Plan Would Improve Sidewalk Conditions for N-Judah Riders in Cole Valley

Image: Nick Perry, SF Planning Department City Design Group
The proposed layout for the inbound stop on Carl Street at Cole. Image: Nick Perry, City Design Group, SF Planning Dept.

A plan [pdf] to widen the sidewalks and install transit bulbs on Carl Street at Cole and Stanyan is headed to the SFMTA Board after being approved at an engineering hearing this morning, though not without controversy. Even though it would significantly enhance safety and convenience for passengers at all three stops, and improve dwell times, it has drawn vociferous opposition from some neighbors who are upset by the prospect of losing nine parking spaces.

The Muni stops in Cole Valley have been a problem for years. The sidewalks can’t accommodate the thousands of passengers who use the stops daily, so riders often wait in the street and are forced to weave through parked vehicles to access the trains. The outbound stop poses a unique problem because the tracks curve as the trains exit the Sunset tunnel and parked cars create a blind spot for operators who aren’t able to see passengers at the rear of the train. In addition, drivers sometimes illegally park in a spot that is clearly marked “No Parking.”

“When they do that they can encroach into the dynamic envelope of the train and either the N-Judah has to stop and wait for that car to move or occasionally they’ll make a misjudgment about how much room is there and they’ll proceed anyway,” said Britt Tanner, an engineer in the SFMTA’s Sustainable Streets division. She said the illegally parked cars have led to an average of one sideswipe per year.

To fix the problem, the SFMTA wants to remove the two parking spaces along that stretch of Carl around the outbound stop and widen the sidewalk by 9 feet. The bulb would stretch for 98 feet. For the inbound stop at Carl, five parking spaces would be replaced by a bulb that would stretch the entire length of a two-car train (165 feet) and the sidewalk would be widened by 5 feet.

“By having the bulb run the length of the train we’ll be able to encourage passengers to use the rear car which is less crowded and reduce dwell times,” said Tanner, who added that the sidewalks would only being widened by 5 feet for the outbound stops because anything more than that would be difficult for the N-Owl buses to navigate. Leaving a four-foot gap will also have an added benefit for bicyclists, she said.

The plan for the inbound stop at Stanyan is similar, except that only two parking spaces would be removed and the bulb would be shorter at 59 feet.

Images: SFMTA
Inbound and outbound stops in Cole Valley see 2,300 daily passengers each. Images: SFMTA

“I’m for this improvement strictly from a safety point,” said Muni operator Larry Woods, who has been working on the N-Judah line for 20 years. “The time has come when you don’t want people standing in the street waiting for a car.”

When there are gaps in service, he said, “that sidewalk is not big enough for all those people.” This morning, people were “all up in the middle of the street between the parked cars facing east as my train comes up. They’ve got head devices in their ears, they don’t see me, they don’t hear me. The sidewalk, that’s the best way to go. Safety first.”

“It speeds up loading and unloading,” said Howard Strassner of Rescue Muni. “It increases reliability. If the train sometimes takes 10 seconds to load or sometimes takes a minute and 10 seconds to load, that screws up the whole schedule.”

Some residents  and the owner of one longtime business in the area, however,  showed up at the hearing to testify against the plan.

“Some people, Rescue Muni, are speaking that these parking spaces don’t mean anything. They mean something to the people that make a living in that neighborhood and support families, from businesses who employ people in the neighborhood,” said Roger Soulah, the owner of Say Cheese, who complained that Muni drivers “fly out” of the tunnel and “do not look.”

Other residents complained about the difficulty of locating parking in the area, often circling for 20 minutes to find a space. One man who was carrying a bike helmet and identified himself as an urban designer said the parking is used 24 hours “whereas if you designate it for transit riders that’s only about three or four hours a day. So, using the space for parking makes more sense from a land use perspective as opposed to using it for transit riders that only use the space for three to four hours a day.”

The SFMTA hearing officer suggested that businesses worried about their driving customers should encourage them to use a parking lot on Stanyan Street near Kezar Stadium.

Tanner said the plan has the support of the Cole Valley Improvement Association and the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council, but staff is expecting the same opposition when it goes before the SFMTA Board December 7. If approved, the bulbs would be built in 2012 at the same time the SFMTA begins work on a rail improvement project.

