Another Bicyclist Injured at Market/Octavia; Driver Not Cited

2124046450_d89da2d544.jpgFlickr photo: sfbike

San Francisco’s most dangerous intersection for bicyclists was the
scene of yet another crash this morning, caused by a driver making an
illegal right turn onto the freeway on southbound Market Street at
Octavia Boulevard. 

San Francisco Police Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said it
happened around 8:25 a.m. The driver called 911 to report that she hit
a 29-year-old San Francisco woman riding a bicycle.  The bicyclist was
taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries to her face and
was expected to be released.

"I
don’t know the extent of the facial
injuries but it’s non-life threatening and she was able to talk to the
officers," said Tomioka. Her bike was "taken into police custody" and
will remain at the Mission station until she’s able to pick it up.

When asked if the driver, an unidentified San Francisco woman,
had been cited, Tomioka said she had not, "but that doesn’t mean that
she won’t be cited. She may be issued a citation at a later date." She added, "In this
case, it was the driver who actually called it in and took
responsibility."

But why wasn’t she cited on the spot, if she was the one who called 911 and admitted to making an illegal right turn? 

"The
officer wasn’t on the scene to witness the accident. And sometimes
they’ll look for supporting evidence, interview witnesses more
thoroughly, then determine if a citation is in fact appropriate."

According
to Streetsblog San Francisco commenter Whit, there were numerous
witnesses "waiting around to speak with the police."

The
fact that the driver hasn’t yet been cited is disturbing to Andy
Thornley, the
program director at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, but he isn’t
surprised. When a bicyclist was severely injured at the intersection by a truck driver who took off but was later stopped, Thornley said police refused to charge
him with a hit-and-run.

"Everyone
was appalled by that, the fact that you could hurt someone so badly
with a careless act of your truck and the worst thing that would happen
is a $120 ticket for making an illegal turn,"he said. "It woke a lot of people up to the whole
notion of traffic justice and the huge disconnect between acts of
carelessness with a motor vehicle and the consequences, which are
almost none."

Streetsblog San Francisco has requested numbers from the
SFPD on the amount of citations that have been issued to illegal right turn drivers at Market/Octavia
since 2005, when Market Street reopened after a portion of the Central
Freeway was removed.

As we’ve written many times, Market/Octavia is ground zero
in the debate over bicycle safety in the city. The MTA now says at least 18
crashes have been reported at the intersection
in the last three years between cyclists and drivers making illegal
right turns onto Highway 101.

When the MTA Board backed the removal of the bike lane in response to safety concerns in January, the SFBC, along with some high-profile politicians, rallied to save it, arguing it would make the intersection more dangerous. In the end, a judge refused
to grant a modification to the bike injunction that would have, at the time, allowed
MTA engineers to merge bicycle and motor vehicle traffic. 

MTA spokesperson Judson True said the plan for a shared lane is what remains on the table and will be reconsidered when the injunction is lifted sometime in June.

"Our
big hope continues to be changing the streetscape to make the bike lane
more evident, coloring the bike lane, raising the bike lane as it
passes through the intersection," said Thornley. "It’s much too open.
It looks much too much like a freeway on ramp and not enough like a
city intersection."

Thornley would also like to see camera
enforcement at the intersection, something that requires state
legislation. A bill that would have done just that failed last year in
the Legislature because of opposition from State Senator Leland Yee.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. Special thanks to bicyclist Ted Goldberg at KCBS for the original tip on this story. 

  • Patricia

    I was at the scene around 8:40 a.m. There was an ambulance on the western side of the intersection on Market, and someone had leaned the bike up against the sign on the median. An officer was talking with the passenger in the car.

  • North side or south side of Market?

  • I rode by at about 8:45am … it appeared that the car attempted to make an illegal right turn from Market on to 101 South. When I rode by the car was halfway blocking the bike lane and there were several police officers directing traffic around the scene. The bicyclist was not present, but a bike was in the median.

    What do people not understand about NO RIGHT TURN?? This is really scary as I ride this way every morning. A bike going downhill through this intersection has no way of stopping if a car decides to make an illegal turn across the bike lane.

