muni_generic.jpgSFMTA Reaches Historic Agreement With Union
No, not that union, the one governing the transit agency’s electricians. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local 6) and SFMTA management tentatively agreed to a new contract that will shave $1 million off the agency’s overall budget and allow for more flexibility in scheduling the electricians to work on Muni-related projects.

During negotiations, the union agreed to give back three paid holidays, as well as the extra pay members received for regularly showing up to work on time, in exchange for a guarantee of not facing any cuts in their wage rate.

On the other hand, negotiations with the operators’ union (which SFMTA board president Tom Nolan unsurprisingly has some strong opinions about) are scheduled to wrap up in June. If an agreement isn’t reached by then, the two parties will enter binding arbitration.

Or the drivers will go on strike.

Or we’ll be raptured up to heaven in a couple weeks and San Francisco will have bigger problems than public transportation.

Actually, this is San Francisco. If the rapture happens on May 21st, no one living inside city limits is going to make the cut and we’re all going to need to ride the bus to work the next day like the heathen scum that we are. SFMTA and the operators’ union aren’t going to get out of contract talks that easily.

Zen and the Art of Riding the Bus
There’s something strangely calming about reading Fog City Notes’ Bus Reports. The entries comprise a daily journal about riding the bus told in fragmentary and vaguely poetic terms. Like the late, great Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, Bus Reports have an enjoyable quotidian rhythm to them. Like this:

Back in the neighborhood the alien donut man sits perfectly still and upright in his usual seat in the donut shop. Seeing me, he lifts his hand in a delicate wave and dips his head ever so slightly.

Everybody Hates Construction (Until They Love It)
When the news first broke that Central Subway construction (you know, the thing that everyone is always bitching about) was set to close a number of blocks around Union Square to private vehicles, businesses in the area started complaining restricting traffic would drive away customers.

This worry is totally logical because there are three things all San Franciscans know: 1. Every trip downtown is made by car. 2. If someone can’t find street parking within 100 feet of their destination, they immediately give up and instead buy their $130, rhinestoned t-shirt from the big Ed Hardy in the sky. 3. Most of all, pedestrians hate being able to walk freely in the middle of the street.

That’s why it’s a huge surprise, now that access to Stockton is only available to bikers, pedestrians and public transit, area merchants on the street are changing their tune about the effects of the road closure.

“One of the unexpected surprises during construction is the merchants’ positive reaction on how the shopping experience has been improved with the removal of automobile traffic in spite of the significant construction in the area,” said SFMTA Central Subway Project Manager John Funghi at an SFMTA board meeting earlier this week.

Market Street Will Always Be A Deathtrap
Biking on Market Street was supposed to get easier with the installation of a new, improved bike lane along the city’s busiest cycling thoroughfare. Even with a dedicated bike lane stretching all the way from the Ferry Building to the Castro, Market Street is never going to stop being a daily test of a biker’s agility.

Just this week, four big, heavy trash cans were tipped into the bike lane over a thee block span between Franklin and Valencia by some hooligan (or, more likely, a gang of hooligans because those things are heavy).

Three hundred points goes to the first person to bunny hop all of them without breaking any bones.

The Screen Was Actually On!
But it only held bad news. Colon open parenthesis.

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