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    That’s a nice vision, but transit is too poor right now to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.



    Space currently used as private car storage should be dedicated to storing humans a.k.a. housing


    SF Guest

    Justin is correct — Van Ness Avenue is the official Highway 101 corridor. The defunct original plan for this corridor was to construct a freeway along Van Ness to connect to the defunct Central Freeway.

    Based on this article It appears several of the Polk Street corridor merchants are very concerned about removing parking and a traffic lane along with restricting no left turns on Van Ness. Even if the majority of a business’ customers do not drive those businesses would suffer a hardship for deliveries if parking spaces were removed. It would undoubtedly result in double parking nightmares since delivery trucks have no recourse or alternative.

    In the business world if your costs for deliveries go up it typically means you have to pass those costs onto your customers.



    That’s what they are banking on. Stall it long enough that you can replace your irrational arguments with “this is obsolete”


    Karen Lynn Allen

    Actually, maybe these anti-BRT people have a point. While this design might have been okay for 2014, since San Francisco has dragged its feet so long, it will now be out of date by the time it is built. Indeed, because this Van Ness design is suboptimal for a post-car dependent society in so many ways, perhaps it’s best to skip this half step altogether and focus on what will be useful to the San Franciscans of 2020 rather than spend a great deal of money on infrastructure that will have to ripped out and redone shortly.

    What should Van Ness really look like in order to be useful to the people living in 2020? Since it is flatter than Polk, Van Ness should be the street with dedicated protected bike lanes. These should take up an entire car-width lane in each direction since so many people will be biking. Because rail is far more energy efficient than anything that runs on tires, and by 2020 energy consumption will be more important than initial capital outlay, Van Ness should have a light rail line. And one lane in each direction should be dedicated to driverless electric taxi-pods. (There still may be private cars around owned by 1%ers, but they can take Fell and Gough.) Space currently used as private car storage should be dedicated to sidewalks, parklets and sidewalk cafes for pedestrians who will have nearly doubled in numbers. (The more local residents are car-free, the more likely they are to walk to and patronize local businesses.)

    A Van Ness with light rail, bike lanes, driverless taxi pods and tons of pedestrians, shops, cafes and restaurants and no private cars will be fantastic for San Francisco. It will turn the Van Ness corridor from a traffic sewer into a lively, zero pollution, zero carbon emissions, low noise, low vibration neighborhood where it will be easy and fun to live car-free. The good news is most US cities are going to look this way by 2030; the bad news is that for this transformation to occur it will often take a set of riots by some very angry people who will be furious that their car-based way of life is impoverishing them with no good alternatives to replace it. The good news is San Francisco will likely be able to skip the riots because we already have a reasonable amount of transit infrastructure and large numbers of people willing to walk, take transit, and bicycle.

    The best thing San Francisco can do for its future is to make it easy to let go of car-ownership by providing safe and convenient transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to every neighborhood (especially the now underserved SE neighborhoods) while gradually ceasing to dedicate space and monetary subsidies to private car ownership. The walkers, bikers and transit riders of today are going to be the healthy, happy, adaptable, productive citizens of tomorrow. The people busy arguing to retain car privilege and car subsidies today are going to be very, very unhappy people in the near future regardless of how much SFMTA continues to cave in and cater to them.



    Parking of any sort on a highway is just nutty.



    FYI it is a highway, US highway 101, just to let you know



    The job of bike/transit advocates is to build public support for these projects, much as the merchant groups are building opposition to these projects. But the problem here is not a lack of support for projects such as Van Ness BRT or Polk Street bike lanes – I believe the majority of affected people would support these projects. The problem is that some of the opposition are so vehemently opposed to these projects that the SFMTA cave into their demands, even though they are in a minority. And of course, the opposition groups then repeat their tactics with other projects, because they see that it works.

    SFMTA needs to realize that it can’t please everyone all the time, and instead work on designing projects that are supported by the majority of people affected and are also in line with their Transit First policy. Right now we have a situation where the angriest and rudest voices are being listened to, not the majority, which is not how democracy is supposed to work.


    Marvin Papas

    I LOVE free Sunday parking, let it reign for 1000 years. HooooRaaay!!!



    not to mention the war chest of the pro-8 washington.



    Are these not the same people that are bitching and moaning about how terrible muni is? Let’s make it better, but never give up things like traffic lanes and parking? Why should this highway-like corridor ever store a car that isn’t used 97% of the time?



    For the life of me I can’t see why anyone would want to encourage car parking on Van Ness or Polk. I avoid Nob Hill whenever possible because it’s a PITA to park and there are no good alternatives for getting there. With BRT, I might go there more often.



    Uh no. Farallon capital at one point had about 10% of its investments in Oil and Gas stocks, which is less than that sector’s weight in the overall stock market and has been divesting since then. Farallon was never primarily about building Coal plants, though it has done that long with hundreds of other things. From the source listed in that Wikipedia article:

    “According to a CBC Canada report, Steyer has “instructed that his carbon-emitting investments be sold off.” If Steyer is truly divesting from fossil fuels, critics may largely suspend claims that Steyer continues to be hypocritical in his environmental activism.”

