Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Broken Public Transit

Another proposal to fix Muni, San Francisco's ludicrously broken public transit system.
Bravo, I suppose, but half measures will accomplish quarter purposes at best. I know it is not feasible given the political climate of "government-as-always-irretrievably-broken" but what we need is to make parking triply expensive, and spend every bloody nickle of that money on transit, including right-of-way streetcars, mini-buses for odd routes, and on-call handicapped vehicles to get us out of the business of constructing these wheelchair ramps that block everything and serve virtually no one. Predictably, the union came out opposed ... why doesn't the union back a measure that doubles the money spent on transit ... isn't that in their interests?

A little cranky, here, but public transit will remain broken until we apply the same sort of creativity to it that we have done to the Internet. The union's approach is like the approach of the ADA ... holding onto your little sinecure rather than bargaining for something that changes the terms of the debate. Those ridiculous wheelchair ramps cost millions and serve a few ... why not put all that money in one big pot and create an Internet-savvy system that serves all the handicapped, even if they live miles from a wheelchair ramp. Same with the union ... can the kvetching, and become a leader for a public transit future.

The new T line cost nearly $700 million for a four-mile line! We can do better than that. How about starting with a new Geary streetcar and builiding it for half the cost of the T line. It can be done.

No comments: