Standing Up for Our Oppressed Brothers and Sisters on the 38 Geary
Those of us lucky enough to right our beloved N-Judah, complete with tracks and a certain "get the Hell out of the way, cars and cyclists, the train is comin' through" character sometimes forget just how herky-jerky a bus can be. Then you transfer to one and wonder "just why DID they go to these crazy buses anyway?"
That in itself is a long and tortured story, one that is not unique to San Francisco. But after 50 years of fallout from some disastrous decisions made in ways only San Francisco can seem to invent, there's some hope, at least for our Oppressed Brothers and Sisters who ride the 38 Geary.
Not everyone knows that the 38 Geary is the busiest transit route in the Western US (and one of the top 5 in the United States!), serving 40-50,000 +passengers every day. Now, with that many riders, you'd think that the system would work well to serve those to use it every day, but it's easily one of the biggest pain-in-the-ass routes one can ride.
I speak from personal experience when I used to live off of Geary and rode the 38 downtown to catch BART, and even in my not-so-remote location, the buses would often fly by, totally packed, and more than a few times miss my connecting BART. Let's just say after enough times on a crappy, over-booked, herky-jerky bus, I moved, and I'm happy I did.
However, there's an effort by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research group and the coaltion of supporters known as Go Geary to organize support for a Bus-Only lane that could one day be upgrade to a rail line.
While the hope of a rail line on the former B Geary Line might be hoping for a bit much, the fact is a Bus-Only lane on Geary St. would make a hell of a lot of sense. Sure we wouldn't get the satisfaction of a "real" rail line, but who cares?
The benefit of a rail line would still exist, but there'd be no need to lay track and build the assorted expensive whatnots one needs with a full fledged rail line. More importantly, if you make mass transit work, run on time, and use modern, clean, and non-craptacular buses, guess what? More people will use it, and the system will ensure that the local business and residents are well served by something they pay for via taxes and fares.
As it stands now, we spend millions for a system that's not working , groaning under the load of passengers it has - and it has no room to grow. True, this is not as easy as snapping one's fingers and making it happen - there's gonna be disruptions and construction hassles. However, they will be nowhere near the mayhem caused by putting the BART/MUNI tunnels on Market st. back in the day, and it's incumbent on us to press for a plan that minimizes the hassles as much as humanly possible.
But this being San Francisco, we can't all work together so everyone - residents, business owners, and riders SHOULD be able to work out a plan that serves the best interests of the city. But no.
There's always someone who has to take on the role of self-appointed loudmouthed jerk, and in the case of the plan for fixing the 38 Geary line, we've got one in the form of an angry one-man band whose personal grudges threaten good policy.
I'm not bothering to even link to this grudge-match guy, because frankly, I'm sick of dorks like him dominating policy discussion when it comes to trying to move the city forward. People like him mistake personal animosity for political action (or in his case, inaction) and its this kind of attitude that has turned San Francisco from "The City That Knows How" to "The City That Knows How To Whine, Bitch, and Moan."
That's why if you can, you should sign a petition, send a letter, wave a sign, or do something to get our elected folks, our appointed folks, and the other folks who are paid by us to make transit work properly, and find a way to make the 38 Geary plan work for everyone involved, and not have plans scuttled based on the irrational rantings of one person.
Trust me when I say you don't wanna f*ck this one up. We've been paying for the mistakes of the past of those who looked for the half-assed way out for a long time, and one has to think about the legacy to future generations before signing some idiot's petition to screw things up yet again.
For a chance to stand up for an HONEST fix to the 38 Geary mess, you should consider stopping by the meeting at Presidio Middle School where you can talk to Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, and Muni folks about how to best go forward on moving San Francisco into the 21st Centry - and avoid screwing up because some bitter men can't get over the fact they suck.
Richmond Town Hall Meeting with Mayor Newsom and Supervisor McGoldrick
When: Saturday, July 29th from 12:00 to 2:00
Where: Presidio Middle School, 450 30th Ave between Geary and Clement.