  • A bicyclist going fast downhill on Market Street should be in the travel lane, not in the bike lane. That way, if a motorist makes an unexpected move, such as making an illegal turn, the bicyclist has time and distance to react.

    Motorists, especially those unfamiliar with the area, make illegal right turns at Octavia because the prohibition is unexpected and without any apparent reason. That is poor engineering.

    A much better way to handle the right turn demand is to provide a channelized right turn lane controlled by a traffic signal. That way, pedestrians and bicyclists would cross on their own signal, which is a lot safer than the way it is now.

  • Donovan b

    I’m sorry, Shanteau, but forcing cyclists into the travel lane amongst fast-moving traffic is very bad idea. As for poor engineering, whenever a city prohibits right turns on red, or right turns for any reason, if it’s “unexpected”, should we make excuses when a driver hits a pedestrian in the crosswalk? What’s poor engineering is the design speed of Market Street through that section of the city. And if a car makes an illegal turn, the driver is at fault, period. The design and the signage make it readily apparent that no car should be turning there.

  • Nick

    I was talking to someone at the last market/octavia protest, and they said that one of the problems with this intersection is that bicyclists don’t slow down as they approach the end of the protected bike lane.

    An illegal right turn is easy to avoid if you’re going 10mph on a bike; at 20-25 you’re going to get hit. People have to accomodate their riding to the current traffic design (however imperfect it may be).

    An additional problem is that if you have 5 cyclists going 25mph down Markets St and one wants to approach the intersection cautiously it throws the others off.

  • Bert

    When I approach an intersection and that one in particular, I assume that every car is going to make a right turn and position myself so if they do I will be able to avoid a collision. Too many people don’t anticipate what cars “might” do and put themselves in harms way

  • Whit

    I walked past just after it happened. It happened on the south side of Market, at the freeway on-ramp. I agree that it appeared the car was trying to make an illegal right turn onto the freeway. There were a number of people there who had witnessed it, and were waiting around to speak with the police. It also looked at the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet? If anyone finds information on the bicyclist’s injuries please post – as the few minutes I saw of it the bicyclist did not get up. Thank you.

  • @Bob Shanteau

    “Motorists, especially those unfamiliar with the area, make illegal right turns at Octavia because the prohibition is unexpected and without any apparent reason. That is poor engineering.”

    I don’t get this. I can’t figure out how it is motorists unfamiliar with the area that make this turn. When I make a right turn – I am making a right turn for a reason “Here’s Bryant St – I want to turn onto Bryant St, here I go.” There is no big sign saying “Here is Highway 101S” – in fact there is a giant sign saying “Highway 101S Straight ahead”. How does a motorist unfamiliar with the area suddenly determine “Aha – here is the super secret onramp to the freeway – if I just make a whipsaw right hand turn around this little median thing and run over the plastic bollards!”

  • Banjo K

    Cars will continue to make illegal right turns here no matter how much we whine about it. Cars — and the people who drive them — want to get on the freeway.

    So, what to do, other than rip up the freeway?

    I still think given all of the realistic options, the best is to make an auto right-turn lane pocket, just like the right-turn lane at Market and Duboce, just a few blocks up. The bike lane and bike box should be to the left of the bike lane.

    The bicycle “weave” to the inside edge of a turn lane happens at other locations in our city without problems. See Market/Duboce, just a few blocks west, or Howard/11th.

    Cyclists need to know that cars can and will turn right at this intersection; pretending they won’t because they’re illegal just puts cyclists in more danger. Slow down.

  • Joshua

    Nick, cyclists are not going 25 mph down that hill. I’ve checked my bike computer and I certainly don’t hit that kind of speed going through that intersection. The simple fact is, that bikes don’t stop as quickly as cars, unless they are running some form of disc brake of some sort. Quite simply it is the cars responsibility to look out for a cyclist IN THE DESIGNATED BIKE LANE. Whenever this happens someone always tries to put some sort of blame on the cyclist for following the infrastructure that is out there. Granted a better infrastructure should be put in place. That is what we need to be debating, rather than the “speed” of the cyclist in the bike lane.

