Based on my years working with the postal service, read this short brief on why the plan to cut Saturday service isn’t just stupid, it makes no sense EVEN TO THE POST OFFICE. Read about it here.
This isn’t about the reality of the postal system - this is about how a gang of crazy ideologues are trying to kill off the USPS artificially with legislative bullshit. Trust me, you do NOT want a private post office, one that can say “fuck you, lolz” when your mail isn’t delivered because the low rent people they hired decided to steal your tax refund or whatever.
As great as this is, I’m once again reminded of the sad truth that Jon Stewart — a comedian — is doing the media’s job better than the media itself.
Last night I wanted to attend a party held by my web services provider downtown. Normally this would have been a short trip on the N to Montgomery St. Station, but alas, no N due to the shutdown. Instead I took my (normally) trusty backup - the 71.
Little did I know I’d be boarding a bus that would exemplify everything that is wrong with riding mass transit - from serious overcrowding, to deadbeats back-door boarding to avoid paying fares, to a herky-jerky ride, and of course being so crowded the bus literally smelled like a sardine can (and not in a good way). Needless to say, I was glad to get to my destination without being too late, and at least the party had free beers.
However, as we were lurching towards downtown on an over-crowded Haight Street full of buses and double parked cars, it served as a reminder of why the N Judah line was built in the first place, and why the decision to go to “trackless trolleys” in the post-war era has proven to be a near-fatal mistake we are still recovering from.
First off - why the N was built in the first place. Before the N was built, most of the Sunset District was made up of sand dunes. The City and various other interests wanted this area developed, but there was no easy way to connect with downtown and the rest of San Francisco, hence the N Judah line was conceived and built.
After having this long service interruption, and lenghty delays on crowded streets and buses, you begin to appreciate why people in the 1920s, upon hearing of the N-Judah’s approval called it a “God-send to Humanity.” Not only does cutting through the Sunset Tunnel save a lot of time, LRVs/Streetcars can carry a lot more people per vehicle than the buses can.
Likewise, you start to realize that the “cost cutting’ mentality that had us lose many of our rail lines in favor of the so-called “Trackless Trolleys” took away many well-used rail lines, and replaced them with buses that provide that inimitable herky-jerky ride one is accustomed to on lines like the 38 Geary, not to mention that said trolley buses don’t command the street presence a rail line does. It’s yet another example of how short term thinking, particularly by politicians, damage Our Muni for decades.
That said, once this N-pocalypse is over, the work done will make things ride smoother, and like dental work, it’s painful to get done but once it’s over, it’s OVER, and people in the future will be glad we put up with the hassles for a little over a week.
While I resolve multiple problems with the blog, etc. I’ll be posting here while we try and fix things ASAP.
If you haven’t already heard by now, the N Judah line will experience a pretty intense 11-day shutdown as the ongoing sewer repairs, track upgrades, and more are completed. The shutdown starts on May 25th and lasts until June 4th. Needless to say, you can expect everything to slow down significantly. Buses simply can’t hold as many riders as the trains can, and the awkward switch at Church Street, never easy on weekends, promises to be a royal pain in the ass during rush hour.
The NX shuttle service will remain in service, which is great if you’re going from the Outer Sunset to downtown, but of course not everyone does that. Also, more traffic is going to be pushed on to Haight Street, which ensures delays, hippies back door boarding without paying, and a daily reminder of Why They Built That Tunnel In The First Place.
If you live in the Inner Sunset, you might want to try doing what I do during these “shutdown” weekends - take any outbound train to Forest Hill, get off, and walk across the street and take a 43 or 44 bus back to the Inner Sunset. Now that I’ve let that secret out, it may not be as fast as it is now, but it does work.
You can also take “alternate routes” such as the 71 but if you’re wayyyy out by the ocean, some of these alternate routes won’t work. I’d be interested to hear what your solutions are to bypass the mayhem and failwhale regatta that this will be. That said, like painful dental work, once it’s done, it’s DONE, and we won’t have to do this again for a long time.