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    unbiased driver

    What I’ve noticed from reading these comments is that most of you seem to ride bikes or simply not drive. Unlike probably half of you, I was born and raised here and have had my car broken into twice (once and a good side of town, once in the bad side). I feel your pain about the blaring horn at 3AM but the owner can set the sensitivities of his alarm fairly easily. From feather setting it off to you having to physically kick it to set it off. “Alarms are useless”? Annoying when set off? … yes … useless?…no. Car alarms have ignition immobilizers that act like kill switches mean thieves can’t take your car. A car jacker would love your car unprotected. To be fair, never keep valuables in the car and in plain sight (that’s asking for it). If you have a Honda and do research, you’ll find these are the most stolen cars by most police reports. Tell the owner to lower the sensitivities on the alarm. Don’t outlaw alarms. That’s just stupid. Make it just a bit harder for a car jacker and possibly deter him with a little noise and security features.


    Upright Biker

    If they do this, there has got to be better signage to make it absolutely clear that private autos are not allowed on Market. As it stands, so may people are confused and the rules/enforcement are so ambiguous that anyone who gets a ticket can rightfully feel that they were tricked in some way.


    Dark Soul

    Approve this project only if…it specifically help pedestrian safety improvement and claimed muni reliability .


    Andy Chow

    There’s a reasonable limitation for Caltrain on a desirable floor height. Otherwise there will be operational implications and additional costs. Everybody has been accepting Clem Tillier’s idea that common platform height (actually 51″ platform for Caltrain) is so damn important above everything else, and I am the only one who is willing to challenge this.

    His transition strategy for Caltrain (2 high floor doors and 2 low floor doors) would likely result in additional cost on rail cars because of additional doors and lifts, and an unsafe situation for bike riders as they may have to haul their bikes up and down interior steps. His strategy will not result in full 51″ platform everywhere on the Caltrain system (since there’s no reason to increase the platform height above the height of the lowest door).

    And what is the everyday benefits of common platform heights? Yes there are operational benefits, but if they’re most confined in a situation where trains are severely delayed or in an emergency, the 51″ height is quite a high cost imposed on Caltrain. Is the Transbay terminal that small that trains and platform usage must always be random? Can additional capacity be added by changing some designs and operational procedures including layover time?

    I support both agencies to study the issue and to see whether there’s any opportunities to compromise. There are opportunities for HSR to consider lower floor height since technology is evolving and that HSR is not an operating railroad. But I think it is reasonable for Caltrain to walk away in the event that there’s no acceptable solution for Caltrain.

    You might think that all platforms should be rebuilt, and that it will be the same regardless of height. I don’t with that. There’s visual impact and difference in construction method between a platform slightly higher than the one that’s significantly higher, and things like that do matter in smaller cities. Even in Muni, placement of a mini-high is a big deal in the neighborhood (with associated impacts on traffic and driveway access) even though it is smaller than a full length high platform. Also, most systems that transition from low platform height to high height tend to have an incomplete transition (including Muni) because of cost and community issues, and that systems that use low platform tend to have a more graceful transition. Is it wise to create another Muni Metro situation?



    Hi, Aaron, thank you for the article. Safety is always top priority when it comes to our children, residents, and neighborhood holistically. There seems to be growing concerns of a lack of respect and don’t care attitude in city neighborhoods particularly components from drivers (of all forms of transportation); newbies from residents, passersby, to transients; developers building new structures all over the city; growing number of businesses and humongous events, all of which, fuel the rise of traffic and a realistic cause of traffic. Even worse situations with grassroots issues like evictions, displacements, gentrification, which all in all, add up to the insanity that’s now happening in the city of St Francis de Assisi. However, with all these craziness, I’m glad to see that the city is finally doing something good for a change, especially, for our children.

    And, I just want to kindly ask from you Aaron, if you don’t mind, and with all due respect, to please correct the school name from Bessie Carmichael School to Bessie Carmichael/Filipino Education Center Pre-K to 8 School. For many who do not know, I would like to share some historical overview about the Filipino-American community in District 6. We want to respect the Filipino-American community who, for the past 50 years, fought hard to protect its Filipino Education Center school,Filipino Bilingual Program, Galing Bata @FEC After School and Summer Program, Teachers and Staff from the oblivious and neglectful current and previous administrations of the SFUSD. The protective community also keeps a watchful eye on it’s non-profit organizations and small businesses that employ and provide valuable services. They valiantly fought hard to install it’s Middle School even in the midst of a school budget crisis. And this is the only district in the city of San Francisco that does not have a high school.

