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Transportation

Supes approve Muni budget after Chiu yields

Jim Welte, The Public Press — May 13 2009 - 12:49am

While giant financial service institutions in the nation are shirking under the iron hand of the economy, microcredit organizations are seeing an opposite trend — the number of lenders has been steadily increasing.

Kiva, a Web-based microcredit non-profit in San Francisco, had a record month in February as its total monthly lending soared past $3.8 million.

Fuse is burning in Muni budget showdown

Jim Welte, The Public Press — May 7 2009 - 11:42pm

Transit chief Nathaniel Ford and Muni are on the clock. The Board of Supervisors' budget committee ended a seven- hour meeting Wednesday by telling the Municipal Transit Agency (MTA) to revise its budget to satisfy complaints from supervisors and the public or risk having the full board reject it Tuesday — an unprecedented action.

The Board of Supervisors' budget committee ended a seven- hour meeting Wednesday by telling the Municipal Transit Agency (MTA) to revise its budget to satisfy complaints from supervisors and the public or risk having the full board reject it Tuesday — an unprecedented action.

Facing a $129 million budget shortfall, the San Francisco Municipal Railway has proposed record fare hikes and service cuts, sparking public outcry and a showdown between Mayor Gavin Newsom and the board. While several supervisors have acknowledged that some level of fare hikes and service cuts may be inevitable given the MTA's dire financial situation, the major sticking point is the issue of "work orders" — reimbursements sent to Muni by other city departments to the tune of nearly $66 million.

In spite of budget woes, Muni expects to improve commuter service

Tom Prete, Mar 22 2009 - 8:07am

For years, a lack of information left Muni in the dark about what it was doing well, what it had to improve and what its riders actually needed. But a proposed shuffling of resources following the Transit Effectiveness Project, a massive systemwide study, would add more frequent service and extend routes on some express lines serving city commuters.

City looks to make dangerous stretch of Masonic safer for cyclists

Jim Welte, The Public Press — Mar 20 2009 - 1:26am

Every day during rush hours, almost like clockwork, Miranda Blankenship hears screeching tires and honking horns outside her front door on Masonic Avenue.

Commuters and bicyclists share the busy, four-lane street that serves as one of the major north-south veins through the city, funneling traffic to and from Highway 101. More than 35,000 cars traverse Masonic on a given day, and the result is chaotic and dangerous enough that Blankenship avoids it entirely on her daily bike commute from Masonic and McAllister Street to the Mission District.

"It's pretty hectic on Masonic," Blankenship said, noting that most cars are going far faster than the 25-mph limit. "I just stick to side streets."

For Blankenship, her neighbors, bikers, pedestrians and drivers, relief might be on the way for the nearly one-mile stretch of Masonic between Geary Boulevard and Fell Street. A lengthy campaign by neighborhood and transit-advocacy groups took a big step forward late last month when the Municipal Transportation Authority, which controls the city’s transit funds, allocated $120,000 to study potential improvements along Masonic.

Next month, the Masonic Avenue Traffic Calming Plan will begin counting bikes, pedestrians and ridership on the 43-Masonic bus line. The report will consider eliminating auto lanes to accommodate new bike lanes and building medians at certain intersections to improve pedestrian safety. The MTA hopes to finish the planning and approval process by summer 2010.

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