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    I challenge you to show anywhere that people were “promised” that the street grid be returned it’s car-centric use. Let’s not also forget that Stockton has not always been one way and that the tunnel was originally built for streetcars.



    Your belief is not supported by the evidence. And this isn’t a “want it all” position. In the case of Stockton, there were two successful winter walks and evidence showing that traffic isn’t appreciably worse. In addition, the link isn’t being severed. Transit is still allowed which is a much more efficient use of the corridor than private vehicles.



    The evidence is simply not there to support your conclusion that traffic has become so bad that drivers “give up”. A more appropriate conclusion is that few people drive (relative to the numbers who take transit and walk) in that part of the city anyway and that opening up the street to more pedestrians increased the foot traffic to those stores dramatically. The idea that massive gridlock happens whenever a street is closed or traffic rerouted is just not supported by the evidence from both SF as well as many other places.



    So what you’re saying is that Merchants are a multiplier, so if you don’t have any residents, the effect of merchants is nil, but if you do have residents, then your merchants DO get to count.

    Why didn’t you just say so?

    It looked like you were only going to count classes that you felt supported one side. But now it’s obvious you were counting them all, but they’re a multiplier. IE: Optometrist opinions don’t matter unless they’re used to multiply the mayor.



    If a better more efficient solution for that public space was developed, then I wouldn’t expect to get it back, no.

    Private vehicle use of our public streets in San Francisco is the least efficient use of them on a spectrum where pedestrian use can accommodate the most people, then transit, bicycles and finally cars. In places where we want the highest foot traffic (i.e. commercial areas) we should be prioritizing transit and pedestrians over cars as much as possible.



    As previously stated, traffic was not as bad as predicted because some drivers abandoned taking a car, due to the congestion. Put Stockton Street back and they will return.

    It is disingenuous to make traffic so bad that drivers give up and then turn around and say “oh look, there is no harm done”.

    I’m glad you see a vital role for cars and driving. That doesn’t apply to some here so I commend you for that. I also take multiple modes (except that I don’t ride a bike any more). I could support car-free streets in some downtown locations – I just don’t think that Stockton should be one of them, for all the reasons stated.



    It’s not my job to consult people who drive along Stockton about their driving habits. However, it is SFMTA’s job to assess traffic in the city. And their data shows that traffic is not appreciably worse then before the change.

    As for my “bias” I’ve just told you I drive, walk, take transit, and bike. If anyone is biases it’s people who only drive. I drive, so you can’t argue that I’m an anti-car zealot. My thoughts are that in a dense urban city cars don’t work very well – a simple geometric problem. Our attempt to accommodate them in SF over the last 80 years is an abject failure that just frustrates people and continues to kill and maim others. That’s not to say I don’t drive, but I just don’t think they should be a priority because it simply won’t work unless we change the geometry, which would mean rebuilding the city at a lower density.



    Why not? The fact is that the beneficiaries of any transport infrastructure will find a work-around if their main route is taken out of commission. People even found a way of getting to work when BART was on strike.

    I could make the same argument if bike or bus lanes were taken out of use for 5 years. And yet you’d expect to get them back as-was or better, right?

    Same thing.



    They are not at all the same.



    Murph, I challenge you to show us where in the CS plan it said that the roads affected by the construction would magically turn into car-free streets at the end.

    Otherwise, yes, the only logical and reasonable assumption would be no net change to the local streets.



    “Default Assumption” is in no manner the same as “were promised”



    I don’t think I ever said that. What I said is that I don’t understand why cyclists would choose to ride on a 3-lane quasi-freeway when one block over is a quiet, leafy gentle ride.

    And in fact I’d prefer the bikes on Fell and Oak to giving them a bike freeway in the Panhandle, which is the current situation



    It was the default assumption that all roads would be put back the way they were.

    If there was an exception to that then you’d have a citation for that in the original CS plan, right?

    And you don’t. Otherwise we would not need this new proposal, obviously.



    Easy. Just set up a lobby group for whatever minority group you represent. And, let’s face it, we’re all minorities now even (or perhaps, especially, straight white males.

    Then lobby aggressively for your own special “identity politics” streetcar. The blacks and Asians have theirs, the Hispanics have BART, the gays have the K/L/M – where’s mine?

