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    SF Guest

    Speaking on the Embarcadero Freeway, have you not seen the traffic along 2d St., Harrison St., 1st Street along with Bush Street and Battery Street which leads into 1st St, which was the end result of removing the Broadway, Clay and Beale Street on-ramps?

    There’s a PCO lackey at 1st and Harrison controlling the traffic light who’s useless, but it makes the SFMTA feel like they’re doing their job.

    And what about the economic impact Chinatown suffered and could never regain?



    I believe this is the second accident on 15th street since it was made “safer”. Safety should be measured by actual statistics and not by good intentions.

    If the city’s tactics for making a street safer leads to an increase in incidents then something is wrong. 15th street is now slower but evidently not safer.

    Isn’t it possible that SFMTA just got this one wrong?



    If you think that we needed to stop building bike infrastructure because it would have a negative impact on the environment [for people to use a bike for more trips] then you’ve moved beyond reality. Just because it’s called CEQA doesn’t mean it actually protects the environment, which is part of why the bike plan was made exempt from environmental review.



    If you can’t accept an environmental study is a study and not anecdotal you’ve moved beyond reality, sound arguments and basic facts.

    And with that there’s no sense having a conversation.


    Upright Biker

    I’ll be interested to read the stories on the rash of motorist injuries as a result of this perceived diminished state of “safety.”



    What do you mean by “less safe to drive on”? Do you mean that you need to drive more slowly to watch out for people walking and stuff around you? Then that’s actually making the street safer. The only way it could be more dangerous for others around you, is if you were driving faster. Then it would be less safe for people walking or riding bicycles, while it might be safer for drivers. I *like* congestion. It means that people are generally driving more slowly, which makes it more safe.



    The city has messed with 15th street in the last few months. I’m not sure if it was done for “safety” reasons or some others, but it’s certainly more difficult to navigate west-bound than previously, and blockages and congestion have gotten worse.

    Further west there is also the problem of a large construction project on the corner of Market Street which narrows 15th.

    My overall impression is that 15th Street is now less safe to drive along, and therefore less safe for everyone else as well.



    This is out of control. Motorists in the Mission behave with impunity because the cops do zero enforcement of anything: not yielding to pedestrians and cyclists, blocking the bike lane, illegal U-turns, on the phone while driving, and speeding. There has been so much carnage on what is one of the main pedestrian and bicycle areas in the city. And here’s the thing: it’s much worse than the media claims because there are many smaller, less serious accidents that don’t get reported. Case in point, my friend was doored yesterday on 14th St. Thankfully he was traveling slow and didn’t have any serious injuries, but this obviously wasn’t covered in the media but therefore distorts just how dangerous things are because this incident could have easily been worse. I’m really tired of the city not clamping down on the out-of-control motorists. This motorist who hit the woman legally in the crosswalk yesterday, who wants to guess what kind of slap on the wrist she’ll get?



    I saw someone on the ground in front of a car in the intersection of Mariposa and Illinois, yesterday ~5:30-6 pm, any details?



    That’s anecdotal, not studies. Let’s take the Embarcadero freeway for example. When it was removed, did it cause total gridlock in the city? Hardly.

    Common sense tells us that people adjust their habits when the streetscape changes. If there are less parking spaces available, then fewer people will drive. If you properly price the parking spaces with variable or demand based meter rates, then you’ll get even better utilitzation.



    So can we undo the “compromise” with the SFFD on having many streets at Hunters Point be 26 ft across? Or at least get mountable raised bike lanes put in on the wide streets?



    What percent of households in SF have children in the SFUSD? 2.5%? Why not get rid of the schools!



    Got it, thanks for stopping by again Guest…I mean, Dark Soul



    Well beyond common sense which should tell you 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. Of course it was completely ignored by the city who’s agenda was already set.

    You may recall that the only reason the EIS was done was because the city was sued by Rob Anderson who pointed out they were violating the law by not doing one.



    Maybe we should just have good policy for the entire community rather than 2.5% of it.