  • Alex –

    Wait, what? I’m talking about replacing parked cars with moving bicycles, and I said people on bikes would need to yield to people un/boarding the trains. We both clearly stated that.

    And even though I wasn’t talking about “replacing moving cars with moving bicycles”, the latter actually is a much better situation for pedestrians. It’s kind of hard to get killed by someone on a bike compared to a car. Crossing a bike lane is much easier and safer than an auto-accessible travel lane.

  • emile

    This plan sucks – it will increase traffic because people will just drive around more looking for parkign, and it will do nothing for riders. Why are there so many thugs commenting on here threatening people’s business for expressing their opinion? Roger is actually right, if you’d stop to think about it.

  • emile,

    The evidence refuting those assertions have been pretty clearly laid out here, and that’s not the same as “thugs threatening people’s business for expressing their opinion.”

  • emile

    Aaron,

    Actually, people have said:

    -it won’t be problem to lose parking because you can’t find a space now, which is weird reasoning
    -that nobody drives to Cole Valley to shop so parking doesn’t matter, as if residents have plenty of parking
    -that because auto ownership is growing in the neighborhood, protecting parking “doesn’t help”, as if more cars didn’t need more parking.
    -that curb cuts have solved the problem of resident parking, which is simply wrong.

    None of this “evidence” refutes the fact that taking away parking will increase driving in the neighborhood. It’s obvious if you think about it. And it’s equally obvious that the bulbs will not do anything for riders.

    Meanwhile people have said they will boycott a business owner because he expressed a (correct) opinion at a public forum. Sounds thuggish to me.

  • Alex

    emile: Perhaps that there’s underused paid, off-street parking that could be used. Or perhaps the (let’s be VERY generous here) 200-300 cars a day that use these spots are less important than the 2500 Muni riders a day that use the one stop, the 45,000 riders that use the N every day, or the 750,000 riders that use Muni every day. Or perhaps the reduced parking would discourage people from driving to Cole Valley in the first place.

    You’ve either missed or ignored the part where the bulbs will physically remove parking in what are blind spots for LRV drivers. That’s a big win for everyone, transit rider or not.

    Aaron: If I’m offboarding I don’t want to dodge cars OR bicycles. The existing plan takes care of that. Your suggestion would be more hazardous to transit riders and pedestrians than the MTA’s plan. Likewise, it’s VERY telling that you feel the need to emphasize bicycles yielding to something. As-is bicycles are obligated to yield to pedestrians offboarding from a transit vehicle. However, as anyone who’s seen a four way stop or critical mass in this town knows, bicycles don’t yield to pedestrians. As anyone who’s read streetsblog has seen bicycle owners don’t believe that they should have to stop for anything be it traffic signals, stop signs, or pedestrians.

    Hell, even with the bright yellow stickers on the ends every single LRV in the MTA’s fleet and the big traffic signs (which I’m SURE get read by people on bicycles) indicating that you’ve gotta yield to offboarding pedestrians… you still felt the need to emphasize the uniqueness of a situation in where a bicycle user would be expected to yield. Go figure.

    What’s wrong with waiting behind an LRV? The MTA’s proposal indicated that they weren’t going after a full-width bulb because it wouldn’t leave enough room for bicycles or buses.

    ::shakes head::

  • emile –

    You missed some points. Alex touched on a lot of it. Here are some more that I already said:

    “[The status quo is] punishing 4,600 rider boardings (potentially more to be gained), the rest of N-Judah riders who are hurt by slowdowns, and all users of that intersection (in terms of safety) for NINE parking spaces. Absurd.

    And above all, the principle of prioritizing that non-obligatory amenity of private automobile parking on the street over public transportation is just not right. And improving the transit riding, walking & biking experience with things like this is key to reducing parking demand in the first place.”

    Also, circling for parking wouldn’t be a problem if the spots made available are priced according to demand. We can’t just keep giving away free (or under-priced) parking to everyone who wants to drive at the expense of non-driving street users (who are the vast majority, particularly in this case).

    It does indeed do something for transit riders – it creates a safe, open, visible, and welcoming environment where they have plenty of space to occupy along with people walking through, not subjected to squeezing between the parked cars of a few.

