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Posts from the "Bayview" Category

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Bayshore Blvd Gets Buffered Bike Lanes, But “Alemany Maze” Still a Barrier

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Bayshore, seen here looking north near Bacon Street, had four traffic lanes reduced to two to make room for buffered bike lanes. Photo: Brian Coyne

The SFMTA extended the buffered bike lanes on Bayshore Boulevard earlier this month from Silver Avenue south to Paul Avenue, reducing four traffic lanes to two. The street now provides a calmer, safer bicycling link for Bayview residents all the way up to where Bayshore ends, at Cesar Chavez Street and the “Hairball” freeway interchange.

The bike lanes were originally slated to go on San Bruno Avenue, which runs parallel to Bayshore on the opposite side of 101, according to the SFMTA website:

This project was originally planned for San Bruno Avenue as part of the 2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan. However, due to potential conflicts with planned Muni improvements along San Bruno Avenue, the SFMTA has determined that a more appropriate north-south bicycle route between Paul and Silver Avenues would be Bayshore Boulevard because it connects directly with existing bikeways north of Silver Avenue and does not conflict with transit operations.

Traffic analysis was completed that showed that there was not a need to keep four travel lanes.

Chris Waddling of D10 Watch describes: “Pedestrians dash across eastbound Alemany at San Bruno Ave. on their way to the farmers market.” Photo: Chris Waddling

Yet the benefits of the bike lanes and taming speeds on a traffic sewer are largely lost at the “Alemany Maze” – the tangle of looping freeway ramps where 101 and 280 intersect. As D10 Watch author Chris Waddling pointed out, the interchange presents “outright hostile conditions for pedestrians and cyclists,” cutting off access between neighborhoods for those traveling without a car:

Say you want to get from Bayview to a Glen Park BART by bike. Riding the new lanes on Bayshore are now great, but get from Bayshore to the separated bike lane on Alemany at Putnam, and you’re sharing the road with freeway-bound vehicles.

Or say you want to walk from the Portola to the Alemany Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. You either cross illegally at the top of San Bruno Ave or walk an extra 1/4 mile each way to get to the light at Putnam. And if you need one, it’s too bad there’s no ADA ramp for you when you get there.

The benefits of increasing pedestrian and bike access in the area are many: reduced car traffic on Saturday mornings in and around the Alemany Farmers Market; safer access to the Farmers Market for Portola residents; greater access to amenities in the Portola by residents of Bernal Heights; safer access to BART for Portola residents; an opportunity for beautification of the median.

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Cleaning Up SF’s Car-Littered Sidewalks Will Take More Than Parking Tickets

Cars littered on San Francisco’s sidewalks are a painfully common sight. The problem is perhaps most prevalent in outer neighborhoods like the Sunset and Bayview, where, for decades, homeowners with residential garages have paved over their front yards. The pedestrian environment on these streets is left degraded, with swaths of dead space where families and people with disabilities are often forced to walk around an obstacle course of cars and driveway ramps.

Make no mistake: It’s illegal to park on any part of a sidewalk or in a “setback” between the sidewalk and a building. The practice of paving over front yards was also banned in 2002.

Yet conditions in these neighborhoods make clear that the SF Municipal Transportation Agency does not enforce sidewalk parking on sight (though officials have claimed that’s the policy). Meanwhile, the Planning Department says it only fines homeowners who pave their yards when someone files a complaint. The issue recently got some attention in an SF Chronicle article last week, as well as the latest segment of KRON 4′s People Behaving Badly.

With all this space physically molded for car storage — practically every last inch on many streets – Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich said cleaning up San Francisco’s car-littered sidewalks will take more than getting parking control officers to hand out tickets. The Planning Department — which has no staff to proactively enforce rules against illegal setback pavings, according to the Chronicle — would have to crack down on violators, reversing decades of institutional tolerance for the practice.

“The city has turned a blind eye for so long that they have created a de facto entitlement” to illegal parking, Radulovich said. “City agencies have created an uncomfortable dilemma for themselves – start enforcing the law and deal with the fallout, or continue to ignore the problem and watch it grow worse.”

The setbacks, side yards, and backyards required in the city’s planning code ”were intended to create usable open space and/or gardens, not open parking,” said Radulovich. Greenery lost to pavement also means more stormwater flowing into the often-overloaded sewer system.

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POWER: Mobility for Low-Income San Franciscans Means Putting Transit First

The "stress and indignities of over-crowding." Boarding the 8x-Bayshore Express, Flickr user Confetti writes: "An older man is knocked down or falls in a scuffle to board an already over-crowded bus."

Advocates for San Francisco’s low-income communities have issued a new report calling for policy changes intended to improve Muni service, increase mobility for transit-dependent San Franciscans, reduce pollution from driving, and improve the city’s economy.

