Suit against the city to stop Geary BRT project
A press release:
San Franciscans for Sensible Transit, Inc., a civic non-profit known as Sensible Transit, announced today that it has sued the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (TA), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MUNI), the Board of Supervisors and the City to stop all action to further the Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit (GBRT) project approved January 5.
Sensible Transit denounced the rush to judgment by the lame-duck board and TA staff. It alleged that the public process lacked meaningful debate and board members violated the obligation to exercise independent judgment by failing to review and consider the issues raised in the final environmental impact report and accompanying documents.
By specially setting the hearing January 5, the TA and board prevented the new Supervisors (sworn in only three days later) from questioning the assumptions of the TA staff, who admitted the probable outcome of the project would not improve transit times over what exist today. No thought or analysis was given to the incremental approach sought by Sensible Transit and others offering public comments at the hearing even though that alternative could save $300 million at a time when money is restricted.
Last November San Francisco voters turned down the sales tax to be used for transportation projects and elected Supervisor Fewer in the Richmond who questioned whether the TA staff choice for the project made sense.
Repaving of Geary has been delayed by GBRT planning and the street has become a slalom course of potholes even though voters only a few years ago authorized $500 million in road improvement bonds. Richmond residents and businesses asserted that ripping up the center median and destroying hundreds of trees would damage the quality of life and economic health of the neighborhood.
MUNI already has plans and funding for more buses, better traffic signal systems, and other improvements including better bus stops and basic paving. Sensible Transit wants those measures employed before committing to spend $300 million that may not be needed.
The Court is asked to put on hold all actions required to undertake the project approved by the board.
See also Geary BRT is an expensive pledge to the past in the Examiner and Delay Geary Bus Rapid Transit Vote in the Chronicle.