    He has also spent millions of his own money defeating an initiative that would have rolled back California’s climate change legislation. Why are you so intent on beating up on one of our allies?



    What’s with the pointless snark in the NBC article on the raised bike lane (not really an article, just links to Bold Italic and SFBC)? Do they have an editorial requirement that all reporters be as irreverent as possible on bike stories?



    The SF Beautiful survey redirects to the Curbed article.


    Fran Taylor

    Regarding the upcoming Muni fare increase, the Yes on L camp whines about a 40% increase in parking meter rates in 2009, the same year Muni fares jumped from $1.00 to $2.00 and the Fast Pass went from $45 (which covered BART in the city) to $60 (no BART). Do the math to see who really has reason to complain.


    Jamison Wieser

    “For years many of us have been asking the MTA to make the 47 Van Ness bus a Limited, while keeping the 49 the way it is…”

    Lacking are any specifics about why a converting the 47 to a limited is better than the thoroughly studied and approved addition of a 49L to compliment the 47 and 49 local lines.

    Is what they’re going for the inconvenience of forcing transfers and reduced service at the local stops, over the planned convenience of an additional and faster option a nudge to discourage more people from using Muni?



    “will cause grief for bicyclists – whose numbers are increasing” – quoted for truth



    I’m all for the First Amendment but the public input process in San Francisco needs to be streamlined. In this city, there are far too many opportunities for a small and vocal group to derail important projects.



    It sounds like what they’re saying is essentially that it’s unsafe for private cars to share the road with other forms of transit. If that’s the case, fine — allowing cars on Van Ness doesn’t have to be a requirement.


    Jamison Wieser

    SFMTA might well be staffed by human beings, competent, educated and experienced professionals… but there’s Board of Directors more beholden to the Mayor and Supervisors than city policy, common sense, and overwhelming evidence. Just a couple examples along the same lines.

    - Sunday metering helped businesses, reduced traffic, saved drivers money while also generating millions of dollars, but the SFMTA Board and Supervisors unanimously approved it’s repeal.

    - SF Park similarly benefited everyone involved, the SFMTA staff had data to support it, but the Board of Supervisors almost unanimously opposed expansion.

    There’s no shortage of examples where a bunch of whining, no-nothing idiots, insistent on making their own lives more difficult, win the day by screaming that [insert project] will kill business or babies regardless of how much evidence to the contrary.


    SF Guest

    Pedestrians already have the right-of-way even when they cross illegally. If pedestrians wanted to save 1-2 minutes all they would do is simply jaywalk in the middle of the street while cars are waiting at a red light. I have done it myself but never forced any motorist to wait while I jaywalked.

    As a pedestrian myself I witness much more waiting by cars for pedestrians illegally jaywalking than I see cars committing moving violations.

    I get the sense the main objective here is to slow down motorists and as such are to be treated as second class citizens. Walking is not known to be a time-saving method of travel.

    The main goal behind multi-turn lanes is to allow for more fluid traffic. With less fluid traffic it can result in several blocks of backage. Any idea that assists in more fluid traffic with less blockage is a good thing.


    Upright Biker

    It’s called The First Amendment, and the real clowns are _us_ if we can’t get out and be there to make arguments whose rational and emotional appeal trumps theirs.



    Sadly they don’t. Look at what they led MPNA do to their Polk Street plan.



    They have a lot of nerve for deriding Van Ness BRT because “Van Ness will be more dangerous for bicyclists” when these same people fought tooth and nail to block any bike lanes on Polk. Talk about hypocrisy!



    Why do we even give these clowns the time of day? They have no rational arguments and nothing to contribute but unfounded criticism.

    Surly the SFMTA, which is staffed by real, logical human beings (I would hope) sees through all of this?



    Good thing Ed Lee totally placated and satisfied the parking first crowd by giving out free Sunday parking. Now they’re happy and won’t demand anything else. Oh wait, that didn’t work?



    I think it’s humorous how they throw in “wiggle” (in scare quotes no less!) as a big F U towards bicyclists who use the Wiggle in Duboce. I doubt that’s unintentional.



    One other thing: Guess who is an avid and staunch supporter of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association? Supervisor David Chiu. This needs to be put around more, because it shows he’s not half as green as he says he is.



    Dawn Trennert is clinging on to an outdated model of urban planning that has long been regarded as unsustainable and alienating by city planning experts all over the world, including the SFMTA, which has made these proposals. In effect, she and her organization, the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, are doing their best to prevent their locale from becoming a safer, cleaner, friendlier and more prosperous area.

    When are these people going to get it? Having people driving around in their own private car all the time was determined to be an all-around bad idea back in the Twentieth Century.



    right…because a tractor-trailer could theoretically plunge 200 feet off the edge of Van Ness



    The SFMTA and the City do a terrible job of selling the public on transit initiatives. Look at the cool website and videos Chicago used to sell BRT there.

    San Francisco has an unusually high proportion of bored NIMBYs who make a point of derailing any kind of progress. (A year ago, I attended and wrote about a Van Ness BRT meeting where the Polk Street NIMBYs were flabbergasted by all of the transit activists who showed up.)