    Alex –

    Where do you suggest we put bike lanes on streets with transit? Surely, you or most people wouldn’t feel comfortable riding in front of the N-Judah in between or next to the rail tracks. Just as we need a comfortable space for transit passengers and other pedestrians, we need to provide a safe space that most people would feel comfortable riding bikes on. The design I described makes the most sense for integrating bike lanes with transit stops and is the standard treatment in places with successful bike/transit/walking cultures such as Denmark (where I’ve lived and used them on a daily basis). Here’s a photo of something close to what I’m talking about, except this one provides a more ideal boarding space as well at the curb to the left of the bike lane (which there wouldn’t be room for on Carl St., but the shared bike lane/boarding space works almost as well).

    If I hadn’t mentioned bikes yielding to peds, wouldn’t you have reacted the same way, if not more strongly? I only mentioned it because I’m talking about a design that most people aren’t familiar with in San Francisco, and wanted to clarify how it works. But it’s kind of a Catch-22, not sure what you want. Not only are your claims that “bicycles don’t yield to pedestrians” a great overgeneralization (I always stop for people on my bike or go around behind them carefully with plenty of room, and I see others do the same all the time – it’s completely reasonable to go around rather than simply stop in place, as long as it’s not threatening) but one major key to remedying that behavior is easily navigable, clearly designated street layouts for where each user should go (and this goes hand-in-hand with normative biking conduct that is established as bike usage grows). While I fully advocate for safer pedestrian conditions including more visibility, on the other end it is easier for people on bikes to be aware and respectful when it is clear there is a shared pedestrian area. All I can tell you is I’ve already seen it work very well – and isn’t it reasonable to predict that even in present-day San Francisco, with as many new riders as we have, that 95% of the time people on bikes will understand the situation and not have the nerve to try to plow through a boarding crowd of 20 people?

  • emile,

    Parking induces traffic.

    And no one is being a “thug” towards a business. However, the best way to send a business a message about their policies is to either spend your money there or not. If a business is fighting for 9 parking spaces over the well being of several thousand transit riders, then it may be high time for that business to realize which costumer base is actually more prevalent. The city has also done study after study (which I can’t find, sadly) that pedestrians and transit riders spend more per month at local retail than auto drivers.

    “-that curb cuts have solved the problem of resident parking, which is simply wrong.”

    I’ll quote what I’ve already said since you clearly didn’t read the thread:
    “Also, curb cuts in Cole Valley have decreased the overall parking spaces available to those coming from outside the neighborhood as nearly every residence has a “reserved” spot in front of their garage. Also, several curb cuts on a block lead to “lost space” between cuts that tend to be too small to park at so the overall loss is usually more then a one to one ratio.”

    “-that because auto ownership is growing in the neighborhood, protecting parking “doesn’t help”, as if more cars didn’t need more parking.”

    Is auto ownership growing in the the neighborhood? And if it is, is it growing at a rate comparable to the overall population growth? (as in, is there a new car for every new person or is the number of non-car owning individuals growing faster then car owning?)

    “This plan sucks – it will increase traffic because people will just drive around more looking for parkign, and it will do nothing for riders.”

    And, this doesn’t really add anything to the conversation but should be addressed, this will do a lot for riders. Squeezing in between parked cars is annoying, and at times, dangerous. As alex said: “perhaps the (let’s be VERY generous here) 200-300 cars a day that use these spots are less important than the 2500 Muni riders a day that use the one stop.” I feel that 200-300 is VERY generous since most of those cars probably arrive with one occupant and stay for several hours. Also, full circle – parking induces driving.

  • emile

    Alex,

    I’m not aware of underused parking in Cole Valley. Since drivers spend twenty minutes driving around looking for parking every night, I can’t imagine there is that much.

    The arguments that it is unfair to subsidize private automobiles with free parking is a perfectly fair one to make. It just doesn’t change the fact that if you take away that parking, the twenty minutes of driving will increase even more.

    If anyone proposes to increase parking to offset the spaces lost – even paid parking – then I don’t have a problem with this. But that’s not a part of this proposal.

    But as for the supposed benefits to riders, I don’t believe there are any. It is perfectly safe for them to stand on the sidewalk, and there is no risk, discomfort, delay, or anything else caused by walking between parked cars. The train is delayed because people are cramming to get on, not because they are stuck between parked cars.