    Which is it? We should benefit minority groups, or we should not? I don’t get it.



    Please – provide us with all the wonderful studies that shows reducing parking and eliminating auto lanes have increased congestion. I’m dying to find it! Thanks!



    SFMTA is out of control.

    They’ve used transit money to eliminate parking and auto lanes which has increased congestion and pollution in San Francisco. Still worse, narrower streets and less lanes slow emergency response times putting SF residents in danger as well as further slowing Muni…the same mass transit they say they want us to take!!

    All of this is primarily to benefit a narrow slice (2-3%) of the population of young, able bodied, wealthy bicyclists who are mostly white, all at the expense of every other minority group.



    Looking at how damaged the front end of the car is, it appears that
    drunk was driving pretty fast.



    In the picture above how does a faster cyclist pass a slower cyclist comfortably?

    Answer: They don’t (do it comfortably that is, they still make the pass when they see an opportunity to do so), it isn’t wide enough. The one above has a pedestrian strip that is misleading; in most cases there is a curb and sidewalk immediately to the left of the narrow bike lane. Plenty of routes in San Francisco already have too many cyclists for such narrow designs.

    Portland, which has probably done more for cycling than any American city, seems to have hit a plateau its its number of cyclists at around 6% of commuters, nearly all of the “enthused and confident” from their poll about interest in cycling (7%). You aren’t going to get any of the “interested but concerned” (60% of people) without better designs, especially ones that include cycling improvements for intersections, which NACTO all but ignores.


    Jym Dyer

    @RoyTT – Yes, the Real Foods on Stanyan has ridiculous prices but there’s no basis for blaming a lack of parking for that, in fact it makes no sense whatsoever. As I mentioned, McDo was protested when it went in, and the current owner’s attempt to turn it into a drive-through was vehemently opposed.



    Just note the Red Bus Lanes are only to improve safety and reliability for specially for bus. Not car,bike,people.



    The original plan was to have completely separated HSR tracks from San Jose to San Francisco.

    The current “blended plan” shares tracks between HSR & CalTrain and (assuming I understand correctly) will accommodate freight at night when no passenger trains are in the vicinity.


    Sean Hughes

    I witnessed someone hit by a car and it took three months to remember he actually wasn’t crossing against the light, so much for believing a witness.



    As our man @pchazz would say – “Is it too much to ask for drivers to be sober, and not hit and run!”


    Andy Chow

    Seriously i’ve followed HSR issues before Prop 1A and I don’t understand “the plan” that you talked about. Seriously have you been to any meetings or talked to any planners? I don’t come to my conclusion because I don’t have any grand vision, but because I know that it is politically hard to get anything done these days, and that the best path to level boarding is through a graceful transition like some of the light rail systems have done (VTA light rail, etc), rather than through what Muni has done. An East Coast height pretty much ensures a Muni type transition which may never be completed (see Pittsburgh and Buffalo, and commuter rail like SEPTA, NJ Transit).


    Andy Chow

    I don’t disagree about the importance of Transbay, but there’s still a lot more planning that is needed before suggesting Caltrain to use East Coast height, if HSR chooses to use East Coast height. No one at this point has done a operational analysis with the same rigor as developing the timetable for the next schedule change. All the “train schedules” that you see in the planning documents are meaningless.

    HSR right now is a blank sheet system, with no legacy standard (there’s no mandate to use same height as East Coast) or a group of users with strong political influence (cyclists). The story should be about how HSR can be more compatible with Caltrain, rather than putting the burden on Caltrain and communities that are served by Caltrain and not HSR. The ball is on HSR’s court, should they go East Coast height, then forget about compatibility. Not that other issues like Transbay capacity cannot be resolved, but that will require alternative solutions that Clem quickly dismissed.



    Today’s Sacramento Bee:

    Injured midtown resident challenges Sacramento law allowing sidewalk cycling



    The plan has always been to rebuild the CalTrain route as passenger-only as part of CA HSR, not some half-assed “high speed” route like Accela. What evidence do you have that this plan has been changed?



