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tv   Mayors Press Availability  SFGTV  November 1, 2021 9:30am-10:01am PDT

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thank you all so much for coming. i'm very excited about today's programming and i'm so grateful that you all came out for this important event despite the much needed rain. i am deeply honored to be here. my name is jeffery tumlin and i'm the executive director to have the san francisco municipal transportation agency. before we begin, it's also important to acknowledge where we've come from. the geary corridor was muni's first transit line. the b. geary electric streetcar ran down here in 1912 and has long been one of the highest ridership service transit lines
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in north america. this neighborhood has also long been one of the most and interesting neighborhoods anywhere in the world and home to very strong populations of japanese and african americans. this is also a place where japanese americans were expelled from, were sent forcibly to internment camps during world war ii. also the area where post war era the redevelopment agency demolished of blocks displacing thousands of residents and businesses in the name of urban renewal. geary street used to be one lane in each direction lined with businesses owned by japanese and african americans and all of that was destroyed to make way for the eight-lane geary expressway. and so though we're so proud of this project, we also must acknowledge the project area's history and to acknowledge that
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this is a very small token of appreciation for what these neighborhoods have suffered and a start of healing. the geary expressway was intentionally designed to exclude, to separate these neighborhoods from one another. and so this project and working with the community and understanding the historic suffering, this project is designed in a small way to help with the healing and help restore the connectivity between japan town and the filmore. we're partly cloudy of the work that all of our teams have done, listening to community members to understand their stories and also to acknowledge the past and to also begin the healing. we've also learned a lot from past projects and delivery of this project. unlike certain other projects that have continued to drag on for year after year, we built this project very differently. we broke the work up into many
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different contract segments allowing for more and more diverse contractors to be able to do the work. we collaborated with half a dozen city agencies skillfully in order to get all kinds of work done while we were here including utility replacement and paving and pedestrian safety projects and, of course, the transit priority treatment. we also did much of the work in what we call quick build style allowing us to move more quickly and efficiently minimizing negative impacts on the community and its businesses. it's also meant that although is this project has moved incredibly quickly, we're already delivering a 20% improvement in speed and reliability to the 38 geary bus line. [ applause ] and i'm so proud of my team for just fine tuning all the details that allow for
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safer passenger loading and unloading and speedier departure, the changes to the traffic signals to allow the buses to be delayed at red lights, but particularly to these pedestrian crosswalks which were the first out here in five decades that allows peds could walk across the street into the square. simple changes, the changes that mean so much to community. so i am so thankful as well to the way my teams worked together with each other. i really want to thank liz bryson who led this project. dan pricen.
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michael carlin from the sfpuc. public works who is here and all of their construction management and design team who work together. i'm grateful to the sfcta who helped us fund and get this project through the environmental review. i'm grateful as well to our contractors who work together seamlessly together and with the project teams to deliver all of this work on time and on budget. who helped us figure out how to deliver this project for minimum disruption.
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and so a special to the benefit districts, the japantown task force. the filmore merchants and neighborhood collaborative. st. francis square cooperative. rosa parks elementary school. the tenderloin district. the union square alliance. the geary community advisory district and so many others. there are way too many people that i need to thank. thank you to all of you and thank you for showing up here today. and i would like to introduce our mayor london breed. please come up, mayor london breed. >> when i think about this project and what it's actually going to do to bring the
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western district and the japantown community together in a different kind of way, it really fills my heart with so much joy because i can tell you as someone who grew up here. i have some witnesses here because i know jada, pia, you toeia, you remember what it was like when we would come from this area of buchanan. we would stop at every park. we'd hop the fence and hang out in the playgrounds there and then we'd cross this very dangerous street. this is not anything i would advise anybody to do or any kid to do, but this is why this was so important to me. this crossing right here was so important to me because i wanted people to be safe. i wanted to make sure kids who are at the ymca, rosa parks who are in the square. who are apart of this community
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and who want to be apart of j-town and all the great activities and things to do here that they felt safe. so the field trip. i'm sure they probably just used the crossing here today to come over. so we're glad to have them and we're glad to see geary improve for pedestrian safety to meet our vision 0 goals to keep our people safe and to ensure that our transit system is working more efficiently. i see my folks from j-town, the folks who have been involved for so many years including sandy moory, ben nakasho. these are extraordinary leaders in j-town. and whenever there's a problem that they want fixed, you know, usually i get the phone call from sandy. so when this bridge was being threatened through this project of being torn down on on
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webster. to and what it meant for safety and the community and so many of the kids and families from rosa parks elementary school fought to keep that bridge there and so i'm so glad that the city listened to the community and that bridge is still there along with making the crossways a lot more safe. but as jeff tumlin talked about before geary boulevard, this was a community of mostly african americans who live in harmony. i used to wonder when i hung out no matter how badly we behalved we were responsible for one another. we took care one another and we
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built relationships and there was a real divide. and so what we are trying to do and correcting the mistakes of the past and build those bridges and make them stronger both with the people, but also with the infrastructure. and this project along with so many of the other improvements that are happening around geary boulevard to improve the ability for people to move around the city safely and also using public transportation and making it more efficient so that people use public transportation is critical to really also addressing climate change because 50% of the emissions, the green house gas emissions that go into the air and impacting our environment comes from private vehicles and so getting people to use public transit to continue to be an environmental leader. making muni more efficient.
