’s Capital Investment Program to improve the Muni system, was put forth to repair, renew and revitalize the existing system infrastructure in the St. Francis Circle area. Muni rail service on both the K Ingleside and M Ocean View lines, provided by substitute bus service during construction, has been fully restored to the previous service levels enjoyed prior to the construction which began earlier this summer.

• New Muni and traffic signals and improved lighting • Improved low-level Muni boarding islands featuring easy access platforms for customers with disabilities • Improved pedestrian islands for added customer safety • New crosswalks and smoother sidewalk surfaces • Improved storm sewer system and updated curb ramps constructed in conjunction with DPW The goal of the SFMTA’s Capital Investment Program is to maintain all elements of the City’s transportation network in a state of good repair and safe operation today and for future generations. Nathaniel P. Ford, Executive Director/CEO said, “We again thank all those dedicated employees who were instrumental in bringing this massive project in on schedule as well as those who assisted customers make the transition to a renewed St. Francis Circle by serving as SFMTA Ambassadors.”

Revitalizing Our Muni System Muni customers, employees, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists are already enjoying the numerous benefits as a result of the St. Francis Circle Rail Replacement Project including: • New Muni tracks for a safer, smoother ride • Street base repairs and new asphalt pavement

Federal Government Expands Prohibited Drugs List The SFMTA announced that effective Oct. 1 changes to federal regulations expand the list of prohibited drugs to be subject to mandatory drug testing. The expanded list includes methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) (also known as “ecstasy”), methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and methylenedioxyethyamphetamine (MDEA). The new regulations also lower threshold levels that determine a positive test for cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines.

These changes, adopted by the SFMTA Board of Directors on June 15, appear in the Substance Abuse Program Policy and Procedures Handbook (June 2010), Exhibit C, Page C-1. Direct any questions concerning these drug testing changes to Reginald Smith, Chief Safety Officer/Director of Safety and Training, at 701.5018.

SFMTA Welcomes New Managers The SFMTA recently welcomed two new faces to its management team, Chief Safety Officer/Director of Safety and Training Reginald Mason and Media Relations Manager Paul Rose.

With the addition of Rose as Media Relations Manager, the SFMTA adds a new face to its public persona, though a familiar one to East Bay residents. The former Director of Communications for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, Rose brings an extensive public relations background to the Agency that also includes stints Media Relations Manager as Communications Manager for the Paul Rose Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and Assistant Press Secretary for former California Governor Gray Davis. Rose takes over from Kristen Holland, who will resume her role as Assistant Media Relations Manager. Both Rose and Mason joined the Agency in July.

Mason, previously the Associate Vice President and Chief Safety Officer for the Metropolitan Transit Chief Safety Officer/DirecAuthority of Harris County in Houstor of Safety and Training Reginald Mason ton, TX, took over the title as Chief Safety Officer from Jim Dougherty who left the Agency in April. Mason’s impressive safety record in Houston included a 25 percent reduction in bus collisions and a 53 percent reduction in rail collisions. 7

SUMMER 2010, Volume 6, Issue 3

SFMTA Captains Needed for City’s Combined Charities Campaign

Construction will continue around the clock from Friday night until Tuesday morning the week of Oct. 8, and from Friday night to Monday morning the following two weeks.

Combined Charities is a city wide department effort. We work with six major umbrella non-profit federations including the United Way, Earth Share of California, Global Impact, Bay Area Black United Fund, Community Health Charities of California and Local Independent Charities of America to help them help others. Last year the campaign raised $1.4 million.

Due to construction, the J Church rail service will only operate in the subway during the three-day Columbus Day weekend on Oct. 8. Subsitute bus service will be provided. Construction will continue on the weekends of Oct. 15 and 22, during which time the regular J Line rail service will continue to operate.

Employee Wellness Exercise Classes at One South Van Ness Improve Stamina, Reduce Stress Earlier this year the SFMTA made a commitment to provide a “fit-friendly” community for all employees. To fulfill this commitment, the SFMTA Employee Wellness unit partnered with the Health Service System to bring afternoon and evening exercise classes to SFMTA headquarters at One South Van Ness Avenue.

The 2009 Combined Charities Campaign focused on participation instead of dollars raised. Our City goal was 20 percent citywide participation. We exceeded that goal by garnering 21.8 percent participation despite difficult economic times.

Employees can now enjoy afternoon yoga and qigong classes and zumba® classes in the evenings.

Last year the SFMTA boasted slightly over 22 percent participation, roughly eight percent higher than in 2008. The Agency’s participation represented nearly 13 percent of the City’s participation by Department, which earned us second place in the participation category for a large City department.

Brown Bag Lunch Discussions In addition, speakers will be scheduled to discuss a variety of health topics during quarterly Brown Bag lunches for the benefit of all employees. The first such event will focus on Diabetes Awareness and is set for Thursday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. in the third floor Marina Conference Room #3239.

This year’s goal is 25 percent city wide participation. Captains are still needed here at the SFMTA to get representation and participation throughout the organization, specifically in Operations and Maintenance, Enforcement and SFMTA offices other than One South Van Ness. If you are interested in helping as a captain, please contact Janis Yuen at

To learn more about Employee Wellness or check on the monthly class schedule, please go to the SFMTA intranet

En Route

As we continue to face the challenge of an uncertain economy, it is vitally important that we recognize our obligation and ability to support those who are less fortunate.

Debra A. Johnson: Director of Administration, Taxis and Accessible Services Murray Bond: Deputy Director of Communications and Marketing and Editor Mark DeAnda: Public Relations Officer and Associate Editor Chimmy Lee: Graphic Designer Heather Moran: Photographer

Thank you for your support.

SFMTA to Complete Rail Improvement Project on Church and 30th Streets in October

To share comments about En Route or to suggest story ideas, please e-mail

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will finish the Rail Improvement Project at the intersection of Church Street at 30th Street on the weekends of Oct. 8, 15 and 22.

En Route is the official employee publication of the SFMTA. In an effort to keep our City green, this newsletter is distributed in an electronic/printable format. A limited number of hard copies are available in reception areas and Gilley rooms.


SFMTA Summer 2010 Newsletter  

I wrote the majority of articles in this edtion including the cover story and center spread.

SFMTA Summer 2010 Newsletter  

I wrote the majority of articles in this edtion including the cover story and center spread.