    San Francisco may claim to be “diverse” but “tribal” is probably more accurate.



    This is bullshit. If the Central Subway is a panacea, then the city would be planning to eliminate the 30 and 45. They are not.



    I think you should accept that the public were promised getting Stockton Street back as-is.

    I do not accept this. It is untrue. Please give a citation.



    You are the same person who frequently said that we should remove the bike lanes on fell and oak and shunt the cyclists to Page. Why do you want to take Fell and Oak away?



    When can I get my streetcar to nowhere?



    Better question…have you walked that pedestrian block of Powell without being hassled? Over the years many tourists waiting for a cable car outside of the Gap stopped me to ask if they would be safe waiting there.
    There are hundreds of examples of ped malls throughout the country that have been both success stories and glaring failures. The closure you speak of is a temporary closure during the annual holiday season and is considered a “success” only because it caters to the tourists and holiday shoppers. Make it permanent and like all nice things in this town it will turn into a cesspit.



    Dick Spotswood is a crazy NIMBY in journalists clothing.



    I never said that. What I said is that if you are coming from, say, Cow Hollow and want to get to CalTrain, Castro or the Sunset, then you will probably get off the 30 as soon as you can and enter the subway system at ChinaTown.

    The CS isn’t any more political than Brown’s “streetcar to nowhere”. FWIW I’d prefer a real light rail system as well but that’s not on the cards right now






    As Mark noted below, the Central Subway is the quid pro quo for tearing down that freeway. It’s taken a long time but they have been made whole. That doesn’t mean they are wrong about this though.

    There are four Asian supervisors on the Board, and they will be reluctant to vote against ChinaTown. Even Peskin might hesitate to vote against his own constituents. So there aren’t the votes to over-ride an Ed Lee veto, and I’m fairly sure Ed will want to make nice with Pak.

    So I don’t think this is happening anyway.



    Nonsense. With few exceptions (mainly those going to Caltrain) most people who take the 30 from the Marina are not going to want to crawl through North Beach to the Chinatown station, get off, descend 100 feet and wait for a train to go one station, ascend 90 feet and walk to the FiDi or continue their trek 2 blocks in a passageway to connect to the Market St. portion of the Powell Station. There are only 2 bus stops between the Chinatown station and Union Square. The majority will remain on the bus for the duration.

    If you accept the fact that the whole point of the CS was a political move to connect Chinatown with Vis Valley then you’ll see the rationale of why it is not a complete transit line that solves any real problems. It’s by no means a second dimension nor a true network. In addition, SF should be focusing on building a real light rail network rather than holding on to its early 20th-century streetcar system.



    I believe that it is because that’s a vital 3 blocks that links the Stockton Tunnel with major vehicular routes south and west.

    If I want to be car-free in that area I already have Union Square, Powell Street, Maiden Lane and a couple of malls. Why do you want it all?



    Come on, don’t play the “maim and kill” card. I think you should accept that the public were promised getting Stockton Street back as-is. So here is my proposal, which you should support if you are truly fair-minded about this:

    1) At the end of the CS construction, put all roads back the way they were, as was promised

    2) Form a panel of diverse interests to explore which street, if any, in that immediate area should be car-free

    3) Accept that findings of that panel.

    I’d agree to that. Would you?



    Nothing ad hominem at all. There is a clear and blatant bias against cars and drivers from some commentators on this SFSB, even though it ostensibly claims to support balance and multiple modalities of transportation.

    Indeed, I suspect that is exactly why you and some others come here. Here is a question for you. How many people who formerly drive along Stockton on a regular basis have you consulted with?



    Show how.



    Hotels may have done better for all kinds of reasons – many of them to do with the local economy, sports successes etc. You can’t just assume that is because we made their access worse.



    Sure, removing provision for cars can have the effect of drivers abandoning their car trips. But that argument cuts both ways – if we took out the Wiggle maybe some cyclists would stop riding a bike. Maybe if we took out a bus lane, less people would ride a bus. And so on.



    It may be true that the traffic elsewhere was “lower than expected”. But only because conditions were so bad and congested that some people just gave up. Those people are entitled to now get their facility back.



    Regardless, BART only has one line through SF and unless you live close to a station you still have to deal with MUNI to get to BART. Even with I-80 traffic it’s still faster to drive than coordinate 3 different modes of transit.