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making our streets more safe, building bridges, this project did it all and did it did it all while working with so many people in the tenderloin, in the richmond, the avenues and out there in that area in the western addition filmore connecting the city like never observer r before and i want to thank all of you all, the contractors, the kids, everyone that had a role to play in making this project. i see you having a role to play and making this a great project for san franciscans and starting to move our city forward. we have so many challenges and so much work to do. it is always nice to be somewhere where something incredible happened for the people of san francisco that puts a smile on your face. so thank you all so much for being here. congratulations on this wonderful project. [ applause ] . >> thank you, mayor breed for
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your strong support. i'd also now like to introduce our state senator scott weaner who is also providing very strong support for us at the state level senator scott wiener. >> these are community that is need more transit and this is a great step forward. you know, as san francisco continues to wake up from our covid cacoon, we need to make sure people can get around. people want to be in cities, people want to be in san francisco and we need to make sure that the city is able to accept the people who want to
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live here because this is the best city in the world and people do want to live here. and part of that means great world class public transportation. and -- [ applause ] -- and 38 geary is just one example of what we need to do. we need faster bus service. we need bus route transit and when i was on the board of supervisors and on our transportation authority, we went down to mexico city to look at their bus rapid transit systems which they deliver in three years from concept to cutting the ribbon and we need to be continually moving in that direction. more bus rapid transit, faster deliveries. sometimes we struggle with that. this was fast, but we need to make all of our transit projects happen quickly. we need to deliver these projects quickly for our community and i know m.t.a. and our transportation authority are working hard on that.
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at the state level, we actually were able to pass a law last year to dramatically speed up delivery of bus rapid transit projects and we're looking to expand that law next year. so i see good things in the future for our city and for our
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transit system. but, today, let's celebrate this huge win for the community, transit riders, pedestrians, and everyone else who needs to get around this city. thank you. >> thank you, senator wiener. next up, we have kelly chang. the transportation authority agency our sister agency. >> congratulations to you for leading this fantastic project in partnership with the other agencies. good morning everyone. on behalf of our board including chair rafael man delman. i want to say thanks to the folks who labored to build this project and the next generation of kids who's going to benefit from all the safety reliance. as we all know, geary is really a microcausem of our city. particularly now during the pandemic. it's such an important and critical service. now, this corridor does pass through five different districts from the bay to the beach reflecting all the diversity of our city and that's what you see on the bus. it's really true. where transit goes, community grows. so i really want to take this opportunity to congratulate the sfmta, sf public works and p.u.c. because these projects are not easy.
