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    Chris was suggesting that the Stockton project was to speed up buses. Having buses thread their way through a car-free street packed with pedestrians doesn’t sound to me like a speed-up.



    Okay, here’s what you said:
    “but there is a “rent-a-mob” contingent of outside advocates” again, your showing a bias and using name calling to try and dehumanize people.



    Good grief. We went over this yesterday and you’re being deliberately obtuse – the proposal on Stockton is for transit and pedestrians and to restrict private vehicles. None of the proposals is making it pedestrian only.



    Except of course that I never used the phrase “carpet baggers” so you are lying.

    Why aren’t the bike and transit lobbyists “cranky” when they whine and bleat that Transit First and Vision Zero policies aren’t working out for them?



    And you’re revealing your bias by calling people who favor transit “carpet baggers”. And labeling people who don’t agree with your position “anti-car zealots”. Spare me.



    Since politicians generally want to be re-elected (not Lee in this case, I’ll admit) then it behooves them to listen to what their voters want.

    And why does the city even conduct public meetings if it is not to learn what is wrong or unpopular about their policy ideas and accept feedback to make them more relevant? Democracy is a vehicle to give the majority what they want.

    But you show your own bias by referring to the voters as “cranky”, and yet you use no such negative epithet for those who agree with you. Interesting.



    Actually that’s not his job. His job is to execute on legislation and policy that balances concerns from many different stakeholders. I challenge you to find any language in the mayor’s job description that says he’s the “listener in chief” of the city. I further encourage you to watch the clip from a community meeting held in NYC where the mayor explains what his job actually is and why he doesn’t need to execute on the desires of cranky residents if they don’t match his stated goals.



    The Broadway tunnel goes West from ChinaTown.

    Broadway itself goes East from ChinaTown.



    Sorry, I was confusing you with a guy called John Murphy who tried to mess with 24th Street around 2010 or so, and failed to convince his fellow residents.



    It also goes east from Chinatown and intersects the Embarcadero. The Embarcadero, you know, used to be under 480, until 480 was torn down, which was going to be the death of Chinatown because all the traffic comes to Chinatown from 480…



    So Lee is a liar and all businesses on Mission Street are shitty?

    You’re not out to make any friends are you?



    Broadway goes West from ChinaTown.

    Do more visitors to Chinatown come from the West or the South? I don’t know and I’m fairly sure that you don’t either. But when I lived in the Inner Richmond, I never took the Broadway tunnel, but rather went East on Bush and worked my way around, more often taking the Stockton tunnel.



    Should the city compensate the owner of a shitty business when they permit someone to tear down a code violating tenement next to it, and build nice condos? That displaces their customer base and increases their rent.



    So your big point is that there is no difference between a local resident, employee or business owner and a lobbying organization?

    I can only assume that you approved of the SCOTUS Citizens United decision.



    Well, SF is all about resisting change. Ask any NIMBY.

    That said, the fact remains that some businesses do appear to have suffered, and that is a material factor.

    Maybe the city should consider compensating business owners for the “taking” when a bike or bus lane is introduced?

    I feel sure you’d be happy to pay more taxes to cover that. Especially as you don’t pay taxes in the city anyway.



    Don’t shoot the messenger, cut and pasted from Yelp. Which of course = gentrification.



    So you are calling Lee a liar?



    Face it – the red lanes are things they don’t use. So presumably the red lanes are something all the “new people” would use. And the “new people” use computers to book travel, and don’t eat greasy food served with a bad attitude.

    This isn’t about resisting bus lanes. It’s about resisting anything they might affiliate with change because change is very bad for them.



    Borderline racist but kinda cute so you get away with it.




    But if some businesses were down 20% as of the day these bus lanes went in, then they are making that shit up



    Again, I’m not aware the Stockton idea is for the buses, but more for the alleged car-free buzz on a pedestrianized thouroughfare.

    Which is not to say that there may not be side-benefits for buses. Only that that isn’t the primary intent.

    As for the argument that underground rail obviates the need for buses, I would point you instead to Market Street. Since BART and the streetcars went in, there is no longer any bus that plys the entire length of Market Street. Buses are considered redundant there.



