Today’s Headlines

  • Hit-and-Run Driver Injures Woman on Bike at Oak and Scott on the Wiggle (Haighteration)
  • Man Killed by Driver Running Across Van Ness at Grove After “Altercation” (SFGate, CBS)
  • Mayor, Supes Call for Action on Ped Safety After Recent Deaths (SF Examiner 1, 2)
  • $1 Per Stop: Muni Won’t Make Profit on Shuttle Fees (SFBG); Chronicle Calls Them a “Helpful Step”
  • Tech Bus and Gentrification Argument Ensues Between Grist‘s Ben Adler, Writer Rebecca Solnit
  • Google Launches Private Ferry Service Between SF and Redwood City (CBS)
  • Sup. Farrell Wants to Legalize Garage Storage (SFGate), Maybe Ban Cars on Curvy Lombard (ABC)
  • SFBC Brings Bike Builds to Bayview
  • SF Cab Drivers Association: On-Demand Ride-Share Drivers Need Full-Time Insurance (CBS)
  • SFMTA Board Approves Incentives for Cabbies to Pick Up Wheelchair Users (SF Examiner)
  • Five-Year-Old Pacifica Boy Hit by Driver on Residential Street (CBS)
  • Meeting to be Held on Proposed Express Toll Lane on 580, Dublin to Livermore (CoCo Times)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Concerning the hit and run at Scott and Oak: non-neighborhood drivers use Scott as an arterial because Divisadero is so dysfunctional as a main thoroughfare. This could be solved by:
    1) disallowing all left hand turns on Divisadero between Page and Geary between the hours of 7 am and 9 pm except onto Fell and Oak. On these two streets protected left turns should be created as exists at Haight and Divisadero This would increase traffic flow on Divisadero by at least 50%. It might increase the time drivers spend on Fell and Oak, but it would significantly decrease the time drivers spend on Divisadero. (There should also be a protected left hand turn from Divisadero onto Geary, at least going north. That intersection is an ugly mess right now.)
    2) putting up traffic blocks that allow the passage of only bicycles and emergency vehicles southbound on Scott just south of Fell, southbound on Scott just south of Oak, and northbound on Scott just before Oak. This would reduce traffic on Scott by about 90% while still allowing locals to access their homes. It would also make it possible for bicyclists to turn left onto Fell at all times without breaking the law constantly, which is what happens now.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    #2 would be a very Berkeley solution. I don’t think it will fly in SF.

  • jd_x

    Just saw this over at Palo Alto online. 90-year old Edward Nelson, who almost certainly had the car in the wrong gear and pinned a couple kids against a wall after driving up onto the sidewalk is, get this, claiming it’s the kid’s fault!
    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2013/12/31/driver-responds-to-lawsuit-over-menlo-park-crash-that-injured-6-year-old-twins

    He is being sued by the victims, and has responded as follows. From the article:
    “Mr. Nelson states in his response to the lawsuit that the plaintiffs ‘carelessly, recklessly and negligently conducted and maintained themselves’ in a way that contributed to the accident. Furthermore, ‘knowing the probable consequences thereof, (they) placed themselves in a position of danger and voluntarily participated in all the activities,’ and so assumed any related risks. Finally, the plaintiffs failed to ‘reasonably mitigate’ any damages they sustained.”

    I can’t believe I’m reading this. This guy’s punishment better be increased for trying to pull off something as atrocious as this.

  • Bruce Halperin

    I read this the other day and was floored by how irresponsibly this guy, who after 90 years of living should have learned to take responsibility for his actions, is behaving. To blame kids for playing on the sidewalk after jumping the curb and severly injuring them is completely beyond the pale. This man and his lawyers should be ashamed of themselves for even attempting this.

  • Prinzrob

    It wouldn’t even fly in Berkeley, these days. Good idea though.

  • callmeotter

    Is Streetsblog SF just going to keep defending privatized transit in the city and arguing that the solution to frustration and rising costs is “more walkable communities”? Who wants to live in a walkable city that no one can afford? http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/01/07/google-launches-private-sf-bay-ferry-service-to-shuttle-workers/

  • mikesonn

    This is a Bay Area wide failure. People want to live in SF-like cities but SF is the only one here. Add to that the fact that SF can’t even build SF anymore because of parking requirements (see: Mission Bay).

  • We are in the midst of the mother of all bubbles, created mostly by US and Chinese central banks. This is the third obvious bubble I’ve witnessed over the last twenty years here in San Francisco. They are easy to spot. This one will end this year or next. By far most of the benefits of this bubble go into the hands of a very wealthy elite, not hapless twenty-something techies. When the bubbles pops, housing prices in SF will drop 30% or so, (but will no doubt still be expensive compared to other areas.) Will real estate here then be affordable? It will depend if you still have a job.

