Letters from our Readers: Muni riders can call 511 for schedule information 

I would like to clarify a very important point in your Tuesday story “New schedule tool assists Muni riders, call center.” There is no need for riders to call 311 at all. Riders need only make the toll-free call to 511 and use the voice-activation system to ask for “departure times” at the first prompt and then “Muni.”

If the rider’s stop does not yet have a five-digit code posted, they simply say “I don’t know” when asked for the stop-ID number. Then say the route number (or letter), whether the trip is inbound or outbound and the location of the stop. That’s all there is to it.

John Goodwin, Public Information Officer, Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Chance to get outside

On Sunday, April 11, cities across San Mateo County will take part in Streets Alive, a countywide event that opens streets and public spaces to pedestrians and bicyclists, and promotes our regional system of trails and parks.

Cities will host recreational activities at parks and community centers, or temporarily close portions of their streets to motorized traffic. To participate, simply leave the car at home and walk, bike, skate or take the bus to the Streets Alive hub nearest you. Or get out and enjoy your favorite park, trail or open space. To learn more, visit www.streetsalivesmc.org.

Carole Groom, Supervisor, San Mateo County

Homebuyer support

I read with interest your March 18 San Francisco front-page story “Opening doors to homeownership.” Your Peninsula readers should know about a homebuyer-assistance program fittingly called Opening Doors in Our Community. It provides qualified homebuyers who live or work in San Mateo County with down-payment assistance loans up to $75,000.

Opening Doors is a program of the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust, the HEART of San Mateo County. HEART, a joint powers authority comprising of the County of San Mateo plus all 20 cities here, raises funds to meet critical housing needs.

Christopher Mohr, Executive Director, HEART, South San Francisco

Park scores due to staff

What was truly “missing in action” from your March 17 story about the audit of city gardeners was acknowledgement of the excellent work Recreation and Park Department gardeners have done in recent months despite The City’s profound fiscal crisis. Budget woes have left this department nearly 200-gardeners short of need and require our staff to manage aging and often-broken irrigation infrastructure.

The city controller’s Park Standards Mid-Year Report shows that our gardening and maintenance crews are excelling. Park scores are at an all-time high of 90.8 percent, with 112 of 168 audited parks scoring more than 90 percent this year. This compares with just 77 of 171 audited parks at the same time last year.

The audit concludes that our lawns are greener, our playgrounds and restrooms are cleaner and our trees and shrubs have never looked better than at any time since the controller began auditing in 2005. Our success and our staff’s work ethic are best reflected in the audit scores we have achieved.

Phil Ginsburg, General manager, Recreation and Park Department, San Francisco

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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