    Mikesonn – it’s not “his policy”. It’s his opinion – why can’t you simply respect it? And nearly every residence certainly does not have a reserved spot in front of their garage. Most residences in the neighborhood are multi-family, and there isn’t anything close to a 1:1 parking ratio in the neighborhood. It’s an obvious fact: street parking is hard to find because residents need it. It’s not just hard to find near the commercial areas, it’s hard to find everywhere. Now you can like that or hate that, but you can’t change the fact that removing spaces will lead to more drivers taking longer to park. Parking doesn’t induce driving – bad transit service does.

  • emile –

    While it’s probably true that there are more substantial changes to be made to improve transit service, this is important too. For one, parking on that spot that blocks the outbound stop definitely needs to go to prevent blockages. But there’s also a more intangible benefit that comes with improving the transit experience and reducing stress factors for riders as well as what priorities show in the way we design our streets. Sure, maybe nobody’s died having to squeeze between the parked cars, but is that how we should always measure conditions? There is not enough space for people to wait and walk by comfortably, and relegating them to such minimal space for the provision of a few who choose to own and use the most harmfully impacting mode just doesn’t exactly send a “transit-first” message to residents and make the option more attractive.

    You can indeed change the fact that removing spaces will lead to more drivers taking longer to park by pricing it according to demand, which you just partly agreed with. And such adjustments should be a part of the planned changes. But again, besides that, we can’t continue trying to accommodate everyone who wants to park a car at the expense of other modes.

    Parking certainly does induce driving (along with bad transit service), as the more we accommodate parking space, the less we accommodate other modes (as in the ways I just discussed). The more parking spaces we create, the more people will assume there will be space for their car and decide to own one and drive. And these parking spaces in most cases go where there could otherwise be safe bike lanes or dedicated transit lanes, among other, more beneficial uses of our street space.

  • But as for the supposed benefits to riders, I don’t believe there are any.

    it is inconvenient, dangerous, and humiliating to have to walk/cram between parked cars, which may or may not move while they are ‘parked’. just the fear of banging your legs/knees up against some crappy piece of jagged and rusty metal or an obtruding bumper-on-the-bumper is not something riders should have to put up with. riders should not have to do their best Ingemar Stenmark impersonation just to wiggle their way through to the train. even someone just having ‘parked’ can have their car drop/shift/jump a few inches forward into your leg(s), causing injuries and stains on your pants (if you mess up my skinny jeans, so help me!).

    the city has a responsibility to make it safe/convenient/dignified/comfortable for everyone in the city to walk and bike to every single destination in the city — after that, they don’t have much responsibility transportation-wise, so as far as i’m concerned, the city doesn’t have to provide any parking at all. and really, we can no longer afford to socialize the costs of car storage — if there is not enough supply to deal with the demand, then that means prices have to go up. that’s right drivers — time to start paying your fair share to park that hunk ‘o junk. And feel free to park it permanently — off a cliff.

    Parking doesn’t induce driving – bad transit service does.

    They both do. So we’ll start charging $500++ per parking permit for year, gradually increasing it to $5,000++ per year, or until we have no more shortages of parking in the city, and we’ll send a good chunk of that money to improve walk/bike infrastructure, and eventually transit service.

    sweet! 😀

  • emile-

    “Mikesonn – it’s not “his policy”. It’s his opinion – why can’t you simply respect it?”

    Who says I don’t respect his right to have an opinion? He can go right ahead and have it, but that just means I’m not going to support his business (same with many others once they find out his “opinion”). Why should I, as a consumer and transit user, give my hard earned money to someone who takes the “opinion” that 9 parking spaces are more important then several thousand transit riders?

    And you clearly don’t understand induced demand or refuse to acknowledge it.

  • MickV2

    I use the N a lot and it’s a trivial inconvenience walking between parked cars and, anyway, there are a couple of driveways where there is no obstruction.

    I don’t understand why that issue has precedence over those stops where riders have to dodge moving vehicles to board the streetcar.

    One other idea. The railway owns that small park by the tunnel entrance. Not the large dog park but the small one across the tracks. Nobody ever uses it, yet it would probably hold a few parking spaces. How about a swap?

  • MickV2, it’s not that this is taking “precedence” over the other stops, all things in due time. If they had called for closing down Church, you’d be racking on about how cars NEED to get through there, etc etc.