  • Banjo K

    Whoops typo, I meant the bike lane should be to the left of the auto right-turn pocket, just like at Market/Duboce or at Howard/11th.

  • I think the simplest and cheapest way to make this intersection better — paint the bike lane bright green (or some other obvious contrast color) so cars realize that there is a bike lane there.

    If drivers knew that a lane of bicycles were between them and the freeway, they would be more willing to obey the no-right-turn sign.

  • gs

    If you want a permanent long queue of cars (1) on Market Street and (2) blocking the bike lane, then that’s what you’re going to get by creating a right turn lane from Market onto the freeway for cars. That my friends, would be auto-oriented traffic engineering. It is not at all analagous to the situation at Duboce, where the freeway entrance is several blocks down Duboce and cars have blocks of space to queue up. Here you just have Market Street. So if you want to permanently turn Market into a parking lot, go right ahead. But don’t complain when the cars are permanently camped in the bike lane and there are dozens of altercations and conflicts everyday from cars and bikes trying to merge. There is simply no reason to allow the right turn (“because drivers expect it” is inanne. There are many other instances when right turns are prohibited, including just a block away at westbound Division at Mission). The City just has to do a better job of preventing cars from doing it and slowing down cyclists/alerting them to the potential occassional idiot trying to kill cyclists.

  • To people who are suggesting a right turn lane so cars can get on the freeway:

    The reason there is no right turn allowed is not about protecting bikes or pedestrians. That is an afterthought. This is about keeping Market Street from turning into an extended on-ramp with long lines of queued cars that will 1) stifle inbound throughput of cars on Market 2) stifle the throughput of transit on Market.

    If a right turn is allowed on Market, the situation on Market Street for EVERY user will get worse.

    Long term, please support freeway removal, which is called for in the Market and Octavia Better Neighborhoods Plan, and which the SFCTA is supposed to study within the next few years. People should put pressure on the BOS to direct SFCTA to get on with it and look at taking the freeway down to Potrero-Division or thereabouts.

  • JS, our shared goal here is to prevent bicycle/auto conflicts and specifically, cyclist injuries. A car turning across a bike lane with fast-moving bicyclists, whether legal or not, is much more dangerous for the cyclist than vehicles moving parallel to each other along the street in separate lanes.

    I thought people were looking for a way to slow down cars on Market; your argument seems to accomplish that goal as well 😉 There would be little backup at a right-turn onto a free-flowing entrance ramp onto an empty freeway. And you’re correct that it is not at all analogous — it’s a much longer block here, with plenty of distance for bicycles and autos to negotiate the transition. That my friends, still seems to me like a decent *compromise* given the unfortunate situation we have now.

  • There would be little backup at a right-turn onto a free-flowing entrance ramp onto an empty freeway.

    1) That freeway is not empty at rush hour
    2) If the right turn was allowed, cars would be unable to turn right on red at rush hour because traffic on Octavia is always backed up.
    3) This situation would be greatly exacerbated by traffic from Upper Market now using that onramp as well as the hordes from Octavia.

  • Dave

    What ever happened to the idea of an “illegal right turn camera”? Start sending tickets to all the motorists making prohibited right turns at this intersection and over time the illegal turns will decrease.

    Speed cameras like what I’ve seen in Germany sure keep motorists at or below the limit.

    Just to keep things on a human level, cars and bicycles don’t break the law, motorists and bicyclists do. Let’s take responsibility and give respect!

  • George

    How about a bidirectional bike lane on the NORTH side of Market? This way, bikes would be on the other side of the Market away from turning cars. I understand the issue of queued cars so you could still disallow right turns. If there are illegal turns, at least there we be no bicyclists there to get hit.

    A bidirectional bike lane on the north side of Market, perhaps even protected by being slightly raised, would cross Octavia, then interchange with the Valencia bike lanes and then split again as it heads further North (East) on Market. Eventually, if we can get some cars off of Market, the bidirectional bike lane could continue in the South lane down Market all the way to the Ferry Building.

    Some car parking may need to be removed in order to make this work but we really do need to something to keep people from being hurt or killed at this intersection.

