Skip to content

Posts from the "Eyes on the Street" Category

45 Comments

Eyes on the Street: SFPD Tickets Illegal U-Turners in the Castro

Photo: Bryan Goebel

Here’s another sign that the SFPD is continuing to make good on its pledge to increase enforcement against reckless driving.

This update comes from Bryan Goebel, Streetsblog SF’s founding editor, who lives in the Castro. He said he’s noticed a recent uptick in enforcement in his neighborhood against illegal u-turns. Illegal turns are on the SFPD’s list of the five violations most commonly cited as a primary cause in pedestrian crashes.

Goebel said he spoke to one of the officers, who confirmed that the enforcement efforts are a response to the recent rise in pedestrian injuries. He told Goebel that drivers pose the greatest danger on the streets.

“Pedestrians are distracted, yes, but cars are what’s going to get you,” the officer reportedly told Goebel.

“It was refreshing to hear,” Goebel said.

Richmond Station officers have also been spotted recently performing crosswalk stings against drivers who violate pedestrians’ right-of-way on Fulton Street along Golden Gate Park.

30 Comments

Eyes on the Street: Bike Thief Hit With Ice Cube, Nabbed on Bike Lane

Photo: Jessica Kuo

Last night at about 11:30 p.m., Jessica Kuo came across “a man handcuffed with his face planted against the bike lane” at Market and Valencia Streets in the left-turn bike junction. She reported:

A friend who lived in an apartment a block away actually saw the guy steal the bike, and right as he biked away, my friend threw an ice cube at his head and managed to pelt him from the third story of the apartment building while he was on the phone with the cops to report the theft.

That friend was a man who only wanted to be identified as Brendan. Kuo relayed his account: “The owner of the bike actually stepped out of the bar [at Market and Laguna Streets] for a cigarette and saw the thief try to take it, which is why the thief took off, prompting Brendan to throw the ice cube at him.”

SFPD said it couldn’t confirm the reports. When we emailed Brendan to confirm it, and asked if he had anything else to add, he reiterated: “For the record I’d like to note that I nailed him on the forehead with the oversized ice cube, from three stories up.”

9 Comments

Eyes on the Street: Progress on Market/Valencia Turn, Green Paint on Fell

Green paint now highlights the Fell Street bike lane from Scott to Divisadero. Photos: Mark Dreger

Improvements on two of San Francisco’s most important bicycling links continue to take shape: Green paint now graces the first block of the Fell Street separated bike lane, and much of the visible construction has been completed on the left-turn bicycle lane and traffic signal going in at Market and Valencia Streets.

Streetsblog reader Mark Dreger sent in photos of the improvements today, noting that the green paint on Fell highlights the beginning of the bike lane west of Scott Street, and there is now a longer segment of dashed green markings extending from the area where bike riders merge with drivers queuing up at the Arco gas station. SFMTA crews laid down the basic stripes of the bike lane last week, including the outline of a bike box and an advanced stop line for cars at the Divisadero intersection.

At Market and Valencia, Department of Public Works crews appear to have mostly completed the concrete work, which involved cutting out a section of the sidewalk (formerly an unused curb cut) and installing an island that sets off the area where left-turning cyclists queue up. Bike traffic continuing straight through the intersection will be routed around the left of the island, according to the project plans, meaning there will be a short stretch with no buffer zone. One of two bicycle traffic signal heads has also been installed. SFMTA crews still have to add markings for the left-turn lane and activate the new traffic signals.

Update: Mike Sallaberry of the SFMTA’s Livable Streets Subdivision said the traffic signals are expected to be activated this week.

See more photos after the break.

The left-turn queuing area at Market and Valencia.

Read more…

12 Comments

Eyes on the Street: First Fell Street Bike Lane Markings on the Ground

Photo: Aaron Bialick

Crews laid down the first preliminary stripes of the three-block separated bike lane on Fell Street this morning. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency is moving ahead with the safer connection between the Wiggle and the Panhandle, confident that a legal appeal filed against the project will be denied.

As of this afternoon, a few short stretches had preliminary markings, and temporary striping tape spelled out the words “Bike Lane” on each block. Since the SFMTA removed the car parking lane and began grinding off the old street markings two weeks ago, the space had been open for bicyclists but left mostly unmarked.

When complete, the bike lane will be 7’3″ wide, with a five-foot buffer zone separating it from motor traffic. The SFMTA’s designs show that the bike lane will include a green bike box at Fell and Divisadero, and green markings will highlight merging zones at intersections. Some intersections will feature “mixing zones” where bike and car traffic merges, like those seen on the JFK Drive parking-protected bike lanes in Golden Gate Park.

The SFMTA says that by next summer, a similar lane will be installed on Oak Street, and concrete planters will be built in the buffer zone (which will still allow drivers to cross the bike lane to enter driveways). In addition, the sidewalk will be extended at 12 street corners, the synchronized traffic signal speed will be lowered from 25 MPH to 20 MPH to calm motor traffic, and special signals will be installed at intersections to give bicyclists and pedestrians a head start to cross in front of turning vehicles.