    Our city’s safety issues doesn’t stop there. The issues extend to a plethora of problems that appeared in the timeline just before and during the helm of the current city administration. For instance, embroiled in the middle of an affordable housing crisis, the city wide community non-profits are working their heart out to save San Francisco from real estate speculators and their allies who are evicting thousands of residents for profit. And many of these affected residents are families with children, seniors, people with disabilities, and people who are sick.

    Many are blinded by their selfishness and do not see the connection. Yes, many, and that may be you or I. The whole purpose of a city are people and to live together in peace. But that peace is in trouble.

    I pray that the officials are sincere about their ‘building partnerships’ slogan. After being involved in the community for the past 20 years, I’m so darn wary and tired of pretense by city officials and their cohorts.

    San Francisco never give up! Please respect our city and residents.

    Thank you, community. Really appreciate your blog, Aaron. God bless everyone.



    This should have been done already and quite a while ago. The goal has to be making Market St preferably from Van Ness Ave all the way down to the Embarcadero Car free immediately. I feel like that private cars on Market St burden the street itself as I see no benefit of having any private motor vehicles on it whatsoever. I don’t see it benefiting anyone including the driver itself just like Prop L in someways. Banning private auto traffic would help speed up Muni, alleviate congestion and make Market St a more desirable and safer place to be for pedestrians, bikers and the average joe out there and hopefully there will be a complete PROTECTED bikeway that connects to the existing one near Mid Market all the way to the Embarcadero . Boy this should not ever take SO LONG for this to happen, it should of happen already but NO, we’ve been waiting for at least 5 years now and that’s sure long enough.


    sebra leaves

    If you don’t like it
    you better vote against funding it. Good reason to vote No on Props A and B and Yes on L. Stop this insanity before it gets any more out
    of hand.



    I own them all!



    In the long term, it absolutely does not matter whether HSR and Caltrain use low floor or high floor trains. It only matters that they both agree on the same floor height. There is absolutely no difference to passengers when boarding a high floor train vs. boarding a low floor train, if the platform is at the height of the train floor. BART is high floor and high platform, and boarding a BART train is a very smooth process.

    It is a little better to use low floor trains rather than high floor trains if the platforms are not level with the train floor, because passengers only have to climb up one or two steps rather than three or four. This is why Muni should use low-floor trains, as they will never be able to construct train level platforms at all of their flag stops on surface streets.

    But for Caltrain, this is a relatively unimportant issue as climbing up and down steps will be a temporary measure until all the Caltrain platforms are rebuilt level with the train floor. And they *should* all be rebuilt, because it’s a relatively inexpensive way to achieve considerable speed and reliability benefits.

    The transition process will be the same regardless of whether the train floor is low or high – either way there will need to be movable/deployable steps for the platforms that have not yet been rebuilt, similar to how Muni Metro operates.

    So no more of this “high floor trains are terrible” nonsense. Any train floor height that will work for both agencies will do fine. I don’t have a strong opinion on what it should be, but I’m sure if Caltrain and HSR both put out RFIs that requested that manufacturers specify the train floor heights they could provide, it would be possible to pick out suitable trains for both agencies with a shared train floor height.






    I don’t think you even tried.



    A good plan, but it should also allow Lyft, Uber and vehicles with handicapped plates or placards to travel on Market.



    There is most certainly *not* a BART extension to Antioch, as the local news station puts it. It’s a diesel locomotive unit, not powered by a third rail.



    Sometimes sidewalks are the only option rather than getting hit and I do this sparingly only when absolutely necessary such as at Third and The Embarcadero where suddenly the bike lane ends and the only real safe option is an empty sidewalk.



    I can’t even get past the first few sentences of this piece without having to point out the stupidity of your argument against this new lot:
    -During construction, ridership went up despite a lack of parking because people didn’t have a choice. We all had to suck it up, waiting for light at the end of the tunnel when it opened.