  • The people who are saying that it’s natural to turn right at Octavia and that cars should be allowed to do whatever they expect to be able to do are probably the same people who were railing against the Idaho Stop in the other thread last week.

  • Sprague

    With all due respect to the idea of a bidirectional bike lane on the north side of Market, I think that such a lane would require an inconvenient delay for many eastbound bicyclists (at least for those coming from the south side of Market). In Vienna, some streets have such lanes and they are frequently not used when they require the inconvenience of having to cross the street twice (once at the beginning of the bidirectional section and then again at the end of this section). Bicycle use of Market Street is fast, efficient and a great alternative to other modes. A bidirectional lane here would be an impediment. The idea of a camera to record illegal right lane turns sounds like a great improvement to this intersection. The threat of high fines leads to better motorist behavior.

  • the greasy bear

    And Rob Anderson’s blood-stained hands just got a little more crimson.

    Perhaps private motorists should be banned from Market Street all the way west to Duboce?

  • SfResident

    I’m with greasy bear. No cars on Market up to Duboce = no right turns onto the freeway = no dead/injured bicyclists at the intersection.

  • Streetsbloggers: I’ve just updated the story, with a few more details on the crash.

  • Nick

    I think cyclists should regulate their speed so they are able to anticipate and avoid the illegal right turns. The debate on this forum might be over traffic design, but out on the streets it’s about staying safe.

    The quote on the man page reads “A bike going downhill through this intersection has no way of stopping if a car decides to make an illegal turn across the bike lane.”

    I don’t think that’s true at all and I’m sure many safety instructors would agree. Anticpate and avoid.

    The debate over traffic design at this intersection has been going on for years. Anyone else notice the youtube collision video has over 10,000 hits and we are still having the same discussion about the same problem?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhMoE2flLqg

    People need to be safe riding through that intersection today and the only way I see that happening is if they approach it very slowly.

  • nonny

    Nick: “I think cyclists should regulate their speed so they are able to anticipate and avoid the illegal right turns.”

    …and women should always be on birth control to prevent pregnancy by rape, too?

  • Nick, I certainly agree that a cyclist needs to anticipate and avoid when possible — but this intersection in particular makes it nearly impossible to avoid a car that decides to make an illegal turn.

    First of all, a car that is knowingly turning right illegally is most likely NOT going to use their right turn signal — usually the first thing that cyclists look out for when riding in traffic.

    Secondly, the configuration of this intersection leaves no room for avoidance. If a car moves into the bike lane, a cyclist has nowhere to go because of the raised curb median that begins at the very edge of the bike lane.

    Bikes take a lot more distance than cars to stop completely. Especially here, because it’s downhill, a car turning right at the last second (with no turn signal) is unavoidable.

  • I don’t see the city banning cars on Market in the near future, though I’d be delighted if they did.

    It would be expensive, but they could build an overpass from Octavia/Haight to the freeway itself, going over Market and shutting off any possibility of freeway access from Market Street. It would in fact remove the dangerous intersection altogether.

  • Nick

    Thanks Nate, now I see the problem more clearly- the specific design seems to be inherently hazardous. Even if cyclists maintain thier speed, they still may end up in harms way.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    Stroller46: been here long? That’s how the freeway was configured until a few years ago. The elevated structure was not exactly a nice neighborhood amenity.

  • Update: MTA spokesperson Judson True said the plan for a shared lane is what remains on the table and will be reconsidered when the injunction is lifted sometime in June.

  • Tag

    Plainly late to this thread, but here goes. When they first started talking about doing away with the bike lane here, I was with most people in thinking that sounded like an entirely lousy idea. But on reflection, I feel increasingly skeptical of bike lanes as the panacea they are often treated as and more open to the idea that having a shared lane at this intersection would actually be better for all parties.

    Or, well, not ALL parties, because it seems like while bike lanes sometimes lend themselves to novel hazards, such as this one, they DO reduce the psychological barrier to entry that novice cyclists feel. While I generally feel more comfortable being a part of traffic, rather than separated from it, I can very much understand that other cyclists would not.

