August 5, 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 County of Sonoma, Board of Supervisor’s Chambers, Room 102A, Sonoma County Administration Building, 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa, CA, on Friday, August 5, 2011, at 10:00 a.m., Acting Chair Rabbitt presiding.

Committee Members Present (7): Acting Chair Rabbitt; Directors Arnold, Grosboll, Pahre, Snyder and Sobel; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (3): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Cochran
Other Directors Present (5): Directors Boro, Eddie, Moylan, Renée and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (12): Directors Arnold, Boro, Moylan, Pahre, Rabbitt, Renée, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Grosboll; First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (7): Directors Brown, Campos, Chu, Cochran, Elsbernd, Mar and Theriault

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney David Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony; Director of Planning Ron Downing; Information Systems Director Bob Haar; Advanced Communications and Information System Project Manager Joe Perez; Payroll Administrator Carmel O’Hara; Director of Maintenance/Bus Transit Division Steve Miller; Information Systems Project Manager Bruce Orcutt; Public Affairs Director Mary Currie; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: None

 

     
1.

Remarks by Acting Chair

Acting Chair Rabbitt introduced Shirlee Zane, Vice Chair, Board of Supervisors, County of Sonoma; Carney Campion, former General Manager of the District; and, Ray Messier, President, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1575.

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

The Meeting Summary of the meeting of Thursday, May 19, 2011, and the Agenda for Thursday, July 21, 2011, are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.
     
  b.

Bus Passengers Advisory Committee

There were no meetings of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee in July 2011.

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee

There were no meetings of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee in July 2011.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
3.

Status Report on Regional Bus and Ferry Transit Services

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, Director of Planning Ron Downing and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on regional bus and ferry services for the past year.

The PowerPoint provided information regarding regional bus service types and their characteristics. It also provided a regional bus service overview, showing that changes made during 2009 and 2010 acted to “right-size” service. The report detailed ridership trends for the past year and provided farebox recovery information. In addition, commute route performance for Sonoma County, Northern Marin County, Central Marin County and Southern Marin County was shown. The PowerPoint also addressed basic bus service performance. Finally, the PowerPoint listed ongoing efforts to improve service and offered possible new methods of improving performance.

At the meeting, Mr. Downing presented the PowerPoint, stating that, over the past ten years, the District has found it necessary to reduce frequency of service and eliminate some bus routes. He stated that the past year showed improvement over previous years.

Mr. Downing explained that Golden Gate Transit (GGT) provides commute and basic bus service, both of which will be addressed in the PowerPoint. He stated that Marin Transit service would not be covered. Fourteen commute routes are operated, with the lowest route number being assigned to South Marin County with ascending route numbers moving north. The northernmost origination point, in Santa Rosa, has the highest route number, 101X. He described commute service has having few stops and a high farebox recovery rate, noting that commute service is more costly to operate, but has a high rider income profile. He stated that GGT commute riders have an average income of between $110,000.00 and $140,000.00 annually.

He described basic routes as providing service seven days per week to people who are primarily transit-dependent and who earn an average of $49,000.00 or less per year. He stated that basic service has more stops and longer travel times than commute service. He indicated that riders on Route 40/42 have average incomes under $25,000.00 per year, and that this Route is unique in that it does not cross the Golden Gate Bridge (Bridge), but instead crosses the Richmond Bridge. To continue receiving its subsidy from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), farebox recovery on the Richmond Bridge service must achieve a minimum of 20%. In order to increase farebox recovery, the schedule for Route 40/42 was reduced to one departure per hour and farebox recovery now stands at 19%. He referred to Route 70, from Novato to San Francisco, stating that nearly half the passengers rarely leave Marin County, making both fares paid and farebox recovery lower.

He stated that, on an average weekday, GGT carries approximately 9,000 regional passengers. Those who ride GGT are not driving vehicles during their rides, thus reducing the number of vehicles using area roadways. In 2009-2010, the District trimmed unproductive service. At that time, ridership was not stable and the District experienced ridership declines of approximately 6% each year.

Weekday service ridership has increased overall by 4% over the past year. However, the slower basic routes have shown a small decline, which may be due to the economic downturn. Nonetheless, the relatively new Route 101 Saturday service has increased its ridership by more than 25% during the same period.