    Not 3X the size by a long shot



    Yes, they, especially merchants, predicted it would be the death of Chinatown. They were so wrong then and they are as wrong now. Imagine if the city heeded them and rebuilt the Embarcadero Freeway! One result of tearing down the monstrosity was an _expansion_ of Chinatown in the form of affordable housing development in the space freed by the absent freeway.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    If you haven’t checked out the new car-free promenade on Twin Peaks, it’s worth taking a hike up there. Here’s my take on it:

    Reclaiming Public Space–A Peak Experience

    A description of a nice walk to Twin Peaks from the Castro Muni station:

    Conquer Twin Peaks and Stand on the Rooftop of San Francisco



    Irrelevant question. We’re not talking about anybody’s private property but public space, and public space where cars are continually maiming and killing people no less. Again, this weird idea you have that everything that already exists doesn’t have to justify itself in the public domain is nonsense you made up, not some universally-agreed upon rule of public discussion.





    No surprise that the MarinIJ article was penned by “mostly symbolic” journalist Dick Spotswood. Also no surprise that Marin development obstructionists are opposed to the removal of one of their main tools for obstruction, and it’s unfortunate that they are dragging us all down with them.



    The hotels haven’t just “managed”. Their tax returns indicate they’re at max occupancy most of the year. You use “bait-and-switch” a lot, but that would imply this was all some master plan conceived over a decade ago – to go against a ‘promise’ that was never made. As stated earlier – different interests pushed for a subway, and during construction, the businesses affected by the construction found that a pedestrianization of Stockton helped their business by trying it out for a few years. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just different groups of people responding to what they’ve witnessed over the past few years.



    “Logic says that it must.” Explain your logic. There’s a growing body of evidence from dense cities like New York and European cities that removing some links from the road network improves traffic congestion. gneiss points out that SF data also supports this conclusion in the case of Stockton St. Traffic is bad now, but what makes you think it wouldn’t be worse if the connection between Stockton and 4th were reestablished?



    Ah – the ad hominen attack. Tell me – who is an anti-car zealot? Is it someone who drives 2,000 miles to Yellowstone and back in a week? Because oddly enough, that’s what I did 2 weeks ago.



    That’s true, but the amount of traffic increase elsewhere has been lower than expected. That’s what SFMTA has been saying. Again, vehicle access is not restricted to those hotels.



    No – that’s not being proposed. First of all, three blocks is not “taking Stockton St. away”. Secondly, they are making it transit only with pedestrians. There’s no loss of access here, simply put, one mode of travel is deprioritized. You simply cannot equate lack of access by car to “taking a street away”.



    Another weak analogy.



    The data doesn’t support that blocking a street doesn’t increase traffic elsewhere?

    Logic says that it must. How else do we access those hotels by vehicle? Or don’t you care, as I suspect?

    And when a cyclist or pedestrian is killed on those adjoining streets because a driver was delayed and frustrated?



    The data doesn’t support that. Again, the SFMTA has shown the current closures haven’t adversely impacted traffic.



    Just because traffic is bad is no reason to make it worse. The Central Subway has given non-vehicular users a $1.5 billion way of bypassing Stockton Street.

    And now you want to take Stockton Street away anyway?



    And obviously you don’t think the burden of poof has been met because you think the only way to get around in the city is by car. Let me give you a newsflash. San Francisco doesn’t work well for private cars, particularly in the downtown area around Market St. So long as we have high density it never will. The only way it would work, is if we radically changed the city to be like San Jose, which is to say, razed whole city blocks and lowered height restrictions to reduce density.

    To suggest that opposition to the change being proposed will make things better for drivers is laughable on it’s face, because there’s just no way to do that. Even in the 70’s, people were complaining about traffic before all the changes that have been made.



    Yes, it’s fascinating to me that we can give transit riders a $1.5 billion investment and all they do is whine that it’s not enough and they still want to remove cars from the streets.

    Even though the entire point of putting transit underground is to free up the streets.

    There really is no making these people happy. They want it all.



    Ah yes, back to the “well, you’ve managed for the last 5 years” argument.

    How about we take the Wiggle out of commission for 5 years and then argue that obviously it is no longer needed. It’s a bait-and-switch argument of the worst kind