    What does anyone know about how well or not the stretch of Howard between 8th and 9th works? If you’re unfamiliar with it, it works like this: the bike lane disappears and the right lane becomes a turn-only lane onto 9th. The second-from-the-right lane is a turn-okay lane and there are about a million sharrows painted onto it. I’ve never seen anything go wrong here, myself, but I do find the dance to be a stressful one. I’m sure drivers do, too, and that makes me also wonder if the gray-area here somehow makes the whole mess safer in the end. Any ideas?

  • DaveO

    Here’s what should be done:

    Have the Central Freeway touch down at Van Ness, much as it does at Octavia now. Meanwhile, extend Fell and Oak to merge with Van Ness. For the bicyclists, use the Muni station at Market/Van Ness to create some kind of underpass-type bike lane.

    Long term, 101 should be tunnel under Van Ness.

  • Love the idea of the right-turn violation camera. I also agree that the current design really locks the bicyclist in with no escape route regardless of their speed (and I commute on my bike every day!)

    But I’m puzzled as to why MTA is still suggesting a shared lane. Doesn’t that imply that cars will be turning right? They’re not considering allowing right turns, are they? And if not, I actually don’t understand why a shared lane would be safer.

    *sigh* confused.

  • A solution to this problem is definitely not to give up bike lanes and make bikes compete with cars for space on the road. I can’t go as fast as prevailing traffic (I generally bike 12 – 15 mph) and this can make some car drivers pull stupid, risky maneuvers to try to get around me. The answer is better bicycle infrastructure, not less. (Think Copenhagen.) Physically separated bike lanes wherever possible. When we’ve gotten to the point where bicycling is safe for people from ages 8 to 80, then we will have achieved what we need.

    There are larger questions that are important here. Why was this car driver even getting on the freeway? Why was BART or Caltrain not the better choice? Why did she have to go so far that she even needed a freeway–why wasn’t her job or her activity closer by? The answers are obvious–public transport isn’t convenient enough, gas is too cheap, we don’t do enough to encourage people to live near where they work. But these are the fundamental issues that are deeper and more troubling, and if we don’t solve them we are going to have a terrible time adapting to peak oil and preventing global warming.

    As to making this intersection safer, a camera that catches the license plate of anyone making a right turn and a follow-up $1000 fine should do the trick.

  • Josh

    People who turn there are likely in one of two categories: 1) newbies and 2) pricks.

    If you haven’t been in the city much, and get directions from Google Maps or your in-car GPS nav system, you are told to enter the freeway there. If you get there and see that it’s no turn, you might freak and say screw it, I’m not getting lost in this city and make the illegal turn.

    This could be fixed (well, “made better” at least) with signage pointing the way to the acceptable entrance of 101.

    There’s no accounting for pricks. They’ve always been here and always will. A right-turn camera is the best solution; please write scathing emails to State Senator Leland Yee.

  • Nick

    So MTA’s first work order upon the lifting of the Injunction will be to remove a bike lane?

  • TPS

    Allowing cars to turn right was such an ass-backwards idea for the above stated reasons that even Caltrans agreed to prohibit the turn.

    The only way to effectively combat the reckless cheaters is through 24/7 enforcement. Unless we want to put a cop there (on overtime), we need photo-enforcement.

    Tragically, the blood of those 18 accidents lies with State Senator Leland Yee. How does he sleep at night? Someone needs to reintroduce the bill and put these victims’ accounts in Yee’s face.

    As Jason says, the true solution is to remove the freeway back to Potrero. The stub serves no purpose, only blight and hazard.

  • Josh: I thought that Google had fixed that, but I just checked and now they advise drivers to make a *U-turn* of all things at Market and Octavia, and then turn *left* off Market! Ridiculous!

  • FolderPete

    GoogleMaps only gives that goofy direction for originations on Pearl or 1800-odd Market. Otherwise, it tells you to take Duboce, Valencia, Octavia, South VN, etc.

    Still, it does tell you to do something stupid and illegal. They may want to know their Liability and Risk.

    As for a ‘shared-lane’ concept, I suppose we could always do an experiment. For three years, we could have a shared lane (with or without a legal Right). Then — count up the casualties, and declare a “winner”. (I only say this cuz I don’t regularly use that intersection).

