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    The Editor

    Typo on the map: “Pixleh” should be “Pixley”.



    Cool. Would like to see a post-TEP version of it too.



    biking on the sidewalks can create minor accidents where as accidents on roads between cars, trucks and bike riders can easily be fatal. Recently a teen was ran over by RIG in cupertino. if the city law allowed sidewalk biking kid might have survived.


    Andy Chow

    I placed the high resolution map here: so that the map can be viewed just like a Google Map.

    I have some comments regarding the map. First is that the route name should be corrected to L. Usage of R is rather editorializing. Muni is not implementing the rapid program like Los Angeles or Oakland, but an upgrade of local and limited service.

    All Muni Metro high platform stops should be noted by a rectangle and a name. The current map marks all non-subway stops the same as bus stops for limited routes. May be this is part of editorializing by the creator to make rapid bus routes equivalent to rail but right now the passenger experience between the high platform stop is different than a street level stop (which is similar whether it is bus or rail), and that the stops for limited routes are basically the same as all other routes, as supposed to other transit systems that have enhanced stops similar to light rail.


    Thomas Rogers

    I saw this at the SPUR “Urban Cartography” exhibit opening- great stuff!



    Varying the amount of emphasis placed on different streets and landmarks has really made the map easier to digest than the old one was. Adding stairways was a nice touch too.



    Exactly, this is a more massive problem than the band-aids offered up can fix. It should be a lot harder to get a licence and keep one. That in this first place is a state problem that the city can’t do much about. It is a privilege to drive not a right. Stronger repercussions for hitting pedestrians should be enacted and enforced. That will eliminate a lot of sh*$#y drivers and be the appropriate response for the dignity of the human person hurt or killed.


    Nicasio Nakamine

    YES! The pavement is unbelievably bad here. I have actually improved my balance from riding on the painted line everyday to avoid some bone-rattling.

    Something needs to happen in front of the Caltrain station on Townsend as well. Every day it is an anarchic nightmare, morning and night.



    Psst. Your link for the Margarita Gutierrez story is off. Feel free to delete this comment after you fix it.



    Townsend St desperately needs new pavement for the bike lanes between 2nd street and 5th. The block between 3rd and 4th is especially bad. I know probably the city decided that this area is under construction due to the central subway and delayed its repayment, but it is in seriously bad condition given the number of riders that utilize this area.



    This city needs more skate parks! It’s pathetic how few we have…


    Andy Chow

    The companies have to pay for every employee on the site, but they may only distribute it for those who will use it. Some people may be tempted to resell the sticker which is not in the interest of Caltrain.



    Most of those questions require more than a little bit of research. On your first question, I’ve not seen anyone publish such a specific analysis tailored just to SF.

    I can say that on topic of alcohol involvement, the numbers quoted came out of a recent NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts report on bicycles, which stated that 24% of the fatalities (nationally) involved the cyclist having a BAC greater than .08, and 32% of the fatalities involved either the cyclist or the driver having a BAC greater than .08. So that’s at least 8% where the driver is intoxicated, but probably more since there could be overlap, so it’s anywhere from 8% to 32%. I’m not sure why they reported it that way.



    Not just that but many Merc readers believe trucks that size are prohibited on that road. Totally inexcusable.



    I was disappointed to see that the SF Gate article on GSHA failed to pick apart the obvious issues:

    1. Failed to look at the % increase in deaths relative to the increase in cycling

    2. Victim blaming through and through

    3. How many of the helmet-less riders died would’ve lived if they had a helmet on? In far too many of these cases (including the several high profile deaths here in the Bay Area), cyclists were run over by a bus or truck. A helmet was immaterial in the outcome, but a wheel guard/side guard might have saved them. We need to move the dialogue of cyclist safety beyond “the helmet” question (yes, helmets are important, wear them).

    4. Intoxication. The article mentions drunk cyclists but inexplicably fails to mention how many cyclists were killed by drunk (or distracted) driving.

    Even if these questions required too much research for our little Chron Bike Blogger, how about just acknowledging the questions (and I am sure there are more than what I just listed here) and pointing out how crappy/inadequate the GSHA report really is?!



    We had to fill out a form in a book in the employee service center to get the stamp for our work badges….didn’t seem like an ‘everyone’s got one’ routine. And that’s not much money compared to paying the guys who ran the parking ramp.



    Peanuts. I think the latest cost is around 175 per year – when I was riding daily that was what I paid per month.

    The caveat is that any participating company buys a pass for every employee – rider or not



    I worked for a company that offered the Caltrain employee pass–and used it only 6 days a year for several years. Other employees used it daily. How much does a company pay for those Caltrain passes?



