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Santa Clara Proposes New San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail Detours

Santa Clara closes a 1.2-mile segment of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail to the public during events at Levi's Stadium, forcing people walking and bicycling on a two-mile detour. Photo: Andrew Boone

Santa Clara closed a 1.2-mile segment of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail to the public during events at Levi’s Stadium, forcing people walking and bicycling on a two-mile detour. Photo: Andrew Boone

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council approved a proposal [PDF] to build new detours of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, over two years after the construction of Levi’s Stadium has resulted in ongoing closures of the trail “to limit security breaches” on days with stadium events over 20,000 attendees. Despite objections from both the public and council that the stadium should pay for the improvements, city staff intend to seek up to $4 million in public grant funds instead.

“Fixing this problem should not be shouldered by any taxpayers. It should be shouldered squarely by the 49ers,” said Santa Clara City Clerk candidate Deborah Bress at the meeting. “This is a residual part of the construction of the stadium.”

The trail closures have forced people walking and bicycling on a confusing two-mile detour on city streets and through parking lots that includes heavy bus traffic. Now the city is proposing to construct a slightly shorter detour including a new path on the east side of the creek as a short-term fix for $1 million and a new undercrossing of the trail under the stadium’s pedestrian access bridges as a permanent solution for $3 million. Read more…

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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.

Read more…

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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…

Via Streetsblog California
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The Streetsblog California Park(ing) Day Post

Janelle Wong and Kelsey Roeder at the pop-up Parklet at Valencia and Market. Photo: Streetsblog.

Kelsey Roeder and Janelle Wong at the Bicycle Coalition pop-up Parklet at Valencia and Market. Photo: Streetsblog.

Today is Park(ing) Day, the now-ten-year-old celebration that repurposes street parking spots for people rather than cars.

The concept is simple. People “take over” a parking space and use it for something other than car parking for a day, or a couple of hours, or until the meter runs out. As you would expect, Streetsblog generally finds Park(ing) Day pretty exciting and has led bike tours, produced maps, programmed our own spaces, and of course covered the heck out of the annual event.

Westwood Village in Los Angeles was the first picture we found today via Twitter.

Westwood Village in Los Angeles was the first picture we found today via Twitter.

This year, we’re asking for your help to cover Park(ing) Day throughout California.

The goal of Park(ing) Day is to show how much public space is wasted for below-market-rate storage of people’s personal property. Once people experience what can be done in even a small amount of space, they usually want changes in cities’ public parking policies.

Park(ing) Day is something of a success. Today, the concept of a “parklet” has taken hold in many cities, and what were temporary have in many spots become permanent people parking spots.

ReBar, the group that started the idea in 2006, no longer exists, and participation on the official Park(ing) Day website is spotty, so there’s no one central place you can go any more to see where parking spots are being turned into temporary parks in your city, or others. But other groups have taken over and run with the concept, from local advocacy groups like WOBO in Oakland to the American Society of Landscape Architects, which is designing and putting up parklets throughout the country today.

So there are still plenty of great Park(ing) Day parklets popping up around the state. Send your media from Park(ing) Day throughout California to damien@streetsblog.org or melanie@streetsblog.org and we’ll include it in this post. If we get enough media, we may even make our own video. More California Park(ing) Day Media, after the jump. 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.”
Read more…

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BART Board Candidates Discuss Future of Bay Area Transportation

The SF Transit Riders Brian Stokle moderated a discussion among BART board candidates for District 9 and 7. Photo: Streetsblog.

The SF Transit Riders’ Brian Stokle moderated a discussion among BART board candidates for District 9 and 7. Photo: Streetsblog.

Yesterday evening, the San Francisco Transit Riders held a “BART Board Director Candidate Forum” at the Mission Pool & Playground Clubhouse in the Mission District.

From the SF Transit Riders:

We are hosting the forum for the candidates to introduce themselves and respond to SFTR and public questions. This is an important time in BART’s history. Its aging system is facing the challenges of ever more crowded trains. With these BART Board elections and the $3.5 billion BART bond to improve safety and increase train reliability on the same ballot, there are many issues to discuss at the forum.

Thea Selby, chairwoman of the SF Transit Riders, spoke with Streetsblog prior to the event. She explained that the forum was intended to help educate the voters about what each candidate stood for, without her organization taking sides. “To my knowledge this is the only educational forum,” she said. It was also part of “Transit Week,” a push by the advocacy group to change perceptions of riding the bus as something people only do when they don’t have a better alternative. “We want to remind transit riders they can be proud of producing less congestion and pollution and helping San Francisco meet its climate change goals,” she said.

Read more…

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Are San Francisco Cyclists Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

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Justin Liszanckie in the hospital after the crash. Photo: Liszanckie's mother.

Justin Liszanckie in the hospital after the crash. Photo: Liszanckie’s mother.

Justin Liszanckie was running an errand on the evening of July 20. “I was on Brannan and heading west, trying to turn south on Fourth towards the ballpark,” he said. And that’s the last thing he remembers until “waking up in the hospital hours later.”