    Why is there not more visual obstruction btw Market and the freeway on the eastbound side? You know, maybe some really large pieces of plywood. They could even paint on them “Hyway 101, turn Right at the bottom of the hill.”

    I don’t suppose a ‘bike bridge’ over the intersection would work — too steep on the downhill section from Octavia to Valencia I suppose. Too bad the lane couldn’t go UNDER the freeway from Elgin onto McCoppin and Valencia. (Let the VCs take the lane on Market).
    -FP

  • For what it’s worth, the Google Maps team is now aware of the problem and they are working on a fix.

  • I recently purchased directional turn signals for my bike and the 1st day I used them they saved my life at an intersection where a truck was making a right turn.
    It’s a no brainer. I purchased mine at http://www.safetybikesignals.com.
    I just can’t understand why more riders do not have these on their bike. Do You?

  • earlapricot

    I’m no traffic engineer, but it seems to me that the only real solution to this problem is one I don’t hear discussed much (with the occasional exception – I’ve counted one on this thread so far): Remove the highway touchdown on Market and back 101 up *at least* to Van Ness, preferably all the way back to 80. It’s very hard for me to take seriously any effort to eliminate lethal illegal right turns at this intersection which does not involve a permanent physical barrier on the southbound lane of 101 or removal of the touchdown altogether. I imagine the only reason we don’t discuss this option is that we think it’s too lofty a goal to try to get this idea through the political process, but don’t we have the Embarcadero to tell us it’s not?

    To me, the concept of a highway touchdown in the middle of a densely populated urban area is preposterous and nonsensical no matter how many cameras are installed or policemen posted. Therefore all other solutions to this right-turn dilemma sound like stop-gaps until we can remove the actual problem: the highway. Though a better stop gap in my mind would be a giant cement barrier on the market/octavia highway entrance, or a moving barrier (like those found at RR crossings) which opens only when the southbound octavia light is green and market street traffic is stopped.

  • whir

    @Richard – maybe you haven’t spammed enough forums yet.

  • “And Rob Anderson’s blood-stained hands just got a little more crimson.”

    Say what? My question is, Why are cyclists and motorists sharing a green light at this intersection? Why not do what the city’s did at Fell and Masonic?

  • the greasy bear

    Answer: because your personal and deliberate anti-cycling activism has rendered critical improvements in SF cycling safety, like overhauling bloody Market and Octavia, illegal for three years and counting.

    You, Rob Anderson, are responsible for San Francisco’s inability to legally meet cyclists’ most pressing and obvious safety needs–nobody else pushed for an injunction that outlaws peaceful change during the cycling revolution. Only you did. You. The resulting injuries and deaths at well-known problem spots are your fault.

  • Anderson would not have had a leg to stand on had the City followed the law.

    Any citizen has the right to go to court to compel compliance by government with the law when the executive runs amok. The courts must be made available to check excesses of the executive and legislature. Simply because government did not follow the law and your, our, project got delayed has no bearing on whether or not executive should be mandated to follow the law by the courts.

    It is incumbent upon the City to act prudently and follow the law. They were warned about CEQA implications by many of us on the Bicycle Advisory Committee back in 2002 when this plan was originating. The BAC was dissolved in part, because the Powers That Be, The City Attorney, The MTA Bicycle Program, The Planning Department office of Major Environmental Analysis and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, did not want to hear of LOS or CEQA because they were convinced of the righteousness of their mission if not CEQA.

    Between the Bicycle Coalition and the BAC Chair Emily Drennan, the decision was made to silence any discussion of LOS reform and a dangerous conditions inspection system. One major regret of mine is signing onto the letter requesting dissolution of the BAC, that was a big mistake. We were right, they were wrong and they still don’t realize how wrong they have been and the cumulative implications of that error. Cycling in San Francisco will suffer over the long term unless those responsible learn the lessons of their failure and are made to own their outcomes.