He stated that the regional system recovers approximately 23% of its cost in fares, with the greatest improvement taking place on Routes 27 and 76. Route 8 (Tiburon) is declining, as it has been for many years, and has a low recovery ratio. In addition, staff is concerned about Route 10, which serves Sausalito and Strawberry. Sonoma County service is performing better than it was in previous years, including Routes 72, 72X, 74, 76, 72F and 101X. He noted that Route 72F has declined somewhat, although Route 72 does very well. Mr. Downing stated that Route 101 saves time relative to the old Route 80 service that it replaced on weekdays and continues to show strong performance.

In northern Marin County, Route 54 is the most productive, providing a wide range of service as well as service later in the day. Route 56 is almost as productive as Route 54, but ridership has both increased and declined over the years. Route 58, serving the Hamilton area of Novato, has not generated as many new riders as hoped, and staff plans to examine this route in greater detail. Routes 24 and 28 are stable, productive and meet passenger goals of 24 passengers per trip. Route 44 was trimmed from 4 trips per day to 2. This route performs below target, but relieves the excess capacity needs of Route 27. Staff continues to monitor Route 27.

He stated that southern Marin service generally performs well, although Route 8 on the Tiburon peninsula is the exception, with low ridership, carrying only 55 total passengers per day on one northbound and two southbound trips. In addition, the growth potential is low for the area served by Route 8. In contrast to Route 8, Route 4 service through Mill Valley runs very frequently during peak periods and carries more passengers than any other line in southern Marin County. Route 2 in Sausalito provides a companion service to the Sausalito ferry. This route has average ridership and low farebox recovery, due to the fact that buses must travel empty from San Rafael to Marin City carrying no passengers to begin their morning runs. Farebox recovery figures for Route 2 are skewed by the need to include the cost of “deadheading” empty buses in the calculations.

Mr. Downing stated that, to improve service, Route 101 was expanded with Saturday service in 2010, and Sunday service on this route will begin in September. Staff has been adding service to Route 101 each quarter, converting trips to shorter ones that begin and end in Novato. He indicated that, last year, the District acquired 23 additional MCI coaches to expand capacity on commute service from Sonoma County, which are very popular with passengers. These 23 coaches, received in 2010, introduced a new GGT identity, with a new logo and graphics. Thirty-two replacement MCI coaches will be delivered this year, and these will also bear new GGT logo and graphics. In addition, the trial Wi-Fi service on two Sonoma County commute routes has proved to be well-liked, and the District will be entering into a contract to provide free Wi-Fi on all commute buses by late 2011 or early 2012.

Mr. Downing reported that, with the new Advanced Communication and Information System (ACIS), the District will be able to gather more information regarding current bus service, such as the current location and expected delays. The information can then be available for riders, alleviating uncertainty about arrivals.

Regarding Route 72F which serves the Petaluma Fairgrounds Park & Ride lot, Mr. Downing stated that discussions have taken place as to whether this route should be cancelled. The route has not become as popular as expected, but could respond to schedule changes, which are being considered for December 2011.

