Another Blast from the Past: Wise Words from SPUR!
If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend checking out the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association website. They have all sorts of good information and some very in-depth studies on how to improve Muni. I've added a link on the link list to the right to their section on transit issues.
However, what was most interesting was a snipped of a statement on Muni made by SPUR which had some very pertinent points about Muni. You can read it in its entirety here, scanned in from a book on Muni entitled "The People's Railway: the History of the Municipal Railway of San Francisco" by Anthony Perles.
Here's a sample:
"Second, everyone must recognize that transit is an essential public service just like schools, streets, and fire protection. In this context, referring to a 'deficit' is nonsense; no transit system in the nation supports itself from the farebox. If you ever hear a politician refer begrudgingly to the 'Muni deficit,' he will have failed the test
Third, the Mayor and Supervisors must adopt a a strictly enforced 'transit first' policy. Even if Muni is fully budgeted and if management proves itself extremely capable, service will still be poor because of transit's inability to escape congestion caused by autos, double-parked trucks and construction. New legislation is needed to establish a transit street system, giving transit top priority in any conflict."
Now what's most interesting is that this was written in 1973. Yet you could make this (and other arguments SPUR made in 1973) today, and it would be as relevant to the ongoing Muni situation.
I think it is a chance to give SPUR its props for having some incredible foresight over 30 years ago. But it is also a time for us as citizens to ask why it is we let our elected officials get away with rhetoric and hot air, and why we as citizens feel it's ok to accept mediocrity, instead of the best. Remember, we can bitch about Muni and those doofus gummint folks, but in the end, they're our responsibility, and it's up to us to kick 'em in the butt until they get it right.
Otherwise I'll never be able to get home from Kennedy's on time!