Letter to the Editor of the Richmond Review

This letter to the editor by Richmond District resident Devon Warner was published in the Richmond Review in June 2016. Want to join her in supporting Geary BRT? Sign our petition to get Geary moving.

Dear Editor,

This is in response to your editorial piece by Robert Starzel, June, 2016.

I wonder if Mr. Starzel ever relies on Muni? He is a Harvard-educated attorney, in practice for 40 plus years who was “of counsel” at Holme Roberts & Owen for five years, has served as chairman, vice chairman, and vice president of several large companies, such as Southern Pacific Railroad and the owner company of the S.F. Examiner. Does he know of the stress his own staff faces, risking their jobs by taking unreliable transit? These are the very people the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is designed to serve: ordinary commuters, teenagers going to and from school, parents with young kids, seniors- in short, people who cannot, or choose not to support car ownership in our crowded city. Do they deserve decent, even good bus service to and from the Richmond? I say yes.

Do they deserve decent, even good bus service to and from the Richmond? I say yes.

That he calls city officials “tyrants” for simply doing their jobs is unfortunate. These “tyrants” are highly educated city planners and engineers who have dedicated their careers to making the city better.

He invokes Soviet Russia in reference to outer Taraval, which I find slightly bizarre. I see nothing offensive when I drive out there but I wonder if Mr. Starzel intended to play on the feelings of our local emigrant community?

As a 25-year neighborhood resident, who has only recently owned a car, the notion that we need better Muni service has long been obvious. Sometimes the 38 seems like a slow moving cattle car.

Reliable transit is essential to a growing city.

Reliable transit is essential to a growing city. It is particularly necessary for those with low, or even moderate incomes. Who can afford to pay $25 to $35 a day to park downtown? Express bus service is maxed out every day. Those who work outside the financial district and on schedules other than nine-to-five also need and deserve good transit. But let me correct a few points in Mr. Starzel’s editorial:

Many meetings have, and continue to take place where comments and questions are entertained. The MTA actively collects, and is influenced by local input.

Yes, some trees are being removed — and every tree is being replaced.

Simply adding more busses is not the answer. Traffic can only be as smooth as the combined number of vehicles can move. Having a dedicated bus lane insures that other traffic will not hold up the bus. Those of us who have actually ridden the bus on any major corridor know how awful it is to be stuck in traffic on the bus. A real solution to the problem is welcome relief!

The future will one day be today- we must be prepared to meet it.

He offers no support to his statement that data the city relies on is “rigged”. The data and how it was arrived at is publicly available, presented in a way non-engineers can read and understand. Please visit MTA’s web pages: www.sfcta.org/geary-corridor-bus-rapid-transit-home. See also Go Geary on facebook for the latest news.

One thing Mr. Starzel does get right: our beloved City is indeed planning for change 30 years ahead. The future will one day be today- we must be prepared to meet it.

Density on the corridor is ever increasing. If we want less pollution, noise, and congestion, good transit must be provided. Fast, reliable transit is a worthy goal in itself, but it’s something many of us never even imagine. We can make this reality if we have the political will. We can choose to embrace change and move forward into the future, prepared to handle the inevitable.

We can choose to embrace change and move forward into the future, prepared to handle the inevitable.

I support the Bus Rapid Transit plan for Geary Boulevard and I encourage you to learn more about it. If you do, I am confident that you will, too.

Very truly yours,

/s/

Devon Warner