January 13, 2011

 

REPORT OF THE
TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Honorable Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Transportation Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA, on Thursday, January 13, 2011, at 10:08 a.m., Acting and Vice Chair Cochran presiding.

Committee Members Present (6): Acting and Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Grosboll, Pahre, Snyder and Sobel; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (2): Director McGlashan; Chair Brown
Other Directors Present (7): Directors Boro, Eddie, Elsbernd, Moylan, Newhouse Segal, Sanders and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (13): Directors Boro, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Pahre, Sanders, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Newhouse Segal; First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (4): Directors Brown, Campos, Chu and McGlashan

[Note: On this date, there were two vacancies on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney David Miller; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division James Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson; Director of Planning Ron Downing; Principal Planner Maurice Palumbo; Public Affairs Director Mary Currie; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: None


 

     
1. Report of District Advisory Committees
     
  a.
Advisory Committee on Accessibility

There were no meetings of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility in December 2010.
     
  b.

Bus Passengers Advisory Committee

There were no meetings of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee in December 2010.

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee

Notes of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee (FPAC) Meeting of Monday, November 8, 2010, were furnished to the Transportation Committee. Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
2. Status Report of Bus Stop Projects
     
  a.

Staff Report

In a memorandum to Committee, Principal Planner Maurice Palumbo, Director of Planning Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report and a PowerPoint presentation detailing the status of the District’s bus stop projects.

The staff report provided background information regarding the implementation of a program to upgrade bus shelters in Marin and Sonoma counties in 2001. Golden Gate Transit (GGT) presently operates transit service in four counties and twenty jurisdictions, serving 872 bus stops in its service area. The staff report stated that bus stop infrastructure is in need of repair or replacement.

The staff report indicated that 860 of the 872 GGT bus stops are owned by others, and 810 bus stops are shared with other transit providers. District staff has collaborated with several regional transit agencies on several projects to develop bus stop signs that incorporate regional graphic standards, provide 511-traveler information, include up-to-date route information and have a consistent appearance. District staff is also working to provide up-to-date bus data to Google Transit. In addition, a $1 million multi-phased Capital Bus Stop Program for improvements is included in the Bus Transit Division’s Capital Budget.

A copy of the staff report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

[Second Vice President Newhouse Segal arrived at this time.]

     
  b.

PowerPoint Presentation

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, Principal Planner Maurice Palumbo, Director of Planning Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on the District’s bus stop projects.

The PowerPoint included slides depicting the following: 1) a “Bus Stop Overview,” detailing the number of stops, service areas, ownership and use; 2) “Branding,” displaying the methods used to identify a stop, including signs, kiosks, decals and information upon the shelter itself; 3) “Partners and Projects,” listing Marin County Transit District (Marin Transit), the California Transportation Commission (CTC), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) as project partners; and, 4) “Bus Division Capital Program,” identifying over 100 “priority” bus stops, signs and shelters that require repair or replacement.

The PowerPoint described a common design for bus stop signs and decals, which would incorporate the bus stop identification number in conjunction with the Regional 511 Program. Prototype signs were pictured, as were LED and LCD real-time schedule displays for high volume stops and terminals that are included in the new Advanced Communication and Information System Project (ACIS). The PowerPoint indicated that encroachment permits would be required for the repair or replacement work in San Francisco.

The PowerPoint also included an inventory of features and services required for bus stops, and a list of items to be verified when making a needs assessment at any given bus stop. The PowerPoint concluded with a list of bus stop priorities, arranged in three priority categories.