    The City could have taken several steps between 2002 and 2004 to change the rules locally so that the Bicycle Plan would have been exempted from CEQA review. They could have changed section 31 of the San Francisco Administrative Code to provide the local equivalent of a statutory or categorical exemption. They could have directed the Planning Commission to direct the MEA to change their local guidelines and standards to functionally exempt removing auto lanes for bicycle or transit lanes from environmental review. But the City Attorney is so conservative that, unless your issue is same sex marriage, caution is never thrown to the legal wind.

    It wasn’t until 2005 when Gonzalez was gone and Mirkarimi came in that we wrote the resolution urging the Planning Commission to change the standards and that sat idle for a whole year. Even still, the Transportation Authority is just finalizing the ATG standard which we can expect to be stuck in litigation for years on end. I believe the injunction came down in the middle of budget adoption in 2006, and I urged supervisors to find $1m in the budget to dedicate to jump starting an EIR, but that did not happen and the EIR did not get started until, what, mid 2007?

    But with full knowledge of the CEQA implications with the LOS standard in place, the route which was chosen was the General Rule Exclusion which has a very low bar to challenge in court and was successfully.

    Whenever anyone whines that it is insane that bicycle lanes should be delayed because of environmental impacts when bicycles are pro-environment, we need to just laugh at them, in public, point at them too, to humiliate such purveyors of disingenuous snake oil. CEQA is what it is, and group think is not going to change that, raising and deploying political power to change the law or to marshall resources to quickly comply with it will.

    This was a self-inflicted wound, and in reality the blood is on the hands of those who would posit themselves as leaders of San Francisco cyclists.

    The Octavia boulevard plan likewise arose from the liberal/progressive and enviro nonprofit coalition. That the North Mission and SOMA got slated for a fresh freeway is bad enough, but the planning and engineering of a touch down at Market Street obviously failed to consider the problem adequately. Another self-inflicted running sore.

    Now, we’ve got five years until CalTrans wants to replace the upper deck of the US 101 stub from I-80. Where is the organization arising to compel removal of the freeway back to those parking lots at Potrero and Division?

    -marc

  • Greasy bear of course doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The Market/Octavia intersection isn’t even in the original Bicycle Plan that was the subject of the litigation. The city’s latest plan to redesign that intersection was rightly rejected by Judge Busch, who wants to get out of any involvement in managing the city’s traffic. Even the SFBC rejected the city’s proposal for that intersection, which would have forced cyclists and motorists into the same lane.

    Typical know-it-all screed from Marc. I just don’t believe you bike people can dump LOS—which measures the amount of time traffic takes to get through intersections—without something plausible to measure traffic to take its place. And “trips generation” is unlikely to fill that bill. CEQA is a state law, and you can’t simply dump the only serious way to measure the impact projects will have on traffic just because bikes don’t burn fossil fuel.

    The notion that installing bike lanes on busy streets by taking away street parking and traffic lanes is environmentally neutral is ridiculous, since that can easily make traffic a lot worse for everyone, including Muni passengers.

    Marc talks about how the city was warned through the CAC process about proceeding without dealing with CEQA, but I didn’t learn about that dissent until long after the litigation was underway and we say evidence of it when we assembled the administrative record with documents that told us about it. Why didn’t he and Greg Hayes publicize their dissent? This was always one of the big problems with the Bicycle Plan process: even many progressives had no idea what was going on as the Plan was pushed through the process without proper review.

  • Still waiting to hear why the city doesn’t change the traffic signals at the M/O intersection like it did at Fell/Masonic to allow the right turn on the freeway while cyclists and motorists don’t share a green light. Recall that at Fell/Masonic motorists can only make the left turn onto Masonic on the new green light,which they don’t share with cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Rob, the Governor’s office and legislature are working to replace LOS with an ATG-like metric, and that gives localities legal cover.

    CEQA offers flexibility to localities, and once the City adopts a new standard, there is a high bar on the part of plaintiffs to challenge it if the City puts forth substantial evidence that it captures environmental impacts and does not conceal anything.

    Delaying transit is defined as an impact by state law, it is not necessarily part of LOS analysis per se.

    Delaying autos is a social impact.

    The clock is ticking on your relevance, Rob.

    -marc

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