Mr. Downing stated that passengers are happy with the new buses, which have a retro design, and use the original colors of the 1970’s. He concluded by stating that 2011 is the 40th anniversary of GGT bus service.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Sobel made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to how passengers are surveyed, such that the District can work with empirical data. In response, Mr. Downing stated that a system-wide survey was completed in 2008. In addition, when specific routes do not perform as desired, the District employs a number of data collection and outreach procedures. Passengers are queried using techniques such as printed survey forms or Survey Monkey software. He added that the majority of riders use Clipper® cards, which provide the ability to track ridership. He stated that staff will present the results of surveys taken on particular routes prior to recommending changes to those routes.
    • He inquired as to how marketing is done for certain bus routes. In response, Mr. Downing stated that, for example, when Route 72F was equipped with Wi-Fi, the District used billboards, mailing distribution of free tickets, promotions and newspaper advertisements. Initially, Route 72F attracted passengers but a subsequent survey revealed that many riders use this route in one direction only, opting for a different route, such as Route 74, on return. Comments from riders indicated that traffic congestion surrounding the Petaluma stop caused delays and discouraged passengers.
  • Second Vice President Grosboll inquired as to whether the District will replace Orion coaches with MCI coaches. In response, Mr. Downing stated that MCI coaches are typically used on commute service, which has very few wheelchair boardings. The MCI buses provide wheelchair access at the side of the bus, using a somewhat time-consuming mechanism. Orion buses, used for basic service where wheelchair passengers are more likely to ride, provide front door wheelchair access and are able to board and deboard wheelchair passengers more quickly.
  • Director Renée made the following comments:
    • She commented that, regarding possible changes to Routes 72F and 74, pedestrian access along Petaluma Boulevard South has been improved, with better crosswalks. It is now possible to park one’s vehicle and cross the street more easily. She stated that the west side has no parking restrictions at this time, although parking restrictions may be added. She noted that congestion will continue to be problematic on East Washington Street. In response, Mr. Downing indicated that many riders park in lots near 4th and C Streets. He stated that, when the Route 72F was put into service, staff had hoped that a bus stop at the Petaluma Fairgrounds would prompt changes to parking patterns. However, the expected changes did not materialize.
    • She commented that a high profile Petaluma City Council member had ridden a GGT Wi-Fi equipped bus. Unfortunately, on that day, the Wi-Fi was not operational. She stated her hope that Wi-Fi will be more stable in the future.
  • Director Snyder made the following comment and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to the direction of travel of Route 2. In response, Mr. Downing stated that the “deadhead” direction is southbound from San Rafael to Marin City, where the route begins service.
    • He inquired as to whether other “deadhead” travel is necessary on other routes as well as the Route 2 bus, and whether it is possible to consider carrying passengers during that travel rather than returning with an empty bus. In response, Mr. Downing stated that the District has considered using the “deadhead” portion of such routes as local service. He indicated that it is currently unknown whether many passengers would wish use a 6:00 a.m., departure from San Rafael to Marin City or Sausalito, but the possibility can be investigated.
    • He inquired as to whether overall ridership has increased during the past year by 1% or more. Mr. Downing responded affirmatively.
    • He commented that staff deserve congratulations for expansion of the Route 101 service, for those who need to travel but do not drive. He stated that, when service cuts are taking place elsewhere, it becomes even more important to provide public transportation for those dependent upon it. He stated his hope that the District will continue to provide additional public transportation services, and that initial low ridership on new service will not be misinterpreted as indicating that people do not wish the new service.

At this juncture of the meeting, Acting Chair Rabbit thanked Transportation Committee Chair Harold Brown for allowing him to chair this Transportation Committee/Committee of the Whole meeting, being held in Santa Rosa. He introduced Maureen Middlebrook, a former District Board member representing Sonoma County.


     
4. Status Report on Transit Technology Projects
     
  a.

Report by Bruce Orcutt, Information Systems Project Manager

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, Information Systems Project Manager Bruce Orcutt and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on regional transit technology projects for the past year. Mr. Mulligan stated that the focus of this item will be how technology affects the District’s business, especially buses and ferries, on which the District expends a large portion of its resources.

At the meeting, Mr. Orcutt presented the PowerPoint, stating that he has managed HASTUS since 1996. He indicated that the acronym is taken from the system’s French name which, when translated to English, means “Scheduling and Assignment for Urban and Semi-urban Transportation Systems.”

The PowerPoint provided a brief timeline of the HASTUS system since its inception, and a summary of expenditures to date. Functions the system is capable of performing are listed, as well as examples of crew scheduling and operations tracking. In addition, data sharing capability allows interface with other transit information products, such as Google Transit. Finally, the PowerPoint displayed functions that will be implemented in the future, and noted that the next upgrade of the system is projected for 2014.

At the meeting, Mr. Orcutt indicated that an agreement was first signed with GIRO, the system supplier, in November 1997 and that, since July 2003, HASTUS has enabled the District to produce daily operations records on a continuous basis. By February 2010, modules had all been upgraded to V2009, and the system went live in May 2011.

He reported that the District has incurred expenditures of $2,216,663.00 on HASTUS to date, of which 69%, or $1,529,710.00, were grant funds, and $686,953.00, or 31%, were District Reserves.

Service information for vehicles is also compiled by HASTUS, including route information for both commute and basic service; service periods; weekday, weekend and holiday service; revenue trips; non-revenue trips; and, blocks and pieces, with a vehicle’s work of the day being referred to as a “block.” Service information is also generated for operators (crew), specifically, runs (a driver’s work for the day), spread times, break times, union contract requirements, overtime, reliefs and layovers.