A copy of the PowerPoint is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Mr. Palumbo presented the PowerPoint, stating that use permits are to be obtained from San Francisco within the upcoming six months. During this period, the District will also coordinate with Marin Transit to establish priorities, and begin the upgrade of bus stops.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • President Reilly inquired as to the length of time expected for completion of LED signs at bus stops. In response, Mr. Palumbo stated that the work is expected to take approximately eighteen months.
  • Director Sobel inquired as to how the District’s bus stops will compare with those in other parts of the country once upgrades have been completed. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the District’s bus stops will compare favorably with others nationwide. He added that the District expects to provide Google Transit service, and that the interface will be functional in approximately six weeks. He concluded by stating that, while 511 is a Bay Area system, Google Transit is international.
  • Director Grosboll inquired as to whether the proposed changes can be accomplished in twelve to eighteen months, using the system of priorities shown in the PowerPoint. In response, Mr. Palumbo stated that staff believes the timeframe to be realistic. He stated that the needs assessment will consume the largest measure of time. Mr. Mulligan added that the District owns only 12 bus stops, and that decisions regarding those it does not own will require interaction with local communities. In addition, the ACIS system will be used for LED and LCD signs, making the signage dependent upon the readiness of ACIS.
  • Director Boro made the following inquiry and comment:
    • He inquired as to the bus stops used exclusively by GGT and their ownership. In response, Mr. Palumbo stated that the District owns only 12 bus stops. Mr. Mulligan added that Caltrans owns the stops adjacent to Highway 101, some of which are used exclusively by the District. He stated that, while GGT may be the only provider using a given stop, the underlying property may be owned by another entity.
    • He commented that, in Marin County, a number of cities own one or more bus stops, and suggested that the District work with all of them collectively rather than one at a time.
  • Director Elsbernd inquired as to whether information about arrival of the next bus at a given stop will be accessible by Smartphone. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that Smartphone capability for published schedules will be functional in approximately six weeks. Information about the next bus arrival is now available on 511. Once ACIS is fully functional for schedules, real-time information can be transmitted electronically from any given bus back to the server and from there to customers’ Smartphones. That functionality is expected to be operational in approximately one to two years.
  • Director Pahre inquired as to the logo the District recently approved and whether buses displaying the previous style would require repainting. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the District will not repaint buses, which now display the previous style logo, but that the recently approved logo is now the official logo of the District.
  • Director Snyder made the following inquiries and comment:
    • He inquired as to the cost of a single LED sign, stating that the proposal is for 30 LED and 8 LCD displays, which seems a small number for a system with many bus stops. In response, Mr. Mulligan indicated that many bus stops are not currently equipped with signals or power. He indicated that improving bus stop infrastructure is not included in this proposal. He stated that bus stops have been prioritized by usage to determine the upgrades.
    • He inquired as to whether a potential for expanded installation of LED and LCD displays exists. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the cost of improving bus stop infrastructure in order to provide more LED and LCD displays can be determined and reported back to the Committee in order to assess the cost and impact of providing more electronic displays.
    • He commented that he supports the delegation of authority to staff regarding bus stops changes, but would like staff to report back to the Committee and the Board regularly regarding progress, and other issues. He opined that bus pads should be upgraded to be more like stations, because he expects the system to evolve to a very high number of stops along Highway 101. He concluded by stating that bus stops should be equipped, at a minimum, with information regarding the arrival of the next bus.
  • Director Eddie inquired as to whether bus ridership is expected to increase in the upcoming years. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the availability of real-time information will be very important in determining whether or not ridership will increase.
     
3.

Authorize Delegation for Approval of Bus Stop Design and Location to the General Manager

In a memorandum to Committee, Director of Planning Ron Downing, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony, District Engineer Ewa Bauer and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to delegate authority to the General Manager and/or his or her designee, to approve the location, design and functionality of GGT bus stops and related improvements.

The staff report stated that District Engineering and Planning staff have undertaken an effort to evaluate, with respect to public safety and public convenience, the locations, designs and functionality of GGT bus stops and amenities such as signage, pedestrian access, shelters, benches and trash receptacles within the District’s service area, including but not limited to, District-owned property and property owned by other parties and used by the District to provide service to its customers. Staff anticipates that this evaluation process will be ongoing and potentially, over the years, will be applied to all stops served by GGT.

The staff report further stated that, as a result of this process, and although no accidents or injuries are known to have occurred or been attributable to existing physical conditions or configurations at virtually all of the bus stops, staff may recommend improvements to bus stop locations, designs, and/or functionality in order to enhance public safety and public convenience. In addition, the staff report stated that, after balancing considerations of safety and convenience for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, accessibility to transit facilities and cost effectiveness, staff may also find that the location, design and functionality of individual bus stops are already suitable and appropriate.

The staff report stated that, in cases where improvements are recommended, specifications may be prepared by the District to reflect proposed improvements for implementation by the District, Marin Transit, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, or other partners who may share use of the bus stops or fund improvements thereto. Because of the large number of bus stops to be reviewed and in order to provide greater administrative efficiency, responsiveness and flexibility, staff recommends that the Board of Directors delegate the authority to approve the location, design, and functionality of individual bus stops to the General Manager or his or her designee(s), to be effective until revoked by an action of the Board.

