BREAKING NEWS: MTA COO Ken McDonald announced his resignation today. Updates at the SF Appeal and Streetsblog SF.
Good grief…I knew something was up when on Twitter I started getting messages about a fleet of helicopters hovering over Market Street, and the first reports of yesterday’s big crash. Thanks to on scene pics from Violet Blue, Reader Jamison, the SF Appeal, and many more, we were able to see MUNI’s latest disaster.
Fortunately no one is dead (thank God), but it was a bit much to hear Mayor Newsom and Muni Chief Nate Ford plead the case that MUNI is safe when in both cases, it’s clear that people who were operating trains and buses perhaps should not have been doing so. And while you can always show statistics that indicate MUNI is “safe”, combining these wrecks with a rising criminal element, and you start to realize, no, it’s not. One has to wonder if we’re going to pay more in settlements than we ever saved with our “cuts.” Seriously, you can’t take a wrecking ball to the budget, fail to reform work rules that don’t allow the bad employees to be fired, and somehow expect everything to run just groovy.
But Mayor Newsom, and his handpicked MTA don’t seem to get that, nor do they care. Which is understandable – heck I find myself avoiding commute-time mayhem as much as possible these days, after being stranded downtown waiting for an N that never seems to show up on time.
Which leads me to this email from Reader X, who lives out by the Caltrain station, and reports what many of you have relayed to me on Twitter – the frustration of trying to get an N or a K/T from 4th and King inbound. I know for myself, whenever I’m returning from Palo Alto, inevitably I’ve got a long ride if I choose the N (which is why I often now take a bus up to Market and switch to the 71.) While I’m lucky personally to be able to choose from 3 bus lines and 1 Metro line to get home, not everyone is as fortunate, so having enough N trains is one of those ‘good ideas’ that get thrown in the circular file at MUNI hq.
Here’s one for ya!
The 2nd/King platform is about 500 feet away from the building where I live; as I approached it last night, a downtown-bound T/K was pulling in and I declined to run, opting to wait for the next train; I arrived at the overhead LED at 6:40 PM, with 18 minutes until the next downtown-bound T/K and 9 minutes until the next downtown-bound N-Judah, the latter of which never arrived.
In the 18 minutes until the arrival of the next train, the T/K, which I boarded at approximatly 6:55 PM, there were no less than six 2-car N-Judah trains headed for the CalTrain Depot, NONE of which turned around to conduct service in the opposite direction. The overhead LED kept changing the arrival time of the downtown-bound N-Judah, but it never arrived, making me wonder just how many N-Judah trains can be accommodated at the turnaround under I-280.
While underground on the outbound T/K, I noticed that the platforms were DANGEROUSLY crowded, presumably because many of those passengers were waiting on N-Judah trains.
I arrived at my destination (Church/Market Sts) at 7:15 PM, 15 minutes late for a dinner date, and after an unacceptable 35 minutes of “platform-to-platform” travel time. I sent a complaint to MUNI via their website, but I don’t hold out for any explanation; this was the same night that an SUV became sandwiched between two F-line streetcars on Market St because of an allegedly distracted driver, a much more serious problem.
I’ve actually known a few Loyal Readers who relied on an N or K/T connection to Caltrain that have given up and now drive or actually move, either somewhere else in the City or leave altogether. It’s particularly frustrating if you work late way down south and come home, only to find yourself waiting around or taking forever to get home.
Well that’s all for now. I’m taking advantage of the sun for a few hours and then going back to work here in the Inner Sunset. Later on, I’ll be posting about a whirlwind of free events available this weekend…