Mr. Orcutt stated that service network information taken collectively, is analogous to an inventory of assets, which provides the building blocks of schedule development. He stated that the scheduling process changed dramatically with computerization, prior to which most scheduling was done manually, using printed lists and colored pencils to make changes. With HASTUS, changes can be entered once and flow to numerous applications including service calendars, vehicle schedules and crew schedules.

He reported that Bus Operators move from bus to bus throughout their workdays. The service calendar defines which schedule should be assigned to a given Bus Operator for any given workday. He stated that the Weekday Vehicle Schedule shows each bus as a separate line item, and provides the day’s schedule for each individual bus. Information can be manipulated in many ways. For example, links are provided for each bus listed, whereby details regarding that bus can be accessed. Staff can study patterns that provide information for decision making.

He stated that the Daily Schedule shows all service to be performed and is tracked by Bus Dispatchers every day. If a Bus Operator calls in sick, his/her work can be immediately assigned to another Bus Operator. The Daily Schedule is also useful for payroll processing.

Mr. Orcutt stated that HASTUS has numerous benefits. It has provided an integrated source of refined data, minimizing the chance of errors, and allows the rapid reformulation of service to suit changing conditions, for instance, today’s rapidly changing economic situation. He indicated that HASTUS’ existing data sharing, both with internal and external systems, will be nearly doubled in the near future, supplying expanded data to Google Transit, the Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) system and the ACIS system. He observed that when the ACIS system is complete, it will provide automatic passenger counts for analysis by our existing “Rider” module in optimizing bus trip designs. In addition, ACIS will provide “On Time Performance” (OTP) data which can be automatically channeled back to HASTUS for service planning. This function requires HASTUS’ “ATP” module. In early 2012, a rider will be able to enter a bus stop number into a cell phone and receive the time of the next scheduled arrival. Within 18 to 24 months, they will receive real time arrival information.

In conclusion, Mr. Orcutt’s last slide summarized the additional modules available within the HASTUS system including the ATP module required for the curve-fitting of real-time performance data by service periods in constructing optimized schedules. Other modules mentioned were:

  • HastInfo – Providing up-to-date service information and web support.
  • NetPlan – for Advanced Transportation Network Planning
  • Bus Operator self-service kiosk for web bidding, assignment, and arrival registration.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Snyder inquired as to whether access will be available via 511. Mr. Orcutt responded affirmatively.
  • Director Pahre made the following comment and inquiry:
    • She inquired as to the cost of the ATP module. In response, Mr. Orcutt stated that the cost is approximately $80,000.00.
    • She commented that the technology is excellent and that she would support further enhancements to the HASTUS system.
     
  b.

Report by Carmel O’Hara, Payroll Administrator

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, Payroll Administrator Carmel O’Hara and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on the HASTUS interface to the IFAS Payroll System.

The PowerPoint provided information about implementation, pay calculation and savings, as compared to manual payroll processing, and upgrades for the future.

At the meeting, Ms. O’Hara presented the PowerPoint, stating that the system went live in October 2009, after more than five years preparation. She stated that the Bus Operator payroll, which is used as an example for this report, uses a complex formula to arrive at accurate pay. Currently, staff is developing the reports required to support the data.

She described the past payroll process, stating that personnel would extract information from the HASTUS system, record it manually, then re-enter the results. By contrast, data are now entered directly to HASTUS, and then extracted, with no manual recording. Every two weeks, the information is uploaded to payroll.

Ms. O’Hara described the Bus Operator payroll calculation formula in detail. Elements of the formula include base pay, penalty pay (a narrowly defined kind of overtime pay), work time/on duty time, Fair Labor Standards Act overtime pay, and total daily pay. She stated that the Payroll Department has realized savings due to the greater accuracy achieved. Daily manual input is no longer done, which leads to fewer manual checks being required.

Ms. O’Hara concluded by suggesting that the District improve the current functionality of delay processing in HASTUS; automate the Absence Calendar through HASTUS; and, ultimately, rely on ACIS for time tracking.

Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony stated that HASTUS interface to the IFAS Payroll System is an excellent achievement. She observed that the vendor has worked with the District for approximately 12 years, and indicated the Bus Operator payroll system was the most challenging they had experienced.

