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Posts from the Bicycle Infrastructure Category

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Safety Guerrillas Hit Valencia Street

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"Dragon" hands out cards and builds support for SFMTrA near their newest installation at Valencia and 15th. Photo: Streetsblog

“Dragon” hands out cards to build support for SFMTrA near their newest installation at Valencia and 15th. Photo: Streetsblog

Streetsblog was up before dawn this morning, an invited guest of SFMTrA–the guerrilla group that’s given up waiting for the city to make our streets safer–for a quick infrastructure upgrade to Valencia Street’s bike lanes.

This time three members of the group, who go by the handles Copenhagen, Dragon (who came with a furry dragon suit), and Cone Guy, glued down 11 safe-hit posts on a stretch of Valencia from 17th to 14th, on the north bound side of the street. “We did a busy right-hand turn, where we felt it would do the most good,” said Cone Guy.

A lone, pre-dawn cyclist enjoying the safety additions on Valencia. Photo: Streetsblog

A lone, pre-dawn cyclist enjoying the safety additions on Valencia. Photo: Streetsblog

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SPUR Talk: The Dicey Dynamics of Megaprojects

The eastern span of the Oakland Bay Bridge offers lesson in how to manage megaprojects. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The eastern span of the Oakland Bay Bridge offers lessons on how to manage megaprojects. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Huge projects, such as the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, can define a region and transform the fabric of a city–but they are often delayed and come in massively over budget. Karen Frick, Co-Director of the University of California Transportation Center at Berkeley, attempted to deconstruct megaprojects and how to manage them more effectively in a presentation this afternoon at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s (SPUR) center in Oakland.

The Transbay crossing, High-Speed Rail, the Bay Bridge, these are all megaprojects,” said Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director for SPUR, who kicked off the presentation. “How do they get started? How do they go over budget? And why are they so costly, captivating, controversial, and complex?” he asked.

And how do we avoid so many delays and problems in the future?

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Time to Fix Oakland’s Streets: Vote Yes on KK

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Potholes like this one might be inconvenient or uncomfortable for a car driver, but they can cause a cyclist to crash, and are unacceptable. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Oakland voters, as with voters throughout the Bay Area and the nation, will have quite a slew of decisions to make on November 8.

KK is one of the easiest.

Measure KK is a $600 million general obligation bond to invest in Oakland infrastructure and affordable housing. As the Yes on KK campaign writes, it “…will improve quality of life citywide by re-paving streets, rebuilding cracked and deteriorating sidewalks, and improving bicycle and pedestrian safety. It will also repair and improve parks, libraries, and public safety facilities.”

Or, to quote our friends at Bike East Bay: Read more…

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Ballot Primer for an Election that Will Drive You to Drink

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A standing-room only crowd drank beer and listened to the experts at SPUR breakdown SF's ballot measures. Photo: Streetsblog

A standing-room only crowd drank beer and listened to SPUR’s experts break down SF’s ballot measures. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday evening, over 220 people squeezed into the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s (SPUR) downtown S.F. location to hear the organization’s policy experts explain which ballot measures they are endorsing. With 25 measures on the San Francisco ballot this November 8, each of the six SPUR experts spent just a few minutes on each decision–and it still took nearly two hours to get through them all.

Thankfully, they also offered bottles of beer at the door.

Here’s a sampling of some of the most Streetsblog-relevant “yes” recommendations:
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Rail~Volution: All-Things-Rail Conference Comes to San Francisco

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Press-Release-Header-1200x565Some 1,200 planners, engineers, managers and transit journalists crowded into the San Francisco Hyatt Regency this week for the Rail~Volution conference. From the conference press release:

The…conference brings together thought leaders and innovators to discuss the relationship between public transit and land-use, examine best practices in transit-oriented development, and look at how to maintain diversity and inclusion in the face of a changing urban landscape. With 22 mobile workshops and over 75 thought-provoking presentation and discussion sessions, the conference goes beyond the traditional sit-and-listen experience. Workshops will focus on such topics as “Anti-Displacement: Tools for Preserving Affordability Near Transit,” “Hot Topics in Streetcar Systems” and “All Hail Car Sharing! Shared Use Mobility From an Environmental Perspective.” Other sessions include “Two Wheels Are Better Than Four: Expanding Your Network Through Bicycle Connectivity” and “Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Smorgasbord: Three Cities Dish on Their BRT Experiences.”

