GearyBRT Staff Shuts down Seniors, Minorities and Small Business Owners from speaking at November 5th Public Comment Meeting

Real people from neighborhoods around San Francisco speak out against MuniBRT

Henry Karnilowicz

San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations

The MTA wants to create a transit corridor instead of a business corridor with lanes of fast moving busses traveling through synchronized traffic lights. The purpose being for rapid mass movement from the Richmond to downtown ignoring the businesses in this corridor. Try to visualize parking being removed along Valencia Street and a fast moving bus lane whose purpose is not to bring customers to the businesses but primarily to load and unload people traveling to shop or work downtown.

It's not only Geary but also Taraval that is going to be negatively impacted by MTA's proposed changes, and other parts of our fair City. 

David Heller
President Greater Geary Merchants Association

Our Future is in Jeopardy.
We find ourselves at a critical moment in our history as we are faced with the challenge of protecting our future as a merchant corridor.
Geary Boulevard is under attack.
As many of you know there is a plan for a Bus Rapid Transit system on the Geary Corridor.  This is a plan that was never approved by San Francisco voters or local merchants.  Instead, authorization for the bus system was buried in the 2003 renewal of a sales tax measure (known as Proposition K) whose revenue is dedicated to public transit projects in San Francisco.
Bus Rapid Transit would dedicate two lanes of Geary Boulevard for MUNI buses to travel, one in each direction.  We as merchants are concerned about the disruption of   business during years and years of construction on Geary Boulevard, as well as the permanent loss of traffic lanes and street parking.   
Where will the 55,000 cars driving daily on Geary Boulevard go when half of the street’s capacity is eliminated?  I’ll tell you where:  into our neighborhoods, on Anza, Balboa, and Clement Streets.  Those already busy streets will drown in even automobile traffic that should have stayed on Geary Boulevard in the first place.
Just look at the construction surrounding the Third Street Light Rail or BART and ask the merchants in those communities if the City’s campaign for “progress” brought them prosperity or ruin.  We must think about our future and do what we can to preserve the Geary Corridor for the next generations.

Glenn Urban, Geary Blvd Small Business Owner

The amount of money spent in the Hybrid plan vs the No Build is idiotic. They can take $1,000,000 or less and remove the bus stops to increase travel times and NOT disrupt businesses, and send traffic to other neighborhoods adjacent to the Geary corridor for the projected cost of $300,000,000!! Plus $12.5 Million each year in additional costs..that is a $424,000,000 figure to mess up neighborhoods and create the possibility of higher density housing along Geary that will be in the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. BYE BYE more affordable housing as it exists. New buildings = No Rent Control. It is a DEVELOPER LAND GRAB. COMPLETE WASTE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS!

Pete Geiler, SF Resident

I take the 38R or 38X 5 days per week and think the BRT is a terrible idea. When contacting Eric Mar's office, the response is corporate speak about traffic calming, which is a consultant buzzword according to a traffic consultant friend. How many people have been hit by cars on Market, Judah and Taraval while getting to the center to board - so safety is another issue. Last - it takes 20-25 minutes to get from Geary/Park Presidio to downtown at 7:00 am - how will BRT reduce that time? No way!

J Calder, SF Resident

Told you. It's a zoning play. Every building on Geary can double its heigh as higher zoning density. 100 blocks of Geary bulldozed. Jobs, business, renters, caput!