    -As a female, I would prefer to drive to BART in the morning, park, and return to my car after work knowing that I don’t have to take an expensive cab ride home or ride the ghetto a$$ AC transit bus AND then STILL have to walk home from the bus stop after dark. The area around the station is sketchy, so assuming everyone is HAPPY AND WILLING to walk home from there is ridiculous. Why does everyone who is anti-car assume people who take BART are within walking distance, have bus access, or someone to pick them up everyday?

    -You’re arguing that “better uses” instead of a parking structure exist. Are you completely missing the point that this is just phase one of a village including housing and retail? Are you saying that a parking structure was never going to be needed? How about for the families who live in the future housing…you seem to expect that they will take BART everywhere?

    Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich and the author of this piece (a male resident of SF’s Inner Sunset, which IS connected to Muni and much safer than the MacArthur BART Station area—you are both complete TOOLS. Wake up!



    re: 1940 Proposal to replace cable cars. There is a wonderful classic children’s book on this very topic. It’s called “Maybelle the Cable Car” written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, author of the very well known kids book “Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel.” Virginia mostly lived in New England but lived for a time in SF. “Maybelle” is a remarkable book because it goes into quite some depth about civics and elections for a kids picture book.She also has a great book called “The Little House” which has wonderful illustrations of the evolution of urban development, though the ethos of that book is quite anti-urban.



    I didn’t even bother mentioning Duboce because, as well as being dark, dank and depressing, it’s hard to make left turns onto and off.

    16th is an alternate but it’s slower in practice. Both lanes can be blocked waiting for left and right turning traffic waiting for pedestrians. And buses and double-parked vehicles slow it down further.

    The only real arterial alternative is Cesar Chavez but that’s way out of the way from, say, the General Hospital, Best Buy, Rainbow etc.

    I’ll stick to the cabbies route – 15th. And look out for pedestrians, natch.



    Thanks, Aaron, for covering this. Kids seem to be so much more at risk than adults, due in part to their shorter height. As a parent, my greatest safety concern for my kids is injury or death while they cross a street. Far too many otherwise responsible adults seem to abandon safety and common sense in the name of haste. Our love of the car not only makes walking to school a risky activity but it even turns schoolyards into parking lots (ie. at back-to-school night, at other after-hours school events and, at some schools, even on regular school days when school is in session). Accommodating cars, even if they belong to our beloved teachers, is too often more important than giving kids safe places to play outdoors – away from the pollutants and the dangers of automobiles.



    At least the bicyclist muggings in North Oakland, about a dozen of which occurred earlier this summer, seem to have abated. No additional reports since the OPD made a number of arrests in August:



    Ambitious New High-Speed Rail Plan Will Fly Americans To Japan To Use Their Trains (The Onion)



    16th is the most arterial street in the area, it has lights (instead of stop signs) and two lanes each direction.

    15th literally has a speed bump so I wouldn’t consider it an arterial.


    Chris J.

    > Does it mean a street with more than one traffic lane in the same direction?

    Not at all. It means a high-capacity urban road (e.g. see ).

    Duboce and 16th, both within a couple blocks, both seem more equipped for high capacity traffic. They both have four lanes. Duboce even has three west-bound lanes in parts.



    If Uber gets an F, then what would the taxi industry receive? Ride-sharing companies would not exist if taxis performed well.



    Chris, I’m not sure what the official definition of a road being “arterial” is in this city. Does it mean a street with more than one traffic lane in the same direction?

    If so then 14th and 15th streets in the Mission are about the closest thing to “arterial” north of Cesar Chavez. Both are (mostly) one-way with (mostly) two lanes running from Market to Harrison, or so. The other numbered streets are all two-way, from memory anyway.

    A few times I have taken a cab from the eastern Mission the driver has taken 15th to get to Market. Seems it is regarded as the best route to take going west.