    Ode To Smile BBQ in haiku

    Burger and 1 gum
    Food tastes delicious like fat
    Rude boss loses star



    The gradual increase in competition would explain a gradual decline in Lee’s business. It would not explain an immediate 20% drop in revenues starting the day the bus lanes went in.

    But yes I’m a little baffled about the travel agent’s story as well. First because who the hell uses travel agents any more anyway? But also even if you did, you’d surely call them – there is no reason to physically show up at a travel agent.

    Seems to me that some businesses are more likely to have car-centric customers and some less so. If there is a laundromat and nail place on every block around there, and there probably is, then who the hell is going to drive ten miles to go to a particular one?

    So I understand the disparity between the different experiences and outcomes that these businesses had. But if some businesses were down 20% as of the day these bus lanes went in, then that isn’t nothing



    Airline tickets are hella bulky and heavy, dontcha know? There’s no way to pick them up and take them home without a large automobile.


    SF Guest

    The tedious intersection is not turning right from Sutter to Stockton; the most tedious is making a left from Kearny into Sutter.
    You are darn right the main motivation is not for the bus lines.



    Sometimes people do things like join the SFBC because they want those people to represent them.

    But, sure, if we ignore activists like Rose Pak and SFBC and Blah-Blah-Area-Merchants and find a way of representing all the people who live/work in an area that doesn’t just let the angry shouty types have the biggest voice. And a pony!



    Mihee Lee owns the “Smile Bar-B-Q,” a nearby lunch counter on Mission at
    22nd. “Customers have no parking,” she said. “Business is down 20

    Couldn’t possibly be because she has numerous new competitors offering better offerings. And for the life of me I can’t figure out how a brick and mortar travel agency is struggling, much like the bookstores on Polk who have been devastated – surely due to the new prevalence of the bicycle.



    “the main vehicular route in and out of ChinaTown from the South is the Stockton Tunnel”

    This presumes that the route from the South is meaningful, when most traffic headed to Chinatown is coming in from Broadway.



    The Noe Valley folks have converted a parking lot on 24th Street into a park. Other than that I have no recollection of any messing with 24th Street being proposed.


    Christopher Childs

    The lines that pass on Stockton are still going to be critical, because they extend beyond it. The Mission changes were made to get through the slow traffic on Mission, after all; striping bus-only lanes and adding do not enter signs on Stockton is a golden opportunity to permanently reclaim some speed on some of the slowest bus routes. The Mission is not lacking for underground service, and they still did it.

    The bike and ped access is kind of a fringe benefit. I really believe it’s about the buses.

    My point is: since Chinatown inbound is unaffected, we should look at where the Chinatown outbound traffic is going. SFMTA may win some speed on Stockton, but if all that auto traffic that wants to get out of Chinatown via Stockton ended up in the path of the Richmond and Sunset express routes, that kinda sucks. If it’s negatively impacting other bus routes to keep Stockton closed (because people are definitely going to drive), then allowing Stockton traffic again sounds like a reasonable idea.



    Coming from the South you’d probably do 3rd to Kearney, then left on Sutter and right on Stockton. Making a right onto Stockton from Sutter is tedious because of all the people on the crosswalk but that was always the case.

    But it’s actually worse coming from ChinaTown because Stockton was one-way going south for several blocks so it used to be a straight shot.

    I do not believe that the motivation for this is the bus lines which, in theory anyway, will be less important once the Central Subway is running.


    Christopher Childs

    However ChinaTown would be crucially affected because the main vehicular route in and out of ChinaTown from the South is the Stockton Tunnel, which would be much more difficult to reach if Stockton Street itself could not be used.

    Looking at a map, it does look like a reasonably big inconvenience. The other nearby ways to cross Market are Battery, Montgomery, and Hyde. I’d guess people are heading down to Bush and then taking a chance on either Montgomery or Battery.

    I am assuming SFMTA sees this as a huge opportunity to drastically improve the Stockton bus lines, since reopening it to just the bus would cut a ton of time off the current detour and Market crossing, and ensure it doesn’t get caught up in traffic until it’s on 4th.



    “Lee, for example, said she didn’t know how many of her customers take the bus versus driving, making her claim that business was down 20 percent due to changes to the street seem dubious.”

