On Monday, Streetsblog joined the SFMTrA, a guerrilla-safety group that glues down safe-hit posts in trouble spots throughout the city, for a pre-dawn installion on Valencia between 17th and 14th. This afternoon, the posts were gone–and everything was back to its dangerous and dysfunctional normal.
Thanks to the SFMTrA, delivery trucks–at least when Streetsblog was there observing on Monday morning–had started making deliveries from the center median lane. Now that the posts are gone, things are back to “normal,” and a UPS truck was parked in the bike lane.
Also, now that there are no longer posts at the corner, cars and trucks were sweeping quickly across the intersection of 15th and Valencia. When the posts were in place, Streetsblog saw cars and trucks slowing and making safer right turns, because they had to avoid the safe-hit posts.
Most Streetsblog readers are probably already aware via social media or Hoodline that SFMTA has also removed guerrilla safety installations from Division and Folsom. All of this is consistent with SFMTA’s threat to remove posts installed on a “single line.” SFMTrA’s installation in Golden Gate Park, which was placed within a painted buffer, is still there–word just came down that SFMTA actually replaced the posts with “official” safe-hit posts, whatever that means.
Paul Rose, a spokesman for SFMTA, said it’s because safe-hit posts can get knocked into the travel lane if there isn’t a buffer space. SFMTrA members–and Streetsblog–don’t find that a credible justification to preemptively remove them, given that they are called “safe-hit posts” because they are safe to hit! Ask cyclists if they’d rather thread around an occasional bent safe-hit post or a constant stream of parked cars and delivery trucks blocking or driving in the bike lane. Furthermore, SFMTA’s spokesman is talking about a theoretical problem–but people being hurt and killed by cars violating bike lanes and making unsafe turns is far from theoretical.
Above is a photo of an old, grimy, and broken “official” SFMTA safe-hit post at the corner of 15th and Valencia–just across from where the guerrillas did their work. SFMTA came through sometime during the week, drove right past this broken post, removed the unofficial installation, and then didn’t bother to replace their own damaged post.
The SFMTrA has put together an email list for readers to reach out to elected officials to demand different priorities from SFMTA. The correct approach, in Streetsblog’s view, is for SFMTA to form official ninja safety teams that can plug in cheap infrastructure everywhere and anywhere it’s needed. But first our elected officials need to force agency brass to get with the spirit of the Mayor’s Executive Directive on safety and stop wasting time on what comes across as a thinly veiled pissing match with the safety vigilantes.
Now for one bit of good news for the weekend. Catherine Orland, who captained a count of illegally parked vehicles on the Valencia bike lanes, posted the photo below of cops “ticketing Uber for a bike lane violation!!! West side of Valencia btwn 18th-19th. I thanked the officers and then got bitched out by the three people waiting for their Uber ride, whose night was ‘ruined,'” she wrote.