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Posts from the "One-Way Streets" Category

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Mayor Asks CPMC for Money to Fund Transit, Ped Safety, But Is It Enough?

A rendering of CPMC's proposed 555-bed hospital on Van Ness Avenue as it would be seen from Franklin and Post.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has sent a proposal to California Pacific Medial Center (CPMC) officials requesting more than $108 million to help mitigate the impacts of a proposed 555-bed hospital and office building on Cathedral Hill in the heart of a rich transit district and congested area that will be the future crossing point of two bus rapid transit (BRT) lines.

The mayor’s proposal was first reported in the Chronicle this morning. It includes a request that CPMC contribute $73 million to the city’s affordable housing fund, provide $4.5 million for the loss of 20 single-room occupancy (SRO) units and 5 rent-controlled apartments, along with $18 million for pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements in the Tenderloin and Mission, and $10 million for both the Van Ness and Geary BRT projects.

“It’s certainly a good start,” said Tom Radulovich, the executive director of Livable City, who has been a critic of CPMC’s plans. “It’s great to see some projects in there that have long been priorities for the adjacent neighborhoods.”

As we’ve reported, transit advocates and a broad coalition of neighborhood and labor groups have raised serious concerns about CPMC’s long-range development plans for San Francisco, including new parking being proposed for the enormous facility that would be built on Van Ness Avenue, and the plan for St. Luke’s hospital in the Mission.

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Eyes on the Street: Hey Driver, Look, I Got the Light!

_1.jpgPhotos: Bryan Goebel
The one-way traffic sewers around my neighborhood on Sutter Street in the Tendernob (aka Lower Nob Hill) encourage speeding, so as you can imagine, there are constant near-misses by drivers intent on ignoring the pedestrian right-of-way. What you see in the photo above happened Monday evening on Sutter Street at Jones, as I was taking a leisurely stroll through one of the densest neighborhoods on the West Coast.  

An impatient young SUV driver trying to go left onto Jones boils over with anger, throwing his hands up behind the wheel, as a pedestrian, a man who looked like a senior from my vantage point, slowly crosses the street in the crosswalk and points to the green light to illustrate to the driver that he has the right-of-way. The driver, as cranky as he was, did eventually let the man cross before he screeched down Jones Street.

These photos make me angry and sad. I look forward to the day when our traffic engineers and political leaders can begin to seriously rethink one-way arterials. Let's breath life back into our streets instead of noise, pollution and carnage.

Got a photo you think would make a good Eyes on the Street? Please send them to our flickr pool, or email tips@sf.streetsblog.org.

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NoPa Neighborhood Fights to Calm its Residential Freeway

Fell_street_4.jpgCars regularly block the bike lane on Fell Street near the Arco Station. Photo: Bryan Goebel

In a city where people and cars regularly jostle for space, it's not uncommon to have speeding traffic just inches or feet from pedestrians, homes, and parks. This spatial conflict is especially pronounced on Fell and Oak Streets, which serve all at once as de facto residential highways, major bike thoroughfares, and densely built-up residential and commercial streets, their sidewalks bustling with people on their way home or visiting the Panhandle.

For years, even decades, residents have fought to calm traffic along the corridor. Cars routinely speed down Fell and Oak, which were converted to three-or-four-lane one-ways half a century ago as a compromise with planners who wanted to build an east-west freeway, linking the Central Freeway to the Golden Gate Bridge, by demolishing the homes between them and wiping out the Panhandle. The compromise saved the homes and the park, but has left the neighborhood plagued with freeway-like traffic.

Now, some neighbors worry that new overhead information signs for drivers, which are being installed as part of the city's SFgo traffic-management program, will encourage speeding on the already fast one-way couplet. Residents are wary of anything that contributes to a freeway mentality on the street. Earlier this week, a 24-year-old San Francisco woman was killed by a driver while crossing Fell Street at Broderick.

"It's been treated as a freeway by the city, much to the peril of everyone who lives along the densely-packed residential corridors that are Oak and Fell," said Michael Smithwick, chair of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association's transportation committee. "They're obviously not designed for freeway use, and have kind of been force-fed" the high traffic volumes.

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Two-Way Hayes Extension is a Step Closer, Though Obstacles Remain

Mom_and_child_peds.jpgCars whipping around the corner of Gough and Hayes, where pedestrians can only cross three ways
There was widespread government and public support for a two-way, traffic-calmed Hayes Street between Gough and Franklin at the Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting today, but there is a fundamental disagreement with the MTA on how to get there.

Julie Kirschbaum of the MTA presented two options for altering the street (PDF). Option A would change the one-way traffic pattern to two-way, increase sidewalk widths by three feet, provide bulb-outs at corners for easier pedestrian crossings, and require an evening rush hour bus-only tow-away zone in the Westbound direction.  Option B would preserve the one-way flow, take away one travel lane and widen sidewalks by five feet.  The MTA stressed that Option B was only being studied in case vehicular traffic diversions were too onerous under Option A.

Nearly 15 people spoke in favor of Option A, including neighborhood residents, the president of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, the president of the Hayes Valley Merchants Association, and a representative speaking for the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet.

None of the public testimony supported the evening tow-away regulation in Option A, which the MTA considers necessary to make the change.  Merchants were worried that without the buffer of parked cars in the parking lane, commuters would race through the neighborhood within inches of pedestrians on sidewalks, making the retail environment much less comfortable. 

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Advocates Ask Supes to Support a Two-Way Hayes

Advocates are calling for all livable streets supporters who have the time to turn out to the Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting today at 1pm to voice their support for a two-way Hayes Street, as was called for in the Market and Octavia Plan. 

In 2007, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA), Livable City, Walk SF, and the SFBC worked with neighborhood and business stakeholders to advocate for the restoration of two-way traffic on Hayes Street between Gough and Van Ness.  Two-way Hayes was included in the Market & Octavia Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2007, and a resolution calling for restored two-way traffic, along with wider sidewalks and pedestrian safety improvements, passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously in fall 2007.

Today, Supes will get an update on the status of the MTA's restoration of Hayes Street to a two-way thoroughfare pursuant to a Board of Supervisors Resolution. 

We've heard a nasty rumor that the MTA may propose doing nothing to the street except reintroducing a crosswalk at Gough, which would be unacceptable to the HVNA and the entire community planning process.

We encourage you to speak out for a two-way solution in person or to send your comments in writing to Supervisors Maxwell, Mar, and Chiu if you are unable to attend the meeting.

City Hall, Room 263

Meeting starts at 1 pm and this issue is agenda item #6