    And why all the swapping? An unused park is still better then a couple parking spaces.

  • MickV2

    Mike

    I was simply questioning the SFMTA’s priorities. As someone who boards and alights the N at that place all the time, it really doesn’t strike me as a problem at all, and certainly not one worth sacrificing parking in an area that is dire to park in already.

    And the idea of swapping was to provide the plan with more balance. If a few alternate parking spaces could be found (that red curb next to the mini-park is another possibility), then the businesses and residents that oppose this could probably be appeased into supporting it.

    Of course, if you just want all street parking removed on principle, then that’s another matter. I can’t debate the anti-car zealots on that, only those who actually wish to compromise and find a middle path.

  • I’m not advocating removing it on “principle”, but just because a plan calls to lose a couple spaces to make boarding easier doesn’t mean that parking has to be made easier somewhere else.

    Also, if you really want a “compromise” (which in reality nothing will appease you) then count all the spaces on Valencia that were added after the 26-Valencia was taken off-line. Compromise complete.

  • Jon, no H

    Does anyone in support of this plan actually get on the train at that stop in the morning? Those cars are never in the way.

  • Jon, putting aside the ridiculous question and the fact that the photos in this article clearly show the case… cars or not, transit riders should be able to step on/off at curb height.

  • Jon, no H

    I would love to hear all the reasons my question was ridiculous. I’d like to hear some real first-person feedback from the people who are actually affected by this “significant” problem Muni is trying to solve. So far I’ve mostly heard from out-of-neighborhood “experts” who generalize their opinions without considering the actual situation. I actually agree with most of the comments on this page about pedestrian safety but this isn’t just a one-size-fits-all situation.

    With all the other problems Muni’s got these days, this smells like they’re trying to fix something that ain’t broken. There are countless other ways they can put the money to better use.

  • emile

    Aaron,
    Trust me on this, I’ve been riding the N Judah at that stop for many years. Getting to wait on a bulb instead of a sidewalk is not going to improve my experience. Reliable, uncongested trains would greatly improve it, if you’re interested in a real transit-first message.

    I’m interested in the quality of the neighborhood more than messages. Increasing traffic will harm the neighborhood. Making bigger waiting areas for riders will not benefit anyone. Of course the parking spaces are not going for bike lanes or dedicated transit right-of-ways. They are going to build a monument to inadequate transit service.

    And as I said I’m all for more paid parking – but that’s not part of this plan.

    Peter Smith,
    Your invokation of the “indignity” of walking between parked cars is a new one. As for me, I don’t feel it. There are actually driveways in between the parking spaces that are perfect for anyone who is sensitive to that. Again, I’m more interested in real-world impacts, and if you are concerned in creating a comfortable environment for pedestrians and cyclists, why do you want to increase traffic in the neighborhood by eliminating parking? And as for your $5,000 per year car fee – why do you want to eliminate poor and middle-class people?

  • K, so let’s get on that parking pricing.

    And the poor in San Francisco tend not to own cars, nor should they have to.

  • emile

    Indeed, the poor “tend” not to own cars, but plenty of them do. Sure they shouldn’t have to, but this is the real world. And we can set the price on new parking just as soon as the city allows new parking.

  • No. We price existing parking according to how much people are willing to pay instead of circling, unless you want to tell some families or businesses they have to leave so we can tear down their very valuable buildings for a parking lot.

  • emile

    Why don’t we turn the lot at Kezar into a garage? Then nobody has to leave.

  • Sprague

    Just like bus bulbouts make stepping up into or down out of a bus easier for the very old and very young and others with mobility issues, raised curbs along the full length of a streetcar stop have the same benefit. This helps speed service, too.

  • emile, who has to leave? Is the loss of 9 spaces going to lead the citizens of Cole Valley to go running for the hills? Stay strong emile, this too shall pass. This too shall pass.

  • Ok, sure, a parking garage would really spruce up the neighborhood.

    $19,253 PER SPACE (PDF), increased auto traffic to endanger people on foot and bikes, slow transit, discourage social interaction and people presence on our streets, decrease exercise for people, increase air and noise pollution road maintenance costs, and degrade the pedestrian environment & neighborhood feel… getting tired of listing them to people.