A copy of the staff report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Mr. Mulligan stated that providing approval authority to the General Manager for possible changes to bus stop design and location will streamline the process, precluding the necessity for Board approval of individual bus stop designs and locations. In addition, the District will realize greater administrative efficiency, responsiveness and flexibility.

Discussion ensued, including the following comment:

  • Director Sobel commented that he would support this recommendation with the understanding that the Board will receive regular reports on progress and details. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that regular reports will be provided to the Board.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors STROEH/SOBEL to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee/Committee of the Whole recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to delegation of authority to the General Manager and his/her designee(s), as follows:

  a. Delegate to the General Manager and his/her designee(s), effective immediately, until terminated by an action of the Board of Directors, the authority to approve the location, design, and functionality of Golden Gate Transit bus stops and related improvements;
  b. Direct the General Manager and his/her designee(s), in the exercise of this authority, to reasonably and appropriately balance considerations of safety and convenience for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, accessibility to transit facilities, and cost effectiveness, and to balance all benefits, advantages, and potential risks involved; and,
  c.

Delegate said authority without intention to alter the process by which funds may be budgeted or expended on bus stop improvements and related procurements.

Action by the Board at its meeting of January 14, 2011
Resolution

     
  AYES (13): Directors Boro, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Pahre, Sanders, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Newhouse Segal; First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
NOES (0): None
     
4.

Monthly Report on Bridge Traffic, Transit Ridership Trends and Transit Service Performance

The monthly report on Bridge Traffic and Transit Ridership Trends and Transit Service Performance was furnished to the Transportation Committee. The report shows the annual trend lines for the 12-month period ending November 2010, and includes the following charts:

  a.

Southbound Golden Gate Bridge Traffic Trend for the period from June 2004 to November 2010, showing the annual percentage change in traffic for the 12 months ending November 2010;

  b. Golden Gate Ferry Ridership Trend for the period from June 2004 through November 2010 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending November 2010; and,
  c. GGT Bus Ridership Trend as a 12-month running total from June 2004 through November 2010 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending November 2010.
 

The monthly report also included the Transit Service Performance Statistics Report for November 2010, showing that, during the month of November 2010, bus productivity as measured by farebox recovery and schedule adherence increased to more productive levels in November 2010 compared to October 2010. Bus passengers per trip and percent of bus trips with overloads showed a reduction in productivity compared with October 2010. Productivity as measured by Ferry schedule adherence increased from September to October 2010. Copies of all of the above-listed items are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Discussion ensued, including the following inquiry:

  • Director Sanders inquired as to whether pre-2004 bus ridership levels are expected to resume in the future. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the current economic decline and telecommute patterns, as well as service reductions, have all affected ridership. He stated that an analysis can be done to help predict future expectations. He added that, twenty-five years ago, Marin residents worked largely in San Francisco, but that is no longer true. In addition, anecdotal information suggests that the availability of ferry transportation allows many to opt for ferries rather than buses.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
5.

Monthly Report on Activities Related to Marin Local Service Contract with the Marin County Transit District

The monthly report on activities related to the Marin local service contract with the Marin County Transit District (MCTD) was furnished to the Transportation Committee. The report included the following elements:

  a. Revised spreadsheets from the Planning Department outlining GGT bus service performance of both District regional routes and Marin Transit local routes, for November 2010; and,
  b. A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July 1, 2010 to October 21, 2010, by MCTD to the District, for intra-county bus transit services in Marin County.
     
  Due to the high volume of agendas and minutes from Marin County agencies related to this item, hard copies of those items were not provided to the Committee. Instead, electronic versions of the following items were posted on the District’s web site:
  a. Marin County Transit District (MCTD) Board Agenda for December 20, 2010;
  b. MCTD Board Minutes of November 15, 2010;
  c. Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Executive Committee Minutes of November 8, 2010;
  d. TAM Board Agenda for Special Meeting of December 9, 2010;
  e. TAM Executive Committee Cancellation Notice for December 13, 2010; and
  f. TAM Technical Advisory Committee Cancellation Notice for December 16, 2010.
 

Copies of all of the above-listed items are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
6.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

     
7.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:35 a.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Gerald Cochran, Acting and Vice Chair
Transportation Committee