Discussion ensued, including the following inquiries:

  • President Reilly made the following inquiries:
    • She inquired as to how the system would be rated on a scale of 1 to 10. In response, Ms. O’Hara stated that it is accurate, and nearly perfect. She indicated that once the system is interfaced with IFAS, it could be expected to receive an 8 rating, given the complexities associated with payroll processing.
    • She inquired as to the possibility of system breakdown. In response, Ms. O’Hara stated that all systems are subject to breakdown and that the District’s systems have broken down in the past. She provided an example, stating that, at that time, personnel were able to extract the necessary information and process the payroll.
     
  c.

Report by Joseph Perez, Communication Systems Project Manager

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, Communication Systems Project Manager Joseph Perez and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on the Advanced Communication and Information System (ACIS) system.

The PowerPoint provided a project overview of the ACIS system, as well as objectives of the project, the evolution of ACIS, elements of the project and an ACIS technical overview. The PowerPoint included a microwave and radio site locations map, a voice and data radio system schematic overview, and a bus installation block diagram. It displayed typical bus equipment installation and a project schedule. The PowerPoint concluded with a list of future opportunities and goals at project completion.

At the meeting, Mr. Perez presented the PowerPoint, stating that the ACIS system is complex, and will be completed in 4 phases. Phase 2 is now in progress, using Federal Transit Administration funding, and will be completed in 2012. The final phase of the project is expected to be complete by 2013.

He stated that the network was originally installed in 1971 and it was updated in 1991. More recently, a complete redesign of the District’s terrestrial network technology was required, to allow the system to be modernized and replaced. He stated that the leveraging of funds and improvement of customer service are desired, using geographic information system (GIS) scheduling and global positioning system (GPS) technologies. He reported that the District’s concept was formulated in 2007, followed by several years of needs analysis and other information gathering. In the future, all parts of the system will be integrated.

Elements of the project include voice radio system replacement, bus automatic vehicle location, a computer-aided dispatch system (CAD), an automatic voice announcement system, automatic passenger counting, mobile dispatch computers, real-time passenger information displays, more comprehensive Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, and a CAD system development environment. Mr. Perez indicated that, as a result of the ACIS project deployment, improved and more reliable voice service will be available. All buses will be equipped with multiple radios. They will transmit to a network through the five radio sites that handle the voice, vehicle location and data radio transmissions.

He indicated that every radio has an internet protocol (IP) device. Each bus will carry one radio for each type service, such as GPS or broadband. Ferries will also be equipped in this fashion. The placement will be ergonomically correct to avoid causing distraction to Bus Operators.

In conclusion, Mr. Perez stated that, once ACIS is fully operational, the District will have interoperability in San Francisco, and that discussions, for this same function, have taken place with Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) representatives. He stated that a reliable voice radio network is the District’s goal for this project.

Discussion ensued, including the following inquiries:

  • Director Sobel made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to Mr. Perez’ expectations regarding the ACIS system in approximately 4 to 5 years. In response, Mr. Perez stated that the District will employ a broadband network to download data from buses overnight. He stated that it will be possible to download camera images, such as during an incident. Should mechanical difficulties arise with a bus, real-time information could be transmitted, and personnel would have the ability to speak directly with the driver.
    • He inquired as to the possibility of using real-time video. In response, Mr. Perez indicated that video transmission requires huge bandwidth. However, downloading a large amount of data would be possible during the time a bus is parked in the storage lot. He noted that, in order to download data from buses currently, the District removes the hard drives. Mr. Mulligan stated that the District currently has six cameras on each bus, and that these are effective tools.
  • President Reilly made the following inquiries:
    • She inquired as to whether passengers would be able to download this technology to their Smartphones. In response, Mr. Perez stated that, eventually, passenger information displays on buses will use this technology, allowing passengers to view wirelessly transmitted data on buses and at bus stops. She inquired as to when the District will have passenger information displays. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that late 2012 is the target.
  • Second Vice President Grosboll inquired as to whether Bus Operators had been consulted regarding ACIS technology. Mr. Perez responded affirmatively, stating that Bus Operators have worked closely with Information Systems staff, the Safety Committee and mid-level managers. He indicated that acceptance by bus drivers is critical to the success of ACIS.
     
  d.

Report by Steve Miller, Director of Maintenance, Bus Transit Division

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, Director of Maintenance/Bus Transit Division Steve Miller and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on the Automated Vehicle and Fluid Management System (AVFMS).

