Posts filed under 'Issues'

SF Municipal Transportation Agency projected deficit

April 15th, 2009

Projected $128.9 Million Deficit Requires Difficult Decisions

As a result of the global economic downturn, a national recession, the elimination of state funding for transit operations and a City budget deficit approaching a half billion dollars, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is facing an unprecedented budget deficit of $128.9 million for the next fiscal year that begins on July 1.

The SFMTA Board of Directors will be considering a broad range of options to increase revenues and reduce costs.

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 7 at 2 p.m. in Room 400 at City Hall, the SFMTA Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on proposals to balance the budget. Details of the proposals are available online and include:

Fare and Fee Increases

Proposed increases to Muni fares and parking fees, fines and rates and a proposed extension of parking meter hours.

Service Modifications and Reductions

Three possible comprehensive options of service cuts, reductions and modifications have been proposed. If approved these cuts, reductions and modifications would most likely be implemented in September. Specific details of each of these three options can be viewed online. Please note that the service cuts, reductions and modifications developed in response to the SFMTA’s unprecedented budget deficit do not represent the implementation of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). However, the proposed reductions and modifications have been informed by the data collected and the extensive public input received during the TEP planning phase.

Taxi Medallions

A proposal that 100 taxi Medallions be auctioned on a pilot basis.

Declaration of Fiscal Emergency

The April 7 meeting of the SFMTA Board of Directors will also include a public hearing on a possible declaration of a “fiscal emergency” for the SFMTA for the next fiscal year, which would allow the service reductions and fare and fee increases under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

A “fiscal emergency” means that the agency is projected to have negative funding within one year from the date of declaration. It is important to note that a declaration of fiscal emergency does not by itself implement service reductions or changes to fares, fees, fines, rates and charges that support transit service.

The SFMTA last declared a fiscal emergency in 2005.

The SFMTA has also scheduled additional meetings and opportunities for public comment, which will be held as follows:

Tuesday, April 14, 9 a.m.
SFMTA Board of Directors Policy and Governance Committee
One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room

Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Information Meeting on the SFMTA Budget and Proposed Service and Fare Changes
One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room

Tuesday, April 21, 2 p.m.
SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting
City Hall, Room 400

Thursday, April 30, 2 p.m.
Special SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting* on fiscal year 2010 Budget
City Hall, Room 400

* Note: The SFMTA Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on a budget balancing plan at this meeting.

In addition to encouraging attendance at the upcoming meetings, the SFMTA requests public feedback on the budget balancing options and proposed service reductions and modifications via:

E-mail: sfmtabudget@sfmta.com
Telephone: 311 or TTY 415.701.2323
Facsimile: 415.701.4502
U.S. Mail: SFMTA Board of Directors, One South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94103

NOTE: All written comments on the declaration of a fiscal emergency on the Board’s April 7 agenda must be received at the SFMTA by Friday, April 10.

Following the SFMTA Board of Directors submittal of an Amended Operating Budget to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on May 1, the Board of Supervisors has 30 days to allow it to take effect or to reject the entirety of the Amended Budget with seven or more votes.

Clarendon Avenue traffic safety improvements beginning in 2008

July 1st, 2008

Clarendon Avenue Safety ProjectThere are two projects that will be improving the conditions on Clarendon Avenue near Clarendon Elementary School. The first project is being organized by the Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT), and Department of Public Works (DPW), and will make safety improvements. Constructions will begin in July (2008).

The second project is a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant that DPT applied for at the end of 2007 and were awarded earlier this year. These improvements will not be implemented for at least another year.

This document provided by the city contains the details and maps of the sections of Clarendon Avenue that will be improved.

TPIA’s response to Sutro Tower Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

April 24th, 2008

This letter is written in response to the January 5, 2008 Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report regarding to the above referenced project.   In sum, the Twin Peaks Improvement Association advocates that:

February 1, 2008

Bill Wycko
Acting Environmental Review Officer
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, California 94103

Re:     Sutro Tower NOP/IS
Case No. 2007.0206E

Dear Mr. Wycko:

This letter is written in response to the January 5, 2008 Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report regarding to the above referenced project.   In sum, the Twin Peaks Improvement Association advocates that:

1) The time period for review and comment of the proposed scope of this EIR be extended;

2) The City and County of San Francisco retain an independent peer reviewer with expertise in the hazards posed by telecommunications towers and broadcast related operations to assist with the proper scoping of the EIR with regard to the proposed project (in light of the fact that the Sutro Tower is located within striking distance of thousands of homes, three emergency/essential water reservoirs, and Clarendon Elementary School);

and

(3) The Notice of Preparation of EIR be corrected and re-circulated so that meaningful comment on the scope of the EIR can be made by the public as the Notice of Preparation of the EIR fails to wholly consider very real dangers posed by the project.
Extension of Public Comment Period

At the outset, the comment period for this project must be extended.  The Sutro Tower is unlike any other structure in San Francisco.  Given the complexity of the Tower and its importance as an Essential Telecommunications Facility, and that the Tower is used for emergency telecommunications, the Notice should have been sent to a greater number of stake holders, including other communities, that rely upon Sutro Tower’s emergency broadcasts.

