REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS

PUBLIC HEARING

PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE GOLDEN GATE TRANSIT

REGIONAL COMMUTE SHUTTLE BUS ROUTES 32 AND 34

AUGUST 11, 2005, at 5:00 p.m.

 

THE WHISTLESTOP, ACTIVITIES ROOM

930 TAMALPAIS AVENUE, SAN RAFAEL, CA

 

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) held a Public Hearing in the Activities Room of the Whistlestop, 930 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael, California, on Thursday, August 11, 2005, at 5:00 p.m., for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to eliminate Golden Gate Transit Regional Commute Shuttle Bus Routes 32 and 34. 

Directors Present (7): Directors Brown, Cochran, Reilly and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

 

Directors Not Present (11): Directors Ammiano, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, McGoldrick, Murray, Pahre, Sandoval and Shahum

[Note:   On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: Acting General Manager and District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Acting Auditor-Controller and Budget and Program Analysis Manager Jennifer Mennucci; District Secretary Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney Patrick Miyaki; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Planning Director Alan R. Zahradnik; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Principal Planner Ron Downing; Customer Relations Supervisor Helen Haas; Customer Service Representative Glen Woods (Spanish Translator); Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

 

Visitors Present:  (See list of speakers on page 4.)

1. Purpose of Public Hearing

The public hearing was conducted by President Middlebrook and she opened the public hearing by announcing that the purpose of the public hearing is to receive public comment on a proposal to eliminate Golden Gate Transit regional commute shuttle bus routes 32 and 34.

   
2.

Public Outreach

District Secretary Janet Tarantino reported that in compliance with District policy, the following forms of public outreach were undertaken by the District:

  • The Notice was mailed to organizations and individuals on the District’s mailing list;  
  • Copies of the Notice were posted in various locations on District properties;
  • In compliance with Resolution No. 2005-065, adopted July 8, 2005, legal notices of this Public Hearing were published in the Marin Independent Journal during the period of July 19, 2005, to July 26, 2005;
  • A press release was issued on July 14, 2005, and August 5, 2005, resulting in several newspaper articles, and was posted to the District’s web site on July 18, 2005;
  • Display ads were placed in the Marin Independent Journal, the Commuter Times and the Novato Advance during the period of July 28, 2005, to August 7, 2005;
  • The notice and staff reports were posted on the District’s web site and on www.511.org;
  • E-mail updates were sent to subscribers on July 19, 2005, August 2, 2005, and August 6, 2005;
  • Posters in English and Spanish were placed on Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries, at bus stops and ferry terminals;
  • The District’s Bus Passenger Advisory Committee was provided notice of the public hearing on July 20, 2005; and,
  • On three occasions between July 26, 2005, and August 10, 2005, Bus Operators distributed the notice to all boarding passengers on Routes 32 and 34.

The Attorney for the District confirmed that the above-described public outreach met the legal requirements for calling a public hearing.

   
3.

Staff Presentation

Acting General Manager Denis Mulligan called upon Planning Director Alan Zahradnik to provide the staff presentation.     

Mr. Zahradnik summarized the public hearing staff report (a copy of which is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site), outlining the proposal to eliminate Golden Gate Transit (GGT) regional commute shuttle bus Routes 32 and 34.  The Board of Directors (Board) by Resolution No. 2005-065 at its meeting of July 8, 2005, authorized setting this public hearing to receive public comment on the proposal.  Mr. Zahradnik explained the difference between regional GGT bus service and local Marin bus service, and stated that Routes 32 and 34 are the lowest performing bus routes of the 27 routes in the GGT regional bus system, each with less than five riders per bus trip.  These routes represent an expensive commitment of peak period resources for a very small number of passengers. 

He further reported that until the November 2003 bus service reductions, GGT commute Routes 32 and 34 provided direct peak-hour commute service to the San Francisco Financial District from the Peacock Gap/Glenwood and Santa Venetia sections of San Rafael, respectively.  Mr. Zahradnik noted that prior to November 2003, ridership for Route 32 was 19 passengers per bus and for Route 34, 17 passengers per bus, with a significant majority of those passengers boarding at the downtown San Rafael Transit Center (SRTC).  These routes were initially identified in 2003 for elimination due to low ridership, but were instead modified to become commute shuttles to SRTC as a means to preserve transit options for residents of the two areas.  Commuters to San Francisco on Routes 32 and 34 now connect with other San Francisco-bound buses at SRTC to continue their transbay commute trips. 