    I think it’s stupid. Somebody has to take a risk, and a cyclist getting hit by a car is a lot more likely to be seriously injured or killed than a pedestrian getting hit by a bike. I had a friend get hit and killed while riding in the BIKE LANE in a popular tourist area. The streets are not safe for people on bicycles. Maybe more enforcement of recklessly driving a bicycle on sidewalks instead of a complete ban would be a better compromise. I hate speed limits of any sort because regardless of what any study shows, I think careless driving is much more dangerous than speeding, and there are many speeders who drive carefully and MANY people who drive at the speed limit but drive absolutely RECKLESS. But it comes down to the speeders being the ones prosecuted because those cases are more cut and dry and are easy revenue.


    Jym Dyer

    @timsmith – GOP = Gas, Oil, Petrol. The corporate welfare enjoyed by these particular benefactors doesn’t count as big bad gummint subsidy, because lobbying.



    This is really scary. I’ve ridden that path many times late at night and never even thought to be on the lookout for somebody jumping out of a bush and shoving a stick in my spokes or smashing a bottle over my head. These thugs need to be caught … but I know that the cops have more important things to do, like bust cyclists rolling stop signs on T-intersections on Arguello or Townsend.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    The violent attacks on bicyclists in the Panhandle are very concerning.



    TGV Duplex which is a bi-level trainset that was introduced in 1995. if CAHSRA would pick that design, the floor height would be made similar to whatever bi-level EMU Caltrain selects.

    The only issue is that these trains run only up to 200mph, but CAHSRA wants 220mph. However, I’m sure some effort could be made to increase the speed to 220mph by the time the line in California goes into service.



    Precisely. We’ve got to stop thinking of bike infrastructure from the perspective of how the Brave and Fearless who will bike regardless manage it and how many of the Interested But Concerned refuse to touch bike “infrastructure” if this is what it looks like.

    Andy B in Jersey, yes, parking-protected lanes are not without their own occasional problems but compare this to the Double Parking lanes of SF which are virtually guaranteed to be blocked with high frequency. Some—all the time (there has never been a day or time that I’ve biked down Folsom or Valencia without multiple double-parkers/drivers).



    Only in that picture. Not pictured, all the people not biking because it feels too unsafe having to constantly leave the bike lane. Biking on Folsom can be a mess, especially during commute times as all the other lanes are full of cars going 30-35 mph while the bike lane is filled with double parked or cut through drivers. You can’t leave the bike lane if the lane to the left has a cement truck.



    On both 8th street and Folsom the reason they aren’t parking protected is the bus stops. They’d have to reconfigure the street with boarding islands and the bike lane going to the right of them so that the bus can pick people up and that takes $$$$ and time. Hopefully someday though.

    They could also put a parking protected bike lane on the left side of Folsom since it is one way and there are no bus stops on that side.


    Andy B from Jersey

    I’d like to see NACTO back up some of its safety claims with hard empirical evidence NOT gathered from other NACTO cities or contributing consultants.

    For example, I still don’t buy it that left side bike lanes on one-ways are safer but NACTO continues to claim that they reduce doorings and conflicts with overtaking drivers all based on theory, not solid evidence. I’m not against left side lanes particularly where buses are involved but to make general unsubstantiated claims about them being generally safer than conventional right side bike lanes is a little dubious in my book.

    While I love most of the ideas in NACTO’s guides, without compelling proof that their ideas are sound and provide superior safety benefits (particularly for cyclists), I will have a hard time supporting many of the more unconventional ideas proposed in their guides.


    Andy B from Jersey

    But the cyclist in your SF photo seems to have no problem going around the illegally parked cars. Get a car or even street vendor cart in the NYC lane and your totally stuck! And YES it happens!



    NACTO’s far from perfect, and its lack of imagination on intersections is particularly troubling.

    That being said, does this mean we can get somewhat closer to a #minimumgrid of protected cycletracks in SF? Especially in SoMa/Mission/Tenderloin where land is relatively flat, streets are often wide, and density high.
    “Buffered” by nothing other than paint = doesn’t cut it

    Was on Folsom’s so-called “buffered” lane yesterday during rush hour. Completely and utterly blocked by cars. Sure, police ticketing could do something, but the daily temptation is just too great and wouldn’t even be there in the first place if they just flipped the order of the paint.



    Yeah, I realized my mistake. I’ve somehow failed to remember this even though I’m going through this area at least two times a day.

    And actually it kind of makes sense that this occurred after the non-traffic-calmed section–drivers do a lot of boneheaded things turning left from a two-lane one-way street. I’m in the camp of believing we need to do away with them altogether in SF.