Next Stop: Justice” was released last month by People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), a group that made headlines over the past year with its Free Muni for Youth campaign. The report highlights the disproportionate impact of poor transit service on San Franciscans who have few transportation options, calling for shifting policy and funding priorities from the automobile to public transit, more bus-only lanes, keeping Muni fares low, and scaling back fare enforcement.

Jaron Browne, POWER’s communications director, said the report is intended to increase the visibility of Muni’s role in improving equity, the environment, and economic opportunity in San Francisco.

“Public transit is already so pivotal, and will be increasingly pivotal for the way that the city functions as a whole, for the future of the planet, and for the way that our families in our communities can access all the resources and opportunities that our city has at hand,” he said.

The report includes “key strategies that we think would help facilitate having a robust transit system that’s well-financed and serves the needs of all San Franciscans, including working class bus riders and the transit-dependent,” added Browne.

Based on data on Muni’s reliability in low-income neighborhoods, POWER’s report states that “the on-time performance on each of these lines in Southeast San Francisco is significantly worse than the system average” of less than 60 percent.

While POWER doesn’t necessarily assert that Muni distributes transit service and improvements inequitably throughout the city, the group says system-wide problems like unreliable, infrequent service and overcrowding have a greater effect on low-income residents. “In transit-dependent, low-income communities, where folks don’t have other means to get around, the impact is more severe,” said Browne. “There are long commutes of more than an hour to get out of Bayview, even if it’s a distance that would only take 10 minutes to drive,” leading some families to pool their money and buy a car.

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Two-Way Protected Bikeway on Cargo Way Nearly Complete

San Francisco’s first on-street, two-way protected bikeway is nearly complete, featuring bicycle traffic signals and green intersection bike markings. The bikeway, which is separated from motor vehicles by a fence and concrete median, provides a safer connection from Bayview and Hunter’s Point to Third Street and the north-south bike lanes on Illinois Street.

A bike traffic signal at Cargo Way and Mendell Street. Photo: Roy Crisman/Flickr

“It’s exciting to see this much-needed improvement in the southeastern part of San Francisco, where there is so much potential for great bicycling,” said Leah Shahum, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition. “We are hearing from a lot of people that this is making a real difference in improving their bike commutes. We look forward to a lot more improvements in the area, such as Bayshore Boulevard and the eastern half of Cesar Chavez.”

Construction of the bikeway, a project of the Port of SF and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency [PDF], began in March and was originally scheduled to be completed in May, though it’s unclear why it was delayed.  The fence was completed in May, and the striping was finished by July. The bike traffic signal at the Mendell Street intersection was activated last week, though an SFMTA staffer said there’s a delay with activating the signal at the three-way intersection of Cargo Way, Illinois and Amador Streets, at the bikeway’s west end. There, the bikeway splits into separate one-way painted bike lanes that end at Third Street.

The bike traffic signals create a dedicate phase for bike traffic to cross, separate from another signal phase for motor vehicles to turn across the path of the bikeway.

Green-backed sharrows were also installed to guide bicycle riders through the Illinois/Amador intersection, and in the coming weeks green paint will also be added to a waiting area for bicyclists crossing Cargo Way onto northbound Illinois. At the east end of the bikeway, the intersection of Cargo Way and Jennings Street was converted from a two-way stop sign intersection to a four-way stop.

One other notable touch added to the project is the visible wayfinding signage at the bikeway’s west entrance — certainly not a typical feature on bike routes in SF.

Check out more photos after the break.

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Kick Back at Sunday Streets in Bayview, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill

July’s second Sunday Streets event returns to the Bayview, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill neighborhoods this weekend, running from Mission Bay to the Bayview Opera House.

For the third year in a row, the car-free event will connect with the Bayview Music Festival. Of course, there’s going to be a lot more happening all the way up the route as well.

The northern end of the route will be different this year — in Dogpatch, it will run on Mariposa Street to Terry Francois Boulevard, running along Mission Bay to Third and King Streets.

See you out there enjoying the sun.

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Bike Lane Progress on JFK, Bayshore, Cesar Chavez, and Cargo Way

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SF Bike Coalition staffers enjoy the partially-completed JFK bikeway. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

Bike network expansions are going in at a rapid clip so far this spring. In Golden Gate Park, parking-protected bike lanes on John F. Kennedy Drive are mostly finished on the stretch in front of the Conservatory of Flowers, and drivers already seem to be picking up on the new parking arrangement.

Progress on new bike lanes connecting eastern neighborhoods continues on Bayshore Boulevard, Eastern Cesar Chavez Street, and Cargo Way. Folsom Street in the Mission has also been re-paved, and the SFMTA said bike lanes should be striped there soon.