    When there’s less parking and good alternatives, the people who move in (in this extremely high-turnover city) tend to not have cars or sell the one they have. Similarly, the people who visit the area see the transit & other accessibility and choose not to drive there. Getting it yet?

  • Jym Dyer

    @bs – Many (perhaps most) of the merchants on Cole Street, and indeed most of the business districts in San Francisco, are skittish about losing parking. If you want to make progress, engage with them. That’s how Mary Brown won over Valencia Street. Opposing one merchant because he spoke with Streetsblog does not make any sense.

    @Jon, no H – Yes, I have gotten onto the N at Carl & Cole in the morning. My choice is to navigate past all the parked cars and SUVs to get onto the second car, or help delay the train with the crowd jamming onto the first car. Getting off the first car in the outbound direction is also a matter of dealing with parked cars, of course. Those of us who use Muni when injured (or with non-wheelchair disabilities) have a particularly hard time getting around these obstructions.

    @emile – A parking garage at Kezar? I take it you didn’t bother to read the link that Mike Sonn thoughtfully provided. At a certain level of density, more parking doesn’t work any more; all you get is more cars on the road, and with it, more congestion. San Francisco has the second-highest density in the nation, and it’s about time the city faced up to the traffic dynamics that come with that.

  • emile

    Mike, Aaron suggested that building new private parking to meet the demand from residents in the neighborhood would require families and businesses to leave. Not if we build more parking at Kezar.

    Jim, the idea that providing adequate parking is the thing that makes people choose to own a car is very simplistic. If transit is unreliable and slow, people will choose car ownership even when parking is expensive or difficult. Making it more expensive or difficult only punishes them for no good reason. And makes traffic worse for everyone else.

  • Better accommodation for alternatives, less accommodation for autos. It’s carrot and stick.

  • emile, he suggested that because there is no where to put a parking structure outside of tearing down homes/businesses. I assume, and maybe I shouldn’t, that you’ve noticed there isn’t a lot of open space wanting of a parking structure in SF.

    “the idea that providing adequate parking is the thing that makes people choose to own a car is very simplistic”

    Actually, most car trips in the US start and end with free parking so it has been knitted into our national psyche that it is a right to have adequate and free (or at the very least cheap) parking. It is not any stretch of the imagination that if parking is available people will continue to own a car. However, I would argue that it is very simplistic to think that, in a dense city with a dynamic street-scape, we can continue to provide more and more parking. Parking induces demand. I’ll keep linking it until you actually read it.

    Dwell times slow transit. Providing this loading area will definitely speed up this stop which may have significant ripple effects across the whole system. Not only will the time saved here help speed up this one line, but the example set will allow the MTA to push for this sort of treatment in many other parts of the city and speed up transit elsewhere.

  • emile, Watch this video. Please.

  • Sometimes we go to Russian Hill for dinner. It is well known that parking there is very challenging. That does not stop us from going to Russian Hill for dinner. It induces us to take MUNI there and a cab back. If there was more parking, we might consider driving (and probably would not because my wife and I both like to drink wine and actually consider drunk driving to be verboten – wow). But there is certainly a population that takes MUNI/cabs to places like Russian Hill because of the parking issues. And even though a cab is a “car”, it does not have to be parked and is less congestive because it doesn’t circle endlessly looking for a spot – instead it is reused by the next customer.

  • John –

    You’re right, cabs are actually a form of public transportation… just a slightly riskier one sometimes.

  • Thebe

    I think the plan is a good one. Maybe wiggling between cars to board Muni in Cole Valley won’t kill anyone, but it’s annoying and let me tell you, riding the N is annoying enough. It doesn’t make any sense to have parking there when thousands of people use that stop every day.

    It’s also amazing to me how people will circle the area for 20 minutes to park in the Cole Valley business district. I pick up my son every day at Grattan and have no trouble finding parking on the neighborhood streets. Often we walk the few blocks to the market or a cafe. I used to take the 43 often from NOPA to 9th and Judah and gosh, it took forever to get through Cole Valley, usually because of people parking badly or circling around waiting to park badly.

  • Alex

    Jon, I’m curious if you read the part about people using the no-parking spot and thus blocking the outbound N? That *is* a problem, and replacing an easy to park in non-parking spot with a bulb would make it more difficult for people to block the N.