The PowerPoint described the project, project funding and project goals. A slide of each of the following was presented, to illustrate how the system displays and organizes data: 1) Assets in Maximo [the District’s IBM asset management software that provides asset lifecycle and maintenance management for all asset types on a single platform]; 2) Work Management; 3) Failure Tracking; and, 4) Preventive Maintenance. Other system capabilities include Performance Monitoring, Cost Accounting, Fluid Management, Inventory and Purchasing. The system can produce auto-generated requisitions, desktop requisitions, requests for quotes and purchase orders.

At the meeting, Mr. Miller presented the PowerPoint, stating that the District’s business is the owning and operating of assets. The Maximo system provides a centralized database that employees can access, allowing optimization of assets and improvement of safety. Work Orders and Operator Defect Cards help staff determine whether a problem is repetitive or an isolated occurrence. Supervisors can actively manage work levels and employees, making it possible to minimize the number of trips in and out of the shop.

He stated that preventive maintenance is a top priority for the District and automatically generated work orders provide the ability to track any given maintenance item through to its completion, a task that previously required significant expenditure of time. The need for a separate person to input data directly to the system has been eliminated by training maintenance personnel to enter the information themselves. This has increased the value of these employees to the District. The system is easy to operate, which keeps staff on assigned repair work. In addition, by maintaining data integrity, monitoring of key performance indicators can be done.

He reported that the Maximo system also allows the District to do cost accounting, charging labor costs to specific work orders, which can then be tracked to assets and fleets of assets, revealing the costs associated with any given asset. Additionally, this information aids staff in determining the kinds of equipment that will best serve the District’s goals.

Mr. Miller explained Automated Fluid Management (AFM), stating that vehicle on-board equipment provides data to a fuel-control terminal that can be accessed by staff, and which is anticipated to assist the District in reducing road failures by a significant percentage.

A centralized inventory management system is also part of Maximo. The District’s inventory makes up approximately 14,000 line items, and the system provides staff the ability to access all District storerooms. The system uses common item numbers, generates requisitions and affords staff the ability to audit the inventory. Available information includes description of the inventory item, its quantity, location, usage history and average cost. It also provides reorder levels and proper quantities for reorder. Inventory records can be tied back to assets and all inventory transactions can be performed using handheld devices, reducing or eliminating the possibility of human error. Maximo also allows an integrated purchasing system through to general ledger entries, which leads to standard practices throughout the District. The system has robust reporting capabilities and automated workflow, which assures District procedures are being followed. Desktop requisitions include entries for the requesting buyer, the requestor and the general ledger or project account to which items are charged.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Renée inquired as to whether system alarms will be able to identify patterns on the maintenance side. In response, Mr. Miller stated that the system has the capacity to apply business rules once those are set up by staff. Creating those business rules will be done by staff. Once completed, repetitive defects will be flagged.
  • Director Sobel offered his congratulations, commenting that the technology being employed by the District is impressive. It is hard work to set up such a system, but it is a valuable undertaking and will reduce the District’s costs.
  • Director Boro commented that, since many of the District’s projects, including this one, are primarily grant-funded, the District’s grant writers should also receive the Board’s thanks. He requested that staff provide the Board a recapitulation of the District’s overall grant funding. In response, Mr. Wire stated that staff will provide such a report.
  • Acting Chair Rabbitt commented that the Committee appreciates the overview provided at this meeting.
     
5.

Status Report on Impacts to Golden Gate Bridge Sidewalk from Ongoing Maintenance and Construction Projects

In a PowerPoint Presentation (PowerPoint) to Committee, District Engineer Ewa Bauer, Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt and General Manager Denis Mulligan provided a status report on impacts to Bridge sidewalks from ongoing maintenance and construction projects.

The PowerPoint provided a schematic of the Seismic Retrofit Project undertaken by the District, showing that Phase IIIA is currently in progress. Several photographs displayed aerial views of the north approach, and the east and west sidewalks above the north anchorage housing. The west sidewalk replacement is currently in progress and will require a total of four months for completion. The PowerPoint also provided a view of cautionary signage and fencing around the construction site.

Photographs exhibited the cutting of the old sidewalk, removal of debris and the appearance of the area once the old sidewalk had been removed. It showed roadway curb replacement and west sidewalk steel framing in place. The PowerPoint also indicated that, once undertaken, the east sidewalk replacement will also be in progress for a period of four months.