Additionally, Mr. Zahradnik reported that currently Route 32 has some local ridership, while Route 34 has as many or more local Marin riders than San Francisco-bound passengers.  Route 34 is complemented by midday service on Route 33, a local route provided by the Marin County Transit District (MCTD).  He described the alternatives available for commuters if the routes are eliminated.  Mr. Zahradnik stated that any substitute local bus service would be at the discretion of MCTD, and he noted that MCTD does not provide alternate local bus service to the Peacock Gap and Santa Venetia areas at this time.  Finally, he stated that the elimination of Routes 32 and 34 has been identified in the FY 05/06 Operating and Capital Budget as a cost-saving measure, estimated to provide $183,960 in cost savings for six months of the fiscal year, from December 12, 2005, through June 30, 2006.
   
4.

Public Comments Received

 

President Middlebrook then opened public comment portion of the public hearing.

 

a.           Written Comments

Ms. Tarantino reported that 40 public comments had been received prior to the public hearing, including 18 form letters, 16 e-mails and 6 letters. 

She summarized the comments, as follows:

    • One comment expressed support, noting that the two routes should have been eliminated in 2003 rather than converting them to shuttles.
    • Thirty-six comments expressed opposition, noting that the residents of the Santa Venetia and Peacock Gap neighborhoods will have no peak period transit service if these routes are eliminated.
    • Three comments expressed general comments about Routes 32 and 34.

              b.           Oral Comments

The following members of the public expressed their opposition to eliminating Routes 32 and 34:

    • Yvette Wakefield, Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 local rider;
    • Julie Brim, Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter;
    • Mary Alice Kiker, Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter;
    • Joanie Doss, Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 local rider;
    • Dalis VanderYacht, Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter/local rider;
    • Sam Hirabayashi, Peacock Gap resident and Route 32 commuter;
    • Patricia Ascencio, Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 commuter/local rider;
    • Monica Mazzini, Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 local rider;
    • Rita Emami, Peacock Gap resident, Route 32 commuter and employs individuals who areRoute 32 local riders
    • Cathy Daniel, Peacock Gap resident, former Route 32 commuter; son is Route 32 local rider;
    • Howard Lazar, transit-dependent Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter;
    • Rocky Birdsey, Marin Center for Independent Living, speaking on behalf of transit-dependent seniors and persons with disabilities;
    • Bethe Jensen, Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter;
    • Rogelia Medina, Spanish-speaking Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 local rider (translation provided by Glen Woods);
    • Wilfrido Grazados, Spanish-speaking Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 commuter and local rider (translation provided by Glen Woods);
    • Maria Paz, Spanish-speaking Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 local rider (translation provided by Glen Woods);
    • Maira Moliza, Spanish-speaking Santa Venetia resident and Route 33/34 local rider (translation provided by Glen Woods);
    • Helen Berry, Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter;
    • Sylvia Schaefer, Santa Venetia resident and Route 34 commuter; and,
    • Patricia Lazar, Santa Venetia resident, speaking on behalf of her husband who is a Route 34 commuter
   
5.

Comments from Board Members

 

Discussion ensued among the Board members present, including the following:

 

Director Boro made the following comments and inquiries:

  • He requested that staff undertake an analysis of how Route 33 can be adjusted to complement service to the Santa Venetia area if Route 34 is eliminated, including the costs of additional service on Route 33.
  • He suggested that since the majority of Route 32 and 34 passengers were local riders, staff coordinate with MCTD to provide local service to the areas that would lose service through the elimination of these routes, particularly the Peacock Gap neighborhood.
  • He requested that staff provide a report on how and when staff conducts passenger counts.

Director Brown made the following comments:

  • He commended District employee Glen Woods for his services as a Spanish translator during the public comment period of the public hearing.
  • He concurred with Director Boro that District staff work with MCTD to seek alternative transit options for Route 32 and 34 passengers that would lose transit service.
  • He suggested that the members of the public who spoke at the public hearing provide contact information on the Public Hearing Visitor Log so that District staff could contact them regarding transit options.
   
6.

Closing Remarks

 

President Middlebrook stated that staff would summarize all public comments received and would present a final recommendation relative to the proposal presented at this public hearing to the Finance-Auditing Committee at its regularly scheduled meeting on September 8, 2005.  She further reported that if action is taken by the Finance-Auditing Committee on September 8, 2005, the item would be presented to the full Board of Directors on Friday, September 23, 2005, for its consideration.  Both of these meetings will be held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California.
   
7.

Conclusion

 

All business having been concluded, the public hearing was closed at 6:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted

/s/Janet S. Tarantino

Secretary of the District