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    sebra leaves

    Good point. Blame your state representatives for allowing exceptions to the state regulations and blame your federal representatives for funding these projects.



    ‘Dawn…is clinging on to an outdated model of urban planning…’ That would presume that she knows anything about urban planning. Listening to her as she tries to take down a hapless developer proves she’s utterly ignorant. All she’s ‘clinging on to’ is power.



    They drive out anyone who doesn’t march to their drum. I’ve spoken with several former members – including one commenter here – who’ve told me so.

    Another example of harassment of merchants who don’t agree: It’s a Grind used to host the MPNA’s monthly meetings and came to really dislike them so asked them to find another venue. Dawn badgered them repeatedly about one stupid thing after another thereafter.

    One of our people stepped up to be the ‘steering committee’ (paperwork schlepper) for the City grant they were awarded. There were no other volunteers but they rejected her. And on and on. I reported all of these tactics to the appropriate people, including Chiu and Lee. After one particularly disgusting encounter, they now bill their parties as for ‘members and invited guests only.’

    If nothing else, we can admire their obsessive dedication. What’s the answer? Be the neighborhood association you want to see in the City.



    ‘Let’s stop dithering.’ Yes, let’s.



    Seems to me that a younger, more ethnically diverse group of people should join the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association and take it over from within. Give Miss Dawn her walking papers and turn the MPNA into a transit advocacy group.


    Mario Tanev

    In their mind transit riders pay too little and are subsidized by drivers, so for them this is a step in restoring balance they wouldn’t object to.


    Tony Barretto

    You have to understand disability before you jump to conclusions, as indeed Aoron Bialick has done. Sure the women has walked and bent down to pick up something. No sign of disability there, right ? Wrong ! Don’t judge a book by its cover. People will and do cope with lots of pain to do something and try to appear as normal as possible.

    As an example, CSF/ME, Arthritus and HIV/AIDS, can have a certain amount of normality. Though they suffer from pain and arthritus or have side effects that they have to cope. Unless you are disabled in this way or know someone who is, then your looking at disability from a 70/80′s viewpoint.

    There is a need to review who issues placards and to ensure who is using the placard. Surely in places where there is high abuse, it is possible for random checks by law enforcement ?



    Litigation broadly defined. The ‘Restore Balance’ initiative (Prop L on Nov’s ballot) is a looming example of blowback. Still, I’ve investigated a lot and still can’t get my head around the capitulating to ignoramuses. Bottom line seems to be that our leaders are poll-driven and unenlightened who don’t take on educating encouraging us to bear some temporary inconveniences for the sake of long term gain – and lives. That is, they don’t actually lead.


    Mom on a bike

    What is it going to take for American cities to ban large trucks in downtowns until proven safe? Why can’t the NTSB take leadership on this?


    Michael Smith

    I smell BS here. Eric Arguello is not a fan of livable streets so he makes absurd claims about customers not being able to make it to the businesses (when huge number of visitors meant the places were actually packed) and that businesses didn’t want to pay fees for serving food outdoors (they could simply not serve food outdoors). The businesses on Valencia get it. Eric doesn’t.



    High fees are ironic in that the event drives sales tax revenue in the city.



    Agreed. If Ancient Rome’s governors figured out how night time deliveries reduced street congestion, perhaps our fine politicians could follow their lead.



    I live in the neighborhood and had no idea the Save Polk Street group was vehemently opposed to the BRT on Van Ness. It just boggles the mind that this group of merchants and residents does not understand how the numerous condo, assisted living, hospital, and other large scale developments along Van Ness and streets crossing Van Ness are going to be bringing thousands of new local residents to Polk and Van Ness stores. Check out curbedsf to see the extent of current and planned projects — it’s not as busy as SOMA or Mid-Market, but it’s pretty impressive. We will need the BRT more than ever! Now that I know that the Van Ness BRT is under attack , I (and I hope others) will start attending what I thought were fairly benign Van Ness BRT meetings.



    I think Sunday Streets best serves the cause of making streets people-friendly by concentrating on broader avenues usually devoted to car travel. People then experience these places in a whole new way, and perhaps become more open to the idea of down-sizing streets, giving them road-diets, according more space to people not-in-cars, etc. Twenty-fourth Street is already much like that: narrow and with stop signs on every block, slow car traffic, much pedestrian and bike use, lots of people crossing mid-block to visit the next store on their list, etc. In other words, while Valencia or Mission Streets could benefit from a Sunday Streets event, 24th Street is already “closer to fine” than we have perhaps recognized.



    Here’s what Eric Arguello had to say about the Potrero Avenue overhaul last year, as reported by Streetsblog: “I never see people on Potrero…Parking is really important.” Not surprising that he wouldn’t be a fan of Sunday Streets either.


    Andy Chow

    Are you assuming that I am a fan of the Central Subway? Well I never was.



    Remind me your position on the central subway?



    If it happens by 2020 we will have bigger problems and there will be no one percent



    Ultimately, I would love to see a circle line which incorporates the planned route of the E-line (Fisherman’s Wharf to Caltrain), then continues on King or Townsend to Division, then north on Van Ness, and finally back to Fisherman’s Wharf. In this fantasy the Central Freeway has been removed and Division is regenerating, and the line is operated by modern low-floor streetcars mixed in with the historic cars on the F-line. The resources currently used on the 47 and 49 are instead used to make the 14 super high frequency; some people will have to transfer, but overall the experience will be better.