  • Katherine Roberts

    Daniel Krause, bs, Mike Sonn, et al.: Far be it from me to stop you from boycotting anyone you choose. I am a firm believer in the power of the boycott as a tool for social change (viz. the obvious example, the great bus boycott in the South that led to the Civil Rights movement). The only thing I ask is that you inform the business owner WHY you are boycotting his business. Otherwise boycotts are of limited value in changing things. Losing a few customers won’t be enough to make Roger sit up and wonder why this is happening. If you tell him directly that you used to patronize his business and you don’t anymore because you disagree so radically with his views on parking and transit — well, I guarantee you that will have a FAR greater impact. It will also most likely stop him from seeing me as one unreasonable, misguided person on this topic and possible engage him in thinking about it on a deeper, more meaningful level.

    I might add, the driveways & curb cuts he was notified about but did NOT oppose across Cole Street from his 2 businesses involved REMOVING metered parking spaces that provided much-needed revenue to the city, and provided a neighborhood service of high-turnover parking spaces in a crowded commercial district. But his thinking was, those metered parking spots will be replaced with even MORE parking, even if it’s off-street & private. I think this is a very benighted way of thinking about public urban space.

    I am also dismayed that he found the time to complain about Muni improvements but did not protest ONE of the curb-cuts that went in across the street from him because, he told me, “It’s impossible to keep up with things like that.”

    So, please, let Roger know how you think about this, and how hesitant it makes you feel about patronizing his businesses. He’s not stupid, & he’s not a bad person. He’s a very influential person who’s done a lot of good for the neighborhood — in fact, Gavin Newsom asked him to be on the Small Business Commission, but he decided against it because he felt he wasn’t cut out for politics.

    I would LOVE it if Roger saw the light of day on this. Anything anyone can do to help, I would hugely appreciate it.

  • Cdm

    Yeah, screw the local residents and people who have to park!

    Wait, unless you are a resident and a (nefarious?) car owner who regularly spends a half hour to an hour each night looking for a parking space. People get frustrated, show road rage. I’ve seen it.

    Maybe if the N-Judah ran on time then you wouldn’t see the crowded scenes like the photos above. But, hey, why solve a problem of efficiency when you can blow money on wasteful development projects? I mean, we are talking bureaucracy and tax dollars, who cares, right?

  • “Wait, unless you are a resident and a (nefarious?) car owner who regularly spends a half hour to an hour each night looking for a parking space.”

    In that case, just pay the $250 per month (roughly the going rate) for your very own guaranteed parking spot in the garage of your building or one nearby.

    Or, if you can’t afford your lifestyle, try another one 😉

  • njudah

    four years later, and Carl and Cole continues to thrive despite the predictions of the chicken littles who predicted an economic armageddon for making the improvements have been proven to be idiots who were wrong!

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Forget Parking: N-Judah Detours Show How Much Merchants Rely on Muni

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When the SF Municipal Transportation Agency proposed widening sidewalks at two stops on Carl Street in Cole Valley to improve conditions for nearly 6,000 daily passenger boardings on Muni’s N-Judah line, some vociferous merchants and residents complained about the loss of nine car parking spaces it would require. But with ongoing project construction detouring the […]

Latest Haight Street Plans Replace Most Stop Signs to Speed Up Muni

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The Planning Department has an online survey about the Haight Street proposals, available until July 3. City planners recently presented their latest plans for Haight Street, which include two overlapping projects from two agencies. The Haight-Ashbury Public Realm Plan is the Planning Department’s effort to expand sidewalks and add aesthetic treatments along the Upper Haight […]

J-Church Line Could Be the First to Get All-Door Boarding

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The J-Church has emerged as the top candidate for Muni to test all-door boarding as a way to speed up service on its busiest and least reliable lines. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Transit Director John Haley said today that it is being evaluated for a pilot program that could lead to a system-wide change […]

Muni Approves Upgrades for 28-19th Ave With Bus Bulbs, Fewer Stops

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Muni’s 28-19th Avenue will get a speed boost from bus bulbs and stop consolidations approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors yesterday. The upgrades, part of the Muni Forward program, are expected to be constructed starting in the fall of 2016 and completed by 2018. On 19th Avenue, the 28 currently stops on nearly every block, and buses must pull […]