    I just assumed the ‘traffic signal’ they’d be installing was a blinky crosswalk signal–not a pedestrian wait for permission. I can’t see the city hall leaders intentionally giving themselves a wait.



    Re: Miller Ave in Mill Valley, the article doesn’t mention specifics as to the bike treatments but on the MV city website I did find this:


    Unless I’m missing something looks like more same-old conventional bike lanes. If there’s any road that totally has room for cycletracks it’s extra-wide Miller.



    I regularly bike by and the dog park is always full of people and their dogs. I’d say it’s been a great success so far.



    Santa Clara did this to themselves, not the Niners.



    I think your latching on to something that isn’t there.



    I agree but it is two floors of parking as opposed to a surface lot, and that’s how the building is described in the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan.

    In terms of future development, that site also has “Proposed Active Ground-Floor Uses” (retail?), and the zoning height will be changed to 175 ft with up to 275 feet with a conditional use permit. 175 feet would probably be about a 3-story office or residential building, or 3 levels of parking with ground floor retail.


    Jeffrey Baker

    “2-story” is a pretty generous description of what I’d describe as a 1-story building where you can park on the roof.



    The 2-story garage on Franklin at 14th is identified as an “opportunity site” for development in the plan, as are most of the surface lots in the vicinity. The horrible spiral parking garage at Madison and 13th is not, unfortunately, although it will probably just collapse in the next earthquake anyway.

    Unfortunately Chinatown will remain a biking black hole even after this plan, as the Chamber of Commerce successfully squashed the notion of any bicycle infrastructure, even sharrows, running through that part of town, despite an attempted compromise that would have legitimized the truck double parking that occurs there constantly.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I’m glad to see that the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan is starting to dislodge some of these underutilized properties from the clutches of their negligent owners. But I’m really surprised that there doesn’t seem to be any motion around selling off the two full-block parking garages within the plan area, namely the appalling 1-story structure on Franklin between 13th and 14th, and the spiral tower across from the post office. Does anyone know of plans to redevelop these? The one on Franklin is an exceptional waste of space.


    SF Guest

    I respect all modes of transit, but it’s disturbing to hear those who choose to ride a bus should feel shame for not renting or owning a bike instead.

    It basically telegraphs a politically incorrect biased message that riding a bus, riding a bike and walking are not equal and that riding a bus is inferior to those who can ride a bike.



    You realize that the Niners got the stadium built for them? They should have to pay for all the traffic they are causing. If Caltrain is really in their best interest, they should invest in it. I’d really be interested in seeing if developers are willing to invest in electrification, as it means that trains will be quieter and less polluting, making land along the route more attractive.



    This is a great redo of that space!

    Some of my favorite places in various cities around the world are not always the big grandiose esplanades and destination parks but the small public spaces you didn’t plan to go but just stumble across and are teeming with life and a sense of place.

    As necessary as big public spaces (such as the Golden Gate Parks) of this world can be until fairly recently SF hasn’t had terribly much in the way of small but vibrant public spaces. The hub at McCoppin and the square at Hayes Valley are great developments in that direction.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I remember the months when the old freeway had been torn down and the new one hadn’t yet been built. That was a lot better than some skate park.



    I’ve seen this question a few times today.

    My thinking is this. Those companies pay a big honking amount of taxes every year. Even if one can show that they are doing some sort of contortion to get out of corporate taxes, their employees pay a lot of income taxes on income derived from their employment there, and a lot of other tax revenue is generated locally because of their existence, property taxes, use taxes, etc…

    To ask these companies specifically to contribute additional funds to fund Caltrain is a cop out for Sacramento and the local counties, who collect those taxes. The problem is not that they aren’t paying taxes to fund Caltrain, but that Sacramento and the counties and municipalities aren’t allocating enough funding from all those taxes towards Caltrain. I think it’s an appropriate move for those companies to lobby to have their tax dollars (and ours!) to be spent in a different manner. “Hey – I’m paying a lot of taxes and in return I am getting crappy train service for my employees! Enough!”

    Whether or not they should pay more taxes, period – is a completely orthogonal question.


    Richard Mlynarik



    I consider it a source of pride to be using a bus – or bike, or walk – instead of a private car, whenever possible.



    Now we’re getting somewhere. Understand though that this only works with either draconian enforcement or streetscape changes that result in actual lower speeds – otherwise the speed limit signs are just decorations to be ignored.



    “The SFMTA does have plans to install a signal there next summer.” Doesn’t matter and won’t stop pedestrian deaths because some people just don’t know how to freakin’ drive. Pisses me off.