Also provided in the PowerPoint were photographs showing the striping and directional symbols painted on the east sidewalk. This sidewalk must be used by both pedestrians and bicyclists until the west sidewalk replacement is complete. Other slides displayed the sidewalk width at various points, and how the available area will be narrowed by construction equipment and motorized carts. Only a small number of locations will be significantly narrowed by construction. The narrowest parts of both the east and west sidewalks are located in non-construction areas adjacent to the Bridge towers.

At the meeting, Ms. Bauer presented the PowerPoint, stating that seismic retrofitting has been ongoing for a number of years, and that Phases I and II have been completed. Phase III, construction of the north anchorage, is a major undertaking with a cost of approximately $119 million. An important part of the project is to replace both the east and west sidewalks above the anchorage. The District has experienced problems with both sidewalks, especially during the rainy season, during which time significant leaking occurs.

She stated that one important function of the anchorage house is to provide an environmental enclosure. The main cables enter the north anchorage house and continue beneath both sidewalks. Building new sidewalks that provide sufficient protection necessitates a seamless concrete slab on each sidewalk, requiring that the sidewalk be closed during construction. The west sidewalk is currently under construction and west sidewalk bicycle traffic has been relocated to the east sidewalk. Ms. Bauer reported that most of the work must be performed at night, at which time the two traffic lanes adjacent to the sidewalk are closed to vehicles. She added that the District requires the contractor to implement extensive safety measures during the work in the closed lanes.

Curb replacement must be completed in 25-foot segments, each of which requires approximately 4 hours from beginning to end. The old sidewalk must be removed, and the new placed and attached to steel framing. At this time, the contractor has installed all new framing and is ready to pour concrete. Curing will require several days.

She stated that, after the west sidewalk is finished, the east sidewalk will require similar measures. During the four-month period that will be needed to replace the east sidewalk, only the portion that is being replaced will be closed. Pedestrians will be able to walk on other portions of the east sidewalk, although crossing the full length of the Bridge will not be possible. Once work on the east sidewalk commences, the west sidewalk will be re-opened to bicycle traffic.

Mr. Witt reported that replacement of the main suspension cable is going well. Phase I involves stationary scaffolding to be erected along a 400-foot-long segment of the Bridge. Approximately 250 feet of the west side cable has been done. Cable bands are being tightened, which has never been done before.

He stated that approximately 10,000 pedestrians and 6,000 bicyclists use the Bridge sidewalks on a busy day. With closure of the west sidewalk, congestion on the east sidewalk has increased. Special events and expressive activities take place almost every weekend, making conditions more challenging. He stated that the District has received 191 emails to date from users. Of these, approximately 61 supported allocation of a roadway lane for bicycles. Fifty-five had other suggestions.

Regarding safety during the closure of the west sidewalk, Mr. Witt stated that, in May, June and July 2010, the District recorded the occurrence of 10 accidents on sidewalks. During the same time period in 2011, only 2 accidents occurred. He stated that these statistics indicate that the sidewalks have not become less safe as a result of the west sidewalk closure.

He observed that the District has worked with stakeholders, including bicyclist groups, and have agreed upon several measures to help alleviate congestion and confusion. Three meetings were held, as well as two open houses, all of which were well attended. As a result, the District has undertaken extensive public outreach to keep updated information available on its web site, and has had extensive media coverage regarding the Bridge sidewalks. Signage has been strategically placed to alert users to expect crowded conditions. Striping helps keep pedestrians on one side of the east sidewalk and bicyclists on the other. Design and location of signage was worked out jointly to determine the best placement and the best number of signs. Both striping and signage have helped in the orderly flow of traffic.

Patrol presence has been increased and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has taken a larger role. Until recently, the District shared bicycle patrol with the CHP. However, CHP personnel have now received extensive training and 12 officers are available to help patrol the Bridge. The District’s goal is to have one Bridge Patrol Officer and one CHP Officer on the Bridge at all times during weekdays, and two from each entity on weekends. He stated it is a major commitment for the CHP, but the program has been well accepted by the public.