New buffered bike lanes are almost finished on Bayshore. Photos: Aaron Bialick

On Bayshore Boulevard, the SFMTA is striping buffered bike lanes similar to the recent Caltrans project on Sloat Boulevard, reclaiming a roughly 9-foot travel lane for bicycle traffic. In the coming weeks, the street markings should create a safer bicycling connection and calm traffic between Cesar Chavez at the 101 Highway south to Silver Avenue.

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Crews Installing Bike Lanes, Two-Way Bikeway on C. Chavez and Cargo Way

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Preliminary markings are already making room for bike commuters on Cesar Chavez just east of the Evans Street intersection. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

Two bike corridors connecting the city’s southeastern neighborhoods should be safer after crews finish constructing buffered bike lanes on eastern Cesar Chavez Street and a two-way protected bikeway on Cargo Way.

Bike commuters are already enjoying more room on a section of eastern Cesar Chavez, where car parking has been cleared and preliminary striping put on the ground, as shown in photos posted by the SF Bike Coalition yesterday. The SFMTA writes on its Livable Streets Facebook page that the construction is only in its first phase. The plan for the Evans Street intersection, which recently cleared a public hearing, must still be approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors on April 3 before it is implemented.

The project will also include green pavement treatments and soft-hit posts separating the bike lanes and will be completed some time in the summer, according to the SFMTA’s latest report [PDF] to the SF Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Just to the southeast, crews are building a two-way protected bikeway linking Third Steet to Hunter’s Point and Heron’s Head Park. The project, led by the Port of San Francisco, will include a chain-link fence separating the bikeway from motor traffic as well as green pavement treatments and bicycle traffic signals. The SFMTA report says the bikeway will be completed in May.

Read more about Cargo Way at San Franciscoize, and check out more photos of both projects after the break.

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Scenes from Sunday Streets in the Bayview, Dogpatch and Potrero Hill

Flickr photo: geekstinkbreath

Thousands of people took to the car-free streets of the Bayview, Dogpatch and Potrero Hill yesterday for a sunny Sunday Streets.  Did you go? Please share your stories in the comments section, and see more photos below the break. The next Sunday Streets is July 12th on the Great Highway.

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Sunday Streets to Grace Bayview, Potrero, and Dogpatch This Weekend

Flickr photo: sfbike

Many a cycling tot will get another chance to graduate from training wheels this Sunday on safe, car-free streets by the Bay. Sunday Streets returns to Bayview with a tweaked route this year to include the Lower Potero Hill and Dogpatch neighborhoods in the plethora of family-friendly activities.

The list of activities this month is so long, in fact, that when organizer Susan King submitted it the San Francisco Examiner for publication, “the copy editors came back to me and said, ‘cut this down by a third’.”

“This is certainly one of the most robust program lists we’ve had,” said King.

The route will run along Third Street from Mendell Plaza to 22nd Street, where it will zig zag west by Espirit Park to the Jackson Playground at 17th and Wisconsin Streets. It was modified to accommodate vehicle traffic needs for a Giants game at the ballpark, but it will also bring the street opening to new doorsteps.

“It gives us a chance to really explore those two neighborhoods that we haven’t done before,” said King. “In Dogpatch, we’re going through the emerging merchant corridor on 22nd Street and tying it to Espirit park, which is a beautiful little park hidden behind the freeway.”

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Muni Rider Profile: Hoi Chong Wong on the T-Third and Stockton Buses

IMG_1407.jpgPhoto: Michael Rhodes
Hoi Chong Wong can tell you about the commute from 3rd Street in the Bayview to Chinatown or the commute in Guangzhou, China. Though retired now, he's been making the trip to Chinatown on Muni almost daily since he immigrated to San Francisco in 1997, first on the defunct 15-Third bus line, and now on the T-Third Street light rail line, with a transfer to the 30-Stockton or 45-Union-Stockton bus line near 4th and King. In Guangzhou, he also traveled mostly by bus, plus the occasional bicycle ride.

When he went back to visit Guangzhou recently, Wong, 71, said, he was inspired by improvements that have been made on the bus system since he left 12 years ago.

"There is a huge difference in terms of the bus line services for Guangzhou and here," explained Wong, speaking through a translator since he's a monolingual Cantonese speaker. Boarding is much more orderly than it is on the 30 and 45, and "instructions on the buses are very clear," said Wong. "They have an automated system where it's very clear in terms of which station is next. They have a map, and the next stop has a blinking light."

Wong said Guangzhou's buses announce stops in three languages: English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Most announcements on Muni are made only in English, so navigating the system when he first arrived 12 years ago was a challenge. "It was very difficult and confusing for him because he felt like all the instructions and all the maps are not clear as to where he should take the buses, and which of the lines goes to which neighborhoods," said Tammy Hung, translating for Wong. "So it took him quite a long time to navigate his way throughout the city."

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