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this one really had full features. we had bus liens, traffic signal upgrades and the sidewalk extensions. these are all features that make buses more reliable and the street safer for people walking and traveling. the transportation authority was proud to have provided over $13 million and sales tax funds as well as prop aa vehicle funds. so thank you to the voter who is have approved these sources and we hope to come back to you to do more in the coming years. thank you, of course, to japantown, filmore. and all the community members who remained involved in the planning station and of course in design and construction. this project, of course, will not only improve safety and reliability, but help support economic revitalization and
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jobs. maintaining and creating jobs for our city. i want to thank you, mayor breed. you saw this project come before us at the t.a. and thank you to the citizens advisory committee. community advisory committee. and really just want to appreciate everybody's continued support. please keep asking for projects like this. please keep demanding safety and bus transit reliability and rapid transit projects. it's our pleasure to support the city and we hope to keep it going to benefit generations to come. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, director chang. we have three members of the sfmta board here. sharon lai, steve hemminger, and our final speaker, mta board member amanda eacon. >> good afternoon, san
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francisco. on behalf of the entire mta board of directors i'm exciteded about the completion of the rapid geary project which is so important in accomplishing some of our key goals improving transit service and also improving traffic safety as mayor breed mentioned. it was noted my colleagues director lai and hemminger are here today and i want to thank them for their services. the geary bus lines are not just among the busiest in san francisco, they are among the busiest in the entire country where 56,000 and there's been a comprehensive suite of tools installed by this project to improve transit speed and reliability. of course, the red transit lanes bus stop optimization. as jeff mentioned, the quick builds alone improve transit service by 20% and i will tell you i experienced that this morning coming here on the 38r, that bus was flying down the street and it got here 13
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minutes faster than google maps predicted. thank you to the geary rapid project. it's so nice to be able to be early thanks to transit. that's just with the quick build improvements. so i cannot wait for the valuation of this project to be done once all of the measurements are done and see how much more even than 20% we are actually getting to. along with the full sfmta board, i am also deeply personally committed to san francisco's vision geary boulevard shows up prominently in what we call the height injury network. that's 13% of streets in our industry where 35% of fatalities occur because geary as a disproportionate share of traffic collisions. you're eight times more likely to be hit by a car when
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crossing geary than the average city street. so just a couple numbers. 304 new pedestrian bulb outs. 74 new upgrade the crosswalks. 9 intersections with improvements as well as new pedestrian count down signals, longer crosswalk timing and also a reduction in the number of to just point, the number of total travel lanes from four to two and, of course, one bus lane in each direction. that's a lot of impressive numbers and i also wanted to share a story today about one geary corridor resident whose life has already been improved by this project. lou grosso is here with us today. maybe you can stand up or wave. [ applause ] thank you so much for being here. lou is a member of the geary advisory committee that advises
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the project team and provides input on project issues from the community. lou is blind and lives just across the street from where we are gathered now in st. francis square and he is enthusiastic about the new crosswalk installed just down the street at buchanan street that connects st. francis square to japantown. thank you. [ applause ] lou recently told us that he completed his orientation and mobility training for the newly upgraded geary. today, he can now successfully walk from his home to his husband's work at calvary presbyterian church on philmore and jackson streets. [ applause ] lou told us this has been his goal ever since he moved to st. francis square in 2017. his mobility instructor had previously told him he was
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forbidden from crossing geary because it was just too unsafe and the webster bridge was not an option for him. but because of all the safety improvements and with excellent training, lou can now cross geary on his own and make it all the way to the calvary church. [ applause ] thank you so much, lou, for your service on the committee. and thank you for letting us share your story today. we are so happy that your neighborhood is now more accessible to you. and thank you for working so closely with the project staff to make sure all of our pedestrian signals are loud enough so that they can be heard. thank you to everyone who helped to make this project a reality and thank you so much all of you for coming out today despite the rain to celebrate this milestone with us. thank you. [ applause ] >> all right. thank you everyone for joining us. now it would not be a project
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kickoff without a ribbon and a giant pair of scissors. so i would like to invite back up the mayor, our key project sponsors, sandy moory who will be holding the scissors for us. and i would also like to invite all of you to please stick around after the ribbon cutting ceremony for some delightful performances by local groups in japantown and st. francis square. thank you all for coming out. [ applause ]
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>> you need to be very careful. okay. are we ready? five, four, three, two, one. we almost had it. >> they are giant scissors.
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>> van ness avenue runs from market street to bay street in
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san francisco. south vanness runs from south of market to cesar chavez street. originally residential after the 1906 earthquake it was used as a fire break. many car dealerships and businesses exist on vanness today with expansion of bus lanes. originally marlet street was named after james vanness, seventh mayor of san francisco from 1855 to 1856. vanness heavy are streets in santa cruz, los angeles and fresno in his honor. in 1915 streetcars started the opening of the expo. in 1950s it was removed and replaced by a tree-lined median. it was part of the central freeway from bayshore to hayes valley. it is part of uses 101.
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it was damaged during the 1989 earthquake. in 1992 the elevator part of the roadway was removed. it was developed into a surface boulevard. today the vanness bus rapid transit project is to have designated bus lanes service from mission. it will display the history of the city. van ness avenue.
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sustainability mission, even though the bikes are very minimal energy use. it still matters where the energy comes from and also part of the mission in sustainability is how we run everything, run our business. so having the lights come on with clean energy is important to us as well. we heard about cleanpowersf and
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learned they had commercial rates and signed up for that. it was super easy to sign up. our bookkeeper signed up online, it was like 15 minutes. nothing has changed, except now we have cleaner energy. it's an easy way to align your environmental proclivities and goals around climate change and it's so easy that it's hard to not want to do it, and it doesn't really add anything to the bill.
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