    With what evidence do you say that freight is being retired on the Peninsula corridor. That would be easier for passenger rail, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this, the freight customers say they want to keep running.


    Chris J.

    Wouldn’t it also be cool if the energy from pedaling the bike helped propel the vehicle forward? Sounds like they’re on to something..



    All the rail will need to be replaced??? Where do you get that idea.

    This was the plan since day one. The combined HSR/CalTrain goal has always been to share rails. In no way is the circa 2000 era CalTrain “Baby Bullet” infrastructure sufficient to deliver HSR. The few remaining freight lines are also being retired as a result of HSR.


    Andy Chow

    All the rail will need to be replaced??? Where do you get that idea. No one is suggesting building a complete 4 track corridor. Because of the current train operation and CPUC requirements, any platform that Caltrain will built in a forseeable future due to grade separation and such will be limited to 8 inches.

    Any change in height is a big deal. When VTA had to increase platform height by a few inches, they had to create a special design in downtown San Jose to maintain pedestrian flow and cross platform transfers with the buses. The downtown businesses thought it as a big deal even if the construction only takes a few months.



    Nothing about this project is a “snap.” For interoperability, CalTrain is getting an all new fleet of electric trains and all of the rail will need to be replaced. Adjusting platform height isn’t a big deal when you consider that most of the stations will need to be renovated or replaced to support the new track configuration.

    I’d also like to suggest that redesigning HSR train standards is really the last thing the project needs at this point.


    Andy Chow

    I will let the rail designers and engineers say whether that can be done or not. Rather than some activists think it is not but suggesting that Caltrain can just transition to the East Coast platform height in a snap.


    Aaron Bialick

    Ah, I was confused about which witness you were talking about.


    Andy Chow

    High Speed Rail at this point is still at a early planning stage, and unless there’s a strong long term political commitment, the project could be canceled or significantly altered. I can tell you that it will need more commitment than what Jerry Brown can provide for the next four years. If by that time the political climate results in a Republican governor, then all bets are off.

    That said, it would be a dumb move for Caltrain to use East Coast height platform. Until all the platforms are retrofitted, trains would have 4 or more steps like the present gallery cars do and would provide zero interim benefits for the disabled and cyclists. If somehow the High Speed Rail project changes or got cancelled, then Caltrain will get stuck with a legacy standard for a purpose that is no longer needed.

    What if Caltrain doesn’t have the funding for high platforms, or somehow couldn’t get around the CPUC regulations? Caltrain will get stuck with cars that boards like the gallery cars. I take their comment about willingness to financially Caltrain to make the system more compatible with a grain of salt.

    You keep pointing out the Millbrae tunnel and San Jose, but remember that there are alternative solutions to provide dedicated platforms at those locations without tunneling or building overhead. There may be other reasons that having dedicated platforms would be operationally beneficial. The benefits of having the ability to share platforms at those stations are marginal at best.

    Looking back, it was a foolish move for Muni Metro to transition to high platforms. The rationale for transitioning to high platforms for Muni was the same as Caltrain, except that low floor vehicles wasn’t an option until 20 years later after construction. Muni might have thought that someday all the stations would have high platforms, but that was never the case, either because of lack of funding or community oppositions, so now it is buying a 3rd generation of high floor vehicles for low and high floor boardings. Systems that were built with low platforms have a more graceful and complete transition (both from cost, riding experience, and accessibility) to at or near level boardings with low floor vehicles than systems that chose to convert from low to high platforms.

    So I think the question should be reversed. Shouldn’t high speed rail be using a low floor height to be compatible with Caltrain, and figure out alternative solutions (including getting waiver from ADA laws) for platforms at Transbay to be usable by both, in the event that HSR can’t use vehicles with lower floor. Caltrain should never be in a position to bend backwards. Caltrain should first pick a height that would provide the best and the most graceful transition for level boarding. If HSR can join Caltrain, then that’s great.



