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by Bryan Goebel
Aye, there’s the rub. We all want to be amateur traffic engineers sometimes (and this blog points out many of the times when traffic engineers act like amateurs). But sometimes our amateur predictions are grounded in past experiences and data, and sometimes they flatly ignore such information.
I am surprised that Ms. Liddell would succumb to such facile predictions of carmaggedon in SOMA because of the removal of two traffic lanes and left-hand turn rights over several blocks in her neighborhood. The dreaded ‘overflow’ argument has been debunked so many times. This argument is based on a persistent figure and idea of traffic as static and unchanging. Ms. Liddell and her neighbors fear that if it becomes harder to drive and easier to get around by other modes in SOMA there will be just as many cars, actually more, finding it hard to drive around and they’ll be spewing fumes and nastiness.
What is much more likely and actually intuitive when one thinks beyond the grip of the ‘overflow’ and ‘seepage’ metaphors, is that drivers who find a neighborhood harder to drive in will now avoid driving in that neighborhood all together, and/or consider switching to the more efficient means of travelling through that area–i.e. wow, 2nd street now has a bike lane, and muni flows faster here because there are not all these people making left hand turns into a wall of traffic.
That’s my amateur traffic analysis of the day, but it just makes more sense than the South Beach’s folks’ dire ‘prediction.’
“I have a sinking feeling we're all going to learn once again that hindsight is 20/20, and that all this caving to merchants' unfounded fears will result in an entire generation of lost opportunity to make our streets safer and more lively.”
– Upright Biker
In response to "SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought by Visionless Mayor's Optometrist"