    On the plus side, many, many new units of housing have been created and they will remain even after the bubble pops. On the plus side, many housing units that were crumbling into dust have been retrofitted and upgraded so that they can actually serve as functional housing for the next 30 years.

    Overall, SF housing is going to keep its value (compared to other parts of the US) and still be on the expensive side, as it has been ever since 1849. This will be due to ever escalating energy constraints that are going to force (or at least highly encourage) people to continue to abandon outlying suburbs for more compact, energy-efficient life in denser areas.

    Attacking Google buses in no way changes the underlying economic, geological and political forces at work that are shaping our present reality. Every person in San Francisco would be more harmed by the cancer, asthma and climate change created by five thousand more cars on the freeway than they are by the additional five thousand people competing for housing.

  • Our point is that it’s precisely because housing in walkable communities is so scarce that it’s so unaffordable and sought-after.

  • murphstahoe

    “We are in the midst of the mother of all bubbles”

    Wanna bet? I was in those bubbles too and the flaws were obvious and fodder for all talk. “These companies have no real product or business plan”. “These mortgages will adjust”.

    This increase in real estate valuation is being called a bubble based solely on guilt by association fallacy. “The last two times prices went up, they came crashing down”. But nobody calling this a bubble can point out why the current boom is as unsustainable as the previous ones.

    This said, I hope you’re right.

  • callmeotter

    Yes, OK, however the privatization of luxury commute modes to the detriment of a shared transportation system that all can use cannot be explained away or simply ignored by making the conversation one of walkable communities which is what that past op-ed did.They’re separate issues, or perhaps related but they need to be taken as divisible concerns.

  • From my piece:

    “Don’t get me wrong — the fact that private shuttles are illegally using Muni stops without paying anything for it is unjust and unsustainable, as Monday’s protestors rightly called out. But those specific problems can be addressed by devoting more curb space to transit — both public and private — the vast majority of which is currently devoted to free, subsidized personal car storage. The SFMTA’s plans to convert car parking to shuttle stops and establish a private shuttle fee system are a step in the right direction.”

    Meanwhile, the luxury commute mode that is the private automobile continues to detriment the shared transportation system on an entirely different scale.

    Private transit has been around for quite a while. The new protests against it are inextricably tied with issues of increasing gentrification.

  • callmeotter

    Fair enough! It’s messy, and you’re right about the car being the major issue. The ‘new’ luxury isn’t driving to work in one’s own bimmer, but rather having a point-to-point private bus. It’s not surprising that the buses have been targeted for protest–it’s something tangible and extremely visible in an affordable-housing-light $ hellscape.

    There’s really no democracy when it comes to decisions about what our cities should look like, demographically, economically, etc — to protest the buses is an attempt to strike a symbol and actual physical manifestation of inequity, the result of a process that seems beyond our control. It ain’t logical, you’ve convinced me of that, but inviting Twitter to come clean up mid-market and put in a new MUNI line just for them ain’t logical either.

  • 94103er

    “Inviting Twitter to come clean up mid-market and put in a new MUNI line just for them ain’t logical either.”

    So, Twitter took over the SF Furniture Mart and that’s about it. The rest fell into place independently. Willie Brown put the arts-district thing in motion long ago. And the knock-on effects of Twitter are solely due to renewed interest in the area (the artsiness helps), cheaper rents, etc. Probably helps that Jack Dorsey is skulking around there and wanted Square to relocate nearby. Anyway, we’ve seen this movie before in countless down-at-the-heels neighborhoods.

    Putting in a MUNI line just for them–uh, Muni is public transit. Did this actually even happen, btw? If it did and it doesn’t get ridership, it’ll go away.

  • 94103er

    I agree with you. There has been a slow overall gentrification of SF since the 1970s. (I’m not going to go as far as say since 1849.) The economy and housing market have gotten overheated at times, but there is no going back now. The problem right now is that we’re seeing a slight overheating of the overall economy and the burn concentrates in transit-accessible parts of the Bay Area. But ‘burns’ are permanent and I very much doubt there’s going to be an across-the-board 30% drop. Too much foreign capital circulating around the globe for that now.

    Note that there’s been little by way of ‘crashing’ prices in central neighborhoods in the time period I’m talking about. Sure, there’s heating and cooling. But not crashing.

  • 94103er

    No, Streetsblog doesn’t defend privatized transit. That’s what cars are. Shuttles are privately-run mass transit–and not all of them are restricted to employees. And BTW you are fooling yourself if you think they’re any more ‘luxury’ than, say, a Honda Accord.

    Nothing is going to stop the Bay Area from being a multi-locus job region. What would you like to happen, see the companies move to the ‘affordable’ outer burbs? Oh wait, many companies have tried that and now they’ve realized their mistake.

  • jai_dit

    http://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/transit/routes-stops/83x-cal-trains This was implemented shortly after Twitter moved in with its tax break.

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