He concluded by stating that the west sidewalk will reopen near the end of September, at which time the east sidewalk over the north anchorage will be closed. He stated that, in approximately January 2012, the main cable renovation that requires sidewalks to be closed will have been completed. In approximately nine months, the higher portions of the cables will be renovated, using scaffolding that remains above the sidewalk. It will be necessary to lower the stages to the sidewalks periodically, and the lowering will be scheduled to minimize impacts to the public. He added that the District is working with designers to develop scaffolds that do not require lowering.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Second Vice President Grosboll commented that the displeasure on the part of bicyclists as a result of the west sidewalk closure seemed insoluble, and the Chair of the Bicycle Coalition criticized District staff for not engaging bicyclists earlier in the process. In response, Mr. Witt stated that the time of year is problematic, because the best time for the construction is the same time that a greater number of people use Bridge sidewalks. Ms. Bauer added that the replacement of both sidewalks requires a total of eight months, four months of closure at each sidewalk. Consequently, one of the sidewalks would have to be closed during the summer months. The District decided to proceed with the closure of the west sidewalk during that time, because of fewer impacts on the public of the west sidewalk closure.
  • Director Snyder made the following comments and inquiry:
    • He commented that staff has done well in facing the frustrations of users. He stated that some people no longer use the Bridge on weekends, but that he knew of no alternative method to accomplish the construction work.
    • He commented that the striping is very well done, and it will serve users permanently.
    • He commented that, during work on the main suspension cables, when bicyclists will share the construction area with workers, staff should evaluate, to the greatest extent possible, whether permanently opening the west sidewalk to bicyclists 24 hour per day is feasible. In response, Mr. Witt stated that the District has never before attempted to allow continuous access for bicyclists on the west sidewalk. The sidewalk will be narrowed at the construction site. He stated that equipment needed to accomplish the main cable renovation will also be present, and bicyclists will be requested to walk their bicycles past the construction during work hours, 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mr. Mulligan stated that the District wishes to provide 24-hour access to the west sidewalk, 7 days per week, for the four-month construction period. However, costs and risks are associated with doing so. He added that workers must arrive at the site as quickly as possible after clocking in, and should not have to avoid bicyclists to do so.
    • He inquired as to how the District will enforce the requirement that bicyclists walk their bicycles past the construction area on the west sidewalk. In response, Mr. Witt stated that personal requests as necessary will be used in addition to signage. If necessary, flaggers can be placed on the sidewalk.
    • He commented that most cyclists prefer riding their bicycles very slowly over getting off to walk their bicycles. He stated his hope that bicyclists will not be ticketed for pedaling slowly past construction. In response, Mr. Witt stated that there are no plans to ticket bicyclists who do not walk their bicycles past the construction. He stated that the District’s goal is safety. Mr. Mulligan added that the District has a history of having had workers injured by bicyclists who choose to not slow down. He stated that it is undesirable to expose workers to unsafe conditions, and that doing so could expose the District to liability claims.
  • Director Sobel commented that in May 2012, the District plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Bridge, and inquired as to the District’s plans regarding scaffolding, to make the Bridge pristine. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the anchorage house will have been completed. Some scaffolding may remain in place, but clean-up will be done to provide for an enjoyable experience for those who attend.
     
6.

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/Committee of the Whole. The report shows the annual trend lines for the 12-month period ending June 2011, and includes the following charts:

  a.
Southbound Golden Gate Bridge Traffic Trend for the period from June 2004 to June 2011, showing the annual percentage change in traffic for the 12 months ending June 2011;
  b.
Golden Gate Ferry Ridership Trend for the period from June 2004 through June 2011 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending June 2011; and,
  c.
GGT Bus Ridership Trend as a 12-month running total from June 2004 through June 2011 showing the annual percentage change in ridership for the 12 months ending June 2011.
     
 

The monthly report also included the Transit Service Performance Statistics Report for June 2011, showing that, during the month of June 2011, relative to performance targets set forth in the District’s Short-Range Transit Plan, Bus showed productivity improvements in schedule adherence and percent of bus trips with overloads when compared with May 2011. Over the period from May 2011 to June 2011, Ferry productivity increased as measured by passengers per ferry trip, load factor, and passengers per ferry service hour. 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

     
7.

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/Committee of the Whole 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 June 2011; and,
  b.
A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July 1, 2011 to July 21, 2011, by Marin Transit 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.
Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Agenda for July 28, 2011; and,
  b.
TAM Executive Committee Minutes of July 7, 2011.
 

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

   
8.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

     
9.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ David Rabbitt, Acting Chair
Transportation Committee