    Since that was blocks away from the incident, that is not the “witness” who claimed that the pedestrian was jaywalking


    Jeffrey Baker

    I don’t know, I’m not a transit planner. All I know is it was a lot faster taking that empty bus than it is riding all the way up the hill on a bicycle. Perhaps the ridership would have been better if the attractions in Montclair were a bit more attractive. As it stands there’s little reason to visit if you don’t live there.

    The main theme of my suggestion was that perhaps the services cut in 2009 include some lines worth restoring.



    We witnessed it. We were walking on the other side. The pedestrian was trying to opportunistically cross before the traffic hit. He was jaywalking. Having said that, the car was speeding and when the man was hit and flew 10 feet or so before landing on the roof, the driver put his foot on the gas and sped away with guy on roof. We all screamed in shock. We came forward as witnesses when we saw the police on market and testified. I wish more people had come forward then. There were folks that said they saw his shoes fly off….so traumatizing.



    If high speed trains could have a lower floor level, that’s great. If there’s a compromise height somewhere in between, it should not be much higher than today’s Bombardier cars to permit direct boarding to the bottom level for better disabled and bike access, and allow efficient non-level boarding until the day that all or most of the platforms are retrofitted.

    Thanks but no thanks — at high speeds you want a nice thick buffer zone between yourself and the stationary ground below. Safety requirements at 200 MPH are no joke.


    Clem Tillier

    In my opinion shared platforms at Transbay are non-negotiable for Caltrain’s future growth.

    The ridership potential of Transbay is enormous, and calling the shared
    stations “less than 10% of all stations” is totally missing the point where ridership is concerned. Recall that today, census data shows that there are more jobs within 1/2 mile of Transbay than within 1/2 mile of every single stop from 4th & King to Gilroy COMBINED. The cluster of skyscrapers now going up is only going to increase this disparity. Caltrain must rise to the challenge of serving this massive demand, and terminating trains at 4th & King (because of lacking platform space at Transbay) is a self-defeating solution.

    Meanwhile, in Millbrae, shared platforms would eliminate a proposed tunnel worth about $1 billion to squeeze four platform tracks into the station without displacing BART. This cost is ~10x what it cost to build the entire Millbrae complex in the first place.

    Finally, in San Jose, shared platforms would completely eliminate the need to build a massive double-decker station for HSR with miles of aerial approach viaducts, again at savings easily reaching $1 billion.

    If Caltrain ends up with 51″ floors as a cost of entry, then so be it! I acknowledge the minor operational disadvantages, but they pale in comparison to the disastrous sub-optimality of separate station infrastructure for Caltrain and HSR. There are hundreds of high-platform commuter rail operations around the world, some of them even running high-capacity bi-level EMUs (Paris, Sydney, Moscow) and they are none the worse for it. Caltrain is a tiny little fish in a very big pond.

    Of course, 30″ is still the best compromise height for both HSR and
    Caltrain, but so far HSR doesn’t appear open to that idea. They are fixated on procuring train designs from 15 years in the past to fill a need they won’t have before another 15 years in the future…


    Aaron Bialick

    Indeed, it’s stated in the lede that the witness saw the vehicle stop outside his home.



    Good point. Has anyone asked the corner store if they have footage?



    I know the witness and he definitely is not the driver. Sent me pictures just after the incident.

    Readers of this site should know that information obtained from “witnesses” are probably siding with what streetsblog sides with.



    Sadly even if they make a full recovery theres a good chance they wont be able to remember all that well.



    Seriously. I just hope the victim of this crash is able to one day able to tell his own version of events.


    Conner Werty

    Building the highways had military/industrial motivations. So does maintaining a peninsula heavy rail in times of need. Such as moving debris after the next big earthquake. The key now is letting the new Caltrain electrified EMU’s be low floor and HSR be high floor, since HSR wont be as much of a regional commuter service as caltrain or bart is.



    Let’s see.

    Jaywalking ticket and Hit and Run, DUI, attempt to conceal evidence.

    Seems reasonable.



    The witness was probably the driver.