    Andy Chow

    Neither HSRA nor Caltrain has officially suggested to remove freight trains on the corridor. It is only suggested by activists to try to reduce cost, cut the size of the grade separation structure, and implement level boarding.



    It is a crazy premise, but even more so because the traffic calming stops east of Mission Street.


    Andy Chow

    The original plan was to have a 4 track grade separated corridor. The level of “blending” between Caltrain and HSR was never fully defined. Some scenarios allow either system to use any track and some scenarios result in essentially two parallel but separate systems. The project level EIR for the 4 track project was killed in favor of the current “blended plan” to limit the number of 4 track sections and having HSR to basically use Caltrain tracks.

    There are two reasons for the current blended plan. The first is to address the concerns and oppositions in communities. They do not like things such as grade separation to be imposed by the state, but are willing to work with local agencies like Caltrain. The second is that the 4 track scenario is cost prohibitive. At that time when the blended plan was suggested, the project got a new cost estimate that went way beyond the available funding in Prop 1A. Also at that time Jerry Brown came on board and took control of HSRA to salvage the project. Some of the board members who are strongly in favor of the 4 track scenario (including Quentin Kopp) were replaced.


    Andy Chow

    Is it really a big deal with BART paying for more late night buses? About 10 years ago, the late night transbay buses were revamped and coordinated, with MTC paying for the service through RM2 bridge toll. There used to be a route between Oakland and Concord and another between Bay Fair and Dublin but both got canceled within a few years after the program was implemented due to low ridership. I don’t know if this will make a difference this time but let’s see.



    the elimination of over 400 parking spots is going to cause people to
    circle blocks for extended time looking for parking and less lanes means
    slower traffic, you only need to look at the EIS for the SF Bike Plan
    which not surprisingly pointed this out.

    Please cite any line in that EIR which states people will circle blocks for extended time looking for parking. Hopefully this will allow this conversation to have even trivial value given that you have pulled “extended time” out of thin air rather than giving a quantified impact – which you indicate exists.



    RoyTT, coming through for all of us once again with totally irrelevant observations and just-plain-wrong ‘theories’ to apologize for his fellow drivers’ idiotic mistakes.

    Here’s a clue for you: 15th St is always congested that time of day. Always. It’s been the same before and after the lane re-striping east of this intersection (but now people crossing near Marshall ES are much safer). It’s been the same whether or not there’s construction near Market St. It is a narrow street with too much parking traveling through a dense, walkable area.

    Which is all the more reason why this driver was clearly not mentally equipped to drive a car. There is ZERO excuse for what happened, so kindly quit trying to invent more for us.



    Perhaps you are forgetting the mid block cross walk between SVN and Valencia that drivers constantly ignore. UNSAFE!


    Chris J.

    The one-lane stretch is between South Van Ness and Mission. There’s an elementary school right there on 15th (where the murals are) which is probably why it was narrowed. That street is not an arterial.



    I could swear that one-lane-plus-wide-shoulder configuration ends at Valencia. Am I wrong?

    If so, kindly ignore my response to you on Mission Local :)



    His (stupid) premise I think is that the driver was somehow blinded by rage at the indignity of having to travel westbound through traffic-calmed 15th between South Van Ness and Valencia and that somehow made him not see the pedestrian as he turned left onto Valencia.

    I’m not making this up. I wish I could say this is entertaining but the lengths to which some people apologize for motorist stupidity make me weep for society. Seriously.


    Chris J.

    I ride my bike on 15th Street all the time, and there are no traffic-calming or “safety” measures whatsoever along the stretch where the woman was hit. The block leading up to Valencia is one-way with two car lanes and parking on either side of the street. There is no bike lane, though I long wished there was. I’ve had drivers get angry with me for bicycling on that stretch. It’s no fun because you’re either blocking a car lane and risk facing driver aggression or you risk getting doored if you ride too close to the side.


    Nathanael Johnson

    Wow. Nice to have someone who knows what they are talking about. Can we just elect Clem to be in charge?



    *about statistics.



    That block of 15th hasn’t been touched. Get your facts straight if you’re going to browbeat statistics.