Mary Anne Kayiatos, SF Community Leader

My name is MaryAnne Kayiatos and our group has been trying to stop the Van Ness BRT from building down the middle the same as your group is about to begin doing on Geary. I understand that you are heading the group and I wanted to touch base with you. 
Unfortunately, Van Ness is further along the approval process, and the EIR has already been approved because there was very little public outreach and almost all of the early SFMTA meetings were attended by only about 6 people. It was only when people became aware this August of the 30-day notices placed on almost 200 trees along the Van Ness corridor, both on the median and the sidewalk, that people began to step up and object. So the Public Hearing for the trees had a large group attending, and we are still awaiting a decision from the DPW about it. However, the mature trees on the median cannot be saved unless they reconsider and build the BRT at curbside. In your case, the Geary EIR has not yet be approved, and I understand that this Thursday's meeting will be accepting public comments about it.
(Thurs 6:30 to 8:30 at St. Mary's Cathedral, 1111 Gough Street for those of you who would like to attend)
However, in the meantime, I have written and placed a petition on to try and get the city to reconsider building Alternative 2 at curbside on Van Ness, rather than combining Alternatives 3 & 4 to be built down the middle. So far, almost 400 people have signed the petition. Tomorrow, we plan to bring the petition, a list of those who signed it and their comments to the SFMTA Board Meeting.  Below is a link to get you to the petition and maybe you and some of the people fighting the Geary BRT would like to sign it.
We are fighting to stop the same problems that you are facing on Geary. We have been to many meetings and know a lot about the organizations and the officials involved. So I was thinking that maybe we could join forces and fight them together. 
I have also had an email from L.Tomasita Medal that suggests building a citywide coalition explained in her words below: 
"getting disability community advocates, senior organizations and parents groups to see how their self interests are at risk with these  BRT plans would be a key to success.  Build a citywide coalition like I did when I saved the deYoung Museum from being built at the Embarcadero instead of Golden Gate Park after the Trustees of the Fine Arts Museums voted twice to move the deYoung Museum out of Golden Gate Park. We organized a city wide coalition called Keep the deYoung in the Park.  We figured out all the affected constituencies then contacted them, addressed their memberships, got resolutions in support, built city wide consciousness of the issue, got thousands of signatures to put it on the ballot. A wealthy descendant of  Michael deYoung then came forward and paid for a poll that found 82% city wide support for keeping the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park; our guy talked to their guy telling them we knew we were ahead and would win at the ballot; they capitulated and negotiated and now the trustees and the chairwoman of the board act like they wanted the new deYoung in Golden Gate Park all along"
I don't know whether she has brought this up to you also, but I think it is a great idea and could help to stop both the Van Ness and the Geary BRT from being built down the middle, which has so many adverse consequences. Please look over my petition that lists all the issues we want to stop. 
It would be great if we could come together and talk and join forces.

L Tomasita Medal, SF Resident

I have personally physically gotten out of my car to pick up three different people who had fallen out of their wheelchairs into the street. (Mission Street, Howard Street, Outer Geary Boulevard). In all cases, the drivers behind me honked in anger and frustration at the delay instead of getting out of their vehicles to help me. If transit lines are put in the middle of Geary Boulevard, when people fall out of their wheelchairs (and they WILL), they will fall into the middle of the street of a boulevard with drivers rushing to or from downtown. Deaths are inevitable under this plan.
Also, making parents with small children in strollers or hand held have to cross three lanes of traffic to get on or off a bus is another very dangerous life risk.
Making  elders and those with disabilities cross to the middle of Geary Boulevard to board or disembark is another very risky, FRIGHTENING HARDSHIP. 
Imagine an elder trying to cross to the mid-boulevard island. It would be a terrifying experience every time.
Bus Rapid Transit eliminates bus stops in order to get worker bees to their jobs faster, but it makes life infinitely harder for those who are disabled and for whom an extra two block walk is perhaps an insurmountable hardship.  Such as myself; there is no way that I could walk four blocks to a bus stop. I cannot even walk one block. What is the benefit of an extra fifteen minutes to downtown?  The same objective could be accomplished simply by adding more buses to the Geary bus line.
Bus Rapid Transit is one of three very ill-conceived projects that seem to have been designed by department staffers behind closed doors that are a disaster for our City. They are: Natural Areas Program; Bus Rapid Transit: and asbestos-laden crumbled tire artificial turf on San Francisco public park playing fields. 
Very saddened to be watching this happen,

San Francisco's Community is not allowed to speak in public at MTA/CTA Public Comment Meeting

Gary Champagne was not allowed to tell the public how his small business' sales are down 30% due to SFCTA construction. 

Dr. Ron Konopolski tried to testify how easily the GearyBRT Public Comments could be corrupted, In an ironic twist, he was vindicated. 

Nancy Nagano thinks GearyBRT plan is unsafe for pedestrians, but Staffers would not let her speak to the meeting attendees.

Corey Urban was denied to speak of the GearyBRT plan's factual errors and tricks to artificially make their time savings attractive.