Moreover, the City must retain outside independent peer reviewers who specialize in identifying the hazards and dangers posed by telecommunications towers and broadcast related activities to assist both the Planning and Building Departments in the assessment of the risks posed by this type of project to the community, so that a proper EIR can be prepared to protect the public interest.

Placing the onus of identifying the hazards of this project as well as all future projects and the public response regarding this project upon the neighbors who live under the Sutro Tower, without including independent experts comment regarding the scope of the EIR, is inadequate.

Improper/Incomplete Description of the Project  and Project Area

The Sutro Tower telecommunications compound sits precariously close to three of San Francisco’s essential water reservoirs.  Any compromise in the Sutro Tower structure of the “unplanned” removal of any structure/antennae/equipment off the Sutro Tower presents a potentially fatal threat every day to the residents who live in the vicinity of the Sutro Tower.

Moreover, it is impossible to comment upon the scope of the EIR as the Notice fails to disclose or address the ambient broadcast strengths of the proposed new antennae.

Potential Seismic Impacts

The Notice of Preparation of the EIR improperly suggests that Sutro Tower and The Project do not pose a seismic hazard or that seismic hazards are less than significant “due to the high elevation and distance of the project site from a large inland water body.”

Given that Sutro Tower is located within striking distance of (1) three water reservoirs containing thousands upon thousands of gallons of water sited directly above residential housing, and (2) more than 1000 homes are located within the “fall zone of the Sutro Tower”, and (3) Clarendon Elementary School is also located within the “fall zone of Sutro Tower”, the Planning Department’s conclusive language in the Notice (page 37, lines 1 thru 10) is at best ill conceived, and at worst, demonstrates that the Planning Department fails to comprehend the impact of the Sutro Tower as well as the Proposed Project upon the neighborhoods below.

Location of Ancillary Equipment

By their own admission, the building located at the base of Sutro Tower is at capacity and over the years equipment has been added atop the transmission building and behind screened areas and located upon “equipment pads” at the base of the Tower.  Contrary to the assertions in the Notice of Preparation, this unsightly equipment is clearly visible from public roads and can be seen in plain view from the living room windows and gardens of many homes located in San Francisco.

The Notice fails to provide an adequate description of the ancillary equipment, whether or not the equipment will generate noise or create other impacts on the neighborhood, so accordingly because of this failure it is impossible to comment upon the proper scope of the Notice.

Conclusion

Because the Notice of Preparation does not provide drawings or plans or schematic representations of the proposed locations of the Proposed Project, fails to disclose the nature and use of the proposed antennae, fails properly describe the existing area, fails to address where the ancillary equipment is to be located, (inside or outside), fails to address or disclose the issues pertaining to terrorism, security, and seismic hazards, and the conversion of the Tower to other uses not related to fm broadcasting, the Notice of Preparation is defective, must be revised and re-circulated.

Very truly yours,

Doris S. Linnenbach
Twin Peaks Improvement Association

cc: President and Members, Planning Commission
President and Members, Board of Supervisors

Act now to Promote a Children’s Playground on Tank Hill

Add comment November 7th, 2006

Neighbors are organizing to ask that the concrete area where the tank used to be located on Tank Hill be converted to a children’s playground.

Bevan Dufty’s office is conducting an inquiry into the possibility, and we urge you to FAX, write, email or call to encourage that this playground be created. (Click “more” for more information on what’s suggested, and how to contact the Supervisors…)
Tank Hill Park is bordered by Twin Peaks Boulevard, Carmel Street, and Belvedere Street – and has representation from districts 5 and 8. Tank Hill is currently designated an “Open Spaces” area of San Francisco. While it provides glorious views of the city, bay and headlands to all, it most immediately serves the small communities of Clarendon Heights and the upper part of Cole Valley. These communities are located on some of the highest and steepest points in the city, which have no playgrounds within safe and reasonable walking distance. Currently Tank Hill has a wonderful array of native plants, but there is a useless (66 foot diameter) circle of cement through which nothing can grow. We are requesting that this cement area be fenced in to house a children’s playground whose design is yet to be determined. Please lend your support to the improvement of our community by informing Supervisor Dufty’s office of your support for such a playground.

You can email this message – and it’s better if you “make it your own” by adding your own wording – to Bevan.Dufty@sfgov.org

Dear Supervisor Dufty:

I support the creation of a children’s playground on the concrete circle remaining on Tank Hill. This would convert an unused space into a place of great enjoyment for both children and adults in one of San Francisco’s open spaces.

Name: _________________ Residence address: ________________

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