    Compounding the problem, both the City and the SFMTA plan relentless, often pointless meetings for every ridiculous aspect of a project.

    Hoodline reported a recent example in my neighborhood: SFMTA is hosting a hearing about adding a single traffic light on Haight Street. The light is part of a larger set of improvements (TEP and Public Realm) that have already been debated endlessly.

    Let’s stop dithering. Let’s stop empowering NIMBYs. Let’s kill all of these dumb meetings and make some stuff happen.



    These merchants – oy! I could be an anomaly, but this being SF, I kinda doubt it… y’know where I buy things other than TP and food if I’m not tooling about on my bike on the weekends? ONLINE. If I’m driving or being driven, I’m on my way to a specific destination, which is vanishingly unlikely to be this or that shop that I haven’t been to before. On a bike, I actually notice storefronts & window displays on my way past and am wayyyy more likely to stop and peek inside, or make a mental note to check them out later.



    Filling in the underpass would allow the crosswalk the man got killed in to be reopened.


    Bob Gunderson

    Let’s not get rid of this gorgeous view – parking as far as the eye can see!



    Is this the same Greg that’s bitching and moaning how about how difficult it could be to sit in a private, climate controlled vehicle, suffering such grave injustices like being stuck in gridlock or circling around for parking?


    Dark Soul

    I though this was specifically about the man who got killed for crossing a closed crosswalk



    I doubt that opening one crosswalk at Fell and Gough would result in significant traffic diversions. But if you did end up with significant congestion across the wider street network, you could manage it with congestion pricing.

    The idea that we need to sacrifice certain streets to traffic in order to save other streets needs to be killed. Fell and Oak were built as residential streets, and were later converted into arterials. If you are concerned about traffic impacts, how about helping out the people who live on those streets and have been living with the impacts of high speed motor traffic for decades?



    The real problem in my mind re efficiency vs politeness is what sheep people are. I gotta say to these indignant folks, so cry us all a river, you’re in a single-passenger vehicle just like these other assholes! Not a good use of SFPD’s time to ticket people committing a ‘jerk move’ when pedestrians’ rights of way are violated on the regular during commute hours.

    Besides, as one SFGate commenter points out, if you have to commute to the East Bay you can use an alternate route through SOMA (via Franklin/Fell) and probably save if not take the same amount of time. Not exactly rocket science, this stuff.



    From the BART Document article:

    Board members today could also vote to spend $800,000 to purchase 325 more electronic bike lockers, which have been “pretty popular” based on customer feedback, according to Allison.

    The agency’s current contract only allows for 37 more lockers to be purchased. There are 1,150 lockers at 35 stations in operation.


    Andy Chow

    More like a workplace-related death.


    Andy Chow

    I was thinking about an idea of extending the N line downtown the Great Highway to connect with the L line. Even if it were to be used on an emergency basis, it would help improve the operation for the N in case if there’s any service interruption along the line.



    [citation needed]



    I think that making more room for the ocean is a great idea, at Sloat and along the GHW. However, adding parking along the upper great highway is a horrible idea. The city cannot keep up with the trash and debris in just a few garbage cans along the bike path. More parking = more trash. Until SPUR shows some understanding for the current state, I don’t think that they can hope to create a feasible plan for the future.


    Andy Chow

    The Oak/Fell corridor was designated to protect the rest of the inner neighborhoods. If the idea is that there shouldn’t be any street designed to accommodate higher volume regional traffic, then the cars are going to flood onto other streets, impacting transit that use those streets.


    Same Old

    While I sympathize with residents of lower Great Hwy (and am one), there is no doubt that retreat, narrowing & open space are better for the upper Great Hwy in the long run. The real cop out here is SF (and surrogate SPUR) who do not want to acknowledge or mitigate the fact that the lower Great Hwy becomes a mosh pit of dangerous traffic every single time the upper road is closed. Until they get enforceable rerouting of commuter traffic off lower Great Hwy when upper road is closed they will never solve the traffic problem and never obtain the benefits of the retreat, open space proposal that is so great.



    They’ll have to slow down slightly as they drive to work. Big deal.

    Remember, we’re not trying to make everyone to switch to transit, we’re just trying to tilt the cost/benefit assessment of the various commuting options towards transit/cycling/walking and away from driving, so that people for whom transit/cycling/walking is a viable option are likely to make the switch.

    Someone driving from (say) Bayview to the Sunset for work will probably continue to do so; and that’s fine, because those people make up a relatively small number of commuters. We shouldn’t postpone safety and service improvements to transit/cycling/walking just because some people will have a slightly longer drive as a result and don’t have a viable transit alternative.





    Thanks for the clarification — and for reading the article more thoroughly than I did!



    In my world the answer is “improve the transit”, not “screw Hayes Valley”.

    Of course your reply is “once the transit is in place, then we can fix the roads”, but that is simply a strategy to make it more difficult to change the status quo and preserve your stated preference. Oldest trick in the book after “Madest thou look. Hah!’