The queuing space for cars waiting to enter the Arco gas station, which drivers must cross the bike lane to reach, will not be removed under new bike lane design. The current design for that section, which directs bicyclists around the queue into a dashed green-painted merging zone, will remain.

One more picture after the jump…

Read more…

27 Comments

Streetsblog Wants Your Photos to Highlight Street Dysfunction

Scott and Oak Streets. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Editor’s note: Happy New Year, everyone – I am elated to kick off 2012 as your new editor! There’s a lot of ground for Streetsblog to cover this year, and I am thrilled to take it on and explore the issues that matter most to our readers.

Streetsblog readers are no doubt familiar with the reckless driving and inconsiderate parking that endangers and inconveniences other people on the streets. The consequences of poorly designed streets and inadequate traffic enforcement are all around us. It might be a car blatantly blocking a sidewalk, bus lane, or bike lane. Or the aftermath of a crash that hurt a pedestrian or cyclist, or damaged a bus stop.

We want your photos, short video clips, and other eyewitness accounts to help us paint a picture of the danger and dysfunction on the city’s car-centric streets. Nothing makes the case for the street redesigns and policy reforms that Streetsblog writes about quite like a telling image of the everyday headaches we often take for granted. Streetsblog will run any picture or video that conveys the need for change, but we’re especially interested in the following:

  • Cars blocking crosswalks, sidewalks, and dedicated lanes for buses and bikes
  • Drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Video that captures the routine delays on Muni, like vehicle breakdowns, car congestion, excessive stops, and long dwell times

If you see something on the street that catches your eye, send your photos, videos, and stories to tips@sf.streetsblog.org.

21 Comments

Eyes on the Street: SFMTA Stripes the McCoppin Hub Bikeway

The bikeway runs alongside the end of the Central Freeway. Photos: Aaron Bialick

New markings are on the ground delineating the short two-way bikeway linking the Market and Octavia intersection to Valencia Street and the future site of the McCoppin Hub plaza.

SFMTA crews made the improvements two weeks ago, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The pedestrian and bicycle shortcut has existed for years, but the new center line, bike markings, and signage should help increase its visibility and discourage blockage by parked vehicles.

The bi-directional bikeway is by my count the third to be marked in the city, after the Panhandle and Duboce Street.

The improvements also mark a step towards shaping the McCoppin Hub plaza, which is currently being designed. The project’s latest concept renderings show the bikeway slightly wider than it was in the first draft, and it now includes a public bike pump and an ample row of bike racks.

Construction on the plaza is expected to begin next summer. More pics after the break.

Read more…

1 Comment

Eyes on the Street: Reflections of You

There are a lot of wonderful pictures in our Flickr pool using reflections to great effect. Thanks for your additions and have a great weekend.

Photo:

Photo: Generik11

Read more…

1 Comment

Eyes on the Street: From New Bike Lanes to Chairs in Trees

city_hall_swampzoid.jpgPhoto: swampzoid.

Sorry for the long gap since our last weekly review of photos you've submitted to our Flickr pool. Thanks as always for adding photos and keep up the beautiful work. Here's a selection of some of our recent favorites. Have a great weekend!

Red_house_B._Wise.jpgPhoto: B. Wise

Read more...

21 Comments

Eyes on the Street: New Door-Zone Safety Space on Lake Street Bike Lane

IMG_2296.jpgExtra breathing room in the door zone on Lake Street. Photos: Michael Rhodes

Improvements to San Francisco's bike network have been popping up all over town in the half-year since the city got partial relief from the bike injunction. Some of them are splashy -- like the bright green, fully-separated bike lanes on Market Street, or the on-street bike parking stations on Valencia Street.

But the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has been even busier with many small improvements and tweaks, including one or two changes that might not be subject to the injunction at all.

In April, when a portion of Lake Street got a touch-up in the form of a 'Slurry Seal' treatment (cracks and eroded areas were paved over without doing a full repave,) the SFMTA found a way to make biking a little safer. By narrowing the traffic lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet and adding the extra space to the parking lane, people on bikes now have extra breathing room between the door zone and moving traffic. The parking lane now stretches nine feet across, so cars no longer hug the edge of the bike lane.

"The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is excited and pleased to see this re-striping on Lake Street," said the SFBC's Andy Thornley. "It makes the already good Lake Street bike lane even better by reducing the danger of dooring, and otherwise makes the bike lane more comfortable and inviting."

Read more...
7 Comments

Eyes on the Street: Gorgeous Lower Haight Historical Photo Montage

Haight_then_and_now.jpg
If you haven't already seen the excellent two-part historical photo montage "The Lower Haight of Yesteryear" by the good folks at Haighteration, it's highly worth your time. It's amazing to me how many buildings are essentially unchanged from a century ago.

Part One here.

Part Two here.