Letter to the Editor: South San Francisco Screws Drivers Again!

South San Francisco, CA   May 22, 2018   by Mark Johnson, SSF Resident

After a meager page-5 announcement in last Friday’s Enterprise-Journal, the city completely cut South Airport Boulevard traffic at the San Bruno Canal on Monday. This heavily-traveled artery serves to connect many businesses to the airport and shipping. Costco employees tell of a “ghost town”.

Yet the bridge has been deteriorating for years while the city did nothing…

Again and again, I have reminded SSF residents that our city cannot compete in emolument or prestige to hire talented employees. The result – our city management (most of whom aren’t even candidates for the “B” team) has become defensive; they are uncommunicative to the point of secrecy, they organize against the citizenry, and they routinely fail to do their work properly.

Traffic in the city furnishes great examples.

First: there is no publicly-reviewed traffic plan.

Second: the so-called Traffic Commission is a closed-session of some department staff with no announced agenda.

Third: the department is publicly committed to “traffic-calming” (ie: creating delays and diversions that reduce the number of vehicles on the streets).

Fourth: there has been a absence of traffic-management planning for construction during the past decade-plus.

Fifth: ever since the traffic-camera debacle, the city has acted as if they had a vendetta against private citizens.

And I’ve not mentioned neighborhood complaints about speeding, wrong-way drivers, over-crowded parking, commercial vehicles parked long-term, or school-related traffic problems….

Yes – I do understand I’m castigating somebody’s husband, or son, or aunt, or sister…

But a city of 75,000 that welcomes workers from out of town but fails to provide adequate public transport where it’s needed, traffic is a REAL issue. And we need to stop the inept bumbling of the folks we employ!

Channel ABC 7 News did a segment on this chaos CLICK HERE.



14 comments for “Letter to the Editor: South San Francisco Screws Drivers Again!

  1. Anonymous
    May 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    What en embarrassment

  2. Steve Kassel
    May 22, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I said it was going to be bad five days ago and it’s worse than I imagined. I got gas at the ghost town known as Costco. NO LINES. No waiting. No customers.

    Going north on South Airport, I opted to go 101 North and got off at Oyster Point instead of staying on S. Airport and turning left past Dunkin’ Donuts. Absolutely horrible mess.

  3. Steve Kassel
    May 22, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    BTW, Costco has to be super pissed at this.

  4. Leslie Arroyo
    May 22, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Dear South San Francisco residents,

    I wanted to provide you with a bit more information on this project in hopes you’ll understand where we’re at, and also next steps to help alleviate the traffic congestion.

    The South Airport Boulevard Bridge over the San Bruno Channel at Interstate 380 was originally constructed in 1949. The bridge is inspected every two-years through Caltrans bridge inspection program and was scheduled for replacement this year due to age.

    The City’s original plan was to replace the bridge in two sections; enabling the bridge to remain open to traffic during construction. The project was scheduled to be completed over a two-year period.

    The most recent structural inspection prior to beginning construction revealed that the support pilings have deteriorated much faster than during previous inspections. Some piles were fully severed while others were hollow. With public safety as our primary concern; a determination was made to close the bridge completely.

    The City performed a public outreach campaign for the project. Outreach included:
    • Fliers mailed or hand delivered to surrounding business
    • Community outreach meeting held on May 8, 2018
    • Article published on May 19, 2018, in the San Mateo Daily Journal announcing the closure
    • Community alert published on NextDoor on Tuesday, May 15th
    • E-alerts sent to over ten-thousand residents and employees in the biotech community on Wednesday, May 16, May 18th, and May 20th reminding them of the closure
    • Social media posts to Facebook and Twitter began Tuesday, May 15th and have been ongoing
    • Monday, May 21st television coverage of the closure when it began, starting at 5:00 a.m. on ABC7

    On the day of the closure, the traffic delay and gridlock experienced by the public was much worse than anticipated. The City continues to work with our contractor and the public to improve the process and identify alternative routes.