Liszanckie ended up in San Francisco General for ten days. His injuries: “Three broken bones around the orbit of my right eye. Extensive lacerations on the right side of my face and ear. A fourth fracture in my right side nasal bone. Two broken vertebrae on the right side of neck, two broken ribs, a broken right pelvis.”

But all in all, he feels somewhat lucky to have avoided any surgeries. “Once I was out, I made sure I had follow up appointments…mostly I was concerned about the facial fractures around my eye.” Again, he was lucky. His eye is okay.

But something else happened in the hospital he hadn’t anticipated.

He got a traffic citation for $238.

The police never came to the hospital to interview him. The ticket is based on the testimony of a driver who was waiting to cross, the driver of the vehicle that struck Liszanckie, and her passenger.

Liszanckie, frustrated, and still in pain from his crash, reached out to Streetsblog:

Read more…

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Push Continues in City Hall for Safer Bike Infrastructure

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Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and David Campos hear testimony from SFMTA to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee about efforts to accelerate street improvements. Photo: Streetsblog.

Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim, and David Campos hear testimony from SFMTA to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee about efforts to accelerate street safety improvements. Photo: Streetsblog.

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

Yesterday afternoon, some 30 officials, police officers, advocates, and other members of the public joined the regular meeting of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors at City Hall to discuss how to get protected bike lanes installed quickly on San Francisco’s most dangerous streets.

“It is incredibly frustrating to our city and residents to continue to see people killed and injured on our streets,” said District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, “Are we working with the urgency that we need to take?”

The people killed whom Kim was referring to were, of course, Kate Slattery and Heather Miller. They died while riding their bikes in San Francisco on the evening of June 22. Over a month later, Mayor Ed Lee issued an Executive Directive instructing “SFMTA to deliver near­-term safety improvements on 7th and 8th Streets in the next nine months” and the SF Recreation & Parks Department “to deliver near­-term safety improvements to reduce speeds and vehicular through-traffic on JFK Drive in the next six months,” among other things. The hearing was part of an ongoing effort to check up on and make sure agencies followed through.

“It’s not just engineering. And it’s not just enforcement. It’s those two plus education,” explained Tom McGuire, Director of Sustainable Streets for SFMTA. “We believe you should be able to ride safely if you’re 80 or eight or anywhere in between. Kate Slattery and Heather Miller remind us we’re not there.”

Indeed, San Francisco is not there, but the question Kim and other members of the panel and public demanded to know is, “Why not?”

Patrick Traughber and Jay Harris wait patiently for their turns to speak. Photo: Streetsblog.

Patrick Traughber and Jay Harris wait patiently for their turns to speak. Photo: Streetsblog.

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Guest Editorial: Prop R Will Not Increase Bike Patrols, Despite Voter Guide Claims

THIS is what bike patrols look like. Photo: Violet Blue.

This is what bike patrols look like. Photo: Violet Blue.

While we all know that writers of Voter Information Pamphlets sometimes stretch the facts, they shouldn’t be allowed to just make stuff up, right?

There is a completely false statement in the “Rebuttal to the Opponent” ballot argument for Prop. R, the Neighborhood Crime Unit proposition–it says that Prop. R would “significantly increase the number of beat cops and bike patrols assigned to our neighborhoods.” But the text of Prop. R makes no reference to bike patrols. It does say that bike theft is one of the crimes the new unit created by the proposition should focus on, but that’s not the same as bike patrols, is it?

So what does one do if one finds a false statement in a Voter Information Pamphlet? It turns out the only way to challenge it is to go to the Superior Court and file a “petition for a writ of mandate.” So last week I filed one.

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South Bay Cities Build Region’s First Separated Bike Lanes

A 15-foot wide path marked for walking and bicycling is under construction on the north side of Chilco Street in Menlo Park. Photo: Andrew Boone

A 15-foot wide path marked for walking and bicycling is under construction on the north side of Chilco Street in Menlo Park. Photo: Andrew Boone

New on-street bike lanes separated from auto traffic are nearing completion in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, and a handful of neighboring cities have plans to install them too. Separated bike infrastructure gained traction among local planners after Caltrans approved Class IV Separated Bikeway design standards [PDF] in December 2015. The first protected intersections were built last year in a handful of North American cities.

A new traffic-separated paved path is nearing completion along Chilco Street in Menlo Park, where a speeding drunk driver hit Balbir and Kamal Singh from behind while they were walking their dog in October 2013, killing them. With no curbs or sidewalks, two 90-degree curves, and poor nighttime lighting, the street’s former design encouraged speeding and crashes involving drivers exiting the roadway.

“I am elated to see how quickly this project has moved forward. The design looks fabulous,” said resident Sheryl Bims of the new Chilco Street when it was approved by the City Council in February.

The new paved path, 15 feet wide and separated from the street’s two traffic lanes by a one-foot concrete curb topped with yellow soft-hit posts, is marked for two-way bike and pedestrian traffic. It will extend for one half mile on the north side of Chilco Street from the Dumbarton Rail tracks to Constitution Drive, where the path will transition to existing standard bike lanes. A standard bike lane, but no sidewalk, was installed on the south side of Chilco Street.

Read more…