    Not dubious at all. Lee doesn’t need to know how her customers get to her store to know that her business is down 20% since the changes. It is reasonable to assume that if the 20% decline started when the new bus lanes were put in, that that is the reason why.

    If her turnover is 20% less from the day the lanes went in, then the burden of proof that it is NOT the bus lanes causing that lies with those who are claiming that her revenues should instead have gone up.



    The logic is fairly simple and so it should not confuse you. Regarding Stockton Street the merchants on the actual blocks slated for being car-free were in favor of it. That makes sense because few people drive to Macy’s front door anyway.

    However ChinaTown would be crucially affected because the main vehicular route in and out of ChinaTown from the South is the Stockton Tunnel, which would be much more difficult to reach if Stockton Street itself could not be used. And that is no doubt a big part of why those merchants oppose the idea

    So any consideration of the Stockton plan needs to take into account the ChinaTown merchants and not just the Union Square merchants.

    The situation in the Mission is simpler because no adjoining retail and business neighborhood is affected. In this case it seems that the Mission merchants are fairly united in their opposition to these bus lanes and street changes. And it would appear that it is the strength, passion and unity of their objections that are now being factored into the evolving re-design.


    Jim F

    There would be no evidence of people giving up without someone taking a poll to quantify it. If a route is difficult to drive through drivers will find another route (no doubt longer or they would have been using it before). That seems so obvious to anyone that’s been driving for more than a few months. Put the street back as it was before, then do engineering to determine the best place for the project.



    You clearly misunderstood. I was not lobbying for or against listening to any specific or general group of stakeholders. I merely expressed confusion about your ability to discount one group of merchants for another even further away.



    If that’s the case then you it sounds like you are genuinely affected by such changes and have a valid voice.

    But it’s fairly clear if we have a meeting and people from SFBC or WalkSF show up, then it is purely an ideological contribution. And since we can take it as read that such lobby groups will always support bike lanes or bus lanes or boarding islands or car-free roads then, really, what is the point of hearing from them? It’s like asking Trump if he thinks we should build a wall along the border with Mexico. We already know what they think.

    I am most interested in hearing from the people who live, work and run businesses in the immediate area. Then hear from those like you who visit with some frequency. Lobbyists, activists and narrow issue proselyters? Not so much.



    I’m one of those “transit advocates” because I ride the bus to shop on Mission and the train to shop on Taraval.
    How are are you defining “local residents”? I’m in the Castro and faster safer transit to both Mission and Taraval will get me there more often to spend my money.



    Not as such but the odd public meeting I’ve attended it’s usually been clear what the majority want, either from the public speaking or from a show of hands.



    SVN is only a block away. Given that the buses only stop once a block on average anyway then the walk may not be any further than at present depending on where the stops are and exactly where on Mission you are heading to.

    And of course most of those 60,000 are through travellers anyway, heading downtown, to BART, to the outer Mission, to Bernal and so on.



    I have about as much data as the merchants do but I’ll bet diverting 60,000 plus muni riders from Mission would devastate business.



    Funny, roymeo, because I was thinking the exact same thing about you when you discounted the ChinaTown merchants.

    Noe Valley is not affected by Mission Street that I can see. 24th Street, perhaps more so.



    No, I questioned why you discounted those merchants in favor of the Chinatown merchants.

    Maybe we need to ask the Noe Valley merchants and residents about how they feel about the Mission St changes?



    My point is that I think these meetings would be more representative if outsiders with an agenda like lobbyists and activists were kept out. Many of them show up for every meeting – usual suspects if you like. Whereas the local residents and merchants probably hardly ever attend a meeting, and I’d much rather hear from them than narrow single-issue advocates.

    As for politicians, they should talk a lot less, listen a lot more and then do what we tell them to.



    Moving the buses to South Van Ness would have been a much superior solution in my opinion. They wouldn’t even need a dedicated bus lane there at all.



    Why wouldn’t we count the opinions of local stakeholders?

    You certainly thought we should listen to the Union Square merchants when they were supporting something that you liked.



    Since a lot of the business owner complaints are parking based: is there some info on what parking changes were made and where parking is still available?



    So we count the opinions of these merchants?



    I’m not sure that that is the elected official’s job description. It’s Good PR while campaigning.



    I wonder how many customers would be lost if the bus lines were to be moved to Van Ness?