    • Additional way-finding signs are now placed at key intersections to alert drivers;
    • Police officers are monitoring the most heavily impacted intersections;
    • Traffic signals were adjusted throughout the city in order to maximize traffic flow;
    • Electronic message boards were placed on US 101 to alert drivers of the closure;
    • Fliers with alternative routes to SFO are currently being delivered to local hotels.

    We expect traffic to improve significantly as word of the closure continues to spread and drivers adapt to the alternative routes.

    The City is working with the contractor to expedite the construction schedule to minimize the length of public disruption. Anticipated completion is November 2018.

    Our apologies for any inconvenience you may have experienced; public safety will always be our highest priority. Your patience as we navigate this process together is appreciated.

    Leslie Arroyo, Communications Director

    • Mark A Johnson
      May 23, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Leslie – Are your “thoughts and prayers with” us, as well?

  5. Mark Johnson
    May 22, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Reading this, I realize I wasn’t specific enough. South City has plenty of workers hired to clean streets, maintain parks and buildings, enforce the law, or put out fires. They do their jobs fine, and we’re grateful they’re here.

    The problem is that folks with the talents to make plans, judge among conflicting priorities, make things work within budgets, and fix stuff that goes wrong – those people are working for San Francisco or San Jose – or some other town. Maybe they’ve gone for the big bucks and work for a developer.

    South City can’t compete for those types – and the people we DO hire aren’t up to our needs..,

  6. your neighbor
    May 22, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    According the SF Business Times: 3/30/2018, city manager Futrell ,says he plans using a “Flushing System” for SSF to address traffic congestion by making traffic lights talk to one another, using artificial intelligence to create more efficient traffic flow at rush hour traffic. He saw it at technology conference in San Diego last year.

    How much is that going to set the City back? Lets see, we’re short money on the civic campus, like 28M, the salary/pensions take 44% of the yearly budget. This new bridge is going to cost 5M.

    Wasn’t the sales tax supposed to help the city weather the down turns? Will we have any money left after these hare brained ideas from a city manager who took courses in local government when he took the job in 2014?

    SSF is not ready for prime time and I’m happy about that.

  7. Pablo Esquina
    May 23, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Leslie Arroyo appears to be a floater,for what ever the city wants her to be:
    *passes out leaflets,
    *walks around at city council meetings/ functions, her attire looks like a flight attendant’s
    *directs traffic on clean-up day
    *I’ve heard her referred to as minister of propaganda, lately cleaning up the city’s image.
    *e-mails annoying ‘tidbits’ of employees doing nothing exciting but she thinks its wonderful
    *likely a Republican like the city manager
    *makes 100K

  8. Been around
    May 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Yikes! You’re a tough crowd! 🙂

  9. Old Insider
    May 23, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Maybe someone should question Futrell & Leslie about what’s going on. Seems they both think they work at a huge City like NY or SF. They’re ideas are way out of line with SSF. Question them both on where they used to work and what they did. They keep getting more pay for doing things citizens don’t want. Get rid of them. Not good for the City.

  10. Cynthia Marcopulos
    May 24, 2018 at 11:48 am

    I was given the traffic studies for the “car wash”, which will be 173 units spilling onto Chestnut and ECR — the way they’re going to mitigate traffic is to change the timing of the traffic lights.

    Currently, it takes 4 1/2 mins. for the light to change from ECR to make a left turn onto Westborough.

    However, if you are going east on Westborough and want to make a left onto Camaritas to go to the MSB, it takes 5 mins. for the traffic signal to do its rotation — so, being the car right where the median juts out, it takes 15 mins. for 10 cars to get through the light to make a left onto Camaritas.

    Lovely — and they’re wanting to build, build, build in this area??!!

  11. your neighbor
    May 24, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Last night’s sale of Land at Oyster Point to Kilroy Realty was approved but one member of the city council expressed disappointment that Greenland USA backed out of the deal to build 1200 units of housing; scared off by one of the biotech giants: Genentech, much to the delight of the rest of us.

    Kilroy Realty is a group of investors who are not interested in building housing units only offices.

    The council flex their muscles on the little people, but have met their match.

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