    Andy Chow

    Private buses (whether they’re intercity, charter, party, tour, Google, shuttle, etc) are pretty effective in what they do: taking cars off the road. That’s why private companies run them (as supposed to public transit which used to be run by private companies subsidy-free in most cities until 60s-70s) and continue to invest in them. People and companies are willing to pay substantially more to ride/operate these buses than Muni and these providers offer different types of service in different types of vehicles that are far more responsive to market demand than Muni or any other public transit provider.

    With the profit motive, companies aren’t going to operate unproductive services and they are not responsive to political demands for under-performing yet still-lifeline-to-some service. When people decide to hire a party bus, they’re making the right choice to be responsible, making the roads safer and reducing parking demands. Tour buses take tourist traffic off the road, reducing parking demand in tourist sites and making the roads safer as more tourists who aren’t familiar with SF streets are not driving.

    One of the reasons why Google and other companies run their own buses because they can get it started very quickly and can be very responsive to changing demands. Transit operators have a very politicized processes regarding service change and improvements. Just see how slow the TEP gets implemented (with the exception of cutting routes due to budget cuts which can happen much faster).

    Muni experimented tourist oriented service with the Culture Bus and we know how bad it turned out. It took precious resource away from regular transit and unnecessarily competed with private companies that offer better service without public subsidy.

    Private buses are no more dangerous on the road than Muni, and perhaps far more safer than if their customers are driving instead. Muni also involved in crashes that resulted in deaths of pedestrians and cyclists. From the regulatory standpoint, private bus drivers and Muni drivers are essentially the same, with the same hours of service requirement, same drug-alcohol testing requirement, same physical exam requirement, same penalty for traffic violation while driving a commercial vehicle on-duty, etc.



    These are great accomplishments — major kudos to the neighborhood activists who worked so hard to get this to happen.

    …And perhaps now’s the time to start building a movement to tear down the rest of the Central Freeway?



    Lowering speed limits would be a prudent thing to do.


    Dark Soul

    Whats next you ask me for a citation?
    No need lash out

    I just simply said,
    Polk street was recently upgraded to improve safety specifically for bike riders


    Benjamin Pease

    These are no ordinary blinking lights. They’re more like strobe lights. You too might find them strangely attractive. Plus are right in the exact same field of vision where one ought to be looking for pedestrians, and they leave an after-image on one’s eyeballs. Which at dusk makes it even harder to see the pedestrians until one’s hood hides the darned lights (going slowly, of course). There’s a reason they are not widely adopted.



    Why can’t tech companies and the 49ers fund electrification themselves?



    Depends on your definition of “recent” or the loose usage. Being a lifetime resident of SF those stupid blinky lights are relatively new. They go off when no one is trying to cross. Instead of looking out for pedestrians drivers look out for automated signals. Not wise. Drivers get dumbed down more and more.



    if you’re easily distracted by blinking lights, you shouldn’t be driving.


    Aaron Bialick

    So everyone’s clear, this block hasn’t been re-configured except for the angle of the car parking on the plaza side of the street, and some green paint on the bike lanes.


    SF Guest

    There’s still something to be said that we agree there is no shame in riding a bus.



    You had me until ” I had no idea bike riding is such an elite status.”



    For example by lowering speed limits. But that would be anti-car!



    There are risks, so you create policy that minimizes them. In terms of motorized transit, that means making it 1) very expensive to take motorized transit, especially the most dangerous kinds (private cars) or the least useful (tourist buses or party buses), and 2) severe punishment when one “realizes” that risk and actually hurts someone due to negligence (or, of course, intent). By doing those things, then yes, I would agree that we’ve reached a point where we say that the risks are worth it, i.e. the benefits outweigh the costs.

    But this is patently not the case with pedestrian (and bicycle) safety here right now. It’s a well-known fact that you can drive a motor vehicle and be careless and just say “I didn’t see the person” and, unless you were drunk and/or fled, you will be giving nothing but a slap on the wrist. That is the issue at hand. Sure, if tourists want to ride in a tour bus that puts pedestrians at risk, then fine, but the costs need to be high to discourage this (and amazingly, you would be surprised at how many people would suddenly find they don’t really need to take that trip anyway). And certainly when the driver effs up and kills somebody, he needs to pay dearly.


    SF Guest

    WOW! Are you saying what I think you’re saying? ” I believe I’d feel like an [censored] riding on that bus instead of renting or owning a bike”

    Since when should any bus rider feel shame for riding a bus? I had no idea bike riding is such an elite status.