Yesterday morning’s plenary session featured SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin. He welcomed the attendees, who came from all over North America. The morning session focused almost entirely on housing cost and supply issues–and transit’s role in solving them. “We can really think about how and what we do can address those challenges,” said Reiskin. “Not to say transportation and planning are magic bullets, but I do think they can and should be part of the solution and we should use a lens of not just how can we make our cities more livable, but can we make our cities more livable for everyone?”

That tack continued with a chock-full-of-data presentation by Kim-Mai Cutler, journalist and columnists for TechCrunch. She explained that Eichler-built, single-family homes were once available to working-class families in the Bay Area. “In 1950, a home in Palo Alto was 1.5 times the median income, or about $9,400,” she said. “Today if you looked at an Eichler, it’s more than $2 million.” Read more…

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SFMTrA Takes it Up a Notch with Glue-down Safety Posts in Golden Gate Park

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Those safe-hit posts were installed by the guerrilla safety group, SFMTrA -not SFMTA. Photo: SFMTra.

These official-looking safe-hit posts were installed by the guerrilla safety group, SFMTrA -not SFMTA. Photo: SFMTrA.

San Francisco cyclists may have noticed a safety improvement at JFK and Kezar, where Golden Gate Park meets the Panhandle. That notorious intersection now has more than paint to segregate cars, pedestrians, and cyclists: plastic, safe-hit posts popped up late last week. And they seem to be working, effectively keeping motorists out of the bike lane.

But don’t thank the San Francisco Rec and Parks Department for installing them. SFMTA? Nope. Is it because of Mayor Edwin Lee’s “Executive Directive” on safety. Guess again.

The posts were glued down by fed-up citizen volunteers. That’s right: it’s an illegal installation.

“We’ve all done our civic duty and due diligence to make things better within the system. All we got was frustrated,” said a member of the San Francisco Metropolitan Transformation Authority, also known as the SFMTrA.

From the SFMTrA website:

The San Francisco Metropolitan Transformation Authority is a collective organization of men and women committed to making streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and doing it quickly. We were founded in 2016 in direct response to the deaths of two cyclists on the city’s streets on the same day.

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SFMTA Takes Public Input to Make SoMa Safer

Bicycle advocate and sometimes Streetsblog contributor Adam Long at the curbside access table at SFMTA's SoMa open house. Photo: Streetsblog.

Bicycle advocate and sometimes Streetsblog contributor Adam Long at the curbside access table at SFMTA’s SoMa open house. Photo: Streetsblog.

Last night, SFMTA held an open house at the Bayanihan Community Center in the Mission to get input on the 7th and 8th Streets safety project, which will include parking-protected bike lanes on both streets on the six-block stretch between Market and Folsom. Some 45 people showed up to learn about the designs and give feedback.

Streetsblog readers will recall that as part of Mayor Ed Lee’s Executive Directive, SFMTA is supposed to complete these bike lanes in the next nine months. The open-house was a step in the process. “It’s to share recommendations for conceptual designs and collect input on curb management and accommodating loading and parking,” explained Jen Wong, a transportation planner with SFMTA’s Livable Streets division.

Curb loading issues–which were literally front and center in the room–at first seemed a bit over prioritized, considering the project’s new time frame and that the Mayor’s Directive, of course, was a response to the deaths of Heather Miller and Kate Slattery, who was killed at 7th and Howard. But an SFMTA official at the meeting explained they are trying to get in front of curb loading issues and “address people’s needs” to avoid the kind of blowback that came with street and transit improvement projects on Taraval and Mission.