    Total fantasy at this point, but it would be nice if Van Ness BRT had been designed rail-ready, just in case…



    There’s nothing to litigate on, in this case. SFMTA are going above and beyond what is required by CEQA when planning these projects.



    How about changing the times deliveries are done? If deliveries were done during the midnight early morning hours where congestion is almost none or traffic that is. It would make deliveries more efficient and less stressful. Bottom line these concerns should NOT continue to stall this much needed project and improvement any longer. This is about improving Muni service on Van Ness Ave that is what should and must be the goal of this project



    I live on Hayes St., where the MTA wants to run these behemoths. It is two lanes, and is a popular, and official, cross-town route for bicyclists and peds. Have we been notified of this proposed change? No, but my daughter just pointed out these little green stickers that have been added to the MUNI stop at Masonic and Hayes.
    A few other notes: It is zoned residential/commercial, meaning there are the occasional double-parked deliver trucks. There are several schools on the route, including elementaries and City College (John Adams Campus). We also have MV and UCSF shuttles.
    Let the shuttles run along Fell and Oak, since they just want to get in and out of the City on 101 anyway!
    BTW, if they wanted to actually do something that would be popular with residents and visitors (and take some of the heat off themselves), let everyone ride them, not just employees! They’re using public space, after all.



    Karen, Van Ness (and Lombard) are considered part of the Federal and State highway system. They are designated as 101 because they form the official link where 101 ends to where it resumes at the GG Bridge.

    So the city is limited in what it can do because those streets are effectively part of the Interstate system. At the very least, the city would have to sacrifice some other streets for that purpose. Franklin/Gough doesn’t go far enough north, while Fell/Oak does not go far enough west.

    Compared to Van Ness, pacifying Polk Street is a stroll in the park.

    And as much as I like your idea that San Francisco will be car-free by 2020 or 2030, or at least only the one percent will have cars, I think it is fanciful. If we cannot even remove a few parking spaces to improve an urban street like Polk, then the idea of banishing most cars from SF remains a wish rather than a reality.

    I think it will happen eventually, but consider 2100 or so to be a more realistic timeframe.



    Better to assign the true cost of easy truck deliveries to the business and thus its customers, rather than the current status quo where the costs (lost public space, dangerous road conditions, etc) are externalized and paid by the general public.



    Fare changes cost money, and all of the equipment has to be updated.


    Andy Chow

    Actually from $1.50 to $2.00. Personally I thinking having fares going up by 25 cent increment is quite significant, and I wondered why SFMTA don’t use this opportunity to provide incentive for occasional riders to switch to Clipper by making Clipper fares go up by 5 to 10 cents every 6 months until it hits $2.25.


    Andy Chow

    I am not sure whether LRT is suitable at this point. The bus lines that would take advantage of this busway also serve other locations beyond the busway. The light rail would have to be much longer to make it as useful as the bus routes that would substitute.



    Of course light rail would make more sense long run on Van Ness, but there is too much political inertia to go there right away. The choices are the status quo or the current BRT plan.

    And it’s not true that it will be obsolete as soon as it is built. Sure, it won’t be perfect, and eventually it’ll get replaced by rail. But it’ll do a lot of good in the mean time. Then, once the neighborhood is more transit focused, it’s a much easier to sell an upgrade from BRT to rail.



    ‘(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.)’
    That’s because we put the word out and collaborated with other groups, e.g. SFTRU, to overwhelm with numbers. We also warned the presenters and suggested that they control the Q&A. They did and we reigned. We need more involvement to create meetings like that.

    Disabling NIMBYs will take serious restructuring of the process here and in the meantime, the big fear is litigation. Also $$$, funneled into political campaigns, talks loudest of all.



    It’s about nothing more than accruing more power to themselves. They’ve been asked publicly several times to be real neighborhood representatives (younger, more ethnically diverse, few car owners…) but have not replied.



    Actually there are many garage parking spots just off Polk Street, so if you drove, you would find plenty of paid parking. For Nob Hill, the parking garages usually have space except during concerts, and they are a bit more expensive than the Polk area garages. All this to say that BRT will only bring more customer dollars to these two neighborhoods, because when one drives, one can already find paid parking which is often necessary in the evening hours.

    Also, during the weekdays daytime hours before 6 pm, I have rarely not been able to find a metered spot on Polk, though Nob Hill itself is tough because it is only RPP. The situation would be much better if there were smart meters and variable pricing.



    dog whistle.



    L-i-t-i-g-a-t-i-o-n happens



    Yes, would certainly be good to see our people there – as much or more than letters.



    Yeah, they do. We’d heard rumblings about the grumbling coming to this meeting and asked the MTA if they’d like more of us there. They investigated and replied that it looked like it would be the usual tedious suspects with the usual wiggy complaints so, for those of us with actual lives, it wasn’t top priority to ‘restore balance’ ;-) amongst the attendees. The plans for the VN BRT aren’t changing. Will certainly put out the word if the Oct. meeting looks pivotal.



    A cyclist was killed today on 2nd Ave in Seattle, exactly where a protected bike lane is planned. There is a current bike line in the door zone that is NOT safe. I happened to walk by there on the way to work and saw her body. So sad.



    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?