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Uber and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Partner on Safety Videos

A car discharging passengers on Valencia. Will a new education campaign get ride-hails out of the bike lane? Photo: Streetsblog

A car discharging passengers on Valencia. Will a new education campaign get ride-hails out of the bike lane? Photo: Streetsblog

Note ‘call to action’ at the end of this post.

Today, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) announced the release of four videos, produced with their help by Uber, to educate drivers on how to safely co-exist with cyclists in San Francisco. From an SFBC announcement:

Starting today, the SF Bicycle Coalition and Uber are giving hundreds of thousands of Bay Area riders and drivers expert tips to make smart, safe decisions around people biking. With the SF Bicycle Coalition’s support consulting on content, Uber created and is distributing a series of four videos to regional users.

No safe streets curriculum has ever come close to reaching as many people as made possible by this partnership. It’s safe to bet this will be a model for safe streets advocates, companies and cities across the country.

You can see all the videos here. Or watch our personal favorite, the one that deals with Uber drivers blocking bike lanes to pick up passengers:


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Vision Zero Committee Hears Radio Spot and Other Efforts to Curtail Speeding

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Supervisors Yee and Campos at the Vision Zero Committee of the Transportation Authority. Photo: Streetsblog

Supervisors Yee and Campos at the Vision Zero Committee of the Transportation Authority. Photo: Streetsblog

Note the ‘call to action’ at the end of this post.

Thursday afternoon, Supervisors Norman Yee and David Campos, commissioners on the County Transportation Authority Vision Zero Committee, heard updates from SFMTA officials on plans to install safety infrastructure and increase educational awareness on the dangers of speeding. They also discussed Mayor Ed Lee’s Executive Directive to, among other things, install speed humps in Golden Gate Park and protected bike lanes South of Market. Safety advocates also spoke, keeping up the pressure on city agencies to follow through on promised improvements.

John Knox White, Transportation Planner at SFMTA, gave a detailed update on the status of the Vision Zero Communications Outreach Program. “We’re trying to change San Francisco’s culture,” White told the committee. “We’re trying to change to a culture that embraces public safety.” Read more…

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SPUR Talk: Developing the Oakland Waterfront

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SPUR looked at the Brooklyn Basin and the transformative effect it will have on the Oakland waterfront. Image: Signature Properties.

SPUR looked at the Brooklyn Basin and the transformative effect it will have on the Oakland waterfront. Image: Signature Properties.

SPUR hosted a lunchtime forum today at its Oakland location to discuss the $1.5 billion Brooklyn Basin development. The panel, which was moderated by SPUR’s Oakland director Robert Ogilvie, included Mike Ghielmetti of Signature Development Group, Matt Franklin of MidPen Housing, and Patricia Kernighan, who represented District 2 of Oakland during the authorization phase of the “Oak to Ninth” (now called Brooklyn Basin) waterfront housing development.

“I was 12 when we started,” joked Ghielmetti about how long it takes to get such a large scale project going, to a chuckle from the audience. “The project is fifteen years in the making. It was originally port land, about 65 acres, largely divided from the city of Oakland.”

Indeed, that’s part of what makes the project so challenging. The Oakland waterfront, as the panelists bemoaned, is effectively chopped off from the rest of the city by the 880 freeway, the Union Pacific tracks, and BART’s tracks and yards. “It’s almost a half-mile from Oakland and the rest of civilization,” said Ghielmetti. “We wanted to reunite this area by creating a neighborhood and linkages.”

To do that, his development firm, the City of Oakland, and a variety of advocates set out to build some 3,000 new residences, with supporting services such as dry cleaners, coffee shops and, it is hoped, a grocery store. But first there was the challenge of cleaning up the soil, which, Ghielmetti said, was contaminated with pretty much everything short of plutonium. “What we inherited looked like this,” he said, pointing to a picture of concrete and debris that still dots much of this landscape. “It was highly contaminated…heavy metals, hydrocarbons…we’re still looking for Jimmy Hoffa out there.”
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